Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Feeling funny about lack of instruction...


antares

Recommended Posts

I've just started taking beginner ballet classes. The class is all made up of young adults (I'm 21). I knew I'd be catching up since I joined in the middle of the semester, and I had the unfortunate experience of showing up late for my first class (we were given the wrong time by the lady who registered me), but I thought that at the second class the teacher would at least discuss something with me.

 

I'm not expecting special treatment, I just thought that she might spend five extra minutes with me to explain the foot and arm positions, proper posture, or how to point your feet... but she hasn't and it doesn't look like I should hold my breath. I have not been given a single correction, though I'm positive that I'm doing everything wrong. I may not have a chance in hell of going pro, but the thought that the teacher doesn't care at all whether I improve or just continue dancing with horrible technique is so discouraging. This is especially so when I or the other students are having obvious difficulty with something and she doesn't seem to have any pointers for us. :(

 

Is this something that just happens with adult classes where they figure you have no future in ballet, so why bother? Or is this common to all beginner classes? I wouldn't even mind taking class with much younger students if I would be given better instruction. The reason why I'm commuting forty minutes to this school, when there is another just ten minutes away, is its reputation and the quality of students it is known to produce. Thank you for any info you can give me.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Sounds like there is a problem with that particular teacher, but it might not be that the school is not good. I would give it long enough to be sure that this is the way she is in every class, and then either leave or discuss it with the schools' director.

Link to comment

I have one other thought. It could be that the teacher doesn't want to overwhelm you. Perhaps she wants to give you a chance to absorb the flow of the class before she starts laying lots of corrections on you.

 

Can you approach her and let her know you would like to be "caught up" as much as possible? I'm sure if you ask, she will spend five minutes going over basic terminology and expectations. A word of caution, though: it does take a while for all this stuff to sink in and become part of you. To some extent, you have to just fumble along, keep your eyes open, and follow what others seem to be doing. While it's certainly worth working on placement and technique from day 1, my recollections from my absolute beginner days (which were not very long ago) is that it was all I could do to follow the movement generally. Relax a bit; as you get more accustomed to class, the patterns of the movements -- as well as of the class overall -- will become second nature, and then you can work on refining them.

 

Finally, as you have joined a class in progress, it really isn't fair to expect the teacher to spend time going over basics that the rest of the class learned earlier. If you are eager to learn positions and movements right away, perhaps you could schedule a private lesson? I'm thinking that your teacher might even be able to recommend a sensible, sensitive teenager who could show you the positions of the feet and the arms, and go over such basics as pliés, tendus, rondes de jambe, etc.

Link to comment

Sorry, I messed up my last reply.

 

Anyway, I agree with Treefrog. I have one ballet class that has a core group of students and also many new students that drop in with no prior experience. The teacher will welcome them but usually leave them alone so they don't feel singled-out. She will only start correcting them if them come back regularly so she knows that they are truly interested and serious about improving. At the very beginning it is difficult to truly understand the corrections or even have the physical capacity to make the proper adjustments. You can always buy a book to learn the basic positions and terminology or even find them on-line.

Link to comment
The teacher will welcome them but usually leave them alone so they don't feel singled-out.  She will only start correcting them if them come back regularly so she knows that they are truly interested and serious about improving. 

 

 

I agree. Plus, a lot of adults until they get into it take a correction as a criticism. Unless you have been involved in activities that require a constant attention to form (and even if you have), it can be disconcerting. Plus I can't blame the teacher for not wanting to waste their own time on someone that may hate it and never come back.

 

My teacher is super sweet (as always) in welcoming new students, then asks them to just follow along for today. She places them between two longer-term students so they have people to follow. If they continue to come back she will spend a LOT more time with them. Maybe you should just ask her if she can spend a couple extra minutes with you after class?

 

I totally agree with Treefrog too, in that there is a lot of benefit in just doing the exercises the best you can for awhile.

Link to comment

Hi Antares:

 

I notice that you are from BC too :D . If you don't mind me asking, where are you taking your class (in Vancouver)? If so, I might have a couple of options for you.

 

Cheers,

Allegrafan

Link to comment

I am very lucky in that I don't have this problem with my teacher, but I know that I would be just as unsure as you if I wasn't receiving any guidance, pointers or corrections.

 

Is this teacher offering corrections to any students at all? You mentioned that she did not offer pointers when you or other students are obviously having difficulty, but does she offer anything? If she doesn't, then I would be concerned. Does she teach any classes other than your class? If she does, it may be interesting to discover if she offers corrections to other levels of student. If this school is renowned for its dancers and teaching, then it is likely that the teachers are of high quality. If talking to your teacher doesn't work, then I agree with Ms Leigh: maybe talking to the school's director will help you (although it might not help your relationship with your teacher to go over her head like this). It may also be worthwhile to examine your options at the closer school. If the lack of attention is because the adult beginner is not going professional, the closer school may be more tolerant to the recreational dancer.

 

I don't believe that an adult beginner is less deserving of correction than any other student. My teacher corrects everyone who joins his class. He teaches ballet to all ages and levels. He will always spend some time with new students before class begins explaining basic position and posture, and will make sure they can easily observe a more experienced student throughout the class. He even encourages questions, although only in adult classes.

 

I would first talk to your teacher. See what she can offer in terms of suggestions, and see if she is open to questioning. If she is reluctant to offer correction, maybe asking her to further explain will help. But you still should not have to accept a lack of guidance. If that doesn't work, I would take it further to the school director or try the other school.

Edited by ryana
Link to comment
Is this teacher offering corrections to any students at all?  You mentioned that she did not offer pointers when you or other students are obviously having difficulty, but does she offer anything?  If she doesn't, then I would be concerned. 

That's exactly it...some other members have suggested that I give it some time and that I will receive more corrections when she knows that I am a committed student, but I know for a fact that some of the girls in my class have been taking class at the school for several years... but the only time she gave out a correction was when a girl took a VERY hard fall after a pirouette gone awry.

 

It may also be worthwhile to examine your options at the closer school.  If the lack of attention is because the adult beginner is not going professional, the closer school may be more tolerant to the recreational dancer.
I think I might see if I can drop in for a class at the closer school for a comparison (the class I'm currently taking is the only beginner class at that school).

 

I don't believe that an adult beginner is less deserving of correction than any other student.  My teacher corrects everyone who joins his class.  He teaches ballet to all ages and levels.  He will always spend some time with new students before class begins explaining basic position and posture, and will make sure they can easily observe a more experienced student throughout the class.  He even encourages questions, although only in adult classes. 
This has been my experience in every other "physical" interest I have pursued (gymnastics, martial arts, motorcycling, etc), which is why I didn't think ballet would be any different. It sounds like you have a great teacher.

 

I would first talk to your teacher.  See what she can offer in terms of suggestions, and see if she is open to questioning.  If she is reluctant to offer correction, maybe asking her to further explain will help.  But you still should not have to accept a lack of guidance.  If that doesn't work, I would take it further to the school director or try the other school.
I will definitely give this a try. Thank you!
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...