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Feeling crowded in class


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I had an odd experience in class on Wednesday. It's an open & very mixed ability class, which has drawbacks re being challenged, but a lot of fun. We were doing a longish enchainement which required the second group to run into position to start as the first group ran out. I was in the second group, front row down stage left, and as we were bourréing forward, the woman next to me (also quite experienced) moved just a few steps forward of me and to the left of centre. There was no-one to her right hand side, but she was almost on top of me - so much so that as we made a big chassé to second. and then glissades, our arms touched and I had to considerably shorten my glissades travelling so that I didn't crash into her. I couldn't work back behind her as there was someone behind me & I didn't want to crowd them! I thought she had enough room to move to the right hand corner of the studio, as I was working in the left hand corner - it's a small studio, and will take at most three people across each row if we work travelling towards the mirrors. The teacher didn't adjust our positioning but that's typical - she doesn't tend to correct that kind of thing, particularly with those of us who are not beginners. But our teacher said we'd be building on this enchainement each week till the end of term.


It felt rather an aggressive move by the other dancer (whom I don't know as she's new to the class) - I'm trying hard to tell myself it was accidental on her part - I'm sure it was! But how can I ask her to move over a little without appearing rude or aggressive myself (I can tell you I felt like just barging into her, but controlled myself :dry: Maybe she felt I was in her space - I don't know. But what I wanted to ask everyone's advice about was how could I politely ask her to move a little to the right when we run forward without appearing rude or arrogant. How would you feel if someone asked you to give them a little more room? I think I'll just have to 'suck it up' as they say, but I wondered ... :wacko:


Sorry this is so long


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In my classes it is quite common that people say things like "do you think there would be room for you a bit more to the right, I am kind of crowded here?" or "is there room for the front row to be a bit more forward?" or "am I doing something wrong when I keep on running into Alice?" and no one thinks badly about it. I think it probably because it is usually posed as a question, like if whether we could adjust the positions a bit... not as in "you're in my space, move".

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Guest Aleksander

I know this problem as well,


It seems that a lot of people taking ballet classes don´t think about spacement at all. In my opnion it should not be necessary to ask people to move. Actually I have seen classes, where people are croweded in the middle and upstage, while there are lots of place downstage. It makes impossible to do properly all allegro steps. Adagio movement looks ugly as well.


I think that A GOOD TEACHER will never allowed situation as mentioned in your post.

Edited by Aleksander
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It is funny that you bring it up here - I had a student focus group yesterday. When I asked them what they are annoyed about it class they brought up the same issue: people who dont stay within their space in crowded classes. Maybe not a big help but this happens all the time. :-)

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Welcome to my life. Class dynamics can get very Darwinian.


I'm always getting in someone's way, or someone's getting in mine. Most of the classes I take are quite mixed in ability, the studios aren't big enough for the amount of people, plus there's big poles in the middle of the room.


There's always room downstage. No one wants to stand in the front, especially in front of the teacher. I've been standing downstage, and trying to start across the floor stuff downstage (ahead of the poles too). Poeple have this strage tendency to "clump" together. Try and see where there's no clump.

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This is probably going to sound just terrible, but when this happens more than twice and I have tried to correct the problem myself by spacing myself further etc., I just let the full-out movement take care of the problem all by itself.


I suppose that is a bit Darwinian of me :cool2: especially since I'm quite a tall girl (5'9"). Then I apologize profusely to the impacted individual. It generally never happens again.


In the mixed classes we have (teens/adults), it seems that some of the younger teens, perhaps out of insecurity, tend to "clump" on you. This drives me nuts. But I really hesitate to use the above tactic with the teens. Instead I ask something of the teacher "do you want us to go in two groups" etc.


Now a full adult, that's another story. I have issues in general with people that don't seem to recognize that there is a polite distance to be maintained (anywhere, at the supermarket, whatever).


There are always those repeat offenders and I just stay as far away from them as possible in class. They seem to sap my concentration anyway.

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Thanks everybody for the reassurance I'm not just being a cow. I'll try Jaana's advice about phrasing it as a question, and if that doesn't work, then I'll do really big glissades (we're always encouraged to cover space :wink:) and crash :cool2: .


The weird thing about the situation was it felt my classmate was being aggressive - a sort of "I'm going to dominate the whole of the front row, thank you very much." I'm always worried about getting in other people's way - and I know I do!! - it's inevitable that it happens, but you try to keep an eye out using peripheral vision and not get in people's space. This is one of the reasons I work in the front row in any class I attend regularly (also I'm short-sighted and even in contact lenses don't see particularly well). There's usually acres of space in front of the teacher, and no-one using it, while other people are risking safety & their learning bunched in the back corner. Of course, new studio, new teacher, I too am tempted to huddle in the back.


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I betcha the dancer wanted to start from "his mirror" the one that makes him look thin.





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Sometimes there is also a certain hierarchy in classes. A lot of people prefer having their regular spot at the barre/center. One girl got really aggressive when I took "her" place in the center.... Oh well, thats just something we have to live with :-)

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I was having this problem in my advanced class. There was a tall male dancer who kept running into me from behind during center combinations. I'm 5'3, so I tend not to be able to cover as much space as he does! I handled it by moving forward when he is in class and going in groups across the floor that don't include him. Last class the boys went first, hopefully this will become the norm. If it ever happens again, because he does stand behind me most of the time, I plan to ask him how we can work together to keep it from happening. If you feel the dancer's attitude (hah hah) would make it difficult to talk to them, talk with your teacher about spacing in general and your perceptions of that person's attitude and how it affects your dancing. However, I prefer talking to people who are openly hostile or aggressive directly- it shows them that you are not afraid of them and that you care enough to try and diffuse the situation. If there are "favorite spots" for regulars, the teacher will have noticed, and should clue you in if asked.

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This is a real problem. In my classes, since advancing adulthood came along, I am starting to go right down front where there is room to move and I can hear the instructions better. I have never been in the front before because the "tall ones" get trained early to report to the back row. "I am old and I can't hear" is a great excuse to go to the front for more space. People don't mind looking "around you" so much if you excuse yourself and tell them you can't hear in the back. Of course if you are in a small studio, this could backfire.


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Hmm... these issues seem to occur more often in the back rows of classes than the front. I haven't had this type of problem since I got over my fear of the front row, and just accepted the fact that at 5'1", if I want to be able to see the teacher I'd better go down to the front. Lots of open space down there, since everyone tends to crowd towards the back. But anyway, my reason for posting was to point out that there was a thread a few months ago about spacing issues, though mostly about across-the-floor rather than center. Here it is, in case you missed it: Flying in formation. It was a rather amusing thread, in addition to offering some good advice. :yucky:

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I always try to get a front spot, because there's always soooooooooo much more space up front. I don't understand why people would want to crowd around at the back. You run out of space so quickly. Besides, the mirror won't eat you!!!

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i totally agree that most people stay at the back. today, i had a masterclass and we had to come in to center. well, i walked right into the front and all the others stayed all the way in the back....we had to make lines of 4 and it took quite some time before my line was filled.


they didn't understand the question for making staggering (sp?) lines and therefor, i couldn't really do my pirouettes en dedans. the girl in front of me was moving backwards, i had the barre on one side (it was quite a small studio) and the girl on the other side was pretty close too. moving backwards didn't help, because my whole line would move with me and the other line was pretty close to me as well :S!!


with the waltz on diagonal, i was happy that we were supposed to run in, because i could run a little bit more forward.


but being in a class like today (more than 20) is quite a shock for me, since we're mostly with 3 or 4, maybe 5 - 6 and the studio is huge!



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