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Hi everone !

I hope this is the right place to post this (it is not a technique question, so I thought I should post it here).

I am 28 years old and I take a RAD grade 6 class along with a couple of girls my age and lots of 15 year olds. For the last couple of months we've been rehearsing for the perfromance that will take place at the end of May. In the beginning it was ok, we would just take 20 minutes at the end of class to learn the choreography. I have to add that the teachers are very serious about the performance (which I do not consider a bad thing anyway) and I am sure they' re doing a good work but this has a very bad impact on our classes. I mean lately, they are getting extremely stressed about it and, in order to gain some extra time, they don't even let us do a barre before rehearsing, and this means first of all that we hardly take any classes anymore and what's even worse, we don't get properly warmed up before dancing our parts.

I really liked the idea of performing at first, but this is turning into a nightmare. I go to work everyday and I have to deal with several problems during the day and the last thing I need is a couple of stressed teachers shouting at me. I mean, we are not even allowed to miss one single class because they threaten not to let us participate in all the parts of the perfomance (this is absurd- it is impossible NOT to miss ANY class. You might get sick, or you might work till very late).

But for me the worse thing is that I pay a lot of money for those classes and it turns out I don't take any classes anymore.. We 're just hanging in the classroom till the we get to dance our (5 minutes long) part and the rest of the time we just watch the others or wait for the teachers to think what changes should be made etc.

I absolutely love ballet and even though I 've been taking classes for less than 2 years, I used to think that I have gotten a long way,but the way things are at the moment, this is getting me nowhere.

It might be that the situation is like that in every school that plans a performance, and I know I should be patient but it is really annoying. I am seriously thinking of taking some extra classes in some other studio but this of course will cost extra money..

I am sorry if that was a tiring, frustrated post, and I thank you for your time..Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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No advice here, but a lot of sympathy for your plight ; I'm 26, have been studying ballet for about three years, in two studios, with the same teacher; there's a show in May, and rehearsals are also invading class time, and my dancing friends's wxeekends too ; welle on a one and a half hour class, we usually have half an hour rehearsal ; but guess what : I'm the only one my age (I'm excepting 50+ students) who...will not perform (and therefore don't rehearse)... Talk about agony! :(

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Using all class time for rehearsal does not sound right. :(


For reference, in my school the system for adults goes something like this:


Rehearsals and technique classes are completely separate. Rehearsal never, ever cuts into technique class time.


Those upper intermediate and advanced students who want to learn coreography and possibly perform may elect to take a special repertoire class which is held after technique class. Repertoire class means learning variations and corps excerpts from classical ballets.


Some people in the repertoire class also belong to a performing group, which when it performs often performs the corps dances covered in the repertoire class. The females in this group are expected to be also moderately proficient with pointe work. (The performances are on pointe.)


However, for the group pieces in repertory class everybody is assigned a place they learn regardless of wheter they will perform or not. (In practice this often means double casts for places, one performing and the other not. Both get corrected.)


The performing group also often has extra rehearsals outside the repertoire class time for 1-2 hours a week when the performance time is approaching. This time is always scheduled after full technique classes or possibly as an extension to the repertoire class. (In practice this usually translates to late at night, sometimes finishing as late as 21:30 or 22:00.)


The children and teens are in separate classes, so I don't know about their system. At least the older teens rehearse separately (I've heard them discuss schedules in the dressing rooms).



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Guest Bryan Lawrence

You are right in feeling as you do. Your classes should not be forteited for the sake of rehearsals. If you were a little kid, flitting around as a fairy it might be different but as you say, it is important that you are warmed up properly before the rehearsal. If you are able to do a good warm up on your own, that is fine, but you should still not be missing your regular classes for which you are paying. I can understand the panic with the teachers but they have to get more organized. If you are able to warm up on your own before the rehearsals and this panic period is only for a short while, I would say just go with it. However, I do not know the full circumstances.

Can I say last, don't let yourself be bullied. Do what you want to do. If it is not working for you where you are, try elsewhere. You must be in control of your actions. You just have to weigh things up, as we often have to in life, and decide what are your best options. Be free! Easy for me to say at 68 and retired!

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I think an axiom for adult dancers is that there is only a fixed amount of time available for dance, say X hours per week. The truly dedicated adult dancer is probably spending close to all of those hours in classes of some sort. Performance requires rehearsal, usually much more than people realize. Then there is the simple matter of trying to schedule a group of adults for anything. Real adults have jobs, families, and other responsibilities that make convening a group very difficult.


I don’t think there is any answer. One simply has to be flexible and decide what one wants to do.


(an aside: Bryan Lawrence—a certified old guy at 68! Terrific. Your wisdom is welcomed. From a soon to be 61 year old duffer.)

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I, too, can understand your frustration since it is very similar in our studio. However, I'm thankful our teacher never skips the barre exercises though she may shorten it somewhat to fit in all the rehearsal we need. We are a very small studio and have only a handful of teachers so their time is so limited they wouldn't be able to teach a rehearsal on top of the regular classes they already teach. We are always expected to shadow the dancers and learn their parts even if we will not be doing that particular dance. Some girls are so good at remembering that by the time recital comes around they know everybody else's part in addition to their own! It's funny, too, sometimes if the teacher can't remember the exact choreography during the beginning stages of rehearsal she'll ask some of the students and they usually know it! Unfortunately, I'm one of those memory challenged dancers that even forgets her own part. I guess it's one of the downsides to coming into ballet at an older age. One of the positives to shadowing another person's part is that we get exposed to more difficult choreography without being expected to master it.


But I agree that skipping barre can be very hard on your body if you are expected to dance your parts full out. Perhaps marking the choreography would be acceptable until further into the class when you are more warmed up.


About the teachers being all stressed out- been there, done that! You have to learn to tune them out when they get snippy. They're reputation is somewhat on the line and they are trying to make you look good because they want to look good, too. (This comes to me straight from a teacher I know.) Of course, they also want you to look good for your own sake but I think they sometimes have a lot of their own feelings invested in the process and a lot is at stake for them. Personally, I think a good teacher starts very early so is not so rushed and makes sure the choreography is easy enough for the students so that they aren't yelling about technique as late as the dress rehearsal. I struggle dealing with this one issue myself. I absolutely hate getting yelled at. :D I hope it all works out for you. It does get easier after a few recitals under your belt.



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Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts. :clapping:


I will try to focus on the fun side of the performance.


And because I miss doing (a proper) class so much, I might go to an open studio once a week. I found out yesterday that there is one in my city where you can pay 10 Euros for 1 1/2 hours and you don't have to register for the whole year or month.


I guess this is quite common in other big cities around the world, but where I live, people are not so crazy about ballet :thumbsup: . They think of it as somthing 6 year old girls do...

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I am updating this because we had another frustrating class (actually rehearsal)the other day and I I felt like sharing it with you..

As I had explained, the teachers have been more and more stressed and impatient lately . On Friday evening, as we were rehearsing our choreography a girl who is about my age forgot to do a few steps and then the teacher yelled at her in front of all the others in a really really high voice. The girl got very upset, she almost started to cry and I could at the moment easily sympathize with her, because I know that she has to work all day and she even comes to class right after work, and it is sort of normal to get a bit distracted during class under those circumstances. Being yelled at in front of ten 14 year olds certainly does not help the situation. Anyway, and while we have only less than a month of rehearsals left, she decided to leave and not participate. That was, in the beginning at least understantable to me, but later I realised that there would certainly be a huge problem with the choreography because there were 12 of us at first and the whole thing was sort of based on this symmetry, if you know what I mean ( there were for example at some points 2 lines of six girls, four triangles of 3 girls and so on...).

And what's more, lately I tend to understand the teacher's frustration, because yesterday, as I looked at ourselves in the mirror while we were dancing, it's really very far from perfect..Some of us can't still even get some of the steps right, and what's even worse, there is no sense of synchronisation whatsoever. It is much harder than I had ever thought to get 12 (well now 11) people do the same thing at the same time...And on top of that, some of the girls are really bitter about not getting a solo (not me though, I am satisfied already to be able to dance in a "corps de ballet", since I am not very experienced.

What I am trying to say is that I had never expected a school performance to cause so many arguments, fights, bitterness or I don't know what else. I mean, how in the world can this ever turn out to be a good performance when noone feels right about it? I am starting to think that the reason why it is not looking good is that everyone is fed up with the situation (teachers yelling, girls being bitter about not dancing a solo etc)..

For a moment I thought I should talk to the teacher about it, but I don't want to get on her nerves..

I am sorry if that was a long post, but I really love my ballet classes and the whole idea of performing but I just don't like having to go through all this unpleasant situation four times a week...

Thank you for your understanding :yes:

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How frustrating -- sorry to hear you are having so much trouble.


Perhaps someone should suggest writing down the choreography and going over it 15 minutes prior to each class. DOing this 3-4 times per week will help get things sorted out.


At my studio rehearsals are held before and after class. Solos during the week and real rehearsals on Sat. afternoon. Class time can be used to review difficult or problem areas, but it's generally devoted to class (technique) only and not learning choreography.

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:ermm: I totally sympathise with you. I get REALLY CRANKY when barre gets rushed to "get to the dance" - which often results in injuries. After paying for class (which I guess in my mind I equate with enjoying barre and center work) and having about 20 minutes of it and the rest rehearsal, I start losing my attitude.


Here is the perspective. By the way - I'm 50. And I dance with teens. No, that is not the perspective - here it is:


First of all - this IS about THE DANCE. Everything we do in class and barre is preparation for THE DANCE. That means that we are actually working toward some purpose of performance. Otherwise, like my open classes for adults, we only work on the work. So it is only ever about technique and the barre and the center - without the purpose - which is equally empty.


Balance - this is the message. In a professional dance world, there is the work and there is the dance and hopefully adequate time for both - only missing thing is having a life.


One of the things about taking ballet or any other performing art is to get to the end objective which is the PERFORMANCE. Imagine taking endless acting classes where you only worked on vocalization or reading or inflection or whatever and you never got to perform? Sounds miserable - and yet as people taking a discipline like Ballet we expect to focus on the work, but not the end.


Orchestrating people at different levels, while yelling is usually never effective, can be an exercise in major frustration for teachers who are trying to achieve the end game, but the participants are all over the map. What we have is an exercise in frustration for both students and teachers who never seem to understand the core purpose of ballet is to actually DO something with all that training. Hence the yelling and bad tempers all round.


One of the payments you need to remember you make is not about the money, but rather about the art. This is art and it must be treated with complete respect. A painter doesn't just aimlessly mix colors to achieve the perfect mix and never apply the paint to canvas. What I mean by all this drivel is that dance is one of the highest art forms, and it needs to be fully exercised. We have to be full participants in the process, expect the process to change rather than meet our own expectations of how we'd like it to be, and know that some of the best yellilng of all was done by the best of the best at the top. Dance as an art and profession is a whole lot meaner and tougher. We have it easy - we don't have to do it for a living, but the price we must pay to learn the art takes more of us than many of us are willing to put out, or put up with.


O.k. that is my perspective and my sermon for today, and yes I made it through my "DANCE" and now there are 2 more coming. Oh... the suffering for the art.


Much love,

Ant Bobbie :)

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:) Thank you so much for your kind messages, and you, antbobby for those nice thoughts. I think you are right about what you said about art and the comparison you made to acting classes.

I have to admit I had never thought of it that way.

I realised last week that the whole situation is not that bad after all. I mean rehearsals can be fun and after all it's all about doing something you love, one way or another. I discovered the other day, that now that we are quite familiar with the choreography and we go through it without the teacher interrupting us, I really enjoy dancing, trying to improve it a little everytime. I guess my main problem was that the teacher was yelling, and not so much that we missed class. I just try to warm up alone before rehearsing.


Anyway, the performance is in a month and I think it's about time for me to start getting nervous about it!! I don't recall if I mentioned that before but it's my first perfomance as an adult student.. :ermm:

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Hi Ellie,


Not to worry, nerves are part of it. This is why the yelling bothers you also. I have a problem with yellers as a class of people. Sometimes one needs to raise one's voice, but many abuse it and the power of yelling properly gets reduced to a level difficult to tolerate, and after a while is a bad habit like a yapping dog.


If there is a way you can have a word with your teachers in a quiet fashion, let them know that yelling distracts you from focusing on what you are doing, and that it is not helpful in achieving what they want - it causes you to do poorly.


Such as - "I find that the yelling is making my dancing worse and is causing me to lose focus and it would be helpful to us if there was less of it." or "It is difficult to listen to you when there is so much yelling as I'm trying to focus on the dance and it is distracting and upsetting. Can we lower the temperature here so we can concentrate better?"


At any rate - best of luck, have fun and enjoy your recital, after all that is what we are working so hard to do!


Antbobby :)

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First of all - this IS about THE DANCE.  Everything we do in class and barre is preparation for THE DANCE.  That means that we are actually working toward some purpose of performance.  Otherwise, like my open classes for adults, we only work on the work.  So it is only ever about technique and the barre and the center - without the purpose - which is equally empty.


I would say, "My thoughts exactly," but you have written it so much more eloquently than I could have done. Thank you.

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