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Ballet Talk for Dancers

demonstrating exercises


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I was wondering how people felt about demonstrations. My old teacher demonstrated each exercise himself, which was fine. My new teacher has other students demonstrate, which is great as well. I haven't been asked to demonstrate, which I attribute to 2 things, differences in technique (i'm Vagonova, she's Cechetti) and relative newness to the group; but it did start the wheels turning and I wondered how all of you felt about students demonstrating during class and being asked to demonstrate yourself.

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My first teacher rarely demonstrated exercises herself, but she didn't have other students demonstrate either. She just described what to do and then she told you if you were doing it right or wrong. I didn't like that a ton because I am quite visual when I dance, so I snuck peaks at others to see what it was I was supposed to be doing.


My new studio, the teacher does everything we do at barre for us and marks everything in center enough that you can more or less see what you are supposed to be doing. I have still never seen a student demonstrate. I am very happy with my current studio.

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The only teacher that I've had who regularly used a student to demonstrate was a wonderful teacher who unfortunately had an extremely serious chronic lung disease. So she would teach sitting down, and one of the talented teens would demonstrate all the exercises. Unfortunately even this proved to be too tiring for her after a while, and she had to stop teaching our class.


Other teachers will occasionally use a student to demonstrate something, but not very often.

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our teacher uses both methods - she does demonstrate and also uses one student in particular to demonstrate, also this particular student is very good and has the perfect ballet body, so everything she does tends to look great although i think our teacher likes to make sure she is reaching her full potential and trying her best!!


i would quite like to demonstrate, i think it is a compliment to the student :wink:

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Most of my teachers demonstrate themselves altho I had one who often had students he trusted demonstrate too- I was asked several times, and altho it was a compliment , I was always nervous I would screw it up and was kind of uncomfortable having everyone stare at me( unless it was a step I really was used to doing). Anyway, I prefer the teacher demonstrate, because no matter how good the student is , there are still often little nuances in steps that teachers get across to you as opposed to stutents.

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Guest Dancer824

At my school, once the 'student' gets older s/he can 'demonstrate' for the younger children. Its kind of like a teachers assistant. If a child needs to go to the restroom you take him/her to the restroom. Basically your there to show the kids what to do while the teacher gives them individual corrections. But in my classes only the teacher demonstrates the steps.

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In my classes, the teacher demonstrates specific steps or corrections herself, whereas if she asks for a combination she asks one of the more advanced students to do it for her. Being asked to demonstrate is a huge compliment! But unfortunately it never happens to me :devil:

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At our studio, it varies. One teacher demonstrates the combinations fairly full-out (as much as possible in street clothes and jazz sneakers) but then asks students to demonstrate. The teacher is good about asking different dancers, there are some frequent "demonstrators" but it seems like everyone gets a chance once in a while. Even "adult" ballet students are asked, and not just in the "adult" class.


Other teachers at the studio either don't ask students to demonstrate (or rarely do), or one teacher always asks the same two or three dancers.


The way I see it, sometimes dancers are chosen to demonstrate because they do something particularly well (e.g. turns) or because it's something that they need to work on more (e.g. adagio). Either way, it's a big compliment to be asked (even if the step is something that you need to work on). It also puts you on the spot (a bit) so you can get more comfortable with performing in front of others and learn to let it go, even if you don't do well.


I'm speaking in terms of the advanced classes (not the beginning, where the teacher demonstrates everything). And I do think it's important to have different dancers demonstrate, not just the same people. Every dancer has a unique style and brings something different to the step, and if the class is always watching the same few dancers, it only gives a limited perspective. And it likely makes the other dancers in class feel bad if they are never given the chance to demonstrate...

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