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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Teacher corrections a personal viewpoint


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Guest dedicated

I read the previous posting and pointers about improving. I found them a great help. The topic did wander to teacher corrections and I wanted to start a new string with that in mind.

 

For myself, I danced in my early 20's developed terrible shin splints that forced me to stop. I began again in my 30's to find that my new teacher discovered my bad habbits that led to the shin splints in the first place. Once corrected I was okay. I danced on flat for nearly 2 years before meeting my now x husband and having 2 kids. I was dancing 8-10 hours a week in my early 30's and I have begun dancing again in earnest about 3 weeks ago. I have lost nearly 40 pounds since June but I am still over 200 lbs thanks to child #2 but I'm out there dancing with women who are 100 pounds lighter than me. I'm 40 and I struggle with every aspect of ballet. I remember some of the steps, I know all the terms even though I don't remember how to do most of them, I know them by name but not by substance and I am so much my worst critic. I was pretty good a decade ago and I remember those days of 3 hour back to back lessons and plowing right through them. I try very hard in class, I'm focused and very dedicated and I struggle with so much. Remembering the moves, getting them right.

 

I have taken nearly 10 classes and to this day have only been corrected by my teacher once.

 

In my experience I find 4 types of student in an adult ballet class:

 

Type 1, the sluffer - going through the motions, not fucussed, not passionate and the least favorite of the teacher. NEVER corrected by the teacher because the teacher knows they don't care and won't waste their time on them.

 

Type 2 The prima Ballerina - The gem of the teacher, the girl who the teacher uses as an exhibit on how to do it right. The one who gets advanced corrections occationally but basically doesn't need it. The girl who was not professional, probably never would be, or chose not to be, but was, or could have been up for consideration at one time. Sometimes the girl is transient from an advanced girls class just there to take this class.

 

Type 3 The mediocre - They exhibit good technique and an eagerness to improver knowing full well that they probably will never see a stage. They try hard and work hard. The teacher corrects them regularly, sometimes fine tuning something they are doing well. Not the prize student but fairly competant to be put at the end of the barre and will probably do the exercises okay.

 

Type 4 - The Very bad - Tries very hard. Never gives up, can be very passionate and keeps trying but is just bad. Improved but very slowly. Cannot ever get the moved right. Cannot get the timing - struggles with just about everything. NEVER gets corrected because they are so bad the teacher simply out of compassion or frustration cannot begin to expain that virtually everything they are doing is aweful. They try but simply cannot get anything right.

 

I am type 3 and I know that I am right now type 1 or 4. I don't get corrected ever. Am I that bad or do I come across like I don't care. I am improving but I am very frustrated anyway. I am focussed and I never chit chat. I try very hard. AHHH

 

Laura

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Good for you, coming back to ballet! You'll find on this board a lot of us similarly have gone through that revolving door as real life intrudes on the time we'd like to be in class.

 

I'd suggest you talk to the teacher, tell him/her that you're -- as you've named yourself! -- dedicated and would welcome any corrections or tips on how to improve. I sense teachers tend to leave newcomers alone initially so as not to scare them off with a blizzard of corrections. But now that you've had 10 classes, it's perfectly acceptable to make your wishes known.

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I second the recommendation to talk the teacher. I've noticed that teachers of adult students are sometimes reluctant to give recommendations because they're not sure how they will be taken. Asking for corrections will let the teacher know that you are serious and that corrections would be welcome.

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I think scoop and swiss chard have it right. Newcomers seem to get fewer corrections. Perhaps the teacher is just trying to sort things out in her mind, or assessing whether you are there for the stretching or to really improve.

 

 

Or perhaps the teacher just isn't very good at spreading around her attention.

 

Do have a word with her. Tell her what your goals are, what you'd like to work on, what your previous experience is. Once I told my teacher that I wanted more corrections, and specifically wanted to work on finding my center, she gave me more specific comments.

 

And good for you for getting to class! I'm in a similar age/weight class, but without the benefit of earlier training.

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Hi Laura :)

 

Welcome to ballet alert. You will find probably every poster here on the adult ballet board has felt like you have aptly described at some or other. We all go through low points and then high points only to be reminded we are mortal and taken right back down again :lol: It's just the way things are.

You are frustrated because you remember how it used to be and you want to return to that feeling. I think there is nothing anyone can tell you to do that will immediately make it better other than saying 'we hear you and understand'. Learning to give yourself a big chance and to be kind to yourself rather than getting annoyed at yourself will make things improve lots.

The weight isn't really an issue, its the energy you put in. Put in bags of good, positive energy to your dancing and it will shine through. Go into class with a down on yourself energy and that will detract from your dancing and you'll feel bad.

 

Gosh, I went through so many lessons with my current wonderful teacher without her giving me any corrections. I was so down about it and felt a bit miserable at times. But I got to know the other adult class members and now I get the usual' corrections.

 

Give it time, it is never going to happen overnight and you need to perservere and perhaps share your feelings with your teacher if you feel comfortable doing that, at least you can share your feelings with us :sweating:

Scoop is definitely right in that teachers do usually leave newcomers alone for a bit. All the teachers I have have told me they do this and that's teachers in the US and the UK. They worry about coming across as rude or strict and like to give adults the time to get into the swing of things.

 

So head up, smile and go dance :)

 

Jeanette

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Guest dedicated

I guess I'm just too hard on myself. I have other students regularly coming to me and smiling and telling me to lighten up on myself. They encourage me so much and I love them for it - they see my frustration, but I guess I'm just so pasionate about ballet and doing it well that I forget that I'm there to have fun. It's not a career, hell I'm an engineer, but for me it is a way of life. Don pink tights and a leotard, sweat and work hard, push yourself to the limit and focus on your body. Strive to improve in every area.

 

Thank you all. I love it so much, I do want to be on pointe one day and perhaps I should tell my teacher that this is my goal and work for it. I will talk to her. I want to improve and I will speak out more when I don't understand something. To be onstage, perhaps one day. My body type, 6 feet tall and heavy precludes me from really excelling the way the petites do in class but I will strive to be the best I can be, I guess I remember the way I was and I know I can be 1000% better than I am now.

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Hi Laura,

 

I know how you feel... In fact in class today I was a type 4 & 1 too (in a class of only 2s and 3s!), I struggled with everything because I just couldn't focus! :)

 

But like the others said, it will pass. So don't worry!

 

And don't feel discouraged because the other students are thinner, in my class the very best student is definitely NOT the skinniest girl! A woman who could lose a few pounds but moves beautifully, looks a lot better than the skinny girl with -for example- terrible arms (me)!

 

I agree with what everybody else said here.

What also helps is talking to your classmates after class, they have been through that stage too, and somehow it really makes one feel better if somebody can sympathise.

 

Like here on Ballet Talk! :lol:

 

 

[edited: you posted just before I did, but I can't remove this post anymore! So I'll just leave it like this, though it's kind of redundant. I should type faster next time... :sweating: ]

Edited by Cathy
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Laura, welcome to Ballet Talk...It's great that you're here. You will find so much wonderful support and information as you return to ballet. I hope you'll have a chance to talk with your teacher and let her know what your goals are.

 

Having been a ballet student before you know it takes time and patience to make progress. I think it's worse for adults who return to ballet after time away, because your brain remembers what your body is supposed to do, but your body just does not want to cooperate the way you think it should!! I've seen it on this board a lot "brain=smart, body=stupid" ha ha

 

Letting your teacher know your goals will get her in your corner and then you'll be able to make the progress you want....and stick with it, because you will make tremendous progress!!

 

Good luck

 

k

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HI Laura,

 

I can identify with you a lot, since I am of a similar vintage (being the oldest in my class by about 20 years) & having weight issues.

 

I would regard myself as a type 3 but I am sure my teachers consider me a type 1 - probably not because they think I don't care, so much as that they don't see the POINT in correcting me because they think I am "just in it for the workout" (as what other reason could I possibly have for being there)?

 

I find it really frustrating too!

 

Jane

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Guest ArmedFiddler

Hi Laura...

 

Like you, I went through my first (several) adult classes thinking, "Am I that bad that the teacher doesn't even bother with me?" I finally mustered up the courage to speak with her after class. She explained that she could tell I knew what I do, I just still hadn't found my "own rhythm" yet, so she was giving me time.

 

We talked for about an hour...telling her about my past training in more detail, and what my goals were. Once she had a sense of where I'd come from, and where I hope to go, she had a better sense of ME. From that day on, she's treated me like the current #3 (former #2) type I am. :devil:

 

We also have to think about it from the teacher's perspective...with all the sluffers frustrating her and wasting her time, and the primas demanding her time, she simply may not have as much energy to dedicate to the newbies as she'd like. But if you let her get to know you, you're not a newbie anymore; you're her student who wants to learn and is willing to put in the effort. That's always worth some extra attention.

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[

 

Thank you all. I love it so much, I do want to be on pointe one day and perhaps I should tell my teacher that this is my goal and work for it. I will talk to her. I want to improve and I will speak out more when I don't understand something. To be onstage, perhaps one day. My body type, 6 feet tall and heavy precludes me from really excelling the way the petites do in class but I will strive to be the best I can be, I guess I remember the way I was and I know I can be 1000% better than I am now.

 

 

Dedicated: I was so pleased to read your post. I am a soul sister. 6 feet 2" and currently 215 lbs.

I am back since spring after a good 10 years off at age 44. I have only lost 5 real pounds. I was up to 225 for just a couple of weeks before I started. I don't really count those. My body is changing slowly. I have added muscle but no where near enough.

I am not getting corrections in class. Very few do. Mostly the teacher gives general corrections to the group. Once in a while he will go up to an advanced student and do a physical correction. I think it must be the norm for adult classed in the US.

I had a class on an army base 10-12 years ago in Germany. The teacher was RAD certified. She gave corrections! I was younger and didn't find it strange at all but at first it was overwhelming because there were so many it was blowing my concentration completely.

That class was only once a week but the teacher also gave a stretching and strengthening class another day (basically pilates) and I got strong doing those classes in addition to whatever sporadic dance came up for my community theater activities. I hated to leave that class when it came time to transfer to a new location.

Keep at it. I know you will do well. I still feel brain dead in class sometimes but it is getting better each time I go.

 

Laschwen

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I guess I'm just too hard on myself. ...  It's not a career, hell I'm an engineer, ...

Haha! Well, that explains a lot! I had a whole career in engineering, and we do tend to be perfectionists - at least the good ones! - something I see in ballet students as well.

 

And of course, for most adult students it's not a career - it's LIFE, which is much more important. No wonder we get a little obsessive sometimes. :(

 

The number of corrections seems to vary a lot between teachers, for what it's worth. One of my teachers is - shall we say - generous with them; she has a reputation for being tough of course. Another almost never gives individual corrections, but after a few months I figured out that she was seeing - and teaching corrections to - just about every problem anyone ever needed correcting on. Sometimes it's 30 seconds later, sometimes it's next week, but it's always given to the whole class as a new learning or a reinforcement with no mention of anyone having "done it wrong". I learn just as much from either of them, it's just different. They are both equally sweet people in reality, and equally tough about doing it right.

 

My two cents.

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Guest dedicated

I talked to my teacher briefly tonight. I just mentioned that I welcomed corrections an that I was there very dedicated and not out being a number 1 "the sluffer".

 

She told me that she knew that I knew alot of information and that she could see me trying to reconstruct the old rusty movements out of me head and that she was not ignoring me but felt that I needed to get more comfortable with things before she really corrected me in any real way. To her credit she actually did say something to me on alot of exercises. Forward bend keep my legs straight need to tug on the old tight hamstrings and in arabesque, and a lunge puts the weight on the front foot. Three jems.

 

I feel that it was positive and although I feel she didn't quite want to start correcting me right away she did it because I asked her to. Little things but things to work on. Now I have a goal to master keeping my legs straight etc.

 

Good stuff. Thank you all very much I feel very welcome here and I wish to really be apart of this community.

 

You guys are great! Thank you all so much! :wub:

 

My love,

Laura

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