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Strange Class - Frustrated


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My friend takes classes at a diffrent school than I do. He is a beginner and has his beginner class but he also goes to open classes which are always different and also different people are attending this class.

I went with him a couple of days ago and it was pretty strange. The teacher was very unpersonal, no greeting at the beginning of the class, no warming up, the students were all seperate from each other although the majority of the attends this class regularly and they know each other.

I am habituated that the class does a warm-up at the beginning, sometimes very short, just to get the muscles used to move before plié. We did not do this. The barre was rather easy but they did strange movements I have never seen in Ballet. I thought, okay, this might be because I come from a system (Vaganova, although we also do sometimes things like other systems do them, like RAD) When I got confused and fell out of the exercise I tried to get in again by looking at the other students and what did I see? Everyone was doing something else.

Then when we moved to the middle the exercises were difficult but I knew the steps. The Adagio was extremly fast and I could not see the difference between Grand Allegro and Petit Allegro. The whole lessons was hold very fast, the teacher did not explain the things (he just said what we had to do) and he hardly corrected anyone. Well, the dancers there were very good, they even had three pros (so everything from beginner to pro) but some of the dancers were just cheating the whole time on their technique to present the exercise nicely.

I know, this is important too but in my school we first go for the right steps (and everyone is doing the same, especially the arms) then for the right technique and at the end for presentation.


I was rather frustrated after this class because I had not got the chance to get the exercises right (we did them only once on both sides (in the center) and I am also habituated that we repeat exercises three or four times on both sides to get the chance to do it better after some corrections)

Is it me who cannot deal with a different type of teaching because I have only had two different teacher since then? Is it, because I come from a system? Am I stupid? Is it normal that theacher explain something not very clear (could it be that my teacher is hyper-correct)? I can do exercise just by names but this teacher was from a foreign country and therefore he did not spoke that clearly. Does all open classes look like this?


I guess I'll try it again with this teacher and see what happens (or I'll first try a different teacher at the same school)


Thanks for listening

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Sounds to me like this is an "open class" that is not taken seriously by the teacher and is more or less "phoned in". :D Not good. I don't know how people do this, but some do. Especially with adults. And no, not all open classes are like that at all!

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This is the open class you attended, if I understand correctly?


If so, that is probably why you found it so different and at time frustrating. It would be next to impossible for any instructor to set a proper class for such a wide ability range - even some professional dancers might not do the exercises as given if they were injured, or preparing for a show, or whatever...


My daughters sometimes take open class in a city nearby. There are some professional dancers in the class, some very good students, the little old ladies who think they can dance, and the true beginners. Now you would typically not find a beginner in an Advanced class, but it's possible! The fellow who runs the place told me that since he's not a "school" he doesn't really feel that he can exclude anyone from class....as long as the less advanced ones don't create a hazardous environment, they are welcome to attend class.


The teachers for the classes I'm referring to vary as well, and over time one gets to know which teachers are a good "fit" and which aren't. My kids certainly have their favourites.


Perhaps our experience is similar to the one you have described?

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Yes, it was an open class (acutally all the classes non-professionals attend there are open classes)

What you described sound excatly what I was thinking about "my" class. People there try every teacher and just go to the one they like the most. This might be good but especially beginners could go too much for sympathy than for good training.

I am glad to hear that not every open class looks like this. I'll give it a try and go again there when time has come and see what happens. Maybe the teacher had a bad day or I'll go to another open class with a different teacher.

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You might try posing this question on the Adult Ballet Students Forum- I have a feeling you'll get some more replies there!

Clara 76

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Or we can transfer the whole thread there. Would you like one of us to do that?

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I've been to classes like this too - I think there is a place for them (but not much of one if you're a beginner).


Think of it from the teacher's point of view. He wants to keep the numbers up. He wants to keep everyone happy. He wants to keep the professionals or ex-professionals in the class because they add credibility. So he runs the class fast and with little feedback. If he slowed it down to give feedback to the beginners he'd lose the more advanced ones.


Its great if you just want to wave your arms and legs around to music. I feel however, that for most people its pretty disastrous. Ballet technique has to be built firmly in stages, and doing it fast and sloppily because you've never had enough practice at the basics means you dont make any progress and you get into bad habits. But, for a beginning adult, its very difficult to find a class at just the right level (and luckily I have).

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This is the open class you attended, if I understand correctly?


There are some professional dancers in the class, some very good students, the little old ladies who think they can dance, and the true beginners.


With respect, mom2, there are quite a few 'little old ladies who think they can dance' on this board! :wub: and whether or not we can dance like 12 yo girls in pre-pro training, we work at it like them, and rise to our own challenges like them, and we generally have a lot of valuable experience and knowledge. And I've taught 'little old ladies' in other fields for other purposes, and there are no flies on them!!! Most of the time, they're sharper & tougher than my undergraduates. I know it's a figure of speech, but it's an ageist and sexist one - and I'm sure we don't mean to fall into either of those narrow-minded stereotypes on this board - even if it's meant only in jest? :P


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Sorry I want to reply to Redbookish but am not allowed to reply directly. I hope she sees this email. I lived in Birmingham UK for 20 years and never thought of taking adult classes there - but I did when I moved to Australia. I just wonder what adult classes are like/available in Birmingham so I can know what I missed. I lived in the Moseley area. I'm at j.pickles@uq.edu.au. Thanks, and sorry if its too off-topic.



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Hello, Jim, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :P


You did reply to Redbookish, just by posting here! That is how a discussion board works. :) You are a bit off topic, but, since it's your first post, we understand and it's no problem! Take some time to read some of the posts and especially the Sticky topics on the How To Do Things forum, as they explain everything here. :wub: And, I'm sure Redbookish will see your post and respond, so just come back here for your answer.

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All of the classes I take are like this. If you regularly show up and are talented and/or hard working, you get corrected. Depends on the personality of the teacher. Some are more hands on with everyone, some will only pay attention to talented dancers, some only do general corrections. Some sit there and just "give" class.


Maybe try the class a few more times. If there's regularly pros and stuff, you can assume that perhaps this teacher has *something* to offer...even if you can only "glean" information through observation of other's corrections and the general atmosphere. There's always different ways of learning and making use out of situations.

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I have an open class on Saturday morning that has an awesome teacher. Like my old teacher of 8 years ago, she explains the 'whys' of the move not just the 'hows' of the move. Explaining why you are doing a particular barre exercise and how it relates to center work movements. For me, it helps me concentrate on thinking about what muscles I want to focus on. It's kinda like thinking about doing the floor exercise but with the aid of the barre. Now, not all barre exercises lead to specific movements but they all have definite purpose. She even explains a simple demi-plie and what you are trying to achieve with it - stretching this-working that muscle etc. I gain a deeper understanding of the movement and I retain the movement better. Obviously she focuses on how to do it correctly but the correct way to do it is based on what you are trying to achieve not just the standard response of "dancers do it like that and that is how you are to do it." Without the why you tend to go through the motions more because you may not know what physical benefit you are trying to get from the exercise. She is Checchetti trained like my previous teacher.


My regular teacher never explains why, just how to do it. I hate this style -RAD trained. The Vegonova teacher on Fridays whom I stopped taking class with didn't even go that far. Each teacher is so different.


When I taught computer training I always made sure that my students knew why they were pressing a button or clicking on something. I found that if you said "click this click that in that order" they would not retain it. If you showed them the logic behind the mouse click they retained it better.


You are not alone! I am near the bottom of the heap with regards to talent in class and I certainly feel that I am over my head most of the time. In my regular class. I think your concern is quite normal especially when they group such a wide talent pool of students together. They should group the adults in 2 different classes but most schools with adults don't have the client base to offer 2 classes and break even financially. The beginners and the advanced.


On saturday there was a male dance from the national ballet of Canada in my class and a women who was just starting out this year but somehow this teacher made it happen for us. I think explaining what you need to get your body to do and why in each exercise empowers the student - perhaps the speed and technique is not as important as the why you are doing the movement in the first place.



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This whole "open class" thing has been discussed in depth many times. What I can say again though is that open classes are what they are advertised as..."OPEN." Meaning anyone can attend. The only requirement in most studios is that for adult open you are at least 16 years old. But thats a big fat lie :thumbsup: because there have been girls as young as 12 in my classes. All open classes are different. Like lampwick said, in nyc, the classes are sorta like what you described. Very fast paced. The teacher doesn't give you much acknowledgement at all. You just kinda run in...dance...run out. It's quite comical actually. :D No one talks, no one gets corrections. It's really sink or swim. It's almost like watching a teacher teach a class you aren't actually at. :D Or following along to a video. That is why you really have to try a bunch of teachers and a bunch of levels so you are actually learning something. Then there are other open classes that are much more personable, the teacher gets to know you and how you dance and it doesn't feel as "open." Again, like lampwick said, there are ways to get around it and I've seen many people advance quite well in open classes. So it's not a waste of time, just a different way of learning. Ideally we would all like to be treated with alot of personal attention but that's just not possible. I didn't catch where you were from, but around here they have classes call "absolute beginner" for people that have no experience at all. They probably get alot of individual attention. But once you've mastered the basics your on your own.

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That's exactly how the class was "run in, dance, run out". I couldn't have said it better.

But I can imagine that the teacher and the exercises he gave would have been great with correction and a little bit more motivation. Well, he offers an SI and maybe I'll try that next summer (and when it won't bring me any benefits, I can say dancing like this was better than just hanging around at home :) )

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