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Ballet Talk for Dancers

When do you/should you tell your teacher


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I always wonder about this, because I very rarely miss class even if I'm not feeling well, but I feel like I should tell my teacher that I'm sick so that if I'm not 100%, she'll know why and not think I'm just being lazy. However, I don't want to sound whiny, so I never know when is an appropriate time to tell her or if I should say something at all!



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Caroline, it's all right to tell the teacher at the beginning of class if you're not feeling well. I've had students who were trying to tough it out, and there were some dramatic moments there, involving a mop and a bucket of water! I'd rather have known beforehand, so I could have at least said, "OK, but if you start feeling really sick, don't be a hero. You can be excused from class at any time without asking further."

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Thanks! That's good to know.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest AmoBallare

The fact that you still came to class, ready and prepared to dance, shows a tremendous amount of dedication to your teacher. If you are not feeling well and trying to do continous turns, chances are you are not focusing on the combination or proper technique but rather how you will make it across the floor without dying. :offtopic: At least if you are observing the class instead of participating in it, you are allowing your body to rest (which it probably is telling you that you need) and getting a new perspective of corrections and mistakes of your classmates. It's actually a beneficial learning experience.

Edited by AmoBallare
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Here's a funny story from the last time I was sick.


I took class as usual, but my brain just wasn't working properly. I kept messing up the combinations and making mistakes, probably looking like a complete idiot in the process. During the adagio, instead of performing both the right and left sides, the whole class accidentely did the right side twice!


I guess no one else's brains were working that day either. :P

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I know i personally am one of those who doesn't sit out or not come, no matter what. for me, i see all the other girls who aren't that sick or injured sitting out, and i see how frustrated the teachers get, and it makes me push through whatever i have going on. unless im about to pass out, i usually will still take, because in my mind, i always tell myself "when your in a company, you may have to perform feeling not 100%, so get used to it now." haha but my teachers often worry that i dont "whine" enough, like my fellow dancers. i use a pretty good guideline for myself. this summer i had a pretty bad kidney infection, and i had been on antibiotics for a couple days and was feeling well, but i had a rehearsal. i told the choreographer that i was coming off of a kidney infection, and he said "what does that have to do with me and this rehearsal?" and although it was harsh at the time, its a very valid point. in a professional company, they wont care (unless you are deathly sick). so i usually ask myself, how bad is it? and if i can fight through it, then i keep on dancing. its good for your stamina, and im often surprised about how much i can push through! and often times i start feeling better the more i push!

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when i feel ill for class, i generally push myself until i really can't dance anymore and then i wait for a break and let my teacher know (although she usually has already picked that i'm not at my best) and then unless it's really bad or i've injured myself and can't walk, i will continue class just marking new exercises and then i will stand to the side whie the rest of the class does it full out.

chances are if you try and do a class when you are unwell your teacher will be able to tell anyway so don't worry if you have to ask to be excused from an excercise or two, like AmoBallare said, turning up for class shows dedication, and there is lots to learn from watching a class, it sometimes gives you a new perspecive and helps you with your dancing.


luv belle

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When I was a teen the ballet school I went to at that time did only allow us to stay away from class when we had a higher temperature or a major contagious illness (e.g. the measles or lice).

For anything else we were required to come to class and sit and watch.

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