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Okay To Speak Up???


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Last night, I attended what I thought would be an adult begineer class but turned out to be more advanced. I spoke with the school director afterwards, and voiced

my opinion that it was not fair for the few of us who are truly begineers to be placed in a situation where all the other students were more advanced. Instead of concetrating on doing things properly, some of us were trying so hard just to keep up, well you can imagine what it resembled.


The director explained that this particular class started out as a begineer class, but was attended by so many advanced studetns that the instructor taught to the level of the most students, and that the few begineer students should perservere and eventually improve.


I stated that the class was listed as a begiuneer class, and it was not fair toforce the begineer students into a levelabove their ability. After all, there are more advasnced classes listed that these other students could attend, while I feel that begineer students need a much slowrr pace andmore indviual attention to correct errors and build a stroing foundation.


The director apologized and offered to refund my class fee, but I refused, stating it wasnot about money. It was about the new found love I have for the art and my desire to improve, and the fact that I had just wasted my time and learned nothing from this class. That's kind of how we left it.


Question: did I cross the line? was I wrong to speak up? I know several people in the class were upset but no one was going to say anything. Just looking for other people's opinions here. Thank you.

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Guest PrinceSiegfried84

I personally don't think that you've crossed the line. So far, this is something that usually happens when ballet schools and their directors are much more worried about the business than the art's sake. You've done the same I would, plus never coming back to the school and by this showing them they're losing students and credibility.

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You did right, as far as I'm concerned.


Whatever the guise, schools need to provide a way for beginners to start out --- or else never get any more new students. Sounds like people aren't taking that seriously.

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You were right. In fact, I wish more people would speak up about this situation because it happens all over the place. I tried a class locally about five years ago. It was listed as a beginning class and immediately after it was an advanced class. Many of the really good dancers in town would take the beginning class as a warm up, so, the teacher taught the class to them instead of those of us who were trying to figure out what on earth we were doing. I'd follow as best I could but it was no use. I asked other students and was told this was just the way he taught his classes. If any of the regular "pros" showed up, he taught to them.


I knew I wasn't going to change the teachers mind by complaining so I left.


I also had the opposite situation. One teacher I used to go to had a beginner class twice a week. Many of her advanced students would attend. She made it clear she would concentrate of the beginners with corrections and teach to them, not us. We didn't mind at all. In fact, we'd use the class to make sure we were using good technique and try to incorporate the corrections she gave to the beginners. Honestly, my technique has fallen off a bit since I stopped going to that class.


Perhaps if he approached his class with this in mind, that the advanced dancers could use the class to check themselves as he concetrated on the beginners, maybe things would work better for both you and the advanced students.

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Everyone can benefit from classes that move very slowly. They force advanced dancers to concentrate on the basics instead of dazzling with speed. A "beginning" class should be just that.

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You were on firm ground to object. You bought one product, and were given another. The latter may have been "better" for some people, but not you. I'd say find another school were you aren't put into a "sink or swim" environment. You could get hurt. :blushing:

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You can be pretty certain that if this was a class of eight-year-olds with more advanced students dropping in, they'd still teach to the eight-year-olds and ignore the advanced dancers. That's how it ought to be at every level.

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...  One teacher I used to go to had a beginner class twice a week.  Many of her advanced students would attend.  She made it clear she would concentrate of the beginners with corrections and teach to them, not us.  We didn't mind at all.  In fact, we'd use the class to make sure we were using good technique and try to incorporate the corrections she gave to the beginners.

That's the way my rank-beginner class works. It works well, seems to me that's the standard and teaching to the advanced students is the aberation.


I do feel that a class at any level can accommodate students at a higher level, it's the focus that is important. As long as the beginners know they are doing fine even when the "whiz kids" are dancing rings around them, and the teacher is concentrating on the ones who need the most help, it can work very well indeed.


I moved up to the second level after three quarters, but after a quarter or two added one real beginner class a week in addition to the second level class - this on the advice of my teacher. I am not bored, have not run out of things to learn (!), and it doesn't bother me a bit that I hardly ever get a correction - the class is for beginners, after all. I make it a point to let other students know that I've had this class many times, and that I had more problems my first time than they do.


Bottom line - if it's about ego, it's junk. If it's about learning, it's great.


My two cents, your mileage may vary, and all that...

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Thanks everyone for all your inputs. Looks like I hit a nerve with this one!


Just wanted to follow up that I went to another begineer class last night at the same school. There was a different instructor who repeatedly stated that this was indeed a beginner class, and spent a great deal of time helping all the students with corrections. I had to snicker to myself, and not help but think my conversation with the school director earlier in the week was the casue!


At the end of class, I asked the instructor if he had made those comments because of me, and had anyone spoken to him about my discussion this week with the school director. He said no, and also told me I was right to speak up, that this had been an ongoing concern, and he was afraid if it continued the school would loose prospective students. I felt much better, knowing at least someone at the school supported me! Afterall, I really love ballet, this school and taking classes there, and it is important to me not to feel intimidated or ashamed. I am glad I do not have to search for a new school!


Thanks again everyone.

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