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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Be Careful where You Go for Lesssons


Fiz

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My youngest has danced since she was 2 and since she was seven with one particular school. I was told it was excellent and cetainly most people who send their children there think so too. She left in the summer for a number of complicated reasons, one of which was that she has sustained a bad back injury through over-dancing. She just does ballet now, in a different town. She went to what you so delightfully call a 'Dolly Dinkle' school for about 4 weeks before I realised it was one (although not knowing the term!) and I pullled her out and she went somewhere else in the same town.

The principal is an ex-dancer and has been assessing Char and trying to find out why she has such difficulty with pointe. Here's what I was told this afternoon - she sickles her foot and she turns out from the knee, not the hip, so her feet aren't as strong as they might be. She went to the same school for seven years and they never picked that up! I now have the task in drilling her for turnout for the next several weeks and she has to practice picking up tissue paper with her toes to strengthen the right toe and feet muscles for pointe! Her ex school has 30+ pupils in each class and they only ever pay attention to the front (exam)lines. To say I am angry is an understatement. Please, all of you who have kids who dance, don't always asssume the principal is always right, because in this instance, she patently isn't.

A very angry Fiz. :clover:

Edited by Fiz
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That's an old and heartbreakingly still-true story, Fiz. A lot of teachers depend on the innocence of both their students and the parents to pass off watered-down and ungood "ballet" on the public. Over the years, I've only seen a handful of really philanthropic Dinkle teachers who realized that they couldn't provide what a student needed, and passed them on to a more serious program for further development. These people have earned their wings in heaven, I'm convinced. :huepfen: Because so few students have real and realistic ambitions of careers in dance, and so few of those make it to the performing stage (It's a legend called "the 2% rule". There are more who perform now than ever before, but it's still a highly competitive market.) incompetent teachers can thrive for years, or people who could do better come down with slipped ideals, and teach poorly.

 

I hope that Char can develop the necessary rotation from the hip that will make turnout far easier for her. Sickling can be trained out and fairly quickly, compared to some other problems. I ought to know. I was so badly sickled in when I started, that it looked like I had club feet! It sounds like you are both making progress now, so "Press on!" say I!

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Does any teacher think they are Dolly Dinkle? They always think it is someone else. I have had long conversations with teachers about to do something that they know is not the right thing, but in the fear of loosing a student they go ahead and do it anyway. That very talented student and the desire to show them off can cause teachers and parents to do all kinds of things prematurely. :)

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No, I don't think any figure themselves Dinkly, and the act of passing a student on kind of works against the operating definitions of the Dinkles, so it's a good mark in the Book of Works. But I've only seen it from about 5 teachers in my 45 years of observing.

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No, I don't think any figure themselves Dinkly, and the act of passing a student on kind of works against the operating definitions of the Dinkles, so it's a good mark in the Book of Works.  But I've only seen it from about 5 teachers in my 45 years of observing.

Thanks for your sympathy and understanding, Major Mel! If you hear of a British housewife in prison for murdering a ballet teacher, you'll know it's me! :)

Edited by Fiz
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Oh Fiz...I am so sorry. Good training will fix the problem, My DD was so turned out in class that her feet went beyond 180 degrees. I saw her forcing her turnout and almost had a stroke. I explained to my daughter to never force her body, especially when she can ruin her knees and I made an appointment with a local P.T. who works with dance injuries. I took her for an assessment of what her weakness were so she could start doing P.T. proactively and before she was injured. That was 4 years ago and she has managed to stay injury free! It can be fixed.

 

Kathleen

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Thanks, Kathleen, (still got fingers crossed about things!). I rang the new school and they say it's fixable - I've now got all my non-ballet friends nagging me to sue the principal!!!! 'Think of all the damage she will do to others' etc. I don't see what else I can reasonably do - I've posted here and on ballet.o.uk and emailed a friend whose daughter still goes to the same school - he too is concerned, but suing..???? :shrug:

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Oh, goodness, no, don't sue! Just be glad you've found a good situation for your DK. You can alert your friends at the old school, but don't expect them to run like rats abandoning a sinking ship. Sometimes people SEE the warts, and, on balance, are willing to accept them.

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Oh, no, don't sue!!!! Unless things are radically different in the UK than they are here (and our legal systems are pretty similar!) that is one long drawn out headache that would not be worth your time and expense. Easy to say "just sue!", but much less satisfying in reality.

 

Be grateful your DD's bad habits can be corrected and spread your wisdom (but not bad blood!)

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I checked with her new dance teacher and they are correctable, and suing strikes me as the height of stupidity - ballet has always been 'Caveat emptor' to a certain extent i.e. 'Dolly Dinkle schools' ( I just love that expression - it isn't used in the UK). I warned people on the boards and a friend whose daughter goes to the same school and I have no intention of doing anything else. My other daughter was not a good dancer and was always being told off for sickling and improper turn-out - I can only assume that the teacher knew my eldest needed watching and she didn't have to worry about my youngest. Apart from anything else, the teacher is a couple of years off retirement and I refuse to sue her. We have had to go to court over unfair dismissal and we won, but it was a hellish experience I do not wish to repeat and I am still fond of her ex-teacher. Fiz.

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  • 1 month later...

Thought some of you might like an up-date - she is coming on in leaps and bounds (literally!) and is no longer having trouble with turn-out, sickling or pointe, which was really getting her down. Thanks to everyone who offered help and/or sympathy, especially Major Mel and Ami :yes: Fiz. xxx

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  • 1 month later...

With the money you would spend on litigation (assuming you could even successfully make this case given the degree of value judgement which would come into play) and then subsequently defending yourself with a countersuit for defamation, you could likely retain a principal for one-to-one instruction! Litigation in this instance would be pure folly and I commend you highly for not traveling down that road.

 

. . . . [edited by moderator to remove non-ballet editorial on unrelated subject.]

 

Speaking of Mel, I have only been here but a few days and I am absolutely astounded at the depth and breath of his knowledge, not only about dancing, but all manner of other subjects. So much for the prejudice that dancers tend to be somewhat lacking in knowledge in areas outside their scope of expertise. Obviously this sterotype has very little basis in fact at least as far as Mel is concerning. I am learning volumes from Mel just perusing these posts. This is truly an incredible and fantastic forum.

 

 

[edited by moderator to remove unnecessary quote of immediately preceding post]

Edited by dancemaven
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  • 1 year later...

Yes, this was our experience. DD has a beautiful talent, which her enthusiastic teachers pushed without giving her the proper technical foundation and strength traiing. This led to a hip injury that took 2 years to heal and correct the muscle imbalances that had been developed. The lesson is that it is well worth it to go to a studio where proper technique is taught, the dance level is developmentally appropriate, and injury prevention is taken seriously.

 

 

Does any teacher think they are Dolly Dinkle? They always think it is someone else. I have had long conversations with teachers about to do something that they know is not the right thing, but in the fear of loosing a student they go ahead and do it anyway. That very talented student and the desire to show them off can cause teachers and parents to do all kinds of things prematurely. :rolleyes:
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  • 2 weeks later...

We have experienced something like this on a lesser scale. We have been warned that our daughter has not been taught to land correctly from jumps and if some corrections are not made she runs the risk of injuries.

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