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Croise and efface to the barre

Striving for Grace

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Sometimes our portable barres get taken out of the studio and the class that took them doesn't have the campus tech people return them on time for our class. On those days, the barre space is seriously limited because we are a class of 15 in a studio that has wall-barre space for 9. (How I long for the intro-ballet days! Last summer the class was huge (for ballet- about 25 people) and we got to dance in a gymnasium-sized studio!)


Anyways, when it gets that crowded, our teacher has us turn criose or efface with respect to the barre to save space. Some people, however, really don't seem to understand what this means and continue to position themselves with their sides squarely to the barres. Such people also tend to position themselves in the middle of the barres. This interferes with everyone else's space (especially when we have to move along the barre) and I find it to be irritating. The teacher has tried on several occasions to physically position the two offending students (who are rather snooty) and to cue them individually, but they don't respond well. I know that this is bothering everone else as they all complain about it after class.


Would it be appropriate for me to personally ask the rebels to turn into the barre? Or perhaps ask them to stand at the end of a barre if they aren't "able" to turn into the barre? They have been dancing way longer than I have, so I don't know if I should really do this, but I know nobody else will because they are two very clique-y and haughty individuals. However, I still think they need to respect the spacing needs of the class and the directions of the teacher! I just don't know if they are ignoring the cues or seriously just don't get it.

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  • Administrators

No, no, no! This is definitely the teacher's job, not yours! I'm glad to hear that the teacher has tried, however, I have absolutely no understanding of why anyone would not follow directions in a class. It is still the teacher's job to enforce the discipline, and to expect the students to follow simple directions. If they don't, then it's her job to ask them to move somewhere that they would not be in the way of others. If they don't get THAT message, then they should be asked not to return to the class.

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We feel your pain! There are a few threads where a number of us have chewed around these topics of spacing and spatial awareness.


They might give you some ideas about how to cope ....


Things that make you go "ugggh"




Flying in formation

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I've been thinking about this since reading the thread about the portable barre etiquette.


I completely agree with Ms. Leigh - that this is the teacher's job. However, I feel that often in Adults' classes, space specifically is not addressed.


Part of it is that not all teachers are as amazing as the ones here - and I think that it is easy to forget that when you start training the young ones, that training often includes classroom etiquette, like how to go across the floor in groups, etc. But after a while this comes naturally - to the experienced dancer.


Adults are often part of these random drop in classes and expected to just go with the flow. It's not fair on them either - Beginning dancers who've danced for 3 months show up to higher level classes, because that's what's there. They then are never assisted in learning the exercises (the grand allegro issue jim pickles mentions elsewhere) or the trajectory of them - and there might be 'flying in formation' problems - more often than not. In this quick move through the ranks system, directional positions are also not really addressed - students are trying so hard to keep up that often they do as they see done, and are not registering 'this is croise'. Of course some do register it - but if it is said - sometimes the teachers just show the exercise too, so the terminology gets lost. It can be sink or swim, and I think this gets reflected in our goals as an adult - we begin dancing, and a year later we want to be en pointe, spinning of double/triple pirouettes and doing massively gorgeous penches. While I danced as a child and teen, sometimes I have to stop myself and ask if I think I'm Superman or something!


So why don't the teachers do something? Who knows. :lol: I think some teachers don't want to seem discouraging, some are actually afraid of losing business.... and really, some just don't notice or I think consider it up to the students to figure out themselves.


The girls Grace mentioned, if experienced, could be attempting to make a statement that 'we need more space here' or just not care, or simply not 'get' the positions. Good to hear that the teacher is doing something.


One of the studios (if you can call it that) I go to is very small. 6 people at the barre maybe, or 5 ideally I'd guess - maybe even 4. No portable barres but we'll hopefully have some soon - otherwise you use window sills (only two of them), the wall, stacks of chairs... It's argh. :) There's generally an acceptance of come early, get barre space, with a second acceptance giving deference to those en pointe. I've seen, and have been the victim of, people crowding out people on the window sills, even moving your stuff aside, etc. Once I showed up for class early, there was no class before, so was standing at the barre warming up, with my warmups, etc at the barre. Everyone saw me. Walked across the room (small room, not that far), got my water bottle, turned around, and someone had moved my stuff and took my place and feigned innocent. I went over to the window sill, and halfway through barre, someone came in late and stood in front of me, so that I was about 6 inches in front of the wall. I then moved to some chairs. Nothing was said. Another time in rehearsal I set up the portable barre again, only to be squeezed off of it and end up holding on to the piano. Again, nothing was said. And then once we start moving? Need to face efface/croise to the barre? Move in formation? Forget it.


All that said, I've seen some of the bad barre-grabbing etiquette from more experienced dancers too, including the instance above when my stuff was moved and the place was grabbed.


eta some more thoughts....

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Ami, I can hear your frustration! You do have a bad situation there :) I think it really is the teacher's job to insist of proper spacing and so on. I've been lucky enough to work with some teachers in Australia who would always get us to line up correctly in the centre - each of us in the space between the two in front - and one teacher would get a bit annoyed if you didn't keep to your place throughout the whole of the centre. She also made each line take turns to come to the front.


I've said it before on here (I do go on!) that I tend to go to the front during centre because I know I can get space there. Same with going first in a combination across the floor, unless I really can't get it! I really can't see why people clump up at the back. Indeed, I am under the illusion that front line at the far right (according to the teacher's point of view) I am pretty much invisible ...

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I'm pretty lucky in that my teacher will always pause before starting to assess the way we've all ended up at the barre, specifies who should be front and back and alternates reliable people with newbies so they don't get stranded. I think that this also somehow makes it easier to ask your neighbours for any further minor adjustments - the topic of space has already been opened and given significance. In the centre, she usually says who she wants in which row, and at the very least specifies how many people in how many rows.


BUT nowhere's perfect in this respect. The portable barre etiquette thread reminded me of an incident last week where the teacher asked if we wanted to get he portable barre out, since the wall barre was full. I and another girl said yes and carried it out across the room. I can't bear being squished, and an added advantage is that the portable goes in front of the mirror, and there isn't one for the wall barre. I was just turning round to the face the front (I didn't even need to move my hand) when I was shunted out of the way by the most advanced dancer in the group, who had evidently decided she'd rather be there, even though she had been happily at the wall barre a minute ago and hadn't shifted herself to fetch the portable. Now, I am very much one to give way to my betters. But it drives me mad when people are SO rude! The thing is, she's very nice. But I do think some people's determination to improve makes them forget that others too might share that ambition and indeed that right, even if they're waaay down the ladder... :) Deference is one thing, but I am not a flooring surface of any kind.

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Guest pink tights

Center spacing is just as problematic. Sometimes people try to push others off the floor and into the wall because they refuse to move further to the left or they travel way to much. Some movements were meant to travel a great deal, others not. way.



With regard to barre--it's not only etiquette. It's a safety issue too. And I don't appreciate being accidently kicked by a straggler or barre-hog...


I think we all share this pain....

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Maybe the next time it happens, several of you who are being crowded can raise your hands as the combination is beginning and say, "Excuse me, we don't have enough space here." I agree it's the teacher's job to fix the problem with the offending students, but I don't see anything wrong with letting her know in a tactful, yet obvious way, that the problem is continuing.


Here's another thought: go ahead and do what you have to do full-out. Maybe if they get kicked a time or two during tendu or battement, they'll get the message!


Had something similar in class this evening, only not with space-hogging. I take Ballet III at this studio, which means kids anywhere from 6-12. One young boy was absolutely the most obnoxious creature I have ever been around. He'd talk while the teacher was giving corrections or combinations, he'd get out of line when we were ready to take turns across the floor, and he was constantly pestering one or two of the other young girls. Grrrrr...The teacher did eventually say "Everyone must be quiet while I'm talking," but it was too little, too late. I'm anxious to see what happens in Friday's class, because it will be with a different teacher, and I know she will NOT put up with that!


Ha, maybe I should follow my own advice and raise my hand the next time he talks through a combination and say, "I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you because someone was talking." :D


Sorry to get off topic, but when you're paying for class, you should be able to let the teacher know that you are being prevented from getting the full benefit of said class because of someone else's rude behavior!

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I don't see the point of deferential treatment towards another student. Everyone is paying the same amount for the same class, ideally. In fact, higher level students ahould consider themselves guests in a lower level class and defer to the ones who truly fit the level. In an open class, you come in, work at your speed, and act as equals.

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All my classes are very crowded and I just don't understand why grown-ups don't co-operate better about space! After all, a lot of teachers of these busy adult classes don't want any hassle when they've been dealing with it with their younger students all day (see other thread....). I too aim for the front in the centre because (a) I'm short sighted and (:blink: I hate being crowded at the back. And life is too short to care where I stand at the barre/ holding on to the piano/radiator. If someone is really obstructing me eg by not turning croise, I'm afraid they just have to watch out for my feet in grand battement, and if they touch me I yell loudly!

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I think it is a mistake to assume grown-ups naturally can use space well and understand directions easily. Sure, grown-ups who have been dancing or doing other physical stuff their whole lives (or are just naturally gifted that way) probably can - but the rest of us have to just learn it slowly :blushing:, and in my opinion it is the teacher's job to teach, instead of thinking we should know it already and she is tired of dealing with it all day...


Not that I have heard a teacher say that, really, but some of them sure seem to think they know it because they are adults, not because they have been practicing for years! :wink: At least they never bother correcting it, or only say "I can understand 10-year old not knowing, but you..." How are we supposed to know and remember without being told and reminded?


Or maybe I am just exceptionally stupid and clumsy for an adult. :rolleyes:

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Jaana, I can see your point about adult beginners not knowing how to deal with space issues the way those of us who have been at it awhile do. However, I don't think it should take a long time to figure out facings at the barre, particularly if they are demonstrated in those facings. If facings not demostrated and you are unsure of them ask then! The rest of the class should not mind the 2 seconds it would take to show them.

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An update- today in class (and I should mention that this is an auditioned senior level ballet course and that we are graded- we're all at about the same technical level), our teacher got exasperated with the two girls. The students behind and in front of them were trying to make their grand battements, etc. smaller so that they wouldn't kick the girls. But one of the two girls did a quick grand battement to the back and kicked the poor student behind her in the chest, quite hard (She was ok, just stunned).


The teacher stopped the pianist and told both of the non-compliant girls that she felt that she had been patient for long enough with them (we're a week into classes) and told them that their behaviour is disrupting the learning of the other students and that it was not only unfair and rude, but also dangerous. She also warned that their defiance would be reflected in their marks if they kept ignoring the space of others and if they kept having eye-eye conversations with each other during class (they frequently roll their eyes, mouth words etc to each other between combinations- I didn't think the teacher even noticed!!!).


They quickly apologized, red-faced, and perfectly repositioned themselves, but she asked them to leave anyway. She told them to come back only if they were prepared to participate properly, with regard for the safety of others and all other requirements of the class. When they left, everyone seemed to breathe an internal sigh of relief. She then continued the class as if nothing had happened. Her irritation didn't spill over onto the rest of us, thankfully. After class the two girls waited for the teacher to talk with her. I hope they'll be more respectful next class!

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  • Administrators

Now THAT is what is supposed to happen! Bravo for this teacher :(

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I must add that intentionally kicking or almost-kicking someone else is NEVER a good idea. It doesn't matter how rude the other person is, if YOU are aware of the space, then you need to look out for your and others' safety.


I know this is not possible at many studios, but I try to set up extra barres beforehand in classes where I know stragglers will come it. Or when a straggler arrives and tries to squeeze five on a four-person barre, I'll go out and get another barre between exercieses. I know that some of these people don't "deserve" that kind of good treatment (like the person who comes regularly 15 minutes late to squeeze in in the middle of tendu). But it really does work in defusing possible conflicts before they occur.


Safety needs to be a primary concern.


In mixed adult-child classes, I think that adult students must also remember that they are adults. You may not be any more advanced in ballet training than the child, but you could still be old enough to be his/her parent. Adults could use this age difference more in class, especially when the child needs correction not in technique, but in manners.

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