Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

When you make a bad first impression on a teacher


Striving for Grace

Recommended Posts

In one of my ballet classes (variations), the first week was just written assignments and going to see ballet and modern ballet performances that we had to analyze. Our first time actually dancing in that class was this morning. I missed my bus and was running late (I'm NEVER late, let alone for ballet! :sweating: ) so I decided to take another bus and walk/run the rest of the way. The sidewalks were iced over and of course I decided to fall and twist my stupid ankle. :wub:

 

Luckily I had put my hair in a bun and had my leo and tights on beneath my street clothes, so changing was quick. But I was in such a hurry that I popped my leo strap. I took deep breaths and quickly sewed it back on. I got to class just as the teacher was finishing attendance. She looked sternly at me and said that obviously I didn't have as much passion for dancing as I did for watching others dance (I was early for all 3 performances last week). I apologized for being late and quickly went over to the barre.

 

For some odd reason, I felt completely flustered after that. My barrework was ok but by far the worst it's been in a long time, and I was shaking so much (internally) and my ankle was throbbing, and I couldn't hold my balances for more than 10 seconds. I got yelled at for coming down early about 5 times.

 

Center was ok but I kind of stayed at the back of the studio to avoid my teacher's gaze.

 

During across the floor we were doing rather simple combinations, stuff I can totally do well, but I botched over and over, partly due to pain and partly due to nerves.

 

This teacher has never taught me before and does not kow how much I love (loved?) ballet, how hard I usually work, or how little experience I have. Since that was my first class, I'm afraid she'll think I'm always like ... well, like that.

 

Any chance of redeeming myself if I go to next class mentally prepared and work as hard as I can? Or will she forever see me as a lazy, unskilled, untalented student? :o

 

Grace

Link to comment

Oh dear Grace, that sounds like a thoroughly miserable experience. But I suppose you might feel better if you bear in mind that she is trying to make the right first impression too, and it would be getting off on the wrong foot if she looked like she didn't care about your (one off, uncharacteristic) entrance. I'm sure if you keep up your usual work and don't let her become a huge demon in your mind that she'll forget all about that first day. :wub:

Link to comment

Grace, yes you can redeem yourself. As long as your teacher is a reasonable person. :)

 

I'll never forget how I made a bad first impression with one of the teachers in the training program I attended as a teenager. She was substitute teaching and class had just started and my gaze drifted off and she caught me spaced out, but the worst part was that my gaze had drifted towards the clock, and she thought I was checking the time and gave me a tongue-lashing about disrespect, daring to look at the clock when we had only just begun. Oh, dear. I was mortified! I would never have actually done that! I had no idea what time it was, I was just spacey that day. Anyway, things ended up okay with us. Actually, although I didn't realize it, someone later told me that in spite of this awful first impression, I'd worked my way into her heart and that she had developed quite a soft spot for me.

 

Also, as a teacher, I can't see holding one day against a student. Even multiple days... Improvement is improvement, whether it's with tardiness, appearance, performance, or what-have-you. If your teacher can't see that you typically are diligent and earnest in your practice and regard you with respect for that, you probably want another teacher, but I hope and suspect that all will right itself in this relationship and you'll be able to enjoy classes with her in no time.

Link to comment

Um, can I give you some advice from a university teacher's point of view? I'm not a ballet teacher, but I do teach young adults in college. To be frank, I don't really think your teacher will think much about your behaviour once you've left her class-room. That might sound tough, but most teachers are professional and don't take students' actions personally. We don't have the time or the mental energy, and we do have lives of our own! :)

 

This doesn't mean that she won't properly consider your talents, skills, and application in the class room, and won't think about your progress as she gets to know you as a student. But don't fixate on her disliking you or not being impressed by you. She probably won't think much about you in those sorts of personal terms! :blushing:

 

As long as your lateness is not consistent - which it's clear it isn't (and it sounds like a really unfortunate train of events - my sympathies to you), - then I should think that she really won't think terribly much more about one late class. Just get on with your work as normal. I also think you need to tell her about your injured ankle - that explains your performance in class, it seems to me.

 

Just be calm about the knowing that you are not the centre of your teacher's life :D that should take the pressure off you, and relieve your anxiety, I hope!

Link to comment

Gracie, Gracie.

 

Well I'm so sorry to hear about your awful day and ballet class. I popped a leo strap in class yesterday, if it makes you feel better :)

 

I've seen you dance- your technique was great and you were very artistic. Now that you have even more experience I assume you must be even better at ballet.

 

I think you're having a particularly hard time because your teachers always nurture you and like you, and this one doesn't seem to... but if you work hard and come on time and yes, tell her about the ankle, I'm sure she will see that you are mature and it was just an odd day for you. ONE day. You have a year left to prove yourself! :D

 

PM me, I can't PM yet because I am still new :blushing:

Link to comment

Honestly, I think your teacher was a tad harsh. All you would have gotten from me was a smile...if you ran in during tendus it might have been a raised eyebrow. I think her comment about "passion" was a littleout of place. I'd put it behind you and not worry about it anymore.

Link to comment

Grace,

 

Did you tell her you had twisted your ankle? She may not have been so harsh had she known.

 

I think its a bit rough to question your passion based on one small incident.

 

I hope the situation improves for you.

Link to comment

Thanks for all your replies, everyone- they've made me feel somewhat better.

 

To those who were wondering- I didn't tell my variations teacher about my ankle because I thought it would come off as a lame excuse- you know, "Since you're being mean to me today, I'm going to fake an injury so I don't have to take your class." Or perhaps "I don't take dance seriously. I think I'll just watch today". You know what I mean. I felt I had to prove myself. My ankle also wasn't that swollen until after the class, so I had no physical proof of injury.

 

I went to my technique class last night (I have a different teacher for technique) and I was looking forward to it because I love that class and I thought it would help me to mentally get over the incidents that occurred in the morning. We're not allowed to wear legwarmers after barre, and at the barre only if it's very cold in the studio, as this teacher says that there is something wrong with you as a ballet dancer if you can't get warm without them.

 

Anyways, by the evening my ankle was pretty grapefruit-like. I got through center without the teacher noticing- so I thought. During water break, my teacher pulled me aside and asked what I had done to my ankle. So I told her. She checked out my ankle then exploded (she never gets mad) and said I was stubborn and didn't appreciate my body's limits and I shouldn't have been doing center work let alone jumping and she really thought I knew better especially since I had such a serious ankle injury earlier in the year and yada, yada, yada. To make a long story short, she made me sit out and ice while everyone else danced. It's great that she cares, but come on, I'm 23... fully an adult... and fully capable of making my own decisions.

 

So no yeah, no inspiration was gained from technique class.

 

Tomorrow morning I have the dreaded variations class *sigh*. I'm gonna give it all I've got- hopefully that's enough to let my other teacher see that I am a dedicated and respectful student... keep your fingers crossed for me, guys! I need all the luck I can get. I'll keep you posted.

 

Has anyone else ever had similar experiences with a dance teacher?

 

Grace

Link to comment

oh grace, dont hurt your ankle to the point of no return. Surely a little bruised pride is better than never dancing again should you injure your ankle further.

 

*worried face*

 

Now to answer your question about falling out of favour with a teacher, its happened to me, i was basically ignored during class, and when it came time for concert work, you guessed it - back row for me. I left that ballet school, went somewhere else and ended up in the same exam group with one of the girls from that class. The beauty of the situation is by then I was better, and I think she actually failed the exam and I didnt. Work hard and dont let it get you down, nearly all or Rudolf Nureyevs teachers hated him.

Link to comment

I'm glad your teacher made you sit down and ice your ankle. Any teacher that would let one of their students (of any age) dance with a grossly swollen ankle would be negligent. No offense, but why are you dancing on that ankle? Ice it, let it heal, and then start dancing. You're on the road to serious (career-ending type) injury if you don't let that ankle heal.

 

Your health is a lot more important that what any of your teachers think of you. You can always find new teachers - you've only got the one set of ankles.

 

I have taught in the past. I'd have more respect for a student that was smart about their body and looked out for their own health than one who kept dancing on a swollen, painful ankle until I had to ask them to sit and ice it, and then went to another class the very next day??? That is not the sign of a responsible dancer.

 

!!!

 

jayo

Link to comment

thanks again to everyone who replied for giving me some much-needed support and encouragement.

 

I'm fearing tomorrow... I went to drop something off at the dance office and my variations teacher and my technique teacher were talking to each other in the hall, and they saw me. They were a good 20 feet away from me and looked to be in deep conversation so I didn't disrupt them. I nodded hello and hobbled off as quickly as I could in the other direction. I didn't make eye contact for long enough to gauge their expressions. I'm such a dolt.

 

I seriously doubt there's even a possibility of a dance-related career in my future, so luckily the ankle thing's not an issue career-wise. And "letting it heal" is not really an option. I have to walk about 6km from the train to my house (morning and evening combined), plus campus is huge and I have classes all over. I just have to suck it up.

 

As for why I decided to dance on a gimpy joint, there's another reason, kind of a secret fear. :thumbsup: The add/drop deadline for courses wasn't until today, so I was afraid that getting injured so early in the semester would give my teachers cause to say "you might want to consider dropping dance this semester." They probably wouldn't have, but you never know. I've worked so incredibly hard over the past year to get to this level. I don't have the extensive training of the other students, and I'm still taking in a ton of new info each day. If I were to drop this semester, I really don't think I'd make it through the auditions for classes next semester, which are a half-level up.

 

I'm so disappointed in myself. I can't even get my right pointe shoe on, and I have class tomorrow morning at 8am. I'm going to ice and compress the heck out of my ankle and hope that the swelling's down by tomorrow.... I can't even imagine having to ask to take my pointe class in technique slippers :blushing: Sometimes I love ballet so much, and other times I don't even know why I bother. :wink:

 

Grace

Link to comment

You might not have a dance career to end, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to walk pain-free for the rest of your life?

 

Have you seen a doctor (or whatever health practitioner is at your school - I think we had nurses) for the ankle? Explained that you have to walk on it to see if they think it is okay or should be braced?

 

Does your school have a policy with physical courses (dance/athletics) and injury?

 

I can't believe you're trying to force your pointe shoe on. The way your ankle sounds you should be _sitting_, not feeling horrible for taking a pointe class in technique shoes.

 

Sometimes injury will stall a dancers progress. You have to let it heal and then work hard to get back to where you were so you can continue to improve. How much do you really think you'll improve dancing in pain on an injured ankle that probably won't heal for the whole term if you don't get it any rest?

 

jayo

Link to comment
Guest pink tights

Grace, dear...I'm old enough to be your mother, but I can not muster kind, motherly advice, so you will get crabby adult advice.....Stay off that ankle! If you continue to dance, you are just asking for trouble---Give yourself a few days or more. Your technique teacher was justified when she "exploded"! You only have one body---wear it out and you are done. Grapefruit-like?--come on kid, RICE , RICE, RICE!!

 

OK--for some kind motherly advice....Grace, injuires happen to all of us, so the best thing you can do is talk to your teachers, explain what is going on, rest. Your teachers will work with you....

Link to comment

Grace, I really think this nonsense has to stop. Take care of yourself! :wacko: Everyone here has given you supportive and correct advice. Let me help you to filter the information, since it doesn't seem to be going through :):P

 

You need to listen to the advice and comments of:

 

ruby, who said:

"I'm sure if you keep up your usual work and don't let her become a huge demon in your mind that she'll forget all about that first day"

 

insidesoloist, who said:

"If your teacher can't see that you typically are diligent and earnest in your practice and regard you with respect for that, you probably want another teacher, but I hope and suspect that all will right itself in this relationship and you'll be able to enjoy classes with her in no time"

 

Redbookish, who said:

"don't fixate on her disliking you or not being impressed by you... Just get on with your work as normal. I also think you need to tell her about your injured ankle"

 

Swanilda, who said:

"I'd put it behind you and not worry about it anymore"

 

appleblossom, who said:

 

"a little bruised pride is better than never dancing again should you injure your ankle further...Work hard and dont let it get you down"

 

jayo, who said:

"Ice it, let it heal, and then start dancing. Your health is a lot more important that what any of your teachers think of you." (I 100% agree that dancing on an injury "is not the sign of a responsible dancer.")

 

pink tights, who said:

"Stay off that ankle! If you continue to dance, you are just asking for trouble... RICE , RICE, RICE!! ...the best thing you can do is talk to your teachers, explain what is going on, rest. Your teachers will work with you...."

 

and of course, me, since I am putting this info in a neat little package for you.

 

Do you really want to get to the point where you ahve to spend 8 weeks in a leg cast again and have to go through physio? I would have thought that being a dancer, you've had enough of that experience for a year. Would you even think of telling one of your friends to dance on a sprain? Be as nice to yourself as you are to others.

 

 

take care and keep us posted. in the next post you better have taken some of this good advice!

:wub:

 

je danse

 

edited to add: and see a DOCTOR!

Edited by je danse dans ma tete
Link to comment

Regarding the ankle, needless to say, I agree with everyone who has said to stay off it. I have taught and choreographed and ran rehearsals before. I'm not that much older than you, but I would not let any of my dancers dance in such condition. It would be irresponsible of me, and irresponsible of them.

 

Regarding the teacher, just as you think she's made a quick judgement of you, don't also make a quick judgement of her! Beyond running my own rehearsals, I also teach part-time for a 'living' (although what a living it is... hahah... sever sarcasm as I roll my eyes)... anyways.... I know that for the first class at least, if not for the first few, i'm stern. I'm setting a tone of expectations, authority, and mutual respect for the duration of term. It's on purpose, and for a reason, and sets up a 'class' atmosphere to then be *nurtured* for the rest of the term. It is quite possible your teacher was doing just this.

 

Ami

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...