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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is teaching pointe strickly for female teachers?

falling arches

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My dd is studying with a well respected male teacher. He doesn't speak mcuh english The school is small and has only female students. Weekly there is a female teacher that works with the girls but learning pointe and variations are primarily done through the male. Does this seem odd? How effective could a male be at communicating something he's never done? No one in the school questions this and many of the students are placing into great SI's and have pro futures. The advanced girls look incredible . We are new to the school and my dd is on the older side. For the last two years she was with female teachers but the classes were too big and she ended up injured.Should I try to get her to a female teacher for privates?

Edited by falling arches
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My DD has had both male and female teachers since she was 13. Of course, by that age she had been en pointe for several years, so learning HOW to get up onto pointe/tie the shoes/sew ribbons, or other beginning pointe stuff wasn't really an issue. She seems to feel that she has had great advice about dancing in pointe shoes from male teachers, even though they have never done it. Doesn't seem to have been a disadvantage at all.

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There is a thread on another part of the forum that touches on this issue, and it had me thinking about this question as well. My dd has three teachers, two of whom are men, and the woman does not teach terribly often. These are the same teachers she has had since beginning pointe and there seems to be no issue for her, so I'm thinking it's the quality of the instruction, rather than the gender of the instructor, that is key here. I know she enjoys them all for their very different qualities.

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Dd has had, and continues to have, both female and male teachers, both of whom teach technique/pointe and variations & partnering. No difference in quality of teaching that I can tell. What seems to matter, female or male, is the teacher's length of teaching experience and depth of knowledge in the variety of ballet repertory, esp. when it comes to variations classes.


However, I seem to recall dd having mainly female teachers in her beginning pointe classes when she was younger, esp. when she needed the teacher's help in getting the "right" pointe shoe to fit.

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DD has three teachers, two women who teach the pointe classes. However the male does amazing original choreography en pointe and rehearses the kids for it. My guess is he could teach pointe but doesn't need to.

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Russian teachers who hold, for lack of a more specific term, a "teaching credential" from GITIS, as your daughter's teacher may have, have been taught during a very thorough pedagogy course, how to teach all facets of ballet training for both genders of students.


If the teacher has had a professional career, it is also likely that he is familiar with most of the female variations from the major ballets, especially if he was a principal dancer. In any case, he can teach a variation from a video tape, because he would have the ability to discern which steps are being used and how they are combined together.


If your daughter has any questions for the teacher regarding how to do something specific en pointe, I'm sure that the wife would be a valuable translation resource for her.


My daughter has been taught pointe by both male and female teachers, and I think that it is the quality of the teaching and the student's relationship with the teacher, rather than the gender of the teacher, that is of primary importance.

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Many male dancers/teachers are ballet masters and choreographers. They coach women on pointe and choreograph for women on pointe. So, if they are experienced and knowledgeable teachers, they can be quite capable of teaching pointe. However, my preference for the first year pointe would still be a female teacher.


The same would apply to female teachers teaching pas de deux. They are certainly capable of doing it, as they also choreograph pas de deux, but of course they must study how the male dancer is taught. My first choice for a pas de deux class would be a male and female teacher working together! :) We did that when I had my school with my male partner and it worked really well. We were both still able to do everything at that time, which helped a whole lot. Could not happen now, as I can't do that much anymore, but I loved it when we could do it.

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Don't forget, extensive pointework was first developed by a man, Filippo Taglioni.

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  • 10 months later...

This issue is a concern for us. I don't want to step on any toes, and I may be jumping to conclusions, but it seems that (all other things being equal) the schools that have predominantly male pointe teachers don't advance the older dancers as well as schools that have predominantly female pointe teachers.


I have simply noticed this to be true for our area. I am concluding that perhaps it's due to the fact that in the early ages it's all rather basic, but as they mature, a dancer needs instruction in those little details that make a dancer more refined - and an experienced ballerina can teach those because she knows them from her own personal experience - rather than simply from a pedagogy of instruction.


If the dancer has equal time with a female pointe teacher and a male, that would be fine. But it seems that in most cases, it isn't as beneficial for a dancer to have a male teacher as the primary pointe teacher. I am open to correction here, of course. It's just something I've noticed with the different dance companies in our area.



Edited by havyn
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Havyn, I would have to say that you are, in general, right. I'm sure there are some male teachers out there who do pay attention to the details of articulation, in between steps, and how one MOVES in pointe shoes, and not just the ability to get up there and turn around! :shrug: However, I do agree that it is preferable to have a female for at least a primary pointe teacher.

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I've taught beginning and intermediate pointe classes, and variations, too, but not all at the same time! I did have some pointe experience during my dancing career, and so I'm a little more pre-loaded for the starters, but I've never been a main pointe teacher, but I know what you mean, and I agree.

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