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Ballet Talk for Dancers

New Studio Search


Chanel16

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Last year, I decided to resume my ballet classes. I went back to my old studio, which was an utter disaster. The class was totally unstructured. I found myself sitting on the floor for the majority of the class, listening to the students chat it up with the teacher. :wub: So I tried another studio, which didn't work out very well either. It was too far from home, and the teacher seemed more concerned about passing the time than actually TRAINING us. So I've said all of this to ask: Is there something that I'm missing when I check these places out? They all seem to have good reputations, but when I actually take the classes, I wind up going home horribly disappointed. What should I be looking for when I scope out potential studios?

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  • Administrators

Chanel, you need to look for a primarily ballet school. They may offer other subjects, but the primary focus is ballet, not competitions and recitals which get rehearsed in classes. Watch a class and look for discipline, grooming of the students, respect for the teacher, and how the teacher works with the students in terms of corrections, demonstration or explanation, and the content of the class. Does it have a definite structure, focus, order of things that makes sense, like little jumps on two feet before going into difficult jumps one foot to one foot or beat combinations, and grand allegro at the end? If the students are at a solid Intermediate or above level do they have dedicated pointe classes? Are the rehearsals for performances held totally separately from classes? You should really be able to tell the difference of a serious studio and a Dinkle studio just by walking in the door! :wub:

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Thank you very much. As for the Dolly Dinkle bit, that's pretty much all we have around here. Weeding them out of my search has proved... irritating. Concerning the 'competition' thing, should I rule out any school that puts an emphasis on competing? Is there a such thing as an acceptable school with a slight focus on competition? I only ask because most of the schools down here that aren't Dolly Dinkles (or are the least Dolly Dinkle-ish) compete.

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  • Administrators

The only way to know is to try it and see. I'm sure there are some schools that have good ballet teachers, even if the school is not ballet focused.

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I'm not sure I'm allowed to respond to this, but I think I am so here it goes.

 

I definitely want to echo what Ms. Leigh said about there being schools out there with excellent ballet teachers even if the focus of the school is very much not on ballet. They are hard to find, but they are definitely out there- I danced at one for the past two years. The school was a very recreational, boardering on Dinkle-ish, jazz/hip-hop focused studio. They had one really amazing ballet teacher that taught an advanced class there once per week. I stumbled upon the studio out of sheer desperation for another ballet class, I wasn't expecting much at all, but was blown away. That class had a bit of a cult following- it really was a pre-professional, advanced level class. The dancers in the class all danced elsewhere; for most, it was the only class they took at that studio (some took a jazz class with one of the better jazz teachers there as well). It was a two hour ballet class followed by an hour and a half to two hour long pointe/variations class. Every other class at that studio was an hour long. That class ended up leading to an apprentice-ship with the small company that the teacher was an AD of. Never would have expected that to come out of a studio like that one.

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I suppose you're both right. Right now, I'm looking into a school that only does ballet and jazz. They're offering some summer classes, so I think I'll take a few to get a feel for the place. Hopefully I won't get let down this time... :dry:

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