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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Corrections from other students

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I go to a school where after class, we are encouraged to spend 10 or 15 minutes doing additional practice on our own. We are also encouraged to ask students senior to us for help or clarifications, or sometimes a senior student is asked by the teacher to review a particular step with us individually. Students who are friends will review steps from class together, etc. It's also common for a student with more experience to catch a glimpse of you out of the corner of their eye, notice something that you might not be noticing, and give you feedback. Occasionally, I have been corrected by students who are not necessarily senior to me or who cannot themselves do the thing they are correcting me about, and I have mixed feelings about this. It's true on the one hand, that I can certainly see mistakes in others that I cannot necessarily correct in myself, but on the other hand, I don't know that I would go and mention that thing to them. I actually love that we have this friendly and supportive repor among students at my school, as I've heard so much about competitiveness, etc., at other places. I've always said thank you and just tried to apply the correction (and it's usually something innocuous like shoulders creeping up in tension during turns - nothing they could be giving me wrong advice about.) But I'd rather receive corrections from those whose placement I would like to emulate or who have mastered a problem that I may be having rather than someone who may just be noticing a problem I am having or whom I would not like to wind up looking like. How do others feel?

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That happens. It happens in company too. It's best to say "thank you" when you receive a correction from someone else, even if you think the other person is an arrogant *** who knows nothing. In that case, just ignore what you heard.

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I think I'd try to give the person the benefit of the doubt and accept the help for what it is. That person may not have the technique herself, but may be able to see where you're going wrong. Especially if your class has the friendly rapport you say it does, I'd try not to get too uptight about it.


I have pointed out things to people occasionally, but I try to be careful how I do it. I'll say something like, "I'm having trouble with pirouettes en dedans too, and I know it's because I drop my shoulder. I think that might be what's happening to you too." Then I suggest she (oops, or he) ask the teacher to check it out. And I'll ask that person to check out something I'm struggling with to see if he (or she) can see anything that might help me.


Anyway, I'd much rather have someone--anyone!--tell me what I'm doing wrong rather than watch me attempt and fail time and time again. It sounds like you're in a class where everyone is comfortable sharing advice, and the after-class discussion sounds like a nice way to get some feedback. And maybe you'd feel better about it if you went ahead and kindly pointed out something you see someone else having trouble with. I don't think that would be arrogant, especially in the give-and-take atmosphere you're in.


Just my two cents' worth! :):)



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Guest pink tights

Er, I would never correct a fellow student. If someone asks me for clarification on a combination, I'm willing to say "pas de basqué not pas de chat" or whatever, but outright correcting, even it they are on the wrong foot and going in the wrong direction, I just don't go there. :)


As for fellow students correcting me...please don't. I focus on myself during class, not on what others around me are doing. I would prefer other students do the same.

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Er, I would never correct a fellow student. If someone asks me for clarification on a combination, I'm willing to say "pas de basqué not pas de chat" or whatever, but outright correcting, even it they are on the wrong foot and going in the wrong direction, I just don't go there. :)


As for fellow students correcting me...please don't. I focus on myself during class, not on what others around me are doing. I would prefer other students do the same.


I would agree if this were during class, but it's been described as an after-class session where questions between students are encouraged. You're right, though--NOT during class!!



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In Pirou's situation, I would be gracious, say thank you and let it go.


As for me, there is one person who very, very infrequently gives me suggestions. She has loads of experience, and I know she is just trying to help me, but while I know that, it does still bug me to a certain extent. :)

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Completely depends on who is giving advise and in which situation. I'm happy getting friendly tips from more advanced people whom I know well, but find it really intrusive if somebody I don't know that well or is not exactly an expert him/herself comes up and offers corrections.


I usually try to be polite as has been suggested in this thread, but on one occasion I was rehearsing a step on my own at the back of the studio, and a person came and started giving physical corrections (i.e. grabbed me) without even asking for permission. Then, I must admit, I snapped a bit :( .

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I catch myself sometimes correcting others but I try to say it, that it sound more like an advice than a correction. It mostly goes like "look, this makes it much easier" instead of "you are doing this and this wrong, it should be like that". After all, I am one of the students there who have been dancing longer than all the others and in the meantime I am also much older than the others (5 years and more). I also try not to give such advice in class, rather when I see people trying after class and there is something totally going wrong AND my teacher is not watching. I also try to point just one thing out, not a whole lot so that the other person feels insulted.

On the other hand, I have to give in, that I don't like to be corrected by other students. Mostly I see the things I do wrong myself or I just had to less time to practice them to do it the correct way. There are some things I might not notice and I am really thankful when my teacher tells me that. It could be that I don't like it because there are hardly any students who are more advanced than me in my classes. I can imagine that I'd like to be correct by people with more experience.


After class, I'd not mind corrections given by other students if we all were meant to correct each other. But during class it is a big NO NO. Sometimes my teacher tells a student to help another one if they don't get the correction. It can really be better that a student can re-tell the correction to another student in his own words. From student to student it might be easier to understand. But otherwise...no correction in class in front of your teacher if you were not asked to do so...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hmmm, I'd say it depends on the class.


If the atmosphere is relaxed, supporting and nice I may say something to someone of whom I feel that they don't mind, but if I feel that everyone wants to do their thing I stay quiet, of course.


For instance there are some persons with whom I'm actually friends with, so I may say something like "turn left" or "change the leg" if I see that they don't for instance get teacher's advice. Sometimes a teacher may say "turn the other way around" and if I see that the student doesn't get which is the "other" side I may whisper it if I feel that they would be grateful of getting little help and not more embarrassed.


Same goes for me: if I feel that I get corrections from that kind of students that I know that they don't say it to humiliate me but honestly they try to help if they see that there are some synapses in my head that don't connect to each other... :rolleyes: It's really nice if someone uses the wire to explain things to me if they feel that I could do something if I just "got" it. :DBut if I got corrections from someone of whom I feel that they are just annoyed or bored with the fact that I can't do something (for instance the class needs to wait because the teacher is explaining something to me or corrects me) or if they don't mean to be nice with their advice or something, then I suppose I could feel something like "mind your own business, please, I'm trying my best". I don't remember if this has happened or not, but anyway.


So I'd say that it depends. :)

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I know someone who is trying real hard, but has terrible turnout at the barre. After class I told person about it, how it will improve his turns etc. I felt a little guilty after but person works so hard, I know they can improve.



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I'm guilty of doing this before, but I don't really do it anymore now.


Especially with the company I'm with, someone has made a correction to someone else, we all know it means well but it came out horribly wrong and it made everything really awkward, so we've decided that only whoever is leading the rehearsal session is allowed to make corrections.


And we've all agreed that we do not give help unless help is asked for. I personally a lot of times would ask someone to watch me and ask for their feedback - either just generally (i.e. if the dance looks ok) or for a specific step ("This just doesn't quite work -- what do you think I should do?").


But giving corrections / help uninvited? No no.


I don't know if everyone does this, but I "rank" myself in classes (i.e. I know who in class has better general technique, or who's a good turner, or who's got good extensions etc etc). I don't say it to anyone, but I keep the idea to myself.


I got very worked up one day in an open class when one of the people I consider technically not at the same / higher level than me came to correct me. I know she only meant well, but it just really wound me up.


Therefore I try my best not to do it on someone else.



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