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What to do when different schools/teachers


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question in re:to the turnout issue: My dd has been repeatedly instructed by me and by her instructor to turn out from the hip and not from the knee and explained the supporting resons behind it - I am sure that many of our dk's know this...what is the opinion on if the child will do what is right for her body if she knows the alternative is a risk of injury? will she stand on what she knows is right despite the demands of an SI teacher...or if not outrightly stated, to impress a teacher? Can we prepare our dk?

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You might also find that although teachers agree on what turn out is, within the same school, teachers may not agree on how to teach it! :shrug:

Edited by vrsfanatic
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lorraineqd, I'm not quite sure exactly what you are asking, but I think you are asking how should a young child handle a situation in which an SI teacher-- i.e., not one of the DK's primary teachers--is requesting something, in this case, amount or degree of turnout, in a manner that goes against what the child has been taught is safe. Is that it?


If so, the answer may be different depending on how young the child is and how mature he/she is. Typically, when a non-primary teacher approaches something differently than what the child is used to, the recommendation is to go with the flow and do what the teacher requests because there are many correct ways to do or approach different exercises.


But when the request is actually harmful or could be harmful, it is much trickier. Especially, with a young dancer. It is very difficult for them to dismiss an authority figure's request. The best idea, of course, is not to put them in such a position. But, sometimes that is a lot easier said than done--especially in an SI situation.


I (luckily) never had to deal with that situation at an SI, so I have no real experience from which to offer advice to you. Hopefully, some one else has some tried and true suggestions for you (not that I wish any one the opportunity to have this situation, but I'm sure it has happened.)


Perhaps the teacher moderators will have 'coping' suggestions for you as well. :)

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dancemaven - this question was originally posted in another thread where they were talking about a certain SI program (possibly) forcing turnout. So yes, you understood my question correctly. At 11 my dd has learned that you do what the the teacher you are in front of wants (you are in their house after all as she has been told) BUT she also knows that there are certain limits and that there are things which can be physically harmful (such as turning out from the knee), especially when you are dancing 4 hours of ballet 6 days a week with said teacher. I wasn't sure what dd would do in that circumstance or what a child should do.

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With children that young, I think it is very important to be sure that the SI they attend is not one that is vastly different, in this aspect, than the school they attend. Older students may be able to cope better, but at 11, 12, 13, and probably up until at least 16, I'm not sure that they can handle it. If there is any doubt, don't go there.

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If a parent or a student feels uncomfortable with the instruction they are receiving, for the long term, the best thing may be to either, not do what you, the student, are being asked to do or leave the program immediately. Teaching, training anything, requires trust on both sides of the coin. If a student cannot trust that a teacher is working for her/his well being then it is not the teacher/school for that student or family. On the other side of the coin, if the teacher cannot trust that the student/family will follow all of the advice seriously, not pick and choose what they, the student/family, deems important for them, then the teacher cannot teach that student and yes, injury can occur.


Not being one who believes that students who have not solidified their basics should be studio, SI or teacher hopping, do not participate in SIs, master classes etc, unless the development of body placement and turn out is at a high level. Another alternative is to bite the apple and trust, just as you, families and students have trusted the first school you attended. Or you can just stay where you are. Every student is not for every school, just as every school in not for every student.


It is a catch22 since for the most part, it is only through exposure that a student/family will get educated about what is good teaching/ballet and what is bad teaching/ballet. You have to get about the industry to see what is out there. It is good or it is bad, there is no in between in ballet.


In auditions, I rarely see students who have a strong sense of their ability to rotate their legs in their hip sockets and stand up straight. From personal experience with teaching turn out to students who have not been yes, pushed to use the turn out they have, it has often be said to me by my students that they have never been asked to rotate their legs are far as I am asking. I expect difficulty on all parts, mine and on theirs, but I watch them like a hawk and I have to slow way down in vocabulary so that the rotation/placement basics can be re-enforced before moving on. Students get bored because they do not feel like they are progressing since progress has always been increased vocabulary. It requires teaching students/families a new value system of learning ballet. If a knee hurts, sit down, ice, see PT. Begin again slowly, when cleared by PT. Without the stability of "turn out" increased vocabulary is not advisable, but that is also the case when students are not taught to rotated correctly without increasing the amount of turn out.


If your DC is of a level where the basics are still being developed, find a place that is suited for you and child since teaching ballet to anyone needs to be a relationship between teacher, student and familiy.

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