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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Who knew?


Laschwen

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Last night, after 3 years going to classes with this teacher, we had a class of only two students and there were lots of corrections. It was the next best thing to private class. Fabulous.

 

In my usual adult class we don't get much physical correction, but I was in with a 16 year old because it is between regular sessions and we mix.

 

I got a correction that stunned me. I wish I'd had it 3 years ago. Last night the teacher took my foot mid combination, and rotated my leg from degage to the side. I thought I was already rotated as far as my leg goes. Ahhh, no.

 

Welcome to ballet class, right?

 

How about that? I thought I was really working it. Now I have to figure out how to get it that rotated on my own but that is another story.

 

Are the rest of you getting physical corrections like that?

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Guest ingve

Hi, and welcome to ballet.

 

It does depend a bit on your level, but on beginners and intermediate level, there is usual to get "physichal corrections".

 

After a while the dancer should be able to translate what is being told to its own body. But first you have have to have "felt it"

 

Enjoy the new feeling :angelnot:

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I got one with the lovely Danile at ADC last year.

 

She taught me how to properly rotate my legs and use my turn out in plie.

 

Boy did that feel different.

 

I actually asked for a private at ADC because I wanted to get some "tips" to correct my sickling foot in retire. She straightaway took me back to my plies in 1st and 5th and rold me how to correctly work my turn out from there.

 

It was the first time I ever "rotated". And it was so hard!!

 

And then Danile said, "This is how you should be working EVERY SINGLE plie in every single class."

 

It was until then that I realised I wasn't doing it properly at all.

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Alas, no, physical corrections are few and far between. VERY few and far between.

 

However, I did recently get one akin to yours, involving turnout of the supporting leg during ... aagh, the proper name escapes me, but a ronde de jambe with the supporting leg in plié. It was VERY helpful, and I felt a whole new balance, not to mention a new sensation of extension in the working leg (not in the sense of height, but in the sense of carving a bigger arc).

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Would that be assemblé soutenu?

 

(Not sure if I spelt it right either... *blush*)

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I am very lucky to have found an open class that is not very well attended. I am always getting corrections in that class. The class is still a bit advanced for me, but I am getting there, little by little. Of the 3 classes I try to get to each week, this is the only one where I get consistent help with my alignment in everything! I do get to one intermediate adult open class a week, but the corrections in that class are far and few between.

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Physical corrections are great, I think. It can be really helpful to 'feel' what it is like to be be in the correct position. All of the teachers I have had have been liberal with physical corrections. I've had my foot rotated to show me proper turn-out, been grabbed by the ribs and hauled up to show me that I wasn't standing as tall as I could be, my foot pushed up around my ear...etc, etc.

 

I do have a question, actually, about physical corrections, that I was wondering if any of the teachers could answer. How can you tell, when you look at a student, the degree of extension or turn-out that they are capable of? How can you spot which students are not utilising their full extension, versus those who simply don't have very high extensions?

 

Hope it's O.K to ask this question in this thread, it seems appropriate and I've wondered about it for a while. If it's not OK, however, just let me know and I'll edit.

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I have a teacher who barely gives any individual correction, and another teacher who will grab me and position me correctly.

 

I prefer the second teacher.. but I can see that some adults don't want to have their personal space invaded.

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I am so interested and delighted to hear about all of your responses to hands-on style corrections! I am a young professional dancer, and a ballet teacher also. I usually teach children and teenagers, but occasionally--perhaps once a month or so--fill in to teach adult intermediate level classes. In that class I am hesitant to really physically correct the students. Many of the adult students I have taught seem less confident and comfortable with that kind of thing--at least this is what I am guessing, from their body language and the layers of clothing many wear in class. Instead, I verbally correct, demonstrate incorrect and correct technique, and point/indicate on my own body, which muscles need to be active.

 

I know that the kind of dance students who frequent BT4D are probably more serious and determined than most, so I am wondering--should I try to be more hands-on with the adults? In your classes, do you think most of the other students are eager for that kind of attention also?

 

I hope you don't mind my asking on this board, but I would be so pleased to hear from a group of adult students (anonymously--as my own students might be embarrassed or feel uncomfortable if I put them on the spot with this question in class). Thanks!

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Oh my teachers do hands on corrections as a "given". Whenever a new student joins a class, he / she (I have a few :lol:) would say "I do hands on corrections. Please let me know if you are uncomfortable with me touching."

 

And for the ones who are still new-ish, before every correction they would say "May I?"

 

And everyone's fine with that. :cool2:

 

Maybe that's something you could try?

 

Fish

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I think at intermediate level, they prob would have had hands-on correction before, it's hard to imagine getting that far without them.

 

Even absolute beginners.. It's so much faster to just place their foot at the right spot so they can feel it... but I think with them you have to be more careful and respect their space more.. since starting ballet as an adult is intimidating enough as it is.

 

Actually, I had a male teacher once substitute a class I was taking, and I've never met him before and he just got right into my space, and physically corrected me in the second barre exercise. I have to admit, even though I like physical correction, I was a bit surprised at that, mostly because I didn't know who he was, and he was male. I think my level of comfort with opposite gender teachers touching me is directly correlated to how much of their classes I've taken, and how comfortable I feel with them....

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I agree with ripresa - I would rather have hands-on correction. I think that most beginning students would probably appreciate the sudden 'lightbulb' moment that hands-on correction gives. One of my teachers went round the whole class one day showing everyone *exactly* where their leg should be in second, and just how high it can go when it is correctly placed. They were all so thrilled, and no-one made any complaints.

 

I kind of think that if hands-on corrections are an normal part of an average ballet class, then they should be a normal part of an adult class too. My teachers (male and female) have always just gone up the students and physically corrected. The student might be a bit surprised if they've never been to any classes before, but if the teacher just does it like it's the norm and doesn't make a fuss, then the student just accepts it as the norm too. If someone is so sensitive about having their foot or arm adjusted that they would rather perform the movement incorrectly, then they need to work on that - it shouldn't be the teacher's problem.

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I love getting physical corrections so that I really see and feel what something is supposed to look and feel like. It's also nice to see that my body has the potential to get into a nice looking line or whatever, and that it's up to me to build the strength and access the turnout needed to get there on my own. I can't imagine learning what I've learned without having a teacher adjusting my feet, legs, alignment, etc. now and then.

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There does seem to be a general diffidence about touching adult students. I've had a number of teachers over my "career (4 1/2 years and counting... :P ) and there's a wide variation. I know people who will never again take classes from the teacher who corrects the most often, but she's also the best teacher for alignment. I've had several who never touch. Here are a couple non-touching strategies I've observed:

 

1) One teacher never embarrasses anyone, verbally or physically - she's a real sweetheart and everyone loves her. But she notices every single flaw, and the class, that day and later classes, gets modified to focus on exercises that correct the problem. She also explains things very clearly.

 

2) Another teacher will stop the class and give us an exercise, often of the floor-barre type, that makes the particular muscle or usage crystal clear. Obviously you need an extensive repertoire of these kinds of exercises to get away with this.

 

For myself, nothing beats a physical correction. I always tell my teachers they can beat me with a stick if they think it will help :)

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I love physical corrections and wish that my teachers would give more. However, with the size of the classes and the limited time, there is never really much correction at all. But the teachers are usually happy to answer any questions after or during class, and recently I had one of my teachers correct my sickled foot during retiré. How that has changed my movement, not only during retirés but in other movements that involve it, such as pirouettes.

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