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Oh nooo! That look again.


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I saw that awful look that happens when someone can't disguise their profound amazement that I am in the ballet class.

Most of you know me here. I am the 6 foot 2 inch woman who is wearing size 16 clothing on a good day. I am also 47 years old and persisting at showing up for proper ballet classes.


Last night I saw the teacher for the class I was about to take. I had not met her before so I introduced myself and told her I was going to be in her class.


I was met with a blank stare, a mouth that fell slightly open, and no words. :thumbsup:


Shocked speechless? :speechless: Did she understand me? :angry: English is not her first language. Me in class? Yes, me!

I popped in with "It is OK, I know I am not the likeliest candidate...blah blah. Then I left to get changed for class. That nearly derailed my class for the evening. I had not been met with one of those looks in a very long time, but I remember it from my youth. This one looked less disguised than ever before.


If I had not gone back to where there was a witness, I might have been wrecked for the evening. She said that I was mistaken in the look; at least partially. She thought the same thing I did and was horrified, and spoke to the teacher after I'd left. Apparently the teacher had so few students turn up for day classes that she was expecting and hoping to be able to go home early as she hadn't seen any of the other adults turn up yet, and there I was. She is also slow to speak in English, as I realized later. It turned out that adult class, with 4 students, was the largest class she'd taught all day.

Pfew! :sweating:


Amazingly the class went well for me. I was on my best behavior of course through barre, and managed to do almost everything half respectably. I think the incident did something to improve my level of concentration. I suppose I suddenly had something to prove.

There was one combination across the floor, one at a time, that really threw me. There was lots of turning and my spotting was lousy, so I would get dizzy and forget what I was supposed to be doing next, and go off time. I improvised where I could to fill out the music and tried my best to pull off a finish without running into anything. It was actually really fun. There were lots of do-able combinations and the petite allegro was slow and uncomplicated enough that I could do everything and keep up for a change. The class level was really good for me; just a little hard rather than the usual pace where I end up skipping stuff. Everybody had fun too. I wish I had chosen to go to that class earlier in the Fall, but I will be going back. Even the music was lovely. She played pieces that my mother used to play on the piano when I was a kid dancing around the kitchen.

Happy Ending for the Holidays.

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I'm glad your class ended more successfully than it began! It does sound like her look was more about students showing up to class than about how you looked, but regardless, you proved to her that dancers come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. I'm glad you used her reaction as an impetus to dance your socks off, rather than letting it negatively affect your class. (I probably wouldn't have been that strong). Keep us posted when you return to her class in the future!

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I suspect a lot of teachers this week/weekend will give that look - surprised anyone turns up for class (except those dancing in holiday productions, that is!).



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I think it will be fine in the future. She did ask me to tell her my name after class.

I guess we can't help ourselves sometimes. I can think of a "That's the teacher?" reaction I have had myself when someone didn't look the part, though I don't think I gaped into anyone's face over it. I really hope not.


I think that got me ready for some nice loud "Wow, she's tall" comments from little kids in the lobby for Nutcracker last night. I gave one of them a friendly "Wow, she's rude" and smiled at mother and child.

It is never too early for lessons in manners.

I had a little conversation with that one too. I told that one I'm not tall...everyone else is short. She looked around a minute and then carefully disagreed "Noooo, you are tall." It was hysterical. I had failed to convince her even with my 6 foot tall niece with me. We were both wearing heels. I think we made an impression, but I smiled at all the kids who noticed me out loud.

Next time I think I need to respond with "Really? You think so?" like I hadn't noticed, or I am really good at eating my veggies. Anything to stun the little ones for a second.

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Yeah, I was volunteering for nutcracker with the Ballet Austin Guild last night, and one of the guild members turned to me and said: "So did you ever danced?"

And I was like: "I'm still dancing."


And she looked surprised. Which slightly offended me. Since I'm not too old to be a dancer, I'm assuming it's because I don't look skinny enough.


Anyways, then she went on to talk about how her heart was broken and dreams dashed because her parents didn't let her dance ballet when she was young. And I'm thinking in my head, eventually you had the money and control to take adult classes, if it was really that important to you, then do it. But I kept my mouth shut, and just told her that I go to an adult dance camp, where grandparents take class and it's amazing.

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Laschwen, I think you handled that really well; I liked the "wow, she's rude". In the Netherlands, where I live 6ft for a woman is not unusual at all (and I think it is the same in Scandinavia as well), and a lot of the men are close to 2meters (about 6'6'or 6'7' I think). In one of the adult classes that I occasionally go to, there are at least 2 woman well over 6ft, the only thing I watch out for is not to stand too close to them with grand battements :D . Anyway I am glad you had a good class after that reaction though :thumbsup: .

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Oh Laschwen, that's too bad you got that initial reaction, no matter what it was. The first day of a new ballet class is always nerve wracking for me. I too get a reaction, but it's because I'm short, heavy and old. I get that reaction from a new teacher in a ballet class and friends and acquaintances if they find out I take ballet classes. I had a new teacher in a pilates class make the remark "you did really well" in a surprised fashion after the class. I try to ignore it, but it does make me upset at a new studio. But - your new class does sound like it will be a good one! Oh - and love your response to that rude child, keep that one in your repretoir :)

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Oh Laschwen, that's too bad you got that initial reaction, no matter what it was. The first day of a new ballet class is always nerve wracking for me. I too get a reaction, but it's because I'm short, heavy and old.



Funny Dancepig.

I am also heavy, old and half falling apart. First days with new classes are the pitts, but at least I no longer feel the need to tell the new teachers which parts of me don't work properly before class. I used to think I needed to warn them, but now I figure they have eyes. They will figure it out. None of them are coming over and trying to force unwilling body parts into position like they do with the kids, so there is no point. I do what I can do and try to make it better each time. I even try new things if I can make sense of them, and I ask for help on occasion.

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I used to think I needed to warn them, but now I figure they have eyes. They will figure it out.
Ah - now that would be nice, but I have been at my newest studio since last June, and she's still trying to get me to do full grand plies in fifth in center! (although she's not pushing as much as she did last June) I have tried to explain the knees don't like it, and I do a partial grand plie in fifth. Depending on the day, time, weather, etc., I'll just go as far as the old knees allow. I've tried to explain I don't look good sprawled on the floor! :)


But it is good to know you don't feel you need to explain anything. In my opinion, that's good. There are several women in my class that always yak about the "problem of the day" and want that class to be structured to accomodate them. Seems to me, it's better to accomodate yourself around the class!

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I feel opposite - although I know I'm old, overweight and generally falling apart, I know also that I can be inherently lazy, using some of my "broken down parts" as an excuse to sit back and not try something.


I WISH my teacher would come over and force a leg into a better position. She did it once, and it made a huge difference to how I did and do a particular movement (and movements that involve the same type of rotation).


The only thing I will hold back with is anything to do with ankles - they ARE in poor shape...


I just feel pretty ignored. If I'm doing something incorrectly, I WANT it corrected. I'm not getting that much. She did say that she knew that with my experience, I knew what to work on, and she left me to work on things I felt I needed, but I still need feedback of sorts. I get very little from any of my teachers. Par for the course when in classes with teens, I guess.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sounds like you had a good class and you handled it well!!


I too get comments or stares when others find out I study ballet, because i'm no longer so thin, a bit overweight now and although I'm working on losing, and my former teacher at my old studio was very impressed with what I could do despite being a bit over and she was always so encouraging too and never judged, I miss her alot!

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. In one of the adult classes that I occasionally go to, there are at least 2 woman well over 6ft, the only thing I watch out for is not to stand too close to them with grand battements :wacko:



I love your remarks. It has to be a nice environment over there for taller dancers when they are young. No worries.

When I am in a class with other tall people (male or female) I enjoy standing right next to them. We tall ones are already trained to angle our grand battements and such, so we are safe. I generally get an instant "lift" physically just from being reminded to hold myself up to my full potential when I am looking at the back of someones head instead of over a head.

There was one incident in High School when the three 6 foot girls were together as usual, and the teacher asked us to start out facing the barre that day. Spacing was as tight as usual and when we all went into grand plie, our knees met the girl in the middle on both sides. It did disrupt things for a second. :):wacko:

It is like when someones birthday candles set off the smoke alarm. One should know it is coming, but one doesn't.

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I had my second class with this new teacher last night.

I think I could really get to like her. I find myself smiling and learning in her class. She is really good.

Now I have to go have a nice hot soak before I seize up from the work out.

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