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Ballet Talk for Dancers

It feels like cheating...


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I know that it is common for people to take classes at a couple of different studios in order to get enough classes. I think in order to work ballet into my hectic work/school schedule, I might have to do it too. The problem is I feel kind of guilty about it, like I am "cheating" on my regular dance school.


I am just wondering if there is any kind of etiquette when it comes to this kind of thing. For example should I tell my teacher(s) that I am taking classes at another school or only mention it if it comes up? If your teacher knows that you are taking classes at another studio what do they think about it?


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



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No it's definitely not cheating.

Especially not at an adult level and you're not studying with Balanchine ;-)


Some teachers seem to care, but a lot of them don't. If they ask, just tell them your schedule conflicts.

When I was in my honeymoon stage of ballet, I took classes from 3 studios. The only confusing thing is sometimes they have different terminologies for the same thing. But it's also good to know of them.

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If you were a youngster in training, then it would be almost imperative to tell the studios, in my opinion, because different studios use different methods of training and it can get quite confusing going from one to the other. Students who are in their youth will have trouble differentiating and sorting what is what in each studio.


However, as an adult, taking classes for recreational purposes, it's really not cheating to go from one to the other. Most studios don't offer the different classes for adults that they do for students, with good reason: adults are start-and-stoppers - life interferes sometimes, whereas students in serious training usually have fewer life problems (career, kids, etc).


It's up to you if you tell them. I told mine but they know that as the only adult (or one of two now! YAY!) in a class full of teens, sometimes I need to be with my peers. So I go once a week to another school (well, I'd probably do more but can't find any more adult classes in my area that fit my schedule!!).


I also don't stick to one teacher at my current school. I have two faves and one that I like who is good, but it's a beginner class so not really "challenging" in the sense that the other two classes are. I did worry that they would be insulted if I went to more than one teacher, and yes, it does get confusing (both between teachers AND schools!!) but in the end, the goal is to improve. All of my teachers are quite understanding.


I also have the opportunity to go to another school for intensive this summer - a 3 week, 5 days each week, all day one. But I would PREFER to do the 2 hour one I've done at my regular school for the past two years. I did tell the director about the other school's opportunity and stressed that I would like to come back to hers instead, but would only come under a certain condition. I know I'm not the only one wanting this certain condition so I'm hoping she'll be able to fulfill it. I have till the end of February before I HAVE to register for the other intensive and will do that if I don't hear back in time.


In the end, it's up to you to do what you feel. I know that their knowing that I'm taking classes elsewhere will not force them to put on more adult classes because it's not cost-effective, even if they had time in the schedule for it. I spend 90% of my class time at my home studio, so again it's not a big deal for them. Plus, being an adult with some measure of experience, there's no interference between classes/schools in terms of technique (well, not much anyway!).


It's your call - you know the atmosphere at your home studio. Mine is very open-minded, at least where adults are concerned. Others may not be.

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Around my area, you can only take at best two adult classes from any one school, so if you want to do more, you have to take from more than one school. Seems every adult teacher in this area completely understands this. I currently take from two different teachers and two different schools to get three classes a week.

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I haven't noticed anyone caring in New York. I've taken classes pretty much everywhere. I've even gotten studio recommendations from some teachers.

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I agree, I don't think it's cheating. I was taking classes at Studio A for over a year and one of my friends recommended I also try classes at Studio B. I was surprised when I first went to class at Studio B to see so many familiar faces from Studio A.


I think a lot of adults take classes at more than one studio, or from more than one teacher.

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In my experience, teachers also work at several studios, so no, it's not cheating! :) Although, if you're a beginner, it probably is better to learn consistently with one or maybe two teachers at first -- but it's the consistency of teaching, rather than the studio, that counts, I think.

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As an adult student, my perspective is: You need to do what works for you. If that's taking classes at multiple studios because of timing or because one studio isn't offering everything you need, then that's what you do.


As a teacher, my perspective is: Exactly the same as above, with only one caveat. The other studio needs to have equal or better quality instruction. It's no good to supplement with a teacher who teaches you incorrectly so that your first teacher has to try to counteract bad teaching.

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For what it's worth ... when I first started taking classes, the teachers at my studio were mostly quite explicit that their goal with beginners was to get them to the point they could take classes at any studio, in any city, without being confused or embarrassing themselves. It worked - when I first went to the Richmond dance camp, I was told that I had had good training. (Nobody said I danced well - that's a different issue! - but my training was good!)


Personally, I feel more loyalty to a teacher than to a studio. Fortunately those things have not come into severe conflict!

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I learn something different from every instructor.


Also, I like some studios better than others (e.g., big rooms).

Sometimes the accompaniment is different. One schools uses

percussion for ballet classes, which I found hard.


In NYC I found the same instructors in different schools.

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As a student, I always did what I had to do to maximize my progress. That took precedence over what I thought of the teachers on a personal level. And more than once, I have walked away from a teacher I liked very much (personally) because her class wasn't helping me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do this too!


And i think it is fine:-)


I have taken dance lessons in a lot of styles classical ballet modern jazz and show dancing , not all studios will have all these to the best standard.


And i think studying with different people is very good for variety one teacher can concentrate on one thing too much or be more comfortable with one style and i think it is good to see another perspective:-)


AT the moment i am concentrating on Ballet, but at one time i was taking a full time professional dance course for show dancing there were some ballet classes but i felt that they were not very strong so i took a few outside ones too. The teachers did not mind i think actually they were impressed that i was taking extra classes.


I think most teachers would be impressed that a student was taking the extra effort to improve and that they would approve. Sometimes even some of teacher my teachers have suggested a particular class somewhere that focuses on something particular or something:-)


I would always be honest and say i go to other studios though:-)


I am concentrating on classical stuff at the moment again for a while and i have two teachers from the same studio for most classes one is from Italy and the other is Irish and the difference in their approach is huge i am glad to have them both:-) As i consider them friends too i would always check if it was ok to go somewhere else too !


I am lucky though i go to a professional full time dance studio that is actually a dance company too and so there are lots of classes to go to to fit in with anything:-) You could take four classes a day five days a week! They like to get students involved in shows too so you could add rehearsals to that too! But i think that my teachers would want to know that i was working hard somewhere else if i could not with them for some reason. And that i was equipt to do that.


And as another poster said some teachers move around too!


I would say that the only thing is when you are in one class with one teacher than you must respect their way and learn what they have to teach without saying or thinking but so and so says..... you have to trust your teacher too and be honest.


I have never encountered a teacher being touchy about it as an adult as kid when i took lessons it might have been different but i still took different styles from different studios even then!:-)


It does not mean you are less loyal to your studio or teachers:-) It just means you really want to progress and work hard:-) And i think your teacher will see that as a plus:-)

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I don't think they should have a problem. If they don't offer enough classes, or classes when you can get there, it is none of their business if you take more classes elsewhere. It is not like you have an exclusive contract with them.

You might mention it casually, if just so they know that they can't take full credit for the amazing leaps and bounds you make in technique.

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I think it's perfectly fine! You're an adult, you have a hectic schedule and need to be able to fit your dance classes into your life-survival calendar. Also, if you're not striving to stay in a certain syllabus/method of ballet, then it's definitely not cheating otherwise there wouldn't be any open schools. In Italy, I went to a very large open school with tons of hours and teachers available. While many teachers had devoted students, it was never frowned upon to take from different teachers. I experimented with many different classes before deciding to continue on with two particular instructors who both graduated from the Bolshoi academy. I just figured I really loved Vaganova, so why not focus on it? I hope you find the teachers and classes that work for you. Don't be ashamed if it's more than one in particular!

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