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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Question for a dance teacher

Guest maudebee

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Guest maudebee

I am not sure where to post this, so I will start here. My question is for any dance teacher.


My 15-year-old daughter was at the first rehearsal for her school's nutcracker; they are learning all new choreography this year. After the rehearsal she called me to say she was upset and mortified. Apparently during the rehearsal she did not understand the instructions for the count and started at the wrong time, twice. The third time she asked for clarification, got it, and all was perfect after that. She said that what mortified her was that she had to ask at all, and that she was the only one who didn't seem to get it right away. This is a part she desperately wants and is afraid that this small blip means she will be asked to step down from the part.


I think she is overreacting, and I told her that as a teacher (not of dance, but of other things), I appreciate when students ask questions -- it shows they care about what they are doing and want to get it right. She said that it is rare that anyone ever asks questions except her, and she is always embarrassed when she does. She is always polite and respectful when asking, so I think it is just the fact of asking that upsets her.


I would like to know the thoughts from any dance teachers on students asking for clarification ... and if it is studio etiquette NOT to ask. I am not a dancer so I can't help my daughter with that.



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Questions are how one learns. People who never question anything are not thinking for themselves, just following. I welcome questions, and so do most ballet teachers. Definitely not etiquette to not ask! :thumbsup: If a teacher can't handle valid questions of clarification, there is something quite wrong there. A student should never feel embarrassed about asking a question!

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Guest maudebee

Thank you Ms. Leigh. That is what I thought ... and what I believe. I don't know if the embarrassment comes from the teacher or the other students, but I think that needs clarification. I have always taught my children to ask questions, so it disturbs me that she feels badly about doing so.

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15 seems to be a time when they are loathe to 'stand out' from the crowd, regardless of how we raised them. Have faith that as comes into her own, the strength of character that you instilled in her will develop!


And yes, asking questions is the only way to get clarification. It is certainly protocol to raise one's hand and ask if there is confusion. Better that they ask than just keep doing something wrong over and over.


However, and this is where it gets hard- I have experienced teachers snapping the answer back at a child (which is certainly not something I do), and I've experienced teachers who will then take a step back and go over things for everyone, the question having awakened them to the fact that perhaps they were not clear enough.


Help your dd to understand that regardless of how the teacher responds, we each learn in our own way, and if there is not a patient response, then it is not her issue, but the issue of the respondant. And if she were to lose a role over that, then the role was not worth the damage to her self esteem.


Now, if she has been standing there chatting with her friend about the new Twilight movie and how cute Robert Pattinson is, then the teacher's snappy answer would come from an understandable place.


However if she is concientious, and has a good work ethic, then asking questions is a good strategy. Professional dancers sometimes have to ask choreographers for clarification- so should students. Hopefully, she has a patient teacher who understands how children learn :thumbsup:

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