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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Teaching: It's getting serious...


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It’s getting serious…


Some of you might remember that I had the possibility to teach one year and that I would like to do a formation for ballet teachers. I found two courses and oh well, one of them is at the Scala in Milan.


No one could really help me if I would make it or not but now I found a teacher (and still a dancer) who did his formation to become a professional dancer at the Scala and so I thought I would talk to him, if it is realistic or not (I took his class for two months now so he has seen me dance).


Here we go what he told me: First of all, he told me that I would be a beautiful ballerina (ha, always nice to start with compliments) and that I would have a really lovely body for ballet and that my movement etc. would be pleasant to the eye and I have nice legs for ballet. However my turnout would be incredibly bad (which I know) and he could not tell me how important that would be for the teaching course there (well, I hope they are looking for other qualities) but it would kind of disturb the picture of the lovely ballerina because it would destroy this image of being perfect (oh well…).


My main problem is, that my technique is not really bad (I have to say that I dance recreationally since 20 years but after some “intermezzo” where I believed that I could become a pro around sixteen, I dance since about 1-2 years five times a week) but that I have “holes” and things I should work on, otherwise he said that it would be very difficult. And my coordination is not the best…


Now…I know that. He told me that at the barre I would be incredibly good for being only a recreational dancer but as soon as I would be in the centre my lack of technique would be visible. This being said, he recommended me to find good training and make at least one class a day and try to learn the missing things and trying to get better in the centre, cleaning my movement and positions and adding pointe classes (which I do at home but not really serious).


In my country it is impossible to find classes for adults that are good and where you learn something. There are more recreational classes to have some fun but not really serious so I guess I have to go to another country and find a good school that offers everyday classes on a high level (advanced/pre-pro). This leads to my first question: Anybody of you knows such a school (in Europe, I would prefer Italy or Germany) where you can get good training as an adult? The main problem is my age: I am already 25 years old and most schools do not take students that are older than 22 or so (and it should be something I can pay…I was offered to make a formation in modern dance by a really good teacher in the USA but it costs so much that I can forget that one).


My class with him got cancelled which is kind of stupid because I learn a lot of things from him. But he is really sweet and will ask (hopefully) the director of the school if I could make the afternoon classes with the pre-pro students and try to catch up things…


The second thing me told me is theory…that I have to know the theory (name of steps, name of movements, different executions in different schools) really by heart and that I should get books to learn from so if I can’t brag with perfect turnout but at least with perfect knowledge about theory.


What books should I get? I have Gretchen Ward Warren at home (not here unfortunately) which I think would be good to start with but he told me that at the Scala they ask for Vaganova but it would be good too, to know other systems.


What books can you recommend me, for each school?


Oh well, I guess that’s all for the moment and I guess it is enough. I hope anyone ready the book I wrote here.


I am a little bit panic-ing at the moment…I guess I have to change my whole life if I really want to do that and I have to sleep over it a couple of times and maybe hear some of your wise answers that could help me to find my way.

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Claude you may click on the link above for Amazon.com to run a search for almost all teaching material available for most programs of study. I suggest you search for Kostrovitskaya, Tarasov and Bazarova/Mae (ABCs of Classical Ballet) for the most current pedagogy books on Vaganova training. While the Warren book is a good one for general technique, it is not the best for Vaganova schooling. I am sure there are other members who are able to advise you on Cecchetti and RAD.


It is wonderfuyl to hear you are feeling a bit closer to your goal to study in the teacher's course at La Scala. Buona fortuna e buon divertimento.

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Claude, that is great that you got such good feedback!


If I may, here are a few links:

(I assme you speak german, too?)


Palucca School in Dresden, teacher-training BA:



the teacher-training program (for a diploma in teaching children; for teaching professionals one must have been a professional dancer oneself):


(go to the link-list on the left, and click on "studium" and scroll down until you get to 3-jahre kindertanzpädagogik)


These first two are "state-schools".


Then there is a private school in munich.



The best thing would be if you could travel to these places and look at the schools and esp. the students to see the standard and also the teaching.



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Grazie mille! Thanks you two for your replies. In the meantime (after a lot of tears and talking with my mother). I have decided to work 50% in Italy and to dance 50% here. Then I will see how I am doing and decide the next step. Tonight I have to talk to the director of the school I am going to because my teacher told me, that I could take the afternoon-classes together with the pre-pro students...(means his class and obviously he has no problem with me being in this class: He offered me to talk himself with the director to ask if it is possible :) )I will keep you updated!

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The balletschool is found, I can do 3 hours every day plus classes in the evening which will come close to 4,5 hours a day. They put me immediately into their pre-pro programm. I should be happy about that, isn't it? Instead I am really confused and do not know how to decided, if I should really do it or not (because a lot of problems come now: Money, job, place to stay) I am totally panic-ing at the moment and I guess I need some words of encouragment...I have always been dreaming of that but now that I can have it am freaking out? I really do not know why I react that way. Maybe because it is the first time in my life I stay far away from home and I am afraid of feeling lonely and lost?

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I am very happy for you, Claude and proud of you for pursuing this dream.


I can understand freaking out when suddenly things seem attainable but you also need to work out obstacles such as money, job etc. I am considering applying for a university dance programme and I am scared that I might actually get in! It's a big step and would also mean moving across the country. I don't know if it's feasible for me or if I would even get in or if it would be possible for my husband to get a job in that part of the country.


I just wanted to send some encouragement. Follow your dreams, even though it's scary. How would you feel if you didn't take this opportunity?

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Claude... remember, children much younger than you often live far from their family or even without any family....


I also strongly believe that *living* (seeing things, experiencing things, whatever) infuses itself in your dancing....

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If this is your dream, sort out the logistics and just go for it!


Many roads lead to Rome, as they say, and you can always adjust your path if you do feel lonely and lost. Don't plan to feel that way, but use the knowledge that you are not tied to your decision forever to shake your nerves.


Besides, we'll be expecting reports from you as you progress :grinning:

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Thank you all for your replies! You guys are great. I feel much better now. I talked with my parents and they had a really good idea: I do not have to stay for a year in that school, I can choose every month if I want to leave or stay so I will only have a contract for an appartment for half a year and then check in december how things are going (and if my body can support so much training, because I have knee- and backproblems) and if I will find a job etc.


So I guess I will really do it, although it scares me but at least (even if it won't work in the end) it will be a good experience for my life in general (I hope)! And I will keep you updated of course!

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MERDE! Claude! Keep us posted. :clapping:

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Congrats Claude! It sounds wonderful. No matter what happens at least you will give yourself a chance to do what you really want to do. I hope it works out well.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have now confirmed my room and the school there. So they are expecting me to begin within the beginning of september. I just need a job now...I have two months to find something. If I do not find anything, I will keep searching until december.


I did now for one month the classes I have to do then and at the beginning I felt totally lost among all these beautiful dancers but I was able to catch up a lot and now I feel rather comfortable on that high level. I had my concerns because I had to do all classes on pointe but I am really thankful for my good feet. Not a single blister, no pain, nothing. After a couple of days it did not make a big difference for me dancing on pointe or on flats.


I am back home now and unfortunately I have now 3 weeks break and the directly an SI (which is a bit stupid but I can't change that).

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