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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Class Sizes & individual help


silentlysailing

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I wanted to ask about it since I went over to Ballet Austin last night and the class was way larger than any that I've ever been in. I didn't even get a single comment on anything or even a hello when it was my first time ever to that place, As soon as the class was over the teacher was out the door and didn't talk to anyone.

 

Prior to last night my largest class has consisted of 6 people that was divided 3 were leisure and 3 were serious. The teacher teaches the 3 of us differently and places a much higher focus on our technique and give us a lot more corrections plus she is around after class to help us. I felt really out of place yesterday. On top of the large size of about 20 the instructor said that he was moving the class from beginning 2 to elementary and had been at elementary for a couple weeks. My main thing was that elementary was a lot faster, while I know the terms, the music was a lot faster than what I'm coordinated to do so far. I spoke to a person there on the phone and they said that most likely I'd have to do a professional track somewhere to get more individualized help of which they don't offer.

 

I was wondering are classes typically smaller other places in your experience or is it really a rare thing that I'm after? Also is she correct? In general are classes typically larger?

 

Thanks,

Natalie

Edited by silentlysailing
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A class of 6 is quite small, most I've taken as an adult have been in the 10+ range. My understanding is a larger company's open class often will be on the larger size but they have the studio space to support it. I don't expect personal attention each class and some places I've been seem to do mostly general corrections to the class. Of course it is preferable to get some hands-on and personalized attention but from what I've gathered from this board, it can be a little harder to find as an adult.

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6 is very small for a class. At my home studio, the classes in levels tend to average about 12-16. Open classes on Saturdays can have around 20. And I take at a very small studio with just one teacher. I have been to classes at the bigger studios in NYC that have 30-40 students in a class for ballet. When I was in college the modern dance and jazz classes I took would usually have anywhere from 30-40 students. (We had very large studios). Ballet was probably less, with 20-30 students. I think even with 20 students the teacher can do a lot but not as much as with only six. From time to time at my studio due to really bad weather or a holiday or some other event, there will be a class with only six but I don't think it would survive because the instructor/studio owner can't make enough money with only six students per class on a regular basis.

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I've found, just as a generalization, that many times when it's the first time I've been to a studio I won't get corrections. I think some teachers don't want to overwhelm you or aren't sure if you even want corrections. I've found it very helpful to talk to the teacher after class (if you can nab them in this case) and emphasize that you DO want corrections. A lot seems to depend on the teacher too, I would try a different teacher and/or level. In that big of a class the teacher may not have even known if you were new or not. Is it possible that the teacher is new or just there for the summer? I have one teacher this summer that has not taught at my studio, that I know of, but any new people there wouldn't know if she was a regular teacher or not.

 

In my studio which is associated with a professional company and has something like up to 1,000 students, our adult classes can run anywhere from 3 to 20+. Looks like for summer classes we average probably 15 or so.

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Agreed on the first-time situation. I've only had one teacher that would correct much to a new student in the first class. With that teacher, the more experienced a student was, the more attention they got on their first class. It was very intense for an advanced level student, but in a great way.

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I've been in a class of 6 and not got a single correction or acknowledgement. I've been in a class of 25 (all teens, too!) and had loads of corrections and acknowledgement. I'm currently in a morning class of about 15 or so, all teens, and the teacher makes sure to give me help on what she knows I need (and what I've told her I need help on). She's amazing. She's helped me accomplish in just 2 weeks what I have NOT been able to accomplish all year long in the small class.

 

I also agree that first timers, unless rank beginners, rarely get corrections. I notice observation on the part of the teacher. I recall my first pointe class with a new teacher this summer - she watched carefully all the way through, saying little to me. The next lesson, she was all over me about things I need to work on! LOL!

 

Also, too, some adult classes are run just for the exercise. I go to one class like that. Rarely does anyone get corrected. Sometimes there are whole group corrections, and there IS teaching, but the focus seems to be on just getting exercise in that class. The class is medium-large (depending on the day).

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Hi there,

 

I've taken at Ballet Austin since 2001, and the class sizes vary largely from 4 people to 20. Lately, with the construction of the new building, the Community School brings in a large amount amount of Ballet Austin's income and I do notice that the classes have grown the larger. But on the bright side is now there's a pianist at every class, and sometimes we get to use the big, bright airy studios.

 

As for personal correction, it really depends on the teacher. Some of the teachers will touch you and fix you. On Monday I had multiple pelvic corrections, with the teacher spending time with me personally to correct my turns.

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Ripresa, after seeing your post I guess I give it another try only dropping down to the other class and see if it works better for me. They may take me more seriously then. I guess that I'd have to get used to larger classes though. I may do the other class once in a while to really push myself some as that is part of my personality and my private teacher recommends it too in moderation. I'll stay on the watch though and continue with my individual lessons on the weekends and I heard that the only other studio that works with adults in college station typically has less than 10. They only have 1 class on saturday that I could attend and it was recommended by my teacher at A&M who teaches modern there.

Edited by silentlysailing
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Oh to have as many as six at a class! I have been back dancing since last September and only once have we reached more than six students (think there were 8 of us the one time). Twice I've been by myself and most times there are three of us. I keep waiting to hear the dreaded news the class is to be cancelled :wink: Small numbers do mean lots of individual attention though!

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I was in a situation at one point that occasionally it would be 3 of us, and even on rare occasion just me alone. I started to look forward to larger classes because otherwise I'd be completely wiped out after 55 minutes! I needed some time between exercises to catch my breath, fingers crossed someone needed a long explanation or correction. Having had more of a variety now of teachers, turns out the pace of those classes was much more intense than everything else I've taken, so it wasn't just me. :wink:

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