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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Correct outward response to criticism


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We all have our good days and bad days, and so do our teachers.

Today, however for me, I believe was an off sort of day for both me and my teacher as well as several other people in class.


It was a morning class, and I am not a morning person.... ended up being late for class and when I got there my brain was still somewhere on the interstate.... I bombed the first 20 minutes of class, and the rest was almost decent...


So, my question is, teachers, how would you prefer your students respond when receiving a lot of criticism during class?

I teach mostly young children when I do teach, and I'm used to them saying/doing very off the wall things, and I try to be prepared for any kind of behavior, however I'm not sure what is preferred for a twenty year old...


Internally, I know the teacher is just trying to help me get better, and he is not letting my "off day" become the norm.

I think of an orange being pressed on one of those things.... at first it's full of juice and easy to squish, but as time goes by you have to press harder for it, and things don't get easier just because it's not the beginning anymore.

All throughout class today, I kept having to tell myself... "Think of the orange. I am an orange."

I appreciate my teacher, and what he has to say, even though sometimes it's not what I'm hoping to hear.


But what I'd really like to know is, what kind of behavior from the student, is most helpful for the teacher?


Note: Also, my teacher and I do not have the same first language. He is pretty fluent in mine, but sometimes I feel like this causes communication issues between us because I'm uncertain of what he's asking me for.

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I teach my students to respond politely with a smile or a pleasant thank you to corrections. Quite a few of my students do not speak English as their 1st language so there are often communication issues. Sometimes the misunderstandings can be difficult but we forge onward. We all have our moods, even teachers but it is best to leave our moods at the doorway.

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I agree with vrs about responding to corrections.


Howevedr, sometimes a student will smile, nod, and that is all.


It is of course also helpful for the person being corrected to immediately try out the correction. (space and time permitting)

(I imagine that most students who are studying fulltime do this automatically; but not everyone else knows to do so)


Sometimes I do have to gently remind my students that this is "allowed". :wink:



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The previous posters are right- nod and smile, so that the teacher can see that you understood that the correction was directed to you. Sometimes I add "I'll keep working on it" if it is a correction which will take a while for me to get right, so that the teacher knows that I have taken the correction on board.

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Thanks for your responses!

I've agreed with my teacher to take a private lesson since I have some catching up to do (ok, a lot, of catching up) but he really grilled me again today and through this process showed me that I have perfect turnout, now I just have to learn to use it correctly.

I'm very glad to be in a more positive class atmosphere these days, definitely.

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I was grilled like crazy tonight and so glad to be so! I went to my teacher afterward and thanked her for all the help she gave, asked a clarifying question about one particular correction and now know what to work on. It's pretty much the first time in months that I've had more than one or two corrections in class and I love it! I ALWAYS thank the teacher right at the time of the correction and if there's a chance, will try it out.


I recall as a girl, at the ABT intensive, being upset by the amount of corrections I had received. I was feeling "picked on." That was, until another student from the class, a fabulous dancer, came up to me and said she was jealous of the amount of corrections I'd received. She said that it meant that the teacher (respected Leon Danielian!) saw that I had potential and wanted me to use it. Totally changed my perspective of corrections at that time (I was about 15 or so).


When I talk to dance students, and my regular students, as well, I tell them this story and instruct them to thank their teachers for caring enough to take the time to correct them. That seems to sink in...

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What about corrections on things that are a long-term issue, like more plie or more turnout? Whenever I'm in a new class there's always this uncomfortable moment when the teacher tries to get me to turn out more and I'm like "sorry, it won't go any farther, please stop pushing because you're hurting me." And then my most recent teacher seemed to be getting really frustrated that she kept saying more plie and I wasn't doing any more plie. So I got upset with that, started stretching my calves a lot hoping that would help the plie, and ended up hurting them badly enough that I couldn't even go to class for a couple weeks :)


How should I address that kind of thing? I don't want to seem whiny, or like I don't want to be corrected at all, and I'm not very experienced so it's understandable for teachers to think I just don't know what's going on. But at some point the constant "more plie! more plie! more plie!" is just frustrating for everyone involved...

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It's time for a chat with the teacher outside of class. Write her an email or call to ask if you could have 5 minutes of her time and advice either before or after class. Then tell her that you're feeling some strain in your body because you want to please the teacher, but you're wondering if perhaps there is something you're missing in how to execute the movements she's asking for, or if she might be able to help you by showing you exactly what she needs from you so that you can produce for her.


Meanwhile, let's make sure that you're understanding what turnout it and how to use. Read this sticky and see if it helps at all: ROTATION & TURNOUT


And while you're at it, you might as well read this one on alignment: ALIGNMENT


And if all else fails, take photos of yourself doing a plié as well as standing in good ballet position and we'll see what we can sort out for you.

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Thanks! :yes: I will be sure to talk to the teacher when I'm back in her class (bouncing between school and my parents' house complicates things a bit).

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