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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Teacher woes


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This year, our class had a new teacher, and I joined this class about midway after she arrived(was out due to injury). In the beginning I raved about her, I thought she was wonderful. She was very involved with the class, would tell us about new things that she had read up on, and was much more encouraging than the previous teachers I have had before. However after a few months, I felt like I was being ignored in class. I was obviously fumbling, but received no feedback at all. I let it go for a while, but at times I was so frustrated at the "invisibility" I was close to tears in class. When I asked her about my progress, she basically said my body was not good enough. Now, this is a purely recreational studio, and although I am in a children's class, the age difference is about 5 years, and honestly, the standard of the class is not high. This was the first time I had ever received any "elitism" from this studio, and I was quite affected.


I felt very upset about her statements(not because they weren't true), but because she said it in such a distasteful manner, I got the impression that she deemed my body too unworthy for any corrections at all. I haven't been back to the class since then, and have been debating with myself whether to return or not. The only pros would be the convenience of the class, and the company of my classmates. Since I've also been travelling to other states, I've been trying out classes in other areas as well. Surprisingly I find NYC to have the most welcoming atmosphere, no signs of elitism at all!


Honestly I don't know if I should give it another go to see if the situation improves? Yet I don't want to spend my money and not learn anything, because I think I deserve better. I am so afraid of going up to tell her though, I have no idea how to tell her I'm leaving, and why. She IS a good teacher to certain students , she truly goes out of the way for them. It is just so unfair that she treats me like this. :D


Should I even tell her I'm leaving? Or disappear and never return to this studio(which has never failed me in the past)? Or stick it out?

Thank you.

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Oh my goodness- I was in exactly the same position about six years ago! I kept going because I had another teacher at the same studio who did encourage me. The funny thing is that the teacher who never corrected me and discouraged me then didn't teach any class that I was in for about four years. When she saw me dance after those years she made a point of saying to me how much I had improved, and now when she teaches class she is very encouraging and gives me corrections. Now she sees that even though I don't have the right body, I work hard and do have the potential to improve (it just takes me much longer!). But it took time for both of us to get to this point- for me to improve and for her to recognise that.


That is what happened for me- I can't say whether the answer for you is to stick it out. Maybe speak to the studio owner?

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When I asked her about my progress, she basically said my body was not good enough.


I don't understand. Did she actually say that she wasn't bothering to correct you because you did not have a suitable body type, or did she say that you were not progressing due to your body type?

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I feel bad for you and I'm sorry that happened. I say run from that class as fast as you can. I think the psychological damage has already been done and even if she were to change if you were to talk to her, that will be hovering in the background and no one needs that in their psyche. Plus, if I had to guess, I would say she would be relieved if you left the class- she obviously isn't a good enough teacher for you- probably does even know really how to teach you.(people like to do what they are good at- so she is obviously not good at teaching dancers who are not born naturals-ok I exagerate)


Much MUCH more importantly, if you aren't being corrected it means you are doing things wrong and that takes a LARGE cummulative toll on your body. You may not feel it right now, but over time the errors add up and can turn into all sorts of chronic and acute injuries and it just really bothers me that you are not at least being given a chance to avoid that fate. What she is doing is very unethical imho.


I would find a class that feels better. I think ballet classes are a bit like men- you just know when it's right and you just know when its wrong. Maybe a lower level. I would be tempted to chew her out but don't burn your bridges- I would just walk away without an explanation-

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Sorry to hear about your situation. You pay for these classes and you deserve corrections for that. Run away from that studio and go to a studio where you feel happier there. When you feel happy, you dance happy too :)

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What does she even mean by the 'wrong' body for an adult student!? It seems harsh and unnecessary to criticize an adult student's body in a class!


I really like my ballet teacher as a dancer, teacher and person :) . He is usually wonderful and I get a lot of critique and correction but for the last couple of weeks, I feel like he has been ignoring me a lot. I am wondering if it's because I invited him to a little dinner party I was having, which he came to and seemed to have enjoyed a lot...but since then, he acts less nice to me than to most other folks in class....any ideas what that might be about...? We have had a few parties and other little social events and now I am not sure if this is wise as I feel suddenly so ignored in class and don't know what I can have done wrong, if anything. I try really hard and mostly people seem to like me at my classes. It makes me a little sad :thumbsup:

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Hi all, thanks for the support, it really means a lot to me. :)


Mazenderan: She just said my body wasn't good enough, while shaking her head, giving me distasteful looks that I was totally unprepared for, as I had never seen this side of her before. She told me not to stress and to just have fun. It seems to me that she concluded this about me a while back, when I started getting ignored in class, deeming me unworthy of corrections since my body is limiting me anyway. :( I don't think it is fair, I know I used to have better technique before I started this class and was left to myself.


Serree: Yes, that is exactly what's happening. I am getting worse, because the little mistakes are not being made known to me in class, and are accumulating. You sound like you understand me perfectly. I just don't get her attitude because we are an entirely recreational studio.


Chocakety: My self esteem has been demolished. I'm still dreaming of looking for a teacher/class where I can learn/dance in the right environment.


BlleFille: My body is not ideal and that is fine, but its most hurtful that she is prejudiced against me because of it, because I do not expect this to happen in my class, which is not that advanced, and in a recreational studio. By not good enough, she means my feet and turnout.

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I think that finding the right teacher for one has always been a dancer's challenge. What I did was that I did my research, go out and explore to decide who was the right teacher for me. One would never know without trying. :thumbsup: Don't let one teacher get you down. Like I said before on B4TD, I had a teacher who said that I never be flexible at all,never will get my splits and was born with "iron legs". Now I have guest teachers asking me if I was born with flexibility. Listen to Nike "Just Do It".

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I think you should find another teacher or a school. Obviously her comments hurt you. I do not have a ballet body and I am the first to admit--my feet are flat and my hips are tight and anatomically I will never be able to achieve a decent turnout. But It doesn't bother me. If a teacher told me that I would agree. However, I realize that not all, and probably most adult students are not like me in that perspective. Many want to take it seriously and not just "have fun."


I don't blame your teacher that much, although I do think you need a different teacher. The problem is that ballet was never really meant to be taught to adults--the way it has developed is that it is taught to children. It is a wonderful thing that many adults are now interested in learning it but that does not change the fact that the teaching methods that exist were made to work with children and that the majority of teachers have NO training or expertise in teaching adults who have not danced before. Throw in the fact that outside the U.S. even children who do not have a "ballet body" are not encouraged to take classes. The teacher is just a product of the system for training ballet. I do think that if one is going to take on the responsibility to teach recreational ballet and/or teach adult amateurs, that one should investigate how to teach adults (maybe take a workshop with Finis Jhung--who is someone in the U.S. who specializes in training adult amateurs). Not that the teacher would become a master teacher in it, as that takes time, but at least be aware that it is possible to teach an adult without turnout, great feet or flexibility---it will just not be the way or using the same corrections as what she/he is accustomed to.


I think that one of the teachers I have does not have a clue how to teach an adult who does not have "ballet" feet or body. He/she insists on doing the same thing as what would be done with children who would audition for a state run ballet school and take daily classes. However he/she would never tell a student that he doesn't have the X, Y, Z to their face, but have noticed that he/she does ignore a lot of problems. I think it is sad. It is almost as if adult classes are turning into a cash cow for some teachers and yet they are not doing their duty of trying to help ALL the students.

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.... However he/she would never tell a student that he doesn't have the X, Y, Z to their face, but have noticed that he/she does ignore a lot of problems. I think it is sad. It is almost as if adult classes are turning into a cash cow for some teachers and yet they are not doing their duty of trying to help ALL the students.

I agree. Frankly, I don't know how they sleep at night. I know it is probably a drag to have to keep correcting someone over the same issues, but umm..., it's their JOB! And if the person just won't correct their problem then they should be demoted out of the class or forced to sign a waiver specific to the error such as "I am aware I keep sickling and that it will really hurt my body", but even then I would say the teacher is still required to say at least once per class "Suzy you are still sickling". It takes 10 seconds to say that and most teachers I have seen have ample time to stroll up and down the barres saying nothing at all, so it is not a time issue, I know that for a fact. And some argue that lots of students don't want corrections. Well I say tough- they need to be corrected anyway. I am reminded of bar owners who sell booze to alcoholics- I mean it is legal but it sure isn't ethical.


I really think ballet teahers should be goverment regulated. Where I live, even the most humble little aerobics teacher needs standardized government certification, and yet for something as complex as ballet anything/anyone goes. And included in certification should be a course in ethics and formulated standardized approaches on how to deal with students who don't absorb corrections.


And fireflyer :

She just said my body wasn't good enough, while shaking her head, giving me distasteful looks that I was totally unprepared for, as I had never seen this side of her before.
. I mean, wow, she is obviously a narcissitic idiot. I mean that is something right out of a really bad movie. I mean, it is so bad it strikes me funny. Like, who is she? LOL, I mean, she sounds like a fool.
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