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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Class Pacing


ami1436

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A week later, I'm back. I didn't make it to class on Saturday due to the hurricane, and ended up working late on Monday... so, I went last night. The new 'year' has started at the studio, giving us a different teacher for each class and meaning that the classes are a bit more 'leveled.' For me, the teacher that I spoke of will be teaching on Mondays, so I missed it this week.

 

Last night was a great class. I felt worked just as hard, but also I felt like I had *most* elements of a good class. 90 minutes is a short time to cram everything in, so there are definitely trade-offs involved. It was interesting, because after class a few of the other people talked to me about 'what I missed Monday' and expressed the same feelings I have.

 

A few things to clarify:

The long barres I spoke of weren't just a one-off thing. The barres have slowly gotten longer and longer, and this is the most recent culmination.

I don't mind if class goes over, but the consistency of missing center or rushing through it is getting to be too much. I also don't mind a long barre, but again, the consistency of it was draining.

 

We've noticed a few other things going on -- no new exercises for a long time, etc. etc. This is starting to make me think that something is going on. We are a relatively friendly bunch, so I think I'll try to at least 'check in' or so, and drop that we miss the fun 'center' combinations, etc.

 

Thinking more concretely, I think that both teachers and students come to class with different responsibilities. For a teacher, I think one of the biggest ones is being appropriate for the level of dancer you are working with, and I think that is part of what bothered me the most. I do think there is something about pacing as well. It's one thing if a 10-minute center is occasional. But, for example, especially with the advanced class, barre could efficiently be shortened without eliminating any exercise, but rather by limiting demonstration. If the combination is two slow grande plies in each positions on both sides, and the music is very slow, demonstrating that in full, to both sides, is probably not the best use of time. And no, I'm not exaggerating. Every barre exercise was shown in full, most often to both sides, and then usually with a talking-through it after.

 

And my last comment.... I've been with some horrifying teachers in the past (this one not included, at all). It makes it hard to automatically trust someone just because they are the teacher if you have seen/been subject to some downright dangerous training.

 

Alright! I'm going to stop venting now because I had a great class last night and am looking forward to Saturday! I will report back about this particular class should there be any developments. :sweating:

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On the other side, a friend reports taking a class which had one plie, one tendu, and one fondu exercise, then immediately into petite allegro. Ouch.

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Well it could be that the teacher is going through some rough personal issues and has not been focused enough to work on his/her teaching, and is just falling back into very uninspired classes. Slightly off topic, but in that way teaching is a very difficult job because unlike some others, when you are "off" the whole class is aware of it. They may not know what the problem is but they know something is not right. You can't just go into your cubicle and play on the computer on an off day. Teaching dance is even tougher because if you have something wrong physically and you usually demonstrate or dance with the students, you may just not feel "right" standing there and talking. It is like performing when you are not 100% or have something personal going on--you have to put your personal stuff in the back of your mind and just not focus on it, so that you can deliver your class (or go onstage). Once in a while it is not a big deal, but if you have a big problem in your personal life, repeatedly having to put it out of your mind to perform/teach is draining and stressful. :sweating:

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Yup, I'm a 'teacher' by profession too.

 

I actually think in this case, again because we know each other well (which in part is why this has been such a surprise), it might be that the personal life is now much better and happier.... :sweating:

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Demonstrating the entire exercise? Yikes. Even with some of our Grade I littlies they didn't need total demonstration. In fact, one of the things I love about ballet is how smaller, basic exercises need only demonstration (or talk) through one position. Plié, grande plié... lather-rinse-repeat in the other positions. Tendu, 4 en croix, lather-rinse-repeat en de dans - and onward! I think I prefer that for easier exercises so it could get right to the poking and tugging manual correction part! :D

 

Perhaps the teacher has noticed that the more beginning students still need a demonstration? I'm one of those "slow" in the head students when it comes to remembering long combinations. I still write variations down by hand (no notation education, so word for word) and then save them on my computer for the hour that I inevitably forget what I just learned.

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