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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How Important is Consistency?


keepsmeonmytoes

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My 14-year old daughter is considering leaving her current suburban ballet school for a pre-pro school a little over an hour away. One of my many concerns (besides the commute and higher tuition) is the new school uses alot of guest faculty and I worry about consistency in her training. At her current school she has a primary teacher 4x a week and another teacher 2x a week. Occasionnaly, a guest will come teach a master class but this is in addition to her regular classes. So, I guess my question is how important is consistency? Is it okay at 14 years old to have a variety of guest teachers on a regular basis?

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Without seeing your particular daughter, it is difficult to say what she may need. Generally speaking by age 14 students may be able to handle more than one teacher during a week. More than that however may be confusing if the teachers are not on the same page so to speak. It might be helpful to know more about the teaching philosphy of the new school.

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More experienced students should be okay having more than one teacher. However, I believe consistancy is an absolute. With that said, there should be a 'main' teacher responsible for monitoring the progression of the class level throughout the year. It is also imperative that a syllabus is followed by all the teachers involved. All the teachers will have a different style, or personal touch I should say, to their teaching but the content and progressions needed to reach the class level goal should be consistent with all of them. A guest teacher is great to have on occasion but I would prefer to see that as a complement to the training schedule and not in place of a regular lesson unless it's only a couple times per semester. The guest teacher probably won't be teaching off the current syllabus. Even if they are familiar with it, they are not seeing the student consistently so by the time they determine where the students are in their training, the lesson will be half over at best. Quite frequently, this results in the guest 'giving' a wonderful class as opposed to 'teaching' a lesson consistent with the syllabus. Guest teachers are an asset but as a complement to training. As Miss Schneider mentioned, it's hard to say without knowing the schools training philosophy.

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Thats interesting as we are starting to look at colleges, and one in particular has at least 5-6 ballet instructors throughout the semester, and from what I understood change daily. They claim it is good to be versatile and more marketable for different styles at different companies, but Im not sure if that is the same thing as continuity of technique?

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With colleges, it is difficult to say because it depends so much on the program, but with that many teachers, I would wonder what they are working on. Are they trying to get students to improve and make progress or are they just trying to expose them to many different points of view? The one is more useful for students who are trying to become professional dancers, the other is better if they are going to be, say, dance theorists or something like that. At a professional level, yes, you do need to be quite versatile, but it is more than possible to train dancers to be versatile in an organised, well thought out program of study. I will also say that from a teacher's point of view, it is rather difficult to plan lessons when you walk in once a week not knowing what other teachers might have done with the students in the meantime, and the teacher also does not get the chance to work on concepts or corrections in depth when there is so much time between lessons.

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Thats interesting as we are starting to look at colleges, and one in particular has at least 5-6 ballet instructors throughout the semester, and from what I understood change daily.

 

Sparky, you might clarify with the school what is meant by "change daily". My DD's former school had that many instructors at a time, but each class level had one or two "regular" teachers, plus they had "rotisserie Fridays" so that the other faculty members rotated to a different class level once a week. This exposed the students to the benefits of each individual, but kept the continuity (and responsibility) intact.

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