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Can someone explain what this "attitude" move is supposed to l


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In a large very beginner class yesterday, the instructor (who was wearing sweatpants, so I couldn't see clearly what he was doing), led us across the floor doing some type of move where (for lack of my knowledge in the correct terminology) he hopped on one foot with the other leg up in the air, then alternated legs. I couldn't see whether his forward leg was straight or bent-- he explained it was in "attitude", which of course, did not mean much to me as a beginner, but it was not appropriate to hold up the class for further explanation. I tried what I thought he was doing, with my leg up and bent, turned out, but I saw my reflection and I looked ridiculous, so clearly I was not doing it correctly. Can anyone explain to me (if you can interpret my terrible description) what this move is supposed to look like? I wasn't clear the exact position of the forward leg in "attitude"-- what height should this leg be at (the highest you can get it, or is there a certain height?) Also, should the leg be all at the same level, or is the knee to toe pointing downward? Is your body straight or leaning slightly back? I have a hard time copying the instructor when everything moves quickly and I can't see that well (because of his sweatpants and the number of people in class). Thank you!

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Kiki, if he has not taught you an attitude in class, first at the barre, then he can't expect you to do something in the center in a position you have not learned! If you don't ask questions, you will not learn, so do not be afraid to ask, no matter how large the class is!


I think the best thing for you at this time would be to see a photo of an attitude devant. Try the ABT dictionary on the http://www.abt.org site.


It sounds to me like he was giving you emboités in attitude devant. NOT a step I would give to beginners, and certainly not to a class that has not even learned attitude devant! :o

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Is this a "drop-in" type class, with no defined class start date, and students come and go as schedules allow?


This is the sort of class I attend, and while I'm very fortunate to have started very shortly after the class began, it can be tough for students to join mid-stream. I can't imagine what it's like for an instructor to teach such a class.


It really helps to do some research on your own on classical ballet technique. Not so much to try to teach yourself the movements, but to gain the "vocabulary" that will help you in class. For this I really like Classical Ballet Technique by Gretchen Ward Warren. With over 2600 photographs, it really helped me understand what was going on in class.

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Victoria-- I googled emboités in attitude devant, and that is exactly what it was, thanks for giving it a proper name, I never would have figured that out! This is a drop in class (albeit one with the name VERY beginner) and I have been going regularly for the last month-- we definitely have not done any type of attitude at the bar before. After watching some you tube video, it is clear there is much more to this step than the instuctor made it appear! I find all of the instructors I have been taking drop in, lowest level, beginner classes with really fail to explain center work, they just start doing some step (or worse, don't do it, but sort of "suggest" how it should be done) and expect you to just pick it up. I have really been struggling with this, as I need the steps broken down completely with the proper names given. I generally try to figure out what they were doing, google it, and watch a you tube demo, then practice at home. I ask questions now and then, but I find the general attitude from instructors in a larger class (and sometimes in the smaller classes) is watch and learn, not ask and learn. Which is unfortunate, because if they were able to articulate into words what they are doing, it would be far easier for me to grasp. Reece-- thanks for the book suggestion, I placed my order!

I am finally starting my 3 week intensive syllabus class tonight and I am really hoping it will teach me some of the center basics I have been missing. There are assistants in the class so I am hoping I can pepper them with questions!

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It is really too bad that you are in classes where the instructors do not actually TEACH the movements. :( I hope you can find some classes where you will be taught, and not just "given a class".

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Victoria-- I just assumed that is what all drop in classes are like-- learn by following, with some corrections depending on the class and general comments, sometimes helpful as long as I understand the movement. I've tried 5 different teachers and although I enjoyed some more than others, that element of no explicit instruction did not really change much. The good news is that my syllabus class started yesterday and it was absolutely wonderful. One teacher with 5 assistants for 19 students. The instruction is starting from ground zero where we actually learned the 5 positions from scratch, including the arms-- what a relevation! There is also a focus on proper class etiquette, which I love, as it is far easier to feel comfortable in class when you know the "rules". I was concerned with it not being a "real" beginner class, as nothing in nyc seems to be (the workshop is called Absolute Beginner). Indeed, the majority of attendees have taken the workshop once or even twice before and are not really "absolute" beginners-- but that did not at all affect the pace or make it more advanced than it is supposed to be. So I am really pleased that I will finally learn some of these basics that have eluded me-- especially my arms which have been flailing about with no consistent direction! So I will try to get as much out of this 3 week workshop as possible.

Incidentally, Victoria, it sounds like you would be a wonderful teacher! If you are ever "guest" teaching in the NYC area, please let the board know!

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I would certainly do that, Kiki, however it is not very likely to happen. And, I only teach upper Int. and Adv. levels, and teachers, now.

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It's bound to be more difficult to teach a class when the students come and go: if you spend too much time helping the new students the regulars may get bored, and if you spend too little you leave the new folk behind and lose them. Clearly this is not the ideal situation, and those more used to teaching youngsters or those on a pre-pro track may scoff at this, but when dealing with non-pro adults it's reality. For example, I've rarely missed a class since I started back in May, but for the next couple of months I'm going to be missing about every other week due to job requirements. Unless someone offers this 50 y/o a stable, full-time, dancing gig that pays senior engineering consulting rates, the job is always going to win out.


There can be benefits to the small, drop-in class. One is that our class is quite small, rarely exceeding 5 students. We get much more personalized attention. We're also cognizant that those who haven't been to class in a while may need some extra time to catch up. While there's a part of me that would rather be in a more structured situation, this is what my interests and work schedule permit. I'm glad that I'm not forced to choose between a formal, pre-pro program and not taking classes at all.

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Kiki, it's great that you have the workshop to help you along now. When it's over, you might explore some other NYC studios to find one with smaller classes and more beginner beginner classes. There's no shortage of options, and I really think you can find something better suited to what you need right now if you want it.


And read as much as possible -- here, elsewhere online, in books. Give yourself as much of a leg up as possible.

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