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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Raising My Hand in Class


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In one of the classes I help out at, there is a girl who asks LOTS of questions. All of them are good questions; she's not asking the teacher to repeat things that she's said. But I find that they seem to stop the flow of the class.


When I have questions, I sort of divide them up. If they pertain only to me ("Could you please elaborate on that correction you gave me earlier?"), I ask at the end of my class when there isn't a class after mine, so I don't feel I'm taking up someone else's class time. If they're questions with quick answers that are more general ("are we using the head with these tendu?"), I tend to ask them as soon as the exercise is over. I don't like asking too many of those at once, though, because again, I feel they interrupt the flow of the class if I ask more than two or three. Sometimes, I "store them away", and ask at the next class.


I have lots of questions, because I adore theory and like to see how all of the steps and positions are connected in families, or when they would be used. I love knowing rules like the rules of the head.


So my question here is, how many questions in a class are too many? Am I just imagining this breaking flow?


Thank you for putting up with this rather long-winded post! :flowers:

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It's difficult to give an exact number, but I will say this: teachers love students who go the extra mile to figure things out for themselves instead of relying on the teacher for everything. My strategy was always to see if I could answer my question myself using logic, common sense, and what I already knew both about technique and that teacher's preferences. If you've thought through the problem and still cannot come up with an answer that makes sense, you should ask for clarification at a time when it won't disrupt the class (which it sounds as if you are pretty good about doing).


If you have a question about the specific exercise you're doing, though, it is better to ask before the combination begins so that if you get it wrong, the teacher doesn't think you were just being inattentive.

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I do usually try to answer questions I have myself, but there are always the ones I need help with... :)


I tend to think of questions as I do the movement, so what I meant by that was I wait until whichever side we're doing is done, then sort of sandwich the question between the first side and the second side.


Thank you!

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Ascballerina, I have the same issue as you.

I'm generally a pretty inquisitive person too, so I have a lot of questions in class. Some of them are more general (how many counts is this step normally for example.)

For those, I try to only ask if I need to know for the combination, or ask after class like you do.

But I do agree, too many questions can be distracting. If you need to understand a combination and just aren't getting it, then I think those questions are fine. If those questions are less related, then they definitely do cause a distraction-but I also may be imagining this flow.

Hope this helped! :)

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Yes, those general ones are the questions...Is a dévelopé usually done in four counts or two? Can any three steps linked be called a pas de bourrée? Does first position of the arms actually touch your thigh when you pass through it? (I'm getting excited just thinking about it! :hyper: )


On the upside, those are usually the questions I only ask once, since they tend to be universal rules unless otherwise stated, at least in exams and the free classes my teacher gives us. :)

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  • 1 month later...

I tend to ask a lot of questions. It's not that I'm not paying attention, it's more all the other girls in class are always talking and I cannot hear what the teacher is having us do. Sometimes I feel like a nuisance to the teacher, but I'd rather be a nuisance than not be able to do the combination when I couldn't hear what she wanted us to do.

So, I believe there are times when questions are okay, no matter how many, and other times, too many is not.

I have the problem where I second guess myself and tell myself that I am wrong, when in reality I am correct. My teachers tell me that I second guess myself a lot and I'm working on fixing it. :blush:

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  • Administrators

My question would be, Beatlefeet63, why are all the students talking? If there is no discipline in your classes, it's time to seek another school where there is discipline. Talking in ballet classes is not allowed, and certainly not when the teacher is explaining something or correcting or showing. Very, very rude, but it is the teacher's fault for allowing it.

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The rule for our dance team at the studio is, you HAVE to take ballet in order to be on the dance team. Most all the girls hate Ballet, but yet, want to be on the dance team. So they disrespect our teacher by talking throughout class.

Our teacher does discipline them, several have been not allowed to take class that week, or she addresses it every week. Even the owner will come in and address it to the girls, they will listen for one week then start up talking again.

I take classes at Ballet Austin on the weekend for Ballet and Pointe, but can't bring myself to leave my studio yet. My ballet teacher there has helped me a lot, and is my favorite. She is amazing. I just wish the other girls would learn that and stop talking to see it.

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  • Administrators

If you are serious about ballet, you will change studios.

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Ms. Leigh, thank you. Just by saying what you have, you have given me a lot to think about over this past week.

I have decided to switch studios when the end of this school year is over and going to go to a very professional strictly Ballet studio. I feel it should be so much better than where I am at now.

Thank you!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tend to be on the shy side most of the time and let others ask the questions, but I normally pay attention and don't feel the need to ask questions. My modern and contemporary classes tend to be a bit less strict than ballet classes, and often times there are girls that raise their hand and tell about personal experiences or ask questions that just seem to slow the class down, and a lot of the time it seems like they do this just to get attention. I try to just ask quick questions that the teacher can answer in a few seconds in class and save questions that could cause the teacher to go into a 10-minute lecture for after class!!!

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Yeah, I understand the personal lifes things. A lot of the girls in my class do that and I feel when that happens not a lot gets done. Quite frustrating at times.

I try to ask the questions that take 10 minutes to explain for after class, but sometimes I don't realize the question I ask has a 10 minute explainaton! :P

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Hehe, yeah I get that. Well, for example, I usually only ask questions about the steps in a combination or how a step may be done. Yes, these questions sometimes do get a 10-minute answer, but usually that's not the case for me! I've never really had to ask questions about personal injuries or issues that I may experience, but if I were to have those questions I'd save them for after class. Also, of course, if I had a question that really doesn't relate to the class at all (if I can't make it to the next class, or if I don't know when my rehearsals are) I would definetely save it for after class! But, you can use your judgement, because a lot of the time using common sense is the way to go! :wink:

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  • 8 months later...

I know this conversation is old, but I have another question related. I am very serious about ballet, and I love to ask lots of questions about technique. Whenever I feel like I've asked the maximum amount that's appropriate in a large class, I stop. But I always think of more. I decide to ask him after class, but I always forget the questions. And my teacher is usually starting another class. Any advice?

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