Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Religious Music in Class


Recommended Posts

So recently in my pointe class, my teacher, who is a wonderful and very sweet person as well as a great teacher, played a very religious, fairly modern Jesusy piece of music TWICE in one class for floor work combinations.

I know for a fact that she is highly religious and I am an atheist and find it a little bothersome..as it kinds feels like she is trying to convert or something, if you know what I mean.

Am I just being petty to care about this?

I find that I dance better anyhow when the music is dramatic and classical or motivating in some sort of way and this just makes me feel weird and not inspired to dance atall.

Confused as what to think or to say anything atall to maybe the director about religious propaganda in the dance studio....

Link to comment

Being a Christian myself, I can understand your feelings. But I would not call it propoganda or "Jesusy". Probably about as much offense you took to the music, I take as much offense to you calling it propoganda and "Jesusy". However, that being said, I would simply have an open private discussion with the teacher. She may not even know that it offended you. Most of the time stuff like this is a simple misunderstanding. If she chooses not to change the music, I would obviously then bring it to the director of the school and if nothing is done, I would then say you have every right to not go to the class.


Sometimes though, studios are very open about being Christian and have signs or banners around the studio. Is this the case in this establishment? Doesn't seem like it is from your post, but I have come across several studios that are Christian based and it is very open to everyone who enters.


I hope this helps a little. Good luck.

Link to comment

Thanks..I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend...I really was just trying to think of a good description.

The studio is DEFINITELY not religious in any way that I can see. I grew up as a catholic in Ireland very strictly and am a little weirded out by it now...

I was surprised to hear this music in class as we usually have more traditional classical type music.

I am sure that if I asked her to not play it, she would be ok anbout it but I don't want to hurt her feelings and like I said I love her class and feel her to be a great teacher and REALLY don't want to stop going. There are very few of us who already go and that would hurt more I think.

Link to comment

Maybe suggesting that lyrics are distracting and that wordless music works better for you might help? Many classical pieces are religious in nature, but it's not so obvious. Bach comes to mind.

Link to comment

If it's only happened so far in one class, I'd let it go for now. This time of year is religiously significant for some people, so maybe that music inspired her this week. If it happens a few more times (especially in the new year, once Christmas has passed), I think it's fair to mention it to the teacher.

Link to comment

I think I would find it tiresome if she had been proselytizing week after week, but I think it might well be a one-off due to the time of year. Maybe give her the benefit of the doubt for the time being?


On a more general note, it makes such a difference when you have a particularly good pianist or a very musical teacher. One of our teacher who covers sometimes brings in a pile of classical cds, and it's such a treat to move to lovely music. On the other hand, one of the other cds used in class has the most awful version of the Meditation from Thais - with the timing all mangled to suit the exercise. It's such a beautiful piece of music, but this version is like nails down a blackboard - and it leaves me in a bad mood when we finish developpes at the barre! :D

Link to comment

Yes, propaganda should not be mixed into the arts. It is bothersome to say the least. Perhaps you could look at it in a more professional point of view if your teacher doesn't comply with your complaint? That is work at it as an artist would and see beyond the propaganda. I'm a beginner and I have to dance to kiddie music all the time which I actually quite enjoy. I find myself focusing a lot more on the steps than I do to the music being played anyhow. But that is kind of weird dancing to convert the audience. At least with Bach one would be dancing for a god or for a no-god which is quite different. And I think atheists and Lutherans alike can enjoy Bach.

Link to comment

Thanks all...and if it's Bach or Mozart I am not complaining!!!! I enjoy beautiful music no matter the source but this was just modern Christian music...not classic or dramatic at all!

I can let it go if it was just a one off for sure...but will not be too happy if it keeps happening...so we shall see !

It IS probably true that it is the time of year:) That's cool...if it is the case...

I am a very easy going person about most any music in class....including " Ding dong the witch is dead" or "I'm getting married in the morning" both of which are played to death...! And even "Nobody does it better" from James Bond...but would prefer not to hear about how much god loves me in class:) It's not musically arousing to say the least! :) I need to feel passion for the music or at least not turned off :)

Link to comment

Yeah, let's not forget that religious music and overt themes do play a prevalent part in ballet - also, Rachmaninoff created some amazing "Jesus" music. As for offensive or being called propaganda, I'd say choose words wisely - I am not religious as well, and I listen to what other people regard as terrible music. I have a hard time understanding how other people just cannot tolerate the organized noise I call music (NIN, The Cure, Bauhaus.. early 80's stuff). Then again, my husband feels the same way. He likes bands like Dave Matthews and Mountain Goats, and I simply regard them as noise pollution.


If you have a problem with it, you really shouldn't feel like it's out of bounds to speak to the teacher privately. I went to an open class once that played "regular" music (non barre, non ballet) for the entire class. I could not get into my groove, nor did I enjoy it. I danced poorly because of it. It's dumb, considering I should be able to dance to anything the director wants me to dance to, but I couldn't handle doing barre to the Beegees, random country music, and other 1970's-80's hits. When the teacher asked if I would come again, I was quite frank about the fact that I probably would not because I couldn't (not these exact words) stand the music. The teacher responded by saying that sometimes, the Guns n' Roses seemed to make people kick higher in their battements. I didn't agree, but we were mutually respectful that a.) I was a guest and probably wasn't coming back, b.) his class was already used to it and probably came back weekly because they liked it, and c.) what bothered me didn't bother other people.


Hopefully your teacher can come to an understanding with you and compromise!

Link to comment

I highly doubt the music was an attempt to convert you. My guess is she didn't have any intentions of offending and just picked the music because she liked it or thought it fit with a particular set of moves. Being able to move to variety of musical styles is important as a dancer. As another poster mentioned, there is a lot of music that has religious undertones that you may not realize. If it is a continuous occurance and it really does offend you, then it would be ok to mention it to her. It think it is fine you choose to practice atheism, but part of it is tolerating other's belief systems as well.

Edited by kr12
Link to comment

I agree with all...and I DO respect other's beliefs...I really don't care what folks listen to but would rather not hear overtly religious music in class unless it is very beautiful music...and I ADORE Rachmaninoff too!!! WOW! To dance to some of that would be amazing!!!!!

Overall...the choice of music leaves a lot to be desired in most of the classes I take ;)

The worst of all one day was a selection of Elton John 80's stuff....i could barely dance, like LaFille mentions...I also could not get into my groove...


Maybe it would be ok to bring music we like to class...though how would it work for length, timing etc. ??

I really wish our school could afford a piano player!!!

Link to comment

Like others, I would counsel you just to let it go.


It is irritating to feel preached at, particularly by evangelical religious people, who tend (I find) to err in a sort of spiritual pride in imagining that others need their evangelising. But if it's just the music, and in Advent, then I'd let it go. If your teacher tries to evangelise directly in or out of class, then I think it'd be acceptable to say something.


But she probably doesn't realise that what she's doing is potentially irritating or even offensive (see my comment re spiritual pride). She' maybe so happy and convinced of her beliefs, she just can't understand that others may not see it the same way. But I think real tolerance is trying just to let it go ...


Of course < grin > the problem sometimes is that modern Christian 'popular music' is not Bach, Mozart, or Rachmaninoff. It's often really cheesy annoying music. But it's Advent, and that seems to be the time for cheesy annoying music -- Christian or otherwise -- and there's a whole world of cheesy annoying bad music out there for us to "enjoy"!

Link to comment

Agree that it sounds like the problem is probably more that the music is bad (and has vocals) as much as that it is religious--I personally would find vocals distracting in almost any case. If the [bad vocal religious] music persists into the new year, you might want to speak with the teacher and ask if she could use something more "traditional" and less "distracting".

But all of this does take me back :offtopic: to the pre-Christmas class where the entire center was Celine Dion songs. OTOH, I have a teacher with a really excellent musical ear who will sometimes throw in a little Led Zeppelin. :mondieu: It was actually quite fun. But like I said, this teacher has a good ear and chose the steps to match the music.

Link to comment

A couple of years ago, my Saturday teacher made up his own CD for class, with a mix of standard ballet music (Chopin, Schubert pieces and so on), but also some contemporary stuff. Not Christian as such, but Christmassy and cheesy. It became a running joke that my facial expressions during these songs were a sight to behold (I think I may have groaned a bit as well!). Before we finished just before Christmas, my gift was -- the class CD. It was a running joke in which I think he got the best punchline!

Link to comment

Oh Christmas music would be fun, don't you think? I've been sharing transporting dancers to and from the nutcracker and they seem to really like singing along to the christmas station and I'm not allowed to touch the station. On the other hand, the contemporary vanilla christian music can get really annoying--I cantor at church and can get really tired of it.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...