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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Class Quality Doubts


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Hi, everyone!


This may be a silly problem, but it's something that has been on my mind for a couple of weeks. I am taking several classes at a few different studios. I have recently begun having doubts about the quality of one of my classes, and I am wondering if anyone here has experienced anything similar and/or has any advice.


My doubts began after I observed the class while recovering from a minor injury. I noticed that both the quality of corrections/instruction and the quality of dancing were not very good, unfortunately. I hate to say this, as the instructor has been very kind to allow me to take this teen class, but this is a pointe technique class, so I am especially concerned about the quality. Some of the things I noticed were confirmation of hints of things I had seen/felt while taking class, while other observations were new.


It may have simply been an "off" day for all involved, so I wanted to ask: What should one be looking for when observing and weighing the quality of class? As a current student in the class, what should I be considering?


Thank you for any thoughts you may have about the subject!

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Some of these things will be more important to you than others, but here are some questions you might ask yourself:


Are the teacher's instructions clear? Do you know what the exercises are, including use of the arms and head? Is it easy to pick up the sequences of steps? Do you have a reasonable idea of what you are trying to accomplish in each exercise? When a correction is given, can you implement it effectively (obviously this doesn't work every time!); when you do implement it effectively, does it help to make your dancing better? Have you been given technical instructions or corrections that contradict your other, more trusted teachers (or the teachers here)?


Does the class have good flow? Are the exercises choppy, or do they work well? Do they work well together? Does the teacher have and impart a good sense of musicality? Do you feel that you are dancing enough, or are you standing around more than you'd like? Do you ever/often have to skip exercises to make up for short/lost time? Especially as this a teen class, are any behaviour or discipline issues slowing down the class?


What is the quality of the studio in terms of the physical space? If the space has... limitations (support pillars or something like that), are those limitations minimized as much as possible by the teacher?


And, maybe most importantly, what are you getting out of the class? Do you feel that it helps you improve? Do you feel that the teacher is trying to help you, as an individual, improve?

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Another thing to look for would be the progression of the exercises. Do they start at the barre, with tendu or dégagé and things that work the feet for articulation, then progress to rising with elevés and relevés on two feet, pas de bourées, piqué action in some form, and then one foot relevés? And then pretty much the same thing in the center, especially in terms of two foot relevés before one foot relevés and pirouettes, etc. There should be a progression of difficulty both at the barre and in the center.

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  • 4 weeks later...

gav and Ms. Leigh,


I am so sorry that I have not thanked you both sooner for your insight! I have been on the board via my phone, but, for some reason, was not able to reply on the mobile version. I greatly appreciate your help and am now using your posts to help me evaluate my current class situation.


Thank you, again!

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