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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Help! Having to change teachers... Excited but nervous!


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As it says in the title... I'm having to change teachers in mid-Aug when we start the Fall term here - and it's making me really nervous!! Warning - it's going to be long-winded! I'm sorry! I just feel I needed to share this with like-minded...

 

I'm pretty new to the ballet world -an adult beginner student- having practiced ballet only for half a year or so. For the past Spring I had the priviledge (should I say even luxury) of having a really wonderful ballet teacher - to me, she's been everything I could have asked of a ballet teacher: an experienced and knowledgeable professional; encouraging, kind and understanding of her adult students; yet at the same time always requiring us to work hard to the best of our ability in class. I had my mind set on being able to continue with her a few times a week as I had gotten used to now during the summer break - but now I just learned she will only be teaching our level once in a week! Of course, that's ALWAYS better than not having her class at all, but still... As I really don't want to cut back on the classes, I'm now facing the fact of having to find a new teacher. And the fact my current teacher has been so wonderful makes me quite anxious whether I'll be able to find someone as good, someone I like as much as her. I have already asked around and have actually found a teacher (in a different school though), who sounds very promising. I've heard only good things about her and I wish I could try her class in the summer, but seems like she's not teaching untill Fall time.

 

Nervous but also very excited at the same time..you know what I mean.. :helpsmilie: + :jump: ...? I'm excited of possibly being able to take really good classes from not one but two wonderful yet different teachers, enjoying the art of ballet while learning a lot at the same time. Yet, as I am such a beginner, I can't help but feeling nervous about whether I'll be able to cope with different styles and teaching methods, or am I just going to be a mess for the first half a year... :o I've had the experience of changing teachers quite frequently during the summer, while the teachers in my school rotate, and every time there's a new face, all of the sudden I kind of feel like I had just learned my first tendus...that is, struggling quite a bit.

 

I'm probably making this a much bigger deal than what it is...and taking it way too serious..?! It's just that ballet has brought such a joy in my life, and more things with it than I could ever have imagined...and having a good teacher, for me, is a major piece of the puzzle. I love learning, and the fact that there's always room for improvement and making progress in ballet, even for us adult students!

 

I'm sure most of us here have had to cope with teacher changes - how has it worked out for you, especially for those who are quite beginners as I am? Generally, what do you think, is it better to stick with one (or 2) who you know to be good, or is it better to try out more different teachers (and methods)? I would also love to hear the opinions of any of our wonderful BT4D teachers!

 

Well, I feel much better after having gotten all this out. Sorry it ended being awfully long, and thank you for bearing with me! :)

 

- Peppy

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Peppy:

Try to think about it as an adventure. I have always been of the mind that "you can't learn it all from one teacher". However, at the beginning of a dancers training, consistency is a good thing. As long as the two teachers aren't giving you drastically different technical information (there are certainly stylist differences between schools and methods) you should be fine. I don't see any reason to leave the teacher that you love because there is only one class per week. Add the classes with the new teacher...who you may love as well but for different reasons. You will find that different teachers focus on different things. I teach a class that focuses more heavily on port de bras, epaulment, the torso and the head than most teachers do...so if someone were taking my class along with another teacher's class who perhaps focuses more on the legs and hips, they would be a good compliment. (I do, of course, teach about the legs and hips as well...but my class is a bit "upper body heavy").

 

It's all good. Jump in with both feet and let us know how it goes!

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Wilimus post is so right on target it is uncany, and I can't give enough epmhasias as to how strongly I agree with him. Of course some personal expereince ( as several folks on here may or may not attest to) back up my strong feelings. . For reasons that will remain private, this summer I have been taking classes at several different studios, not at my regular studio ( where I had taken multiple classes per week for many years). I was reluctant, a bit afraid, and sure that classes at other studios wouldn't be as good, as difficult, or as special. Yes, 1 or 2 classes at new studios were somewhat disappointing, howver, 3 of the new studios/teachers have proven to be wonderful. In fact when I took class from 2 of the new teachers, both complemented, told me that they could tell I've had good training and knew what I was doing, which did wonders for my self-confidence. I'm not thrilled that now I have to go to 3 different studios to get what I use to get at 1 studio, but I am happier than I've been in a while. I just wish the new studios offered more adult/open classes.

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Hi Peppy!

 

I started ballet as a raw adult beginner two and a half years ago, so I can very clearly remember having the same feelings you are describing. Because I wanted to take more classes, that meant taking with different teachers, and that made me very nervous!

 

While it's good that you are asking around, I would be careful not to judge a teacher based on second hand information from others. Everyone has their own style of teaching and it may be helpful to remember that the primary objective of taking class is to learn proper technique and improve your ballet. Having a wonderfully sweet ballet teacher is definitely a bonus, but I know some teachers who are, shall we say, slightly less sweet in their delivery of corrections, but are brilliantly knowledgeable. I have learned that when a teacher gives a correction with a little bit of spice, it is usually done so to make an impact and to ultimately make me a better dancer. I would hate for you to miss out on a great teacher because of someone else's opinion.

 

I would suggest taking a few drop in classes to judge for yourself if the class is right for you. After all, I'm guessing that you started ballet because of a love for dance, not because you knew anything about your potential teacher, right? If you compare all new teachers against your first teacher, is it possible that no one else will measure up?

 

I think many beginners may start out with one "comfort zone" teacher, but to echo Willimus, you may love your new teacher(s) just as much.

 

For me, ballet is about learning to accept new challenges and facing situations with grace and a good attitude. Sometimes that means pushing myself to try something new, working on something that has been driving me crazy, or adjusting to new circumstances (like a new teacher).

 

So go ahead and try some other classes with new teachers. Be brave and push through the nerves of those first few classes. Otherwise, you might be missing out on a really great experience! :thumbsup:

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Took class at a fairly new place ( I've taken a couple of classes there in the past 2-3 months) and and after class while waiting for the bus home, I ran into the guy who played piano for class, adn he complimented me. I was on cloud 9.....hopefully it is an omen.... I guess I can assume it was a good class.....

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Thank you everyone, for your wonderful thoughts and encouragement! I'm sorry I haven't been able to get back until now; my computer crashed down yesterday and it took a while to recover (fingers crossed now that it won't happen again!).

 

Of course, all of you are so right about the fact that having different teachers (as long as they're good) should be really beneficial to one's learning - in fact, I'm quite excited about having the chance to experience new perspectives and new teaching styles. Thank you for your kind words, Willimus -like you said, "You can't learn it all from one teacher". So true; but I guess what made me somewhat nervous is the adjustment time one has to go through every time there's a new teacher. I suppose it will get shorter as I gain more experience as a dancer, but now as a beginner level student I feel it takes quite a while just to adjust to the sort of "rhythm" of the class (I mean, probably at least a couple or a few weeks). - But of course, that's not such a big deal if compared to all the good things a new teacher might be able to bring into my learning. Which brings me to the other thing that was making me worried - how can I find that really good teacher?

 

But really, I feel already quite relieved after writing this all down and hearing from all of you, so I think I just have to take it as a practical matter as well as an adventure (thank you, Willimus!), and go ahead and try some new classes. It's so true as you said Sharon B, I might end up finding too many teachers I end up liking and having to pick! And Tamaram - thank you for reminding, you are so right about it being better to try the class and new teacher myself rather than judging by what others' liked. In the end we all like quite different things especially when it comes to ballet teachers.

 

So again - I really appreciate all of your input! I'll let you know how it goes with my "finding my new close-to-perfect ballet teacher" and taking on the new classes!

 

:) -Peppy

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't mind trying out a new teacher. I usually find they explain something in a different ways and it just finally clicks.

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Just wait until to find instructors you really like but they teach for different studios in the same time slot. 7pm Wednesday evenings is always a tough decision for me.

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