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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Multiple ballet teachers vs single teacher


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Hi all- I am wondering if your DC have 1 primary ballet teacher for the year or if they have multiple teachers in their weekly schedule?  Our school has had to change their schedule this term, and DD12 now has 4 different ballet teachers each week for 5 classes. Do you think there is a disadvantage to not having consistency from one day to the next?  It seems to me there would be positives and negatives to this, but I would love to know what your thoughts are. 

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Wow! Seems like a lot. My dd has two different people. 1 is a little more detailed oriented, but the other has more experience. So the balance is good.

She has the same teacher for Modern and Tap.

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Definitely too many teachers for a child of 12. Congratulations for getting your DC to ballet class 5 days a week at age 12. 

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Thank you, Mrs. V and DanceDaddy.  The issue is that DD's main teacher is out on maternity leave for the remainder of the year.  The school had a good bit of time to formulate a plan, so I thought that they would be able hire someone to fully replace this teacher.  I'm not sure about the details of why this didn't happen as this was not communicated to the parents, but we just found out that they are using existing teachers to cover the classes instead.  The good news is that I think the teachers are good, it just seems like way too many cooks in the kitchen for a young student.  At this point, there's nothing much to do except hope for the best, as DD is quite happy with the school.  I am disappointed though, as this is an important year in training and her first year of pointe work.  

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My daughter has always had several different teachers.  When she was 11 she had four teachers and it only make her stronger.  She's always enjoyed it and I think it makes her well rounded (granted I've got a military brat who is more well rounded than most).  As long as they are all teaching the same style I don't see a problem, it could even be better as the teachers may have different things that they focus on with one teacher who is more of a stickler for great arms while another is very good with feet.  I would hope that they communicate a bit.

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Thank you, meatball.  I'm happy to hear your dd has had a positive experience with having several teachers each week.   Yes, all of her teachers are teaching the same style and are very good, so I'm hopeful.  DD came home tonight excited to tell me about a correction that she's never gotten from any other teacher, so she thinks she will learn a lot.

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Oh, yeah, I should mention that... one of DDs ballet teacher was also out while having her baby. Sure, we had 2 weeks of "combining" classes. But, they also had  a sub some weeks and that teacher was GREAT.

Do I wish the school would have formulate a plan? ABSOLUTELY! But, at this point, I don't want her at a pre-pro school.

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My younger DD is 7 and she is taking two days a week. She has two different teachers. If she takes an extra optional day, that is a third different teacher. It is not ideal, but we are a small studio. In her case I don't mind so much because one of the two days she is in with the AD, so she is getting visibility.

My older DD is 13, (so I hope it's OK that I'm adding this comment here...I visit both of the age split boards) dances 6 days a week and has 5 different teachers.  One is just for Modern/Jazz, but the rest split the ballet classes. Two of them also teach Contemporary or Character. She has never minded the multiple teachers. Just like anything else, students learn differently, and sometimes one teacher will have a different way of explaining/visualizing a correction that clicks better for DD. On a more cynical note, it also spreads out the favoritism a bit, as different teachers seem to have different things that they prize in a dancer. Do I wish there was more consistency? Definitely, but it is our best option for solid ballet focused training without driving a couple of hours each way, so we work with it.

Out of curiosity, how many teachers would be ideal? Just one, or would two or 3 be OK?

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I don't know if there is an "ideal" that would work for all kids. I can say that for the past 2 years we had an absolutely WONDERFUL teacher, that really awoken the love of dance in our daughter. For that situation, I would want her ever day. But, every situation is different.

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My DD is about to turn 13, so I’m kind of bridging both forums. I hope that’s okay.

Last year, when my daughter had four technique classes per week she had two teachers. This year she has five (2-hour) technique classes per week and has four teachers (in addition to different teachers for modern, character and body conditioning). I have to say that it is working out well for her. All of the teachers are trained in the same curriculum but each has a slightly different focus. One class is taught by a male teacher and is usually entirely on flat and also includes intro pas de Deux. Another teacher is know for being a really great pointe teacher so that day they really focus on pointe. Another day they have a male Cuban teacher who is tough but really focuses on expression and purpose of each movement, if that makes sense. The other two technique classes are taught by the head of the school. Sometimes she brings in the first male teacher and they, together, work on partnering on pointe for part of one of her classes. She often observes parts of the other classes and always knows what is happening with the kids. She is an incredible teacher. It’s definitely been a tougher year for my DD, but in the best possible way. 

Edited by AB'sMom
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I think having different instructors for her regular ballet classes will be a great experience for your DD, so long as there is consistency as to who they are.  My DD12, who takes about 14 hours of ballet a week, has 4 different ballet teachers for her classes.  Having the diversity of several different teachers has been a wonderful gift for her.  Each teacher brings different strengths, areas of focus, and teaching styles.  This has really benefited her when she has a new teacher for an audition, master class or intensive.  She can adapt quickly to just about any new teacher or learning environment.   I do believe that consistency is critical for ballet instruction, but the fact that my DD has the same teachers on a weekly basis has brought the necessary consistency, at least in our situation.  I hope this is the same for your DD!  

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So good to hear more positives, thank you Desiderata and AB's mom!  And yes, she will have these same 4 ballet teachers each week consistently for the next 6 months.  I am hopeful that the teachers will communicate well with each other too, so that they can ensure the dancers get everything that they need.  I know that the senior teacher is going to do their exam prep work with them, another will focus more on developing their pointe work, etc...  DD will definitely have to learn how to adapt to different teachers' styles of teaching, even if their overall method/philosophy is the same.

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Mom de deux, I respond as a ballet teacher who has been teaching at a high professional level for almost 40 years. 

May I ask everyone to think a bit. Do your 12 year old children have a different teacher on a daily basis teaching them in math, history, science and language arts? Do they have different teachers/coach in a particular sport they are seriuosly pursuing?

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Same teacher for the third year in a row (3/4 classes this year).  I trust her teacher.  She knows her well having worked with her for almost 3 years.  I think it's beneficial to have the same teacher (as long as they're a really good teacher).  She knows her so well, before the year begins she already knows what she plans on helping her achieve for the next year.  As vrsfanatic pointed out, it's common to have the same teacher in a serious sport.  Students seek out a private coach and work with them day in and day out.  Think about ballet bio's, it usually includes the following "she/he studied under so and so".  It's usually one good teacher.  I'm not saying you can't be trained well with multiple teachers, but there's definitely a benefit to the teacher knowing your student well and them being invested in their journey.

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At our studio, dancers 11 and up typically have two or more ballet teachers, depending on their class load.  Minimum for beginning and lower pointe is two days a week but up to four days a week are possible.  Each day of the week is a different teacher, but they are usually consistent with who teaches on which day.  Other classes (modern, jazz, contemporary, tap, etc.) mean even more teachers although some do overlap.  When my oldest DD initially hit this level she was very intimidated by certain teachers so we would sign her up for the other days, but it wasn't until she started taking from all that she really started to grow as a dancer.  While following the same curriculum, each teacher does bring their own experiences to the classroom and therefore notice different things and suggest different corrections.  We feel that having multiple well-trained teachers was a HUGE blessing, and that it made all the difference in the world.  I wish we'd known that sooner for my oldest, rather than limiting her for that year and a half, but at least we figured it out eventually and will be prepared for our youngest when she gets there.  

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