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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Etiquette Regarding Asking for Corrections

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Well, class size exploded today to have a dozen or more so I didn't inquire about possibility of corrections. However, did get to snag a few moments to get some clarifications which will help. I now have some advice on checking my knee alignment without destroying other aspects of alignment, and she did mention that from what she's seen it's not something that's really been an issue for me. I'll take that good news and use it to focus on building the muscle memo.

AncientDancer, there's certainly nothing wrong with coming for fun, but the situation you described would drive me batty!  I am glad that the teacher was able to recognize you were looking for more and able to offer suggestions for where you could get what you were looking for.

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I teach ballet to adults, and whenever I have new students, I always ask them what their goals are. Knowing what they want to achieve helps me decide how to approach them in class. Some students really want corrections. Others feel too shy, so I offer them corrections after class or I suggest additional private classes. Others just want to take class, and not necessarily learn anything new. Those I just leave alone or give general corrections to the whole class, hoping they will get something from them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi! I've been taking ballet as an adult for about seven years now and I wish I could go back in time and tell 'beginner me' about getting '1 on 1' private coaching sessions in the beginning. I think there's just so much for a teacher to deal with in an adult class including all of the pitfalls described by the other comments. It is soooo worth it to get even just one or two private lessons just to go over the 'how' and the 'feel' of proper placement and technique. It's such a specific thing to teach properly and I could have saved myself a lot of time and pain and 're-learning' if I had someone to work with privately in the beginning. Just another option to consider!

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I didn't even think that such would be an option, but last week I overheard her mentioning it as one of the other ladies asked about it. It's something that's been sitting in the back of my head as a possibility in the future. It's something I might consider after I can get to doing more than one class a week so that I can get more benefit from such an opportunity. I am absolutely taking advantage of being able to ask questions after class though.


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  • 4 weeks later...


my exprerience is that I get more corrections the better I am and the harder I work.

When I restarted three months ago after a four month break due to an accident I had in class, I was spared from corrections for a period of about two months.

My teacher knows the struggle of returning dancers after injury (she used to train professionals) and that experienced dancers can correct themselves (or even know for themselves where they stand). So she sees when someone is at near their old level and can make use of corrections to get beyond that.


The other way around it's clearly to see, that lazy students (that are more into wellness/dolly dinkle than becoming really good) get little to no corrections. It seems like students that try hard, regardless how good they actually are, get the most corrections.

At least from the teachers I know.

The teachers I know direct the corrections to the whole class, not only the corrected individuals. They even remind us regularly to always listen to the corrections that are given to other people.

Edited by Kalashnikov
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I hadn't yet approached her to ask about the possibility of corrections, but it did come up while I was talking to her after one of my last classes. During that class the outer portions of my hips tightened up immensely, to the point where I was considering leaving early if it was still that tight after stretching (or at least sitting off to the side to work on trying to loosen things up). Thankfully everything did loosen up, and so I approached her after class to ask how to best get them to release if it happened again, as well as hopefully prevent it. She ended up chuckling at me a bit, and explained that such was to be expected and a good thing. Apparently meant my front muscles had gotten a lot stronger, but also meant back ones were the weaker ones now and so took a vacation so to speak. 

After that conversation I mentioned I had started realizing that the more you got used to things, the harder it actually ended up getting. She admitted such and explained about it being because your body is learning to move and activate different muscles, but as it adapts to that it finds more that it learns to use which then need strengthening too.

But whole point of all of that was she had mentioned that she found that adults tend to learn better if she let them work it out on their own, and as long as she saw consistent progress in improving she tended to leave them be. Though if she saw any slide backwards, stagnation/struggle, or something dangerous she'd step in and give said corrections directly then. She also did mention hesitating often because so many adults get uncomfortable with the hands on stuff that corrections can often require. 

I did mention at I'm totally okay with it should it be needed, and even welcomed it. I was very happy to hear that she'd been pleased with the progress I had made and that every week she's seen noticeable improvement. Apparently so far I'm right where she'd be expecting me to be with the amount I've been able to make it to class.

I am going to see how school is this semester, and if all looks manageable, going to try to add a second class per week. I mean, almost as soon as class is over, I'm already counting the days until next week's class! Yeah, I'm hooked.

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  • 1 year later...

I just finished up my first ballet class and thought I’d share my experience here. I received a variety of corrections each class and they were very helpful (while sometimes overwhelming -There were so many things to keep track of! I have a whole new appreciation and respect for ballet dancers!)

As far as hands on corrections, the teacher always asked if I would like her to help move my body to the correct position, which was similar to my experience in yoga and Pilates classes. It was really helpful to feel the difference!

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3 hours ago, rane said:

while sometimes overwhelming -There were so many things to keep track of

I think this is why ballet teachers tend to leave absolute beginners alone a little bit in the early lessons, and let the beginning student gradually absorb the specific requirements of turn-out and alignment. I've also seen very skilled teachers give tiny corrections - a finger poked in the buttock, a hand flat on the upper back, which lead to huge improvements in a beginner's alignment. 

Hands on corrections (I think in yoga they're called "adjustments") are so important, as you say, Rane.

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Thanks so much for sharing your insights Redbookish.  They were so helpful! 

I’m so glad this forum exists with so many like you who are willing to share and help others on our ballet journeys! This forum helped me understand how integral corrections are to learning ballet, and to see them as a valuable thing instead of being embarrassed to get them. 

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  • 2 months later...


As the only man in all of my classes this year, and with a male teacher for only 1 class this year I have found the issue of corrections to be problematic but possibly from a different perspective. In the class with the male teacher, he has no problem giving me corrections, frequently hands on corrections, which I have never had an issue with, my thinking is, if I’m going to get better I need to know what I’m doing wrong and how to do it right. But my female teachers have often been reluctant to provide corrections to me, I am not shy about talking about this issue and have discussed it with my female teachers, the explanation most common I get from them is that they are unsure how I’ll take corrections and that they are honestly somewhat intimidated to do hands on corrections for a guy, so thru discussion I have assured them that when or if they feel comfortable grabbing my arm or leg to give a correction, that I will be nothing but great full. The key here is to have an open honest discussion and find common ground everyone is comfortable with. And I have definitely found that the amount time and effort I put into a class has a direct relationship to the amount of attention I get back, the teachers appreciate people that take what they are teaching seriously, they like to know that they are making a difference to their students.


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  • 5 months later...

Chatting is the bane of my existence! LOL  Well, some discussion has to take place for learning to occur. If the chatting isn't restricted to what we as a class are working on that valuable class time lost. Save general discussion for before and after class. I drive 55 minuets each way for an 1.5 hour class. It sort of burns me up to waste 30 minutes chatting.

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  • 5 months later...

In the midst of this virus, I found ballet again.  Unfortunately, masks must be worn the entire class, and the teachers cannot do physical corrections (6ft rule).  However, we can ask the teacher about corrections.  I am so grateful the studio is open and I am able to take classes, and since I dance for fun, corrections just aren’t that important to me right now.

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