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

What makes your teacher/s special?

Recommended Posts

I just found a few weeks ago, that my teacher actually pays for our rehearsal studios. After each of our classes, we normally do an hour of 2 hour rehearsal. I thought nothing of it, until my teacher said something about being charged incorrectly for the studio rental. So I asked her 'You mean you pay for our rehearsals?", and she said 'yes of course'. We do rehearsals for benefit performances, so none of us get any money at all. We pay for our classes of course.


Even this morning, I got an hour before class with her, where she taught me the Lilac fairy variation, and she didn't charge for it. She does so much for not just me, but for all her other adults.


I think I should buy her something nice, but I know she doesn't eat chocolate (of course:rolleyes: ) and wine..no no..so I'm thinking I should get her something nice (whatever it is) just to show how much I appreciate her and her efforts to help me dance. Its totally amazing that she does this and I'm kind of lost for words in admiration of her.

So I guess this makes her special, the way she would give up so much of her time and money in order to help us dance. Totally amazing.:)

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Well, I absolutely love it when my students give me wine! ;) :)


Another very nice thing they do for me sometimes is gift certificates, like for Starbucks and Lord and Taylor :cool:

Link to comment
Guest DancerLegs


Something tells me you must be referring to Kathy. She does seem like a very special lady. I've only had a couple classes with her (I live in Illinois and occasionally have the chance to come to SF) but she impressed me as totally dedicated. I think gift certificates for food-y things are a good idea - they always fit!

Link to comment

How about a nice bath set with epsom salts, a candle, etc. All of us need to relax those muscles once in a while. I gave this to a teacher once and she loved it. Gift certificates are a good idea too.

Link to comment

Oops - forgot to add my two cents on the "what makes your teacher special" part. I've had several good teachers, but the thing that has stood out for me for one in particular is the way that she treats us like professionals. I remember when I first started taking her beginning class (now I take intermediate with her) she would always say things like "professionalism isn't what you do on stage, but how you treat class" and was always pushing us to do MORE. I was surprised at first because I thought - does she think that I think I'm a diva? I'm never going to be a professional dancer. But then I came to really appreciate it. If she hadn't planted the seed I might have continued to just take one or two classes a week rather than going on to take more and more and become totally obsessed. :(

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Sorry, Jeanette, this seems to have drifted off into a topic about gifts instead of your original intention in terms of what makes your teacher special. Let's get it back there!


I had a number of wonderful teachers throughout my training and career. They were all special in their own way, but there was one who gave me so much beyond just ballet technique, although she certainly did that too. She trained me to teach, which was the most important of all. She also introduced me to other forms of dance by bringing in guest teachers, gave me excellent performing experience, taught me stage make up, acting, and was highly influential in developing two very crucial things---the ability to THINK things out, to question and analyze and develop them, and, she gave me the confidence to do it all!

Link to comment
  • Administrators

We were writing at the same time, Boots :( Thanks for bringing it back to the original topic!

Link to comment

Sorry - I forgot that bit as well!


My two favourite teachers (who I left behind in Scotland - alas) were special for the reason that they were both extremely encouraging. While they never gave me unrealistic expectations (for example they never made out that with just a few more lessons a week I'd be a professional!) they always made it clear that I was welcome to try anything at least twice.


The second one, who I went to for RAD Elementary, was simply lovely. This was at a full time dancing school and she said I could only do it if I went to all the classes she taught. I did, and at first I found it so hard. I could have given up but for the fact that although she was quite strict she would always say, 'Come on Kate just try it once more.' And even if I didn't get it for a month or six months I always wanted to try, because I was always scared that she would say that maybe I shouldn't have gone in that class after all. The result was I worked so hard I got much better much faster. The best day was when I did the double pirouette exercise and managed one double, and then did the pose pirouette exercise and managed to finish it in the correct position!


I was very sad when she left the school and the new teacher, who didn't know anything about me, nor had she ever taught an adult beginner before in an exam class, acted like she thought I shouldn't really be there. A lot of the confidence I'd gained with the last teacher vanished, and I went back to my first teacher, from when I first started adult beginners.


In Elementary those were small achievements I know, and it was going to be at least another year before I was ready to think about taking the exam, but none of that, nor the basic strength of my technique, would have been possible without that teacher.

Link to comment



I'm sad reading your story, but know you will push through. She gave you all the foundation to apply elsewhere.






I have some really incredible people who are my teachers. Each one of them is special and unique. Their qualities are all quite different.


My primary teacher has a gift of encouragement, and my favorite way to repay her is to tell her what a wonderful teacher she is, and how much I appreciate her. I bring her flowers after the performance, and I buy books and videos and music for her for classes. We have a lot of fun sharing information. She loves the books I bring in, she is from Russia and hasn't seen many of them. If she really likes one, or some music, I give it to her and buy myself another copy.


My secondary teacher is male. He pushes the crap out of me! He has the best sense of humor, and so I make him laugh in class if there is a point to do it. My best way to give back is to really try to learn the difficult stuff he is helping me with - he will pay more attention to me when I'm actively learning, and breaks down complex movements so I learn them. He enjoys humorously picking on people, and I let him pick on me. Then he will give me a compliment and just stun me. The class is really advanced, we have adults of all ranges of learning, so he moves it to a much tougher level, but occaisionally stops and helps out the beginners. I think the best gift to give any teacher is to show up on time, be willing to learn, laugh at your mistakes and keep on pushing to learn, and let them see you sweating. Then THANK THEM.


I have two other teachers which I see occaisionally, due to summer, but will see in winter. They are both excellent. One is the studio owner, the other is employed by the studio. The studio owner is closer in age to me of all the teachers. We have a riot talking about things like menopause and the impact on our flab. She has a great sense of humor, and I could enjoy having dinner and a few drinks with her. She is extremely physically attentive, and is like a yardstick monitor when we are working. I just love her. She walks by with a stick threatening us with a whack for sloppy turnout or a butt out of line, but actually checks our alignment and gently corrects us. She is really focused on the physics of our bodies, and is incredibly talented in this area. She knows I started elsewhere, but will attend with her in between my commitments. Her small classes are just the right place for my learning, and her facility is beautiful. I should have started there long ago - stupid me.

Link to comment

My teacher was able to take me, a person with no dance background, and gently bring me into the ballet world. From the moment that I walked in on the first day I felt at ease. She is always there with an encouraging word and if needed gentle correction.

There aren't many guys in my school, in fact only 2. She always helps us move along and gives us, I think and extra push when needed.

My first year in ballet was trying. I am a security engineer and I specialize in aviation security so after 9/11 my job got really stressful.

My school became a sanctuary, and it was made a whole lot better by my teacher,who is always glad to see us and always misses us when we can't make it.

Link to comment

antbobby - you are lucky! What wonderful teachers. And you are right, I am beginning to find my feet (excuse the pun) again - I may find another special teacher too. You also raise the sense of humour thing which my favourite teachers all have. You know, when you do something wrong (petit allegro is where I lose my concentration!) and you can share a smile with your teacher not only does it mean it's not the end of the world but it also means they are paying attention to your work.


When I come out of a class where I've made lots of mistakes through (mental more than physical) tiredness I never feel bad if a teacher has noticed and made me try again. The worst classes are where you go, you pay your fiver, and you might as well have been following a video or tape for all the teacher attention you've got. It's not like I think the teacher should be watching me the whole time, the best teachers notice everyone !


mic31 - I really agree with you that ballet class can provide a sanctuary from the world. Of course I cannot imagine the stress you must have been under since September, but I do hope things are getting better for you now. However I think we must all share the same feeling that, in a good class, by concentrating hard on our own work, we can leave our troubles outside the studio door. It's a form of therapy really - I must admit I was quite depressed when I wasn't going to class. I was swimming daily to get exercise but it's not the same as the feeling you get from a good class at all. The ballet thing is not just about endorphins! I hope you know what I mean.;)

Link to comment
Guest DancerLegs

I think anyone who has been to the Adult Dance Camps would agree with me that all their teachers are special. Heidi (the intensive director) has really chosen a terrific group, many of whom actually say they prefer teaching adults. That is a real joy - to be consistently treated as a legitimate dance student, not just someone who wants a little exercise.

Link to comment

My favourite teacher is special for all the reasons that other people have mentioned. She's very encouraging, great at putting people at ease, takes adults as seriously as she takes kids, gets very excited when you finally do something properly, shares a laugh with you when you mess things up, and takes the time in class to attend to everyone individually, regardless of what level they're working at. Teachers like that are few and far between, in my experience!

Link to comment
Guest sidwich

I think the best things about my teacher are twofold. First, he's always pushed me to be the best that I could be at the moment, and not be satisfied with doing things "sort of okay," but to expect really good, clean work. Second, he's taught me how to self-analyze my dancing, so I can tell myself when I'm starting to get behind, or tensing my shoulders, etc., etc. I've found that extremely valuable.

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...