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Youngsters in class


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I'm wondering how others on this board feel about having younger students in adult classes (by younger I mean, say high school students). I ask this because from time to time we will get a student in our classes that is probably 15 or 16. These students usually show up when their own schools are on break. I don't mind having them in class. Often they are quite talented and lovely to watch, and I figure I can learn as much from watching them as I can from watching "older" dancers. At the same time, I enjoy my little haven of adult ballet learning and it can be kind of intimidating to be surrounded by young, amazing dancers - so I certainly would't want the make up of the classes to change significantly.


However - This summer I noticed that there were several younger dancers who were attending local summer intensive programs who came to our studio for extra classes in the evening. Now, to take the adult classes these students need the permission of the instructor because, as i understand it 1) adult students and younger students have different teaching "needs", both from a physical standpoint and a social one, and 2) it's the instructor's right to determine who is qualified for their class. In a few instances I saw younger dancers become upset that they needed permission for the adult class, saying "I'm advanced enough", etc. In one case, a 14 year old was there with her teacher, who was quite upset that the studio wouldn't just let her in, since she was so advanced, etc. I have to say that I felt kind of uncomfortable with those students in class because they clearly didn't understand the intent of the class (to provide training to adult students).


Have others out there had experiences like this? How do you feel about mixed-age classes?

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Guest alpusachni

I honestly do not mind at all, at the studio I go to in the East Bay the classes are teen and adult. Now there are just "adult" classes too< I do only adult for a jazz and a tap, and I do mixed for 2 hip hop, ballet, tap and 2 jazz. I myself like the mixed because--at least where I go the adutls class i'm the youngets(I'm 25) and I am in class with women who are 40's and up and I have nothing in common with them(I'm single and childless) now they are great people and it's fun classes and I like them all--but I have more in common with people in my mixed class(it's ages 16-approx 29)

I also look very, very young for my age, I can pass for 17 so.... as long as everyone is working hard I dotn mind having teens or younger kids. I'm beyond the HS stuff--but I still remember being that age so.. I like to think of myself as somewhat as a role model for them(not dance wise) but attitude wise.

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Guest tournout



You make several good points regarding adult ballet classes that I never previously contemplated. For instance, I assumed the primary purpose of adult classes was to prevent us old folk from interfering with the pace of the advanced classes. I never thought about how such classes may potentially meet the special requirements of adult dancers, physically and otherwise.


However, I must admit that one of the greatest joys for me is to watch the talented young dancers that pass through our class from time to time. I find their youthful exuberance exhilarating!

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Guest BBNButterscotch

Hi.... i'm actually 19, which is younger than alot of the adults in my class, and i'm slightly more advanced (and on pointe). I do frequently attend the adult class, because i not only benefit from working at a slower pace, but I also feel inspired by the older students. There are a couple who are in their 40's or early 50's who are taking the class, i think it's wonderful that they still enjoy ballet at their age- and i think if they can continue it as they get older, so can I. While I can see how you might feel uncomfortable with younger students in a class designed for adults, just think- they might be looking up to you and getting inspired! :(

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I don't really have a problem with it so long as it's clear the class is for adults. By that I mean that the kids do not show up expecting to be the focus. If the teacher maintains the focus on the adults and doesn't go wild giving corrections to the kids instead, there should be no issue. I've seen teachers go crazy when teens who are good or have talent suddenly show up at an adult class. One teacher spent the entire class hoovering over one girl, ignoring the adults. It was pretty sad. Made me feel like I had nothing to gain or offer in her eyes. I don't go there anymore.


On a personal side, while I don't mind kids in class I do get a little self-concious about it. Maybe that's the wrong word, but it does make me more aware of my short-comings as an adult: my challenged turn-out, my short jumps, extension that will never be great. I hate being reminded of those things. It's not they're fault but just being there makes me aware of these things.

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I know what you mean about wanting adult time and a class geared to our needs. On the other hand, because of a lack of suitable adult classes, I end up "crashing" the teenagers' classes on a regular basis--so I guess fair is fair!

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In my school alll "adult" classes actually are mixed teen and adult. The age range at the classes I go to typically is something like 16-40 and up, and we get the occasional 13-14-year-old too.


I don't mind the teens at all. I think the athmosphere at the classes is very good, and the teens mostly are at the same level as the adults, struggling with the same beginners' problems. :)


Sometimes a more advanced dancer - teen or adult - shows up in a class, to catch up or to take a basic class or something, and I like that too. It's inspiring, and both the students and the teachers seem to realise that a beginner class is a beginner class for the beginners, no matter how many advanced people are present. :)

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Some people here on this board seem to take it for granted that a class should be designed differently for teenagers and adults. I cannot see how or why? :confused: Shouldn't adults be teached with the same seriousness as the teenagers are?


As for my school, some of the adult classes are combined with the recreational track teenager classes. (The professional track students have their own classes) To earn the attention of the teachers the key components seem to be a constructive attitude, frequent attendance and constant hard work in class. Talent probably also helps, but since I don't have too much of it I cannot really tell. :)


2 left feet mentioned self-conciousness. We had a common warm-up barre before performance at the dance camp with the professional track students and a few professional dancers who also took part in the performance. I was next to a 14 year old professional track student. I stopped any comparisons at halfway thorough plies. :)



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I don't think age matters too much so long as everyone is about the same level and committed to working hard. I do think that 'adult' should imply over-16 however.


When I was doing Elementary most of the girls in the class were full time dance students and we were all aged between 16 and 21. Everyone worked very hard because we wanted to be allowed to do the exam. Towards the end of my time at that school they put some very young girls into the class - they were only just eleven and had just passed their pre-elementary exams. They were passing the time before they went to a residential ballet school. They were very disruptive because they did not take the class seriously at all and were always showing off and giggling, and the teacher just indulged them - not sure why. I felt like such an old grouse for resenting their presence, but then, I was paying for my lessons and I didn't think there should be timewasters. After all, our teacher was very strict with everyone else!

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I did not mean to imply that adult ballet students should be taken less seriously. What I mean is that adult students do have special needs--for example: a slow and thorough warm-up!

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Guest DancerLegs

For me it depends on the individuals. I am happy to take class with anyone of any age who works hard and isn't disruptive. My main class is with college students. Some are quite advanced, some are not. Some are a delight to be around, some are a total pain in the neck. I must say, though, that I REALLY enjoyed my experience at camp with people more my own age - people with jobs, kids, mortgages, aging parents, issues other than "my parents are going out of town this weekend - should I have a party?"! It was lovely to be with people who have real life to contend with and still have the passion and joy for dancing.

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Shouldn't adults be teached with the same seriousness as the teenagers are?



Of course they should be - I wasn't suggesting otherwise :) What I meant was that adult students and younger students actually have different needs in class - remember that teenagers are still growing, after all, and their ongoing physical development means that the teacher has to pay attention to different things. I certainly take my classes very seriously, and the teachers that I enjoy and respect most are those that treat adults as serious students who have something valuable to contribute and have the same right to learn as any younger student.


As I said, I was just curious about how other people feel. For the most part I really don't mind when there are younger students in the class. I suppose I'm spoiled because my classes really are mostly made up of serious adult (non professional) students (ages about 19-50). I realized that this is probably a rare situation when I was on vacation a few weeks ago and took a drop in class at another studio. The class was about 1/2 teenagers who were pre-professionals, and most of the rest were professionals. There werwe 1 or 2 other "older" students (one much older than me). I really felt like I was the only one in my particular situation in that class - it made me really appreciate the studio I normally go to.

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If the teacher is good, I don't care who is in the class!

I have a story that i've been wanting to get off my chest. I was taking class with my favorite teacher (lots of corrections!). About halfway through class I noticed a couple peering into the studio, you could tell they were clueless about dance by the way they kept staring. By the time class ended, they quickly entered the classroom, stepped in front of the students talking to the teacher and demanded his attention.

They asked if their daughter could take the class (advanced adult class). The teacher asked if the child takes dance, they mentioned she was an Ice Skater. She had no turnout and no poise. At this point I excused myself, feeling sorry for the child and the stage mom.

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(about the difference in teen/adult class requirements)


luna and Boots,


I must confess I still do not see it. :) I thought a slow and thorough warmup at the barre is necessary and beneficial for everybody - including and especially the children as they are possibly less able to judge their limits themselves and good habits should be established when young. :confused:


I do understand teaching in spesific subjects like pointe for girls and partnering for boys should not be started too early because of bone development issues, but I thought the basic technique class structure and progression can and should be used for both adults and teens alike? After all, the combinations aim to develop certain things - in both teen and adult - so shouldn't the choice of combinations be more dependent on the technical and artistic strengths and weaknesses of invidual students than the age of students? :confused:


I feel really dense now. Intellectually, I can understand there might be differences, but I cannot think of a single example concerning the basic technique class. :( Can you be more spesific about the different things a teacher has to pay attention to because of growing students?



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  • Administrators

The basic structure and content of the barre is the same and should vary only in terms of levels, not ages. Teen students at the same level as adult students would do the same barre work, assuming it is correct for their abilities in terms of tempi and difficulty of the combinations. That said, I would not want children of any age in adult classes. There are some teens who are not "children", in the sense of a lack of attention and seriousness in class. Older teens who are there to learn and not to play should be able to work with adults, but I would not put 13 year olds in there.

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