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Question about ballet class etiquette


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Hello! I haven't posted in a long time so I thought I would give a little update.

I have changed schools since posting last, and I have a few questions regarding class etiquette since this school seems to do things very differently from what I am used to.

They say that they run the school like a professional company even though we are aged 12 to 17. 

At every other place I have taken class or danced in there has been a much stricter set of rules, for example:

The more advanced dancers are in the front of the class when starting combinations, barre, and going across the floor, and people line up orderly in the corners, not crowding the dancers who are about to go. Also there is no talking when the teacher is marking the combination or giving corrections. Also, When I take corrections I do not talk back to the teacher which seems to be considered "weird" at my new school.

I spoke to the directors about my confusion with the rules here and they said that what I am used to is actually not common in most schools. Which if true is disappointing to me because I really do love that culture of respect.

Also something that was confusing to me was that in class if a group repeats a combination the lines will switch. But some teachers don't enforce that which makes it even more confusing because some girls who are not the most advanced or senior will stay in the front all day.

The girls also swear frequently in class and talk about the teachers very rudely behind their backs. The directors have told that this is normal teenage behavior that they are not going to police unless they hear it themselves.

Basically the directors said to me that regardless of what I am used to I will have to navigate this situation going forward if I want to be a professional dancer.

Even though that they call themselves a pre professional program it is probably going to be temporary anyway I am hoping that my SI program invites me for their year round, I think they are stricter there which is more what I like. Even if they don't I will still find another studio that is stricter in my area.

Thanks for any advice! :)

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Welcome back the Young Dancers Forum and thank you for the update.

I am "old fashioned" and so is the school for which I work. While not all teachers change lines every combination nor require the more advanced students to stand in the front line, we do teach and encourage professional ballet etiquette. Not all professional companies require this etiquette in their ballet classes however they do in rehearsals. In a company, the principal dancers and soloist do choose where they stand and when they go as there are no groups per say that a teacher has chosen. The dancers form the groups themselves. The teacher may say, "may I have two/three groups" depending upon the size of the company and the space for class. Talking back to teachers, choreographers or directors is not a good thing. Be proud that you know what you know. Encouraging questions is very different than talking back. As for anyone talking "behind someone's back", not a good thing but it is part of being human, not just being a teenager. Adults seem to be better at covering it up. 

If you are pleased with the training you are receiving, finish out the year, but you do not need to "get used to it" because the professional world of ballet does not work like that.

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To be frank with you, anyone can hang out a shingle and claim they are training professionals.  Far better to look and see where alumni of the school have gone.

That being said, strictness in behaviour is not necessarily indicative of the quality of the teaching in a school.  I have known poor teachers who hid behind strictness to cover their faults, and I have known excellent teachers who ran a relaxed class.  However, ballet in general has a defined etiquette to it, and a lack of that (swearing in class as you mentioned) is a serious issue.  As to rotating lines, that is done in many different environments, and it’s also common for teachers to forget about it halfway through, at least in my experience.  For myself, the only group I teach with defined spots in a line they must always use are my 6-7 year-olds, and that is purely so I can keep certain personalities apart from each other. 

Vrs and I were posting at the same time!  Her advice is wonderful!

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This is so helpful! I really do love that part of ballet it is really special to me, and it's good to know that I was taught correctly.

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. This is something that was very important to me and it was upsetting to hear them tell me that I was the one who didn't know my way around the classroom.

There are many caring teachers in the school but I do know that I definitely like the old school style better and won't be returning next year.

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