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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Adult class


Karen

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I have a question.....is there a general rule re: adults in adult class? At my daughter's studio there are Adult classes in both Modern and Ballet. However the adults in the last few years have been attending the pre-pro division as drop in status, and now want to join and be palced on the roll book. They range in age from 39-65. Any thoughts?:confused:

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(In this post I assume that the teens are old enough teens to be taught in approximately same way as adults - 14-15 and up. Many 13-14-yos are still children, and I don't believe in mixing children and adults in one class.)

 

Karen,

 

I don't think there is a general rule. In some schools, advanced enough adults are indeed allowed to take classes with teens. In others, they are not. As an adult student, I think allowing them is basically fine, but there are a lot of things to consider.

 

First of all, I feel that professional training - in any subject, not only in dance - should be primarily for those having a good chance to become professionals. This is to say that students of suitable age and with the necessarily physical qualifications should have preference, if there's not enough room for anyone.

 

While corrections etc should be dealed out evenly to anyone allowed into class, when deciding how classes should progress, the decision must be made on the basis of the pre-pro-students - the rest should sink or swim. Harsh, I know, but...

 

Second, I feel that the exactly same qualifications, evaluation, audition or whatever is the custom prodecure, that the teens go through to get there should be used for the adults intending to take that class. No easier requirements due to age for me, please! (This is not to say that there could not be easier adult classes, of course. Just that in one class, the rules should be same for every one.)

 

Third, and most importantly at this point (I feel) - if there are several adults wanting to join the teen division, why is not instead additional adult classes on that level offered to them? And why do they all want to join? Are the adult classes in the school not demanding or rigorous enough? Not strict enough? Not often enough? Too much about fitness-excercise and too little about dance?

 

If one or two adults want to take teen classes, that could be just them not getting enough from adult classes. But if there are several of them, the school might want to consider changing their adult program, or parts of it, to satisfy whatever it is that these adults are looking for by wanting to join teen classes. It might be a resources question, sure - but then a decision must be made on whether these particular adults can be served at all.

 

Sorry for the lenght of this...:)

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Those are all really great responses as well as questions. The answers are many. I am speaking of about 4 adults. So additional classes for 4 adults is economically out of the question for a teacher to teach only 4 adults. Two of the adults like the challenge of the difficult/demanding pace of the higher level. Three of the four should not even be in there based on the ability level. One is technically equal, however, I feel she thinks she should get the same corrections as the younger dancers. This creates a lot of animosity between the teachers and all students. The owner of the studio is not present and both owner and teacher both avoid conflict at all cost. Most of the students do not mind if they are in class. However they do not feel they should be included in the recital and they feel frustrated when they call attention to themselves and break the flow of the class. I know these are problems we either accept or move to a different studio. However, one teacher is top notch despite her inability to deal with conflict. I was just wanting to know if other studios faced similar problems with adults in higher level classes?

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I'll post one more thing, and then I'll stop and let others speak.

 

It sort of seems to me here that the problem is not the fact that these dancers are adults, but something else. Drawing attention to themselves? Breaking the flow of the class? Doesn't sound like good class behaviour - from anyone.

 

And letting people take higher level classes than they are technically able to cope with is not something I personally like at all. :)

 

On the other hand, I do feel that if the adults are let into the classes in the first place, they should be treated as members of that class - same right to correction, same requirements of discipline, same possibility for recitals, same requirements for moving up levels. And so on. I can easily see how letting some one into a class and then not giving these could lead into conflict. I know I'd be mad.

 

(Note that "same right to corrections" does not mean "same amount of corrections to everyone all the time".)

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Here is my 2 cents worth...

 

In the first place, if the studio and teacher allow the adults into the class, they are responsible for teaching them exactly the same as the others. It makes no sense to accept the students, their money, and then treat them any differently than the younger pre-pro students.

 

There may be economic or psychological reasons for accepting ( or not prohibiting ) them for class, but perhaps some ground rules should be met first before participation is allowed.

 

If I were a serious pre-pro teen, my only concern would be that the class was not giving me enough, not that there were adults in the same class. If the pre-pro teens are challenged, what difference does it make if the adults are in the class, unless they lower the quality of the teaching in some way, or prevent them from getting roles in the recitals that the pre-pros should get - assuming tech and artistic proficiency.

 

This is the responsibility of the owner of the studio, as well as the teacher. If they don't set ground rules, then that is their area of concern, not the students.

 

The students - adult or teen - are responsible for being decent pupils, with respect for all in the class, and respect for the process. The adults should have an opportunity to participate in recitals if they are in the class, providing they have what it takes to perform, and are serious students. In addition, more complex choreography is available when you have more dancers.

 

My biggest concern as a student is not having available to me as an adult an opportunity to further the learning process as we are viewed as financial deep pockets who are only interested in exercise, rather than learning a complex art form.

 

I go out of my way to locate studios (happily in Los Angeles where we have a lot of choice) which are genuinely interested in teaching adults ballet, and not picking our pockets and expecting a stretch class. I have the responsibility to find a teacher who will take me seriously and respects the process of learning as much as I.

 

Sorry to be so long winded, but if they don't want the adults, they need to ask them to not participate and/or make other arrangements for their training. They may not have the times or facility, or faculty to deal with it... They may also need the income.

 

Good issue. :)

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