Wannabe Dancer

An adult’s discovery of dance of all sorts.

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Location: Sacramento, California, United States

A bona-fide cat lady, homebody, wanna-be writer, and faux extrovert. If I'm not gardening, I'm rehearsing for a local theater production.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ballet I, Sept 19

This was the absolute worst ballet class I’ve ever taken. I don’t know how I managed to endure 75 minutes. I nearly faked an injury just to have an excuse to leave. I’ve left a class crying because of the difficulty, but never hopping mad because of the inanity.

At first, after she introduced herself to me three times, I just thought the instructor was nervous. It soon became evident that she was incompetent. She appears to be a lovely dancer, but her teaching needs improvement. I won’t, however, be giving her class a second chance.

The first problem was that she didn’t cater to the level of the students. Besides myself, there were two other dancers in the class. They were both beginners and one of them had very little ballet experience. Instead of sticking to a basic barre routine, she made each exercise unnecessarily complicated by mixing steps, changing closings, and adding releves. To make matters worse, she rarely demonstrated a combination the same way twice. Even I was left guessing as to what the correct routine was.

To further muddle things, she did not listen to the music before or as she choreographed each exercise, so the movements didn’t fit the music’s phrasing or length. I can tolerate having to repeat the music in order to finish the combination on one side, but, especially as a beginner, it is important that the combination matches the phrasing.

When we moved to the center, the class did not improve. The other students were absolutely lost on the adagio and petite allegro. When we did pique turns across the floor, they obviously weren’t spotting and ended up careening into the portable barres. The grand adagio routine didn’t fit in the small space and we had to curve it around the end of the room. The center work was alternately useless and dangerous.

What finally put me over the edge were the teacher’s comments: “good job!” “beautiful!” “you’re working so hard!” “we’re really working up a sweat!” I wasn’t doing a good job, I looked terrible, I wasn’t working hard, and I wasn’t sweating. It seemed that she just reverted to these platitudes to fill in the empty spaces when she didn’t know what else to say.

I tried to ignore the teacher’s inadequacies and just concentrate on my own technique, but I failed. I couldn’t even keep my ballet face on; I’m sure my expression gave away my disgust. At the end of class, when she asked us if we were coming back next week, I couldn’t even muster up the graciousness to lie. I just gave her an apologetic look and left.


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