A matter of respect

Ballet class etiquette is a mystery.
As an adult beginner, I look to the other girls who know the deal for guidance, and I am corrected by teachers when I commit faux pas, and I watch the corrections others receive.
For example, I’ve been called out in class for:
Looking at the clock, which is impolite as it implies I’m looking forward to class being over. Not true. Bad habit! In fact, Highball corrected a girl for wearing a watch. He said, “the wristwatch is only for the teacher!” She and several other people in the class quickly took off their watches and put them away.
Drinking water between barre exercises. I think this is bad because it holds up the class, but sometimes I get the impression that it’s also a matter of attracting attention to yourself when everyone at the barre should function as a whole? Maybe? Like doing it says ‘look at me and my important water-drinking needs’?? I’ve learned that drinking water should happen between barre and center.
Other people have been corrected for:
Talking and chewing gum. Well, Duh. Same as any other class.
Hair-dos and jewelry. This varies from teacher to teacher. I saw Highball scold girls for wearing their hair in ponytails, on the other hand Kir regularly wears a ponytail to Smirnoff’s class and holds it with her mouth during pirouettes. Same with jewelry: Highball scolds, Smirnoff praises.
I’ve read that wearing a longish skirt is an honor reserved for teachers, so one should take care to only buy short skirts. I’ve never had a teacher who wore a skirt at all though, it’s all been leggings or those funny black plastic sweat pants.

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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5 Responses to A matter of respect

  1. Just realized as I was writing this that “faux pas” means false step. I am sooooooooo learning French right now!

  2. Oh, and following is a big mystery: whether you’re allowed to or not. Sazerac once made a classmate do the entire combination again, By Himself, because she caught him following, whereas Smirnoff and Highball would designate someone and then encourage/scold anyone they caught Not following.

  3. Jess says:

    Once you know enough ballet to memorize combinations, your teacher usually expects you to be responsible for knowing the whole thing and doing it correctly. For those with less experience and training, that’s a really high bar to jump over, and stumbling around lost won’t do anyone any good, so the teacher might pick some advanced demonstrators for reference. Then you can do the barre even if you don’t know off the top of your head what a good frappé is supposed to look like.

  4. DancingInTheDark says:

    Hello Adult Beginner, and other dancers; this is my first post to this blog. I know this is an old thread, but it seems to be the best one on which to vent, which I find I must. After returning to ballet after a 30 year break (yes, thirty, not three) last September, with much less flexibility, but much more wisdom, natch, I have been enjoying a weekly drop-in beginner class for adults. But last night, for the second time, someone who *obviously* has a great deal of prior training and experience attended. Not a problem. But, and this is what drove me crazy, she spent most of the time between barre exercises (when the rest of us were listening and watching teacher) stretching on the barre and/or on the floor, checking out (admiring?) her form in the mirror, and even occasionally – oh the impertinence/rudeness!!! – checking her cell phone, and generally seeming to disregard any sense that the instructions might also have been meant for her. Of course, her combinations were beautifully elegant and musical, and her technique superb, but still….it drove me *insane*.
    Then, in the centre, she has the audacity to say “my ballet is very bad.” Yeah, uh-huh.
    No calling out from teacher, who is generally very gentle and encouraging, and it was *very* hard for me to hold my tongue and restrain the urge to tell her to get a life. But I did.

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