3 Red Flags To Avoid In Adult Ballet Class
Everything seemed to be going fine: registration was a breeze, the location was perfect, then you arrived to class and found out that the standards are, well, low. If you ever come across these 3 red flags in class, run, don’t dance, to the nearest exit.
Adult ballet class doesn’t require you to look like you’ve stepped off the cover of Pointe magazine. In fact, faculty and teachers encourage adult students to dress comfortably, and not feel pressured to live up to the traditional image of a ballerina. However, there is a difference between relaxed activewear, and looking disheveled or outright inappropriate. If this is the case, you may want to reconsider the reputation of the school/studio. More importantly, how is the teacher dressed? While the teacher is not expected to look like a pristine bunhead either, a teacher’s dress should always reflect the values of classical ballet training. If the teacher is barefoot and wearing booty shorts, would you trust their qualifications? Let’s hope the answer is no. Hey–it’s cool to wear your bloomers to Zumba or jazz class. But for ballet class, take pride in yourself and what you’re doing by dressing appropriately.
Unless you’re taking a contemporary ballet class, beware of the teacher who thinks it’s cool to play Lady Gaga for pliés. Leave the latest hits on the radio, or use them sparingly. Any class that boasts more Bieber than Brahms isn’t worth your participation. Am I suggesting you should have strictly Vivaldi on your iPod? Of course not. However, in an increasingly media-obsessed world, putting pop culture in its place is vital to maintaining the cultural and historical integrity of classical ballet. Imagine if Balanchine had used Al Green instead of Stravinsky? Okay, that would’ve been pretty awesome, but that’s what companies like the Joffrey Ballet were for! So remember, if you’re taking a contemporary ballet class, it’s cool to rock your dégagés to Michael Jackson! However, if you’re enrolled in a class that claims to teach classical ballet, demand piano, or leave.
Class should always challenge and inspire you. However, it should also be balanced, and respect tradition. If this sounds anti-progressive, then you’re only cheating yourself. Starting class in the traditional manner with pliés, or perhaps a mild warm-up combination, allows the body to respond safely. If a teacher requires segments of intense conditioning before your hand even touches the barre, it’s guaranteed that your 100 push-ups are playing into some ego complex your teacher has and is benefitting you in no way. While it is perfectly acceptable for your teacher to offer corrections and encourage you to reach new heights, it is never okay for your teacher to jeopardize your health with extreme techniques. The same goes for a teacher that is too casual. If you find yourself spending more time chatting than dancing, you’re not getting the most you can out of class. Try to find an adult class that respects your limitations while simultaneously helping you grow as a dancer.
These are 3 red flags to avoid in an adult ballet class. Just because they aren’t pursuing a professional career, adult students still deserve the opportunity to learn in an environment that values them.