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 Post subject: Help! Problems with a teacher
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:56 pm
Posts: 1
I need advice concerning one of my dance teachers.

I am not a dancer by any means, but I enjoy dance immensely. Despite my illnesses last year (some very serious ones), I managed to keep up with my dance class. I also took 3 hours (not much, but it was all I could afford) of studio dance. I had taken studio dance previously, but had to quit because of financial/time issues. I started back last year, and decided to enroll in the dance class offered at my school.

Everything went well until December, when I became very ill. All of my teachers knew of this, but my dance teacher at school penalized me for my absences. I eventually had to leave my studio because of the health issues, and had to go on a Homebound program in order to complete school. However, because I was enrolled in dance at school, I still had to attend the class in order to receive a grade for the course.

I told the school dance teacher I had been interested in being on her dance team (kind of an unspoken of interest) for a long time, and wanted to audition. I explained this to her, but she never really answered me, just kind of ignored me. One of my friends, who is her minion now, asked her about me, and she told my friend that I could quite easily make her JV team. At the end of the year (when my health had finally improved) I auditioned and on application for the team I explained the health situation, and stated that it was no longer an issue, but I had to finish the school year on the Homebound program. My audition was not amazingly fantastic, but I did well enough to make the team. The teacher told me herself that I had scored high enough, but because I was not a freshman I would not be allowed on. She did, however, allow two other girls (both my age) on.

At any rate, I accepted it, and decided it was probably for the best. I took dance at my studio during the summer. Now I am enrolled in two periods of dance at school, but the teacher treats me as though I am a joke.

For example, she asked me why I was in her classroom in between the two dance classes. She did not realize I was in two of her classes… Then, she told me that I would not be allowed to make up any time missed (thus penalizing my grade), no matter what the reason. Excused or unexcused, my grade will suffer. I came in late three times (two were excused). She gave me different grades in the classes because of other student's absences. More students are on time and present in the other class, so because of statistics, she has given me a lower grade. I’ve dressed out and done all of my work, doing more than required stretching and so forth, but she still gives me a lower grade. I don’t get it.

Then I asked her how I could improve my grand jetés because I cannot seem to straighten my back leg. She said I was ‘slapping’ the floor. I must admit, that I know no other way to get up into the air other than to use the ground. I was a trained gymnast, and that is how I was taught to do jumps/etc.

Then she made me go to the barre and do battements, which I can do to waist level. She did not say much, but walked up to me and told me to go into passé, then attitude devant (also waist level). She then chuckled and shook her head, and told me, “This is your problem.” She grabbed my foot (still in attitude devant) and practically shoved it in my face, causing me to lose my balance. Her advice was that because I could not do an attitude devant or an extension to my face, I could not do a grand jeté.

I enjoy dance, but she treats me as though I am a joke. I am not a talented, but I do work hard to try to get some basic skills. It is too late to get out of the classes, but I enjoy the flexibility and daily dance I get from the course. How should I deal with her from now until next May?

Thanks for any advice.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:28 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 682
Location: Petaluma, California
Hi there and welcome, BlueGurl813. Well, that is a terrible story...It certainly seems as though you have not been treated fairly. The part that concerns me the most is the teacher forcibly placing your foot and leg higher and almost knocking you off your feet to give you a correction. That is not acceptable in any situation IMO. I do not have experience in college or high school dance programs. I have always danced and taught in private ballet schools. But, I know that academic schools usually have very strict guidelines for course work, attendance, tardiness, etc. that must apply to their dance programs, as well. Some teachers are just much more "gung ho" for following the rules than others, even if these rules are sometimes a bit unreasonable. Perhaps you should speak with a counselor about your situation. I think it is admirable that you have persisted with your dancing despite some serious health problems. You are a trooper! Perhaps someone else here at CD has experience in this area that they can share with you...Good luck and let us know what happens....

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