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 Post subject: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2000 10:25 pm 
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the NZ author of the daci paper about ballet teaching methods and the ballet student culture, which atracted so much negative attention in the new zealand press, has accepted my invitation to talk to us directly.<P><B>marian mcdermott</B> posted the following in the previous NZ ballet teaching thread, which can be found at:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000165.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000165.html</A> <P>let's continue the discussion here...<B>marian writes</B>: <P>This is the first chance I have had to respond to you all. I am not about bringing ballet down but rather I am deeply concerned about some of the negativity within its culture. I believe it is time for us all to look very carefully at the best ways to teach our students to dance. I have dedicated myself to developing a positive teaching approach where all students are acknowledged.<P>I urge you all to read "The Student Dancer" by Julia Buckroyd. It is published by Dance Books and available on the Dance Books Web Site. The issues discussed within this book mirror my own concerns. <P>I attach a copy of an article I wrote for the New Zealand leading dance magazine DANZ which was published in April 2000. This may help to give you all a clearer picture of what I am really trying to say. <P>It intrigues me that many New Zealand dance teachers said that they did not know anything of me or my survey. Precise details were included both with this DANZ article and in several New Zealand Dance Bulletins (with full contact details for obtaining questionnaires). <P>I attach a copy of my article for your information. I hope this puts the record straight.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B><U>Positive Attitudes in the Dance Classroom.</U></B><P>I have a great love and passion for ballet and dance in general and my long-term experience as a ballet student, professional dancer, primary school teacher and ballet tutor has helped me form strong opinions about the way ballet students are taught and treated within the ballet class environment.<P>I am fortunate that a large part of my ballet teaching work takes place at the Performing Arts School in Auckland, a school with values and philosophies entirely compatible with my own. <P>Having developed a teaching approach, which focuses on teaching and developing ballet skills within a positive environment. I believe that all students deserve to be welcomed and respected at ballet and make it my goal to give equal consideration to all regardless of natural ability or otherwise.<P>There are numerous valid and positive reasons to study ballet, not just the goal of becoming a professional dancer. Increased coordination, flexibility, strength, confidence, musicality, enjoyment, creativity, appreciation of dance and quick memory recall are just a few that spring to mind. <P>Ballet is a popular activity undertaken by so many young children that in theory it should inspire them to eventually choose to broaden their horizons, discover and pursue other types of dance as well as or instead of ballet. <P>My goal is to be friendly, approachable and inspiring and to carefully consider all aspects of the teaching. I am committed to delivering technical information in meaningful positive ways with the emphasis on explaining how to do it. I enjoy using a combination of physical demonstrations and descriptive imaginative language. Students are encouraged to ask questions and discuss ideas. New innovative ideas about how to improve performance and technique are drawn from many sources, carefully and critically considered and introduced promptly if they prove to be worthwhile. I believe that safety is vitally important and careful thought is given to the long and short-term outcomes of class work.<P>I observe my students feeling confident and enjoying their classes. They continue to come back year after year of their own accord. Not all aspire to be professional dancers but come because they enjoy recreational dancing. They also develop a good understanding of the ballet technique and enjoy watching all kinds of dance as discerning audience members.<P>My students do not sit ballet exams and I consider that this whole system has generally become entrenched in competition, stress and negativity. I am concerned that the exam-based system rewards only talented students and overlooks everyone else. The goal of education is for all students to learn, achieve and progress. <P>What about the child who comes to ballet uncoordinated, unable to skip or galop but after much perseverance and hard work learns to perform these things? Within the class this child may have made more progress and achieved more than anyone else, yet this child fails the ballet exam (or in fact is not permitted to sit it in the first place). <P>I am suspicious about the newspaper advertisements reporting 100% pass rate in last ballet exams. Is this 100% of the entire ballet school population or 100% of the small number of talented students who were permitted to sit the exam?<P>Students and parents from exam based schools have spoken to me of the incredible pressure, stress and competitiveness of exams and the feelings of humiliation and failure sometimes even when they have passed! <P>They talk about the segregation within the class between those that are good enough to sit the exam and those who just didn't make the grade. One student talked of feeling that she felt "dismissed" as a dancer as she wasn't one of the one's who "had it." <P>Another talked of feeling totally empty inside after all the months of stress and negativity even when she had achieved an outstanding exam pass mark.<P>I believe the exam based system is so limiting, restrictive and selective that I cannot see how it would be possible to work within in it whilst still embracing my philosophical beliefs. <P>I consider that here in New Zealand the exam-based system has become so entrenched that we have forgotten that there just might be another way. New Zealand teachers tend to themselves be the products of an exam based ballet-training system and continue to habitually work within this structured system.<P>There are many other ways of offering challenging situations to students where they are expected to do their very best: Performances, studio sharing sessions and demonstrations are a few ideas. A determined and inspired student will achieve their goals (whatever these goals may be) in an encouraging and inspiring environment without ballet exams. <P>The policy of not entering students into exams does not affect a determined dancer's chance of going on to full time tertiary study. Performing Arts School students who have never sat ballet exams are already in tertiary dance degree programmes and achieving high standards. Within this non exam-based system I see students and parents acknowledging and supporting each other regardless of technical ability. <P>I am also concerned at the stories I hear about the number of weekly dance classes young students are expected to attend. <P>I question whether it is ethical to expect young children to give their life to ballet when in fact the chances of her/him ever actually becoming a ballet dancer are very slim. I am suspicious that these lengthy hours of training are actually more about the ballet schools getting high exam pass rates and marks than about doing what is best for the child. <P>I am also concerned about the long-term outcomes of the traditional military style teaching approach still common in so many ballet schools today. I am currently undertaking research via interviews and discussions with dancers about the effects of this approach.<P>Results so far have been disconcerting with interviewees telling of low self-esteem, eating disorders, complete loss of their original feelings of passion for dance, feelings of never ever being good enough, fear and failure. <P>I consider that traditional ballet teaching methods and philosophies are no longer appropriate in today's society and educational environment. Students should be encouraged to be assertive and self disciplined and motivated rather than submissive and scared into doing what they are told. <P>I believe that a dancer does need to be disciplined in order to achieve high standards but that the traditional ballet teacher often inflicts this discipline upon the dancer when instead self-discipline should come out of the students motivated desire to improve. A good teacher encourages students to be self disciplined which does not crush or stifle their personal individuality, creativity and passion for dance.<P>I consider that in many ballet classes the teacher assumes control over the students who are expected to unquestioningly accept criticism and trust that the teacher is all knowing and never wrong. <P>Students in this environment merely become mindless, submissive individuals. Interviewed dancers have stated that they felt they were expected to behave like little robots. <P>I believe that it really should be the student who takes responsibility for her/his learning with supportive encouragement and guidance from the teacher. <P>There is a tradition still common in the ballet class today where students are never praised but where the teacher instead constantly criticises the dancer who is doing well. Criticism becomes a rather perverse way of delivering compliments. Dancers quickly learn that you only get corrections and criticism if you are good. They learn to thrive on being criticised. <P>I remember myself being told that if the teacher spends most of the class correcting and criticising you above all others then you must be the best. One doesn't have to think too hard to realise that the long-term effects of such a tradition could be ultimately psychologically devastating for the dancers. <P>It is disconcerting to realise that there are obvious parallels to be seen between the 19th Century model of a perfect female and the 21st Century model of a desirable ballet student/dancer. <P>The 19th Century female was expected to be submissive, genteel, mindless, pretty and ornamental and never complaining. Women were expected to suppress their individuality and personality for the pleasure of others. It is surprising that many of these anti feminist and suppressive ideas continue in ballet classes today. <P>It is my belief that these traditional methods do not serve the ballet industry well. We merely end up with a lot of disheartened ex dance students who may never wish to participate in ballet or dance again in any form. <P>Interviewed ex dancers told me that they had not been to see a ballet or any other dance performance for ages, one in particular not in the last eight years, yet they had used to go to ballet and dance shows regularly. <P>Their experiences in the ballet class had become so negative that they felt unable to ever watch and enjoy ballet again. Yet we need these dancers to remain inspired and enthusiastic as discerning audience members and recreational dancers. <P>Continued involvement through positive experience would ensure our ballet and other dance companies achieve good audiences which would in turn lead to more funding and more jobs for dancers. Professional dancers would have the chance to dance before an audience of discerning individuals who really appreciate the dancers' expertise.<P>Many of my adult students are ex dancers who had given up years ago. They felt unable to return once they had healed from their negative experiences because there was no where for them to go. They wanted to continue to dance for recreation and fitness within a positive environment. <P>I consider that there is no reason why we should expect our students to give up once they reach a certain age. The adult population would be a huge source of ongoing income for the ballet industry. These dancers say that they knew they always had a passion for dance yet somehow the passion had been beaten out of them. If the spirit is nurtured in our young students it will go on living forever.<P>I believe that the traditional oppressive approach is not the only way to train young people to become professional ballet dancers. I consider that it is time the ballet world in general takes a good hard look at itself. It should reconsider the expectations it demands of today's young ballet students and look at the long term emotional and social outcomes of these demands.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2000 10:28 pm 
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<B>rabbit</B> responded (in the previous thread):<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Reply to Ms. McDermott:<P> I do believe that it could just as easily be found that many teachers of ballet whole heartedly believe in and practice this art of teaching in the same manner as you express as positive. I have met far more teachers who are caring and carefull of their students than ones who disreguard safety for the sake of a perfect record of yearly examinations..both in those who offer examinations and those who do not.<P> It is that, your article & the press on the topic shines light only on negative extremes that exist in minority...well it is highly misleading to the general public and grossly unfair to many many wonderful teachers and schools.<P> The only positive light shone seems to be the one which shines on you. Thus I can only veiw your reseach as being highly biased. The philosophy that dance is for all & not just the student on the professional track is a very far ranging veiw that is familiar territory to a great deal of teachers. To generalize the extreme negatives does a great diservice to us all Teacher, student and dance parent alike.<P>If you want to begin a reform over poor teaching practices you will find that you have a lot of allies, however by not giving equal attention to the many good schools and teachers you end up alienating them ..sadly a poor start to a worthy purpose.<P> I understand that your research and writing are an attempt to educate the public...true education however can not be acheived unless the entire picture is shown.....with an equal amount of attention given to the fact that there are many good schools in existance....this way you offer an alternative to the practices which you condemn.<P>If you have been misrepresented or poorly portrayed by the press then you have my greatest appologies. If not..then I feel you own many wonderful teachers a very large appology indeed.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2000 10:30 pm 
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and my own response, which went up at the same time as rabbit's:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>marian, i am very pleased to 'meet' you here!<P>i think that when you have had time to look around our site - which i hope you will find the time to do - you will realise that you are "preaching to the converted" here!<P>i would also say, though, that this paper of yours leaves me with the impression that the teachers you know or come across are pretty awful! i am resisting the urge to draw the conclusion that new zealand ballet teachers must be a particularly bad bunch! Image<P>a couple of points:<P>1. i cannot agree with you at all about the exam system and its effects - BUT....... of course this doepends on the system (RAD, BBO, Cecchetti, ISTD, Comdance, etc) AND on how the teacher (and the parent) manages the situation. this is a big topic, which i imagine we will get into, in this thread - but i'll leave it for now.<P>2. i DO put this honest claim in my ads (on the rare occasions i bother with ads):"100% pass rate" - and in my school that's EVERY kid. BUT, again, it is part of the teacher's responsibility to find both a syllabus organisation, and the appropriate level, which will enable the child to succeed, and to be happy doing so. <P>there is another school in my town (much more popular than my school, mostly because because they go in for those ghastly competitions...!) where there is a VERY high failure rate, and all the division that that brings, especially when the teacher then gives out extra awards, to the child who scores the highest mark at each level. <P>in my experience the competition scene is far more at fault than any syllabus organisation, in the effects it wreaks(sp?) on children.....<P>oops, i'm getting into THAT discussion, aren't i? <P>thank you so much for giving us your thoughts, which, as you say, do mirror those of other researchers and commentators, most recently julia buckroyd.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>plenty more to say on this - but it will have to wait! Image<P><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited October 17, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 11:53 am 
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Grace thank for you giving us the opportunity to read the McDermott article in its entirety.<P>Reading Ms McDermott's interview, with the Sunday Star - Times reporter Tony Potter, I have to say - So What ! McDermott here has been given the right of reply. But what about the dance teachers in this country who are battling negative attitudes to toward this artform from the general public. A public who have formed opinions soley on this issue. <P>The article is headed ;<BR>"From dance school to centre stage"<BR>Marian McDermott, has certainly gone places !<P>This 'debacle' is being discussed in homes right through out this country by people who suddenly have become very knowledgable on the subject of dance. The knowledge carries the Mc Dermott bias.<P>On Sunday our family was at a luncheon. I met someone who has never had anything to do with dance - he is a rugby head actually. When introduced to him , I was asked are you one of those 'Ballet Bi.....'?<P>Whether he was serious or not, it will never be known. Every person in that house knew about the article, the responses and the quoted 55,000 dance students, and had formed an opinion. Speaking with this cross-section of New Zealand society, a diservice to dance and dance teachers,has been done, albeit unintentional or not.<P>Where did McDermott get her 55.000 from.? Is she able to cite evidence of this number? Never have I sent or been asked for 'census' details of the number of students enrolled at my studio. Does McDermott have an accurate list of the numbers of dance teachers in this country?. <P>What are the ages of these students 'quoted'?<BR>Where do they come from? All over NZ and if so only from those residing in large cities.<P>How does she know these responses and answers were genuine? sensationalism, shock - tactics are often used by teenagers in surveys.<P>Why did she do it? As I said before she has been given the right of reply - what about the rest of us ? Those of us who constantly evaluate and up-grade teaching practises, and attitudes. Did McDermott have the right to speak on behalf of NZ dance teachers at an International Conference. How many teachers has she observed teaching class in the last 6 months? She talks of her long term experience. "As a ballet student" - What would Deidre Tarrant make of the 'strong opinions formed about the way balled students are taught and treated'. It is publically documented that McDermott studied under Tarrant. The question could be asked of Tarrant and her staff - was Marian McDermott the 'perfect' student?.<P>A documentary was shown on Television about "supportive' parents in Auckland. 3 of these parents were 'dance parents'. The pressures placed on one of those students and her brother, by their parents, not the teacher were constant. The father of one of these students was disappointed his daughter only passed her RAD, major, examination with Highly commended. These parents are rather like a needle in a haystack. They can be found,questioning school teachers teaching methods, on the side of the playing field<BR>yelling abuse at the referee or moaning about standing in a queue at the local supermarket.<BR>When dealing with humans there will always be conflicts - not only at the dance studio.<P>One thing is clear, McDermott has made herself a house hold name in this country. The article filled with subjectivity, generalisations, and innuendo quite frankly makes me sick ! A quick count reveals 24 sentences beginning with I, with I being used many other times within sentences.<P>In the Sunday Star times article McDermott is quoted;<BR>"I have nothing to fear. I am speaking the truth. I care deeply four our young student dancers". Those same three sentences could be spoken by many others, all who have come out against this article and its findings in the past week. All who have very different opinions to those of Ms Mc Dermott.<P>Marian Mc Dermott - you do owe the majority of NZ dance teachers an apology. Maybe not all, but the majority. By writing this paper and giving subsequent newspaper, radio and TV interviews you have 'dumped' many of us in places and boxes where there is no justification for us to be.<P>From what can be gathered - the problem lies not with the dance teacher but with the dance mother. To keep face in this country you need to make a public apology now to those teachers who don't 'subscribe' to your findings.<P>"Some people [in the survey] say they felt so negative about their ballet experiences they haven't gone to see a ballet again. That's terribly sad".<P>What is even sadder, after reading and hearing the points and issues you have raised about dance teachers and dance classes in this country, new parents will be reluctant to enrol their children as new students in the new year.<P> Enrolements down, income down, all because of unsubstaniated subjectivity.<p>[This message has been edited by Tip_toes (edited October 17, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 3:48 pm 
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I must clarify that in my interviews with the media I did give attention to the fact that I received positive responses from satisfied students. I also have repeatedly commented that I acknowledge that there are many wonderful positive inspiring teachers out there. Unfortunately the media did not mention this within the written reports and chose to focus on the rather sensational aspects of my findings instead.<P>My article for the NZ DANZ magazine was never intended to be balanced. Rather I was trying to provoke a healthy in-house debate. For some reason this was not forthcoming at the time. <P>The response from my article was instead that I received letters and calls of support from many like-minded ballet and dance teachers and students supporting my beliefs.<P>My figure of 55,000 students came from the Royal NZ Ballet web site. It sounds reasonable to me. <P>I have no reason to suspect that the responses made to my survey were innaccurate. I reiterate that I received both positive and negative responses. In nearly every instance the respondent identified her/himself. I continue to assure these people that I will never reveal any information which could enable their identity to be tracked. <P>This is not a witch hunt. It is time to acknowledge that there are dancers out there who are unhappy with their ballet experience. It is important we accept that this is the case - even if you consider the problem to be small it must still be addressed. I have been overwhelmed by calls of support and significant numbers of dissatisfied people (many previously unknown to myself) have contacted the media to confirm my findings. We cannot deny the existance of them any longer.<P>It is time for everyone to stop "shooting the messenger" and for all of us to work together for a positive experience for all of our dancers.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 4:17 pm 
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an emotive subject - and understandably so, for those of us who love ballet...<P>i would have to agree with tip_toes:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>that a diservice to dance and dance teachers,has been done, albeit unintentional or not. - - -<P>By writing this paper and giving subsequent newspaper, radio and TV interviews you have 'dumped' many of us in places and boxes where there is no justification for us to be.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>marian says:<BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I was trying to provoke a healthy in-house debate.<BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>unfortunately, what's going on in new zealand, and even here internationally, through this and other sites, is NOT IN-house at all - that is precisely the problem.....<P>good people have been unfairly publicly maligned by gross generalisations, which read as particularly outdated to me.<P>when marian says: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>It is time to acknowledge that there are dancers out there who are unhappy with their ballet experience.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> my response is: good lord, we all did THAT years ago! since then responsible teachers are getting on with addressing this old issue - as marian claims to, also.<P>i have no reason to disbeleive her.what she says about her positive approach to teaching shows that she cares about teaching - but, on my first reading of the article, i'm afraid i DID notice this same effect that tip_toes points to: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>A quick count reveals 24 sentences beginning with I, with I being used many other times within sentences. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>this does make one wonder about the writer's motivation, and about their research...if it had been more inclusive, surely the word 'I' would have cropped up less often?<P>it would be very easy to draw the conclusion, as USED TO BE a fair one, many years ago....(!), that new zealand is just about 40 years behind the times, due to its isolation and historically innate conservatism....<P>but i resist that, ....although i'm beginning to wonder ...<P>...and THAT, as tip_toes points out, is the bad news: i wonder, marian, whether YOU feel that new zealand still has this 'old' problem, which other countries began to addresss so many years ago?....that new zealand, specifically, has been left behind the rest of the world, as teaching approaches progressed elsewhere?...or, whether you are generalising from a few bad expeiences? (that would hardly be research..), or what the explanation could be..... <P>btw, only someone very naive would not have anticipated this:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Unfortunately the media did not mention this within the written reports and chose to focus on the rather sensational aspects of my findings instead.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P> surprise, surprise! Image <P>marian, we do not seek to attack you,..... although i suppose many, including members here, would feel attacked directly and publicly by you......but rather to understand and find common ground.<P>i can only guess, being this far removed from the new zealand situation. but my guess is that there are many many ballet teachers who YOU could learn from, about these issues which you are passionate about - THEY are just quietly going their way, DOING the things you say you aim or plan to do....to improve teaching....and if you are able to stay around here, and read some of what these people have written, and cultivate an exchange with them, YOU are likely to find that your outlook on the situation worldwide improves considerably....good teachers are a valuable resource to people everywhere, especially now, with the internet being used in this exciting way...hope you DO! Image<P><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited October 17, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 8:28 pm 
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I just have one question...If this information is soooo old hat and the industry has tidied up its act and nearly every ballet teacher is teaching in a thoroughly positive way....how come a large number of students are dissatisfied with their ballet experience???<P>Surely if they are having a positive experience they will stay enjoying their recreational ballet classes throughout their lives. Sadly this does not seem to be the case. It would be interesting to know how many of the 55,000 ballet students in NZ are over 20 years old. I would be surprised if there was over 2%. Where are the other 90+%??? (ooops....make that 2 questions ;-)<P><p>[This message has been edited by Kevin (edited October 17, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 8:58 pm 
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RE><BR>"I just have one question...If this information is soooo old hat and the industry has tidied up its act and nearly every ballet teacher is teaching in a thoroughly positive way....how come a large number of students are dissatisfied with their ballet experience???"<P>**<BR>I think I will answer this with a story, I have an 11 yr old student who has focused on Jazz up until this year when she decided to study ballet as well, All I have heard from this young lady for the past two months is "I hate Ballet-I hate Ballet". She is not in any way forced to take ballet classes by myself or her parents, she decided to begin ballet because she is aware that it would make her a better dancer..yet she comes to class ,,never misses...& never forgets to tell me how she hates ballet...I suppose we could call her dissatisfied. Then from the corner of my eye I see her at the end of class in the reception room doing pas du bourre on her own time..so I smile, what she says is not agreeing with what she does.<P>now don't generalize in your statement with ".how come a large number of students are dissatisfied with their ballet experience???"<BR>-you will need to be more specific, provide me with some thing concrete like -- studies have shown that 1 out of every 4 ballet students in a random unbiased poll taken over a cross section of fill in the blank.... Then publisize & quote the positive aspects equally with the negatives found.<BR>No one is denying that less than perfect situations exists. However for the research to be credible it needs more than generalized statements & isolated incedences of extremes.<P>"Surely if they are having a positive experience they will stay enjoying their recreational ballet classes throughout their lives. Sadly this does not seem to be the case."<P> If you would like to follow up on that just inquire for yourself...I have within my studio seen students who have started with me a syoung children graduate and continue their dance training. I have had many teachers tell me of how they are now teaching the children of former students... These are not isolated incedences but rather a frequent norm.<P><BR>"It would be interesting to know how many of the 55,000 ballet students in NZ are over 20 years old. I would be surprised if there was over 2%. Where are the other 90+%??? (ooops....make that 2 questions ;-)"<P> I am not certain where you are going with this? ;-)<P><p>[This message has been edited by Rabbit (edited October 17, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 9:51 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>how come a large number of students are dissatisfied with their ballet experience???<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>kevin, thanks for finding us again over here. re the above comment: we don't know that they ARE. marian says they are. that doesn't make it true.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Surely if they are having a positive experience they will stay enjoying their recreational ballet classes throughout their lives. Sadly this does not seem to be the case.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>not at all. how many children do piano lessons as a child, and then give it up, and never pay much attention to orchestral concerts as adults? (i haven't got a clue...)<P>how many children play SPORT, but as adults don't have the time or the inclination, or see any purpose in continuing, despite the fact that society's messages encourage us all the time to get more exercise?!<P>when i was a child i enjoyed chess - but i have never played it since....likewise ice-skating - haven't done that since i was 12, and would NEVER bother to go to a skating show (sorry, david h!)...does this say anything at all about my having had a negative experience of ice-skating or chess? NO! Image<P>marian presents gross generalisations, and those presented in the press are all negative. you seem to be falling into the trap of accepting these as 'facts', and then arguing 'the facts'....<P>likewise YOU are generalising when you write:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>If this information is soooo old hat and the industry has tidied up its act and nearly every ballet teacher is teaching in a thoroughly positive way....how come a large<BR>number of students are dissatisfied with their ballet experience???<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>i did not claim that 'nearly every ballet teacher is teaching in a thoroughly positive way' - how could i? no-one can claim that (or the opposite). <P>i will say though, that i have never come across the extremes marian writes of - and that in thirty years in ballet, all over the world, i have never come across glass-splinters in pointe shoes, or whatever other sensationalised incidents one of marian's interviewees mentions. nor have i ever heard of anyone else who has. the only place i have come across that, was as a child in a trashy girl's fiction book....<P>i also suggest that the teachers you will meet HERE (and lets hope that will include you, in the future) MAY even be ahead of ms. mcdermott in their application of sound educational theory to practice. <P>and that all the teachers i know DO try their best, within the limits of what they know - and that most are involved in continuing education themselves. and that the syllabus societies i have experience of (which run the exams), are constantly changing, updating and encouraging better practice.<P>that's not to say i can't fault with any of those teachers or societies, on occasion at least...none of us are perfect, and they could say the same of me.<P>the RAD, for example,have just conducted an inndependently organised worldwide survey of their 17,000 teachers - and others welcome to participate as well, so i did. the issues raised were very comprehensive and are being addressed now. perhaps you took part in this too?<P>also, having interviewed i believe 45 students, out of that supposed 55,000 in NZ, marian is not in any position to claim that 'a large number of students are dissatisfied with their ballet experience', and i assume neither are you?

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 10:12 pm 
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"....children of former students".<P>Exactly my point - why not children of CURRENT students?<P>Why did these parents have to give up their ballet education at all?? Were they concidered not good enough to continue with their ballet "training" when they were younger? Why would they have given up if it was such fun and good for the mind and body alike? Why haven't they returned to ballet after having their family - just to keep fit. I know it does happen ....sometimes, but why is this not common place? (I only refer to NZ here as I don't know what happens anywhere else)<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 10:22 pm 
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...what a shame they didn't interview 17,000 ex-students instead!


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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 10:33 pm 
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just an explanation, as it took me a little while to work it out, re kevin's comments above, as to 'what a shame they didn't interview 17,000 ex-students instead'...<P>i think he means the RAD, and that interviewing 17,000 ex-students might have been more useful than canvassing 17,000 members (which would be mostly teachers). have i got that right, kevin?<P>what actually happened, is that their survey was sent to all 17,000 members, and was available on the web (which is where i found it, to respond to). it was very lengthy and in depth. only 2,500 people responded (and that obviously includes non-members like me).<P>as i understand it, once you attain elementary level, you may become a member, so those members WOULD have included current students and ex-students. sorry if something about the way i presented it mislead you, and i hope i've got it right this time!<P> <P>

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 10:41 pm 
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kevin, re this:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Why would they have given up if it was such fun and good for the mind and body alike? Why haven't they returned to ballet after having their family - just to keep fit.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>could you please read my post above, about children's and adults activities? i just don't see non-continuation (of any activity) into adulthood, as indicative of anything except the fact that we grow up and our lives change...<P>there are so many demands on people's time now...<P>do you really feel this is one of marian's main points? or is this adult dance issue of particular interest to you personally?

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2000 7:24 am 
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RE:<BR>"Why would they have given up if it was such fun and good for the mind and body alike? Why haven't they returned to ballet after having their family - just to keep fit."<P> Grace made a wonderful point in her statement that as adults we do not always continue activities we started as children.<P> I agree here however I think that your statement above Kevin is an assumption...Have you checked the many dance studios in New Zealand to see how many offer adult classes & how well they are attended?<P>..I expand on this and suggest that many did & do return, in fact never leave.....otherwise where did all of the teachers of these 55,000 students come from, RAD New Zealand alone has 250 registered members. What about other teaching organizations, college/University dance programs? Also where did the choreographers come from?.....Dance class in their youth, that's where.<P> Lets also not forget about the multitude of small dance companies in existence, There are the few that get more press like , Curve, Touch Compass (able & disable bodied dancers), Human Garden, Aukland Dance, Footnote. Beyond these are smaller companies, not as well known,,some simply community based dance troupes. No they are not famous but that is besides the point,,the point is they are dancing & who cares if it is not professional recognition,,, I believe I read some where recently that there is support for dancing as recreational :-). There is a whole world out there that exists beyond The Royal New Zealand Ballet. They are not all ballet companies but we should not forget that students who study ballet very often study other forms as well ..how many are working in other areas of dance? Just because someone takes ballet does not close the door to them dancing Tap, Jazz, Ballroom or Modern. <P> I suggest that the research on this topic must take a far broader view..the scope thus far has been too narrow, not enough detail has been checked and verified....In short I feel that in this effort to re-invent the wheel the cart was put before the horse and chickens were counted before they were hatched in an attempt to get all of the ducks in a row.<P>I feel that when conducting research of this type it would be recommended to find out the official statistics on the situation along a broader field before presenting the research as fact to the general public.<P>

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 Post subject: Re: MORE on NZ Ballet Teaching
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2000 6:22 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>In short I feel that in this effort to re-invent the wheel the cart was put before the horse and chickens were counted before they were hatched in an attempt to get all of the ducks in a row.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>well-said as usual, rabbit! Image

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