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 Post subject: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2002 12:45 pm 
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Location: Scotland/France
I don't want to reopen the topic on methodology below, as the topic has been closed, but just to put my opinion on what *should* or not be written: I think that as long as we stay civil, we're entitled to an opinion. So, ok, you have to say IMO, or in my opinion, or as far as I'm concerned, or I think, or whatever the phrase to show it's not a prejudiced idea or a generalisation.
However, I think we also have to remember than not everyone here speaks English as a first language (I'm one of those :D )

So, if a topic runs very long without any new ideas, then, yes, it should be closed, otherwise, it will just clog the system or run for 110 pages ;)

But I think the topic WAS interesting, and reading between the lines (that's what you need sometimes - a little pinch of salt) because of that misunderstanding that happens all the time when speaking to people of another language... I know what I'm talking about: I send on average 30 emails to China as part of my work, and there are always those days where you wonder why they speak to you like that, when in fact, it proves ALL THE TIME to be a misunderstanding or the person has expressed themselves clumsily as they're not using English as easily as a person whose mother tongue is in that language.

I'm not saying either that some have used English badly, but it's just more difficult to express yourself in a different language (and even more as we're trying to describe steps on the web!!) :p


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2002 6:43 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
It has been decided by the Staff at Criticaldance that this thread would be better served in the 'What's New Forum'........please visit it there.


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2002 6:51 pm 
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I found the discussion on the "Dance Methedology" thread to be distressingly predictable. I realized early on what would happen and stopped posting to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 5:18 am 
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Location: Scotland/France
Well, I thought there were a few comments worth reading or replying to...

One of the very few reproach I would make about RAD for eg, is that it is almost 'too safe' for your own good... What I mean is that sometimes, if you don't attempt something a bit more difficult, then you'll never know if you're capable of doing it. I see it every day, and as a RAD teacher, have to apply the teaching requirements I was taught (ie., if a leg cannot be placed correctly to the side and is turned in, instead, ask the dancer to place it a bit more forward and turned out correctly.) Up to here, no problem, but to my knowledge, very few students (and RAD teachers alike) attempt to open that leg a bit more, open the turnout a bit more to go towards a better turnout... I'm not speaking about pushing or forcing the turnout, as we all know this would be wrong/damaging...

I think the mention of that little detail is where we disagree mostly on that Vaganova vs other teaching methods question... And maybe that's where we fundamentally don't understand each other... Someone coming from the Vaganova method wouldn't understand why people wouldn't want to 'try' more, where people from other (more conservative) methods, would query why attempt something potentially damaging... It's not in the validity of the method that we disagree I think, it's on how we put the issue on the table.

So I think ultimately, all the opinions are very valid... All methods are valid, but we need a good dose of patience and open-mindedness to understand each poster's motive and reaction. What makes the topic a heated one is not -IMO- that we disagree in the concepts, it's that we don't express what we want to say very tactfully or very understandably.
I think that also, someone not speaking the foreign language in question (I think here it would be Russian) may not understand the style the posters uses, or how you would need to interpret the messages, in order for them not to be offensive or sound authoritative.

I prefer asking questions and asking to confirm what something means, rather than automatically assume this was meant to provoke. :o
I have learn this with time and effort (as you usually take something on face value, and unless you're proven the contrary, if you're hurt, you're hurt! You can't help that). If you take a step back instead, and analyse the answer, wondering WHY you DON'T need to be upset (instead of what to answer back to make your post an even more outrageous one! :p ) then a lot of our problems on this forum would be answered!

That's only my opinion, and that will only be unless someone think they agree, but a well travelled dancer/teacher/forum poster, is one who can understand all forms/methods of dance, as well as understand a varied form of habits and facts about other countries!...
As a French dancer, it took a long time to approach another method and actually not see it as just 'that other method' but rather as a valid method. At first, I would have thought, because there is no other available here and you have to make do with it (which thankfully made me continue to take classes in that method), but more importantly, because you need to do the research on the topic, and open your mind to understand why this is potentially a GOOD method, not only ANOTHER method... By doing this, I realised that I wasn't as open-minded as I would have liked, because at the back of my mind, I still thought the French method was the best method. Now I realise that there is no such thing as a flawless method... :eek:


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 6:35 am 
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Location: USA
Again may I say BRAVA balletowoman! :D You really have come along way in the few years I have been reading your posts! May I please add that also the typed word can sometimes be misunderstood. I am trying to read all contributions with a smile on my face which sometimes help to soften the words which otherwise may be misconstrued as harsh. I also agree that closing a thread or ousting a member who may seem to be less than gentile, so to speak, in the end may not serve the artform that we all work so hard to improve, grow to greater heights.

My very first ballet teacher, as I have stated previously, Fred Danieli, a non-Russian, always asked us to consider this quandry, "Do you love ballet in yourself or yourself in ballet?" In times of utter self doubt, anger, or when I feel totally ineffective as a teacher, this is something I always hear ringing in my ears. Funny, it does not ring when I am feeling successful, accomplished and proud. I cannot say I have an ultimate answer for me, but it can abruptly throw me back into the reality of why the heck do I continue to do this with my life. It is the same for me online. Sometimes I can get absolutely insensed when I read something that perhaps I may find to be insulting or lacking in respect. My answer is to go away, at least publically, but somehow I cannot stop lurking. Why? Because I am learning.

We all do need to be respectful of others opinions,educational levels, backgrounds, ideas, observations and yes, even questions! Having lived in various foreign countries, being exposed to various ideas, cultures, codes of ethics, but may I say probably above all listening to the way non-English speaking people construct the English language, has been another huge lesson in life. It is so true that many things can be misunderstood for the simple reason of lack of language abilities as we as English speaking people are accustomed to.

I do not however believe that this is the case with the Vaganova advocates in this forum. I can only speak for myself, I am an American. I do not know who the others are, nor do I care to know, as it is most important for those of us who do wish to remain anonymous are permitted to do so. I do not even know ballet gorilla, but I think I know who it is. There are very few Americans certified to teach the Vaganova method, as well as very few Russians in this country certified to teach the program. I have been confronted with this dilemma before. IMO, people are resistant to change, as I stated previously. It is unusual for Americans to have the opportunity to discuss Vaganova training with Americans who have been trained in the method. It is difficult to let go of what one had believed to be or had been taught to think. For some reason it is the frightening reality that perhaps I may not know as much as I thought regarding this or that. I know this very well. Remember, I can only speak for myself, I had to give up everything in order to truly comprehend what I was paying dearly, monetarily and emotionally, to learn. Including my pride.

As my husband had always said, "I can only teach what I know!" I apoligize to those who may have found my contributions to be too dogmatic, to be unbending and insulting. This was not my intent. Please do not close the forums that perhaps at times can get to be heated. "Rome was not built in a day" and if we could come to some sort of moratorium maybe we really could learn from each other. I know I am. ;)

<small>[ 11-13-2002, 08:09: Message edited by: vrsfanatic ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 9:14 am 
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Vrsfanatic, I agree with what you have said and I would like to add my apologies too. I never meant to implie that I do not respect other people's opinion. I do. I too am learning so much on the forum. I also think that I know who you are too and from reading what you have said on the forum, I know that you know what you are talking about concerning Vaganova. As they say in Russian, malladiettes!!
Balletowoman, I admire you for what you have said. I have many fiends who teach RAD and I respect them and what they teach very much. This is why it is so confusing when I am thought of as not being open minded. My problem is that over the years, I have had to learn to be direct and to the point and I understand that this can be misleading sometimes. The reason that I have had to learn to be direct is because there are so many myths about the Vaganova method that it is even difficult to talk about it. I was only trying to give information that would help people know more about the Vaganova teaching method of classical dance and why it is really called the teaching method of classical ballet; and then, people assumed that I was trying to put down some other methods or something. This was not the case at all. I was just trying to give the facts about what Vaganova, herself, was trying to do and say. It was others of us who said that her method was just another way of teaching. I didn't say it! I was trying to clear up a myth.
I too am sorry that the thread was closed. I was learning so much and I hope that I was helping too to clear up misconceptions about Vaganova's teaching method and the myths associated with the method.
On second thought, that might be a very good topic for this forum: The Myths of the Vaganova Teaching Method. What do others think?

<small>[ 11-13-2002, 10:35: Message edited by: ballet gorilla ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 10:30 am 
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Location: New Orleans, LA
It has always been my opinion that a great number of sins have been committed in Vaganova's name, and I would very much enjoy a learned discussion of the system.


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 12:38 pm 
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I wholeheartedly agree Librarian. Thank you for understanding. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 6:53 am 
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Location: Scotland/France
Well, I'm glad that by opening this new thread, we at least could express our apologies for hurting people if we had done so (and apparently, it did hurt some, as the topic was closed) :(

And thank you for your kind words, I'm blushing :D

<small>[ 11-14-2002, 07:58: Message edited by: balletowoman ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 7:13 am 
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Looking forward! Can't wait! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 10:01 am 
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Me too. And, Basheva, I hope it wasn't me that hurt your feeling by being so direct. I was just curious like you were curious about the lame duck question. If I upset you then, please forgive me. I hope everyone has a good day. Every day that we can walk away from is a good day.


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 10:20 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Though I appreciate the sentiment, my feelings are of no concern.

What is of concern to me is that everyone's voice gets heard - that no one is drowned out. That teachers and students of all levels of expertise don't feel overwhelmed by authoritative voices. That no one proclaims that there is one 'best' method. I see the forums, not as a place for proclamations of one's accreditations, but as a place for an exchange of views, on a equal playing field.

Courteously phrased questions will always be responded to - to the best of my ability.

BalletOWoman makes a very good point in her first post - it always helps to use qualifiers rather than absolutes. Declarative sentences are absolutes. There are some absolutes, but very few of them.

In my opinion. :)

<small>[ 11-14-2002, 11:36: Message edited by: Basheva ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 1:20 pm 
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Basheva, I apologize if I was not courteous.


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 3:41 am 
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Location: Scotland/France
I think we've all explained why we reacted the way we did and why we used the words we used. I sincerely hope we can start 'afresh' and post again on some interesting topics :D

Let's make this place a better forum for all.... group hug: :D


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 Post subject: Re: Where we come from and how we express our opinions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 9:42 am 
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I found this tape I was talking about (sorry for the delay). It's Maria Fay showing a class she designed (she's -on purpose for the tape- not correcting students on this occasion, but she explains why) You probably all know her already... I didn't know anything about her, until I bought this video, but I have to say that she's brilliant!!

I've read on the tape cover that she's actually not ONLY Vaganova, but she had studied it... It says, briefly: Maria Fay was born in Hungary where she trained in ballet, character dance and modern dance. She studied at the Vaganova School of Russian Ballet with Messerer, Zakharov and Armasevskaya. She then came to England and started to teach for the Royal Ballet School, the Royal Academy of Dancing and in her own studio. She's also worked for the London Festival Ballet, Ballet Rambert, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Northern Dance Theatre, London City Ballet, Covent Garden Opera and Ballet for All, and in Scandinavian for Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet and Norwegian National Ballet. She also worked with French festivals, German, Vienna State opera, National Ballet of Spain....etc...

Pfff, she's a touring lady!! She's done it all I think!! I love her video though; her explanations make perfect sense and the class is designed with intelligence and care. She explains everything she does in it (even if I found a few bits a bit patronising... Maybe it's the way she explains as if we were all novice?) so there is nothing left to ask ourselves... Well, all in all, I'd recommend it to everyone (oh, and the title of course!!!):

Maria Fay, The ballet Class, C. 1986 (I think it was one for 'advanced students'... As I'm not sure if there aren't any others)... :D


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