Ballet/ Dance teachers; we love them,
we hate them, they inspire us and push us to our limits only to help us achieve success! At some point, we look back a wish we could have applied their knowledge more wisely and appreciate all they have tried to do for us. That being said there a certain, undeniable, characteristics that come out in these wonderful pedagogues that you are bound to encounter in your journey in pre-professional to professional ballet.
The Russian Prima: Ripped away from her family at age 6 to train in ballet and provide a future for herself and her family, she defected to North America the first chance she got and she doesn’t think having a cold is a good excuse to miss class. To her American kids are coddled and have no idea what hard work is. Your turn-out better be at 180 degrees, center is in point shoes and the side-eye you get if your leg drops below 90 could cool a cryo-chamber.
The One That Is Better Than You: Granted, ALL your teachers are “better” than you but it feels like this particular instructor teaches class “full out” just to shame you. Retired like 10 years ago, is almost double your age (doesn’t look it of course), and is kicking your ass from plié to big jumps. Makes you question everything you have done up to this point.
The Handsome Male Teacher: He’s still dancing and guest performing but is starting to go the pedagogy and choreography direction. You are sure to put on make-up for class and wear the “cuter” leotard with black tights over. Mom-audience is high attendance during his classes.
The Crotchety Older Teacher: that hurls
insults corrections from a chair at the front of class. If his walking stick were long enough he’d probably try to hit you with it (pre-2000’s PC culture).
The Granola Hippie: Always going on about alternative training like yoga and Alexander technique. You can easily convince them to hold class outside to be “one” with nature, but really you just want to lie in the grass for one hour before your next class. 10 years later (if you’re lucky) you realize taking care of your ligaments / joints and fresh air have some merit. Namaste.
The Uncompromising Artist – He used to run one of the hottest contemporary dance companies in NYC in the 80’s and has danced around the world with all the major artist of his time. As true artiste, he’s a little eccentric, and though his work is widely respected, he managed to burn a lot of bridges so to not bend his artistic integrity (his story). With no PC filter (which you can imagine in today’s school climate is a faux pas) he can only take private students on. His stories begin with “this one time with Baryshnikov…” and for a certain price he can call up his buddy at X dance company or school, and get you a favorable audition.