Sunday, November 4, 2012

Overheard outside of class

I overheard the following exchange in the hallway outside of the classrooms after ballet class this morning:
Person 1: How was class?
Person 2: It was good.  Any time I walk out of class instead of being carried out is a good class.
I kid you not.

Today I took a class at yet another dance school. This one has been around long enough that when I was looking for classes WayBackWhen, I considered taking classes there. And that's been more than 25 years. As best I recall, I didn't go there because it wasn't convenient to get to, and since I was going to be taking a class weekday evenings that was important. With traffic significantly worse now, it'd still be an issue on a weeknight.

Sunday mornings, however, the traffic isn't as bad, and I can allow more time to get there. They have a "strict policy" of not allowing adults to join a class more than 10 minutes after the scheduled start time. I just barely managed to avoid testing that, arriving just at the scheduled start time and finishing the required paperwork in record time. What's most important, though, was I was in the room and ready to go before the teacher started class.

I'm a tough judge of teachers in general. My parents taught education at the university level and I teach from time to time as part of my job, so I know something about teaching. I have to say I was not tremendously impressed by this teacher. She clearly knows ballet, having had a 15-year professional career followed by a number of years teaching. It's her teaching technique rather than her ballet technique that is somewhat lacking. She criticized one of the younger (but still adult) students saying, "You know your mother and I discussed this..." I considered that rude and unprofessional. Later, when there was a bit of discussion between students over what something meant, rather than calmly asserting control over the class and providing the proper answer, she got snippy, saying, "Do you want to vote on this? I'm only a 20-year professional. But if you think you know better than me, go ahead." Again, not the way a good instructor would have handled the situation.

However, I'll grant her a mitigating factor: I think she has asthma, COPD, or maybe the remnants of the flu, as she was audibly rasping on her inhalations by the end of class. My friend who took the class with me didn't notice, but a decade as an emergency medical tech trained me to listen for and recognize such things. It was pronounced enough that I almost asked her if she was okay. Being short of breath has a way of eroding your patience. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, for now.

Still, it wasn't a bad class. Unlike my other two classes, which run 60 minutes, this one is 90. There were six of us, one of whom was wearing pointe shoes. She got a bit of individual attention, but not so much that it significantly detracted from the overall class. I know I'm not doing a good job of describing what we did in class, but most of it was variations on things I've done in other classes. About the only significant difference was the introduction of a lunge position, which is sort-of fourth with a shift in body position so almost all the weight is over the front foot. As the instructor put it, "think fencing".

I expect I'll take at least another couple of these classes. If nothing else it's an interesting social experience, and it'll get me out of the house and into a studio more often. I did not, however, buy a 10-class discount card yet.

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