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They’re Just Keeping You On Your Toes

, , , , , | Learning | November 7, 2021

I did ballet for ten years, from age six to age fifteen. I remember my teachers yelling at my class to fix their movements and postures.

While doing barre work:

Teacher: “Don’t lift your leg too high; you look like a dog going potty.”

During “The Nutcracker” rehearsals:

Teacher: “Cows stomp. Horses stomp. Angels do not stomp.”

While doing arm exercises:

Teacher: “Your arms look like chicken wings. Pretend your arms are like clothing hangers.”

Doing pliés, where you put your heels together and bend your knees:

Teacher: “Pretend that you are a merry-go-round going up and down. You have a glass of water on your head.”

A Great Model To Keep Up With

, , , , | Learning | March 23, 2020

(This happened to my sister who runs a dance studio that also offers aerobics, Zumba, and other workout classes. One of her longtime clients and friends is a model who tends to draw attention to herself due to her oversized breast implants. This happens when my sister is teaching a Tae Bo class which is about half first-timers. Ten minutes before class starts:)

New Girl #1: *points to the model* “Hey, slut, this isn’t the strippercise class. This is for people who actually want to exercise.”

Model: “I know what class this is; I signed up because it compliments my boxing lessons.”

New Girl #2: *sarcastically* “Sure, whatever you say. Just don’t complain if you get tired and can’t keep up; you look like you’re carrying a bit of extra weight.”

(The model just stares at them quietly. According to my sister, variants of this joke have been levied at said model at least a dozen times before.)

Sister: “All right, girls, let’s get to it! First break isn’t for forty-five minutes.”

(Both new girls are absolutely exhausted by break time; neither one of them looks like they can even stand.) 

Model: *feigning worry* “Oh, dear! You seem beat. But how can that possibly be?! I mean, I’m carrying so much more extra weight and I still feel fine.”

(Both girls just glowered at her and tried to get up to finish the class. They lasted about ten minutes into the second half before they finally couldn’t take it and ducked out early.)

Broken Swan

, , , | Learning | April 8, 2019

(I teach ballet. I frequently tell my students that no one is allowed to get hurt. This is mostly a joke, but I do bring it up when warning them against certain movements, because I know that those movements are more likely to cause injury. One week, I notice one of my students during an exercise.)

Me: “[Student], you’re making faces I don’t like. Are you all right?”

Student: “I’m fine, Miss [My Name].”

(I let the matter drop. The next week, she comes in with an ankle brace. I ask her what happened.)

Student: “So… you remember last week when you said I was making faces and I told you I was fine? I guess I wasn’t as fine as I thought.”

(She takes things easy for the next few weeks. Things are improving, but I don’t want her to push herself and make it worse. A few weeks later, she comes up to me before class.)

Student: “Miss [My Name], my ankle is all better!”

(This is not quite true, as I can see that she still has the brace on, but she has it under her tights instead of over so it isn’t as obvious. Then she pulls her arm out from behind her back, showing me that it is encased in a bright pink cast.)

Student: “Unfortunately…”

(I probably gave her every bit of the reaction she was hoping for, as I playfully scolded her and told her I was going to have to wrap her in bubble wrap if she didn’t start being careful.)

Ballet Is A High Form Of Art

, , | Learning | January 27, 2019

(I teach ballet. At this class, I have been talking to my class about the importance of being “high on your leg”: lengthening your hip joints so that your legs can easily move in and out.)

Me: “… but if you’re sinking down in your hip, it will be a lot harder to move your legs.” *I demonstrate* “So you want to make sure that you are always high.”

(A student snickers, and I realize what I’ve just said.)

Me: “On your leg! High on your leg! DO NOT come into my class high on drugs!”

(We all had a good laugh at that one. It’s now a running joke:)

Me: “What is my rule?”

Class: “Be high, but don’t be high!”

Timeout Timed Out

, , , , | Learning | February 28, 2018

(My baby sister is taking beginner ballet classes; she is four years old. There is a large age gap between us, so usually I’m the one who drops her off there and picks her up an hour and a half later. The teacher believes that people shouldn’t be watching the class, as it distracts the kids from learning. My sister loves dancing, so she does well until we have to pull her out because of this encounter.)

Teacher: “I had to put [Sister] in timeout today; she was being really bad!”

Me: “Oh, really? What did she do?”

(As I grab my sister’s hand, I notice she looks as if she has been crying for a long time.)

Teacher: “She pushed another girl today.”

Me: “How long did she have to stay?”

Teacher: “The majority of the class. She didn’t seem to learn her lesson.”

Me: “And how long did she cry?”

Teacher: “I couldn’t move her until she learned her lesson!”

Me: “And? Did she apologize, at least? I’m not sure why she would be there for so long.”

Teacher: “I mean, she did say sorry after she pushed her, but she needed to learn!”

Me: “So, leaving her alone, and letting her cry this entire class, was her ‘learning her lesson’?! She’s four years old, she apologized, and she has been crying this entire time, and you left her there all class long?! Not only was this a wasted class for us, you needlessly punished her for so long, even when she apologized!”

Teacher: “She needed to learn her lesson!”

Me: “The only thing I’ve learned today is that you don’t know how to handle a child. We’re not coming back once I tell my parents.”

(We got her out of that class, and have since admitted her into another dance school. I’m not saying that my sister didn’t do anything wrong, but keeping her in timeout while she cried her eyes out, after she had apologized, is ridiculous. We give her timeouts, too, sometimes, but never for so long!)