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Advice for Choosing the Right Dance Teacher

By Joseph, published on 30/04/2018 Blog > Arts and Hobbies > Dance > How to Find a Ballet Teacher

“A day without dancing is a day wasted” – Nietzsche

If that’s the case, how many days have you wasted?

Maybe it’s time to learn ballet!

Whether you’re doing an intensive dance workshop, an introduction to dance, advanced ballet training, or attending a ballet school, the teacher is hugely important when it comes to learning such a challenging art form.

Since ballet requires musicality, coordination, artistry, rhythm, and a good posture, you need a quality teacher. They’re there to help you with your timing and movement throughout your dance education.

But how can you find the right ballet teacher?

Do they have to be professional dancers?

Is it better to attend workshops or get private instruction?

Can adult students learn to do ballet?

Superprof is here to help you find a good teacher with passion, poise, and grace.

The Places Where You Should Look for a Ballet Teacher

Finding a ballet teacher needn’t be that difficult. There are plenty of places offering ballet lessons and workshops. You just need to choose the one that teaches ballet classes for your level.

Getting Ballet Lessons at a Conservatoire or University

When should you start learning ballet? You become a ballet dancer at any age. (Source: Skitterphoto)

Can you get “adult ballet classes”?

Even for beginners?

Of course, you can! Not everyone attending a conservatoire aspires to be a famous dancer. Most people wrongly assume that if you want to attend adult ballet classes, you have to be a ballet dancer at a dance company or preparing for an audition.

Of course, conservatoires do tend to produce some of the best dancers in the country. However, not every famous dancer attended a conservatoire and not all the alumni of conservatoires are famous dancers.

However, to get on a lot of the courses at a conservatoire, you’ll have to have some experience with dance classes and an understanding of ballet technique. That said, if you do decide to enrol at a conservatoire, it’s because you want a career in the arts.

Find dance classes in London.

Picking a Ballet Teacher from a Dance School

If you want to start learning how to dance, think about having a look at the dance schools in your region. The teachers at these schools are often experienced and offer quality lessons.

These lessons can be rather pricey depending on the dance school you choose to attend but they often also come with some of the best equipment. However, not every dance studio is the same. Many of them also offer drop-in lessons and ballet lessons.

Not know the first thing about dancing?

Don’t worry! You can always attend recreational ballet lessons for “absolute beginners”.

How long does it take to master pointe technique? If you want to master advanced techniques, you’re going to have to work hard. (Source: roxanablav)

Since ballet can be quite technical, a beginner ballet class usually assumes that you’ve been shown the fundamentals of the discipline. When first beginning ballet lessons, you’ll usually start with “absolute beginners” that will introduce you to ballet before moving onto “beginners”, “intermediate”, and then “advanced” classes.

Once you start mastering ballet, you can focus on the specific aspects of your dance training with classes with an emphasis on things like pointe technique or physical strengthening and conditioning.

Make sure to check out the school’s syllabus or curriculum before you sign up to participate in their adult dance programmes.

Get Private Ballet Lessons

Are you a bit shy in class?

Would you like to learn more quickly than you would in a traditional group class?

Are you getting ready for a dance competition or exam?

You should check out private ballet tutorials!

Private tuition is also useful for those who’d struggle with the class schedule at a ballet studio or a dance class that’s taught at the same time every week. With a private tutor, you and your instructor can decide where and when you get your dance training.

Whether advertised on a bulletin board in the supermarket, Facebook pages, or on specialised platforms like Superprof, there are plenty of ways to find and get in touch with private ballet tutors or other dance tutors.

There are plenty of dance tutors from all around the country on Superprof. Some tutors charge very little but may not have a lot of experience. Experienced tutors may provide the best education but come at a cost. The rates of tutors can vary wildly between £15 to £60 per hour and change depending on where the tutor is, your level, the tutor’s experience, and the type of ballet tutorials that you’re looking for.

Private tutorials are also useful for those who need to prepare for a show. If you’ve got rehearsal for the Nutcracker or Swan Lake and feel that you should brush up on your ballet pointe technique or just want to broaden your repertoire before you start your placement at an academy of dance, your tutor can focus on what you need to improve far more than you could in your typical adult class.

The Questions You Need to Ask Your Potential Dance Teacher

Before you choose your dance teacher or dance academy, you have to ask a few questions.

Make sure they have the necessary qualifications. A good dancer isn’t necessarily a good teacher, so make sure that they have qualifications and experience in teaching. Generally, the teacher should have at least a level 3 qualification (A Level or equivalent) in dancing.

People tend to think that ballet lessons are expensive. You should make sure that you do your research on the cost before you start aspiring to be the next George Balanchine, the man who founded the New York City Ballet where he was the Artistic Director for many years a.k.a. the father of American Ballet.

In some cases, you can pay every month, semester, or year to make things easier. You can pay for several lessons at once at some of the more modern dance schools. This means you can show up to several different dance classes and try them out.

Some places even offer discounts for students, job seekers, senior citizens, or just for signing up several family members or friends at the same school.

What should you look for in a ballet tutor? What does the ideal ballet tutor look like? (Source: creades)

When you sign up, you might be asked a few questions about your health and fitness just to make sure that you won’t injure yourself during lessons. This is often a legal requirement. You’ll also be expected to provide general information like your name, address, telephone number, etc.

Some ballet teachers may even expect you to wear specific clothes for their lessons. Make sure you find out if they do and, if so, what they are. Otherwise, you should get a leotard, tights or leggings, ballet shoes, and make sure you tie your hair up. Don’t wear anything that could hinder your movements.

It’s common for schools to offer free taster sessions for the first class of the year. This is useful for helping you decide whether or not the course is for you. You should focus on the teaching style and how they structure their lesson.

A lot of schools also put on an end of year show to show off what their students are capable of. However, this may mean that a student has to pay more. Make sure you find out if they do and, if so, how much it would cost. Go see this show to see if it seems like the type of school you’d like to attend and check out the students’ level, etc. These shows often take place in the summer.

What You Should Look for in a Ballet Teacher

Taster sessions and classes are a great opportunity to look out for the qualities your tutor should have:

How can you improve your flexibility for dancing? It can take a while to get this flexible. (Source: studioessen)

  • Teaching skills: A good dancer isn’t necessarily a good teacher. They need to be able to clearly break down each steps so that everyone understands them. They also need to be able to adapt to each student’s needs.
  • The choreography needs to be suitable for the level: It’s normal not to be able to follow along with the choreography if you’ve never danced before, but you should look at the other students. If nobody seems to be getting it then the routine may be too advanced for the students and this is a sign that the teacher isn’t capable of adapting their classes. On the other hand, if the moves all seem too easy for the students, it can also be a bad thing.
  • Patience and care: Learning to dance can take some time. A ballet teacher should never forget to be patient and care about their students. They need to correct their students’ mistakes and encourage their student to improve. A good teacher is nurturing and encouraging.
  • Motivating students: When an exercise is done right, a good tutor should congratulate their students. They know how to motivate their students when they have doubts. A good teacher is also like a coach.
  • They respect the limits of each student, especially in terms of flexibility: Flexibility is one of the fundamentals of ballet. However, not everyone’s the same, and that’s alright. None of the exercises should harm you. Every exercise needs to be done with the physical abilities of the student.
  • The time spent warming up: To avoid injuries, warming up needs to take a certain amount of time, especially when it comes to ballet. Before any exercises are done with the ballet barre, you should be encouraged to warm up and make sure that you stretch sufficiently.
  • Technical and artistic skills: a ballet teacher should make you want to dance like them. Otherwise, why should you even pick them to be your teacher? Whether it’s their improvisation or how they perfectly execute a pas de deux and an entrechat, they have to impress you. Additionally, you may have to pay attention to the type of ballet. You don’t want to focus on classical ballet with a ballerina who’s dance training focused on contemporary ballet.

In short:

  • Choose where you’d like to take ballet lessons: conservatoires, dance schools, ballet academies, dance studios, or with a private tutor.
  • Ask your potential teacher some questions about the cost, timetable, clothing, their qualifications, etc. Were they a professional dancer? Do they have experience as a choreographer at a national ballet company? Have they taught or studied at a ballet academy?
  • Research your potential teacher’s skills and qualities: teaching skills, abilities, confidence, personality, etc.

So what are you waiting for? Get your ballet slippers and tutu ready!

Don’t forget that on Superprof you can also find a trained tutor who teaches jazz, tap, pilates, or contemporary dance for adults.

To learn about the history of ballet, follow the link!

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