Forum: Highland / Highland - Adult Dancers

We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By fruitsalad
On Fri Sep 21, 2012 07:52 PM

Many people including myself have spoke of their struggle finding classes as an adult. Just today a close friend of 20+ years said her 16 year old daughter (no longer a child but not quite an adult) had been told she is not welcome at her nearest class, the one many of her friends have gone to since they were 6 and now winning premier competitions. The teacher even suggested she look at country dancing instead. Knowing the girl I really don't think she would care if she was in a beginners class with under 10s (or would they have a problem with a 16 year old?)

Some poeple really do think you have your only chance as a young child. Fortunately I have done the research already and can point them to more open minded teachers.

24 Replies to We're not alone (teenager turned away)

re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By mcgarrymum
On Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:25 PM
This sort of thing gets me annoyed. I teach and have a fair number of adults in my class,7 in all, in fact I have almost as many adults than juniors. 1 has been dancing almost constantly for many years, 1 has come and gone a bit, 2 returned after many years away from Highland, 1 joined from another school recently and the other 2 only started a few weeks ago, one 18, the other 20. The elder of these 2 had danced in other forms previously, but never had done Highland, the younger had never danced before. They are ALL doing great and it's as rewarding to see them learning the dances as it as the younger ones, in the few short weeks they have been coming they have already learned a fair number of dances, I cant say they are done perfectly, but they are enjoying the challenge and we can sort the other things out later.

EVERYONE deserves a chance.

Only my opinion, of course.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By cuttlefish
On Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:32 PM
Thats crazy. I really don't get that attitude, especially from teachers. Little kids can be really difficult to teach, I'd like to swap some of mine for teenagers. And teenagers who have chosen to do this themselves are going to be much more motivated than kids doing it because their parents told them to.

I like to point out that one of the most famous ballet dancers in the world, Rudolf Nureyev, didn't start ballet until he was about 18 and he seems to have done pretty well for himself :]
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By LoriCook
On Sat Sep 22, 2012 06:28 AM
The goal of highland dance should be to keep the tradiition alive. Any age and any skill level can do this. Yes, it is nice to teach a world champion, but 99.9% of us aren't going to meet that goal so teachers should focus on improving each person's performance and knowledge regardless of ability. I've seen some 9 year olds with terrible form and coordination. Is the teacher going to give up on them? Why give up on someone older?
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By Skyesbridge
On Sat Sep 22, 2012 08:52 PM
That's just sad to hear.

And some teachers wonder why their class sizes are dwindling?
Is it not better to teach someone who is interested, regardless of age, if they just want to learn?

Another thing I wonder is, all those that turn away prospective students, forget they may also be turning other's away, that this student knows.

A willing student pays the same fee for lessons... you'd think in today's economy people would be thankful for more students. Oh well, their loss, is Another teacher's Gain. ;)
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By hummingbird
On Sat Sep 22, 2012 09:45 PM
If you don't have a suitable class though, what's the instructor supposed to do?

I'm an Irish instructor and I face this quandary with my seniors every now and again. If I only have one or two I can't afford to rent a room to give them a class, it has to make financial sense.

At the moment I have one senior and a class of ten inters in my Irish classes and I've just come to an arrangement with the seniors mum that she'll do the inter class and then I'll give her another 15 to 20 minutes just on her dances afterwards. Some parents actually take this sort of offer as an insult, I've had it happen before.

I'm lucky, I can afford to let a class run as long as I have three signups, some studios don't have this luxury.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By batd_teacherPremium member
On Sat Sep 22, 2012 09:52 PM
Come to Timmins. Highland isn't just about awards. :)
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By SeniorLadyPremium member
On Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:32 PM
Come to Ottawa! Thirty of the approximately 90 dancers at my studio are over 18, with a vast majority of those being adult dancers over 25 (a mix of beginner through intermediate).
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By Highland71
On Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:39 PM
I have three adult dancers currently coming to me for lessons. One is 54 and is competing as a Novice, the second is 34 and is competing as a Premier (and is doing very well) and I have a new dancer who is 29. She has never danced before and is going to start with my other class- a Primary/Beginner class (a 4 year old, 5 year old and an 8 year old). She's happy with this- the kids are happy with this, and if she works hard, she could move into the adults class in 6-8 months. It didn't even occur to me to turn away someone who is interested- she's even expressed an interest in competing as an adult Beginner. It really upsets me when people get classified as being 'over the hill'- whether they are 16 or 66, and fit and interested, they should be encouraged! This is how we grow Highland Dance!
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By fruitsalad
On Sun Sep 23, 2012 08:46 PM
If someone is happy to go to the beginners class at 16 with little kids is there any reason they shouldn't? You are absolutely right she will be more motivated than a kid doing it to please their parents. Pity hers couldn't afford it 10 years ago and she had to wait til she got a part time job.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By wrightstar
On Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:10 PM
Yes it's all very well if the teacher has sufficient numbers to have an Adult Beginners Class and yes the Adult Beginner Student may be quite happy to join in with little kids BUT is the Teacher happy about that situation? Well in my experience the answer is a definate NO! because the Adult beginner acts exactly as an ADULT. After a few weeks Yes! they can pick up the steps quickly but start to interfere and given half a chance are instructing the wee ones. They may think they are helping but they are not. I have also found that they take more than their fair share of class time by constantly interrupting instead of following instructions and I might add this is not one particular student I am speaking about but a general observation regarding Adult Beginners in the same class as younger students.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By cuttlefish
On Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:51 PM
Wrightstar, I haven't seen what you're talking about in dance classes but I have seen it in music classes. The teacher just needs to exercise more control over the class. It can be annoying, but its not impossible to stop. Everyone sits down quietly when not being taught directly by the teacher, anyone who interrupts is ignored or asked to wait until the end to ask questions. I would think the problem is that the teacher is unsure how to treat adult learners compared to children, maybe feeling uncomfortable telling them what to do etc.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By SparrowCatPremium member
On Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:00 AM
^ if that is the case, surely it is up to the dance teacher to reinforce their position of authority, gently remind the students that all they need t worry about is their own dancing and that the teacher is the teacher for a reason - set guidelines as they would for the younger students, and everyone follows the same rules in class.

Perhaps some adult dancers worry that they are not doing things properly, and therefore thought of (as you put it) - 'taking up time' more than the younger students. Hey - if they want to learn, that's what they are the for, right?

When I used to teach there were students who wanted and requested more instruction than others(generally pre teen or teen students though, not adults). As a teacher I had to ensure I could answer their questions as well as carry on the class. I found that the ones who kept asking generally meant I hadn't explained myself in a way that particular student understood, or needed assurance they were doing something correctly. Once they had that, there was no bother. Everyone deserves to learn, nd it's okay to put in place boundaries to keep the class moving.

I really feel for anyone wanting to dance/participate in sport and find that due to their age, they cannot find a studio/club/team to support them - especially a motivated 16 year old that WANTS to be there.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By SparrowCatPremium member
On Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:02 AM
Sorry my above comment was in response to wrightstar - iPad typing is slow :)
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By emmyport
On Mon Sep 24, 2012 01:20 AM
wrightstar wrote:

...I might add this is not one particular student I am speaking about but a general observation regarding Adult Beginners in the same class as younger students.


It sounds like this is a case of poor class management on the part of the dance teacher. I have taught & observed Beginner classes with age ranges of 5 years to 30+ years over the past 25 years and have never had the experiences wrightstar described above.

Regarding the original statements by fruitsalad, I think it is unfortunate that there seem to be so many Highland teachers who are unwilling to take on new dancers who are teens/adults. I encourage all of your motivated teen/adults to keep searching - I hope you will all find fantastic teachers who will treat you like the valuable students & dancers you are! :)
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By wrightstar
On Mon Sep 24, 2012 02:31 PM
I am afraid the people that replied you have all missed my point. I at no point said that I could not control the situation and that boundaries were not set but the point is that I should not have to!!! You are quick to blame the teacher how do you know how much experience I have in teaching Adults? I was merely stating a teacher's point of view.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By emmyport
On Fri Sep 28, 2012 09:22 PM
wrightstar wrote:

...I was merely stating a teacher's point of view.


I can't speak for the others, but I was merely replying from a teacher's point of view. That's the beauty of forums - we can all share our opinions! :)
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By AngieMich
On Sat Sep 29, 2012 06:44 AM
Because I teach a small number of kids I am constantly having to mesh the young ones and the adults, and I love it, to be honest! I mean, it would be nice to have enough that I wouldn't have to do that, but I always find that the kids will behave better (or at least listen more) if there is an adult around, and adults are so fun to teach!
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By meghanbold
On Sun Sep 30, 2012 07:06 PM
It's so sad that this is true and it's actually the reason I startedy own dance studio. I wanted to dance again but no one would take me. My first 2 years of being in business I had ONLY adult students and it wasn't until year 3 that the kids started showing up. I have adults who have never done it to ex competitors who still love it. I myself at the age of 30 started competing and I'm totally in love with it even though I'm almost twice their age. I think everyone should be encouraged to do what they love no matter what the age.

Let's keep highland alive and keep supporting all those involved. Young or old.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By Dougie
On Tue Oct 02, 2012 08:28 AM
Please move to Central Coast Australia and I would be happy for you both to join my classes, whether highland, national, choreography, technical or fitness, all are welcome. Only rules I have are fees need to be paid (so I can pay the rent) and respect for other dancer, teachers and yourself. The rest takes care of itself. I'm not quite sure of the cirucmstance why a teacher would say no, and I respect their decision to do so, all I can say is keep searching, there'll be someone who'll be happy to have you join their class. Otherwise, the Central Coast Australia is a beautiful spot for you to make a new home :D
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By puddelilly
On Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:22 AM
And this is why my teacher had one class once a week for 2-3 hours (usually 2). Everyone was in one big class. We all warmed up together. The beginning of class was geared towards what everyone could do, and by the end the older girls (40's) were working on jigs/hornpipes/laddies etc. It probably wasn't perfect, but it was great for young dancers. Sure I sat out 1/4 - 1/2 the class, but I had a huge basic knowledge of almost all the dances in just a couple of years. Of course, the teacher also had great classroom management.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By BunHeadAlymember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:33 AM
Since a lot of adult beginners end up competing alongside little ones you would think more teachers would be okay with mix-ins.

Just a thought. :)
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By Veterandancer
On Tue Oct 02, 2012 05:39 AM
Edited by Veterandancer (164303) on 2012-10-02 05:41:36
There are teachers who welcome dancers of all ages and abilities - keep looking. Pity you are not in Australia or NZ as there are quite a lot here that take 'older' students like myself ( I am well into my 50s and now in novice) I have also found I am made very welcome at workshops as well.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By Gall_Dannsair
On Tue Nov 06, 2012 03:54 PM
GOOD GOD! I have been a student of Highland Dance since I was age 10, and now at age 43.....I am still a student! I respect my teachers and workshop instructors. HELL i work harder than the little ones on purpose so that I can prove that I am STILL a viable member of the Highland Dance world and I win still!!!!!! NOTHING like beating a 14 year old girl in a Lilt....hahahaha, but yes I goof up and I get disqualified as well but I share the stage and that piece of wood is mine, I paid for it each time I step on it. and for someone to say they wont take an adult is someone that really cant express correctly the rule of education and teaching. I hope that the teacher in question states that they only take little ones. I presume they will never have any student become an Adult Champion since apparently they throw them away at 15 once they prepare to leave junior.....Foster the education is all I can say. And if the person is disruptive, they are a student do to them what you would do to the 10 year olds.
re: We're not alone (teenager turned away)
By Rockstep
On Tue Nov 06, 2012 04:51 PM
Just a word in support of the teacher's side:

(I teach all ages, my youngest are 2 1/2, my oldest is 34 and I have nothing against adult dancers. I find this absurd and don't enjoy reading this thread.)

Teachers can't always take a student. My new registrations are mostly all around one age, 3. And if I have an 8 yr old ask to register I can't really put her in with 3 yr olds and I can't put her in with girls her age who aren't beginners. It's not fair to any of the students to have classes like that. So you have to turn them away and say try again next year.

I have had adults ask about classes as well and if I only have one or two inquire, it's not enough for a full class, I offer them private lessons. Most don't want that. So if I just don't have a class that fits, what can I do?

You have to understand that sometimes it's not about turning adults away because they are adults, for me, it's about turning any age away if I don't have a class that fits. I have a lot of experience in this, no one has fun in a class that doesn't fit their abilities.

ReplySendWatch

Powered by XP Experience Server.
Copyright ©1999-2020 XP.COM, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS