Those who take it know that ballet class is often accompanied by a barrage of commentary from the teacher. While these remarks may seem self-explanatory, often they have a deeper or even completely different meaning and should not be taken at face value (maybe because teachers are trying to keep students on their toes! Haha!). Finally, in response to numerous requests for a ‘dance teacher translation guide,’ I have created the following dance teacher translation guide.
Here are some commonly heard dance teacher expressions, followed by their actual meanings.
None of you have any real talent
She says: ‘good,’ to an individual.
She means: ‘I hate you.’
She says ‘good,’ to the group.
She means ‘I was not even watching.’
He says ‘better,’ to an individual.
He means ‘better,’ but leaves unstated that it would be impossible to do worse.
He says ‘quiet please,’ to the group.
He means ‘next person who talks will be killed.’
He says ‘quiet please,’ to an individual.
He means ‘I am going to kill you.’
Let’s do a combo involving you all leaving and me never having to see you again
She asks ‘who can show this step?’ to the group.
She means ‘I have become so jaded that I no longer think any of you are capable of even the simplest step.’
She asks ‘can you show this step?’ to an individual.
She means ‘do you have any redeeming qualities?’
He says ‘who remembers the combination from last week?’
He means ‘I do not remember the combination from last week.’
He asks ‘why don’t you do that every time?’
He means: ‘usually you are just awful.’
See girls? This is why only Cassie will make it
She says ‘really jump!’
She means ‘you need to lose some weight.’
She says ‘light hand on the barre!’
She means ‘everything you are doing is so bad that the only thing I can even begin to correct is your hand on the barre.’
Let’s see you talk back after dancing with all of these tacks in your shoe
He says ‘let’s skip adagio.’
He means ‘there’s still a chance you could make it as some kind of jazz dancer.’
He says ‘why aren’t you doing what we talked about last time?’
He means ‘why do I even bother with you?’
She says ‘That costume looks great!’
She means ‘There is literally nothing else I can compliment you on.’
She says ‘I have really enjoyed teaching you this year.’
She means ‘I have been drinking.’
Please feel free to comment with other phrases and translations!