Marjorie is the absolute best Ballet teacher I have ever had. I was still recovering from a dance-related injury when I was in her class and she was so committed to making sure I was safe and comfortable while still learning and improving. She understood and respected me adjusting exercises and met all students where they were at. Her exercises were unique and dynamic so you always felt challenged. Her compassion and sense of humor shine through even during a plié combination.
Professor Glasner really takes into consideration the needs of her students, and manages to address and correct individuals even in large class settings with a wide variety of levels. This is a difficult task that she manages very well. She is personable and friendly, and always keeps a sense of humor. She emphasizes musicality and expressivity in phrase work, and creates an un-competitive atmosphere. She provides a thorough warm up and builds her class structure around accomplishing particular tasks or focusing on specific skills. She accepts and always asks for student requests in exercises we want to do or things we want to work on. She is direct and honest, but absolutely not condescending. And also more than willing to offer academic or dance advice. She is lively, enthusiastic and passionate. I would highly recommend taking her ballet class.
Sabrina is one of the best teachers I've ever had. Not just in dance, but in approaching problems in life. Many of these reviewers are upset because Sabrina gives people harsh reality checks, which is not what people are used to hearing, or do not want to hear. Put your ego away and bow down. If you let her, she will give you more attention than any dance teacher ever has. She is an expert at figuring out people's bodies, and she'll tell you exactly what your personal issues are and how to fix them. If you're lazy, don't want to face your own problems, or don't have time for this, stay out. But if you are looking for real personal growth and you follow her instructions and actually try to understand what she's saying, you'll find that your whole body will feel different in a matter of weeks. She will only start paying attention to you once she sees that you're listening and willing to trust her methods. Otherwise, she thinks you're a waste of her time, which is true anyway-- why would you take the class if you're not going to even try to learn? This is not the place to fulfill a PE requirement. Her classes have been getting smaller, presumably because of horror stories such as those below. Don't believe them and shy away-- give her a chance and judge for yourself.
She is absolutely insane. Very intelligent and knowledgeable, but clearly mentally unstable. She is very invasive and inappropriate in class, often shouting curse words and making comments about the personal lives of her students. She means well but I was not a fan of her teaching methods. To her credit, she pays attention to dancers who would be overlooked by a teacher like Robert Lafosse or Allegra Kent. While it is clear that her actions are fueled by the deep care and compassion that she has for her students, I found it too close for comfort.
Professor Glasner is very sweet and friendly. She uses fun, unique analogies to get her point across, and they usually work. However, I received very, very little individual attention throughout the semester. There were classes where she didn't direct a comment at me once during the whole two hours. Considering this, I thought I was doing fine in her class. My final grade did NOT reflect this. This was my second time taking Ballet IV with her, and my grade was lower this time around. My only complaint is that I had no way to expect the grade I received. I thought I would maybe receive the same grade I had gotten before - but a lower grade? I just didn't think that would happen. I wish Professor Glasner had given me more direction and told me more specifically what I needed to work on. How am I supposed to improve if I only hear general comments and never receive individualized pointers or advice? When you see an instructor helping others but not helping you, and then you get a grade that makes it clear you needed help, it feels like that instructor had given up on you. As students paying for instruction, we deserve more than that. As a side note, I have always enjoyed Professor Glasner's bubbly demeanor and passion for teaching. This semester, even prior to seeing my grade, I also noticed that she sometimes comes off as condescending.
Sabrina is one of the best dance teachers I've ever had (and I've been taking dance my whole life). I have had a chronic ankle injury for a few years now, and her Pilates class has helped me enormously. She has fantastic corrections, and she can see a problem immediately. My sports medicine doctor is the doctor for the Boston Ballet, and Sabrina has helped me far more than he has (!!). Yes, she does give corrections bluntly and in a matter-of-fact sort of way, but quite frankly, she's usually right. She is also very precise about what she wants, but trust me, it will improve your technique/alignment tremendously. She is passionate about dancing correctly (i.e., so you don't injure yourself). If my injury permitted me to do ballet, I would still be in her class. She teaches a fast-paced, technically challenging class. Personally, it's the kind of class I love most, but it's not what everyone likes. She does not use your typical ballet music either; in my class, she was mostly using Modest Mouse's "The Moon and Antarctica" album, which provided some great atypical rhythms. Like a previous reviewer has said, if you are easily offended, Sabrina may not be the professor for you. For the record, I have never seen her raise her voice or get angry in the two semesters I've had her. If you're willing to put in the effort that Sabrina demands from her students, however, you will get an abundance back from her. She is actually quite a lovely and interesting person from my discussions with her. Don't be discouraged!
Most ballet teachers end their classes with reverence. Sabrina ends hers with temper tantrums instead (during which she makes her students cry and humiliates them in front of the entire class). She seems to have a major ego problem, and I feel awful for the girls she screams at (yeah, she actually SCREAMS. An anomaly out of all the dance teachers I've ever had). She also teaches ("teaches"?) with her eyes closed, and literally seems to be teaching class for her own benefit, not the students'. Run away, and run away fast. I desperately wished I had never registered for her class (and she gave me an A).
Sabrina is one of the most helpful ballet teachers I have ever had. Yes, she can be condescending in her teaching style, but she cares deeply about seeing her students improve. She has a wealth of knowledge about how to train a ballerina's body and how to treat injuries, and she is very generous with her time outside class to help individuals fix their technical problems. She is very willing to help those who seek it. And her bark is far worse than her bite. Sabrina offers encouragement and praise in addition to her tough corrections. Let's face it: the performing arts world is not usually the most nurturing of environments. We're spoiled here at Barnard by the deep investment our instructors make in us. For an intro-level course, Sabrina would be quite intimidating. However, she teaches Ballet IV, and by the time a student has reached a high intermediate level, she should be able to handle instructors like Sabrina. My advise to anyone who takes Sabrina's class is this: humbly submit to her idiosyncrasies, let the things that bother you roll off your shoulders (I think she can tell when someone sits and stews, and she won't take that!), and seek her help outside class. You will gain invaluable knowledge about how to use your body and avoid injuries, and I think you'll find that you'll love her for herself, too! The long and short of it is: I have not taken any classes with her before now (my senior year), and I find myself wishing I had placed myself in her hands LONG before now!
Sabrina would ridicule students in front of the whole class, pointing out how a student is doing a moevement in a wrong or ugly way, with no apparent benefit to the class. it truly felt to me liekshe wouldrather make fun of students than correct them effectively. She has more fun seeing you do somethign wrong than teaching you how todo it correctly. Sabrina didn't really seem to like to TEACH, only criticize. And believe me, I love it when dance teachers are tough on me-- they ought to be really tough on you; it's their job to teach you to dance, not to make you feel good. But Sabrina truly did not teach or like to make helpful or effective corrections. She didn't want you either to become a better dancer, or to enjoy dancing. Her class doesn't allow you to do either, it just makes you wonder why you ever thought it was worth it to dance in the first place. She makes you hate yourself as well as her-- and not in a productive way, in a shitty way.
Katie Glasner intimidated the pants off of me at first! Katie often allows her class to dissolve into chattiness; however, the technique stickler in her never ceases its hounding. The class filled beyond capacity, and this presented problems of overcrowding at the barre and during combinations. It will probably fill even more next semester as the department will offer no Ballet VI classes. You need tremendous focus to take this class, or you need need to come with goals of giggling with good girlfriends and enjoying yourself. Arrive early to claim a spot at the barre. Otherwise, you might find yourself relegated to a barre end or to the piano. Lastly, as a great bonus, John the accompanist improvises hilarious musical divertissements to accompany Katie's infamous groaner jokes.
I consider Laveen Naidu one of the best teachers at Columbia. He gave all of his students tough love, and paid attention to everyone's weaknesses and improvements. Most importantly, he really understands how to convey the ideas that he wants dancers to understand. This comes as a refreshing contrast with the many dance teachers who struggle with explaining how to do things that they never found difficult. Prof. Naidu started at Columbia this fall, and he might not return. If he doesn't, we will all miss him!
I think you *can* get a lot out of this course if you decide to, but there are a few things you should know about Kat. Her combinations are good for your technique and often fun and challenging, but I know students who don't think they benefitted much from studying with her because she's kind of quirky. She's a little socially awkward, calls attention to you if you're thirty seconds late to class (even though this class always runs five minutes over), and has a tendency to interrupt you at the barre to give you corrections, messing up the combination for you. That said, if you get along with her, she gives a good class. You'll walk out of the studio dripping with sweat, but your petit allegro will improve.
Despite her odd social tendancies and lack of patience, I liked Kathryn. She is a bit quirky, but once you get to know her she can be friendly and helpful. Her class was a little on the easy side. Her barre exercises were generally a good preparation for center. Center exercises on the other hand were slightly boring and repetitive. Be prepared to do the same adagio every day which she sometimes spices up with some lyrical moves. Petite allegro was mediocre, but the advanced dancers tended to add beats for a greater challenge. The biggest issue with this class was the lack of grand allegro combinations. Her "big jumps" were usually a few sautes across the floor with maybe one leap per semester. She does, however, allow students to take class en pointe and dedicates an extra 15 minutes once a week to a pointe section. Sometimes she can be very snippy if you mess up her barre preparations, fiddle with your shoes, or dare take a sip of water during class. She will not hesitate to put you down in front of the class for your poor behavior, but she is never too harsh when it comes to your ballet ability. She's quite encouraging, but she tends to play favorites. What ballet teacher doesn't?
Prof. Sullivan seems to think that we all got into this good school by grace of God. She speaks to everyone like they are 5 years old, and puts everyone down, including the accompanist. She is definitely socially akward, hence the stuttering. She definitely plays favorites and can pick on one person for the whole class for one thing and ignore that everyone else is making the same mistake. God forbid you mess up her preparation she will tell you to move down a level. Good luck.
While she can be a nice, approachable person at the end of class, be afraid...be VERY afraid. This woman made me never want to look at another teacher in the eyes again. Her class consist of pilates warm-up, which was good for the abs but not after a heavy lunch, thousands of tendu exercises that didn't bring one sweat drop to my brow, and random passe'/coupe' turns in the center. Be prepared to have her stop the class in the middle of an exercise, stare at you straight in the face and censure you 'till you want to cry. She must have grabbed my arm from the barre numerous times for not having my thumb on top of the barre!! wow. talk about anal. If you're looking to get a good workout and lose some of your freshmen 15 from last year, do not take her class! It's all Balanchine based, annoying lunge pirouette positions, tendus tendus tendus, short adagios, and NO grande allegro. Also, her musical ear is far from on key. can this woman count to 8?? Note: if no piano player shows, there's always weird citar/hippie music to dance to! yay...not.
Expect to work on your technique until you're ready to cry. pilates at the beginning of every class (each day she'll come in and reprimand you for not having gotten started yet) plus a sizeable amount of her own strange physiological philosophy. Sabrina was in NYCB and i'm sure she's a beautiful dancer herself, but her classes are so slow that you'll go through the semester without a single grande allegro. Her class is only for those truly dedicated to improving their technique.