I've taken Robby's class several times already and will take it at least one more time before I graduate. The first time I took it, I admit I was a little bit intimidated by stories of him humiliating students. And for a while, I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this class - loved that we got through an ENTIRE ballet class including jumps, hated his often demeaning comments to students. But now Iâ€™ve decided that I actually really enjoy Robbyâ€™s class! You definitely need to have a thick skin â€“ but thatâ€™s something that years of ballet training should have given you by now â€“ and be willing to work hard and show your personality in class. Thatâ€™s one of the main reasons why I prefer Robby to some of the other ballet teachers at Barnard â€“ heâ€™s not only concerned with technique (though obviously he does focus a lot on technique) but also wants you to be expressive and enjoy the movement. I would say go to class the first few days and decide if Robbyâ€™s teaching style appeals to you, and feel free to P/D/F if youâ€™re worried about being graded! Things to know â€“ Robby is a stickler for starting class on time and requires you to make up EVERY class you miss. So if you have a hard time making it to class and being ready to start at 2:40 on the dot, then this isnâ€™t the class for you. As an aside, there tend to be a lot of GS students in Robbyâ€™s class compared to some of the other ballet classes in the department. And itâ€™s great to have people with lots of different backgrounds in the class, but itâ€™s important not to get hung up on comparing yourself to former professional dancers eitherâ€¦
I personally think LaFosse gives a fantastic ballet class and is a great teacher too. This class is much more dynamic and reflective of an advanced ballet class than many of the other options available. LaFosse is friendly and knowledgeable, and gives lots of corrections, both class-wide and individual, which is always a plus. I guess some feel that he has a tendency to "pick on" people, but I have always seen his doing so with the best of intentions. You wouldn't like to have a professor never explained what he or she wanted or how you could improve, right? So what's so bad about a ballet teacher who actually tells you how to improve? I will definitely be taking this class again.
Take his class, and you'll probably already start feeling a good workout by tendus. Robert LaFosse's classes tend to emphasize accents and shape in footwork, and presentation of movement. He likes to see that you're enjoying what you're doing, and milking the movements for what it's worth. The same goes for his variations class - he's all about style and personality. If you're not used to this, by the end of the term, he'll get you dancing.
Such a great guy! He just really wants you to enjoy yourself and dance. His enthusiasm was amazing--he would brighten up my day every class. He really points out one's weak points and by the end of the year I felt that his criticism did me good. The class was always cheery, everyone just loves him. We usually ended up doing a full class from barre to big jumps--which I thought was impossible in an hour and 15 min. I highly recommend him!