As I’ve mentioned before, I love substitute teachers. Y. is going on vacation before Christmas, so the last two jazz classes of the year will be taught by Frodo and Jay respectively, both of whom we’ve had before. Today, Y. called in sick but managed to find a replacement. She always does – she’s great.
I have never had class with this particular sub, whom I’ll call Opal. She was great. I always enjoy doing things differently in class and so I liked her quite a bit.
I don’t think she liked me back.
I am, have always been and am likely to remain, a mouthy bastard. Not in a confrontational way – it’s just when something interesting occurs to me, I feel an urge to share it with the world because it’s, well, interesting.
In dancing, most interesting things that manifest in my head belong to the category of verbal descriptions of moves, steps and techniques. I cannot, for the life of me, learn anything by seeing it done. I have to have it explained to me, do it myself, understand it and, if appropriate, explain it back at the person who explained it to me so that they can confirm that I have, indeed, understood it. I realise this can be annoying. My teachers realise it’s essential to my own understanding and not an attempt to undermine their authority. I probably should’ve explained myself to Opal, though.
It was the pas-de-bourrées that did it. In Regular Jazz Class with Y., we usually do them in one spot. Opal did them across the floor, moving forward quite a bit. I was able to follow, but it felt weirdly different. After trampling around in the corner while the other group was having at it, I figured out the exact difference in the execution of the step. It was simple: we usually pull the front leg back to stay in place and Opal had us pulling the back leg towards the front to move. Once I got it, I could do the step reliably because I knew what I was doing instead of just running on instinct.
Having made this admittedly brilliant discovery (step forward = going forward is mind-blowing, frankly), I had to share it. A couple of others actually found it helpful. Opal, however, told me that we just had to learn to do the steps in different ways and the fact that we usually didn’t do it in this particular way excused us from precisely nothing. And she insisted on telling me that again after every following exercise.
She was right, of course. I’m sure it sounded a lot like an accusatory «But we don’t usually do it this way!». I expressed myself inadequately (if I had a penny…) and she probably took it personally. If I see her again, I’ll apologise. Or maybe she’ll meet the other subs one day and complain about me and they’ll tell her that the way to deal with annoying dorks is to tell them to shut up at their own leisure and just do the damn exercise.
Or maybe, you know, she’ll have forgotten me and all my dorksplaining by now.
Have you ever accidentally or purposefully antagonise a teacher?