Ashley Tuttle

Oct 2014

Ashley Tuttle is the best! Not only is she a fantastic dancer (just the little bits of demonstration in class totally give away her perfect turn-out and ridiculous extension), but she is a fantastic teacher, and pretty much just a fantastic human being all around. Allow me to elaborate: She teaches a very demanding but very rewarding class. Her combinations are sophisticated and purposeful, and she always gives corrections. You might not get a personal note every class, but she gives feedback to the whole room after almost every exercise and walks around the room throughout the class so that she can look at various dancers more closely and from different angles. Her attention never wavers. She is always completely present, and always seems over-the-moon enthusiastic about ballet and about explaining it in new ways. My favorite thing about Ashley is her attitude. One of the first things she said to my class was that we needed to show more joy in our dancing (actually, her exact words were: "I mean, isn't this better than chemistry?"). As dancers, I think we often feel like the fun will come later as long as we work hard now. But Ashley refuses to let any amount of hard work take the joy out of dancing. It's like her life philosophy, I guess (and she is happy to talk to you about life if you ask). She tells us to give a gift with our developes, to relax our faces when we pirouette, etc. but the most important thing is that she smiles and jokes throughout class and keeps the atmosphere buoyant. It is really impossible to leave her class in a bad mood, even though it is so hard! And that brings me to my last point: I am not one of the best dancers in ballet VI. In fact, I may be one of the worst (but I like to take classes that challenge me and in which there are dancers I can try to emulate, so that's why I take this level). The dangers inherent to a situation like this are a) that you will leave class feeling badly about yourself every time, and b) that the teacher will resent you for taking a class you can't quite keep up with. BUT! Like I said before, it is impossible to leave Ashley's class in a bad mood. And she does not resent you (or, er, me) for trying your best in a class that is slightly above your level. She will never give you those scornful you'll-never-be-worthy-of-ballet eyes that so many ballet teachers (especially those with her kind of talent) are pros at dishing out. She won't make you feel like an idiot for wanting something that you might not ever totally achieve. She'll just help you along your way. She'll even give you as much attention as she gives the best dancer in the room, as long as you are putting in 110% of your effort every time you walk into the studio.