Maintaining a student-teacher bond in ballet requires a balancing act more difficult than any exercise on pointe. Built on a foundation of trust and understanding, dancers must feel comfortable enough to place their budding careers in the hands of their instructor, but not so at ease that boundaries are crossed and respect is lost. During this week’s episode of "Bunheads," Michelle learned that befriending students comes at a cost.
From inviting the bunheads into her home to taking them out for fries with a side of girl talk, it seems that there is nothing Michelle won’t do to gain the approval of her pupils. It isn’t until Sasha “borrows” a shirt from her and disregards several of Madame Fanny’s strict policies that Michelle realizes a line has been crossed. In her attempts to be a favorite teacher, Michelle tarnishes her position of authority and, by doing so, jeopardizes the futures of her dancers. Without a strong teacher and unwavering discipline, a ballerina-in-training can grow into a disrespectful, unruly dancer, something no company director wants. Can you imagine what would happen if Sasha stormed into a company rehearsal late, just as she did in Michelle’s class? She’d be fired! Ballet dancers don’t just learn pliés and tendus from their teachers—they learn to be professional. From now on, Michelle will have to remember that it’s not just what she teaches, but how she teaches it that’s important.