Art Teachers from Hell

Modern Dance

Modern Dance

  • I read somewhere that the guy who invented Popeye the Sailor Man was pissed off at his art teacher, who insisted that even cartoon figures had to be anatomically correct. So he drew Popeye with the big parts in the wrong places, just to thumb his nose at the rules.
  • This is at Santa Monica College back in the early 1980s. For the sake of health and grace, I enroll in a Modern Dance class, but the first session feels like a ripoff. As the people gather to wait for starting time, someone is playing the piano pretty well. But when the instructor arrives, the musician leaves. The evening school budget doesn’t allow for an accompanist. So if we want music for our dance class…we can each chip in 50 cents a session, and she just happens to have a pianist in mind. Someone immediately raises the question: What about the $3 materials fee we already paid? The instructor says it’s a general fee charged in every class. Another student corrects her, saying that the materials fee is specific to each class, and many classes have no fee. By the second session I know it’s a ripoff. There are twice as many students as should be allowed to sign up – assuming, of course, that one of the basic conditions of a Modern Dance class is the ability to fling one’s limbs with abandon, and without physically assaulting another student. The place is so packed, only the front row can see what the instructor demonstrates. The rest are doomed to mimic the moves of the person in front of us, a not always reliable indicator. So for the third class meeting I show up early and stake out a place up front – to no avail. The instructor wears such a baggy, ballooning outfit, her limbs are obscured. She could be doing anything in there. This is no way to learn Modern Dance or anything else. I become, tragically, a dropout.
  • I ask a friend to explain various technical things about electricity and computers. I ask a specific question and he tells me something that, while useful, is the answer to some other question that I haven’t asked yet. Meanwhile, I’m thinking it’s supposed to be the answer to the question I did ask. But it just won’t fit or make sense in that context, and I get frustrated real quick

Graphic courtesy of eggybird via this Creative Commons license

About Pat Hartman

Before publishing the two books "Call Someplace Paradise" and "Ghost Town: A Venice California Life", my main project was "Salon: A Journal of Aesthetics. " I wrote extensively for "Scene," a monthly arts and entertainment magazine with a circulation of 25,000. Also proofread, sold ads, put together the music calendar and, for a couple of years, served as editor. Presided over a couple issues of the local NORML newsletter, as well as being featured speaker at chapter meetings. Wrote a complete screenplay; collaborated on another one; worked on a couple of scripts (additional dialog and general brainstorming) with an indie film producer. Booked the talent for a large music festival. Wrote, designed, illustrated and produced various catalogs and brochures for small businesses. Spoke at a high school as a panelist on Women in the Professions; was a featured speaker at the 1991 Women in Libertarianism Conference; presented public programs on "Success in One Lesson" and "The Bloomsbury Group: What's It To Us?" Created the website and wrote many politically-oriented pieces for
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