Clara 76

Recipe for ballet.....

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Get your child the best quality training in the right quantity that will not break the bank. Generally, they should be doing a 1.5 hour ballet class 5-6 days per week; Character 1 x weekly; Pointe class (for girls) immediately following the ballet technique class preferably after every ballet technique class, but at least 3-4 X per week immediately following ballet class; Variations/Repertoire classes at least 1 x per week; Jazz class & Modern once per week; there should be some performing opportunities offered as well. For male dancers, a "Men's" class should be an option from about age 9 on.

 

For SIs, all have their merits, but what works for 1 doesn't work for another, so read, read, read through all of our threads on each SI & see where might be a good fit for your child. They should audition for several programs that they are interested in and not put all their eggs in 1 basket.

 

As the get closer to job age, they need to investigate companies and cities, including cost-of-living analysis so they can narrow down some companies they might be interested in dancing with. From there, auditioning for their SIs is a good way to try out the city and the company, as well as hopefully raise some interest in them on the part of those doing the hiring.

 

They'll also have to have grit, determination, thick skin, a need to dance like the need to breathe, a body that is well suited to the physical demands of the career, the ability to live as a pauper, & a frighteningly amazing work ethic. They'll have to be no stranger to rejection and will need to learn to develop coping techniques because rejection is the only certainty in ballet.

 

As far as your family- well, the other children will feel like they come second or third, and will resent the amount of time and money that is devoted to the dancer. They will feel short-changed unless as a family, you all decide where the boundaries will be for the entire family.

 

Bottom line is, with this career, you absolutely cannot focus on the carrot at the end of the stick (the prized contract), but on the stick itself. Regardless of whether a job as a professional ballet dancer is the result or not, the journey can be well worth it for everyone, if balance is key. Think carefully about every member of your family; determine budgets based on available existing funds- don't mortgage your own lives away; allow the dancer to be a person too. Sacrifices will occur, but be careful they do not become larger than everyone in the family is prepared to give.

 

That's the reality of it all, however, if you ask any dancer today she or he will avidly state that they wouldn't have chosen/couldn't have chosen any other path. They are generally fulfilled, intelligent, articulate, talented people with bright futures ahead of them after the ballet career is finished.

 

EDITED TO ADD GENERAL AGE-APPROPRIATE TRAINING GUIDELINES:

 

Age 9- at least 2 ballet-only classes of at least 1.25 hours in length per week; other dance genres like Tap or Improv could be perfectly acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals/classes for a performing group

 

Age 10- at least 3 ballet-only classes of at least 1.50 hours in length per week; other dance genres like Tap or Improv could be perfectly acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals/classes for a performing group, and some sort of floor exercise class

 

Age 11- at least 4 ballet-only classes of at least 1.50 hours in length per week; other dance genres like Tap or Improv could be perfectly acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals/classes for a performing group

 

Age 12- typically this is the approximate age for beginning pointework, so a typical schedule would be similar to age 11, but with an extra pointe-only class of approximately .5- .75 hours following a ballet-only technique class at least once per week, hopefully twice

 

Age 13- at least 4-5 ballet-only classes of at least 1.5-1.75 hours each, followed by pointe class at least 2-3 times; other dance genres appropriate for these levels are: Character, Jazz, Modern, Ballroom, Rep and Variations, Pilates or Floor barre/other exercise

 

Age 14/15- at least 5-6 ballet-only classes of at least 1.5-1.75 hours each, immediately followed by pointework classes at least 4 times per week. other dance genres appropriate for these levels are: Character, Jazz, Modern, Ballroom, Rep and Variations, Pilates or Floor barre/other exercise

 

Age 16/17- at least 6 ballet-only classes of at least 1.5-1.75 hours in length, followed immediately by pointework classes. Other dance genres appropriate for these levels are: Character, Jazz, Modern, Ballroom, Rep and Variations, Pilates or Floor barre/other exercise, and Partnering

Edited by Clara 76

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