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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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  1. Today
  2. Just finished my first audition for a role in 25+ years. It's still as nerve wracking as ever. Hoping for Puss In Boots but if it doesn't happen at least I know I tried.
  3. Yesterday
  4. Hello

    Welcome SFZ to Ballet Talk for Dancers. It is a pleasure to have a new and enthusiastic member on board. Please familiarize yourself with all that BT4D has to offer. We have an extensive amount of threads regarding just about every SI available. We also have a wonderful Forum for Residential Schooling if you are interested to explore that option. Looking forward to "seeing you" in our Forums.
  5. Hello

    Hello - I am the mother of a 14 year old who lives and breathes ballet. She is looking to take her ballet to the next level. She has been dancing for 10 years, but these last two years is when she really matured and became obsessed with it. The more advanced she gets, the more lost we feel! We have not looked at SI programs or schools, don't really know what we are doing, and this seems like an ideal place to gather more information. Thank you so much!
  6. From what I've read of personal reviews (people who have seen her live) she is actually quite good. I wish her well, she is obviously very passionate about dance.
  7. MelissaGA, It would be interesting to hear your perspective. I think that Womack is a) not as good as she is hyped/as she herself believes; and b ) is just too much trouble to be worth it for an AD. (She's not clear world standout (Osipova, etc).
  8. I have not listened to the video yet, but sometimes when I hear a comment like this, I have to wonder if it was only a small number of elite companies that the dancer was willing to audition for. Have seen this phenomenon with dancers looking at SIs and with dancers auditioning for jobs. I am intrigued as my dd was told something similar about not having a professional career (not about her facility per se) and 3 years later, proved that person wrong. Will have to bookmark to watch later on! Thanks for the link.
  9. Too much class for a 9 year old?

    Eligus, yes , I agree - hard to see the injuries/ burn out at 9 ! It’s an exciting time when your child starts dancing but it’s a long road so it’s best to start in the right way or that road can end quickly My hope is others read this thread and just take a step back and consider before jumping all in - also that they trust others, again , especially vrsfanatic , when they give advice !!
  10. Too much class for a 9 year old?

    Thank you Eligis for your kind words. Unfortunately, some parents do not want to hear that their school of choice, while providing the services they seek for their child, may be prioritizing the business aspect over the well being of their child. Perhaps the operative words are "providing the services they seek" and "over the well being of their child". I asked my very brave and naïve mother in the world of ballet, years ago, how did she know how to choose the school she chose for me, to enter my "life" in dance. She said it was easy. First she called a professional school to ask about their requirements for an eight year old. She also asked what were the requirements for the teaching of ballet, just in case a child really did want to pursue it as a career? I suggest all parents investigate the requirements placed upon young people studying ballet at a professional level to compare their own child's schedule. No professional school places 9 year olds in class with 18 year olds. No professional school offers "partnering" classes to a 9 or 10 year olds, whether on pointe or not. There are concrete excellent reasons. As I have said in other threads, if the practices of some ballet schools in the US took place at the academic level, parents would be very alarmed. While a child may be entering ballet without the aspiration to dance professionally, if the child begins ballet without a solid foundation in excellent fundamentals, the child's options in dance are automatically limited. It is similar to learning a foreign language from someone who only kind of, sort of knows the language.
  11. Too much class for a 9 year old?

    I've always appreciated your insight, Vrsfanatic, even if I haven't necessarily always personally complied with it. I believe you know a great deal more about training ballet dancers than I ever will, but sometimes, parents and their kids are not in ideal situations for training. and we make the best decision we can with the information we have and in the situation we are. But please don't stop trying to educate us because that is the only way we can make better decisions in the future. And yes, Ballet1310, all the injuries I saw (including my DD's own injury) were related to over use... And "burn out" is real. But I'm not sure I would have believed someone else telling me how frequently it happened to others when my DD was 9.... I didn't see it happening then. Most of the injuries and burn out didn't usually happen at 9, and I didn't see it happening to mine. Instead, most injuries happened at the 11-14 age, and were excused by the studio with reasons like "didn't have a ballet body" or "chose to do something else" or "wasn't strong enough to handle what the profession will be like." As you implied, it was never the ballet studio's procedures or set up that was in question -- it was always the student's "fault." So, it took awhile to educate myself on what was really happening. You give good advice to warn that the studio is a business and to take their guidance with a grain of salt.
  12. AB'sMom, Bravo! I couldn't agree more!
  13. I couldn't agree more. If the school isn't working for your child at the age/stage they are at now then it might be time to move on.
  14. I think we need to be careful about making judgements regarding why parents may choose to remove their child from a studio and whether or not the decisions other parents make for their children are "good" decisions. What may look like an egocentric decision to an outsider may in fact be something else. I think it is safe to say that all of us are considering what is in the best interest of our child when making these decisions. Generally, the parents are the people best equipped to make these decisions since we likely know our children best and can read them better or intuitively sense when something is amiss and when a change may be necessary to ensure either the physical or mental health of the child. First and foremost, parents need to consider what is best for their child and I think all or very nearly all of us are making our decisions based on these considerations. After the individual child's needs are considered, parents need to approach their decision making with a business mindset because ballet training is a business. I think most parents also consider the business of ballet taking into account: financial concerns, resources required (time involved), family sacrifice required, cost benefit analysis, ROI, etc. I appreciate all of you who so freely share your stories to seek support, provide support, and encourage others and I am not trying to discourage anyone and want to acknowledge the generosity extended in the sharing of those stories. However, I do want to point out that at times this thread comes across as rather privileged. I am not trying to put a pin in the balloon but rather just to check in and provide a reminder that ballet is ballet. Ballet is not life and assuming that people are making decisions to change studios based on ego and without intimate knowledge of their situation might be a little presumptuous. I think that perhaps what can look like a decision driven by ego could be a parent trying to protect their child by removing them from an unhealthy situation. If the decision to leave comes during a time when something about the studio or training is not working (which logically, it most often will) for the child or the parent this could very easily be misread as a parent or child making the change because the child is not "the star" of the studio. After all, being the star of the studio is only that and as we have all seen in our journeys, being a star at one studio or school may have zero impact outside of that studio/school. Each age and stage brings different challenges to navigate and choices to make so I think we should be careful about judging what is good (or not) for others. Listen to your child (verbally and non-verbally) and trust your instincts. Try NOT to listen to the people who think THEY know what is best for your child/family. In my opinion, the people that are certain that they know what is best for you and your family are precisely the people you shouldn't be listening to.
  15. SI Audition Roll Call—2018

    Thanks for the kind words dancingninja. This certainly is an emotional journey.
  16. SI Audition Roll Call—2018

    I'm so sorry to hear about DS's results, Midammom. Rejection of any kind is hard... on our DSs AND us. Don't forget though, every program is different and it's almost impossible to know for sure what they're looking for or catches their eye, even among the big three letter (B3L) schools. Where one B3L might say yes, another B3L might say no - that doesn't mean your DS is any less successful as a dancer. 😉
  17. CPYB

    Balletellaballet, I appreciate your courageous post. Thank you for sharing your experience. *hugs*
  18. SI Audition Roll Call—2018

    Just got results for my DS, he didn't get into PNB for a second year. I have to admit I'm disappointed. He has several other admissions and scholarship offers, however, I think I hold the big three letter schools as a bench mark of success. Maybe next year.
  19. Too much class for a 9 year old?

    I've been following this thread and I almost feel like I have to say one more thing.... I don't understand the logic in this quote above- all the dancers that were injured at dd old shcool were injured primarily because of over-use injuries ( I know this because I knew the parents etc , it wasn't just an observation - it was a fact) , the ones who danced less were not injured .... I think we are trying to send a message of caution here . Professionals such as vrsfanatic and parents alike are waving some red flags and I am waving one too.... just proceed with caution and also remember more classes equals more money for studio , not being cynical, it's just part of the whole business which includes SI's etc. I know it's tempting as a parent to do "more" especially when you see others doing it but I assure you , it's not needed at that age and if your dd is going to truly be a ballet dancer, slow work with correct technique is the only way to get there ... hope this helps in your decision making.
  20. Too much class for a 9 year old?

    Eligus, I thank you for your input on this thread. To be honest, I have difficulty answering questions on any parent thread. For the most part, I feel removed from the "norm" on parental threads and you have reminded me of this again. I addressed the training issues at hand, not the number of hours of training. I can never agree with an ideology of a school the puts 9 year olds in class with 18 year olds nor a school that encourages partnering classes at 9, regardless of how happy the child may seem and a description of a few "promenades". The work is unnecessary and beyond the capacity of this age group to do well. It may be cute however. My goal is to educate families on the path to professional training. Not all members have a similar goal. My number one interest in participating in BT4D is to educate parents, students and teachers. May your journeys continue to be bright.
  21. Last week
  22. I whole-heartedly agree about the "learning to work correctly to avoid injury," MBdancers, and I think that idea ties back in to Ms. Womack's point about the lack of a professional syllabus in the U.S. I suppose part of what I'm lamenting is my own frustration with a lack of ballet knowledge/education. It is very difficult for a "civilian" parent with no dance training or knowledge to understand the scope and breadth of ballet, much less apply it to your individual dancer. I will admit to not knowing anything about ballet except what I had to figure out on the fly for my DD. For a long time, I just trusted my DD's school to "know what is best." But, my DD's pre pro school was based on the AD's decisions about how to teach ballet. Their method "worked" up until a certain point, when my DD reached about 14/15, and she told ME she needed something different because the school she was in "seemed to concentrate on legs and feet" and she felt she needed someone to help "connect" her whole body (particularly since she was struggling with a recurring injury). At the time, I knew nothing about the fact that there were different methodologies out there, much less their names. And I was supposed to listen to my 14 yo? I mean, I did listen to her, and she wound up finding a teacher who could help her after we left her old school, but I can't help thinking there is a better, easier way to educate the public. You look at the questions on this Board (about how to tell "dolly dinkle" schools, or a "bad" school, or posts about whether its time to seek training elsewhere) and you can hear the confusion and frustration from these parents who care about their kids but simply do not know what to do. Nor do a lot of them understand the time and patience it takes to develop the body carefully and correctly. Anyway, I won't take up too much more of this post, but I thought her point about a need for a professional syllabus was interesting.
  23. Too much class for a 9 year old?

    Thank you for your response! The 'why are you asking this?' part is really a good question. I guess I was half expecting a lot of people to say that it wasn't that extreme of a number of hours of class, since I figured the people on here have kids that are a lot more dedicated to dance than the average rec dancers that I know personally. The other half of me was afraid that I would get a shocked extreme response from knowledgeable people that knew this to be dangerous in some way I wasn't aware of. I am happy with her school and her teacher/studio owner. I knew some of the risks (burn out, etc) and I think I do know my daughter and understand her training to the degree that I feel comfortable for the most part but I'm a mom so we always find something to worry about. A few months ago I was super anxious that YAGP would be an awful experience for her because she is too young but the studio owner reassured me that her variation was modified only slightly but just enough to make it fit her abilities, and that she had no trouble remembering the choreo and was performing it as well as she expected, she also echoed my expectations that she wasn't expected to place but it was great experience just getting on stage. She was 100% right. My daughter shined on stage and really did her best. She was outclassed by Rock 11 year olds by leaps and bounds (no pun intended) but she wasn't upset she didn't win because she felt great about her performance and enjoyed being in the master classes and watching parts of the show. I did have another discussion with studio owner about the extra class and to get more information about what they actually did in the class and she assured me that the partner work that would be expected of the youngest girls was minimum, things like the promenades and that a lot of what she would pick up was in the explanations and demonstrations from the older girls. She is treating this like a fun bonus opportunity to learn, like a master class, not a strenuous requirement. I feel comfortable with that so I am going to keep her in the class. She also believes that the kids who take more classes and/or more days of the week are the ones who tend to avoid more of the injuries than kids who settle for the minimum three classes (3-5 hours a week) of class that may include other genres, especially in the older dancers. That has logic to it I can understand too. Thank you again, to everyone who responded. I love that I found this resource, I'm sure I will be here for a while, continuing to learn at each step.
  24. I can’t comment on Joy Womack’s injuries and what caused them. However, it does seem that many professionals have less than perfect facility and learning to work correctly greatly reduce the chances of injury.
  25. MBDancers... Same here. My DD does not have amazing facility, either, and has had to work very hard with what she has to get where she is now. I'm not sure how I feel about all that. As Learningdance implicitly points out, that lack of natural facility can lead to injury.... but does that mean that dancers without perfect facility shouldn't be trying for a professional career at all? I'm not sure I'm going there.
  26. Too much class for a 9 year old?

    I struggled with commenting on this thread for a couple of reasons.... (1) I'm a parent of a 17 yo DD, and this forum is for under 13, so I thought you wanted comparisons with other 9 yo, not necessarily a history of others who had gone before you (although in later posts you mentioned you do want history, so now I'm commenting); (2) I thought professionals and mods would be better to answer your questions, since I'm just a parent and have only the experience of 1 child in dance, not 100s that the teachers have seen; (3) I wasn't clear why you were asking. I'm not trying to be offensive with that last question, but you seem happy with the school, your kid seems happy dancing the hours she is, and you don't have any ongoing issues (injuries, academics, burn out) currently happening, so I'm not clear on what your worry actually is. Is she dancing a lot? Yes. Is that okay? It depends. Are there risks? Yes. You've mentioned the risks, so you seem to be aware of them. She can burn out; she can be injured; she can progress too quickly for her school and risk outgrowing where she is too quickly; she can progress too quickly through foundational technique and have to repeat and/or re-learn. However, risks are just that... risks, not guarantees of problems. Only you can decide whether the schedule "fits" your DD AND your decisions as a parent. My DD grew up in a very fast paced, pre-pro ballet school. She danced approximately 15-20 hours a week at the age of 9 (NOT including rehearsals) because that is what *I* decided was good for her. The school offered at least 30 hours of ballet training a week for her age, and very little time off. In fact, time off, rests and breaks were discouraged. It was the AD's belief that children could handle more than their parent's believed they could. The AD also believed that American culture "coddled" children, and that children enjoyed being challenged, and ballet required a large number of training hours at a very young age. I will say there is some amount of truth in the AD's position. However, throughout my DD's time there, I fought to keep the schedule of hours down to what *I* considered "reasonable" at her various ages (and I used BT4D's suggestions as guidelines, along with my own DD's health, energy and attitude). At a minimum, I insisted on 2 days off/week until she was 11-12 (?), and then at least 1 day off per week (in addition to some other breaks during the year). That attitude did not make me a favorite parent at the school, and my DD suffered from several public lectures about her lack of "commitment" throughout the years. Despite those difficulties, I credit her pre-pro school with getting her to where she is now (a trainee at her dream school/company). Could she have gotten there without her school? I don't think so. But I also don't think she would still be dancing without me setting some limits on the schedule early on and re-adjusting those limits frequently. Throughout her time at the school, I saw a great deal of injuries and burn out from other more talented and amazing dancers whose parents had difficulty saying "no" or "not yet" to either the school or their children. The risks are real and I think they can be hard to see. Furthermore, I believe a parent reads their child better than a teacher. You know more about their behavior outside of the ballet studio than the teacher does. You are the best person to judge your child's energy level and health. At the risk of generalizing too much, I also think that kids who LOVE ballet (the way mine did) will tend to push themselves very hard. Mine was always reluctant to take breaks; she did not value the time off and fought against it. She wanted to do ALL the classes, so it was a constant balance between what she wanted to do, and what I thought was enough. Read your child, and make your decisions based on that. Look at her sleeping habits, her eating habits, her stress level -- how does she handle the small setbacks/irritations of everyday life? Is she generally irritable or happy? Is she (generally) patient with her siblings? Does she enjoy school? That is all the advice I can give you.
  27. Yes. . . and she's already had knee surgery.
  28. What I was most fascinated by are her statements about being told at her residency program in the US that she did not have the facility for a professional career (not enough turnout, extensions, etc), but then became a principal at 19. She emphasizes how she had to re-learn everything when she got to Russia (at age 15) and focus on little muscles in order to maximize what she had. I’m always on the lookout for inspiring stories of professional dancers who have overcome challenges related to facility, since my DD deals with these issues.
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