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Classes per week for a beginner?


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#1 daffodilduds

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:44 AM

I have so many questions and am really a newbie to anything dance related, so please bear with me!

My 8 year old daughter started ballet back in September with one class per week because I thought that was what was appropriate. Her only other prior dance experience was a class last year from January to June with a local performing arts "school" that turned out to be a disappointment and definitely NOT ballet, like it was labeled. I am only now realizing that I could have signed her up to go to more than one class per week within her level -- I had thought that one picks either the Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday class, not that one could go to more than one. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that, of course!

Because she is showing a greater interest, I'm wondering what to do for the future. Her school offers a once per week summer camp for her level, and I wonder if that is enough. Should I try to find another place where she can take more than 1 class per week in the summer, or do I wait and sign up for 2 classes in the fall? Is this a decision that the teacher makes and he will let us parents know? BTW, I could ask what the other parents of the girls in my daughter's class do, but I have only had conversations with one of them and her daughter won't be doing ballet in the fall due to lack of interest. :(

I'm also thinking about the rest of this year and wondering if I should/could sign her up for the additional class per week for the remainder of the year. Is that abnormal to do? Should I ask her teacher first before trying to do this? He always had a class right after hers, so he doesn't seem available to talk to at that time.

FWIW, we are in NJ and she attends a school that is not a "Dolly Dinkle", but one that is listed here on this forum as being pre-professional.

Sorry for all of the newbie, possibly ignorant questions!

Edited by sammeecat, 19 March 2012 - 06:47 AM.


#2 mom2

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:01 AM

Hi sammeecat, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers!! I'm sure you'll hear from a few others in response to your questions, but from my mom's perspective - one class per week for an 8 year old beginner is fine. Personally I think three classes/week for an 8 year old beginner might be a lot, but that is really an individual family decision. I think you did the right thing signing your daughter up for once/week - you never know really before they start something!

If you are able to do the once/week in the summer and she is interested that would probably be a good thing. I suggest you talk to her teacher about # days/week in the fall session; he is probably in the best position to advise you and inform you on what the typical practice is and expectations are for that school.

All the best!

mom2

#3 MamatoMary

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:25 AM

At 8 my DD started taking 2 classes/week, BUT she begged and begged for over a year for me to let her take that extra class. I think it works best - at any age or ability level - if additional classes are instigated by the dancer. I've seen too many moms trying to live out dreams in kids who only have a passing interest in dance. But, since you say she does have a growing interest, I think it's OK for you to bring up the possibility of an additional class - just be sure she understands that it's HER decision and that she doesn't have to do more than one class. At 8 or 9, I would not have her take three classes unless she brings that up herself. Maybe next year.

#4 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:30 AM

Good point, MamatoMary. If the child really wants to do more, then, from a teacher's perspective, two classes a week at that age is also quite fine. I have always thought that two per week, once they are past the creative movement/pre-ballet level, they would do better with two. Six days is a long time between classes. :yes:

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#5 tldx

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:40 AM

For my daughter's first year of formal lessons, the students were only required to take one 60 minute class per week, but had the option of taking two. Most students (ages 7-9) only took one, but my DD begged until I signed her up for the second, which we did mid-year. Now, at 8, she takes three 60 minute classes per week and is begging to add a fourth (which we will not be doing this year). I think that you really have to let the child's interest level lead you. If they have the desire to attend more classes, I can't see a reason not to allow it.

Summer is a little different. From what I've seen, a lot of students, especially younger, beginner students, seem to take the summer off. This was never an option to my DD, who goes bonkers when they have a couple of weeks off from ballet, so a whole summer is unthinkable. The classes that she has taken over the summer have generally been less frequent than those offered during the regular sessions - levels that usually meet 2-3 times per week were only offered 1-2 classes per week over the summer. I think that the goal is just to prevent students from losing what they've learned throughout the year, more than furthering their training.

#6 dancingjet

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:42 AM

I think at 8 my DD was taking 2 75-minute classes. Somewhere that year (about halfway through, maybe?) she added a 60-minute stretch/floor barre type class. I'd say to take your cue from your daughter and her interest, but two classes seems reasonable to me. :)

#7 daffodilduds

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:56 PM

Thank you so much for the replies. :)
My daughter is a quiet child and tends to be more indirect about asking for what she wants, so she would likely never tell anyone she wants another class. However, she has been talking up ballet more than usual since the parent observation day a few weeks back, plus she has started staying behind for a few minutes to watch the older girls who use the studio after her class. One thing she *is* vocal about is the pointe shoes and how she wants them. Even with an explanation that she needs to wait, gain more skill and more years of practice, she still walks around on her toes in both sneakers and in socks around the house.

BTW, I hope I didn't confuse anyone with posting the 3 days that the school has the level she's is at -- right now, I'd only add one class, not two.

#8 loveballet

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

Last year- when my DD was 8- I have mixed up one per week class + 2 weeks half day ballet camp designed for that age group. That was great for my DD - it was mostly ballet class mixed with watch some famous ballet and learn (mimic) variations (I would not call it variations, but water down version for the age/skill level) + making props/customs.

#9 3childrendance

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:09 AM

my DD at 8 was taking 2 days week, 1.5 hours at a pre pro school. But she also danced at a recreational school for other things like 1 hour of tap, 2 hours of jazz/company and 1 hour of modern.

Dance is all she does and ballet is her 1st love and now at 9 1/2 she takes 3 days 1.5 hours and only 1 hour of tap and 1 hour of jazz.

If you are at a pre pro school you are very lucky to have found one early on. email the front office and set up a time to talk with the teacher, and let your daughter sit in on the discussion. My daughter is also very quiet and shy but absorbs everything around her like a sponge!

Good luck,

#10 tarcoulis

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:07 PM

At our school, the kids who are serious about ballet start taking 2 classes per week at around age 8. They are the ones who will be considered for point 2-3 years later.

#11 lmlove

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 12:05 PM

FWIW, My dd is 8yo, and she is level 2 at our pre pro school. There are two technique classes each week. Both are 90 minutes, and an hour of yoga/stretch. Our school is starting a new level for the SI for the Level 2s and 3s(just current students), so check out places around you to see if they accept the 8-10yo kids. Good luck.