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Summer Intensive Introductory level -- too soon/too much?


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#1 daffodilduds

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 06:55 AM

My daughter is relatively new to ballet with only a year and half of training. Only the past year has been at a serious school, though. FWIW, she is 8 years old and won't be 9 until the winter.

I recently signed her up for a SI Introductory level for 7-9 year olds that is in a city in another state where we will be visiting a relative, thinking that this SI would help her to retain the skills that she learned this past year. I figured that it could also be a good introduction to the increased class time that she may have in the fall. The SI introductory class is twice a week, three hours each day, and her fall class would be either 2 or 3 times a week, 1.5 hours each class.

Because her ballet school had a long break, I signed her up for a once a week summer session with a completely different school that she attended the past 3 weeks. I mention this because the instructor at this school tsk-tsk'ed the idea of my daughter bouncing around to so many different places. He felt that she should have more basics down first before branching out, and now I'm second guessing the idea of her attending the SI next week. My husband feels we should proceed as usual and let our daughter attend the SI, assessing how it goes on the first day. Neither of us have dance backgrounds, though, so I don't know how educated our decision really is.

Thoughts? Am I overthinking something that should just be a fun summer activity?

Thanks in advance.

#2 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 07:02 AM

Yes, I think you might be over thinking it just a bit, sammeecat. :wink: It sounds fine, so just let her go and enjoy it. It could be very helpful to her for her progress in the fall at the home school, and should also be a fun thing to do while visiting another city.

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#3 daffodilduds

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 10:33 AM

Thanks, Ms. Leigh. I do tend to be a bit neurotic and over-think things. I have to let go of this!

#4 balletsky

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:15 PM

At my DD preprofessional ballet school no one is to go to a SI before the age of 12, and only then with premission. They tell us that there is no rush, they do not want the students burnt out. They also want the children to have a strong foundation before they start to travel to outside SI. So at the age of 8 or 9 this would not even be an option for sure where my DD is at.

#5 cakers

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:55 AM

At my DD preprofessional ballet school no one is to go to a SI before the age of 12, and only then with premission.


And, the parents go along with this? I find the notion that a (presumably) for-profit entity that I am paying to educate my child in ballet, can dictate to me where I can take my child to be educated in ballet to be silly. Parents can and should do what's best for their own child, which may not be the same as what's best for someone else's child. Of COURSE, we should listen to recommendations from our child's teacher(s), but bottom line is that I just can't see myself allowing someone else to dictate what I do for my child. The schedule you describe does not sound overly "intense" and 9 year olds all over country have much more rigorous schedules with no harm done, and like Ms Leigh said, it sounds like it could be fun.

#6 trythis

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:24 AM

Sammeecat we may be kindred spirits! Welcome to my overthinking club!!!

I think that as long has you have looked into the school and know that it has reputable teaching and experienced professionals in charge, there is never a down side to variety.

I think sometimes a new teacher can say something in a new way, and make the dancer hear the correction in a new way that makes a whole lot of new sense to them. And then after that the corrections their old teachers were making all along will actually make more sense.

Personal story: My older DD when she was 10 was on pointe already and kept bending her knees a bit on pointe. All year her teacher would say "straighten your knees" but going to another school's SI, a teacher suggested that her pointe shoes had too long a vamp, which didn't allow her to push over onto the box; and that because of some gymnastics training she had done when she was little, her placement was pulling her back as well. The teacher took her to the barre and helped her to straighted her spine, compress her rib cage, and correctly hold her pelvis, and she found it much easier to straighten her knees.

So let your daughter have fun, and as long as she loves to dance allow her to seek out as many new dance experiences as she can!

#7 HuckleberryDawg

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 11:15 AM

trythis, we saw a similar situation this summer with my DS. He's at a summer workshop (same city, new studio) and in one week they were able to fix a posture issue that he simply couldn't understand/fix before. It had nothing to do with the quality of the previous instruction as much as just hearing something said in another way that made it click for him.

balletsky -- our studio has the same policy; but I know a lot of parents who feel similarly to cakers in managing their own child's dance. In our case, we took DS to a different studio last summer because he wasn't allowed to be in the workshop at our home studio yet. He just wanted to dance all summer so I wasn't going to tell him he had to sit home or take just one class each week. We compromised by putting him in a boys program down in Houston for a week, which he enjoyed and caused him no great harm. If we had listened to the guidance of our studio, he would have missed a fun chance to dance with a room full of other boys for a week. I think it was worth it.

#8 daffodilduds

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 12:21 PM

At my DD preprofessional ballet school no one is to go to a SI before the age of 12, and only then with premission. They tell us that there is no rush, they do not want the students burnt out. They also want the children to have a strong foundation before they start to travel to outside SI. So at the age of 8 or 9 this would not even be an option for sure where my DD is at.


Thank you for your response.

As far as I know, there is no such rule at my daughter's school, and frankly, I didn't really think I'd need to ask permission for her to take a class elsewhere. I stand corrected if that's what the school's policy is -- but truth be told, I wouldn't be too happy about it. What I mentioned in my original post is that I am sending my DD to an Introductory SI with age ranges between 7-9, so my daughter isn't breaking any rules by admitting a younger student. It's at a reputable school that is mentioned with some frequency on this forum, also. (I use this board/forum for A LOT of ballet research, as I'm totally green to the ballet world, or dancing at all, really.)

#9 buzzandmoo

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 01:33 PM

At my DD's pre-pro school everyone (mostly the lower levels) is encouraged (strongly) to do something else during the summer. Other dance forms are okay, just no ballet. That is until they go on pointe. After they start pointe everyone is encouraged to audition for SI's. When I asked why a couple of years ago the answer made sense. They feel the majority of 7-9 year olds did enough serious ballet all school year and growing bodies need a break. One instructor went so far as to say that ballet was improved from using muscles in a different way for the summer. Our dance year is longish; beginning of Sept till the end of June, perhaps thats why they have the "no ballet" opinion (because it isn't a policy, it is just strongly encouraged opinion).

#10 kr12

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:49 PM

Our daughter did a summer young dancer program at an outside school for the fact that we were going to be out of town one of the weeks of her home studio's intensive to visit her grandparents. She loved it. She met a lot of new friends and learned new persepctive on her dancing. It was worth it...and her grandparents loved seeing her passion for dance!