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Ballet Talk for Dancers
dance-and-skate

Questioning our pre-pro school goal...?

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CeliB   
CeliB

I think I would come back to slhogans excellent list of issues that make ballet hard for boys (http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=62524) and reiterate the one about leaving home early. It is both rare and fortunate to happen to live next door to a program that can train a boy to professional level. My DS left for vocational school a few weeks after his 14th birthday. There have been both upsides and downsides to this decision but he could never have achieved the same level whilst living at home. Even when it was hard we never felt we made the wrong choice. Last year when I spoke to him after his first ever solo performance on the Mariinsky stage in St Petersburg he thanked me profusely for allowing him to leave home when he did and supporting his training pathway. For me seeing the joy he has in performing was enough thanks...

 

Also in response to your last post I find it rather strange that moving up in your studio is height dependent. I can understand not starting PDD work until a boy is physically more developed but surely technique training shouldn't be held back just because of size? There are many exceptionally talented male dancers (including principals) who aren't very tall... What is their justification for this?

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dance-and-skate   
dance-and-skate

After every SI, my son and his classmates notice how they are behind in partnering compared to other boys in their SI, so they request the teachers to give them partnering class. The teachers tell them that they are still too small and not strong enough. The boys are asking to do partnering without lifts, what they do in young men's classes in SI regardless of where they go for SI. But at our school, they just don't do it til they are in older men's level. Once they are in that level, they do PDD, and everything is advanced.

One boy moved to a semi-private lessons for this school year, because he wanted to do partnering and brush up on his technique, and he intends to come back to our school, presumably to the older men's level. Another boy who was very good in everyone's eyes, stayed one year longer in the younger level, because he was short. My son already is dreading how boring it might be next year, because we think he will stay in the same level because of his height.

 

So to answer your question, CeliB, his all-boys class is comprised of about 11yr-15yr, and the men's class is about 14yr-17yr, and there is a range of skill levels in each class. Borrowing from vrsfanatic the insights on economics of ballet schools, I assume it's like No Child Left Behind. It's a big school and bid class. I'm starting to get it as I had the opportunity to dialogue with wise people here.

 

I will have a chance to talk to the principal again after my son sees the doctor, so I intend to keep the conversation going. Previously, I never said anything to the school because I was a happy clam, I guess. But I believe communication is good for the kids and the school :-)

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CeliB   
CeliB

DS started doing PDD as soon as he started at vocational school (14y and 5 ft 6) but all the younger boys (11 ish?) were already doing basic PDD work (obviously no lifting). I think PDD is important to start early as it is quite a skill (you have to be so spatially aware and good at adjusting your balance and 'reading' your partner). There is a lot of valuable technique you can learn without having to do big lifts....

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dance-and-skate   
dance-and-skate

I could not agree with you more, CeliB, and our boys feel that way, too.

I will ask the principal if our boys could do that.

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dance-and-skate   
dance-and-skate

Since last post, DS told me every teacher has given him special attention to his foot and given him personal corrections and explanations. They were very helpful. The doctor identified a tiny extra bone in DS's foot which might have caused the pain, but it seems to be manageable with correct technique and muscle strengthening. It would've have been a problem if he were a girl who needs to be on point, so, phew!

And I want to thank you all for responding quickly to my questions thus far, you all helped me so much in clarifying my questions, which led me to the other threads in this forum which I wouldn't have gone before. I got my questions answered from here and other threads, and I appreciate what his school does for him more, with the understanding of the complexity of ballet education and running schools, companies etc.

Thank you, parents of boys!

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