Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers
meechellealan

daughter wants more dance hours

Recommended Posts

meechellealan

My DD is 13 and has only been dancing ballet for 3 years.  She has taken other forms of dance such as jazz, hip hop and lyrical.  She has recently fallen in love with classical ballet and now spends the majority of her time in class taking ballet and pointe lessons.  She takes a jazz and a modern class, both 1 hour a day once a week, the rest of her time is spent doing ballet.

She has tried out for Dreyfoos, which is an arts high school in Palm Beach County.  If she doesn't get into that school, she wants to do virtual high school next year so she can get in more private lessons during the day on top of her current dance hours.  Is there an advantage to home schooling and doing private lessons with her teachers?  Her dance director is worried that if she gets into Dreyfoos that the amount of dancing they do during the day and then coming to the studio in the evening will cause burnout or even injury.  We are going Saturday to the audition for the SI for Harid as well.  She is obsessed with getting into Harid.  I just don't want to push her to hard, but she is insisting she is up for it.

I have had several teachers at different studios tell us that she is talented and if she works hard on her technique she has a bright future.  Sometimes though, she get discouraged when she see other girls her age able to do things she can't.  I have tried tell her that she shouldn't judge herself against girls who may have been dancing much longer in ballet than she has.  She has received a 22 % scholarships this year from American Academy of Ballet and last year received a small scholarship from Joffrey for ballet.  She attended Butler University's summer intensive last year and she received a glowing report her teachers, which told her that she needed to refine her technique and energy.  So it seems she is headed in the right direction, just not fast enough for her.

Thank you

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Eligus
21 hours ago, meechellealan said:

Is there an advantage to home schooling and doing private lessons with her teachers?

Yes, but it's a tricky and very individual decision.  Home schooling and cyber schooling have both advantages and disadvantages.  Those options are not a panacea for everyone.  There are a number of posts on the Board about that, generally located in the "cross talk" forum.  In addition, the monetary cost can add up quickly, so I'd make a budget for your DD and help her decide how best to spend the money you've budgeted.

Private ballet lessons will definitely clean up technique quickly and focus your DD on the areas she needs to improve.  The increase in ballet technique will only improve the technique of every other form of dance. 

Personally, I would not worry about a 13 yo pushing herself too hard.  They know if they are "behind" and need to catch up.  In addition, they'll let you know quickly if they are feeling overwhelmed with their choices and you can help her then.  In the meantime, let her drive the boat.  It sounds as if she is discovering a passion, let it run.

Harid is a great school.  You can read up on their school in the SI forums and the pre-pro residential school forum to make yourself more familiar with their teaching and schooling philosophy and options.  One of the moderators on this board is also a teacher there, and she has answered several parent questions or worries about Harid in the posts regarding that school. 

But it is just one school.  In my opinion, your job as parent is to help her explore her burgeoning passion by making sure she doesn't fixate on only ONE path.  In my experience, teenagers are quick to assume that a "no" somehow means more than just a "not now" and they assume that "failure" is permanent.  Your job is to provide long term perspective on setbacks and delays.  Ballet is a fantastic vehicle for teaching discipline and grit in a real life experience kind of way.  Your advice on not comparing her journey to others is spot on and the start of giving her real world perspective.

You're doing great, let her go.

Share this post


Link to post
Noodles

I would say that the primary benefit that we have experienced with alternate schooling is a massive decrease in stress. 

Don't get me wrong, all academics come with stress and doing independent or online schooling can be quite challenging, the student has to be very dedicated to their work. But for us the added hours of sleep and reduction in stress from trying to cram too much into one day has been wonderful.

Share this post


Link to post
dancemom02

When making a decision about whether to homeschool or cyberschool, I would look at what kind of learner your child is.  DD does both because she has to, but finds her brick and mortar classes better suited to her learning style.  This means that even though her B&M classes are more rigorous (AP), in many ways they are easier for her.  DD prefers the interaction of a classroom setting and, quite honestly, her online classes often take almost as much or more time as some of her (again, more difficult) B&M classes.  Online classes require a significant amount of reading and self-discipline that my DD is not always up for.  She finds it much easier to work to the deadlines and expectations of her teachers than to those that are self-imposed. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are considering the homeschool option, I would have her start out by taking one or two online classes over the summer and see how she does with those.  

As far as not being able to do things that other girls can't, what things?  In early teens, it seems there is a wide range of abilities, many of which have to do with where kids are in their physical development. My DD, for example, is long limbed and she struggled with strength and flexibility because her muscles couldn't keep up with her bones.  At times it also affected her balance and turns because she had to keep relearning where her center of gravity was every time she grew another inch.  There are so many variables involved in what a dancer can and cannot do in comparison to other dancers, much of which has nothing to do with the number of hours they train.  You didn't say how many hours your daughter currently trains; have you compared the number of hours with the number of hours recommended by age on this site?  You mention that your DD's dance director is worried about overuse injury or burnout if your DD attends the arts HS; if you trust this teacher, you might want to further explore her thinking.  What does she think will best help your DD improve her dancing?  Sometimes slow and steady really is the best path, even if it doesn't feel that way to a 13 year old.

Share this post


Link to post
ballet1310
42 minutes ago, dancemom02 said:

There are so many variables involved in what a dancer can and cannot do in comparison to other dancers, much of which has nothing to do with the number of hours they train. 

This is so important to remember, especially at 13, 14 even 15 or 16 ! Everyone develops differently and slow, steady progress with great technique is most important.  It sounds like Harid would be a great choice for her. If you are willing to let her live out of state there are lots of pre-pro programs.  I would though, and this is just my own opinion/experience, try to keep her in school for 1 more year... online schooling can have many challenges and just that one more year in a brick and mortar school can be beneficial.  Having said that, there are plenty of kids that homeschool their whole lives etc... you know your child best.

Share this post


Link to post
Tonia22

I think it's wonderful your daughter has a passion for classical ballet, mine does too. She is 12. Right now she takes 9 hours technique a week and 3 days a week pointe which is around 3 hours depending on time and how the class is moving. She still wants more!! My opinion is that if your daughter is passionate about it and she isn't showing any signs of burnout or things like that, let her do it :) You are only 12-14 once and this is when kids can still take corrections and habits haven't "settled in." As far as comparing herself to other dancers, I get that a lot at home too. I think it just comes with the territory. I try and caution her from this because it's never good. We homeschool so time isn't an issue with us, I know my dd has friends that are buried in homework so I feel for parents and kids that have that to deal with. Only you can decide if homeschooling or online school will work for her. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
meechellealan

dancemom02, Thank you for your insight.  My daughter trains 6.5 hours of ballet technique, 1.45 hours of point a week.  Her teacher believes that privates a few times a month along with her regular classes next year.  She has the option of joining the ballet company when she turns 16 and will be able to dance during the day.  They don't consider girls or boys younger than 16. 

I trust that this teacher has her best interest at heart.  She has seen girls suffer from overuse injuries from hours and hours of training. 

Share this post


Link to post
Noodles

I have a couple of things to add...I may be wrong, but around here Performing Arts high schools do not have a strong (if even existent) ballet program. Most kids that I have known who have gone to a performing arts school do to end up continuing ballet. And I don't know any serious ballet students who would consider a performing arts program simply because they have a laser focus on ballet training.

I am leary of privates in this case. They are not bad at all, can be incredibly valuable if done for the right reasons, like to work on something specific, but privates just to add in hours doesn't feel right to me. Why would your daughter not just pick up another class one day per week if she wants more hours? 

Check out this pinned topic about recommended hours of training :

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/topic/54926-general-age-appropriate-training-guidelines/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Eligus

The option of "joining the company at 16" comment also struck me as odd, particularly since your DD is only 13, has only been dancing ballet seriously for 3 years, and is currently only taking about 7 hours of ballet technique a week.  As Noodles has said, it makes me leery about the advice you are receiving from this teacher (despite your trust in the teacher).  Although perhaps the "company" you are discussing is really just the school?  Or perhaps it is not a strictly ballet company?  Or perhaps your DD really is a phenom, with an amazing facility, and can pull her technique together enough to join the "company" at such a young age?   Those kids are out there (Misty Copeland was one). 

However, be very aware that those phenoms also risk rushing their technique and injuring themselves because even though they "can" do certain moves, they may not be using the correct muscles in the precise way they need to in order to avoid stress on their bodies as much as possible.  So, I think you are right to be doing some research about the best way for your DD to achieve her goals.  I would second Noodles' recommendation to read the post about the recommended hours of training, and I would read some of the forums that discuss the "road to Rome" or paths that others have taken to achieve a professional dancing contract. 

I do understand your teacher's concerns about DD joining a performing arts highschool if your DD wants to concentrate on classical ballet.  I also understand her recommendation of privates if your DD is slightly behind the training curve.  The number of required hours to build up foundational classical ballet technique is huge.  Perhaps the teacher's concern about "too many hours dancing" is actually a concern about too many hours spent dancing in other genres?  As Noodles indicated, the pursuit of classical ballet really does require a sort of laser focus around the 14 yo mark....

 

Share this post


Link to post
meechellealan

The performing arts high school that I am referring to is Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach.  If she is accepted, she would only be in the dance program and would not participate in any of the other arts.   She auditioned a few weeks ago which included a 2 hour class of barre and center work and then she had to perform a minute solo, her choice of ballet or modern.  They have a strong dance department.  Her teacher's concern is that she dance 3 hours at the school and dance another 2-3 hours at her studio in the evening. 

I know my daughter and believe she can handle the extra amount of dance time that she will be receiving along with her ballet training at her studio.

They only have 30 spots available for incoming freshman and over 130 girls auditioned.  We will find out in February if she gets in or not.  You have to meet a certain score and if you meet that score, then the names are picked via a lottery.

 

Share this post


Link to post
meechellealan

Elgius,

She belongs to a dance school that is tied to a professional company in Palm Beach County.  You have the chance to be part of the company and become a trainee and dance with the professional ballet dancers. The company dancers are not professionals.  It is very confusing to me since I have zero dance experience and we are very new to the ballet world.  Below is a quote from their website.  This is the one that they allow 16 and up to join.

"Many young dancers possess the talent and desire to become professionals, but lack the intensity of training required. Daily classes offering the highest level of curriculum–as well as real-life rehearsal and stage experience–will guide the young dancer’s technique and artistry. A traineeship with Ballet Palm Beach will afford the aspiring professional a drastic acceleration in training."

It's one of those things where dance teachers will tell her how talented she is, but I question is there hidden motives such as more dance classes, privates etc for more money.  I think she is a beautiful all around dancer, but I could be a little bias since I am her mom.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
danceimatter

Meechellealan, 

We discovered at Dreyfoos the freshman class is not as ballet focused as we had hoped for. My dd loves the ballet teacher and the academics are top notch but the majority of students are mostly from competition studios in the area. If your dd wants more hours in ballet you should talk to the dean of dance and see just how many ballet classes will be offered during the week including rep. We have learned there are far more jazz and modern classes then ballet this year.  The 3 hours of dance are not as tiring as the incredible amount of homework. If accepted into Dreyfoos you have time before accepting the seat - something to consider is if you accept and then leave a choice program  you are not allowed to audition again in that art area. One can always audition again as a sophomore if you don’t accept the seat this year. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
meechellealan

Thank you for that information, this might of been what her dance teacher was referring to.  I appreciate the information.

Share this post


Link to post
Noodles

meechellealan,  there are so many different paths to take and since you reached out for ideas I shared my thoughts. Perhaps the high school program that your daughter is applying to would be a wonderful fit for her. I have no idea.

What I do know is that if your DD wants to pursue dance professionally and you support that, then she probably needs to increase her hours of ballet and so the questions remains...why can she not simply take more classes at her current studio?

My daughter was at a studio that had a student company and it was a wonderful addition to her dance training but the regular classes are key.

Share this post


Link to post
meechellealan

I appreciate all of your insight that you have given. 

There are no more additional classes to take at her studio in her level.    I am going to meet with the studio director again inquiring to see if she can take more classes in the upper level as well. 

Thank you to everyone that responded.  We will see what happens with Dreyfoos or maybe even Harid.   It isn't easy sometimes to navigate the ballet world.  Especially making sure you make the right decision when it comes to the choices that are out there, as there are many.   I want to give her as much opportunity as I can with in reason and budget. I think if I let her she would dance 8 hours a day.

 

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×