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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Moomoo2008

Totally confused dance mom.

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Moomoo2008

My daughter is six and started dance at 2 yo and has done 2 hours twice a week for 4 years now.  Also has danced professionaly during the summer for the past 2 summer with  a local show. She now 6 and her teacher ( who is also the director of the school) has fast tracted her for dance team and pre point classes.  I was told as soon as her feet are big enough to get her fitted in a pair of shankless pre point shoes. I insisted on asking why so young and about the dammage they could cause and was re assured she would not be going up on poine untill cleared by a Dr, the pre point shoes were so she learns not roll her feet to the side and to help develop certain mussels. (Still not 100%sold on the idea)   Also while we wait for her feet to grow to get her a foot stretcher (can't find one small enough) turn boards, foam rollers, elastic resistance bands, Ballance ball (a half ball thing) and if possible create a home studio environment so she can practice at home.  I am worried that all this is not necessary and could burn out my daughter or dammage her young body.  She currently loves dance and would take more dance classes if they were offered. She  is in intermediate pre pointe classes with  10 and 12 yo which is here her teacher said she needs to be and on parent watch days I have seen her keep up and not struggle with in the class. First off is all that I was.told to get really needed,. If not what is really needed, and where can I get it the cheapest in the correct size.    The one  local dance store I know is way over priced does not have what I was told.to get and was no help when I asked.    As I never took a dance class in my life I am learning too.    Thanks in advance. 

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Momof3darlings

It sounds to me like you need to research quality ballet programs.  No one in any capacity should be discussing pointe shoes, even pre-pointe shoes with the parent of a 6 year old.  Nor should a 6 year old be in class with 12 year olds.  Red Flags all around.  

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Scameron

I must agree with Momofthree. I once signed my daughter (then 6 yrs old) up for a local week-long summer ballet camp. That particular school told me that my daughter was “advanced” enough to join their 12 year old group. The conclusion that I drew was that if my 6 yr old was as good as their 12 yr olds, then the school must be doing something seriously wrong... 

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dancemaven

You are right to question the need for all that.  Is your studio a competition dance studio?  That sounds more in keeping with “tricks” not actual ballet or concert dance.  At 6, your daughter does not need any of that extra equipment for training ballet or for serious dance genres.  Her young body is still growing and learning to integrate all the muscles.  

At age 6, she would still be in “pre-ballet” classes, not in class with 10-12 year olds. Actual ballet training starts around age 8.  Prior to that, the goal is to stretch and integrate muscle groups, develop co-ordination, develop listening skills, and develop the ability to respond to different type commands (such as claps indicating directional change, etc).

 It would appear your daughter is doing very, very well in the pre-ballet curricula, but that does not mean she should be jumped up several years to an advance beginner/intermediate level of ballet.  She may can keep up with the movements, but the actual muscle development, strength, and muscle memory will not be there.  It takes time to build that.  Yes, one can ‘do’ the steps, but I would suspect the actual technique involved in doing the steps and skills correctly is missing.  Eventually, the lack of foundation and requisite technique will catch up with her and the more advanced skills will suffer and be very difficult to achieve.  Without appropriate technique, it is not ballet.

I would say it is time to find a new school—unless you and she are happy just ‘playing’ around with dance training.  Regardless, I would NOT agree to have her anywhere near pointe shoes, with or without shanks.  She has some years to go to be safely ready to begin pre-pointe or pointe training.

Our esteemed Teacher-Moderators have pinned Age Appropriate Guidelines for Training to several forums, including this one.  This may help you see what the progression of pre—professional training looks like.  It is a “slow boil” endeavor, for good reason.  Ballet is not a natural undertaking of the body, so one must be careful and consistent in approaching the training, especially during growth years.  Slow and steady is how one achieves the goal of excellent ballet training.  

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

 

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Victoria Leigh

Teacher hat on here....MooMoo, run, don't walk to a different school. Everything about what is happening there brings up massive red flags.  

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learningdance

That's the most bizarre thing I have ever heard. It's about as Dinkle as they come. .. yes. . sprint out the door. 

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BeaniesMom

MooMoo - as soon as I saw "dance team" my mind immediately went "run away, run away."

It sounds like your current studio is a "dance team" style studio versus a serious ballet studio. I am not aware of any serious ballet school that has a "dance team" - they may have a youth ballet company that puts on public performances, but not a "dance team" that competes. I would recommend doing some research and finding a couple good serious ballet studios in your area. Then have your dd take some trial classes and see how she likes the classes.   If nothing else, it will give you additional perspective. Some people are more suited to "dance team" style and others more suited for serious ballet. Regardless, as others noted, there are huge red flags with your current studio. 

In my experience "dance team" dancing versus serious ballet is an either/or proposition. Frankly, from our experience, I do not think "dance team" studios should be putting any students on pointe because they do not train enough hours at ballet to be on pointe safely. If they are doing pointe, and especially pushing it a young age, that to me is a huge red flag. Your gut feeling to question it was correct.

A few years ago my dd left the "dance team" world for the "ballet world." They are completely different worlds. While I am certainly aware that "dance team" studios claim to teach "ballet," having now been at a serious ballet studio I realize that what my dd's "dance team" studio called "ballet" was no where near the level of ballet taught at a serious ballet school. Therefore, while your dd may fit in "ballet" class with 12 year olds at her current studio, in my experience she likely would not fit with 12 year olds at a serious ballet studio. It took my dd 5 minutes at the serious ballet school to realize just how lacking the "ballet" was at the "dance team" studio. My dd's ballet technique improved more in one month at the serious ballet school than it did in 4 years at the dance team studio. We have had a number of students from "dance team" studios try out our ballet school and they all have the same "rude awakening" my dd did.

 

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