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Ballet Talk for Dancers

No barre in pointe technique class


MMH

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My daughter's pointe classes do not, except on rare occasions and then very short and limited, do barre work. Trying to solve this problem in general doesn't seem to work (tried that), so I am trying to solve this specifically for my daughter. Would this be a workable solution: have her take technique class then go to a class 2-3 levels below and do it all on pointe? At her school, dancers are allowed to take any class at their level or below. A couple days a week, the schedule actually works out where the technique and lower level class go back to back.

 

Any thoughts?

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Victoria Leigh

MMH, before I answer this please tell me the age of the child, how long she has been on pointe, and if the pointe work she has now is a part of her technique class or a separate class? In other words, does she have a full technique class and then a pointe class?

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She is 12 and has been on pointe for two years (I know-wrong-but didn't have BA as counsel at the time). Her schedule shows technique class followed by pointe class, but the times are not necessarily followed. They always do at least an hour and a half of technique on flat. When they are finished with technique, they put their pointe shoes on and go straight to center for about 30-45 minutes depending on the time alloted and how long technique was. On rare occasions, they will start at barre for a combination or two for a couple minutes.

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Victoria Leigh

This is a bit unusual for one that age, MMH. However, since she has been on pointe two years, perhaps she is advanced enough and strong enough to do this. If you feel that her training is good, and trust the teachers, then I think you will just have to trust that they know what they are doing. However, if your daughter is struggling with the pointe work, and not doing well in the center on pointe, then I would certainly discuss with them the option of perhaps taking a slower class in order to build more strength by doing barre in pointe shoes. Perhaps doing this once or twice a week would be good, and the regular class the other times. I'm assuming she must have several days a week, if she is doing pointe center already.

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Dear MMH,

 

Miss Leigh is absolutley correct, but I would like to make a suggestion. Please ask your teacher for his/her opinion before you tell them what your "assessment" is. I sometimes see on these forums parents, who are not professional dancers or teachers, assessing their own child's technique and ability and determining what they believe the child should be doing. As a parent, I can understand this (we all want the best for our children), BUT as a teacher I find it, well, insulting. People seek me out because of my reputation as a teacher and then they proceed to tell me how to teach their child as in: "she just really needs to work on her pirouettes", or "can we just do an hour class and work on the areas that she says she has problems with because she got warmed up in the class she took 4 hours ago", or "she needs help with her turn out, can you give her a few exercises". I have to gracefully say, "if you want to work with me.....".

 

I very much agree with Ms. Leigh that you do not start class with pointe shoes on, but must begin the barre in flat shoes (even in a "pointe" class). There is a point in training where a lot of exercises at the barre in pointe shoes becomes less necessary because if you are working properly in your technique class this is redundant for the more advanced student. I also feel that pointe work should immediately follow technique class if it is not already incorporated into the time alloted for technique class (2 hours).

 

In any case, you should ask your child's teacher what his/her philosophy is and how it applies specifically to your child before you tell him what you think your child should be doing. If you don't think your child's teacher will be open to discussion, then perhaps you should look for a different teacher. The students/parents that I work best with are the ones that I have an ongoing dialogue with.

 

Just a suggestion!!

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I agree with oyoyoyoy.....let the teacher be the expert......to some extent. Unless it's obvious that something is wrong I would try to trust the teacher for the most part. Sometimes it's easier said than done. I've had quite a time with it here lately myself. It can be a hard judgement call not being the one who is the professional. That's why I think it's great to have this website.

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