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rehearsing in class


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Should I be concerned that the ballet school my daughter attends is using class time to choreograph and rehearse for a performance in April? 3 of the 5 weekly classes will be used to some extent (barre then rehearsal). I have always felt uncomfortable with this model, but this year my daughter cannot participate in the performance due to a school conflict that will have her miss a week of classes (mandatory trip during her school vacation which is not consistent with ballet school vacation). I feel like I don't have a valid complaint because my daughter will ultimately be missing so many classes, but honestly her attendence has always been outstanding.


This is a company attached school and when the students rehearse for company performances they may miss class (they can make them up), but in the case of the school performance they are just replacing class with rehearsals--for over two months!! And during performance week there will be virtually no classes (just a barre)!


Fortunately my daughter does take two supplementary classes and tries to do at least one drop in a week and does the barre before rehearsals, but it seems very makeshift and inconsistent. I guess there is really nothing to be done--she'll just have to pick up classes where she can.

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I'd be concerned, too, jbtlse. I know many schools will claim that rehearsing is another form of learning, and it is, but I think at the student age, what goes on in the class setting is way more useful and important. You're paying for classes so that new skills can be learned and old skills can be mastered. You seriously may want to try talking to the AD or director. Sometimes a school doesn't think that parents care, so they'll move ahead with the class/rehearsals until someone objects. That happened to us once, and the school backed right off the class/rehearsal schedule. Good luck!

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I would be concerned as well. Class time should be used for class since class is what you pay for. The exception to that is when a recital is worked for in the studio and seperate from any performing company. In that case, rehearsal for recital is held after an abbreviated class, but abbreviated like a 40 minute class instead of an hour and then rehearse for 20.


Just FYI, we never lose class time for rehearsal at our level. The little kids at our studio do for recital but once you are company level, class time is protected. Rehearsals are after class.



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For my money, you are ABSOLUTELY right to be concerned! I second the previous two replies! Rehearsals by the nature of them stop and start, repeat the same motions, and music, etc. The question is, how long is this going to go on? How much regular class time is being side-lined for rehearsals, and what can you do instead so your dd continues to progress? Are there other classes she can take in your studio? Another good studio to take her to? I would definitely look into it.



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I agree that two months of an abbreviated class schedule is not the best situation. Since your dd is not in the performance, will she just make up the classes when the regular schedule resumes? Is there a possibility to speak with AD regarding your options both for the performance (make an exception based on her history) or additional classes for her to continue with her regular hours of training. Is there any opportunity to visit another studio for classes during the 2 month period ?


We have been at a few studios and all have had rehersal time scheduled in addition to regular class time. Also, AD is strict about not missing regular class time - even the days before/after performance.


If you voice your concerns, you will alert AD to the fact that you consider it important to maintain the current hours/level of technical training, and you will get additional feedback - based on that, dd can make a decision on whether its best to seek an alternate plan, or just try your best to manage with the studio schedule for the two months.

Good Luck. :)


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I'd be interested in hearing teacher's opinions on this one. I believe class time is critical and should not (except in rare instances) be used for rehearsing. If additional rehearsals are needed, they should be added on to (rather than included in) regular class time.

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At my DK's residential school, ballet classes are sacred. If the staff has meetings(PD days) only the second class is cancelled - modern, character or pointe. The 1 1/2 hour ballet class is only modified if the students are out on tour away from the studios. All rehearsals are scheduled at other times and are on a priority basis if there are conflicts. If the dancer does not do a ballet class or does not have prior permission to attend a class at a different time and level he or she is not allowed to do any other dancing that day. I realize that it is much easier to schedule extra time when kids are in a residence program and do not have travel time or have to rely on others for transportation.

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Here is a teacher's (though a young one) opinion: I Loathe this! I currently teach at a studio that does it, and for the moment, am just having to deal with it, since it's my first year there and I really like the studio otherwise. I always at least try to give a little more than barre (which often cuts into the time meant to rehearse) but I think they need to at least have an adage and a pirrouette and little jump in the center before they can be expected to do choreography! It seems that in small schools this is really prevalent-- maybe because directors are assuming parents can't/won't pay for rehearsal time and they are in a position that if they are paying their instructors, ect. they have to be paid for all the time the students are in the building?

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A dissenting opinion --


Sounds like jbtlse's daughter goes to a reputable school. So it seems reasonable to trust their leadership and training approach, which includes this period of rehearsal.


Many students enjoy learning choreography and performing, and do not have as many opportunities as they would like to do it. Furthermore, most dance students will never dance professionally, so this is their chance to perform.


Although it cuts into her classroom time, adding rehearsals to an already packed schedule is very stressful (think -- Nutcracker season). So adding the rehearsal to classtime can be advantageous in terms of enabling students to perform without adding extra hours to their day.


I DO think learning choreography and performing is a key part of a dancer's training, and teaches things that cannot be taught during a regular class.

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Just quickly, DON HO, if you check out that link I provided you'll read the points of view belonging to two teachers: Cabriole and Victoria Leigh. Wwhile you're waiting for more... :)

Edited by BW
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:D:blushing: Not to worry! And the last thing I want to do is to close down discussion - just wanted to let you know what two teachers had written.


The problem arising from too much reheasing during class time is that the kids perform and have what can be a potentially great time but their technique goes down the tubes, if they ever had it. :)

Edited by BW
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What IS fair game is using the technical material gained that year or level in a dance. It's OK to use class time to introduce combinations that will be used in performance, but the choreographic process has to happen outside of class. And taking some elements of class and making them interesting can be kind of daunting! :)

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In addition to Mr. Johnson's response, I would add, that a teacher can use a technique class to 'dissect' material to be performed; take apart the dance and 'work' little phrases and steps without disrupting the total flow of the class. But I stand by my original stance that class should be just that, not rehearsal...

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