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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Scheduling of Classes


dancingthrulife

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Currently my soon to be 12-year old daughter studies at a local dance studio where the scheduling of classes is basically redone each year. In other words, until the schedule is released in the spring, you do not know when or with what frequency ballet classes are offered. (This school offers more than just ballet).

Each year the schedule seems to revolve around one group of children . They are given the seasoned teachers, the most ballet classes per week and basically a better schedule all around. Levels below and above them are given less opportunity for training and for performing.

Unfortunately, my daughter is not in this group of children but a level below them. (She is 1 -2 years younger than them.) Each year as she moves up to this level, the schedule is shifted and the amount of classes that were offered to that level last year, is now offered once again to the level above my daughter.

This method of scheduling, whether it is meant to or not, has sent a message to myself and to my daughter. Basically, that her ability does not warrant the better training given to these other children. Because of this (and other reasons), we have decided to change studios. I was just curious about how other studios handle there scheduling.

Thanks

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Oops, meant to post in under 13 board. :blink: I'm not sure how to move it there.

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My daughter spent four years at one school, then three at another.

 

In both cases, the class schedules for each level (time of day, day of week, number of classes) remained pretty much the same from year to year, although they might be tweaked a bit.

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Usually classes have stayed the same from year to year, but this year it's all different because of the teacher's schedules. Classes have switched days and times and it's going to be interesting seeing the final schedule. I don't think one group gets preference over another. She usually tries to schedule the younger children so that they are done by 6:30-7:00 so they can get home to bed! The studio teaches more than just ballet.

 

Diane

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The schedule at our studio changes very little from year to year. I know the directors would like to offer more classes to various levels, but they need more studio space!

 

Dancingthrulife, I don't blame you for feeling frustrated. It seems fair to expect an increase in the number of classes offered as one gets older and progresses. Is it worth talking to your current school's director before switching?

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Dancingthrulife, we have experienced something *similar* at our studio. In our case, it amounts to growing pains. The school is becoming larger and has gone through some adding/restructuring of levels. For example, previously, some levels had larger gaps between them than others, based on the girls' ages and technical advancement. This fall, my daughter is entering a level which previously included character and modern, but will now have character only (in addition to techn/pointe). Hers is a level which had a bit of a "gap" between it and the level above. She is understandably a little disappointed, but sees that the studio is careful about balancing what the girls want and what is developmentally appropriate.

 

I don't know if your studio is going through anything like this, but if you are otherwise happy with it, I would certainly encourage a candid talk with the administration! Hope you find what you are looking for.

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Our studio is definitely going through lots of growing pains. Student population has increased significantly where as space has not and ballet staffing has decreased. While scheduling has always been an issue, we were basically happy which what was offered each year at my daughter's level and were able to enrich her schedule with classes at a lower level. Next year this looks like this will not be possible. Due to increases in class sizes at all levels many students have been told that they will only be able to take classes at the level they have been recommended for. This actually leaves my daughter with less ballet classes than she has had in the past.

Scheduling has become so difficult, that her pointe class is actually 2 hours prior to her ballet class.

I believe that things happen for a reason and that it was time for her to move on. I was just curious as to whether any other studios do scheduling similar to our studio. While looking at other studios it seemed that all did scheduling based upon level not upon specific students being at certain levels.

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It sounds like you are looking for the right thing: a school that offers the appropriate training for the age and the development of the dancer. The school my dds attend offers classes in each level, more classes as the dancers progress. One way the director has handled an increase in students has been to offer classes for the younger pre-pro students later in the evening, often at the same time the older dancers have rehearsals. It can make an inconvenient schedule but she does get her 5-6 ballet classes, pointe, one jazz/modern class, and a pilates class per week.

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Moving on sounds like a good idea, dancingthrulife. The scheduling plan you described would bother me if it were happening to my daughter.

 

Now, to answer your question :D, my daughter's studio, which also offers more than just ballet, has the same classes offered every year in the three basic disciplines of ballet, jazz, and tap. They offer several other kinds of dance as well including hip-hop, flamenco, modern, etc. It is a huge studio, and keeps classes going even if only 3 students show up regularly. They do, however, change the days and times when these classes will be offered every year.

 

Recently, we have enrolled our daughter in a very small ballet focused studio as well (she'll continue with jazz at the other studio). They offer classes at each level on a regular schedule, and increase the number of classes available dependent upon level, and not number of students taking the classes. I know this to be true, because this summer my child is taking their ballet level for 8 - 10 year olds, and she has either been the only student in the class, or one of two! I'm telling you, this studio is small! :) I'm not sure if they will change the days and times of the classes come fall or not.

Edited by LauraGG
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Dancinthrulife, your situation sounds somewhat similar to ours. The schedule changes every year. Once you are on pointe, you know you will have at least 3 classes a week, but the schedule changes every year in terms of d ays and times.

What really struck me about your post was that you said the message was that her ability does not warrant the additional classes. At our studio, certain girls have been identified as "special". They get more classes than everyone else, smaller classes (about 4-5 in a class compared to about 15 in other classes), and the teachers who are considered "the best." Some of these teachers will only teach these "special" girls. They get classes at the same time everyday, and the times are generally considered more desirable. No, my daughter is not in this group, but we're starting to feel the same way you do- that it may be time to move on, but our choices are somewhat limited. Her goal is not professional dancing and this is not strictly a pre pro school. It's a good school affiliated with a RDA company. Does this sound right to you other parents or moderators? After reading dancinthrulife's post I'm wondering how common situations like this are

Edited by ivymom
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Dd's studio is like some others mentioned here. There are set classes for each level, so for dd who is 12, three technique at 1.5 hours, one pre-pointe at .5 hours and immediately after a technique class and one 1hr character class. All V1 (or Vocational level 1) students must take the set number of classes to take this level. I think V2's have an additional two techniques and one pointe plus one jazz and one contemporary.

 

So, you always know the basic amount of classes to be run for each level. Days and times are kept the same wherever possible for the entire year - although we did have a couple of minor changes going into term 3 as one teacher is on maternity leave.

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  • 3 weeks later...

At my dd's school, the ballet schedule stays the same each year. Occasionally, a class might be added for a particular level, be mostly it's the same from year to year, and changes are certainly not dependent upon which students are in the class. Oddly, this means that last year my dd had 5 technique classes, with 15 mins or so of pointe at the end of each (although sometimes they didn't have it, depending on the teacher), while this year she will have 4 tech classes and one full-length (1.5 hr) pointe class. I don 't quite "get" this schedule, because I wonder about going from a little pointe at the end of each class to a whole class en pointe. But, at least this means she actually has two days free, either to rest and do homework, or do Pilates or modern, jazz, whatever.

 

 

I think it sounds like changing schools is a good idea, although I wonder whether you have spoken to the teacher/AD of your school about your child's progress. Is she likely to be able to join this favored class any time in the future?

 

I have run into that situation in the past where the littler, younger children get shunted into less good time slots for them (later evening instead of the after school slot), in favor of the older, more advanced students. I think putting the older ones in at 4:30 or 4:00 and making the little ones wait until 5:30, 6:00, 6:30 or even 7:00 is completely unfair, and it really annoys me when a school does this. Younger children should go first, in my opinion, so they can get home at a proper hour for them. Let the older ones show their dedication by staying until 8:30 or 9:00! Grrrrrr.

:thumbsup:

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