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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Training for a career in dance


Guest barrefly

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Guest barrefly

Redstorm, yes, you are certainly right. She is just entering her puberty phase,

and anything can happen, good or bad, though I don't feel as if she is "cramming"

herself. As I stated, she picks up dance with a natural ease, and she does not appear to be under any pressure to perform, or shows any signs of anxiety from being overloaded. On the contrary, she really seems to enjoy herself. Especially when she performs in shows. She loves to be the center of attention, and is fearless on stage. (same for her 5 yr. old sister.).

 

As her AD says, dd has a dancers heart, ....whatever that means.

 

Their is no doubt in my mind though, that her early training wil ease her later training.

She is already down to just taking her modern and jazz just one day a week, and as I stated, dances in the advanced classes. (Horton, Dunham, Humphrey, Graham modern,...Broadway, Fosse, contemporary jazz. She has a dance mind like a steel trap. It has been 3 weeks since her flamenco teacher went to spain, but when he returns, she will pick up as if he never left. (and she has not practiced at all).

 

My daughter is only 4' 6" tall, and her growth chart puts at 5' 2" to 5' 4", so

contemporary dance is an option we must not overlook.

 

My guess is that in her highschool yrs., if she is still dancing, she will be fine tuning her disciplines, and spending much of the time rehearsing for shows and comps, and having fun.

 

added later:

 

I have said enough, and rather than post another, I would like to thank you all for your advice. Miyamura, dd loves the thought of studying in Spain. Perhaps if she can get through her puberty unscathed, she can audition for an exchange program

(if there is such a thing) at one of Spains top ballet schools. That is if she is good enough. The wife and I have always wanted to go to Spain. :green:

Edited by barrefly
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I certainly feel for you barrefly....we all wonder if our kids have what it takes to make it professionally. But if you can find her the best training you can and just let her enjoy the dancing, she will eventually figure out what she was meant to do and she will definitely let you know. Mine dd did. ("Mom, I can't imagine my life without ballet. I need to do this!") You will enjoy the journey more. Don't sweat the final destination. It is up to her to determine her course.

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Hi barrefly-

My dd also attended Westside, then PNB's summer program. She stayed for their year-round PD program & is now a professional ballet dancer. If there is anything I can help you with re: SI questions, etc. I would be happy to do so. You remind me of our situation years ago. No real answers here, lots of luck with your decisions.

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Barrefly - my dd spent her highschool years training harder than ever for her career in dance. Fine tuning, yes, but that took up most of her week with her time spent at the studio approaching 40/wk. outside of highschool. The time for her "fun" happened much earlier as when she matured she was totally focused on becoming a professional.

 

I think it's just fantastic that you and your wife totally support your dancer in her pursuit of her dream - but considering her age - you never know what the coming years will bring. With that said - just making sure you provide her with the best possible training you can that focuses primarily on ballet (as that will also prepare her for other dances forms) will be just the thing to maximize her chances at a professional career if that is what she choses later on.

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Guest barrefly

thankyou so so much for your concerns, advice.

 

Yes, pnbmom, ....I do have some questions.

 

....Caprice Walker was dd's teacher, a very sweet women. DD made some very nice friends. That is also where she first met Sarah Poss whom dd admires greatly.

 

Now the questions, what can dd expect at the audition? Will her strong allegro, jumps and turning abilities be a plus for her? Will her barre work weigh heavily, etc.

What kind of dancers do they like?,...the classical swan lake types with long lines and high extensions, or bravura kitri types that have a lot of confidence and move well.

Are they looking for the taller balanchine type dancer?

What are the chances of a 12 yr. old getting in the level that has modern and spanish classes?

Will her diverse training help her in any way (will they even take note of it). Also, I heard the girls can get a little rowdy at nights. Is this something I should consider for a 12 yr. old?

I would PM you but I do not have the privlege.

 

pattypirouette, 40 hrs a week, (...now it's my turn to say wow). That cannot be all

ballet training can it? When I say "have fun", ...I mean when class is no longer a major challange, but an opportunity to practice (fine tune) what she has already learned. I see her being at this level by her sophomore year. She loves learning variations, that is fun for her now. She just finished learning a paqueta variation for YAGP, an the only "not fun" part is she still needs to work on her pointe.

Her pointe work has a long way to go, but once she is there, I think it will already begin to get fun for her.

 

With all the barrefly posts, I am afraid BT will ask me start my own thread in the PoD-13 forum.

 

My apologies watermill, I did not mean to commandeer your thread, and to BT for any rules I may have broken.

Edited by barrefly
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Knock, knock

My dancer did ballet at least thirty hours a week at fifteen and is doing probably forty hours a week this year and would be doing more if school did not "interfere".

That does not include at least an hour a day stretching and warming up. That is eleven months of the year. After high school graduation it is not uncommon to spend at least one more year in an unpaid training situation to really focus on ballet eight or nine hours a day. I certainly am not advocating this for anyone's child and did not think this would be what my own would be doing at this young age but that has been the progression. Your daughter if she does choose to pursue ballet will be audtioning for company positions next to dancers who have done training at this level for perhaps five or six years.

mmded

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Now the questions, what can dd expect at the audition? Will her strong allegro, jumps and turning abilities be a plus for her? Will her barre work weigh heavily, etc.

What kind of dancers do they like?,...the classical swan lake types with long lines and high extensions, or bravura kitri types that have a lot of confidence and move well.

Are they looking for the taller balanchine type dancer?

What are the chances of a 12 yr. old getting in the level that has modern and spanish classes?

Will her diverse training help her in any way (will they even take note of it). Also, I heard the girls can get a little rowdy at nights. Is this something I should consider for a 12 yr. old?

 

 

Barrefly-Your dd's teachers should direct you to a program that would fit your expectations and training goals for your child.

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The 40 hours a week included 6 ballet technique classes per week (Friday's off) 2 modern classes and 1 jazz class. Additionally, she had 1 variation class/wk and 3 pointe classes.

 

As her school was associated with a company - the rest of the time spent at the studio (outside of warming up which for my dd added an extra hour each day) was spent in rehearsal for performances.

 

Additionally, she spent two more years at a larger school associated with a larger company before she accepted her apprenticeship. At that school she spent approximately 60 hours/wk between class and rehearsal. During her last few years of her training she averaged 3 weeks off during the year between her regular program and summer intensives.

 

It's really easy to get wrapped up in the glory of it all. But - as someone said in another post - what is really fantastic at 10-13 may not necessarily be so great at 16-18. This is not meant as an insult to anyone - it is just meant as a reality check. You never know what the future may bring and until you have been through all those years of slogging through the training - it's really hard to project ahead to what WILL happen.

 

There were several talented dancers along side my dd who would have been considered the "ones to make it big" at age 12 who by 16 had dropped out. As a matter of fact - there is only one other dancer that my dd stood next to at the barre at age 12 who is now dancing professionally. She was also someone who no one ever thought would amount to much. She is at ABT now. Not so shabby!

 

I'll go back to my original advise - and at the risk of irritating barrefly - get good ballet training. Dancers who have that, can pretty much pick up on any dance form - quickly. And - class should always be a challenge - it's up to the dancer to make it one, even if they are taking a lower level than they are used to. Now that my dd is a "professional" she still finds herself learning and considers her current classes the most challenging she has ever had. Dancers never stop learning because you never perfect dance.

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When I say "have fun", ...I mean when class is no longer a major challange, but an opportunity to practice (fine tune) what she has already learned.I see her being at this level by her sophomore year.

 

Barrefly, the age you mention - sophomore year - could actually be called the age where everything becomes even MORE complex with even MORE to learn! :lol: It's probably one of the most stressful years in a dance student's life, with junior year being arguably the most difficult because it's hard academically too. If a dancer is really talented, their ballet training is possibly even harder and they are more fraught with concerns. It goes with the age. :dry: One thing for sure is that it's not easier, and it's not simply a matter of fine tuning what they're learning. Get ready for the ride. You are just at the beginning of the roller coaster.

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you are SO right about Sophmore year being one of the most difficult. We were so happy when it was over. Junior year was a bit better but not by much! :dry:

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Barrefly-

Sorry, I don't know much re: 12 yr-olds & what they look for in that age group. My dd attended their summer program for the 1st time as a 17 yr-old & stayed through her senior year & a year after that for their PD program. She never attended an SI until she was 14. (Boston & ABT). But I believe that most SIs look more for potential at 12 than anything, by 16 it seems that technique, strength, etc. are what counts. Lots of tall girls there (mine's over 5'10"), & their website should list available classes other than ballet. I don't know much about the individual levels, my dd started as an older girl in level 8. Hope this helps.

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Guest barrefly

wow,....

 

6 tech classes at 1 1/2 each = 9

2 modern classes at 1 1/2 each = 3

1 jazz class at 1 1/2 = 1 1/2

1 variation class at 1 1/2 each = 1 1/2

3 pointe classes at 1 1/2 each

warming and stretching = 6 hrs

rehearsal and performance= ?

 

dd's weekly schedule is something like this:

day:

1- private pointe/rehearsal 1 hr. tech. 1 1/2, salsa private 1 hr.,

2- private pointe/rehearsal 1 hr., tech. 1 1/2 hr. swing - 1 hr.

3- jazz conditioning 1 hr, salsa 1 hr., tap 1 hr, latin 1 hr.

4- flamenco 1 hr., tech. 1 1/2, salsa 1 hr.

5- tech. 1 1/2, pointe 1 hr.

6 - flamenco 1 hr, tech. 1 hr., pointe 1 hr., afro-carribean 1 hr., jazz 1 1/2 hrs, modern 1 1/2 hrs.

 

Stretching 3 hrs(1/2 each before school) ?, at home rehearsing? NYCB workout video 1 hr.

....this schedule constantly changes, but you get the gist.

 

Day 7, playtime, ipod, pc, friends, t.v.

 

occasionally a class will be canceled, a teacher goes on vacation, or she will play hooky (not often.)or she does a show or recital.

 

....would her schedule be considered a decent pre-pro program for a 11 1/2 yr. old?

 

LRS, yes, I have talked to our AD about PNB and she thinks it is a good SI for dd,

but could not tell me what to expect at the audition, and to make inquiries.

I know the vaganova audition was tough. Will PNB be even tougher? (rhetorical).

 

Thanks all for your input. I will do some homework now.

Edited by barrefly
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barrefly, I think the schedule is quite excessive for an 11 and 1/2 year old. Our students do not do that kind of schedule in terms of hours until they are at least in high school, and even then it's probably not that many hours and it's almost all ballet/pointe/variations/pas de deux/rehearsal. No privates, no salsa, no tap, so swing. They do have limited modern and jazz. This is a vocational ballet program, not a vocational dance program. But it does not apply to 11 year olds. Most of them have 3 to 4 classes a week of technique. It increases as they get older, pointe classes are added when they are ready, and then eventually they are arrive at a level with daily (6 days a week) tecnique, pointe, rehearsals.

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I'm sorry barrefly - I cannot imagine why your 11 1/2 year old would be taking so many classes. It seems really over the top. Additionally, I have to wonder at a reputable teacher thinking that would be considered proper training. You asked if that was a good pre-professional schedule and my answer is no. I think that the only people benefitting from this are the instructors taking your money. If they cared at all about your dd - they wouldn't be overloading her with that much at her age.

 

I only hope that she doesn't get injured.

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The ballet schedule looks fine, but is there really a need for afro-caribbean dance, swing, and private salsa lessons at age 11?

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