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Ballet Talk for Dancers

6 year old with an interest in ballet


Guest lovesherballet

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Guest lovesherballet

Hi all - I've been reading this forum for a couple months now and finally decided to ask some questions. Most of you have older dd's then mine so I keep thinking my dd is too young for any serious questions to arise. My dd is 6yrs and has been dancing for a year now. She is constantly (at least once a day) practicing some ballet move she has been taught whether its feet position to leaps and skips. She recieved for her birthday a DVD of Angelina Ballerina and to my surprise it has several little "instructional" sections where they use a dancer her age showing how to do simple basic moves (i.e. plie's, skips, and hopping in place moving feet from 3rd to 4th(I'm still learning all the names and forgot what they call this one) .

Anyway one of my questions is kind of a repeat of of something I read earlier and cant find to reread.

What is talent - especially at this age? My dd's instructor says she is smart and talented and I'm curious as to what they look at at this age? (Also the School that she goes to also has a company and they offered to evaluate her early to go into their B1 Company classes which they normally start at 7yrs (my dd turned 6 in august) (They offered this when I mentioned putting her in another class with them cause she pesters me about when she can go to class- we didnt go either route becuase she auditioned for the Nutcracker and now has "additional classes" from that)

Also this is for Victoria - I keep reading the cautions for pointe work and have been carefully encouraging my dd not to stand on her toes - she can get onto her toes (not the pad but the VERY TIP of her toes and do those tiny steps) and I'm curious if her "playing" that she is on pointe is harmful? I have told her that its not good for her feet but I dont want to discourage her interest in dancing.

Sorry this is so long .....

(btw - I have no experience w/ ballet my dd saw one last year and pestered me to learn how to do that)

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Hello lovesherballet, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers! :cool2:

 

At 6 years old all one can see is potential. Some children at that age show good coordination, the right kind of foot, perhaps some natual rotation and flexibility. Where it will all go is way to early to say, but, if she enjoys dancing, then it's a good thing to encourage it.

 

However, dancing around on her toes at this age, or any age, is NOT a good idea! That should be seriously discouraged, in my opinion. The bones are not strong enough, even though she can do it, and it can cause damage.

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Guest lovesherballet

Thank You Victoria!

I will definitely discourage her more about not getting on her toes. She has been very good about stopping when I tell her. She likes to try to mimic poses/pictures she see's in magazines. (and I think she's noticed her friends dont get on their toes like she can- she's very proud of how well she thinks she can dance :cool2: )

Thanks again!

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Welcome to Ballet Talk! If you have read much on this forum, you have probably heard it said many times - get good training as early as possible! I really can't stress that advice enough. As Ms. Leigh so aptly pointed out, at 6 it is all about the potential for ballet. No one can make any prediction beyond that at such a young age. Generally, it is not until the early to mid teens that it starts to become clear whether a dancer has the potential for a pro career and even then, it is far from clear for many.

 

As your daughter begins her ballet training (most likely pre-ballet at this age, as most serious ballet training begins at about age 8), be sure she is getting the best training available in Atlanta. The habits your daughter creates now can be very hard to break later, so be sure she is being taught properly from the very beginning.

 

You mention that there is a company attached to your school and that they start company class at age 7. I'm assuming this is a youth company? Or, perhaps you meant that the pre-pro track classes begin at age 7? I would strongly caution you to look carefully at a school that begins their company at the age of 7.

 

There is a professional ballet company in Atlanta that provides solid, pre-professional training. Have you visited pre-ballet classes at Atlanta Ballet? They have two locations, I believe. YOu might want to visit a class and compare their schedule, teachers and classes to those at your current studio. Also, take a look at this thread for other pre-pro schools in the area. There are several that turn out well-trained dancers in Atlanta:

 

Ballet Schools in Atlanta

 

Here is a thread that discusses the proper schedule for a dancer at your daughter's age:

 

Class Schedule for 6-12 year olds

 

This is a long thread, but if you sift through it, you can learn alot about what is appropriate for a child who has an interest in pursuing classical ballet training.

 

For now, allow your daughter to enjoy the movement and the joy associated with ballet. Do allow her to explore other interests to find those things she is good at and that she enjoys. It will be quite a few years before either of you will know with any certainty if this is a serious pursuit or just something that she will enjoy as a hobby. But, in the meantime, just in case she decides that this is a career she wants to pursue, get her the best training available! :cool2:

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Guest lovesherballet
You mention that there is a company attached to your school and that they start company class at age 7.  I'm assuming this is a youth company?  Or, perhaps you meant that the pre-pro track classes begin at age 7?  I would strongly caution you to look carefully at a school that begins their company at the age of 7. 

 

Hi - I believe you are correct in saying its a pre- pro track class. We are actually not in atlanta but south of atlanta and The company attached to the school (or vice versa) is a member of SERBA. We had actually started her at a dance place that focused more on gymnastics and switched this summer because she was losing interest (she doesnt like tap and they only offered that combo class) - switching schools has been wonderful! She looks forward to going and as mentioned before was asking to go more often.

 

There is a professional ballet company in Atlanta that provides solid, pre-professional training.  Have you visited pre-ballet classes at Atlanta Ballet?  They have two locations, I believe.

 

I have heard of Atlanta Ballet and if she continues to show this much interest in ballet will consider going there. She is actually receiving semi private lessons now cause her class is so small (only 3 girls) (The tap / ballet classes seem to be more popular for younger kids then any other combos)

 

:shrug:

 

This list doesnt show schools in south atlanta area

One of the things I liked about this school was they put on two performances a year specifically for two local county schools - so their focus is exposing kids to ballet.

 

For now, allow your daughter to enjoy the movement and the joy associated with ballet.  Do allow her to explore other interests to find those things she is good at and that she enjoys.  It will be quite a few years before either of you will know with any certainty if this is a serious pursuit or just something that she will enjoy as a hobby.  But, in the meantime, just in case she decides that this is a career she wants to pursue, get her the best training available!  :cool2:

 

:D I don't know that I could stop her enjoyemnt of ballet :o however she does have other interests/exposures. She is in a local church soccerleague and is trying to join a local girl scout troop - waiting for the new troop to form. Thanks for all your info!!

I've hesitated to mention the school she goes to cause I would hate to have someone tell me they were awful :angry: I know they arent on the scale of Atlanta Ballet but they are definitely better then those once a week dance schools that she started at. So Anyway she is going to Atlanta Festival Ballet.

Thanks again for all you help!

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For the time being, this should just be extended play in a good, safe environment. If you've chosen the best instruction you can in your area then just allow time to take it's course for a few years. Enjoy the ride!

vj

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Hi, lovesherballet, and welcome! In reading your post, I guess the one piece of advice that sprang to mind (after the wave of deja vu passed) was that you can't let yourself be seduced by any of the lovely accolades you hear at this age. I'll bet there was very little that you described that most of us parents on this board haven't heard ourselves with our kids. That's not to say that your child isn't unique because all our kids are unique, but you just can't let yourself get lured into all the "what if" and "what could be" dreams. The best thing you can do as the parent is, as others have said, find the best training you can. And then step back. Let it be your child's endeavor and let it become her dream, not yours, if that's the route life takes her. We're watching some really heart-breaking stuff right now with my DD's class where girls in that pivotal 12-14 age group are growing up now to face the reality that their precocious talent won't carry them into the professional careers they were obviously encouraged to imagine from young ages. Just let her have fun in the here and now, and you try to have fun, too!

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In addition to echoing "find the best training available," I'd also add that at this age it's all about fun, and if it stops being fun, then it's time to move on. There are quite a few overextended 7 to 10 year olds at my daughter's studio...

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  • 2 years later...

Blanche, you said it. If ballet makes your child burn out before they can even realize their own potential and desire to become a professional, then all it is doing is making more people in the world move further away from appreciating the art. So many people my age tell me about how they danced when they were little, and then something tragic happened that made them quit. For example, being told they're too fat or not good enough, having detrimental teachers, or simply being overworked. It's sad, really. All those little girls in tutus should now be making their husbands take them to the ballet, not avoiding it because they are hurt, sad, or bitter.

 

But anyway, I was wondering, lovesherballet, what do you think of the school your daughter is currently attending? I think most in-tune parents can tell if their child is receiving good training even if they don't know anything about ballet. Simple observations can tell a lot about the quality of the teaching, ie, a calm and respectful class, strict dress code and other rules enforced at all times, teachers with positives attitudes and high energy, and smiling, though quiet, children.

 

Oops. Knock knock. I replied after coming across this post from reading search results; I just realized I was in the parents forum. Sorry!

Edited by Isabeara
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Isabeara, I don't think we'll be hearing on update from 'lovesherballet'. This thread is from October 2005---and 'lovesherballet' lasted posted on BT4D in November 2005. :thumbsup:

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Oops again... that's what I get for doing so many searches and not paying attention. I was actually looking for information about Atlanta Festival Ballet. Thanks and my apologies.

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