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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Decisions have been made, but now.......

Guest ProudBalletParent

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Guest ProudBalletParent

I do believe after all the turmoil and emotions and stress we have come to a decision regarding my 10 year old dd pointe work. If you guys recall, my daughter is the 56 lbs, 49" tall petite dancer.


I finally made the decision to take my dd off pointe tonight. Amidst tears from my dd, anger and questioning from my husband I think I am making the right decision, but oh, does it hurt my heart. I took my daughter to a russian trained (vagonava, I think that's how it's spelled) academy about an hour away from us. Requested a placement class, and an evaluation about pointe readiness.


The teacher was quite good, and my dd enjoyed the class. There were things addressed about the upper body, along with everything a ballet class entales, that were stressed that she needs focus on.


That particular teacher, not knowing the turmoil our household and two studios have been in for the past months, said my daughter has great potential, wonderful strength in her legs and good muscle tone, however she could not in good conscience admit she thought my dd was ready for pointe work. She pretty much said, "I hesitate to offer my opinion because she is not my student and her teacher has already made the request for her to obviously start pointe work" After I let her know that one studio my dd is at says yes, twice a week, and the other studio has said only 15 minutes a week, and that I would greatly value her opinion she said, "If she were my student, I would have her wait a bit longer".


She said that my dd muscles in her legs were great but that her feet need to be a bit more devellopped. She had my dd put her shoes on and roll up after the ballet technique class was over and stated that she should be on the box of her shoes, especially after being on them for a few months now.



I feel so bad. My dd is upset and my husband can't understand why his dd takes 6-7 classes per week for the past year and a half and some of these kids dance only maybe 3 classes per week and our dd isn't going to be allowed to be en pointe. I hope I don't cave it. :shrug:


Now onto my new problem.........this new academy is wonderful. Teachers who are either active or "retired" from reputible companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet and such. The only problem is, the cost of the classes is OUCH :o Basically, for one 1 1/2 hour ballet technique class per week, it's approximately $100. monthly for that one class. Can anyone tell me if there are any ways to access money for talented students?


Thanks all......I'm so glad you guys are here to listen to me gripe :wub:

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ProudBalletParent, I'm glad you have reached a decison about pointe - I know how hard these things can be, especially when you disagree with the teachers. I am confused about something though: you state your dd is taking 6-7 classes/week at 2 different schools, and now you are planning to add another class at yet a third school? Or do I misunderstand? That seems like quite a bit for a little girl to keep track of. Especially if the schools teach different styles or methods of ballet.

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  • Administrators

I was just thinking the same thing, dancingdaughters. ProudBalletParent, I'm wondering why you don't take he to the new school totally? The cost per class is much less with multiple classes than with one class per week!

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Guest ProudBalletParent

At one studio:


Monday: 1 hour of jazz

Tuesday: 1 1/2 hour of intermediate ballet technique

Thursday: 1 hour 1/2 hour of intermediate ballet technique

and one hour of modern dance


At other studio:


Saturday: 1 1/2 hour of intermediate III ballet technique


And now at this new studio:


Wednesday: 1 1/2 hour intermediate ballet technique level 5


That's 6 classes per week. Without the two pointe classes (one at the 1st studio and 1 at the second), it's less than what it was (6 per week, not 7). :wub:

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  • Administrators

But why 3 different studios? Don't you think she would be better at the one school, preferably the new one?

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Guest ProudBalletParent

For my daughter to take 4 technique classes per week would be a little less than $300 per month. At this time, I simply cannot afford it. The other classes at the other two studios combined are not nearly as as high due to a dance scholarship she has at the first studio.


As for teaching styles, the first two studios are remarkably alike except for their views on pointe readiness (obviously). Although, this third studio is more focussed on the "total package" (presentation, along with appropriate other things).


Once again, I value your opinions, especially Ms. Leigh, Babs, and Major.

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  • Administrators

I still think she would be better off, at this age, with fewer classes in the best school. When it comes to quality training, consistency is important. So is quality versus quantity. Ask for a scholarship at the new school. If they want her, they will give you at least some help. Three schools is way too confusing for anyone, much less a 10 year old.

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Guest ProudBalletParent

Ms. Leigh


Without trying to "sound" sarcastic (honest) would you be willing to offer your opinion as to how many classes/hours she would be good to go with? She does want to keep taking jazz and modern with her main focus on ballet and of course now working harder than ever to gain weight and devellop her feet for the forever promised and now taken away pointe work.


Thank you :wub:

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  • Administrators

I think at 10 years old 4 ballet technique classes a week would be quite fine. I think she is too young for modern, and that jazz is also not necessary at this age, especially if money is an object. Focus on ballet for now, unless you can afford to have her in the new school for ballet and take maybe one jazz a week at one of the old schools.That would be my advice, however, this has certainly got to be a family decision, based on your own circumstances.

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I am so proud of you for making the tough decision. Having been there, lived through it and now on the other side...I want you to know that in a very short time...you, your husband and your daughter will know that it's the right decision. The angst now becomes confidence soon. As a mom, you have taken a very pro-active, preventative approach. Bravo...give yourself a pat on the back...not only for making the decision but for taking your time and researching before making the change. :wub:


I'm with the others...go with the better school if at all possible. Again I can say...been there, done that. We tried to attend two studios. It works only for a very short while. Schedule confiicts, dance philosophy conflicts, energy conflicts all collide.


At age 10 1/2, my dd took 1 1/2 hours of ballet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She also had an 1 1/2 "advanced technique" class on Saturday mornings beginning in the spring.


When she left the old studio, she no longer took jazz, tap, modern or lyrical. DD enjoyed those classes when she was younger but as her interest increased in ballet, she wanted more and more ballet. Another variable is that 4 different dance modalities easily becomes Heinz 57 dance very easily as they learn more difficut steps, etc. It all blends together early.


A strong ballet foundation is vital. Jazz, tap and modern can come when she's older.

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I don't have much to add except that I have a 10 year-old who now takes 4 1-1/2 hour technique classes a week. He had taken Jazz, Modern, and Character classes at other schools in addition to technique, but is quite happy to just be focusing on ballet now.


$300 a month (or more?) seems like a lot of money to me. I'd say try and keep things as simple (and inexpensive) as you can for as long as you can. Things just get more expensive as the kids get older. Getting good basic ballet training is probably your best bet now. She can always pile on extra classes later.


Good Luck! :shrug:

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Though I realize that tuition costs will vary based on local cost-of-living expenses, but if you need a comparison, my dd's ballet school's lower level classes run this much:


Levels 1 & 2: 3 classes/week (2 1.5 hr class + 1 hr pre-pointe class) = $498 for 11 weeks (about 3 months)

Level 3: 4 classes/week (3 1.5 hr class + 1 hr pre-pt class) = $635 for 11 weeks


It's interesting to note that the highest level, Level 8, which has about 16 hrs of classes M-Sa is $924 for 11 weeks.

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Tuition at our studio for my 10 yr old is almost $900 a semester for 5 hrs of ballet, 1 hr of jazz and 1 hr of modern a week. She has been in ballet for three years. The semester is from Sept-Jan and Jan-June.

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The $300 per month sounds about right to me, but I live in a very expensive area of the country.


Four 1 1/2 hour technique classes is $260 a month at my daughter's studio. If jazz or modern is added in, it goes up to $300 a month. However, if you pay for the whole semester (4 months) before the first day of the semester, you get a 5% discount. Every little bit helps!


For what it's worth, if I had to make the choice PBP is making, with a daughter who has been identified as talented, I would talk to my daughter about giving the Vaganova school a try and drop the jazz and modern for the time being. The fact that the student had been having trouble with pointe, even after having been on pointe for several months, and the teachers at both current schools hadn't taken her off pointe would be of great concern to me. The Vaganova teacher, on the other hand, sounded like she had sound advice. The other issue for me would be that the Vaganova based teacher focused on the total package - upper body, port de bras, etc. That these were noticeably improved after just one lesson with the new teacher would encourage me to do what I could to get her the better training - even if I could only afford, say 3 technique classes per week to start.

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I feel for you LauraGG. I know CA is very expensive to live in. Plus, besides tuition, there is shoes, leos etc. I would just try to focus on what you can afford combined with what is most important as far as your DD's goals. At least if you're in the southern end of the state you won't have to worry as much about paying for gas heat this winter!!!

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