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Should Daughter Attend a Second SI at age 11?


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I'm a new member, and I have an 11 year old daughter who has been studying here in Bermuda at the local RAD affilliate for the past 4 years. She is taking majors and last summer spent three weeks doing an intensive here put on by our local National Dance Foundation in conjunction with the American Ballet Theatre. Much to our shock and awe, she was one of 10 local students (she was the youngest) to receive the Catherine Zeta-Jones full scholarship for this years intensive.


Obviously her mother and I are a bit naieve to this whole thing. I hear so much about nazi-parents who invest so heavily in their children, taking out massive loans, putting so much pressure on the child, and that's the last thing we want. That said, one of the administrators of the Foundation asked me yesterday what my daughter was going to do this summer aside from the ABT intensive. I said, not much. SHe looked at me like I was crazy for not sending her to another camp outside Bermuda.


My wife and I want what's best for our daughter, and we would hate for her to miss an opportunity. Her dance instructor has pushed her along quite nicely and she dances Ballet and character up to 9 classes a week, including private lessons. We see other girls going away and wonder if our daughter should as well. We don't have a lot of funds to play with so we have to be careful.


I'd be grateful for any help or advice on this. She loves (LOVES) dance and can't seem to get enough of it. We are beyond any point we ever considered we'd be, and now we must do what's right for her.





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A few questions:


Aside from the ABT SI, can she dance in the summer at her home school?


When does she turn 12?


What does she want to do?

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Hi - Thanx for replying!!!


I'm having issues posting here. I keep getting logged out and an error saying I don't have permission to reply!!!


anyway... try and try again!


1) No her school does not have a summer program for her level.


2) She will be 12 in October


3) We have not mentioned it to her, but we feel we are doing her a disservice by not doing so. She will dance all day every day if she has the choice. This is something she wants more than anything.

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Knock, knock....


As a parent of a dancer in her upper teens, I'll give you our experience, and hopefully it will help with your decision. My DD attended her first SI away from home at 12, which was SAB. She has been away every summer since then, back to SAB three times and to other intensives. She has only ever attended one SI in a summer. During the off month in August, she went to classes at her home studio a few times a week to get back into shape for fall. She is currently at a pre-pro school, and improving steadily. I do not feel that the fact that she didn't dance the whole summer all those summers has in any way held her back. She has great memories of vacations with her family and lazy days swimming in the pool with her sister. It's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of so-and so's DK is dancing more than mine - am I not doing enough? I think at the age your daughter is, one intensive is fine. As mom1 asked, what would she want to do? Even if she wants to dance as much as she can, sometimes the financial strain of two intensives and the chance for her to just be a kid are good reasons just to let the one intensive be enough. Again, this is what we experienced and it worked. Maybe you need to try a different path - good luck to you with your decision! I'm sure whatever you decide to do, it will all work out.

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Things get hectic soon enough. How wonderfully blessed to receive the scholarship :flowers: , thus easing financial strain. She will have the 3 week intensive and then can do other things with the family. Enjoy!

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Time for a child to remain a child is important. Your scholarship is a blessing but there is time later for her to become tunnel visioned into ballet. Many parents of young dancers will allow them to go to an SI but then allow the rest of the summer to be time for family, friends, swimming and just plain normalcy. She is only 11. She will have plenty of time later where she will have no choice but to spend her full summer at an SI. Now is too soon in my opinion. Taking classes some during the summer is one thing, but totally spending the entire summer at SI's is quite another.


If this is her first summer going to an SI, let this one be enough. If she wants more, let her ask you for that next summer!



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Thanx again for all the replies... This is helping a lot. This will be her second SI. It's tough not jumping into the deep end. We want her to enjoy it without any additional pressure, but that said, we don't want to waste any opportunity. I would hate to look back on this and say we should have done this or that.


She is determined to dance though. She has made it clear that she wants it, and we will make sure that we give her every opportunity.

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Don't drink the Kool Aid! :flowers: But, instead, listen to the sage advice you're getting. There are threads (topics) about the importance of rest, childhood, young bodies being over stressed and the slow and steady wins the race kinds of things - follow the directions on the stickies about how to do a search and read. If your daughter is well suited to all of this, she will not be negatively impacted by attending just the one program this summer.


(As for your logging in and out issue: might I suggest that you bookmark the page once you have logged in and make sure that is the page you are returning to. :clover: )


P.S. By the way Mr. sparxx, may I ask how you found your way to Ballet Talk for Dancers? :rolleyes:

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Teacher here...One SI is definitely enough for a twelve year old. You mention that it was an administrator who seemed to give a look of dismay. What does your daughter's teacher have to say about her choices for the summer?

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We were in a similar situation. My son, who is your daughter's age, chose not to do the second program (a relatively short one.) He knows his limits and wants to be sure there will be plenty of video game and swimming time before school starts again. Absolutely fine with us. Yes, offers like that are hard to pass up, but at this age, it is still so important to for them to just enjoy themselves. Another opportunity will present itself to your daughter, I'm sure. :thumbsup:

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I wasn't sure where to pose this question but perhaps this is the right place/subject:


Since this discussion is geared toward summer intensive study for kids under 13 (by its post in the under 13 group), can someone please tell me what defines a summer program as "intensive?" Is it based upon the number of and variety of classes, the total number of hours, or ???


Some summer programs appear to offer a junior level and additional levels for age 11 (or 12) and up and yet the differences are not always so clear. Is it simply a matter of the actual intensity (hence the label "intensive")?


My own daughter wants to take summer classes. She will have most of the summer off but will take some classes during the middle few weeks (three). The classes are mostly technique for 1 1/2 hours with an adjunct class (i.e. pre pointe, character) varying from 1/2 hour to 45 min.


It seems that taking classes at some point during the summer is a good idea but steering them more towards time with family, swimming, tennis, friends may be more important while they are so young.


Can anyone point out the distinctions?

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The word "intensive" is often used synonymously with the word "program", hence is sort of generic. We do usually distinguish between "intensives" and "camps", with the latter being (a) for the younger set, and (b ) including related activities that aren't actual dancing or dance training, and/or ( c ) a sleep-away setting that includes non-dance activities.


However, the word does connote more training than a dancer usually gets during the school year, and so "intensity" is relative to the age. For an 11-year-old, having two classes each day would be intensive if they usually dance just two or three times a week.

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I think that 3 weeks is plenty for an 11 year old. My DK did two intensives last year for the first time ever at 15 years old and only because we were considering both as year round possibilities. 6 weeks was the total amount of time and it was exhausting. Just the transition from one to the other the change of environment is not something I would recommend to anyone other than an older very advanced dancer who is using the intensive as a career stepping stone. I did have a director once suggest that DK do two intensives 9 weeks total. DK was on a scholarship and was 12 years old. I politely declined and pointed out that the time would be spend skateboarding or at the beach!

When a teacher has a very talented young student who just wants to dance all the time it is easy to be very enthusiastic and jump the gun. I think it is something to be watchful of. Wait at least a year maybe two and then think about branching out.

Good Luck. :(

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Attempt #4 - I log in and enter the topic and have to re-login. I'm logged in and then fast reply, still logged in and add reply and all of a sudden... I'm not logged in anymore!!!!! ARRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!


Ok. I think there's a time limit to my replies, so I need to type faster!


Thanx for all the replies!!! This has now become a monster in my home as my daughter found a brochure over the weekend for an intensive (Sundance in Toronto). Since this was my idea my wife has left the mess for me..... good daddy bad daddy.... Dadddy's little girl.... sigh.... why me?


Oh I found the site the old fashioned way.... GOOGLE....


Thanx again....



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Mother of two DD's here. When mine were 11 ish I was asked why they weren't auditioning. To me it seemed too much too soon, besides we had a wonderful summer intensive at our own studio. Each summer they grew by leaps and bounds and were able to sleep in there own beds and be children. By age 12/13 they were auditioning but just for the experience of it. The results were impressive, good programs ABT/NY, Houston, Boston Ballet, SAB and the like. The decision still was for them to stay at home.


There are two schools of thought on summer programs, one being to get the exposure, to see and be seen if you will. The other is that if you have something really good at home why mess with perfection. There is something to be said for consistancy in training, especially if you know the training is excellent.


The time will come soon enough where going away is essential. Those summers where they danced for six hours then swam for another six were magical and I'm glad I kept them home. There are times when I was torn and wondered if the right decision had been made but, in honesty, I do believe it was. Good teachers don't have to come from a school with a big name, sometimes they are in your own back yard! The rule of thumb in our studio is that you don't go away unless your offered something more than staying at home will provide. That isn't the big city experience or fun away from Mom and Dad or even learning the ropes of dorm life and roomates. It has to be the ballet is exceptional and worth the expense. That expense is most certainly much more than financial.

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