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Ballet Talk for Dancers

When (and if) to pursue better training


KatieScarlett

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My DD loves dance, and would prefer to be dancing every day after school. She does end up dancing about 5 days a week during the regular year. She is only 11, so we haven't started any summer intensive type stuff.

 

She seems very talented to me, but I'm her mom and am very aware that my view is quite biased. Comments from teachers have been that she is very strong, has the "ballet" body (less her feet which have almost no arch), she is focused and wants to learn. She is not the standout child in her class, but does very well and is usually one of the youngest in her level. She was put on pointe at 10, and has progressed nicely. We are not pushing it, she has lots of time for pointe work.

 

OK, here is my question. We live in a smallish town, and there are no pre-pro studios. How can I judge if we need to pursue the 1/2 hour drive to get to the pre-pro in this area. How do I know if it is worth it, and she has the talent and ability? Sometimes it seems to me that the teachers just tell you what they think you want to hear, keep the money flowing in - you know? We are at a crossroads between "just for fun" and "possible career".

 

Thanks for any insight you may be able to give me.

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KatieScarlett, I think it would be best to have her evaluated by the pre-professional school and see what they say about her feet. Someone needs to be honest with you about the potential for further development and/or if they are good enough to continue with a focus on classical work. Without the well-arched foot it is very, very difficult to make it in today's ballet world, however that certainly does not mean that she could not do many other forms of dance, and do them much better with a good classical background.

 

At 11 there is still room for improvement, and hopefully she has enough flexibility in the foot to develop it further, but no one can know without seeing her and working with her.

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KatieScarlet,

 

What does your daughter want to do?? Mine dragged me to the preprofessional school, saying she needed "more, better" training. (I'm learning a lot from her along the way.) Do you have the option (if SHE is interested) in taking her to the pre-pro for a "looksee" -- not necessarily an audition per se, but a chance to take a trial class to see both what the school and she think? Finally, a 30-minute drive (although they add up, especially when you're making them 4-5 nights a week...) or longer is not unusual for the drivers on this board. Does that fit what you, as potential driver, are able to do (i.e. other kids? work schedule? gas prices??)

 

Just an FYI -- Many of the students who come to the pre-pro my daughter attends who were on pointe when they arrive from another studio are taken off for a year or so. That might be something to keep in the back of your mind as you're thinking/planning/pursuing. Also, schedule for a pre-pro can get INTENSE quickly. Think, research...then go back to step 1: Involve your daughter's opinions!! Some kids love to be the "big fish" in a small, good studio, some thrive on the competition (yes, it's there, even at a young age) with the pre-pro. Some kids of this age would be devastated to leave current studio friends. It's not an easy decision. Good luck with the talking/thinking/planning....re-thinking that is ahead of you!!

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I recommend a placement class at the pre-pro school. That will give you some valuable information as to if she is on target age-wise and technique-wise. My dd changed to a pre-pro school when she was 11. It was a difficult decision but one she's never regretted.

 

There are several threads on this topic. Make some tea, sit a spell and read much information from many parents who have been in the same ballet situation. :thumbsup:

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I found this board when I was struggling with the same types of decisions, KatieScarlett (and I hear Gerald O'Hara's Irish brogue in my head every time I type in that name!). I did with my daughter what Miss Leigh suggests to you and then I went in search of a better school, all the way being advised via this forum. They won't steer you wrong! And, if I'm not mistaken, many ballet parents (Babsaroo included) drive hours a day to get their kiddos in the right schools and into the proper ballet training. At the school where DD trained formerly, she was also on pointe at 11ish and so were many others. None are dancing now. Some are still nursing injuries. Be careful choosing your school. It is critically important!

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