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Ballet Talk for Dancers
lynnatbeach

Can you please evaluate this schedule?

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Thyme

can I also ask for an opinion on my 13yo DS's weekly timetable? I think it is probably not enough but am not sure what exactly to get more of. He is doing everything the studio has on offer for his level.

 

Monday 1.5 hrs RAD Inter Found

 

Wed .75 hr contemporary

.75 hr jazz

1.5 hr RAD Inter Found

 

Fri 1 hr RAD Inter Found (private class)

 

Sat 1.5 hr RAD Inter Found

.5 hr private ballet class (performance piece)

.5 hr private contemporary class (performance piece)

.5 hr stretch class

1.5 hr open ballet class

 

Thank you for any suggestions on this!

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lemlemish

I'm not absolutely sure, Ms. Leigh, but I believe that we could do a trial month at school #1 and not yet commit for the year, allowing her to look at school #2 when it starts back again after Labor Day . Do you think the number of hours between the two make a big difference?

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Victoria Leigh

lemlemish, it's not as much about the hours, although I do like the hours at school 2 better. it's got to first be about the quality of the training. With two high level schools, she really needs to try both to decide which one is best for her. Check out the faculty credentials, the record of the schools in terms of professionals or good college programs, and watch the top level dancers at each school. That should tell you a lot.

 

Thyme, I admit to not being a proponent of the major portion of classes being syllabus classes, therefore, I can't say that I really like the schedule. I would much prefer more open classes and less syllabus. Does he have any classes with male teachers?

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Thyme

yes I expected you to say that re open classes. To put this in a context we have a new studio owner and she is frantic to get them ready for their exams (she switched us to RAD) this year. I am not sure how it will look this time next year- whether she will calm down in that regard. Thanks for your observation, I will watch this aspect of things. Sadly no male teachers- hard to find in this neck of the woods. He has had plenty over time with different organisations but not on a regular basis. We have considered adding male taught classes from another studio but this seems to cause such bad feelings I am not sure it is worth it (interstudio tensions). What about in terms of hours across the week? I assume he should have more hours next year? thanks again for your time Ms Leigh.

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Victoria Leigh

Yes, he should have more hours next year, but I really feel that more of them should be open classes.

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Thyme

thank you! Yes I will keep my eye on that and talk to the principal. We are moving to a bigger studio with more rooms so hopefully this will mean more opportunity for open classes. thanks again- this must get tedious for you but you are providing a valuable service. :clapping:

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ballerinomom

Ms. Leigh: I am a bit confused about what a syllabus class is and what an open class is. What is my DS not getting in his 1.5 hour RAD class that he would be getting at an open class? My DS switched this year to an RAD school. He takes 2 RAD classes per week. There are no other types of ballet class offered at the school. At his previous non RAD school they followed their own programme with set requirements at each level and there were no additional open classes. All of the schools I have researched have some kind of progressive program that is being followed, in other words a syllabus. Open classes are for audition classes, occasional guest teachers and adults who already have a foundation in balllet.

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Victoria Leigh

It depends on how the syllabus classes are taught. In RAD, a syllabus class is usually a class with set exercises, meaning you do the same tendus, the same adagio, etc., for each class. In an open class you use all of the same vocabulary of steps/exercises, but they are put together differently if not each class, then at least frequently. And new material is introduced when they are ready to move on. In open classes some teachers will do the same set class for a couple of days, or a week, or maybe even a bit more, but sometimes each class is different. Repetition is a good thing, to a point, but if that is all they do for a whole term, each exercise done the same way each class, then they become very proficient at those specific exercises, but they are not learning to move in different ways and pick up choreography and really having to think in every class. It limits their progress, in my opinion.

 

I find that many young dancers trained in RAD only, with no or not enough open classes, have a very hard time when auditioning for SI programs. They will look very good in basics at the barre, but will have trouble getting the combinations. Their placement and their tendu itself, for instance, may be excellent, but they will get lost when trying to remember a brand new combination. In the center, especially in allegro work, or anything that is quick and moves a lot, they can have a much harder time. They will know all the steps, but can't put them together the way they are being given. Another problem is the shorter classes that many RAD schools have. There is just not enough time in an hour, at anything beyond the beginning levels, to get them really moving and doing all kinds of pirouettes, petit allegro and grand allegro.

 

Now, that all said, there are RAD based schools that also offer a lot of classes that are not syllabus classes, and also longer classes so that the classes will incorporate a lot of work that is not specifically exam based. That way works better, but again, this is just my opinion. However, it is based on a LOT of years of teaching and also of auditioning students for SI programs, or for entrance into the upper levels of good pre-pro schools.

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ballerinomom

Thank you for your detailed explanation. I now understand the importance of open classes and I plan to check if his 1.5 hour class goes beyond the syllabus, if not every class then at least sometimes. I am pretty sure his teacher shares your concern, but it never hurts to check. Is this also an issue with those trained in Cecchetti only or Vaganova only?

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Victoria Leigh

Not in Vaganova, but somewhat in Cecchetti, especially if they are doing exams.

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ballerinomom

Once again, thank you. This is my first experience with an RAD school and I am very grateful to have this information.

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Sewlinda

Dd is currently in an all day program at a preprofessional school which also has a company. She is 15 (16 in the spring) and dances close to 35 hours weekly. I'm wondering if it's a little too much (expensive, hard to find time for school work, etc.). Dd could skip the morning classes, but she fears that she won't be taken as seriously, which could affect the amount of corrections she receives. It's really quite a dilemma! Could you please evaluate these two schedules:

 

1. Current Schedule, leaving little time for study or other activities. About 35 hours including rehearsal time.

Monday : Ballet 1.5 hrs, pointe 1 hr, break, modern 1 hr, ballet 1.5 hrs, partnering 1 hr

Tuesday: Ballet 1.5 hrs, contemporary 1 hr, break, ballet/pointe 2 hrs, variations 1 hr

Wednesday: Ballet/pointe 2 hrs, break, ballet 1.5 hrs, jazz 1 hr.

Thursday: Conditioning 1 hr, ballet/pointe 2 hrs, break, ballet/pointe 2 hrs

Friday: Ballet/pointe 2 hrs, contemporary 1 hr, break, ballet/pointe 2 hrs

Saturday: Character 1 hr, ballet, 1.5 hrs, pointe/rep 1.5 hrs, break, rehearsals as needed in afternoon

 

2. Evening Only Schedule - with this schedule, dd has the opportunity to take some private lessons elsewhere in the morning once or twice a week if this would be helpful. There is no contemporary dance in this case. About 18 hours including rehearsal time.

Monday : Modern 1 hr, ballet 1.5 hrs, partnering 1 hr

Tuesday: Ballet/pointe 2 hrs, variations 1 hr

Wednesday: Ballet 1.5 hrs, jazz 1 hr.

Thursday: Ballet/pointe 2 hrs

Friday: Ballet/pointe 2 hrs

Saturday: Character 1 hr, ballet, 1.5 hrs, pointe/rep 1.5 hrs, break, rehearsals as needed in afternoon

 

Thank you!

 

ETA: Dd hopes to become a professional dancer.

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Victoria Leigh

I have some concerns about this, Sewlinda. It's really a lot for a 15 year old along with school. I'm assuming she is home schooled, but still that is almost the equivalent of full time work week. Is there a way to take some of the mornings, but not all, or, some of the evenings but not all? Maybe break it up somehow so that she cuts out some of those hours but not all of the mornings or all of the evenings?

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Sewlinda

Thank you very much, Ms. Leigh. She has been keeping up this schedule since last February, and it's been difficult. Yes, she is home schooled, but it's still hard to get all the school subjects done with so much dance.

 

I will speak to the director and find out what we can do to cut some of the classes, but still have Dd progress towards her goals.

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lemlemish

I'm posting with an update and to again ask for advice. DD ended up at studio #1, since studio #2's pre-pro program did not have any openings this fall, so DD was never able to take even a trial class there.

 

As a reminder, DD is at a new studio this year, after having been at the same large pre-pro school with an attached company since she began ballet at 9. DD had a chat about her future goals with her teacher last week, and her teacher has advised her to take some additional classes on Tues and Sat. She just turned 15, and she is in the second to the highest level at her school. The additional classes (Tues and Sat) are in the next level up and would give her 5 more hours per week of dance.

 

I'm wondering what you think of her proposed schedule. The pointe classes begin immediately after the tech classes. She would be exercising 7 days a week, with no days off, although would still have Thurs with no dancing. Thoughts? Should she tell the teacher she doesn't want to take both levels of the tech and pas classes on Saturday?

 

Mon, Wed, and Friday - technique (1.5 hours), pointe (45 minutes)

Tues - technique (1.5 hours), pointe (1 hour)

Thur - stretch and conditioning class (1.5 hours - not at ballet studio)

Sat - technique (1.5 hours), pas (1 hour), and then technique (1.5 hours), pas (1 hour).

Sunday - semi-private lesson (1 hour), variation practice (.5 hour)

 

The teacher also suggested she take Thur tech & pointe classes but I had just re-registered her for a semester long stretch class at a gymnastics place, which she really likes and feels like is really helping her strength and flexibility. Also the Sunday class is with an outside teacher to help fix some weaknesses missed in her early training, and then coach a variation which she may or may not do at YAGP this year. The variation class may not continue past March, although it seems that the semi-privates are valuable since things are being addressed there which are not caught in class (arms, head, some alignment issues).

 

Sorry so long and I thank you in advance for your advice.

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