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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Can you please evaluate this schedule?


lynnatbeach

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I appreciate y'all's input. I'm going to see what I can do about the multiple tech classes-- especially on Wednesday.

 

 

gcwhitewater or Hans-- He can't lift weights on Wed & Thurs because of his morning class downtown. Saturday is tricky because of morning rehearsals and he was avoiding Sunday so he'd have a full day off. With this in mind, is it better to lift weights M/Tu/Fri to get three days/week in, or is it better to bring it down to just two days a week so he has rest days between lifting?

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I would want to make sure he is exercising different muscle groups on Monday and Tuesday. Gcwhitewater might have more to add on the subject.

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cluelessballetparent

I'm hoping for some advice about my DD's schedule, too. She just received her placement letter and her Nutcracker roles for the forthcoming year. She was advanced a level...but since another level was added, she is, essentially, in the same level. She just turned 15. This year she will have 8 hours of ballet--1 hour less than last year and 2 hours less than 2 years ago. Although there are designated rehearsal times on the weekends, some class time is used to learn choreography and for rehearsals. If she does not take other classes (such as modern), her schedule will be:

 

M: 2hr

 

T,Th: 1.5hrs technique

 

Th: 1hr pointe

 

F: 2hr pointe

 

The rule at her studio is she may take as many classes as she wants at or below (but not above) her level. Unfortunately, there are only 1-2 classes she can take that will fit in with her school schedule. And those classes that do fit her schedule are 1-3 levels below her new level. DK talks about pursuing dance...ballet as a career and/or a college major. After reading the other entries, I'm realizing that she is not receiving enough instruction. So, I'm wondering if taking the lower level classes will benefit her or hinder her progress. She is enrolled in a pre-pro school and taking classes at other schools is prohibited. Unfortunately, the school seems to be focused more on competition now than when we started. The dancers invited to compete train 7 days a week (even the pre-comp YAGP students). DD is not participating in the competitions so she is not allowed to take the "invitation only" classes, leaving her with few options. She can add a couple of non-ballet classes (1.5hrs/class), but I'm not sure if that will help. She would not be able to perform the parts in the holiday show (due to time restraints) and she feels most of the class time will be working on the performance. So, she'd rather not take those classes.

 

Would this be enough training for her to be accepted into a college program? Is there time for her to catch up? There is another school that has a training program, but her school schedule prevents her from doing that and home schooling is not an option.

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

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Victoria Leigh

Please don't forget that the amount of hours, while important, are only a part of it. The quality of the training is even more important, and then there are the matters of physical facility and talent, combined with focus, commitment, and work ethic. When all these things come together, while ones chances are certainly increased, there is still no guarantee of anything.

 

There are college programs, and then there are college programs. One might get accepted to some programs, but others might get accepted to the top programs, the same as if one is applying to music programs, art or design programs, architecture, or electrical engineering! Many schools, many programs, not all excellent programs.

 

Taking an extra class at one level lower on the Wednesdays and Saturdays could be helpful, as long as those classes are not spent rehearsing Nutcracker. But two or three levels lower? I don't think so. She needs at least 5 days a week of technique, preferably 6, and more pointe work throughout the week. However, it is good that she is not competing, as 7 days a week, on a regular basis, is not healthy.

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I would also like some advice on my DD's schedule. She is a high school junior and has attended the same pre-professional school (attached to a medium-sized company) for the past five years. She has been in their highest level since the age of 13, so this will be her fourth year in that level. In addition, she takes a few other classes at a competition school in our hometown; she has a 3-hour round trip commute to her ballet classes so, like many, her dance schedule fills up her weekdays. Her goal is to dance professionally in a contemporary or contemporary ballet company. Does she have enough of the right classes? Her primary teacher is very good; however, she does not speak English particularly well, so we are concerned that some points get lost in the translation. We really don't have any other options in our state, so I am curious to get some feedback on her schedule.

 

Monday

1.5 Technique

1 Contemporary

1.5 hip hop (at competition school)

 

Tuesday

1.5 Technique

1 Pointe

 

Wednesday

1 private lesson

1.5 Technique

1 Repertoire en pointe

 

Thursday

1.5 Technique

1 Pointe

1 Contemporary (at competition school)

 

Friday

1.5 Technique

1 Pointe

 

Saturday

1.5 Technique

1 Pointe/Variations

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Victoria Leigh

Schedule looks good, Mackie. Has she had some jazz along the way?

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She really hasn't had much jazz, although I don't know where she would fit it in her schedule. She would definitely love to do it if she could!

 

Thank you for your evaluation. I'm glad to hear that her schedule is appropriate for her goals!

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DDs are almost 15 (in a couple weeks) in a small to mid-size company-affiliated school. I always read this thread and now would love an opinion on DDs' schedule.

 

I often see the experts say 6 days a week by 15 so I am wondering if this is sufficient. DDs hope to pursue ballet professionally post high school. This is the highest school level before the official pre-professional division with daytime and evening classes. Hard work and fingers crossed, they hope to be invited into this level next year.

 

We choose not to sign-up for Jazz because it is Thursday evenings and we like to have the whole family home at a more reasonable hour that night. That’s the only addition we could make without going outside the school.

 

Mon – 1.5h Technique, 1h Pointe

 

Tues – 1.5h Technique, 1h Pointe or Variations, 1h rehearsal (sometimes cancelled)

 

Wed – 1.5h Technique, 1h Partnering

 

Thurs – 1.5h Technique, 1h Pointe

 

Fri – NONE

 

Sat – 1.5h Technique, 1.5h Modern, 1.5h rehearsal (50% of time cancelled due to Nut conflicts)

 

Plus Nutcracker as scheduled.

 

And an additional Technique question… DDs' level started doing pointe in the center during technique classes last year. Is this typical? I've mentioned it to parents from other schools and get mixed opinions and center on pointe was not done at SI so DDs had less time on pointe than usual (they have been on pointe for four years now).

 

Technique class barre is in flat slippers, then students switch to pointe shoes for center work in tech class. This is then followed by a full pointe class with additional barre work at the beginning. Is there a point in training level or age when pointe in the center is typical, when all of technique class should be done on pointe or do the experts on BT4D prefer tech always in flat slippers?

 

Thanks!!

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Victoria Leigh

You will find differences of opinion on that from teachers everywhere. Personally, I don't like doing center on pointe, especially if there is a pointe/variations/or pas class afterwards, and I do not ask for it. If I have very advanced students who wish to do center on pointe, and I feel they will benefit, then I will allow it, but I don't request it. I have occasionally suggested it to some students I feel would benefit from doing it some nights.

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Thanks, Ms. Leigh - DDs love center on pointe so I guess we'll just be happy that it's what they prefer since teacher opinions differ.

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Sorry for the delay in response slhogan...

I am not a big fan of split-training programs for younger men. I prefer a full body workout for them. You work each muscle group with one exercise, multiple sets of course. Therefore you need a day off inbetween lift days for recovery. Hans is correct that if he is doing consecutive days he would need to work different muscle groups each day to maximize recovery. The split-workouts can work but he seems a bit young for the amount of stress that is put on the muscle group doing split-workouts.

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When lifting, he is not focusing on any one muscle group at a time-- he is doing more of a lift circuit, hitting all his upper body with low weight and high reps. He is not lifting to the extent that he feels very sore the next day. He compares the next-day soreness to what he generally feels after a challenging ballet class.

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cluelessballetparent

Thanks, Ms Leigh for your insightful response. Not being an expert on dance...or even very knowledgeable...I must take it on faith that my DK is receiving quality training. Her school, though relatively new, has a good reputation. I can speak to her commitment, focus and work ethic--all of which are very high. DD is a perfectionist and is very persistent. She will continue to work on things long after others have given up in frustration. She lives, eats, and breathes dance. In a word, she is passionate about ballet. When she is not taking class, she is reading about dance, watching ballet videos, dancing around the house, stretching, and practicing turns! If hard work, commitment, work ethic and passion were all that was required, then should would have a brilliant career ahead of her. Alas, there are other things required. She seems to have a facility for some aspects and struggles with other. As for talent, I'm not sure about that. though, I'm rather biased, there!

 

I'm happy she is not competing, because I don't think it would be a healthy environment for her (she would demand and expect perfection from herself), not to mention the unhealthy strain that would be put on her body. From my own experience of weight training and conditioning years ago, I know that vigorous exercise 7 days a week is unhealthy and leads to injury. That said, I can't help but notice how the girls who do compete get advanced more quickly and more levels each time. It stands to reason that the more training put in each week, the stronger, more improved a dancer will be. After all, that's why our DKs want to go away to summer intensives. But, not having many classes 1 level below hers does not leave DD with many options. Hence, taking classes 2-3 levels below hers. If she were to take the classes 2 level below her, would taking them en pointe be better? Could she use them as a "pointe" class? I know she is allowed to take all of her classes en pointe and did a couple of years ago. But stopped after I read the views against that here on BTFD. I might be able to afford 1-2 private lessons this term, but that would really be more of partnering or variations class, as she does not have either class as part of her regular training. Would 1-2 private lessons in a 3 month period even be worth it?

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Victoria Leigh

The lower levels on pointe would be up to the teacher of the class. I'm just not in favor of taking classes that are that much lower, especially if the children are a lot younger, unless she was being used to assist the teacher in terms of demonstrating for them. Just putting in more hours to get more hours should not be necessary. Her schedule is not that bad.

 

As for private lessons, again, they should not be necessary unless needed for specific work on problem areas or coaching for performance. They are not a substitute for a good weekly schedule. If she feels that she would benefit from one on one work once a month or so, and you can afford it, then that's fine. She doesn't have any classes on Wednesday and Saturday. Is there a level up that she could take on one or both of those days if the teachers would allow it? We often allow students who are the top of their own level to take a higher level once or twice a week in order to increase their schedule, and hopefully be more challenged, as well as learn from the more advanced students. It would not hurt to ask.

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cluelessballetparent

Thanks Ms Leigh for your help. Unfortunately, DK is not allowed to take classes above her level...I asked about it once before. We did decided, though, her schedule works best with her school work and homework load. As long as she can continue with dance, she is happy. Thanks for taking the time to evaluate her schedule and to comment. Oh, and sorry for the delay in responding back...school and dance started and we are off and running around here!

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