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Ballet Talk for Dancers
lynnatbeach

Can you please evaluate this schedule?

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Neabdancemom

hi Victoria! I would love to know any opinions you may have on my daughter's (age 13) dance schedule.

She has Mondays- 1.5 hr technique followed by 1 hr of jazz

Tuesdays- 1.5 hr technique

Wednesday- 1.5 technique part pointe and modern 1 hour

Thursday- 1.5 technique part is pointe and 1.5 variations plus rehearsals

Friday- 1.5 technique part again pointe again rehearsals

Saturday- 1.5 technique and rehearsals up to 6 hours

I know the best scenario is a pointe class after technique and several of those days there is pointe work about half of class. We have unlimited classes so some days she will drop in a lower level class do only flat and focus on refining technique. Is it enough pointe work though?

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Victoria Leigh

It might be enough pointe work, but I am not in favor of dancers that young doing part of tech.class on pointe. I believe they need a full tech. class, 1.5 hour minimum, and then pointe. I know a lot of schools do it like the schedule above, because they can't, for some reason, add more hours to the schedule. I don't happen to feel that is the best way.

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Neabdancemom

Thank you Victoria! She does have the option to do a lower level class before that she could do all on flat. Just makes for some very long nights with rehearsals and jazz and modern! Its all a juggle!

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Victoria Leigh

Yes it is, and, you have to be careful at this age of over doing, especially if she is in a growth spurt.

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Neabdancemom

Yes Victoria and she IS! Growing like crazy...She is long and lean and all legs and arms...Control and strength is her issue! Specifically her arms. So would you advise losing Jazz and maybe focusing on technique.

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Victoria Leigh

Not necessarily. I think jazz is good for them. With that kind of body and a growth spurt, I would be more careful about too much technique at this point in time.

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lemlemish

The age guidelines for 16-17 suggest at least 6 tech classes per week followed by pointe work with other optional classes that are appropriate. For dancers on a serious path with professional aspirations, how many hours per week should they be dancing total?

 

And the in addition to the actual dance, would you say at that age they should be doing 3 hours or so per week of some type of non-dance cario (ie. swimming, treadmill, etc) plus a few hours of strength training (ie Pilates, gyro, etc)?

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Victoria Leigh

Assuming a serious pre-pro program has technique classes of 1.5 hours minimum, and 1 hour pointe, pas de deux or variations, that would be 15 hours a week. However, not all programs have 6 days, and not all have pointe every day. I don't have a "should" in terms of number of hours for a school year program. They need technique at least 5 days a week, 6 is preferable, and separate pointe class at least 3 days, plus modern, jazz, and maybe a character or contemporary class if available. Pointe every day is preferred at the very top level, but not always possible in a program that is after school. That is just one of the reasons that SI programs are so valuable. Residential programs can usually offer more class time, but for kids in a regular high school it becomes a logistics problem.

 

If they have the technique and pointe and two or three other dance forms, plus rehearsals, which are usually on pointe, then they are pretty much doing all that can be done unless they are home schooled or in a residential school.

 

As for non-dance training for strength and cardio, I cannot give you any "shoulds" on that. Some students may need it, others maybe not. Pilates or Gyro can be especially helpful for some students, especially if there is a lack of strength in their physical ability in some area. Strength training for male dancers, once they are in the upper teens, would seem to be very helpful.

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Stressedoutmommy

This is exactly what I have been looking for Ms. Leigh! So clearly stated on class schedules for a serious pre-pro program at age 16. My DD attends after school and I do see she is not getting enough pointe.

1 variation class and 1 pointe - technique 6 days a week 1. 5 hours and DD has added modern and jazz

Any suggestions for getting more pointe?

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Victoria Leigh

Does she have a lot of rehearsals for performances that involve pointe work?

 

I would accept that schedule over the one my groups at one school have now, which is a daily two hour class, but no dedicated pointe. Sometimes they have pointe the last half hour, but not always. I strongly feel we need 2.5 hours to do a proper tech.and pointe class. However, the top level students do have a LOT of rehearsals on pointe. So, that class is better off than the next level down, which I also have for only two hours. They are mostly 14, and very much at a time when they need the full pointe class. If I do a full technique, I really cannot get it done in less than 1.5 hours. Then, by the time they get a drink of water and put on their shoes, we have maybe 20 minutes for pointe. This is not good.

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lemlemish

Thank you, Ms. Leigh. When you say separate pointe class three days per week, would a variations class that is on pointe (following a flat tech class) count? Or do you prefer that they have a traditional pointe class with a barre on pointe etc? Forgive my ignorance, but I know what a lower level pointe class looks like, but not sure about the upper level classes. We have a lot of good training options around us and dd can (in theory) take the majority of her schedule at one school and then add it other options to build the perfect schedule so your opinion really helps.

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Victoria Leigh

Variations and pas de deux classes count as a pointe class for advanced students. Intermediate students, IMO, still need pointe technique classes.The need to learn HOW to dance on pointe before they do variations and pas.

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Stressedoutmommy

DD will most probably have a dedicated pointe class for rehearsals for the fall and spring productions Ms. Leigh 2 days a week.

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jamie3

Will you please assess this schedule? 13-14 year old girl, intermediate level.

 

Monday 6:30 -8 ballet, 8-8:30 pointe

Tuesday 4:15- 5:15 jazz, 6:30 - 8 ballet, 8 - 8:30 pointe, 8:30 - 9:15 tap

Wednesday 4 - 5:30 ballet, 5:30 -6 pointe

Thursday 4 -5:30 ballet, 5:30 - 6 pointe, 6:30 showcase (recital) rehearsal

Saturday 11-12:30 ballet, 12:30 - 1 pointe

 

She would also have the option of two different companies:

One rehearses Wednesday at 6 and Saturday 2 - 5:30. This is a student comany that is a member of Regional Dance America

The other Friday 4-6 and Saturday afternoon. This is the student program with a professional company.

 

She also has available Sunday private ballet/pointe almost anytime we ask for it.

 

Thank -you so much.

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Victoria Leigh

It's a very full schedule. I think the Tuesday is too much. She has a break in there, but then goes until 9:15. That is late for a school night. Maybe she could cut either the jazz or the tap.

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