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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Musical Instrument + ballet?

Guest LizzyA

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I suppose this would be better posed on Cross talk since most of you aren't past the 13 yo mark yet. But I was wondering if any of your children have been able to continue with a serious level of music study as well as commit to pre-professional ballet? I have a dd who is seriously interested in both areas (currently plays violin and piano) but we have already thrown out the idea of her being in a youth orchestra due to lack of time. I also know that my son's music teacher was forced by her own music teacher to choose between ballet and her instrument at age 12, just prior to going on pointe. It would be reassuring to hear of others who managed to do both or is she going to have to make a similar decision down the road?


She tells me that violin is her "back up" You can imagine what relief that brings to a mother's heart :D ! I think I would have preferred something in the legal or medical profession, but oh well, at least she's consistent!

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Just like with dancers who skate or do gymnastics at some point they have to choose which master they are going to serve. Kind of like a Red Shoes thing of choosing between loves. That said, at under thirteen and probably much older it would be wise to "minor" in the other passion. That way as the child changes and developes one will win out over the other. But I think it's really important for DKs to have something in addition to dancing that they enjoy. Sometimes they need a brief change of focus to lighten up and not be so intense. Obviously in the case of the musician/dancer if you start shopping around for a residency program it would be good to look at those that either also have a music program or where there are opportunities close by.

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Both my girls started string instruments at 4 years old. The older one studied both violin and ballet seriously through the end of her junior year, and then decided to major in violin and put away her pointe shoes. It seemed so abrupt to me, but she was very clear-minded about the decision.


Daughter #2 plays cello - however at the beginning of her freshman year, after missing ballet for all-state orchestra and for youth orchestra, she declared that she hated the cello because it was interferring with ballet. Our compromise is that she still play in orchestra, but no longer takes private lessons. The cello is in the case most of the week.


There will be a point where a choice has to be made if they are going to pursue one seriously - both are all-consuming if chosen as a career. However, in the meantime they truly enhance each other. There is nothing more wonderful than a musical dancer or a musician that feels the music in their body.

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a musician that feels the music in their body.

Oh yeah. :D I've got one of those.

Plays: trumpet, french horn and piano

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My 10 yr old does both. I think what makes it much easier for us is that her school music department is very strong. They have either band, orchestra or choir every day for 45 minutes starting in 5th grade. Her private teacher comes to the school. She misses one band class a week for her flute lesson. She's been playing the flute since she was 7 so band is still a little simple for her. In previous years, she'd miss recess for a flute lesson once a week.


At this point, ballet is just 3 90 minute classes a week, plus Nut rehearsals (hopefully... auditions are this weekend). She does find it difficult to squeeze in much practice on dance days though.

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DD plays the flute in middle school band and took up the piccolo this summer. She loves to play, but hasn't really been challenged. She quickly picks up the music she is assigned and doesn't have to practice much at all. This past summer she attended band camp at the university and loved it. She'll be auditioning for youth symphony in January, but probably won't join this year since I told her she'd have to make a choice between synphony and dance perfromance group as both meet on Sundays and there's only so much she can do! :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

My thirteen year old dd practices piano an hour and a half daily -- just before ballet class. If she weren't home schooled, she could never keep all of this together. Sooner or later, something will have to be decreased, but she is enjoying herself immensely, and learning a great deal, for now.

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I played violin all through school and took private lessons. When I was a senior, my violin teacher told me I had to choose between ballet and violin since I wasn't spending enough time practicing. I ended up stopping the privates but continued in the orchestra at school. After dancing professionally, I enjoy getting the violin out once and a while when I have time! I suggest to my students to play an instrument- it helps them musically for ballet.

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