Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

First post: Evaluation - so disappointed!

Recommended Posts

This is my daughters 4th year of ballet - at rigorous classical schools - thought the first year at this particular conservatory. She is 9 and was placed in Ballet 2 which was a bit of a stretch but we thought she would grow into it. Well, her evaluation was shocking - in tone and how bad it was. The rankings are from 1-10. Poor is a 1, 5 is good,10 is excellent.


She got 10's for attendance, and policy adherance. She got a 9 for attitude, a 6 for rehearsal and performance etiquette. She got 5's for turnout and concentration. She got 4's for flexibility, foot structure for pointe work, level of ability required to execute require vocab for class, aesthetic awareness, level of attention with regard to direct and general corrections, assimilation of corrections, level of discipline and self-control, a 3 for coordination.


Under the comments and recommendations it says: " " is a lovely, social butterfly. She talks a lot, but is sweet and well liked by her friends. I have constantly had to ask her to stop talking and pay attention. She is not able to get legs and feet straight or get combinations very well."


That is all it says. I must admit, I'm FREAKING out. My daughter was crying! I didn't let my daughter know my inner struggles. I just told her that this was a learning opportunity for her to continue to grow in discipline and hard work - ballet class is not a social club. I'll follow up with her teachers, and if she continues to talk in class and not pay attention we'll have to re-evaluate lessons - it's up to her discipline and hard work. Not neccessarily how good of a dancer she becomes, just how hard she works.


I had no idea she was talking in class! No one had ever told me. She has never done anything like that in Sunday school, (she's always homeschooled) and I NEVER would have labeled her a social butterfly in a gazillian years. I want her in Ballet bc I have MS and I'm pretty disabled, I would love to develop her strong and flexible muscles from her youth ... My dream. I was an uncordinated child - and I'm not expecting a prima ballerina out of her. Does that make sense? Maybe one word of improvment after a year of lessons would have been encouraging. It's obvious she's frustrated her teacher. I wish I could have nipped it in the bud at the beginning of the year.

Edited by LNC
Link to comment

Sounds like a pretty normal kid to me. What's that scoring average to, 4.9 or thereabouts? That's well within normal variation on the score they call "good". I wouldn't stress over it, after all, she's nine! You can't expect Margot Fonteyn's work ethic all of a sudden at that age.


And welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers.

Link to comment
Guest dreamofdance

Coming from schools that provide zero input at year-end, I think you first have to realize how lucky you are that you are in such an environment. While the scoring/comments may hurt initially (understandably so with a first evaluation), you need to find a way to show your daughter the positive side. With a written evaluation she knows EXACTLY what her teachers are looking for and will be evaluated on those same things each time. She now knows what to work for to improve her scores next year. In our situation, some girls get better parts, some girls get "moved up", some girls get the same level 3 years in a row. Nothing is really ever communicated as to why these decisions are made - it's just at the discretion of the artistic director. I would much prefer a written list of what is expected - then you have concrete goals in front of you. (Just my opinion)

Link to comment

Been there. Evaluations like this happen! So, the teacher thinks she's too chatty, whatever . . . . Focus her attention (and yours) on the high scores. Say how proud you are of her work ethic and attendance. Remind her to stand at "ballet attention" and not talk during class. Tell her you understand how much she wants to "talk ballet" with her friends and make it a point to arrive at the studio at least half an hour early so she can warm up and get in "talking time" before class. My daughter is 17, and still demands talking time as an essential part of being a dancer. You might also encourage her to ask the teacher what she can work on to aid in turn-out, strength and coordination. I would be happy with this evaluation as a good initial measure of where she is and what she needs to work on. It doesn't mean she's an uncoordinated chatterbox, just that she is a lively, lovely kid with plenty of energy. A great deal of dance is being able to work with others, discuss and share the artform with others and be part of a group. She's on her way to having this covered. Better this evaluation than something like "stands alone and can't work with others!" after all. Ballet is an activity which prides itself on honest (brutally honest?!) evaluation. Welcome to that aspect of this world. I bet you see some drastic positive changes when the next evaluation rolls around.

Link to comment

I don't think I'd freak about that too much. If she got a 9 for attitude, she couldn't have been that disruptive.


I'll say at 9 my DD wasn't chatty in class, but frequently would be daydreaming. At 12, she's so much more focused, you'd hardly recognize her. She's quite caught up with the kids who were such good students early on.


If they consider a 5 good, then I'd say that's not a terrible evaluation at all.

Link to comment

Since she is homeschooled, perhaps she especially appreciates the social aspect of her ballet class.


In terms of the evaluation -- it is important that she continue ballet because she enjoys it, especially at age 9.


If she is making a good effort, try not to worry too much about the report card. At her age, it is hard enough to even have the attention span to make it through class.

Link to comment

I'm not sure whether homeschoolers receive teacher reports/evaluations so perhaps it is more of a shock to you to realize how different a child may be/appear at school. I remember when my dd began kindergarten, my husband and I were shocked to hear how quiet and observant she was since at home she was prone to talking 100 miles an hour nonstop in quite a loudtone! Basically, it can take some getting used to hearing about your child from a teacher's perspective but once you realize that the teacher is viewing your child within the context of a class of varied personalities, abilities and with (hopefully) years of experience with most personality types you may find their objective view helpful. I also find that as my dd grows, teacher's expectations grow and the warm, nuturing reports received in the early years give way to reports meant to focus on improvement and setting and reaching goals rather than affirmations. If you and your dd are able to take the comments in a postive way I would not be surprised to see her efforts remarked on in her next evaluation.

Link to comment

I was fortunate to be able to observe one of the final classes at ABT's summer intensive program last year. My daughter was 13 at the time, and the teacher really took a good part of the class to call each child up individually, ask them to do a few poses, talk privately with each student about strengths and weaknesses. Since several parents were present for this observation class, she took a moment to talk to the group (parents and kids) about the written evaluation that would be coming. Since these were among the youngest group at the intensive, she told us to be prepared for a lot of low to middle marks, as there is lots of room for improvement over the years, and it is the 18 year olds, company ready, who should be getting the "excellent" marks.


This was helpful when the evaluation came, and she had some "middle of the road" scores. She also had some corrections she brought back to the studio to work on this year. (It's amazing what an outside eye can see, that sometimes gets overlooked at home...but that's a whole 'nother discussion...).


Dd said she actually found ABT's evaluation more helpful than the one she receives from our home school, where she has always gotten high overall scores, but very little suggestion for improvement (except the note she always gets, "strengthen more!" Strengthen what? And how?)


Nines are busy people. I remember at that age I somehow ended up the dressing room "rouster" -- I'd be the one to do drag them out of there after class. (They managed to be quiet IN class...but afterward...I felt like they had positively moved into that dressing room for a giggle fest!)


You've received good advice from other parents here, especially from Fendrock -- a 9 should dance for the pure love of dance. Is SHE happy in class, happy to go there, enjoying what she's learning? That, to me, is the most important evaluation...for now.

Link to comment

wait...she's 9? That's normal. Be glad she talks and has friends (and isn't introverted and too shy to have friends)! Just gently remind her to remember the rules and keep her chatting for after class.


Is she happy? Does she like going to class? Is the whole experience positive and rewarding? If yes, then take deep breaths and remember why you're doing this. It's too early to tell much about potential. She's still growing and her body will continue to change and, with hope gain coordination and flexibility. I can't even begin to tell you how my DD's body changed between age 13 and 14.


Hang in there...

Link to comment

you should be really pleased with the high marks your daughter was given for attitude, etiquette etc. These are skills that will undoubtedly help her in all walks of life, not just the dance world. I am afraid I cannot comment on the more technique based marks as I don't know how they are formulated. If you don't already know, it may be worth enquiring if the marks are a reflection of "where she ought to be" for her age. Are the marks based on how a child meets criteria as expected of more senior students (i.e. do older students generally score higher marks than juniors) or are they based on the expectations of her year group or level?


The way the marks are interpreted should also depend on why she dances. Does she aspire to a professional career, or is she just a recreational dancer?


Finally, I echo the sentiment that it is good to have such an in depth evaluation as a guide to what needs to be improved. My daughter attends associate classes at a major dance school and at the end of each year the students are assessed as to their suitability to continue training for the coming year (currently waiting to hear!!). They are either assessed as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory, that is all. Not overly helpful! Admittedly this is followed by a brief written report, but that says only things like "Name has made good progress this year". I think most parents would welcome more information but I think they are concerned that people will compare marks and gossip in the changing rooms!


Edited for additional thought

Link to comment

Keep this in mind, too:


She is 9 and was placed in Ballet 2 which was a bit of a stretch but we thought she would grow into it.


You've gotten wonderful advice. At age 9, in a new school, in a class abit above her skill level, I wouldn't be too hard on her in terms of disappointment in her scores. I'd ask to talk to the teacher (or whomever prepares the evaluation) and get a good understanding about what those marks actually mean. As others have suggested: Are her scores really out-of-line with the other 9 year olds in her position? Is it common for scores for technique to hover in the middle-ranges, with the higher end scores reserved for the older dancers? What does her teacher see as your dd's weakness that needs addressing first that will respond to focused diligence?


I also agree that because your DD got a 9 and 10 for attitude and policy adherence that she can't be too much of a distraction or discipline problem in class. As a 'lovely, social butterfly' who is talkative and sweet, she sounds to me like a lovely child to have in class. Many 9-year olds have trouble refraining from talking with friends in class--school or otherwise. Because she is homeschooled, perhaps she is really excited to be around peers and making the most of her time. She'll learn to control her talkative impulses.


At age 9, perhaps she is rather colt-ish and abit uncoordinated. That'll come with more practice--and more ballet. Same with assimilating the combinations and the corrections. She will either develop more focus or she won't. But, if not, so be it. Although ballet is something you want for her, perhaps she'll decide she'd rather do something else. And that's okay.


For now, I wouldn't stress or feel embarrassed for her. Simply discuss the evaluation lightly and ask her what she thinks she can do to improve and what she wants to work on.

Link to comment

I teach that age and guess what? SHE'S NORMAL!!!!! I know that ballet is a social thing for kids too, and if they're homeschooled (I homeschool my 2 children) it's important that they get to do that. They're still young and they need to develop into human beings first, before they can develop into ballerinas. :)


I handle it by allowing for some small portion of the class to be chatting, when I feel it's necessary. You can tell when you walk into a room what the prevailing mood is, and if you can't learn to go with the flow, you & the children will end up frustrated with neither one of you achieving anything.


When I can sense that they need to talk, I'll ask them to sit down for the first 5 minutes of class, and I'll tell them a quick story about my day/ducks/anything else. Then, they'll start talking about whatever it is that they need to discuss, and we get it out of the way prior to starting barre. Of course, I don't do it every class, but just when I can sense that someone in there needs it.


I've been affected by some of the things that they need to talk about too. One time, a girl blurted out that a family member had just died in a horrible accident. we all talked to her and comforted her, and afterwards, I spoke with the mom who said that it happened that last week, and that the child hadn't spoken about it to anyone including the therapist, but here she was blurting it out amongst her friends....


So sometimes, it's necessary.

Link to comment

When my daughter was 8, she and another girl were given their summer level placement at their company-affiliated school and they were devastated to find that they had not been moved up with the rest of their class. All indications were that they were at the top of the group technique wise, so we were all perplexed. My daughter's father went in to ask the teacher the reason she was held back after the next class. He was told that she and the other gal were very chatty and they needed to focus if they wanted to move up through the levels at the same pace as their peers.


So, they both went to summer classes in the lower level, worked hard at keeping their mouths shut and paying attention and both were moved up to the next level in the fall. This was one of many important lessons that my daughter learned about self discipline during her ballet training.


For the record, out of the class of approximately 25 girls, my daughter and the other girl who were held back are the only two who ended up continuing to dance over the years and both have danced professionally. :)


PS - Welcome to Ballet Talk, LNC! We look forward to having you as an active member of our cyber community.

Link to comment

I also suggest that you ask for more information regarding the scores. On my DD's first exam she received great marks for physical ability and stage presence. She also received a long laundry list under technical ability (she was 7). She was devastated. We later found out that this was considered a compliment. At age 7 she had lots to learn (and at age 12 still does) and the teachers took the time to let us know what she needed to work on!! Exams are always stressful for my DD. She wants so much to excel. The next round of exams are scheduled soon. We can just hope for the best!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...