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

Age appropriate variations


Recommended Posts

I was just reading a thread about age-appropriate variations for dancers under 13, and was wondering whether the moderators think (Ms. Leigh commented on the other thread) that learning and performing a variation for Grand Prix is a bad idea for a student who will be almost 14 by the time of YAGP next year. From the other thread it sounded as though Ms. Leigh thought that students shouldn't learn variations at all until they are much older, and by that I am assuming closer to 16 or 17.


My DD would like to do YAGP next year and would have to start preparing fairly soon if I decide to let her do it.

Link to comment

She'll probably get through the steps all right, but the cards are stacked against her in terms of artistic portrayal. Most teens just don't have the life experiences to bring to most of these variations. You really can't show a teen how to do the Grotto variation in Don Q, and bring a subdued sexuality to it. They really don't know how to do that, and attempts to fake it look just like that.

Link to comment

On the other hand, we had two high school seniors perform a scarily sensual Arabian variation at last year's Nutcracker. Made me wonder what they were up to in their spare time. It was wonderful, though.

Link to comment

I dunno. Obviously, there are pros and cons. I have seen 13 year olds do certain variations charmingly; the tricky part is picking a variation that is not too difficult for your child to perforn confidently and, as Mel points out, without looking silly doing it. Aurora's variations are nice for younger contestants, and there are other not too inappropriate ones, although even the simplest of them require a deceptive amount of skill and control. You might borrow or spring for a YAGP video from Vam to get an idea of the sort of things dancers of her age do. I have so far chosen not to let my dd do this sort of thing, because I think the other problem is that rehearsing for YAGP takes a heck of a lot of time away from regular training. Unless you are desperate to get your child seen, "out there," so to speak, and are hoping your dd can win a scholarship to a better school than the one she is already in, then what would be her goals? Experience performing? Meeting other dancers? Competing? Seeing how she'measures up' to others? Most people I know who have done it have been happiest when they are just going for the ride.. but it's a pretty expensive time-consuming process, so be sure you tally up what it will cost you before you jump in. Some people have said it cost them $5,000-$10,000 before they were done with contest fees, travel, lodging, coaching, tutu, choreography, etc. That kind of money will buy an awful lot of other things that might benefit her just as much, like Pilates, extra classes, massage, whatever. And lots of people also say it was worth every nickel just to have done it. :) In any case, Good luck with your decision!

Link to comment

Nope, Don Q.


I differentiate that scene, as it's supposed to be happening in a garden in a chamber of a cavern, which Don Q enters by killing a gigantic spider, from the Corsaire one, which I just call the "jardin animé". There's also a Grotto scene in Napoli, which I call the "Blue Grotto" scene. These 19th-century balletmasters must have loved to hang around caves.

Link to comment


Yes I see it as a cost/benefit issue, from my point of view. My daughter would be doing it for the experience of learning/preparing and performing a variation as a solo, and to get feedback from the judges on her strengths and weaknesses. One of her teachers thought it might be good for her to enter one year as a junior, then wait a few years and do it again as a senior. We are only thinking in terms of regionals right now, and we are close enough that we would not need to stay in a hotel.


After reading Ms. Leigh's comments on the under 13 thread, I was wondering if it is worth doing even for the above reasons.


One of her current teachers has said she would recommend doing one variation which would show her strengths and another variation that would be a challenge and therefore would make her work on her weaker areas. I do worry about the amount of time spent rehearsing for YAGP and also the mental energy invested in it, rather than on other aspects of training. YAGP also falls during the summer intensive audition season.

Link to comment
Nope, Don Q.


I differentiate that scene, as it's supposed to be happening in a garden in a chamber of a cavern,

So, is it the pastel-tutu "vision" scene with the Dryads to which you refer? Is that really in a grotto? It seems too bright to be taking place inside a cave. How can you have a garden in a cave? Flowers need sun to grow. Agreed, the "Grotto" variation (that's the first time I've heard it called that! -- is it AKA Dulcinea's variation?) is hard for a teen to carry off, but I think the Cupid variation is a good one for a young teenager to learn.

Link to comment

Remember, this is magic, or even the hallucination of a mad old man! Light underground doesn't have to make sense! And yes, the variation there is sometimes called Dulcinea's variation. Cupid is sometimes also referred to as Amor.

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...