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Hello to all. This is my first posted question. Please forgive me if it is wordy. I have a 17 year old ballet dancer who has been sure she wants to dance professionally since she was 3. She has never lost that passion or focus. However, I am concerned I need to do more to help her meet that goal. Our family had to make a move 2 years ago and fortunately after 6 months of looking, we found wonderful teachers trained at the Vaganova Academy in Russia. The only problem is they are so small that they do not have more than 4 days of classes available and the advanced level is often mixed with intermediate. A typical schedule is Friday: 2hrs. ballet/pointe, Saturday: 10:30-3:00 of ballet, sometimes character, sometimes pointe, then rehearsal which can sometimes last until 4:00, Sunday: 1:00-3:30 ballet/pointe, then rehearsal, Monday: 1 1/2 hrs of ballet (no pointe). Pointe time is always dancing on pointe. Not really pointe technique training. Now the schedule for next year will hopefully be spread out over the week more. My concern is that my daughter is struggling to keep her endurance up and I can't tell if it is her or the lack of dance days in her schedule. Prior to moving she had endurance because the classes were designed to build endurance. She also danced six days a week. These classes, being Vaganova, build muscle and artistry. The endurance is harder to maintain. It seems the teachers feel it is my daughter who is not working hard enough at barre to build endurance. Which may or may not be true. A dancer can always work harder. I know after barre her entire leotard is soaked. But how much is the schedule contributing? Should I try to supplement with classes elsewhere and if so what types of classes?

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Hello nightowl, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :jawdrop:


Your question is a bit of tough one, as it sounds like you are in an area without a preprofessional school or company school. At 17, going into senior year of school I would assume, she really needs to have six days a week, with a technique class every day and pointe technique almost every day. Rehearsals totally separate from pointe classes.


Is she attending a Summer Intensive? Has she been to SI programs in past years? Have you considered a residence school?


I have some concern about the teachers statement of endurance being achieved at the barre. In my opinion, endurance is achieved more from the end of the classes and especially from rehearsals and performances. However, dancing every day, 6 days a week, is also part of that. Barre is about training the body HOW to work, and of course warming up all of the joints and muscles. The idea of creating endurance by working harder at the barre just does not make any sense to me. Sorry.

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Thank you Ms. Leigh. My daughter has been wrestling with the same concern about endurance. She feels exactly as you do and because 2 out of the 4 days classes are mixed levels, she does not get the larger movement to help with the endurance. She has always done summer intensives, but usually with her home school intensive. This summer she is attending a 4 week intensive after 2 weeks of a home school camp of nightly classes 5 days a week. I am considering any options right now. I am wondering if the teacher knows she is not offering enough and is easing her conscience somewhat by blaming it on the dancers. The quality of training in all other local programs is not worth seeking. I may need to address the need for privates on the off days.

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Talk to her SI teachers this summer and get some recommendations from them. I don't feel that privates are the best way to go. She needs classes. Full classes, with lots of petit and grand allegro. Pointe classes. You really may have to consider an away program. It's late for that now, as auditions for those programs are usually earlier, but, sometimes they can happen in the summer too.

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Thank you. You're advice is what I was thinking, but needed to hear from an expert. I will definitely talk with the summer teachers. They are also looking for year round students that fit their program. Paying for residencies is my next challenge.

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