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July 11, 2008 in Parents of Dancers under 13
As a parent, NOT a teacher of dance, what you say does make some sense. I know that one of my daughters had lots of rotation when she was younger, but didn't always have the ability to use this properly.
Your dd is still VERY young, and many dancers don't start serious classes until they are older than yours is right now. So....I wouldn't worry! Just let her enjoy! Sounds like she is getting good advice from her teacher.
All the best,
My DD just turned 8 this month (RAD Grade 3) and has the same issue. Her teachers have said that she has natural flexibility and rotation, but she just needs to build up more strength to control her turnout whilst dancing. They've assured me that this will happen on its own with regular training, so there's nothing to worry about at her age.
My younger daughter was at the same level in RAD at the ages you both mention. I recall that she got some points deducted from her RAD exam(s), but still ended up with high overall marks.
When she was 11 she started training more days per week, and the teacher was therefore able to spend more time with the kids on thing such as turnout. This is one of the key differences I noticed that year - her turnout improved quite significantly. I think it was a combination of increased mental maturity on her part (that is, she developed her ability to understand what was required), the teacher's ability to explain turnout in a way that the kids understood, and the increased time spent in the ballet studio.
Sam7, it sounds like your daughter has nice potential, and that is all anyone should expect at 7 years old. They do not yet have enough training to have the muscle strength to USE that rotation yet, and that is quite normal. Patience
There is no way to know without seeing the other girls, as well as your DD. It might be that they just have a different muscle structure and have a bit more physical strength at a younger age, or, it could be that they seem to somehow "get it", although that is highly unusual at that age, or, they may have more natural rotation than you think they do. In any case, it's not to worry about right now.
Yes, if they really are working with better rotation, then they are using it better than she is. But, I still don't think that means anything at all at 7 years old.
At age 7 my DD was among a group of girls who had each, of course, developed strength, control, and technical achievement at their own rate. She too was instructed to "turn in" from where her natural turnout is for the same reason - it was important for her to use the degree of her turnout that she was able to control at that time and then utilize more of it as she developed the strength to control it. Progressively she has learned to strengthen her control over her full turnout but it has taken many years of steady, consistent training.
At age 7 her class certainly worked together as a group but each child progressed individually according to whatever natural facility they had, their ability to comprehend and apply what was being taught, and their ability to recall previous information in order to consistently build on technique over time. The children were 7 years old and because that is very young, "achievement" varied widely across the spectrum of the entire class. It is often advised by teachers (even at my daughter's age) that parents not compare their child to another because they all develop at their own pace.
7 year olds are truly at the beginning of the journey.
My DD is 9 and only just this year got the "strength" in her turnout. As a result she has been pushed up a couple of grades to catch up with some other girls her age who are doing more advanced work. I have no idea what she did but something fell into place and all the teachers noticed it as they all commented to me that she's "finally got it"!
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