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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Advice on when to leave a studio


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My DS is 13 and has danced modern for eight years and ballet for four. He began ballet at a studio with a marvelous reputation three years ago and was placed in a beginning modern class (even though he had spent two years in company) and a beginning ballet class. He has moved up the ladder slowly at this studio and last year asked to get more hours of dance in. The director of the studio said "he can't handle this". We signed him up with a different studio for more classes and kept him at the original studio and he was placed at a much higher level. He has enjoyed the other studio, but believes the technique at the first studio is superior. This summer he auditioned for intensives and was accepted at both places he auditioned. His ability and love for dance seemed to grow proportionately. At the latter studio he was moved into advanced classes, at the original studio he was held back a class. His skill level is significantly higher than anyone else in the class in the first studio. I've asked the director and I've gotten two answers. One is that there is a boy in the ballet class and "you have to keep the boys together" the other is "he's just not that good and everyone else is wrong. He falls far short of the RADA ranking that the SI placed him and he is FAR short of being as good as he thinks he is."


Is it time to leave the first studio? The second studio and both SI's seem to be in agreement about his levels, but I really respect the quality of instruction at the first studio. The director has limited him to 5 hours at her studio, and he's taking seven hours out. She also refuses to let him do anything (including stretches at the bar) he learned elsewhere. She says he can do them when the other boy learns them but otherwise "it won't work."

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5 hours of ballet lessons, at 13 for an on-track pre pro boy??????? Nope. Sorry. Not enough class time and to hold him back to wait for the other boy is ridiculous. Time to make a change. He should be having 1.5 hour long ballet classes 4-5 times a week, plus a men's class, and then whatever else he wants to take.

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It's time to leave the first studio. I had a similar experience with my 13 year old daughter. After making a switch, I have a totally new child. She has a renewed sense of joy in her dancing and is thriving with a new teacher. I think it is important to be mindful of what teacher feedback can be doing to a dancer's spirit. Especially at the early teen years. It's not all about technique. Their joy must continue to blossom or their dancing will suffer.

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