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Trusting new studio


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We have moved around a lot but my daughter has had pretty sold ballet experience for three years. We are in a new area and supposedly chose the best school in the area for ballet pre-professional training. However, they said my daughter needed to work on straightening her back and working on the arch in her foot so they put her in a level II with several 7 and 8 year olds (she is 10), one of them has never had ballet. This class only meets twice a week. My concern is how is she supposed to get better if she does not take class? They said she needed to take the time to correct these things but then gave no suggestions on how to. When I finally asked is there any home exercises she could be doing, they rattled off a few. I just can't help having a nagging feeling that this is not right. She was progressing nicely before this school and has been told many times she has a chance at a professional career in ballet. I have observed the class and it was a good class, but twice a week does not seem enough. So my question is should we be trusting them by keeping her out of class and give them a chance that they know what they are doing or be looking at other studios that will give her more class time?

Thanks for any advice,


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Hi Rayne, My daughter recently (last year) switched studios also & was placed in a low level. I'm not sure, but I think this might just be the way it's done... at least at our studio. I guess it's easier to later move girls up a level, than down one. My daughter has been moved up & is now dancing in classes with girls her own age and at or above her level. I don't think the time in the lower level was wasted either. She worked hard & started to work through some placement issues she had. Maybe you could see if there is an additional lower level class your daughter can take if you feel she's not getting enough hours in. Hope this helps :devil:



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I agree with ceecee that it is better to take a step back in order to work on placement issues now. Hopefully there can be upward movement later. A solid foundation carefully established while still young and studying in lower levels is one of the safest ways to progress towards a higher technical challenge and proficiency. I think that at age 10 it is unrealistic for any school to tell a child or h/her parents that h/she "has a chance at a professional career in ballet." There are MANY issues to be worked through in terms of physical, psychological, and social development and it is premature for there to be any guesses made at that age, even in a child with "perfect" facility, passion, etc.


If I were in your position I would trust the judgment of her teachers and perhaps ask them if they would conduct an evaluation at a later time (if they don't already do this) in order to see how your daughter is progressing. If your daughter wants an extra class then, as ceecee suggested, inquire whether she may attend a class at a lower level if her teachers think that it will benefit her according to her current issues.


Try not to feel too discouraged, rayne. Each child will develop at their own rate and the more willing you are to give all of this time, the more likely your daughter will work through her plateaus with a positive outlook. I think that if they rush the process while in their developmental years then they risk injury, burnout, and perhaps arriving at a point where it may be too late to address key fundamental issues crucial for career development in those who truly turn out to have potential.

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When my DD changed studios, she too was moved down a level and put in shorter classes than what she had been taking. I'm starting to think that the majority of studios do this with new students. It's taken me some time to establish trust in this new studio, given its philosophy feels so very different from where DD used to take classes (and yet both are classical ballet studios turning out professional dancers and dancers getting into good college dance programs), but it's coming.


I agree with yankee's suggestion of asking for an evaluation at some point. I did that last spring (it isn't standard to receive one), and it was helpful to see where DD was and what her teacher wants from her.

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It is difficult but I think you have to trust the studio for now and see how she does in the next year or so.


I'll give you an example of a girl I've been teaching for about 6 months, the same may or may not apply to your daughter.


She'd been dancing for a few years and her mother told me that she'd been told she's got lots of potential by her former teachers. However she was turning her feet out so much that it looked painful and it certainly wasn't natural, she was rolling (due to the overturned feet), she wasn't using her feet correctly and her posture was poor (very arched back). Her presentation was very good (although a bit too exaggerated for my liking) and her arms were nice.


6 months later, to the untrained eye she has made little or no progress. However she is now working through her feet, turning out correctly and straightening her back. Her presentation has calmed down a little, probably because she is concentrating on the other elements!


So basically I had to take her 'back to basics' as these really need to be mastered before she can make any real progress.

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I would trust the new studio's placement and agree with Ceecee's advice to take additional classes at or below her current level.


My dd made the switch to a pre-professional school last February when she was nearly 11. It sounds similar - the majority of girls were just 8 or 9. However, she learned more from the few months she has been at the lower level than she did at her old school in two years. She has been taking at least one additional class weekly at a lower level because she was accustomed to dancing more hours weekly.


It is often hard being one of the older girls in the class. But I really do feel that the goals of the new school are the same as ours - to train her to be the best dancer she can be. A strong foundation is what she needs for what we hope will be a lifetime of dance!

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[Thanks for all the great advice. I think we will stick it out at this studio and ask for an evaluation maybe early next year. I see your point about working out the placement issues before moving on, I just have to be patient. I also definitely need to remind myself that she is only 10 and has lots of years to move up. Thanks for reminding me of this.


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