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choosing school in Sacramento


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Hello all. As a mom who is new to the ballet world, I am so grateful for the wealth of knowledge and guidance here. My dd is eleven and wants to go on pointe. I am trying to educate myself to make the best decisions. She's done recreational ballet for three years (1 or 2 classes a week) but now wants to get serious. We've moved and I am unsure which of the many choices here could train her safely to go on pointe while keeping the hope of a pro career alive.


Is it a good idea to take classes taught by the young (under 20) apprentices of a small but professional company, or better to take from someone who has taught for many years? Is it better for a young dancer to have classes taught by only or mainly one teacher or a school that has different teachers for different days or levels? Without a ballet background it is hard for me to judge the students. I can get an idea of different teachers, but if you are in a program long term, it seems the teachers change from year to year.


We are willing to drive for lessons anywhere in the greater Sacramento area and would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

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If your daughter is looking for a professional experience more than a recreational one, I would suggest attending the official school of the Sacramento Ballet or Dean Dance. The length of teaching isn't necessarily the best measure. If your daughter can take class at a few studios to get the feel for them, that could be a good start. Look at which schools have advanced dancers chosen to dance with the Sacramento ballet in pointe parts for Nutcracker (Flowers, big angels). Dancers who have danced professionally often have insights that are very helpful to young dancers.

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Here is a thread that discusses pre-pro schools in your area: Ballet Schools in California--Sacramento/Portland


Personally, I would look for a school where the teachers are seasoned, have taught for awhile, and have a pedagogy background, either by education or by learning to teach from an exceptional teacher. Simply being a young dancer/apprentice with a company wouldn't be qualification enough for me. Not all good dancers make good teachers. I would look for a school that truly understands the physical growth cycles for young bodies, the mechanics of the body--especially for different age groups, and emphasizes clean, strong technique.


I would encourage you to visit the various forums on this Board, drop in and read whatever topics catch your eye that have to do with discerning good teaching and what one should look for, and begin to develop a feel for what our wonderful Teacher Moderators (Victoria Leigh, Major Mel, vrfanatic, Clara 76, Hans), consider to be the appropriate elements of a good school and teacher. :)


But, be warned . . . this place becomes addicting, so definitely find a good chair and a nice cup of tea or coffee!

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Thank you, lillianna and dancemaven, for your suggestions. I will continue to investigate, and also take into account the suggestion of coffee and a good chair (not to mention a pillow or two...) I agree about the addicting nature of exploring the site. It is so nice to get good information.

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