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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Daughter considering Drill Team / Dance Team in High School

beauty of dance

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I think it also depends on where in the puberty cycle your daughter is. There is a great risk of injury during the stage when the bones are lengthening very quickly. This is because the surrounding tendons, muscles, and ligaments do not adjust automatically, but have a lag time before they catch up. Knee and hip injuries are common during this time. If If your daughter's body isn't physically mature yet, she runs this risk even more so due to the increased activity should she join the drill team. Most dance doctors will tell you that this stage of puberty is when dancers should ease up on their training, rather than increase it.


My daughter didn't do a drill team per se, but joined her high school's dance team her first year in high school. She was training at a pre-pro at the same time. She found that there were lots of scheduling conflicts, and although she enjoyed it, she did not return to the high school dance team the following year. She wanted to dance professionally, so she felt that her primary responsibility was to her pre-professional training.


I think this issue is one that is unique to each person. Also, some drill team teachers know very little about kinesiology, while others are very well-trained, perhaps even more so than the ballet school staff. And of course, the same can be said for the ballet school. The quality of each dance program along with their willingness to compromise with each other may be what tips the balance toward or against doing both at the same time.

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I danced decades ago and even back then the serious students did not do all the extra curricular activities that have been mentioned here. In today's world, the reason the dance company is discouraged is because of the floors these school kids have to dance on. Usually hard wood over concrete. Ballet studios at serious establishments are usually sprung and have marley on top. A lot more forgiving. There is nothing wrong with kids doing track and the rest but there comes a pointe where serious study of ballet begins and if you are an advanced level dancer by the age of 14, (8th/9th grade) which my DD's were, then decisions have to be made. There are recreational dancers all over the place and I say, enjoy HS and do it all, you have nothing to lose and indeed a lot to gain. My DD's instead of being on the cheer leading squad or dance company got involved with student government and different clubs. There's Young Democrats or Young Republicans, the Environmental club even debate and choir. You don't have to be a jock or in the social elite to make good friends and have a great HS experience.


Ballet companies have clauses in their contracts requiring their dancers to not participate in dangerous activities that risk injury. There are many, many activities they have to avoid. The company schools have similar requirements of their upper division and pre pro students.


By the way, in our studio there is no compromise when it comes to accommodate a dance company rehearsal. Academic exams are accommodated but that is about it. If you choose the basketball team over a ballet rehearsal, then you made a choice that is duly noted. Promotions will be affected as will casting in performances. At times I have seen what a bitter pill this is for the kids to deal with, but, deal with it they must.


I think the bottom line here is how serious are you about ballet. By HS a ballet student should have an idea as to dedication and if ballet is a something for today and not tomorrow it's a no brainer. It's only the serious, truly hungry dancers who have to make these choices!

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The high school is going to allow us to count her 15-20 hours of ballet class per week as her PE.....and the Drill team will count as her fine arts credit. "


Just a comment here....Isn't this a bit backwards? Count the drill team as PE and the ballet as fine art!!! How is Drill team a fine art???



As mentioned earlier, there is very little support for the drill team here. However, I am all for a well rounded child. If she finds that her dance is suffering, she will have to drop drill.


I am still agog at the mention of fine art and drill team in the same sentence!!!

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beauty of dance

B1.....I am in agreement with you regarding "dance team" and fine arts.....but the school is willing to structure her program in this fashion so that she can be on a "fast Track" and in order to allow for early dismissal so that we can get her back to our home town (which is a 4o-45 minute drive) in order to make it to her ballet classes.....therefore her ballet classes will count as her(off campus) PE.....and her "dance team" (if she chooses to persue this) will count as her "fine arts" credits. This is all due to many discussions with admissions and the academic department.....trying to find a way to make things work....so that she can keep up her very rigerous ballet schedule. She will also be taking ap classes and testing out of some classes so that she can progress quickly through her HS required credits. I dont think that the dance team is considered a fine arts credit for everyone.....just an exception here if she chooses to persue it!


Thank you for your input! And again thanks to the many posters! I have been brought to tears by many of your posts!

We just want our dd to continue to follow her dream, but we want her to feel as included ,and as much a part of her high school for the time that she is there.....as we have already resigned that it may be only a year or two before she is swooped away to a year round program! We want her to experience a somewhat "normal" HS experience...whether this includes the dance team or not...we just dont know yet!


ps....our dd is very aprehensive about letting her ballet instructor know that she is even considering this.....

Auditions are not until April.....I am sure we will go back and forth on the issue many many times before then!

I will just continue to pray for HIS will and guidance!

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I would be extremely care about potentially quitting a dance team if it doesn't work out. You have to remember that if you earn a spot on a dance team and are not 100% committed to it , you have taken a spot from someone who might have really committed themselves to it. That is not going to earn you a lot of friends at the high school.

I can sympathize with your decisions about this. I have 2 DDs. My older one has wanted to be a part of the dance team since freshman year (now a junior). She is a Madrigal singer, and a member of 3 Honor Societies that provide tutoring at the high school. She could never figure out how to reconcile her dedication to ballet and her desire to be a part of the dance team.

She ultimately chose to pursue excellence in ballet. She has seen too many dance team kids skip too many classes, lose too much technique and miss too many rehearsals. I might add that the absences have caused some concern for the dedicated dancers who do regularly attend their classes and rehearsals.

In addition, the high school dance teams around here perform at all the home football and basketball games and compete locally and in Florida every year. They also practice at a camp in the summer and then for the whole month of August. Participating on the team would would prevent my DD from attending any summer intensives.

In contrast, my freshman has no interest in being a part of the dance team. She loves to perform, but not that kind of dance in front of the whole school!!!Horrors! (her feelings, not mine!) :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi. My daughter has participated in dance team through her sophomore year. It was crazy at times but well worth it. Her dance team coach went out of her way to accommodate rehearsal schedules and appreciated the classically trained ballet dancers on the team. It allowed my daughter to participate in a school activity and work with some choreography and lyrical dance styles to which she had not previously been exposed. I'm very glad she had the opportunity and that she took advantage of it.

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Not dance team (not that she wasn't recruited for it!), but the school musical in her freshman year helped connect my dd to the school peers...and helped shape some choices for her. She had put herself into a full-tilt boogie, blinders on pre-pro ballerina mode...then met the musical, revisited the tap shoes she hadn't thought about since she was in 2nd grade...and spent several months figuring out and redefining herself. At the end of that school year, she had realized that, much as she adores classical ballet, it wasn't the only thing she wanted. (And let's face it -- as these kids get into the higher levels, ballet is what they live and do -- for some, that every night in the studio is the best part of the day...for some, it's very, very good, but not quite "it".)


She did attend an SI last summer, and loved it. Then came home, and auditioned for a musical theatre training program that is every bit as intense and demanding of her time as the pre-pro school ever was. And she's still dancing straight ballet 4 nights a week, and is 3 weeks from the opening of the spring musical. She couldn't be happier with where she is right now, and really credits the opportunity to do the musical as helping her realize that dreams can be re-shaped.


I'm not saying that allowing a child to try anything outside of the dance studio will cause them to change directions. But I think part of being a teen is the freedom to "try on" different ideas and dreams. If high school activities allow a child freedom to experience more and explore, learn about themselves, I'm all for it. (And it's always an adventure watching them deal with coordinating multiple rehearsal schedules and commitments -- select vocal ensemble versus ballet versus musical rehearsals...but many of our dancers are doing that with much grace and success.) Even just thinking about the opportunities available, and weighing them against current interests, is important stuff.


The dream of being a performer, whether it is a ballet dream, or a musical theatre dream, or an opera singer, is one that must be looked at head on, with a passion that simply can't be stopped. I feel it's important to give kids the opportunity to examine and re-examine that dream over time. This can help them remember why they are working so dang hard -- for the beauty of that time on the stage, lost in the music.

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