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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Saturday classes required?


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My 11 year old son has been dancing for 5+ years (I've lost count!) and he truly loves it. We drive him to a ballet school about 40 minutes from our home, which is not a problem during the week as it is not far from his school and I work nearby. Last year was his first year in the school's audition-only program for serious students - which means that in addition the the regular classes the children are required to take a repertoire class and do several performances a year. Last year the requirements were two 90 min ballet classes, one 60 min modern and rep class (30-60min, depending on what they are working on). In addition, he chose to take a jazz class and, for several months, the boys class. I've hung in there with the schedule so far, but we just received his schedule for this year, and I am seriously thinking I might have to pull him out. The problem is not really the number of classes required (3 ballet classes, plus boys class, modern, and rep), but the fact that this year he must take a 1.5 hour Saturday mid-afternoon class (1-2:30). We have always avoided weekend classes for several reasons: he is not our only child, my husband often has to work on Saturdays, and we do not have any real carpooling options. And of course this is going to eliminate the possibility of any family weekend trips ever, or any chance of my son participating in any other activity or sport. (I should add that he has one sport - fencing - which we've always fit around dance, and that many of the children - girls and boys - he dances with also participate in another sport). Even Saturday morning would be better since at least we'd have the rest of the day free!!!


By the way, the class in question is boys class - arguably the most important for his at this point - but also the only class that is only offered at just one time since there are only 4-5 serious boys in the entire school.


So I guess my question to this group is: are Saturday classes generally required? Would it be entirely unreasonable of me to talk to the school about this issue? And tangentially, is it really the case that at this age children have to give up everything else to dance?


Sorry if this sounded like a rant - I am really at the end of my rope, and my son literally started crying when I suggested that this schedule may just be impossible for our family.


(PS I forgot to mention Nutcracker rehersals, which take up Sundays for a couple of months every fall and early winter)

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Yes, in many locations, Saturday classes are required. Usually for older dancers or company level dancers. But every studio has to structure things in a manner that works for their scheduling rooms and teachers. Without knowing anything about your personal studio, I'd venture that possibly the teacher they want to teach the Men's class is only available on Saturdays and will come in and teach a range of classes Saturday morning.


Certainly, you should discuss your concern with the school. Especially if you would be more than willing to do an earlier morning class. That is a good compromise. No matter which way the school goes though, it will affect someone. If they move it to early morning, then the next child's parents will come in and say that "it's the only day he gets to sleep in and we think that's important." With that, I'm not making jest. I, am myself, looking forward to my day off tomorrow when I get to sleep in and don't want a soul on the planet to mess with that. :thumbsup:

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Hmmm. Looking very guilty. (I can't find the right emoticon.)


We signed up for a Wednesday 5-6:30 pm and Saturday 11a-1:30p classes this Summer at a pre-professional school in the big city. It's about an one-hour drive each way.


We kept up with the Wednesday class pretty well, but after 3 Saturdays, we quit the Saturday class.


Nevertheless, we plan to enroll her at the pre-professional school next Fall when she's 13 and that will require going in 3 days during the week in the evening and most of Saturday morning.


We know it's the only way for her to progress. But yeah, Saturdays are not a welcome obligation.


If no other compromise can be reached, maybe you can ask if they would agree to 2 test classes before committing. Go two Saturdays. Maybe it won't be as awful as you think or maybe the joy your son gets will lessen the pain. Maybe you can find a fun restaurant or something you can take your other child (children) to during class.

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My DD has always had classes on saterday,it's very common over here in most of the studio's.She has jazz from 8.30 till 10 and right after that two technique classes of 1h and 1h30.

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Tiredmom, I empathize with your situation. My son did fencing and ballet also. At a slightly younger age than your son it came time to choose. I let my son make the decision and he chose ballet. He would make the same choice all over again, yet he still sometimes talks wistfully about the fencing. For us too it was the weekends that were the driving factor in having to make the choice.


I will say that regardless of your decision, your free weekends will soon be a thing of the past. No matter what activity your kid chooses, weekend participation soon becomes mandatory. Making it through 11 years without committing weekends is a good run! My husband too was not thrilled at the prospect of not being able to go away on the weekends unless they were holiday weekends. We have compromised on that with missing about one Saturday of classes a year. Your school may well be willing to allow more than one weekend of being away.


It would be nice to have more time for one's children to make these decisions, but that's not unique to the ballet world. I will say that when my son made his decision it was a relief for all not to feel torn and always compromising. It was more relaxing only having to worry about one activity.

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This year I am greatful for my DD's (both) saturday classes. The classes occur at the same time; and DH plays tennis. This means I will manage about an hour and a half at home ALONE :thumbsup: . I work full time and think that this year may be the first time in a long time that my house is actually clean. I am dedicating that hour and a half as "cleaning time" and will reward myself with a lunch treat with my DDs after they get out of class.

I am actually tearing up at the thought of this!

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At my 9 year old DD's school Saturday classes are offered but not required. They have options for her level (2B) evenings M-Th and we use Saturday for a "makeup class" day only if she misses one during the week. She is required to take three 1.5 hour classes per week. However, once Nutcracker rehearsals start Saturdays and Sundays it gets difficult when my son has football or basketball practices/games/tournaments at the same time. DD also juggles girl scouts, chess club and piano lessons... Lately she's talking about cheerleading. Ugh.

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My DD is 10. This is the last year that she will not have a required Saturday class. Right now she has 3 90 minute ballet classes/week. Next year (when she is 11) she will be required to attend the Saturday class as well.


As far as your concern about "never being able to go out of town for a weekend" consider talking to the AD. I know most (all?) of the older dancers in our studio occasionally miss a Saturday class because of a family trip or other obligation. As long as it is not a frequent occurrence, the class is made up, and the teacher is notified in advance of the planned absence, it doesn't seem to be a big deal.

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I dont know if this will help. I do have a DD and saturdays are required when they reach a certain level. But, I wanted to put this in perspective of another activity. My son is 8 and plays football. He has practice 4 days a week for 2 1/2 hours and in 1 more week we will have games every saturday. I look at it as it is worth every smile he makes when talking about his day. It gives him self confidence and he is proud when talks about what he did in practice. I do get tired of really not havinng a day off between my daughte who dances 5 days a week and my son who also plays his sport 5 days a week. We just find and make time as a family. It always works out for what ever reason....good luck in what ever decision you make and I always like to say what ever decision you make is the right decision.......

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My son is 10 and not dancing as much as your son. He attends a ballet school, but at his age, he is taking one or two 1.5 hour ballet tech classes and one boys only class. At his age, Saturdays are not scheduled. I don't think Saturday classes come up until they are level 6 (he is a 3) and are dancing 5-6 days per week. Good luck, those are hard decisions when you have other children.

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We are doing our first Sat classes also. And I have 2 in ballet so it will be all afternoon. I was a bit concerned as we like to take trips. But I guess this is the price you pay to dance at a serious level.

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My DD who soon will be 9yrs has been attending a Saturday Ballet class since last season. It's pretty much the norm in our area to have Saturday dance classes.

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We also have Saturday classes. Honestly, I don't think kids can do any activity these days without eventually hitting the weekends. In addition to dancing friends, DD has friends who participate in cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer, softball, baseball, basketball, football, tennis and swimming. All involve some sort of commitment on the weekends. I just feel relieved that with dancing we don't have to do any activity-related traveling. Our soccer friends have it the worst because it seems they have out-of-state tournaments practically every weekend near the end of the season.

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Another dancer here with Saturday classes, plus Saturday rehearsals during production seasons.

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