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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Schedule Evaluation


Mulberry

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I was wondering if you would mind checking my daughter's schedule? She has recently undergone a very big change! She is 11 years old and until this September had been taking 2 x 1 hour RAD lessons at her local dance studio. This was supplemented by a 2 hour associate classes on a Saturday every fortnight during term time.

 

She has just moved to vocational school (residential) and her hours have risen dramatically. This is now her schedule:

 

Monday: Ballet - 1 hour 50 min

Tuesday: Tap - 1 hour

Modern - 50 min

Ballet - 1 hour 10 min

Wednesday: Ballet 1 hour 50 min

Stretch - 1 hour 10 min

Thursday: Ballet - 1 hour

Modern - 1 hour 10

Friday: Ballet - 1 hour 50 min

 

All the ballet classes are technique.

 

I'm not at all worried about the standard of the teaching or whether this is the best possible option for her. I am more interested as to how this compares with a good US pre-pro school. There may well come a time when my daughter is auditioning for the same schools as international students (at age 16 when she needs to audition for Upper Schools or 16 + schools like Central/Rambert etc or even wants to train in a different country herself) and I am just interested as to whether there is likely to have been a difference in training intensity. She will, of course, be increasing her hours as she progresses up the school, but I am just interested as to how this compares with other 11 to 12 year olds.

 

Thank you!

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  • Administrators

Mulberry, I'm not sure about students that age in residential schools here in the US. Does anyone know if NCSA or Walnut Hill, for instance, take 11 and 12 year olds in residence during the school year?

 

As for the schedule, I just hope she has a break somewhere in that Tuesday triad of close to 4 hours. Otherwise, daily tech. class is a good thing, and the classes are longer than normal, which is also good. How is she doing with it, strengthwise? Is she strong and healthy and loving it? If so, I don't see a problem other than possibly Tuesday.

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We can answer the question about Walnut Hill. The residential option is reserved for high school aged students while the school's "Academy" program is a placement-by-audition after school program for students to age 14/15 (some to age 16 upon approval by the directors). Comparatively speaking, it appears that many 11/12 year old Academy students have a similar ballet schedule with a slight variation on the number of hours of modern, and tap is not an option.

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At NCSA, residency begins in 9th grade. However, the Preparatory Program begins in 3rd grade. The Prep Program levels are roughly:

 

Level 1, Ages 8-9

Level 2, Ages 9-10

Level 3, Ages 10-11

Level 4, Ages 11-12

Level 5, Ages 12-13

 

For comparison, the Level 4 schedule for the fall term is:

 

Monday, ballet 1 hr 30 min

Tuesday, contemporary 1 hr

Wednesday, ballet 1 hr 30 min

Thursday, off

Friday, ballet 1 hr 30 min

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Thanks everyone!

 

How is she doing with it, strengthwise? Is she strong and healthy and loving it? If so, I don't see a problem other than possibly Tuesday.

 

She is doing absolutely fine strength-, health- and enthusiasm-wise! She does complain of the odd niggle and ache occasionally, but not excessively. She does have a break every day after the first 1 hour 50 and whatever class comes next, similar to 'recess' in a normal academic school.

 

Although I think she's just so thrilled to be in that environment that she doesn't think her classes are too long at all, I think she may be at risk of losing her focus a little at times. I used to watch her take classes at her local studio and know how liable she is to succumb to the temptation to chat. I impressed on her before she went to the school how ballet class etiquette is such that she really couldn't chat etc, but I wonder if there is anything that I can suggest to her that will help her to learn how to keep focussed and to keep her attention on her teacher rather than her friends.

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My daughter is also at a UK vocational school and I would say that her schedule is more intense than this and they also have classes on a Saturday. Do the technique classes include pointe work?

 

As regards to focus, I would imagine that the teacher would be very strict in enforcing a "no chat" rule in class! Where my daughter is, lack of concentration in class is always picked up and dealt with quite seriously! My daughter was certainly quite tired to begin with in her first year but they soon learn that they have to work very hard in these schools and if the enthusiasm is there I'm sure the rest will follow!

 

I know that it is hard for us parents not knowing for ourselves what is going on in class so good luck!

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My daughter is also at a UK vocational school and I would say that her schedule is more intense than this and they also have classes on a Saturday. Do the technique classes include pointe work?

 

My daughter was certainly quite tired to begin with in her first year but they soon learn that they have to work very hard in these schools and if the enthusiasm is there I'm sure the rest will follow!

 

Hi ifnot! Glad to hear your daughter is coping with even more intense hours. I know that my daughter will increase during the week and will also add Saturdays as she goes up the school. Your daughter has got through her first year?

 

My DD isn't doing pointe yet. I know that at some point in this first year they are assessed and then put on pointe. The Director of Dance is an expert in the dance physio field so I'm very happy with whatever they decide.

 

As far as chatting/concentrating goes, I think she understands now what is ok. I guess the tiredness does have a lot to do with concentration. Doesn't help that bedtime is later than it would be at home!

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Can I ask another schedule question? DD (8) takes 3 ballet classes per week but they are all 1 hour long and it seems that she should be doing more 1.5 hour classes. They just don't have much time for center work. She has been taking ballet proper for 3 years. She was placed at the second level at CPYB's August experience.

 

thanks

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  • Administrators

Most classes for that age group are still one hour. Having three classes a week is more than most schools give them at that age and level. I have not found any reason to take them beyond that, in terms of hours or number of classes, until they are at a pre-pointe level, which should be around 10.5 or 11, in my opinion of course. I do not believe in putting children on pointe until they have both the physical strength and the technical knowledge. This does not generally happen until at least 11.5. Some schools do that year of pre-pointe and others don't. In any case, I think 10 is early enough to start hour and a half classes, and at that time they are usually still on three classes a week, with maybe some extra time if they do pre-pointe.

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Mulberry, I know which school your dd is at by what you say and I'm sure the director can be trusted with regards to the health and safety of the dancers! She has quite a reputation in the field. At my dd's school they started pointe almost as soon as they started but, to be honest, most of them (not her!) had been doing it for some time anyway. She doesn't seem to have been disadvantaged at all by starting later than most.

 

My dd has indeed survived her first year and is just as enthusiastic now as when she started. It is quite amazing to see the difference in almost all of them as well and I am amazed at what she seems to be doing now! Exciting times!

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  • 4 months later...

Hi Ms. Leigh

 

Could you take a look at this Schedule for someone who is serious about ballet and wants to take it as far as she can.

 

Monday 430-6 ballet

Tuesday 430-6 ballet, 6-7 pointe

Wednesday 430-6 jazz, 6-7 hip hop

Thursday 5-6 ballet, 6-7 pointe( these 2 are optional classes and at lower levels)

Friday 415-530 ballet, 6-8 rep( used as practise for performances and different things)

Saturday off

Sunday off

 

 

My daughter (12y) has been dancing since she was 4 and loves ballet. Over the last 3 years she has become serious with her love for ballet. She attended an out of town SI last summer and really enjoyed it and is going to another SI this summer. Her Ballet Mistress is from a professional school and even toured internationally. She loves her ballet teacher and she is a great teacher. My concern is the number of ballet classes that are offered and will her technique suffer as she gets older and ballet becomes more competitive, compared to someone who takes ballet 5-6 times per week with more then 2 pointe classes. At this dance school this would be the most ballet that is offered even when she gets older. As well we are from a small city with 3 small schools.

 

Thank You for taking a look

 

ballet dad

Edited by ballet_dad_
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She is fine for right now. But eventually you might need to think about a residency program. When she gets to high school she really should have, as you know, 5-6 days a week of ballet and at least 3 pointe classes.

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Thank you for your prompt responce...I guess my main concern was the number of classes and how that would effect her chances into getting into top SI's and eventually a year round program compared to someone getting 5-6 ballet classes a week with pointe more then 3 times a week and everything else being equal. Am I correct to say, as dancers get older the the top schools are looking for more technique(and of course everything else) then the potential of a young dancer ie flexibility, turnout, and maybe there technique is not perfect yet.

 

As well do you have any concerns about taking hip hop classes, at the SI last summer one of the ballet teachers mentioned it was not the best class to take if your main goal was ballet because of the way it worked the body.

 

again, Thank You

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