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Ballet Talk for Dancers

can you evaluate my 14 year-old's dance schedule?


dascmom

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Hi. It's been a long time since I've posted, but I constantly read ballet talk for help in guiding my fourteen-year-old daughter to a place where she can achieve her goals.

 

My daughter has been studying dance since she was three years old, at competition studios until about two years ago when she began to focus on ballet. Last year she attended a reputable ballet school in our area, but we decided to travel a bit farther to spend her 4 high school years studying at what many consider to be the best ballet school in the area. Her goal is to attend a top dance college in NYC so that she can also pursue her love of tap with the masters that teach at BDC and Steps as she majors in dance. She loves ballet and realizes that it is the basis of all of her dancing goals, but feels that she ultimately would be interested in dancing in a college program that is not strictly classical, but that also has a modern focus.

 

In light of her interests, I would appreciate it if anyone would evaluate the following:

 

Monday- Ballet 2 hours, modern 1 1/2 hours

Tuesday-Ballet 1 1/2 hours, jazz 1 1/2 hours (once in a while she misses Tuesday night classes to attend tap privates in a nearby city)

Wednesday- she has a choice and I'm not sure which is better for her goals

either- Ballet 1 1/2 hours at her home studio OR at a professional open class studio in a nearby city- Intermediate contemporary technique 1 1/2 hours and then Intermediate modern jazz 1 1/2 hours

Thursday- Ballet 6-8PM, Pointe 8-9

Friday- off

Saturday- Ballet 9:30-11 AM (this is an easier class), pointe 11-11:45 AM, ballet 12-1:30PM

Sunday- tap dance in city

 

As I mentioned before, DD dreams of getting accepted into one of the NYC dance colleges. She is now a freshman in high school and has these four years to prepare herself for her auditions. She is a strong dancer- not the absolute best at ballet but very good and gives 100% all of the time- and she is a very strong student. How do you think this schedule looks to propel her towards her goals? Whch option for Wedneday seems better for her?

 

Thanks for any help you can give me.

 

Dascmom

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Hi Dascmom, nice to "see" you again. :grinning:

 

Normally I would say that there is not much pointe work there, but, since classical ballet is not her primary goal, I guess the schedule is okay. I can't really say about the Wednesday, because I don't know her studio or the one she would be attending. I'm assuming that her regular teachers would be okay with her attending a different studio on that day?

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My dd is only involved in technique classes in this school, not in their company at this point. I do not think that they would be bothered by the fact that we take a class elsewhere. I'm sure that the more they see her at their own school, the better, though.

 

Is more modern a good idea if she wants to audition for Alvin Ailey summer intensive, for example? Or is more ballet technique the way to go?

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I agree with Miss Leigh that if she's going to study pointework, she needs a bit more even though her goal is not classical ballet. The type of strength and quality level of dancer that would be accepted into the types of colleges you are talking about would need to be top-notch, and that includes strong pointework.

 

We had a student a few years ago who was most definitely not heading into a classical ballet career because she really thrived in and loved Modern. She took the pre-pro program including daily pointework and was accepted into very prestigious university programs, including the Ailey college program. Ultimately she chose a different college program where she was able to travel the world! She continued to come in yearly for pointe shoe fittings though, so I guess the bottom line is, the more she has to offer the wider her choices will end up being.

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Thanks, Clara.

 

Pointe is also offered as part of the Monday night ballet tech class, but my daughter has chosen to stay on flats. I'll discuss this with her. What do either of you think about the choice I mentioned for Wednesday night? the ballet or the contemporary then modern jazz? Which is better for her goals?

 

Also, are there any summer intensives that would look really good on dd's resume to a school like Alvin Ailey/Fordham? Hope I didn't switch topics too much.

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Well, I think that if she's strong in Modern and she still has 3 more years of it, I would suggest the ballet class. It might also help you to read through the college forums on each individual school that she might be interested in to see what kinds of comments parents have about them.

 

As far as what looks good on a resume for college- I think it somewhat depends upon the college. If I were her, I'd research the colleges that I was interested in; take into the consideration the types of candidates they seem to be interested in, and see if I felt that best described me. If she is really against pointework and has no interest in doing it, then start looking at the colleges where pointework may not even be a part of the audition process.

 

If she enjoys pointework and thinks she could see herself continuing to study it, then I would recommend it.

 

Obviously, the more well-rounded the dancer, the wider the choices will be. Strong ballet technique is important because it provides such a strong foundation for other dance forms, and there are things that are learned in ballet that just are not taught in the same way in any other dance form. Having said that, there are kids who have never studied ballet who are entering college dance programs (not the ones that are classically based, of course).

 

I realize this information may seem contradictory, so let me put it this way: Figuring out who she is and which college would be a good fit for her is just as important, maybe even more so, than trying to tweak a schedule to make the dancer fit the program. Her interests may change over the course of the next 2-3 years too, so what seems like iron-clad may turn into "I want to be a veterinarian" one day, and "Law is my calling" the next. Or suddenly an itch to auditon for a ballet company may sneak up and bite her.

 

The more preparation she has to be able to go in any direction the better.

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I thought the Wed. question was about whether to take ballet at her own school or a different school in the city. If it has to be a choice between ballet and modern jazz/contemporary, then ballet.

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Thank you both very much for your responses. I think we will stick with her Wednesday night ballet class at her regular school. I will also be sure to read up on the colleges she is interested in both on ballet talk and on the college websites. Thanks again!

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