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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Reevaluating career aspirations


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DD has done classical ballet training for 8 yrs with the past 5yrs en pointe. Her studio only offers one class in contemporary and it is pretty basic. Her teacher has been telling her that he wants her to branch out. He feels like she will have a better chance at a professional career if she pursues on in contemporary. She is tall with long lines. She as been taking workshops at some local contemporary companies and is finding she loves it. She still has trouble relaxing and letting go, so she is often stiff. She looks like a classical ballerina doing contemporary. She is finding though that she would prefer that to a career as a classical dancer. There is another studio that she has tried taking some lyrical classes at that she LOVES. is really interested in branching out. They have jazz there also, which she has never had interest in until now. We cannot afford both studios. The one that offers so many different classes has less ballet though. She currently dances about 14 hrs a week at her current studio(two of those hours is contemporary). The new studio only offers about 5 hours of ballet, but also have other technique classes. The ballet classes are with a VERY solid teacher who is well known in the area for her technique. DD says that all the dancers there are very strong and have great technique. My question is whether cutting back on the hours of actual ballet classes will hurt her chances in getting into a solid college contemporary dance program? She is a junior in high school, so she will be auditioning next year.

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I thought I would add in what the two schedules are

current schedule (these include pick-up classes in lower levels)


ballet 4 hrs



ballet 2 hr



ballet 4hrs



ballet 1.5

contemporary 1.5



ballet 2 hr


total 14.5


with current schedule we can also pick up one jumps and turns class and one lyrical class at the other studio and various workshops at local contemporary companies.


proposed schedule



hip hop-1hr




ballet 2.5


pointe 1hr

jumps and turns- 2hrs



technique- 1.5

jazz-1 hr



ballet 2.5

jazz 1.5



- technique 2.5

lyrical 1 hr



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You know, this sounds like a good question for a college board....I just don't know what the requirements are for a contemporary dance path.


I guess optimally, she'd still do her ballet classes, but also study 1 hour-ish of (good) Modern and 1 hour-ish of Jazz. "Lyrical" is not necessarily a codified dance genre, so it would seem to me that she'd benefit more from perhaps taking some classes with some good teachers in both Modern and Jazz. Ballet is still going to be the biggest consideration for a dance major. OSU, for example, has a Ballet class and a Modern class as the audition. Obviously, they are looking for strong Modern and strong Ballet technique, along with other things. I just don't think a class in "leaps and Turns" is going to have the same value as a good Modern class.


Check your local Uni or local professional ballet company. Perhaps they can recommend someone.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm just getting back into the swing of posting to BT4D after a long absence, so I hope you don't mind that I'm coming late to this thread.


My daughter pursued diverse training that was centered around ballet, but which added on tap, jazz, modern and finally hip hop at various intervals along the way. She got into a top triple-emphasis BFA dance program and is now a professional dancer.


I want to echo what Clara wrote... about the balance of classes, about lyrical, about the "leaps and turns" class... But what is the "technique" class? I've never heard of a dance class that is just called "technique," especially at a studio that offers so MANY techniques. If those happened to be ballet technique, then I would say that it looks like a pretty good schedule - strictly speaking. My first impulse was to ask whether your daughter could attend both studios. That's what my daughter did to pack in more classes and more styles. But then I read that that's not do-able.


I wanted to direct you to some other threads that might help you in guiding your daughter. I once posted on the thread, "When is it too late to make career decisions?" because a great exchange occurred about the nature of lyrical, modern, and contemporary. That exchange starts with Victoria Leigh's post.


I also wanted to draw your attention to the discussion happening now in the Cross Talk section on The art of speaking with your body. My thought was that if your DD is often stiff with contemporary, then her ballet is likely to suffer as well. My DD attended a contemporary-focused SI throughout her college years and she came back a better ballet dancer each school year. But I also agree that branching out into modern/contemporary and jazz will increase your daughter's chances at a professional career, if that is what she wants to do.


I think it's great that your daughter loves the other studio. I just wanted to put in a word of caution that ballet will form the basis of college auditions and it's rare that a studio that offers lyrical would also provide strong ballet technique.

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Just to answer the question raised: In today's stronger Jazz studios, Jazz technique is a seperate class from "across the floors" and other combinations. Much like in ballet a variations class is seperate from the main ballet class.

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I would just like to agree with the wise advice from Pierrette:


My daughter auditioned at a variety of colleges and conservatories this year, and the constant in all auditions was ballet, ballet, ballet. Even for programs that emphasize modern and/or jazz, the auditions all (with one exception) began with a ballet barre and center. My daughter was very thankful for her solid ballet training.

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Just a question. . . Jumps and turns for 2 hours? That really seems like a recipe for shin splints... I am sure they have a good floor and I guess I am really asking the mods but isn't that a bit much for doing only a few types of motions?

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I"ve never seen a 2 hours jumps and turns class before. DD2 does do what is a jumps and turns class which is called Turns and Progressions. It is not jumping in the scheme of how jumps are done in ballet but everything from working on core, ankle and foot strength and combinations that focus on turning and jumping. It is not an hour of echappes and jetes. While it is foreign to think in that manner for ballet, it is not foreign in the jazz world to break classes up for different things. If I had to try and find a similarity, it might be between a ballet class that breaks off into pointe for the ladies but a men's class for the gents. At DD1s studio coming up, there was a whole lot of jumping and turning in the men's class that was held after ballet technique class. 2 hours is a stretch though.


From personal experience trying to find good jazz in a ballet studio and good ballet in a jazz studio. I would encourage the original poster to be creative in finding ways to afford the ballet at the ballet studio and jazz at the jazz studio if that is the dancer's desire. This only if she is not satisifed with modern being her other class at the ballet studio. It has been rare in my experience to find the best of one in the other place. We did this for a while with both of my older DDs and we just went into the 2nd studio up front that there would be no recital, no recital fees, no t-shirts, no extras. Just the tuition for class, period. It's not that I believe that she needs to have jazz or lyrical. I certainly do not. But I just happen to have one for whom ballet only just did not do it and supplementing elsewhere was the way to go. Simply because of her career/college aspirations. She will want to have that strong ballet base no matter what type of dance she tries to do and it may simply come down to who has the best technique in the end.

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