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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Need advice for a late starter


CalvinsGD

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My son, who is 15 and has been dancing since he was 9, has recently moved from dancing in a recreational school to a school that takes ballet more seriously (three 90 minute classes plus a mens' class each week) than his previous school did (one hour of ballet per week). The quality of instruction at this school seems very good, as evidenced by the excellent progress he has made in just a few months. He asked the SO about intensives and she encouraged him to audition for some ballet SIs, which he is doing.

 

He had always said that he wanted a career in dance, but was most interested in someday dancing with a contemporary company. Ballet was a "have to" for him, so . . . I was very surprised when he told us last week that he thinks he would like to pursue the possibility of a career in ballet. We want to provide support and guidance, so here are my questions:

 

1. How many hours of ballet should he be taking each week, and how should those hours be distributed? (technique, mens class, etc.)

 

2. Can he expect to get the proper training at the current location? He could probably take a class each day, but some would likely be at a lower level. Also, he is the only male.

 

3. I am assuming that if he is serious about ballet, then competition team must go. (I should say that at our school, the competition team rehearsals are kept completely separate from regular classes, as the SO is adamant that competition will not replace technique classes. However, it seems to me that his time would be better spent in ballet classes . . . . )

 

4. Would he benefit more from a pre-professional program during the year?

 

5. Is it beneficial for boys to be in programs that have other boys, as opposed to being in schools where they are the only male?

 

6. Assuming that we have to make major changes this year, any thoughts on helping younger siblings (12 yr old dd and 10 yr old ds) understand why we have to change studios/programs AGAIN would be great.

 

Thank you so much!

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1. How many hours of ballet should he be taking each week, and how should those hours be distributed? (technique, mens class, etc.)

By the time he is at an intermediate/Advanced level, he should be dancing 5-6 days per week, with a ballet class of 1.5 hours (at least) in length every day; a Men's class once per week with other male dancers around his level; Repertoire/Variations class once per week, Modern or Jazz class once per week; partnering classes as appropriate, or at least working on rep that includes some partnering that is age-appropriate, like supported tursn and promenades.

 

2. Can he expect to get the proper training at the current location? He could probably take a class each day, but some would likely be at a lower level. Also, he is the only male.

It would be best if he could get into a school where he has other male dancers in classes with him.

 

3. I am assuming that if he is serious about ballet, then competition team must go. (I should say that at our school, the competition team rehearsals are kept completely separate from regular classes, as the SO is adamant that competition will not replace technique classes. However, it seems to me that his time would be better spent in ballet classes . . . . )

Uh, yeah. There are different types of comps: You have the Jazz/Lyrical/Tap/Spiritual/and a little ballet on the side flashy costumes, tons of midriffs & booty shorts type comps, then you have serious ballet orientated comps like YAGP, The IBCs, and Prix de Lausanne. In a pre-pro ballet school, all of the classes I mentioned above still happen every day with preparation for the individual variations given later so that regular class time is not used nor is regular rehearsal time used, except perhaps the week before the comp. Most dancers who are getting jobs today have come from such a schedule as I described.

 

4. Would he benefit more from a pre-professional program during the year?

Yes. It needn't be a large company school, provided the training is excellent and the quantity and quality are spot on, and he can have classes with fellow male dancers.

 

5. Is it beneficial for boys to be in programs that have other boys, as opposed to being in schools where they are the only male?

Yes, very much so.

 

6. Assuming that we have to make major changes this year, any thoughts on helping younger siblings (12 yr old dd and 10 yr old ds) understand why we have to change studios/programs AGAIN would be great.

Would it be possible for the little ones to stay where they are, and for the older one to go?

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I have split the last two posts into a new thread in Cross Talk. The discussion was started by a non-Parent of Boys member and would take this thread off topic. Please do join in that discussion over there (Parental Support for Dance Career).

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  • 2 years later...

I am revisiting this post to offer sincere thanks to Clara76 for the excellent advice given when I posted my questions here a few years back. I knew nothing about ballet and was trying to figure things out as quickly as possible so that my son would get the training he needed to pursue the possibility of a ballet career. After reading Clara76's straightforward answers, my DH and I moved our DS to a pre-professional program at a reputable ballet school. Our son is making excellent progress toward his goal, and his younger siblings I mentioned in the post have joined him and all will be attending SI's this summer. The learning curve has been steep, and we've certainly had some challenges along the way, but all is well and I am so very thankful that I found this source of excellent information.

 

Just want you to know that the time you spend here and the help you offer does make a difference! Thanks again!

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Thanks for the update and the opportunity to review the excellent advice you received in 2011.

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:wub: Aw..... shucks! You're very welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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