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Pilates - How Essential to a Good Ballet Program, and at What Age or L


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DD will be 14.5 years old this fall and has been dancing in a serious program for the last 10 years. She received acceptances at two well established residential schools recently, but finances are keeping her at her small, local school. Both residential schools offer Pilates as part of their programs. Their rationale behind doing so, together with a recommendation by DD's physical therapist, made me keen to make sure she also takes a Pilates class. I shared this desire with DD's local school. The good news is that their scheduling has made this possible. What is a bit more upsetting is how they have set up tuition costs. If we pay for DD to take this 'elective' class, then we will be paying close to $200 more tuition per semester than the three highest levels who receive this class for free in addition to extra technique, pointe and contemporary classes. It makes me want to take her for a new placement audition just for financial reasons!


My purpose in posting however, is to get a feeling of how Pilates is viewed at other classical ballet schools. Is it treated as an additional luxury until a certain age/level, and at what point would it be considered 'essential' to training so that it is included in the program tuition? I don't think I would feel as upset over another type of class - e.g Hip Hop, Jazz, etc. Nor is it just because I have to pay additional money for it. It just seems bizarre to me the way it has been structured this year.


Thanks in advance.

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Pilates has been become a relatively standard subject in many schools these days, LovesLabor. While not always "essential", it is definitely something that can be very helpful. It works on many things that can aid young dancers, and older dancers as well. There is no set age for when it becomes more important, and it really should be up to the teacher to suggest the training for the student, if it is not part of their program.


I don't know anything about the way studios handle the tuition, as they are all very different. Certified Pilates Instructors are, however, usually rather expensive.

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Thank you, Ms. Leigh. DD was taking Pilates a few years ago, but it was cut out of the program for all but the older levels. Now the class has been opened to younger students if they wish to take it. Last winter, DD's physical therapist (former professional dancer) felt it would be wise for her to do Pilates again.

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Pilates is part of our program and is included in the tuition of all our conservatory students. Unfortunately, many students (and parents) don't understand the benefit of this class and routinely skip it. They believe that if they aren't sweating in a conditioning class then it is not conditioning. The unfortunate result of this may be that our program cuts this class (of course the tuition won't be lowered) so the committed will be left to our own devices to get our kids the class on a private basis. Private pilates cost is approximately $350/month per child.

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At the school here, one of the year round ballet teachers and one of the SI teachers are certified pilates instructors. I think that is what keeps that part of costs down. DD was a lanky floppy student and pilates really strengthened her.

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My daughter has been taking pilates for over a year due to an injury. She had private sessions with a pilates instructor who is also a ballet dancer and teacher and was very very knowledgeable about dance medicine. We have subsequently found a few other people we like. We found that a neutral spine was critical for her body and she has been taught to pull up when she hears someone say "tuck" whether in pilates or ballet class. Her ballet studio offers a group pilates class once a week and the teacher is excellent--another ballet dancer trained as a pilates instructor. My daughter is very very flexible so her challenge is to maintain strength and pilates is essential.

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