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What to do when they want to do dance 'tricks"?


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Edited by Elsee
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Maybe you could discuss it with her instructors and ask if it would hinder her ballet at this point.


Most gymnastics places will offer a free trial class, so you could try one and see how she likes it. My DD took tumbling class once per week at a gymnastics studio for two years and never learned anything except a cartwheel. They were so busy and the students didn't get much one on one time or much instruction for that matter.


Will she eventually learn those moves in jazz and modern classes at her current school?

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Will she eventually learn those moves in jazz and modern classes at her current school?



No jazz at that at the school at all, but some modern for the older girls. Otherwise, it's strictly classical ballet. A little mix would probably be nice for dd at this point, but I don't know any schoolnear us offering such, and it's not the focus of her studio. The competition studio near us-- I don't even know if they teach good technique. I didn't like the music, for one thing. So wrong for us. So many things I've never considered and I don't know what to tell dd at this point. There are two city schools we could travel to for a combo, but I don't know if they are good, or if they will serve my child well.


This is all rather confusing to me. Is there a way to get safe, good, solid ballet technique *and* have some small degree of that modern 'flashy' stuff (in an age apppropriate way) which constantly bombards our young dancers?

Edited by Elsee
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When my daughter was 11, she took a gymnastics class that offered 8 sessions one summer. It was just enough exposure to feed her curiosity. I would have sent her for a second or third summer too if that's what she wanted. But she didn't; she wanted to go to a ballet summer intensive that next summer (and beyond) and so that's what she did.


Now, as a professional dancer in a contemporary company that hires ballet dancers almost exclusively, she's mentioned that she wished she had taken a little more gymnastics as a kid. However, she's also always said that well-trained ballet dancers do the best in contemporary because their training allows them to cross over into all other kinds of dance.

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My 12 YO DD has done competitive gymnastics for the past 4 years in addition to the ballet. Since she is trained in gymnastics, the studio does use her gymnastics (front/back walk-overs, cartwheels, etc.) in the performances. However, she will be stopping the gymnastics next year, as it takes up a pretty good chunk of her time (10 hrs/week and one meet a month Dec through May).


I agree that if your dd wants to learn walkovers and aerials, she should go to a gymnastics gym for training. Maybe enroll her in a weekly class. I think that while the "tricks" are exciting and "cool" to see in ballet, they are an "extra" that the dancers usually have already before the dance training. I don't know too many dancers who have turned gymnasts, but know many more gymnasts who have turned dancers.

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Sylvie Guillem being the most famous gymnast turned ballet dancer! Her mom was her gymnastics teacher; she started ballet at age 11 according to Wikipedia, although I had read many years ago that she didn't start till 13.

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My dd was a Level 4 gymnast for the past year . She is no longer doing it. I think that it's important to remember that you really can't take a 1 hour per week class in tumbling and expect to be able to do much tumbling. (maybe a cartwheel and some walkovers) Advanced tumbling takes far more upper body strength, COURAGE, and hours in the gym than most dancers understand.


So I really don't know how much would really be accomplished truthfully.

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Thanks for the info!

Edited by Elsee
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If she is interested in something like Cirque, you may want to check out The National Circus School


Lynorris Evans (male dancer), used to dance with our company and then he went to dance with Cirque's Viva Elvis show. Locally, there are Aerial Arts Schools and local circus artists who teach. You might look around in your area to see what's available.


I don't think anyone is "forcing" anyone to make a decision, though. What is the simple truth is that in order to reach an elite level in anything training has to start early. I would find her the best possible circus school close to you, and follow her desires for now. As you said she's a reasonable girl, and it sounds like she's a smart girl who knows what she wants. :shrug:

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Thanks for the info. I find this chasm in the dance world very frustrating. I don't want to switch her to a theater dance company right now. It doesn't have the solid rep of her ballet studio, so I think we will do private gymnastics lessons for a time. I don't want to waste her time if all she can learn in a year is a cartwheel. (She can already do that, at any rate.) She is an ahtlete, so I think she can learn a lot before she gets too old to feel confident she can learn to to flip a bit through the air.


There has to be a way for dancers to get excellent training so they are better able to decide their dance futures. A gymnast might be able to make the transition to ballet at an older age, but can a classically trained older ballet dancer so easily make the crossover if they have never had gymnastics training?


I do not understand this chasm at all. I doubt any brilliant Cirque Du Soleil ballet dancer never had gymnastics training as a young student, for instance. Why are we forcing such young dancers to decide their futures before they even get to high school? There are also far more dance theater opportunities than there are in slots major ballet companies. I do understand that for any career in dance, ballet training comes first and is most important. I've heard one doesn't even make the first round without it. But why force a young dancer to choose one or the other so soon?


You would think there would be more of a push to give excellent training so dancers have as many opportunities to work as possible. A young student might know she/he will only ever want to dance classical ballet, but many more talented dancers may want more options.



I don't think it is just dancing. My dd at the age of 5 was put in an elite stream in gymnastics. They said it is because they need to train them a certain way. I don't think gymnastics is an easy transition my dd has to be retrained in her turnout because in gymnastics when they kick there legs they don't turn them out. So she has been spending a lot of time working on that. Yes she has a lot of flexability which has helped her in certain skills, but all in all it even it self out.


My dd ballet teacher however said these days dancers need to be able all things to do with dance to make a career out of it. Not sure if that is right but to me it could quite possible be. There is nothing wrong with getting her to do some gymnastics it could only help her. However just don't assume that only dancing get the kids young to develop them.

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A couple things: It might not be too late to sign your daughter up for, say, 4 or 6 gymnastics sessions in August, depending on where you live and when school starts. It may feed her curiosity just enough. As others have stated, it takes a l-o-n-g time to learn how to tumble, so your daughter may discover that for herself by taking those few classes and realize it's not feasible for her to take gymnastics along with her current ballet training.


Or...and this is a big OR! -- She may fall in love with gymnastics classes more so than ballet and want to switch over. It's probably a remote chance, but one that you should probably be prepared for. My gut feeling is that she simply wants to try out gymnastics a little bit so that she feels she can fit in with the conversation when her friends from that other studio talk about their "tricks."


I'm also guessing that, at age 12, it might not really be about gymnastics or tricks at all, but more about choice: She wants to feel that she has some say, a choice, the ability to make a decision about her life. I think that by feeding her a few classes, as I did with my daughter, she'll get a glimpse, see that it takes the same kind of long-term commitment as ballet, and, if ballet is truly her love, she'll let gymnastics go. Or maybe request a 4-6 week summer session each year for the next couple of years.


She's young and should be allowed to explore other possibilities within reason.


Also, re Cirque du Soleil: I know a lot of ballet-trained dancers who've headed over to Cirque eventually (and then back into ballet companies or contemporary). My daughter dances with a company that's a bit unclassifiable: contemporary? modern? theater? even a little bit circus! It's not easily pegged. Their dancers come almost exclusively from pre-professional ballet schools, ballet companies and/or Boston Conservatory, Tisch and Julliard. Some leave the company my daughter's in to join Cirque. Most never had gymnastics training. Those with strong ballet training do the best.


My daughter's company predates Cirque du Soleil and could be described at times as a "dance-y Cirque" as music is integral to their performances. Musicality, strength and balance are key. At times they fly through the air and spin from ropes, balance on tall moving apparati, stand and dance on each other's shoulders spinning around, dance on trapezes, (and skateboards, pole vault-like sticks, scarves, yoga...), etc. It's not for the faint-hearted. But rigorous ballet training is what's prepared them best for their company and for Cirque as a ballet dancer. If you have advanced ballet training, talent and whatever body type they're looking for, the dance world, including Cirque, is wide open to explore.

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What a wealth of information you all are. Thank you so much!


And thanks for understanding where a concerned Mom might be coming from...it feels rather odd think so far into the future with a 12 yr old, but it needs to start somewhere. She adores dance, so I just want to make thoughtful decisions wrt her interests and talents.

Edited by Elsee
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