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Ballet Talk for Dancers

progression for soon 10 year old


twindancers

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Hi,

Interested in some feedback. My son has been in dance classes since 3. He has been up to this year the only boy in his classes(all girls). The advantage of course is he received alot of attention, and solos during receital time. Also, he learned he LOVES to perform. Loves being on that stage. Great role models in form of professional male dancers at studio. They have "bumped" up a few younger boys to the class and some new boys his age. Which is great in that he now has some pals. He is farther along than them, and really is ready for a little(not alot) more(I think?). He takes 2 hours of ballet classes, and an hour of jazz which has been his schedule for several years. He could take another ballet class at his academic school but doesnt want to (ok at studio but not at school) guess not quite ready to announce to all friends at school he does ballet. The studio we are at really has nothing more for him at this level this year-I asked(the girls have added 45 min pointe class.) He will be 10 early next year. When I watch him during class sometimes he seems bored...yawns...

Is he too young to consider a boys SI for next summer? Would this be a good way to see if he really wants to do dance? I think our studio does do a good job of developing students yet he is probably one of the first boys to be in it from such a young age. I also get the slow and steady approach...Certainly with girls the progression seems clearer...When do they really need to start to focus on the boy things (jumps and spins)? I can pretty easily pick out the girls that are talented, and have that natural ballet build. But it seems with boys it is much harder....He does do another sport, and if asked to choose would pick the sport but he does like dance. At some point he will have to choose(the physical demands to truly to both will be dificult).

He has a twin sister that dances but I would not consider a SI necessary for her at this time as she is developing nicely and I think her needs are being met.

 

Thoughts?

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Oops didnt really answer your question-no. Most of the girls are 10 -11.This class is considered beginner pointe but the boys are done when they do the actuall point class.

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OK, that's not so bad then. Pointe at 9 is a sort of danger signal for me about the likely quality of instruction. Pointe before 11 is still rushing things a bit. I'd just leave him to the teacher, who can decide what's best for his learning styles and abilities. At going-on-eleven he'd still be young for a Summer Intensive next year, but he certainly could take a stay-at-home summer term taking dance classes, even this year, if he wants to.

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I think we will look into some summer things at home. I agree going away he is too young (unless I was there). I did ask about the age of pointe - said very individual, age, strenght and body type are evaluated. Thank you!

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This was a frustrating point for us as well when the girls in DS' class began pointe. They would continue for 30 minutes and he just went home, so we really felt like we were missing out on something. It became more frustrating when they started integrating pointe shoes into the regular techique classes - this can be very frustrating, too, especially when the girls are doing the entire class on pointe the first few times. The class can move very, very slowly! It's really up to the teacher to make sure your son is still engaged in the class so make sure you keep up a dialogue with your son about how class is going.

 

As an FYI, even when the girls get older there are some days that are designated as technique in flats with an extra 30 minutes of pointe work. So depending on your studio this will be an issue from now on. Our studio did attempt to add a speciall class for boys when my DS was about 12 - a Saturday morning class for an hour. We had 5 or 6 boys. Problem is, the opened it up to the girls to attend as an "optional" class perhaps to get higher numbers. The class became packed and the value was significantly minimized. But at least they tried to do something.

 

We started discussing SIs at 12, but that year his studio decided to do its own SI so he stayed home. He didn't get any work for a male dancer, though. His first real away SI, with men's classes, was 13. I thought that worked really well. He was much more emotially ready to deal the demands of the day. (He had been to summer camps before, but the discipline required of an SI is much greater and can be very difficult for young boys. At least at some of the programs. There are some out there that cater to younger boys now and are much more nurturing than we had available when he was that age.)

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Our DT just mentioned in class a few days ago that my sons class was 2 years away from being on pointe (they are 10/11). And I wondered what would happen to my son. But she assured him that there was lots he needed to work on while the girls were doing pointe work. She said he needed to work on gaining strength and making his leaps and jumps high. That girls dances on pointe, but boys dance in leaps and jumps.

 

We have had several strong male ballet dancers so I know that my son wont be left standing off in the cornor.

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twindancers: Your son is young and he is enjoying dance. With my own dancing sons, they were in a school that had a designated boy's class even for younger ones. The younger class was only once a week, but it was limited to boys only. This was very helpful. And because they were at a school that had a successful summer program, they were able to stay home and attend that. I will say that it was really fun for them to be around other young boys pursuing the same interest. There are summer programs out there that will take younger students, and you may want to take a look at them. I believe that ABT's Young Dancer Summer Workshop is for 9-11 year olds and is for two weeks in August. CPYB also has a two-week August program that takes younger dancers. With both of those programs, you would have to find your own housing, but then you would be with him. I was lucky not to have to send them away at too young of an age.

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I think Rock and Boston have programs for boys that young, too. And there are a lot of programs that now continue to offer daily classes for that age group throughout the summer, so if you have a chance to combine dance with a vacation somewhere that's another option (since class is only 1 - 2 hours a day!)

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I think that for a realworld perspective on when a child is ready for an SI, consider in part whether you would send them to sleepaway camp. The parallels aren't exact, but close enough for guidance.

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That's good advice, Mel. cheetah - I really like the Boston/Newton program for young dancers. It's a very good, safe environment, away from the older dk's. They do a very good job there. twindancers - you have to know your own children and how much you think they can handle. It's an awful lot to send them away and then expect them to dance more hours than they are used to. I tried to keep my kids close to home as much as possible when they were younger, but, then again, I could do that because of the training we had. If you could go with him/them for a few weeks, then it takes away the one concern. Anyway, he's young and enjoying. No need to push too hard yet.

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I would not send him away alone this soon. I would consider a 2 week program if I could go...but agree no hurry! (I probably used the term SI incorrectly) I know soon enough that both my children will be logging some serious studio time if this is what they want to do. So I am not in a hurry for them to go away! I will start dropping the idea of a summer workshop and see what his reaction is. I will look into some of the ones mentioned. Thank you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

My son just turned 10 and he did the ABT Young Dancer Summer Workshop in NYC this past summer when he was 9. They don't have housing so of course we went with him. It was a great experience for him. He sounds very similar to your son. He takes class with three times a week for 1.5 hours each with girls 1-2 years older than him who are starting pointe and then he takes a Boys class twice a week for 1.5 hours each (and then a one hour jazz class and a one hour tap class) but it also has mainly beginners and/or boys who don't take dance as seriously as he does. At ABT there were 17 boys in the program - all who loved ballet and took it very seriously, and they had a wonderful male instructor. It has been the highlight of my son's training so far - simply because he enjoyed having so many other boys to train with. He gets excellent training at his home studio - when the girls are getting their pointe shoes on, his instructors will often work with him on turns individually and in the Boys class the instructor will usually give him more advanced things to work on - ex. double or triple turns, turns in second, etc. so that he isn't bored. We are looking into the Boston/Newton SI for him for next summer.

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