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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Summer Classes


3girls1dancer

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My DD is 12 years old. She dances at a newer studio with only five dancers. She has been with this new studio two years after we left what has been referred to on this site as a "Dolly Dinkle" studio. Her teacher offers ballet twice a week (3 hrs total) and jazz technique three days a week, with a time to prepare their performance routines one day for an hour. At this time my DD is not interested in attending a ballet only school or being a traditional "ballerina." We both know, however, to be a solid dancer ballet is very important. We are fortunate to live in an area with access to four summer intensives provided by reputable ballet schools. Two have been reviewed positively on this board, while the others are not on there (I don't know why). One of the ballet studios also offers 2 hour open teen/adult ballet classes (12+ years) four days a week for 8 weeks.

 

Auditions for the SI are coming up fairly soon. My daughter is serious about pursuing dance professionally and knows she needs more ballet. Like many other mothers, I only know a little about dance from what I have acquired watching and listening. Her dance teacher is supportive of her attending a SI from a traditional ballet school.

 

As a dancer that has never danced at a ballet school and only recently (last three years) received decent ballet classes, would it be better for her to spend a summer at a real ballet school doing the "open" classes or should we try a traditional ballet SI?

 

Thank you for your advice.

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  • Administrators

I would suggest a traditional ballet SI. In addition to daily ballet and pointe, most programs also have several other dance forms on the schedule. They are much better for young dancers than open classes, which would most likely be a huge mixture of ages and levels, and only one class a day.

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Thank you! Okay, we will go for the auditions. I guess we will see if they accept her or not. She is very nervous about the auditions. We may end up doing the open classes if she doesn't get accepted, but I hope not. At the very least, we will get some insight into how she compares to others.

 

As to the two schools that are not listed on your SI list, why would that be? I understand why one isn't (newly established school) while the other has been around for a long time.

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  • Administrators

There are many local SI programs around the country, but they are not all attended by students from other areas. They are usually smaller and shorter programs, with no housing provided. And they don't hold auditions around the country. Our list consists of those that have been written about by students who attended, or a parent of a student who attended. Just being a long established school does not mean that it has the kind of SI program that is able to bring in students who are not local.

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Thank you again for your input. That makes sense. Yes, neither school offers housing. Should I steer clear of those schools? Looking at the teachers bio's they read like they have had a lot of training and are well qualified teachers. As stated though, I am learning and know very little. At the more established school, you can see on their website that many of their dancers have gone on to train at prestigious schools and work professionally.

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Just because the local SIs don't have housing isn't a reason to 'steer clear' of them. The criteria for a good SI is good training--not housing.

 

The reason WE use housing as a critieria to add programs to BT4D SI Forum is because our membership is national and international. If, as Ms. Leigh said, we included every local SI in the country, the Forum would be unwieldy and would take too much bandwidth. And the vast majority of the threads ---by virtue of being of local attendance only---would have only a single member's interest or a relatively short list of interested members. As it is, even some that do offer housing seem to hold little interest for our membership as evidenced by the low traffic on some of the threads and the lack of current reviews being added. So, we use the existence of a housing component as one criteria as a gauge of how likely a SI is to appeal to a larger demographic of our members. Another is continued interest in the SI by the membership as evidenced by reviews being posted. If there are no reviews posted for couple years in a row, we retire the SI thread to the Archives.

 

There are indeed jewels and little known gems that are purely local SIs. So, if yours offers good training, go for it!! The fact that it doesn't have a housing component is irrelevant.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi! Two of the SI have performances at the end of their intensive. What do you think? I personally would prefer they spend all of their time training, but again as I said, I know little.

 

Thanks for both dancemaven and Ms. Leigh's advice so far!

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You many want to see how much time is spent on technique and other classes and how much is spent on rehearsal. My DD's home studio summer program does an in-house performance of sorts. About three hours each morning is pilates, stretching, technique, pointe, etc.; after lunch is time for rep, choreography, etc. So she's getting daily training and also a chance to perform. Just throwing that out as an example.

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Ballet is a performance art. Therefore, learning repertoire or choreography is a valuable skill---not to mention great fun for the dancers. The skills and technique learned in class is essential and is an absolute must. But there is nothing wrong with then having the dancers learn to put those skills and technique to work for the ultimate goal, i.e., a performance.

 

Now, I totally agree with dancingjet: The FOCUS of the SI at this stage of the game (i.e., age 12) should not be about the performance to the detriment of building the foundational skills and technique. But, the fact that there is a performance at the end is not a bad thing---it is a treat for the dancers (not to mention the parents). But, if the majority of the time, including class time, is spent on preparing for the performance or learning choreography, then I'd look elsewhere for a summer intensive. The value of a summer intensive, is exactly that, i.e., the time to study and train ballet technique without the competing demands of academic homework, etc. And the opportunity to focus intently and in depth on learning and striving to perfect the technique that is the foundation for the (performance) art of ballet.

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Okay. Good to know. I guess when I get a breakdown of the schedules, then we will have an idea of which one to choose.

 

Thanks again for your insight dancemaven and dancingjet :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for the great advice. My DD "auditioned" for three summer intensives and was invited into all three. One was a formal audition, while the other two she attended a class at her age level. She missed another due to a performance conflict. I have to say being invited in was very nice for her, but she believes they take everyone unless they are horrible. She is probably right. Regardless, we have narrowed it down to two, which I will call them school R and school P. Based on the "auditions," she wants to go to school R. School R is five weeks long and was established a few years ago. School P has come recommended by the only ballet teacher she has had and is four weeks. Neither has given me a schedule breaking down the training schedule, but they do offer similar class options.

I have seen others send info or a link to get advice on specific schools or programs. Could I send you a link to the two schools and get some input, please?

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