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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Level question


dancingboymom

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dancingboymom

My son is moving to a new studio closer to home. He is trying level 4 (the school goes up to level 8) and so far he is doing ok but some of the things they are doing are new and different than what he is used to. The instructor said that she thinks he will be fine in level 4. She also said that he could try level 3 but that he might find level 3 to be boring or too easy for him. My question is what do think is better for a young dancer? He is almost 10 and has been doing ballet for 4 years now with a schedule consisting of 8 classes a week for about 11 hours a week. I don't want to put him in the wrong class and have him be unhappy. It is already hard on him to move to a new studio because he was happy at his old studio. Any advice you have would be appreciated.

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My experience is limited on this as I am not a teacher but I can tell you about my DS. He moved to a new studio about 6 months ago and dances a similar number of hours (he is 14 tho). The principal gave us some options re which class to attend, the 'ideal' one wasn't convenient on one of the days it was offered. A lower level class was however very suitable time wise so DS now does one advanced class and one intermediate (he is not doing exams right now by the way). He has really enjoyed the intermediate class because he isn't constantly having to focus and battle with harder moves. He can relax and do them beautifully. I think it has built his confidence but his age may be a factor here (10 years old is not 14 years old!). I also understand from experienced dancers on this forum that professional dancers attend intro classes to fine tune their technique. This may be lost on a 10 year old but I think it will depend greatly on how it is explained to him and how the teacher corrects and teaches him in class.

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When my son switched schools at age 9, he was between two levels. The girls his age were in the higher level, but he had some gaps. We ended up putting him in the lower level where most of the girls were younger than him.

 

It ended up being a good choice for my son because we've observed that the girls matured a lot faster than my son did. When he was 12, the 12 year old girls were hitting puberty, becoming very serious and focused, and really beginning to live up to their potential. My son at age 12, on the other hand, was still very much a kid and maturity-wise he fit in better with the younger crowd. When he began doing simple partnering, it was also helpful because the girls in his level were smaller than him.

 

So, overall, leveling down was a good choice for my son.

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Let me ask a few questions:

You said he was taking 8 classes at his old school. Were these all classical ballet classes and how long was each class?

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gcwhitewater

I do find that generally boys progress later than ladies. Keeping a young man in a lower level will solidify the material covered but staying motivated with "easier" lessons may be a challenge. Each student is different in that respect so it is hard to advise you on your situation. I would also mention that gentlemen have the "benefit" of not adding pointe lessons at age 11-13. (Actually I believe it is a disadvantage in a sense. Pointe work does wonders for improving foot articulation and placement.) Therefore the gentlemen continue to focus on only one aspect of their training unlike the ladies who, when they first begin pointe, add a substantial layer of training.

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dancingboymom

Thank you all for your responses. Clara 76 my son was taking 4 classical ballet technique classes each 1.5 hrs,1 boys class 1.5 hr, 1 russian character class 1.5 hr, 1 contemporary class 1 hr and 1 stretching class 1 hr.
If he does level 4 at the new school he will be taking 4 classical ballet technique classes only 1 hr each,1 boys class 1 hr. And 1 beginning jazz class 1hr. I know it seems like taking a step backwards from what he was doing previously but I have 2 other boys and Commuting 5 days a week wasn't working for my family. I would have definitely kept him where he was if it wasn't for the commute. The new school has some great instructors it just doesn't seem like they demand as much schedule wise which is great for me but in the long run I worry may not be great for my son.

Edited by dancingboymom
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dancingboymom

The teachers have reassured me that level 4 is going to be what will be best for him. As the week went on he is adjusting nicely. Thank you again Thyme, Slhogan, Clara 76, and gcwhitewater :)

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I'm glad to hear it!

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