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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet only for one year, no jazz or contemporary


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I am trying to help my daughter make a decision for this upcoming school year. She is 14. She has a busy/challenging school year ahead so we need to cut back on total dance hours. She does not want to pursue a career as a professional ballerina (for sure) though she loves ballet/Pointe classes but also loves her jazz and contemporary classes. If she does do anything with dance after college, it would probably be something like auditioning to dance for Disney, something along those lines. As a mother, I know ballet is the foundation of all dance so cutting the ballet is not a good option but something has to give. She is afraid her jazz and contemporary technique will weaken (if there is such a thing) but I keep trying to explain to her that as long as her ballet stays strong, she will be fine to go back into other dance forms next year. I am somewhat convincing her but with lots of tears. She states that when she goes back into other dance forms, she will look "too ballet" if that is even possible. Any ideas on what to tell her?

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It sounds like she wants to take jazz/contemporary, but you want her to stay in ballet. Is that right? If she doesn't have any aspirations to dance professionally, and is doing it for the enjoyment of it, then why not let her take the one she wants?


P.S. My DD is a junior. School was very busy the last two years, and she danced more than ever (classes and performances). The challenge of it all helped her to mature and get herself organized. I've seen many girls handle a very demanding dance schedule and high school (including AP classes) just fine. Just saying.... :yes:

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Any chance she can dance ballet/pointe for the semester and then reassess to see if she can handle school and more dance classes?

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Most studios here require at least one ballet class when taking jazz/contemporary anyway. That being said, I agree that if you just stick with ballet, you can't really go wrong. It will only strengthen jazz & contemporary. my dd is going through the same thing this coming year. she is dropping all jazz & contemporary to take more ballet (keeping tap). The only class that brought tears was dropping hip hop ... Tears and tears while saying " I'll loose my swag!" And I told her, she'll get it right back cuz its just in her! I also agree that many kids can handle more than we realize!

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Thanks for the insights!

backstagemom - Actually, she likes ballet equally. It is not me wanting her to stay with the ballet. She knows I will support her either way, ballet or not. Her favorite of all is Pointe and she understands very well that ballet tech classes are absolutely necessary. The problem is, she doesn't want to give up any of them but she is the one that told me she didn't think she could handle the load this year with her school activities. She just turned 14 and will be in 8th grade. I think with time and maturity, she may be able to handle the very heavy load but I know as her mother, she cannot right now. Like her father said, "where does homework and school fit into all of this." He is right.

My thoughts (which could be wrong so I would love advice!), is that missing ballet for a year would be like missing math in 8th grade then going right into highschool math. It would very difficult without that building block. Taking a year off from Contemporary or jazz would be like missing an elective or something like social studies for a year. It would not matter nearly as much. The ballet will keep her strong. I feel if she takes a year off of ballet, she may be intimidated by going back into the class the following year and I know there will be catching up to do.

I am not an expert on this type of thing so any feedback is appreciated. I am very thankful for this site!

Lady Elle - that is funny! At least our kids are thinking things through.

lsu - that is a thought. I could ask about that. Maybe she could pick up jazz and contemporary right before they start preparing for recital, which is in Jan. I think.

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this may or may not be useful to you whitenights but my 14yo DS took about 6 months off from all dance for various reasons (burned out mostly) and when he came back, he picked right up again. He quit under his own steam because he needed a break and did gymnastics instead (only 2 hours per week). He restarted in a slightly lower grade at a new studio but that was due to scheduling conflicts. I think that if you take the 'slow boil' view of ballet, breaks may not matter as much as we think they do. That is just our experience.

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Thanks Thyme. This is helpful. I also like the "slow boil" view. I think in the back of my mind, I am more concerned about the Pointe work and strength there but you are right, it probably doesn't matter as much as we think. I tend to be very cautious in regards to preventing injuries. I worry most about Pointe.

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Whitenights- you are absolutely right to be cautious about injuries and there are many teachers on the forum who can comment on this aspect of your question, not me. Perhaps the fact that DS resumed dancing at one lower level helped in this regard. As I type this I am also remembering how much he has grown in this time and how much stronger he became just naturally. Who knows? I guess I can only comment on the slow boil aspect of their dance lives but totally agree with you about safety. Perhaps the key is to evaluate her strength after any break that happens and take it from there? Not just assume everything is as it was. :ermm: Good luck tho'- sounds like you are asking the right questions.

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  • 3 weeks later...

What about doing one class a week of each? Would her studio allow that? If they have a saturday class, that is just a bonus so that only one or two would be during the week.

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Stopping ballet not a good idea, and pointe without enough ballet classes is not safe either. If she has to stop anything, make it the other dance forms. The ballet will keep her ready to go back into those much, much easier. At 14, time out of ballet is critical.

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