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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Update on boy with light schedule


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Back in May 2012 I started a thread to discuss giving my son a reduced ballet schedule in the coming year in order for him to pursue other interests. He was 10, almost 11. He ended up taking only two 1.5 hour classes per week with additional privates here and there. He managed to take the RAD Intermediate Foundation exam in the spring but he was behind with his technique and it was quite stressful. I had wanted to ensure three classes per week but it didn't work out because he ended up joining a choir with a demanding rehearsal schedule. To make matters worse, he didn't do any ballet whatsoever this past summer due to other commitments so he was very, very rusty at the start of the year a few weeks ago. Anyway, the good news is that he is taking 4 ballet classes per week this year (each is 1.5 hours) - 3 at the Intermediate RAD level and a lower level Cecchetti class at a different studio. Both are very small (3-4 students) classes with excellent teachers. While not a huge amount of dance hours, it is a step in the right direction and I think with his increased ballet schedule this year he will be on track to audition for a full-time program this year or next, if he wants to. I have left it up to him to let me know if/when he would like to drop other activities and focus on ballet. And I have vowed to make sure he doesn't go all summer this year without a class!

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Four 1.5 hour classes per week is right on target for an 11 year old, according to the recommendations here on BT4D, so I wouldn't worry at all about his schedule being too light, if I were you. In fact, my 11 year old DD is only able to take three classes per week this year, because it is all that our studio offers at her level (she should be able to take 4x per week next year). I think you might find that he is taking even a bit more than some kids his age (especially among boys, who tend to commit to serious ballet training at a later age).

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Daisychain: You are right that it is a pretty good schedule, but I am still mindful that his friend in a full-time program is takng a two-hour technique class 6 days a week plus other classes like character, allegro and conditioning and also has rehearsals for Nutcracker, totalling 16+ hours per week.

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Ballerinomom, for those of us with sons balancing other interests with ballet, he is right on track. DS is 12 and taking 3 1.5 hour a week technique classes plus boys class for 1 hour. Our time in studio is based on level rather than on age and his teachers tell me he is progressing nicely.

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His friend's program, as you describe it, sounds like it is on the extreme end for the age level. Not that there is anything wrong with that -- it may be a very good school -- but I wouldn't consider it normal or feel like your son is not doing enough if his hours don't match. Instead I'd compare his training with what is average. It's hard not to worry: I find myself doing it, too, because I want to be sure to give my kids every advantage and opportunity. But we've decided to spend dd's days off enjoying time together as a family; when she is older, these hours together won't be available, so I'm cherishing them for now. I second guess everything, but I'm resting in knowing that we're making the best choices we can for this year. I'm sure you and your son are making good choices as well.

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Thank you both - as is probably obvious, I do a lot of second guessing myself! It would be so much easier if my DS wasn't so enthusuastic about ALL of his activities....

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Sounds like a great schedule! Kudos to you for letting him do so many other things, soon enough he won't have time.

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