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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Typical Beginning Ballet Schedule

Growing in Grace

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DD is 6. She's switching to a new studio studio beginning in October. Her new studio is the complete opposite of her older one. Anyway, I'm not sure what is exactly typical at this age. I know she's young, and I have no desire to push her into doing anything. I'm just curious what other girls her age are doing.


Background Info: She's in her 3rd yr of dance. Her first year was creative movement/pre-ballet. Her second year was ballet (45 minutes), tap (30 minutes), acrobatics (45 minutes), and half a year of jazz (30 minutes). She ultimately dropped jazz in the latter part of the year because it was making for a long day (tap, ballet, and jazz ran consecutively). She began at her old studio in August doing 45 minutes of ballet and 45 minutes of acrobatics a week.


(Okay this is getting long...)


She is enrolled in tap and ballet at her new studio. Tap is 30 minutes, once a week. Ballet is offered 4 times a week @ one hour each class. One class usually interferes with church, so that is off the table. That leaves a possibility of 3 ballet classes a week.


My concern is this: DD is "behind" (as much as a 6 yr old can be behind). She knows this, as it became painfully obvious during her trial class. She's willingly given up tumbling (also offered at her new studio) because it interfered with one ballet class. She absolutely loves tumbling (moreso than tap, really), but she wants to get more ballet in.


Obviously, I'm going to take her lead. She's already shown good judgment by asking to drop jazz last year when it was too much.


I'm just curious what other girls her age do/have done.

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I should add that I'm not really saying DD is behind compared to the other girls so much as she's behind compared to where she could've been had she been at the new studio all along.


I guess, in turn, she is behind the other girls her age who are in their 3rd yr of dance, but that's really not so much of a concern.


At the end of the day, she's just six (6 and a half, if you ask her ;) ). In a year or two, it's not going to matter that her first two years of dance were what they were.

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I don't understand how a 6 year old can be "behind" in ballet. Most pre-pro schools don't even offer real ballet until age 7 or so. As a comparison - I have three kids, two of whom are serious dancers who have studied at well-respected schools. Only my youngest took any ballet at age 6, and she is the one who isn't dancing these days. Your dd could start at a good school at 7 with no previous experience. So, there isn't any behind that I can tell, and I would let her take whatever kinds of classes she wants for now, but I wouldn't think that she should take more than one ballet class a week, and I would expect it to be more about jumping over scarves and being a butterfly or whatever, than serious real ballet with one hand on a barre. She certainly doesn't need 3 ballet classes a week at age 6, and I guarantee that when you see a group of dancers at age 13, you cannot tell which kids started at age 3 and which started at age 7.


So, to answer your question - at age 6, my eldest was taking only 1 hour of tap per week. My middle child took no dance at all at 6, and my youngest was taking one hour intro to dance when she was 6.

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At our studio ( serious rec with pre-pro schedule) kids at age 6 are in our "primary" class. 3-5yo are pre-ballet and the real ballet training starts at 7. The primary class is somewhere in between creative movement and real ballet, the kids do barre and are introduced to lots of the elements they will work on more in the first year of ballet, but there is also pretending to be butterflies and playing with wands. :) our studio does not offer 4classes/week until the students are much, much older, generally around 10 or 11 and that's the kids who have skipped a level or two along the way. The training guidelines at the top of this forum are really helpful.

At 6, I would just let her enjoy dance and have fun with it! 1 ballet class/week and if she absolutely wants to dance more, some tap/musical theatre/jazz or something, but it's not necessary. Save the money, lol, soon enough you *will* be at the studio every day after school if she sticks with it! It seems like such a short time ago my dd was in the pre-ballet classes, now she's one of the "big ballerinas" the little ones come to watch with big eyes in the studio hallway..!

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As I said - and even clarified - she's not really "behind". She's behind where she would be had she been at this school from the get-go. At her new studio, children are taught some terminology and positions before being advanced from pre-ballet (4-5 yrs) to ballet I (5-8). If she had been in pre-ballet here, she would know those things. She wasn't, so she doesn't. Hence how she is "behind where she could have been". I believe I made it fairly clear that 6 yr old really can't be "behind". I'm well aware that many start classes after 6.


At her new studio, 30 minutes is spent at the barre and 30 minutes practicing jumps/working in center. She doesn't have much experience at all with any of those.


The price for 4 classes is the same as the price for 1 class, so money (aside from gas) isn't an issue.


As I mentioned previously, I am completely going to take her lead on this. I just don't want her to get burned out. If she wants to dance, I'll take her. If she doesn't, I'm not going to force it.


I spoke with the second in command (not sure her actual title) at the studio about number of classes. She said most students DD's age take 2-3 classes a week. I only have experience with 3 studios - the one I danced at, DD's old one (very similar to my old one), and the new one. Since those experiences are completely different, I was looking to see what other students at other schools do.


Thanks for the information.


ETA: I had seen the training guidelines, but I didn't see any for younger than 9 :)


We also homeschool, so she's not in school for 8 hours followed by a huge rush to get to the studio, do homework, eat dinner, etc. That would be very hectic!


Oh, and when I read off the schedule and told her tumbling interferred with one of the ballet classes, she asked to not register for tumbling. Like I said, I'm following her lead...she just *really* wants to dance.

Edited by Growing in Grace
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Not sure if I can post here as I am not a parent....but I own a ballet-only school. Moderators please delete if not allowed.


Our 6 yr olds take one class a week - some take a 45 minute preballet and others an hour long "ballet" class that is a transitional class between preballet and the first year of true classical ballet training.


Sounds like your new school follows the "CPYB" type of schedule for its beginners....not wrong but really not necessary at all!

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Between the ages of 3 and 8, my kids took one or two classes per week at different times. I wanted them to have two physical activities and if they didn't want to take something else, they picked up the extra ballet class. They went through ballet/swimming, ballet/gymnastics, ballet/horseriding, and ballet/ballet.

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2 classes per week for a 6 year old does no harm at all, a couple of my students do that.


Ideally my students take 2 per week from the age of about 7 so your dd isn't far off that :)

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4 classes a week seems like a lot for a six year old. If she loves it, that's great, but I'd watch for signs of it being too much.


One of my dd's teachers said recently that she thinks that a good starting age for ballet is more like 8 or even 9, since you can risk burnout when kids do so much so young. I thought that was interesting.

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She wouldn't be taking 4 classes. The instructors don't even recommend it because of burnout. I think they just offer the 4 classes because of the large number of students who are that age. It spreads them out so they're not all in the same class. Plus, it allows for schedule flexibility.


She'd probably only take 2 ballet classes on top of her tap class. The third ballet class she could attend would be on Saturday mornings, and she's not an early bird anyway. The fourth would interfere with church, so that's really not an option.

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I didn't see your clarification since we were posting at the same time. :flowers: You can see the posting times on the tops of the posts.

In any case, I would think 3 times a week would be a bit much, but if if works for your family, then go for it. I think it was smart to not have her continue the three classes in one day. Even my 15 year old is exhausted on the days when she has three classes. LOL.

As I said - and even clarified - she's not really "behind". She's behind where she would be had she been at this school from the get-go. At her new studio, children are taught some terminology and positions before being advanced from pre-ballet (4-5 yrs) to ballet I (5-8). If she had been in pre-ballet here, she would know those things. She wasn't, so she doesn't. Hence how she is "behind where she could have been". I believe I made it fairly clear that 6 yr old really can't be "behind". I'm well aware that many start classes after 6.

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Gotcha. I knew where the time stamps are, but I made a rookie mistake by not paying attention to it. My apologies. :)



So...I've done what I can to at least partially look into CPYB. I'll admit that I was curious. I don't really think that her school necessarily follows that philosophy. The next level of ballet only offers 3 technique classes and one pointe for the older students at that level. I really think the 4 classes are meant to spread out a larger number of students - a number which is probably smaller at the next level.


I don't even think her new studio is considered pre-pro, although I'm unclear as to what the constitutes a pre-pro school. It doesn't feed into a professional ballet, the advanced/company level trains 5 days/wk for a total of 12 hours plus production rehearsals, and the AD at least has danced as a principal for a professional ballet. The instructors have trained (either full year, SIs, or master classes) at places such as as Julliard, NYCB, Kirov Academy, ABT, Joffrey, etc.


I'll be honest. I was confused as to what other areas offer for her age. Her old studio is very similar to the studio I attended (for 3 yrs in early elementary, so obviously my memory isn't great). At her old studio, the advanced class had a 1 hour 15 minute technique class once a week and a 45 minute pointe class a week (different days). The studio's company is a competition jazz team. Obviously, that is quite different than the new studio.


DD has been asking every day when she starts at her new studio. In fact, she hasn't enjoyed her old studio since taking a trial class at the new one. She loved the structure, which isn't surprising seeing as how she thrives on it. She told me today that she enjoyed it (galloping like horses, playing hot potato, etc) until she knew there was more she could be doing. The first words out of her mouth after her trial class was that she wanted to switch. No hesitation. I asked her if she enjoyed her class, and she immediately asked to switch.


I don't know how her love for dance will play out. I certainly have no desire to push her or live vicariously through her. She'd be in martial arts or learning a musical instrument if that was the case. ;)


I'm just trying to walk that fine line between letting her do what she enjoys but not letting her over-do. And when you don't have much to compare it to, well, it's hard to know what's "normal".


Thanks again for all of the advice. :)

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