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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Age-appropriate guidelines?


pasdedeuxmama

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From what I have read on this and the UK version of this forum boys schedules seem to vary even more than girls do. I get the impression boys can get away with doing less for longer but I would be very interested in a professional person's opinion as I know my DS certainly came to ballet late and inexperienced so is probably not agood example! However I can chip in re male specific classes and say that at DS's vocational (residential) school EVERY class (apart from pas de deux and rehreasals obviously) is boys only and with a male teacher. DSs excellent UK teacher (taught him for a year or so before he went into full time training) was fairly adamant that aged 13 he should not be taught by her any longer as he needed male specific teaching...

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  • pasdedeuxmama

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Yes!! Thanks, looking forward to it! :)

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The guidelines are under review by our other teacher moderators so they should be up shortly.

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GENERAL AGE-APPROPRIATE TRAINING GUIDELINES FOR MALES:

“combined” means ladies and gentlemen.

“men’s” means gentlemen only

 

Age 9- at least 2 combined ballet-only lessons of at least 1.25 hours in length per week; other dance genres to supplement training is acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals for a performing group

 

Age 10- at least 2 combined ballet-only lessons of at least 1.50 hours in length per week; other dance genres to supplement training is acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals for a performing group

 

 

 

Age 11- at least 3 combined ballet-only lessons of at least 1.50 hours in length per week; other dance genres to supplement training is acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals for a performing group

 

 

 

Age 12- at least 3 combined ballet-only lessons of at least 1.50 hours in length per week; at least 1 men’s ballet lesson of at least 1.5 hours in length per week; other dance genres to supplement training is acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals for a performing group. If the physique of the student is mature enough 2 days per week of light weight training would begin at this age.

 

 

 

Age 13- at least 3 combined ballet-only lessons of at least 1.5-1.75 hours each, and at least 2 men’s ballet lessons of at least 1.5 hours in length per week; other dance genres appropriate for these levels are: Character, Jazz, Modern, Ballroom, Rep and Variations, Pilates or Floor barre/other exercise. If the physique of the student is mature enough, 3 days per week of light weight training. Pas de deux lessons would also begin at this age.

 

 

 

Age 14/15- at least 5-6 ballet-only lessons of at least 1.5-1.75 hours each, and at least 2 of those should be men. At least 1 Modern lesson. 3 days per week of light weight training. Other dance genres appropriate for these levels are: Character, Jazz, Ballroom, Rep and Variations, Pilates or Floor barre/other exercise, and pas de deux.

 

 

 

Age 16/17- at least 6 ballet-only lessons of at least 1.5-1.75 hours in length, and at least 2 of those should be men’s, at least 1 Modern lesson. 3 days per week of weight training. Other dance genres appropriate for these levels are: Character, Jazz, Ballroom, Rep and Variations, Pilates or Floor barre/other exercise, and pas de deux.

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Thanks so much gcwhitewater! This info is so helpful for planning training needs at this year's SI and shedding light on what is needed for year-round training.

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This is great, thank you so much!! I do have a question about the men's ballet classes. My son is 12 and our studio hardly has any boys at all. Only one 15 year old boy who also wants to dance professionally. He only takes class with the girls. My son takes class with the girls at his level (Level 5) but then they are having him take the "Boy's Ballet" class with the 3 younger boys who do not have professional aspirations and who are at a lower level (kind of at Level 3 but difficult to gauge since they don't really take the pre-pro package or take a leveled class with the girls). They want him to take the class because a man teaches it (which I understand and think is important) but it is taught at least two levels below my son's level and it ends up being an extremely easy technique class with maybe 10-15 minutes of "boy stuff" like tours and jumps at the end. We asked about making it more challenging but they can't because of the other 3 boys. Do you think this class is still helping my son? He tries to really focus on his technique but since the class is immediately after one of his Level 5 classes he says he finds it boring and a waste a time and that he gets more out of the "boy stuff" the teachers have him do in the 5 minutes the girls are changing into their pointe shoes than he does in the 10-15 of "boy stuff" in the Boy's Class. For example, he is working on double tours and quad pirouettes with his female teachers but in the Boy's class they are working on single pirouettes and quarter/half turns as they work up to doing tours. We feel like our son is stuck in no-man's-land right now. He seems too old for "Boy's Class" but they say he can't be in the classes with the older boy because our son's body isn't strong enough to do the things he is doing yet. I understand that since he hasn't completely gone through puberty yet and doesn't yet have a "man's body."

 

I guess my question after all of that background is what exactly should a men's class consist of for our "men" who are no longer little boys but do not yet have a "man's" body. I'm probably talking about those kids in the 12,13, maybe 14 year old range. Especially in studios where there are not a lot of boys and/or not male teachers or not male teachers who are very involved with the studio. Do you have any suggestions for how to approach ADs who don't have much experience with training boys with suggestions on what they can do to help them? I find that it can often be difficult to try to talk to an AD about concerns about training when you don't have a background in dance yourself. But as parents of boys we are often also dealing with ADs who don't have experience with training boys. I think all of us are wanting to work WITH the AD to help find solutions or to understand why certain things are being done but often it seems that when you even question something in the ballet world, egos get all out of whack and then things get really ugly.

 

I hope this is coming across the way I intended it too. I don't know ANYTHING about ballet but as most parents of a boy who dances have found that I have to search around to figure things out. I don't do that to be disrespectful to our AD but it often seems that our boys are kind of forgotten about or only thought about if we remind them they are there. Unless of course we are being reminded that they can't focus. :)

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hi finallykf- I will be interested in the answers to your questions too and only want to tell you our experience on one aspect of your story. My now 15yo DS took a boys class with a 23yo male student for much of last year- taught by a male dancer. The 23 yo was working on a variation and my son was expected to do what he could- follow along but obviously not to be able to do the harder parts. Also to watch and learn. He found this challenging and probably didn't love not being the centre of the teachers attention (!). I think however it taught him valuable lessons about his ability and how far there was to go. This wasn't a private class so the 23yo was not paying for one on one attention. In leiu of anything else at that time, I was happy for DS to be challenged in this way, to work on lesser versions of combinations and to be the junior. He had spent so much time being fawned over by a previous female teacher, I think it levelled him out emotionally (he never liked being fawned over)and made him feel like he was working. Just a thought.

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Thank you gcwhitewater (and who ever else contributed) for taking the time to do the boys schedule. Lovely to have a reference. sorry to do this but can you tell me/all of us, at what point in that schedule do you feel a young boy/man should be in a full time residential program in order to meet goals? thanks

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Thanks gcwhitewater! That is great, is there anyway that can become a pinned thread so it's easy to find when we might need to come back and reference it?

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Yes,I will pin it!

 

Thyme: I don't feel a full time residential program is always necessary. Obviously that depends on the training you are able to receive at your studio.

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Ballet dragon

Thank you gcwhitewater! I was wondering if someone could provide some physical signals for what "If the physique of the student is mature enough" means? I have a 13 year old DS who is developing later (still has that boy look, rather than the young man look). I know that his maturity is a progression and will have fits and spurts. At what point will he be mature enough? Where is the cut point, or will this be evident to me and his teachers when it happens?

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