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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tough decisions- done


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Thanks again for the advice everyone! Just wanted to do an update :) I had been conflicted for a while on what to do with DS7 and how many ballet classes he should take, and at what levels, and if privates were necessary and/or a necessity at this time.


Ever since I found BT4D and have been going through the various forums and threads I've been noticing red flags at our current studio. DS does have a genuine interest in ballet- and like any parent I want to make sure that whatever he's doing, he should be doing correctly.


A couple weeks ago he took an all boys class at a vaganova academy, he's really been wanting to take an all boys class. The boys were between the ages of 7-11. Three including DS were 7, one 8, one 11, and one 10yr old girl who was doing a makeup class class. 1.5hr class The class was intense (as in the teacher wasn't super chatty or friendly (according to him), very strict environment, the moves were challenging-over an hour on barre(DS is used to maybe 15-25 on barre, then across the floors, the recital practice), then jumps in center and about 15 min of split stretching.When he left the class he was exhausted, sweating, body sore..passed out in the car ride home and slept very late into the next morning. He had a REAL ballet class. After watching that class (other kids in comparison)... It was like those rose colored glasses finally came off both of us. Long story-short: we both are aware that if he wants to take real ballet he can't do it at his current studio ( but will keep doing other dance forms there) after this year.


We live about 15 min from a company- attached school and their classes would line perfectly with DS schedule and they have boys classes as well for his age. He's excited to go there because of the possibly to be a party boy in their nutcracker!! LOL!! After seeing him take that class at the vaganova academy though- it makes me worried if he would be able do those classes let alone the audition! So I've gone ahead and decided to do private lessons for him. Not to get into a higher level class- as AD had suggested but just to really get him at the level he should be at for a 7 year old. He definitely has some raw talent and lots of potential- but he's sloppy. I'm pretty sure they are just so happy to have a boy that they just let him do the moves as he's doing them. They don't want to correct him too much because they don't want him to get frustrated and leave-that has happened with other boys in the past.


Once again this site was extremely helpful and it helped to go about the right way to set it up and have specific goals! He has 45 min privates once a week, following an hour ballet class. He's already warmed up so they can get straight into work. The focus is cleaning his technique, flexibility (he has zero lol), and stretching. At the end of March we will (re)evaluate if we need to still need to continue (if so approx how much longer), will the focus stay the same, benefits received, future goals, etc... His teacher is great- classically trained at a vagonava academy herself, BFA, and program director at another studio and teachers ballet at current studio. She's has known and taught my son for 2 years and he just adores her, they have a good and comfortable relationship.


ThNks for reading- and thanks all for threads and posts you contributed to because it opened my eyes and is constantly helping me crucial decisions for DS. We have a long road ahead of us, but we're walking it with confidence!

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So, you are doing the private lessons to get him ready to take classes and/or audition for the pre-pro in the fall? Or are you considering having him go to the Vaganova school? I don't know if you can accurately guess that the audition process for one school (the pre-pro) would be too difficult for him based on one experience at a completely different school. Many schools do not start actual ballet training until around age eight, so I'm not sure you should worry that your son is behind at age seven. If you think the private lessons are helpful, that's great, but if you are shelling out the big bucks specifically in order to prepare for entrance into the new school, it really might not be necessary. Does the pre-pro really require an audition for seven year olds? Is there a way for him to take a sample class there? Is there a thread for that school here on BT4D where you can post to find out what the audition would be like? I think that at that age (and even for years and years after), schools are really just looking for potential, not skill. I'm sure you have taken all these things into consideration during your decision-making process, but having a weekly private for a seven year old in preparation for an audition seems unusual.


I don't mean to second guess you. I think it is great that you recognize your son's desire to dance and are wanting to do everything you can to nurture his interest and give him the best opportunities.

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Hi Daisychain, Thanks for your feedback. I am aware that classical ballet training doesn't begin until 8, and that for the most part auditions at 8 are based on potential. DS will be 8 by the time fall auditions roll around for pre-pro. Well, I'm not going lie? I am kind of hoping that doing privates will give him a boost out of dolly dinkle and into pre-pro. Thats not the only reason though. I have contacted the pre-pro and the only class he would be able to watch (pre-ballet boys, according to his age ) isn't an option due to the amount of boys currently enrolled in that program. So they just told me to try to enroll him for fall. They also provided me the name to vagonava school as another option if I was looking for somewhere to enroll him sooner than fall.


The privates are for him to specifically work on his flexibility, strength and posture at the barre. Also, and I could be super overthinking this as I do most things LOL, because I figure if we nip the basics in a bud and get him corrected now - after his privates are finished he can continue the rest of year (till June) in just his regular class since he'll have the correct body placements, etc.. (as correct as a 7 year can get anyways) since he's not getting those corrections in class.


Vaganova school is offering an SI program for DS age group, but that I believe is too much. Pre-pro school is offering some as well, but I don't think a whole summer of ballet is needed. Those programs are the only way to "try" the programs. He will probably just take one ballet class during summer.


I have checked the Pre-Pro thread and I didn't see anything about auditions for 8 years olds- I did ask about one of their summer programs but not the year round as so much SI talk is going on right now. This is our first choice being that it's super close to us. Vagonava is a 45 min drive, plus I would have to leave work an hour early, and pay both ways on a toll bridge. And going through that just seems absurd, but hey- I am paying to get my 7 year old privates...lol


Also, I don't plan on doing the privates past the month of April- or even through the entire month of April for that matter, which I've ready communicated with his teacher. The privates are priced fairly well I believe, about what I pay a going to Starbucks twice a day for week. So I'll be making my coffee at home :)

Edited by SonDoesDance
Take out identifying school information
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Okay, I get the Vaganova--pre-pro thing now. Thanks for clarifying! A couple of things about being tired after a class: my son (just turned 9) doesn't ever complain about being tired after class, but my eight-year-old daughter seems worn out sometimes. This year they bumped up from a one hour class to a 90 minute class that emphasizes barre a lot more than last year. My kids adjusted well to this, but just the other day another parent mentioned that her child does not like ballet any more now that the barre has gotten a lot longer. The extra focus and intensity required for a class that is longer than they are used to can just be taxing mentally as well as physically. But I think they do adjust to it. A similar example: last year my older daughter and her 10 and 11 year old friends were so worn out at the end of their first full day of summer dance that their teacher took a picture of them sprawled exhausted on the floor. One of them fell asleep on her five minute car ride home. But by the end of summer school a few weeks later, the girls were still bouncing with energy after class and ready to hit the local pool. Just a little ray of hope that maybe your son would soon adjust to more intense classes if he took them regularly next fall. Having a low key summer sounds like a great idea -- if he sticks with ballet, his summers will be consumed by SIs soon anyway!

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Thanks for sharing that about your DK's. Now that I'm thinking about an hour and a half class for a 7 year old does seem rather intense and they weren't allowed a break either ☺️ So I shouldn't have been THAT surprised or concerned with his behavior following class. I think it was also seeing the level those other 7 year boys at.... But then again they've been at that school for at least a year and they take 2 classes a week...his privates are following an hour long ballet class,and even though the focus is mainly stretching, I'm thinking it should help with his stamina as well. We'll see.

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