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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Time Commitment For Young Boys


Clpretzel

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I'm thinking about enrolling ds(7) at CPYB. He's never danced before. I'm not sure he'll like it, but he's been begging to dance for about 2 years now. How much of a commitment is demanded from boys at that age?

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Welcome. : )

 

I'm impressed with the early dancing. My DS wasn't dancing at 7. Glad your DSs are getting an early start. I think it makes a huge difference in turnout and flexibility.

Edited by momtoemandel
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Hi and welcome,

 

There's a post pinned at the top of the parents of boys forum called "Age Appropriate Guidelines." It starts at age 9 with recommendations for numbers of hours of dance per week. I am trying to remember what my ds was doing at 7. I think he had classes twice a week for an hour each, maybe just once a week until he was 7 1/2.

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Hi! I am relative newbie also with a DS10 who has just been dancing for a year at a prepro school. As has been said before, this is an amazing resource! Glad you found us.

 

There are 7yo boys at our school. They do a 1 hour boys class 2 times a week.

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Clpretzel, I have split your question into a new topic as I think you'll get more answers here.

 

Since you have asked about CPYB directly, you should probably contact them directly to ask about the time commitment. CPYB is an outlier in terms of what they are able to expect in terms of commitment from a young age; many schools around the country are unable to offer, or expect, dancers to take very many classes at that age.

 

Usually 7 year old's do not learn "ballet" - they learn motor skills, music rhythms, spacial awareness, and the beginnings of class 'discipline.' From here I'll allow other parents to comment on what their young male dancers did at that age.

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dancingboymom

At 7 years old my DS was taking classes 3 days a week.Three 1.5hr technique classes and one 1 hr. Boys class.

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It probably depends on how much he likes it. My son started at 8 and couldn't get enough of it. The studio had a Boy's Class that met for one hour once a week but that wasn't enough for him so they enrolled him in the Level 1 Girls Pre-Pro track which was 1.5 hours of technique 3 times a week (twice during the week and once on Saturday) plus 30 minutes of tap in addition to the Boy's Class. About 6 months later they moved him to Level 3 because he was super serious for an 8 year old.

 

I don't know how CPYB works it with kids that age. If you can, I would suggest starting slow and letting him decide how much is enough for him. One class a week might be just fine for him or he might want to take as many classes as he can get. We kept assessing whether our son still wanted to take as many classes as he was taking. We were concerned he might burn out. But we asked if he might like to take a day off he would get really upset. He was happiest at ballet - 5 years later he still is!

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DS just turned 8 this week and lives to dance; he really, really loves ballet.

 

He started at the pre-pro at 5 years old (one class per week). Agree with the advice to start slow! For us there was a big change in scheduling from RAD primary to RAD level 1 and it took us all a while to adjust. It also really depends on the kid and what they can handle. He had tap last year and felt it was too much so we dropped it.

 

His current schedule is 3 days per week; two 1.5 hour classes RAD level 2 ballet, one open classical (1.5 hours), level 2 jazz, level 2 tap and beginning progressions. He also has rehearsal for performance team for 1.5 hours weekly. I believe he's at the "max" end for scheduling but is happy and seems to be making good progress. I think his schedule will stay the same for probably the next few years. He'll do another a four week (age appropriate) intensive this summer; it'll be his third year doing a summer program.

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I've said this on other threads but just wanted to reiterate (because I think it is particualrly relevant for boys) that my DS did no ballet at all until age 10, then no more than 1/2 hr a week until age 12, slowly increased to 2-3 hours up to age 14 when he joined a full time vocational school. He'd had a chance by then to experience lots of other sports and activities, and to recognise that ballet was what he really wanted to do. Starting late has not held him back in terms of progress at the point (17) when he is entering the professional world.

So if your boys are enjoying the early training thats great, but if at any time they want to cut back, or if they don't want to do as much in the first place, it's not something to worry about. Better to keep their love of what they are doing intact- they have time to step it up when they are older. They are lucky in this (girls cannot usually get away with starting as late) so might as well take advantage of it :)

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CeliB - Yes, so true. We have known several male dancers who started training in their teens and are wonderful dancers. One of the dancers my son admires the most at his school didn't even start dancing until he was, I believe, 12 years old.

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Celi and Finally - thanks so much for alleviating my stress. I have been in a tizzy for the last few weeks about whether or not our son needs to go away this year to a full-time residential program (he is a new dancer at 14 with talent, passion and a gymnastics background). We are lucky in the fact that boys can start later and catch up - there are many examples of it. One thing that I learned from his 10 years in gymnastics is to pay attention to if they aren't having fun anymore. In his case - he absolutely loved gymnastics until we moved and he had a terrible, berating coach that killed his passion. In my experience, having a coach/teacher that is good, motivating and they have a bond with is paramount.

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Oh dear, well I hate to add to your stress Deb but I have to confess that the Russian ballet teacher who saw DS aged 14 and arranged the scholarship to the vocational school he attended did tell us that 14 was the latest he could go into full time training. We did ask about waiting till 16 but he said that waiting until any older would leave DS not achieving his full potential. Believe me I completely empathise with your tizzy (it was the hardest decision we have ever made on the parenting front) but I would feel bad if I misled you by not mentioning this :(

On the plus side I haven't a negative thing to say about making this decision- even taking into account the buckets of tears shed (by me of course). DS has had fabulous amazing fulfilling time. Even if it all finished tomorrow for some reason it would still have been worth it for making him the self actualising, mature, dedicated, committed, independent, (very) well travelled and happy, happy 17 year old he is today.

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CeliB - well at least I had one night of restful sleep.... :yes:

 

Thanks for letting me know. I truly don't know who to believe - the instructors here in small city America who need a boy for their productions (and went to residential programs 20 years ago) or the owner's/director's of residential programs - or moms who have heard both and believe one or the other. No wonder I'm in a tizzy.....and my poor husband, he thinks that I've lost my mind (I think he might be right :-)

 

Are the boys who come out of the blue in their late teens the exception to the rule? Anyone else care to chime in?

 

Deb

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pasdedeuxmama

Things are definitely different in the US, where we have a wealth of options at private studios. There simply is not one clear "right" path. Regardless of your son's age, whether 8 or 14, you should look for what's right for him.

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... the Russian ballet teacher who saw DS aged 14 and arranged the scholarship to the vocational school he attended did tell us that 14 was the latest he could go into full time training. :(

 

Moderator Hat on: I think we need to be explicitly clear, this is the opinion of one teacher for one dancer. Each dancer has their own path, and the advice of one teacher does not apply to all dancers. Members - please be careful with offering advice (advice on BT4D is left for the teachers and moderators). Only state your experience with your dancer and remember that we do not compare the experience of our dancer with that of someone we do not know.

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