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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How many hours per week of dance?

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My daughter is 11. She is in her first year of a pre-professional program at a very reputable dance school in France. She is doing 'dance studies' where she does her academic work in the morning and dances every afternoon. I would really love to know what other reputable schools offer in terms of the number of hours of dance per week for the same age.

She is 11.

She does 5 * 1.5 hours of classic ballet per week (7.5 hours in total) and 3 hours of contemporary dance.

I am disappointed there is no 'character dance' or pilates. Is anyone else's child doing a similar program for me to compare? Thanks.



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She is certainly within the range of Classical Ballet Training Guidelines, as listed at the top of this forum!! There will be time for Character and Pilates as she grows. Does her ballet school ever offer Character/etc. to the upper levels?

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MMO my DD is the same age she has 1.5 of ballet tech (5x week) , 1 hour of character, 1 hour contemporary, .5 (x5 week) of conditioning. It's relatively comparable I think :)

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  • 7 months later...

And I worry about being on the other end. DD is 10 (11 in 2 months) and has 2 1.5-hour and 1 1-hour ballet classes a week (4 hours total). Plus an hour each of tap, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary, the last 2 at a different studio. Great for her age now but how about in a year or two? It's a small studio so there just aren't that many classes. I believe strongly that the training is the best around, it's just the size. She'll add pointe classes on top of those later. Classes for advanced students are 3x1.5 hours technique, 2 1-hour pointe classes, and pas de deux 1-hour.


At what point do you say this isn't enough? No matter how excellent it may be.

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BalletFamily, have you checked the Pinned thread regarding Training Guidelines at the top of this forum? Those will give you a good idea of the recommended minimum training hours and age guidelines for an on-track pre-professional student.



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Yes, that's where I'm getting my numbers from. She's just right for age 10 (.5 hour under) and okay for 11 (hour under, assuming an hour pointe class) and then there starts to be a divide.

Edited by BalletFamily
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Can someone remind me of how long pointe classes should be for the 14-15 year old range? I didn't see it in the pinned sticky. Thanks!

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logolady, at my DD's studio, pointe classes are 60 mins 5x per week. She is not in a pre-pro program but she is on a pre-pro track at a very good rec school.


Edited to clarify that 60 min pointe classes are on the schedule 5x per week but dancers may not choose to take all 5 classes. There are also tech classes that are 2 hours in length and include about 30 mins of pointe work.

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Yep, that's what I thought...

Is there a list compiled somewhere on BTFD of pre-pro schools across the country who meet the general training minimums suggested by the pros here? I know training will vary greatly, but generally? I am all for doing research, but just in case someone already put together a list. Thank you!

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There are dedicated threads for the more known pre-professional schools and residencies in the Pre-Professional/

Residential Schools Forum.


Now, is anyone charged with checking the individual school's class schedule routinely to verify and certify that it meets with the guidelines posted? No. That is an undertaking beyond our Moderators' time, commitments, and purpose here.


Are the programs most likely to meet or exceed the guidelines recommended by our esteemed ModeratorTeachers? Probably, but there may be some variations depending on studio space, enrollment, etc.


It will be up to the researcher to check the various schools' current offerings and schedules.

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As I parent, I have to say do use the guidelines that the mods and teachers have posted.


I always cringe at these posts because it always feels like a "who can top this." I know that this NO ONE's intention but it all gets me nervous, so I opt out of the schedule compare and then go straight to the guidelines posted by the teachers.

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I do think llogolady's question about the length of pointe classes is a valid one. There is no specific length of time specified in the guidelines. I'm accustomed to seeing pointe classes an hour long, but do also see that some schools only do 1/2 hour of pointe following the tech class. Is there a specific length of time the moderators recommend for pointe following tech?

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Just as the number of hours increases slowly and with age, so should the pointe classes. So a beginner might only get 15-30 minutes for the first few months to a year, but the next year it ought to be 45 minutes, and so on, up until the dancer is at her finishing levels.


Let's remember that the suggested hours chart is based upon an optimal U.S. schedule, intended to help weed out which schools might offer the best possible training in your areas. Optimally, we could probably all agree on some level that there could be something to say for European training: Audition-only schools that focus mainly on the body-type necessary for Classical Ballet. But, since that is not the case for those who train elsewhere, including South America, many Island nations, and several other countries, we came up with the chart as a GUIDELINE to help dancers and their parents make decisions about their training.


In my area alone, there are 30-40 ballet schools offering a variety of training possibilities. Out of those there are several who have their students start cold in their pointe shoes for every ballet class, and thusly, do not have their students train in regular ballet slippers at all. That gives them much more "time" in their pointe shoes than loads of other schools, even much more time than the school attached to a professional company offers, but it may not be optimal for all dancers, all the time, to be training in their pointe shoes ONLY. Having their dancers train only en pointe makes their "pointework schedule" to be "the most", but it may not be "the best". That is where the evaluation in "Quality AND Quantity" comes into play.


As with most everything, it's all in the details.

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Clara 76,


The point that you make about pointework all the time for some training models does concern me. I have thought that myself. That is could put young dancers at risk of injury.


What are the side effects? Increased overuse injuries I am assuming? Lack of proper warm up?


Why in the world would training programs only have students take class on pointe? Is this because female ballet dancers almost always dance en pointe? Do they think that the work on flat at the barre that eventually outgrows it's utility?


I recently read Gelsey Kirkland's biography and she made observations about what she called the "short cuts" that Balanchine took. Was he the first major teacher to move to all pointe training?


I am just trying to understand the rationale for the approach.

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