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Next Fall's Schedule


SatinSlippers

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Hello!

DD is almost 10 and has taken ballet the last two years. This year was twice weekly for one hour, plus 45 minutes of contemporary ballet.

Next year she is being moved up to an older age group, and her classes will be 1.25 hours, 3 times per week plus one hour of contemporary ballet. I spoke with her teacher about number of hours and getting into some of the amazing summer intensives that open up at age 12, and she said most of those girls will be taking 5 ballet classes per week at this age. She said if my DD wants to pursue that level of dance, she'll need to take more classes. Unfortunately there aren't daily classes at her level, so what that means is signing up for the next level up class in addition which, when added together with the class she's already enrolled in gives her 8 hours per week, including the hour of contemporary. It would be a significant challenge for her because she would be Skipping 3 levels to be in the upper class, but teacher thinks she'll be fine after some adjustment, due to dancing every day.

WWYD? Are your 10 year olds dancing every day? It's a huge commitment for me, schedule wise and she does have siblings. (Two of whom are also dancers!) So that means lots of time in the car. I don't want to push so hard that she's tired of dancing, but am nervous that if I don't make sure she gets the required hours of training she won't be able to keep up at the competitive level, in auditions, etc. Thinking of letting her try it this year and see if she either burns out, or soars. Figure by the time she's 11/12 and taking pre-pointe classes we should have a better idea if she has the passion and facility to go as far as she wants to. Anybody else? :) It seems young, to me, to be dancing every day but for her age they don't have long-enough classes... :/ (At age 12-13 or so when they start pointe the classes do lengthen to 1.5-2 hours, approx 10 hours weekly of classical training, plus a contemporary class if she wants to take it.)

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My DD is 12 now and has been taking dance for two years. Her AD approached me when she around 10 and a half years old and asked if I would let her start taking Intermediate and Advanced level ballet classes. She was already in Jazz 3 with the senior girls and she held her own just fine BUT it meant I would literally be taking her every single weekday (and most weekends) to classes and none of them ended before 9pm. Some days she began at 4:45 and ran until 9pm and other days it was 7-9:30pm. I didn't want to take on a part time non paying job as chauffeur and have our lives revolve around ballet BUT my daughter was and still is, all about training. I also figured she would get tired of it and burn out and that it wouldn't be a long-term situation. I was wrong, so very wrong.

 

When she was 11, I agreed to let her go with her ballet bff (who was 17 at the time) to do auditions for these things called summer intensives that i had never even heard of before. I was thinking more about the roadtrip adventure part and it never occurred to me that she would be accepted because she was only 11 years old and had only been on pointe like 2 or 3 months. Wrong again. She got into 4 of them. I thought surely she wouldn't want to go so far from home for 5 weeks, but I was wrong again. She went and spent like at least 8 hours a day dancing for 5 weeks and then came home and told me she wanted to train that hard all year round. Fast forward to present day....she received a year long scholarship and leaves next month to train at a conservatory located in a different country. She's thrilled, I am not so thrilled.

 

If I had known then what it would lead to, I am not sure I would have made the same choices. Then again, my choices wouldn't haven't stopped her passion for ballet and it's not been a negative journey by any means....just a very fast one that keeps catching me off guard.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, SatinSlippers. :)

 

My first question is does SHE really want this? Is she begging for classes every day? She will already be going to 3 days a week, and adding one or two more days at the next level is frequently done for those who are ready. But skipping up 3 levels is usually not an option. I would first be very sure that both she and her teacher think it is right for her. I will just add that she has time before worrying about SI programs, and at 12, if her training is good and she has ability, focus, and commitment, then she should easily be able to get into an SI, even without a background of 5 days a week. :)

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Thank you for the responses and the welcome!

 

It's kind of a funny thing in that based on the class ability as a whole, sometimes entire classes may be moved up together as a group. That happened twice this year and it just so happens that one of the classes she would have taken doesn't exist next year because all of those girls moved up as a group. Normally girls spend 2 years at each level, but teacher thinks she's ready for the next group up, so she's skipping a year at last year's level and another year from NEXT year's level, just to get where she is already placed for the fall. If she wants to take those extra two days she HAS to move up because there is nowhere else for her to go laterally. Teacher thinks she'll do fine, but certainly there will be a lot of learning and growing in the first several months! Then again, dancing 5 days a week will improve her technique a lot faster...

She also told me that she WON'T be ready to be competitive at the current schedule with current number of hours, if she follows the recreational path that most of the girls are taking. (I've talked with some other moms and they think dancing more than twice a week or sending their kiddo off to SI's is ridiculous...so they'll end up stalling out. Most of them move on to gymnastics or cheer or swim or whatever.) Teacher does require a minimum amount of hours in each week before pointe as well as individual evaluation and age 12-13 or older.

IMO teacher gets Points for honesty! The training is solid from what I can see, but with only one studio (they do have a sprung floor), there are a lot of dancers under age 10 dancing recreationally and there isn't a lot of room left in the schedule for older kids who are more serious.

DD is taking two classes (3.5 hours total) per week for 7 weeks this summer as well as a 2-hour daily intensive that's a week long. The intensive is with the older girls that are in the two combined groups we are considering putting her in, so I imagine we'll get an idea of her ability in comparison at that point. From what I can tell the studio provides a solid classical ballet training and the teacher will only move you up if she believes you are ready.But... it's not the pre-professional program that's also available to us. Pre-pro school in town turns out some unbelievably snotty kids and I don't think my 9 year old DD needs to be around that, yet. It's also twice the driving distance AND more expensive, which is something I have to take into consideration given my other kids.

 

Emrsn oh my goodness. Yeah that's certainly a fear of mine...what in the world do you do if they really are that good and have the passion and drive to do it??? Lol! It's a little terrifying to look at a 9 year old and attempt to predict what their life will look like in 3-5 years. We homeschool so that helps keep some balance, as she's not in school 8 hours a day. Can't even fathom sending my 12-13 YO to another country for a year. Your DD must be very, very good and also dedicated!!!

Victoria I spoke with my daughter about the possibility of dancing every day. The very first thing that she said was "what about my brothers and sisters? What if they want to do other sports, or take music lessons? Won't it be hard to manage the schedule? Is that fair to all the other kids? (At age 9!!!) I told her that if she wanted to pursue it, we would see about getting a babysitter to drive her to class twice a week so her siblings had the opportunity to pursue their own interests. When she heard that, her entire countenance changed, she lit up and said she would love to dance every single day. Oi. She's the kid who absolutely glows from the inside out when she's on stage. She's shy and reserved in person but absolutely no fear of dancing for a crowd. It's really surprised me! She's a deep thinker and she knows what it would cost, financially and otherwise, which is why she isn't begging for more. But if she had a nanny to drive her and unlimited money, she would dance every day. No question. She's focused, every minute of every class. She pays close attention to the corrections given to her and to other dancers. She works hard. And she has good feet-high arches, flexible, strong. When we had her fitted for her last slippers the man who fitted her (ex-dancer, people travel from all over the country to be fitted by him for pointe shoes) quietly remarked "Nice turnout. Very nice feet." It was a nice compliment from a guy who really, really knows his stuff. :D

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Satinslippers, in your last post our girls sound so similar! My dd is 10 and we want her to get as much training as she can but it's hard with work schedules. Last year she only took 2 1 hour ballet classes, 1 jazz, occasionally a pas de deux class along with rehearsals. This Fall she has 2 1 hour grade 5 ballet classes, 2 1 hour intermediate foundation classes, 1 hour progressive ballet, technique, on top of YAGP and Christmas show rehearsals so she will be at the studio 5 to 6 days a week and she is thrilled! Like yours my dd can sometimes be shy, well until you get to know her lol but she loves the stage and brings tears to my eyes when I see her passion.

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My 10, going on 11 year old will dance 4 days per week. She will begin pointe, so her schedule will be 4 technique classes of 1.5 hours each, plus 3 pointe classes (which will immediate follow a technique class) 3 of those days. A total of 9 hours per week over 4 days. We are at a company affiliated school.

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Imrook that's what I'm thinking, closer to 8-10 hours per week is far better than the 4-5 hours we would be getting at the current schedule. :/ Somehow, 4 days a week sounds less insane than 5. Lol!! Thank you for your input. :)

 

RRballetmom I don't even know what YAGP IS exactly!...so is your DD getting around 6 hours total?

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Satin Slippers, I think we are across the state from each other . . . I'm pretty sure I know the dance store you are referring to, we order our pointe shoes (for older dd) from there and also our school leotards. Great pointe shoe fitters, and wonderful customer service over all at that store. I wish we had something like here in our metropolitan area! Also, a very nice compliment for your daughter (from the owner). :)

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Imrook, how fun! Hoping to send DD10 over that way in a couple of years for SI, maybe we'll see each other. :)

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I have one dd who's still under 13, and if you would have asked me this question when my oldest was under 13, I would have said to get her in as many classes as she wants to take. Now that my oldest is way over 13, I would give you the opposite advice. There are plenty of ten year old who get into competitive intensives taking classes two or three days a week. I guarantee if you ask parents of older dancers, they'll tell you that they don't need to take 5 days as a ten year old.

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Lemlemish-None of her classes next fall meet the "minimum requirement" of 1.5 hours a day, 3 days a week. I double checked the schedule and two are one hour and one is 1 hour 15 minutes. So it's only 3 hours and 15 minutes verses the recommended 4.5 hours. Would you still recommend sticking with that schedule, despite being shorter classes than the minimum? I can see how someone could take 3 days of 1.5-2 hour classes each week and progress, but am stuck with what to do in this situation. :) I definitely don't want her dancing more than 8-10 hours a week due to risk of injury at this age and even with 5 days a week she wouldn't exceed that number.

Edited by SatinSlippers
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I'm going to add my thoughts, because we've been in a similar place in the past. DD13 is now at a pre-pro school, seriously hoping and training to be a professional dancer. I also have a ten year old dancer and two boys who have danced as well. So I understand both the desire to give your daughter what she needs to develop her talent and the need to balance out life for your family.

 

Your daughter is still young, and I would have serious concerns about putting her in so many classes with so many older dancers. I don't think it's necessary, and I think there is concern for burnout, injury, and the social ramifications of spending so much time with girls who are more mature (how old are these older girls?). My 13 was talented enough at that age to be in class with the older girls, but her teacher wisely kept her in a level right for her age. She took two ballet classes and one jazz class at age 9 and 10, three ballet classes and two jazz classes at age 11, and did not start four ballet classes until age twelve. She is not at all behind (she is actually advanced) and was accepted in to a summer intensive and placed into levels higher than her same-age peers the last two years. There is no need to take five classes a week at age 10 so that she can be accepted into an SI a couple of years later. Very few ten year olds take that many classes, but they still get into the intensives at age twelve (or older) if they have potential. Your daughter sounds like she loves ballet and works hard, so I would not worry about SI acceptances.

 

Don't make getting into summer intensives the goal. The primary thing is whether she is getting good training at her current studio and whether what they offer is enough to help her reach her potential. This is hard to judge unless you were a dancer yourself, but you can learn a lot by reading past threads here on Ballet Talk for Dancers.

 

As far as what to do for the fall, I would take a little time to consider this before jumping in. Have you read the age-appropriate guidelines about ballet training? Have you read the summer intensive forums to gain an idea about what the different programs are like? I learned a lot by doing this when my daughter was your age and I didn't know the best path for her. For a long time I had the habit of reading old posts -- I read the entire Cross Talk forum, for example, going back in time to the very first post. I was extreme that way, but I can't emphasize enough how much it helped me feel better informed and empowered.

 

Here is what I honestly think. I would enroll your daughter in the three classes for her level this year and keep a balance in her life with family time and additional activities. I would also look into other studios for the future, because it sounds like it won't be too long before your daughter outgrows her current one. I would really want to be sure that she was getting excellent technique training, because in a few years when she wants to audition for summer intensives or switch to a studio with more to offer for an older dancer, you don't want to find out at that point that she was not getting solid enough training. I'm not saying that your school is not good; I'm just telling you the things that I considered when my daughter was your age. We had a fourteen year old join our ballet studio, only to find out that not only was she not getting enough ballet at her old dance school, but that they were actually teaching wrong things, so this can happen.

 

You probably won't like hearing this, but I would consider it a red flag to have a ten year old taking classes in the highest level of a school and have a teacher think that that is okay.

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Satinslippers, not including jazz or rehearsals she is getting 5 hours a week. Rehearsals and Jazz will add an extra 3 to 6 hours a week. YAGP stands for youth America grand prix, it is a yearly ballet competition she is doing a classical solo, contemporary solo and an ensemble. I Wish her teacher would allow more hours in higher grades but it isn't an option and I trust her judgment she has been amazing to dd for the last 6 years so I trust her on where dd should be.

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Daisychain, there are 6 levels, and approx 2 years per level but that is highly dependent on the kid. (So she is skipping the second year of her last level, and the first year of the following level.) She would be in levels 3 and 4 with other girls ages 10-13ish...to me, age 13 is HUGE compared to a 10 year old, maybe just due to sheer physical development/puberty. Again, a lot of placement is ability dependent at this point. Level 5 is when pre-pointe and pointe work starts, but not until they are 12-13 or even older, depending on structure and strength. And then level 6 is for 16-18ish. She would definitely NOT be dancing at the upper levels. :D

 

I've read the age-appropriate guidelines and there is not a class that's long enough for level 3 dancers. The two she is taking that are mandatory for that level are only one hour long, and the third optional class is 1 hour 15 minutes. So she would not be meeting the "minimum requirements" next fall unless she dances every day to make up the hours. And she can't dance every day at level 3, she has to go into level 4, where the girls are possibly another year or two older. I'm not entirely sure on the ages of everybody, it's hard for me to estimate after puberty hits. They all look like Giants! :D

 

SI are not the end goal, but I feel that if she isn't good enough to be accepted into SI, due to lack of training, she'll have a long road to try and make up the difference...assuming she still wants to make a career out of this. :) Ballet instructor flat said she won't have what she needs to be prepared for auditions for SI's given her current schedule, and the hours aren't adequate according to this forum.

My thoughts on this school: we have citywide nutcracker auditions to dance with a professional company each fall. Last year we had over 20 students cast in roles, which is a significant number given the size of my town and how many studios there are as well as how many students are cast. So they must be doing something right. ;) I think the technique is solid, it's just a small school and has limitations due to that.

If not, I still have a couple of years to correct and head to a different studio while still maintaining my sanity and money in my checkbook for the time being. The pre-pro school is a lot more intensive with many more hours and different styles of dance and is also much more expensive.

Edited by SatinSlippers
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Honestly, I think my first priority would be finding 90 minute classes for her before adding more days. Our kids take 90 minute classes from age 8 up.

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