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Ballet Talk for Dancers

5-6 days a week training


Ballerinamom2girls

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Does anyone have a child who takes daily weekday ballet classes year round? I know this is not the traditional approach, nor do most ballet schools offer this (for younger students). Just wondering if you chose this and how it's working out. We have two great ballet schools in our area, and while shes attending one full time and loving it, she really wants to supplement on her days off.

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When you say year-round, do you mean the traditional August-May (roughly) that most ballet schools follow or do you mean 12 months? My 12 year old daughter's dance program has six days/week of ballet classes for the traditional August-May program. She was in a 5 day/week program until we switched in late February due to some concerns with training. So she's only got a few months of the 6 days per week schedule under her belt but she's enjoying it and thus far doesn't have any overuse injuries. She also continued to take her once weekly Pilates lesson during this time as well.

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More like 12 months, with the normal holiday break weeks that schools have. We know some students who take an entire month off during the summer, and then they jump into a 2 or 3 week all day intensives. She doesn't want to take time off. Our school has only two classes during the summer per week, but we have the opportunity to add to that 3 more days per week from another school. During the school year she would be taking 4 days at her school, so we would just add 1 at the other school. I guess what I'm wondering is, if they're enjoying it, is there any harm in training more days than the norm?

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The danger is overuse and lack of cross-training. I would recommend using the training guidelines set out by our Teacher-Moderators. There is a Pinned Thread at the topic of this Forum.

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Dancemaven...does cross training mean other styles like jazz or contemporary? Or does it include things mainly like Pilates?

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It means other activities (non-dance) as well as adjunct dance disciplines, Pilates or Yoga training. Muscles need to be balanced and all muscle groups need to be worked, not just dance ones. Other activities will help use, work, and balance these muscles. Kids used to get this cross-training more naturally---back before we all started to narrowly focus activities so early.

 

I know we've had discussions over the years about the importance of cross-training and how it is becoming more recognized as being good for dancers.

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Got it, thank you. I know I've read here about the importance of other physical activities. It is an interesting aspect of this conversation because daily training at this age would probably eliminate time and energy for that. Something I didn't put together. Thanks!

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I wonder if my dd naturally gets necessary cross training. My kids are outside and physically active hours per day (we homeschool).

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It means other activities (non-dance) as well as adjunct dance disciplines, Pilates or Yoga training. Muscles need to be balanced and all muscle groups need to be worked, not just dance ones. Other activities will help use, work, and balance these muscles. Kids used to get this cross-training more naturally---back before we all started to narrowly focus activities so early.

 

I know we've had discussions over the years about the importance of cross-training and how it is becoming more recognized as being good for dancers.

That's a great point, thank you! I need to figure something out for DD to try and make her do something different. Hopefully we will get plenty of swimming in!

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I'm not an under-13 parent, but please, don't rush your young children into ballet 6 days a week. Between the demands of middle and high school, the trials of adolescence and the natural increases in time and intensity of ballet training, those precious free moments become fewer and fewer. Enjoy having some time to swim, go bowling, roller skate, walk the dog, have a movie night, etc.

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I concur with dancingjet and dancemaven above: there is not only no need to train more, there is significant risk of overuse injuries which may not be evident for months or longer. The younger they are, the more important it is to be careful to not overdo it. In other words, I'd be less concerned (medically, physiologically)

about a 12yo dancing 5 days a week than a 9yo. There are other topics on this board that address this in more detail(I m not on my normal computer so cannot link), but in general follow the pinned training guidelines and just go for regular unscheduled kid activities on the off days--which it sounds like you already do! Fabulous.

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My daughter who is 12 is in a pre-professional school and they train 6 days a week. But they have August off.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My DD is in a pre-pro academy. She is 10, will be 11 in August. For the past 2 years she trained 4 days a week, M - Th and had F, S, S off. During her off time, she plays, rides her bike or scooter, plays tag or kick ball, etc.

It has been a very good program for my DD. We homeschool (always have) so I am able to adjust her academics accordingly.

My DD doesn't really want to take time off either. However I do feel it's important for her to do other activities. They don't have to be structured activities like baseball or soccer. As others have said, it's also physically important to take time off and cross train. Last summer, when she was 9, she took off most of the summer and only did a 2 week 1/2 day Jr Intensive. This year she's 10 (11 in Aug) and is doing a 3 week regular SI away from home. I am taking her and staying with her...no dorming. We turned down a 5 week SI at a very well known highly regarded school b/c I felt 5 weeks was far too much for her age. (If they had incorporated more cross training into their SI, we may have considered it)

Overall, both of my girls have been VERY happy with their level of training. My oldest started the more intense training at age 12 and my younger one was 9. My younger DD's classes began at 12:45 and therefore she was able to come home in the afternoon and evening to play and have fun.

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