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Ballet Talk for Dancers
TinyBun

Choosing the right ballet school?

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ballet1310

Noodles - I thought that was strange also ...

Tinybun - it can be hard to determine good training  all I can offer is that if your dd is doing it just for fun then I would suggest that you stay close to home and don't worry so much about how long classes are etc ( unless you feel they are doing something  unsafe)  - if you are considering taking it further than the pre-pro school may be the better choice ....

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5678StarMom
8 hours ago, Noodles said:

I have never seen breaks or fooling around in class...that strikes me as an odd statement. 

I unfortunately have.

One local studio in town has what looks like a pretty good schedule with 1.5 hour upper level ballet classes 2x a week and in the past every other week 2 hour classes, and separate pointe (no, not up to the training standards but it seemed good for around here at first) I witnessed the classes regularly take 15 minute drink breaks and dawdle for 10 minutes when putting on pointe shoes. About half of the students would goof off when the teachers back was turned, and the same group never tried to improve. Plus they didn't have enough levels to keep students in with the correct peers. They also work on recital choreography rehearsal during class time in all levels. They used to have qualified ballet teachers at all levels but they have mostly all moved on, and even though their website still boldly proclaims they only have professional teachers, that is now sadly a lie. I'm sure a lot of inexperienced parents don't know any better and by the time they may figure it out these kids haven't gained much if any love for ballet. Everyone from this studio that caters to ages 2 and up watches the recitals with the "advanced" girls in pointe shoes and no one even knows how much of a terrible representation of ballet they are. No wonder ballet isn't the favored genre even though the studio boasts they have professional training.

In contrast, another studio in town has 1 hour or 1 hour and 15 minute upper level classes 5 days a week and separate pointe 3 days a week, and they accomplish much more. No breaks, pointe shoes on in 2 minutes or the for the entire class when appropriate and water breaks taken at the barre. They often repeat barre sequences within the month so they don't have to spend as much time going over it. Plus they have more than double the amount of levels so everyone is in class with appropriate peers. The kids are allowed to take extra classes in lower levels to get more technique in. They do not regularly rehearse the upper levels for any performance in class. They only employ teachers with higher education and/or professional ballet experience for ballet. Ballet class comes first above all other styles.

I used to stress about the classes not being long enough at the second studio but have realized that quality matters most. We have found yet an additional school that is very good but very small and offers longer classes (it's a 40 minute drive) but both of my girls will continue taking some of their classes at studio 2 so they can perform in large corps roles as well.

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Fraildove

I will weigh in from a teaching perspective:

 

Yes, to answer your question, things will be left out in an hour long class. Not only that, but if corrections are given, which they most definitely should be, that eats up even more time, so the actual dancing on the absolute maximum would be 45-50 minute, depending on how many hands on corrections are given. If the are doing any type of stretching or light conditioning, there goes even more class time. Even in a 1.5 hour class some things are skipped or they have to be combined within the same exercise to literally get all the way through a class. Our 9-11 year olds are taking 4, 1.5 hours of ballet technique classes per week. Some take 5 days. At that age, dancers should be getting a full class without cutting it short. Not only is it causing the students to loose out on technique training and progression, it is shortchanging parents financially in my opinion. Unless your 9 year old is in a pre-ballet type class I don’t think it wise to go to a school where the teacher insists that dancers that age don’t need a longer class. It raises a huge red flag for me. 

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TinyBun

Bblybmrs,

Thank you for sharing.

Glad you found a PT who knows what he/she was doing and that your DD is all better now. 

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TinyBun
On 9/25/2018 at 11:24 AM, ballet1310 said:

Tinybun - it can be hard to determine good training  all I can offer is that if your dd is doing it just for fun then I would suggest that you stay close to home and don't worry so much about how long classes are etc ( unless you feel they are doing something  unsafe)  - if you are considering taking it further than the pre-pro school may be the better choice ....

Unfortunately both studios are quite a bit of a drive, one is 30 mins and the other is 40mins further. Our current studio is only 10mins away. Ugh things that parents would do for better training!

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TinyBun

Starmom,

I don't mean to generalize but the few Russian ballet teachers that we came across have always given me a feeling that they look down on other teachers/programs, that is probably the reason why I wasn't surprised at all with the director's statement. (how they are different than others) I have heard it more than once one way or another how they think DD has great facility, that she is a smart kid yet how her teacher had done her wrong with the training. 

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TinyBun

Fraildove,

Thank you and I appreciate every one of your insight.

I think what bothers me the most is that DD's soon to be old competitive studio offers ballet class that are longer than a ballet only studio. This year if she was not to leave, the schedule contains 3 one hour class and one 1.5 hours class a week. While we are trying to cut down the cost and crazy hours, it just doesn't sound right to do 3 one hour class of ballet now that she is another year older. DD has a trial class this week with the pre-pro school, I will see her feedback after the class then to make a decision. Thank you again.

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