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Ballet Talk for Dancers
SugarPlumFairy

If you had to choose.........

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SugarPlumFairy

My DD is 13 and has been dancing for 9 years.  She’s training in a small town, local studio which offers a pre pro program (currently 7 hours, split btwn ballet and jazz classes).  As a member of this program, she is also part of an ensemble, which provides for several performance opportunities annually.   She has talent, and is on the pro dancer track.  She is a versatile dancer, but her biggest strength is ballet.  

I want advice, because I know from reading this forum, that MANY of you have “been there, done that”!  We are reaching a point on her track where we feel we need to take things to the next level (and I have lots more question regards this but for now I’ll stick to one thought on the subject 😊).

One thing we may add to her experience this year is to attend YAGP.  This is a big deal for DD and parents!  The time and $ costs for this are more than we have committed to before, but we are willing to do it if it makes sense.  But that’s just it, does it?

in the vast experience of this forum group, can you please give me your opinion on whether the time and money spent is more valuable for a dancer’s progress to do YAGP, or use the privates we would need to prepare for that competition, for simply improving her ballet and pointe technique?

 

  

 

 

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L_One

Does she dance more than just these 7 hours per week?   How many of those 7 are jazz and how many ballet? I only ask because my response will be different depending on the answers to those questions. :)

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SugarPlumFairy

L_One, 7 hours per week is class time each week-  4 hours ballet (1hr of this is pointe), and three hours jazz.  

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L_One

Thanks for the quick response SugarPlumFairy.

In that case I would invest the extra time and money into more class time, if at all possible. My daughter participated in YAGP earlier this year for the first time, she's 14 and thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. It was time consuming and expensive but it was a fun supplement to her ballet program which was about 15 hours or so per week. At 13, 4 hours of ballet per week seems to be quite a bit lower than the general age appropriate guidelines and I think if it were me I'd try to find more instructional hours before venturing into YAGP.

 

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SugarPlumFairy

Thank you for your reply!  

I do feel that she needs more ballet as well.  Her program had a higher level (11 hrs/week with at least 6 hrs ballet) that was eliminated.  This was unfortunate for us.  It may be reinstated next year....  

There is only one other ballet class for her that I could add, so I thought privates have become my best option this year.  YAGP was a thought, but I had reservations on the value of that for now!

 I just feel that she’s behind, and reading all these posts on this forum reinforces that thought.

 

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dancingjet

I agree that more class time for ballet is more important and would likely be more beneficial than time (and money) spent rehearsing a variation for YAGP.

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Noodles

I will wholeheartedly agree with what has been already said....your money may be better spent on training at this point.

You mention that you feel it is time to take things to the next level, I would suggest exploring other ballet schools that can provide her with more appropriate training for an aspiring professional.

Food for thought: if you sense that she is behind, how will competing with others, who have more training, benefit her? I assume you are thinking of how beneficial the one on one coaching would be but please consider it is only one variation and all of the other competitors will likely have a stronger foundation at this age. I do not mean to sound harsh, I only say this in the event that you had not looked at it from this angle. 

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SugarPlumFairy

Noodles, I agree with you, and I appreciate the frankness.  Yes, we were looking at it for the coaching, but also to expose her to the “big time” ballet atmosphere.  There have been others from our studio that attended YAGP.  I would compare my DD’s capabilities to theirs.  They did not place, but they did benefit from, and enjoy the experience.  

Unfortunately, our studio is the best option in our small town.  There are two regional companies with schools, but they are both located too far away for daily drive.  

If DD is really serious, and our studio does not add the higher level back in next year, we will be faced with the question of moving to another city to continue her training.  Talk about a family decision!  

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Noodles

SugarPlumFairy, thank you for not taking offense at my post 🙂

I am not a teacher and hopefully someone with more experience can come along and offer some more thorough suggestions. For this year perhaps your dancer could add some lower level classes to her schedule. 4 hours of ballet technique is just not going to help her progress. Lower level classes can help clean technique and build strength simply due to more hours of ballet.

I think though, in the bigger picture, a school that offers more ballet is probably in order. I don't know how far the drive is to the larger schools, one hour or four...but perhaps if only an hour you could call and talk to them and ask about any other dancers coming from your area. My DD dances with kids who drive about 45 -60 mins to class and there is a small group of them who carpool. You never know what your options are until you explore! Good luck.

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SugarPlumFairy

Thank you Noodles, L_One and dancingjet for your thoughts.  Very helpful!

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GratefulMom

I would echo thoughts already shared and add my perspective.  My daughter 13 was a competition dancer (all genres; not ballet) before switching to ballet-only last year.  But one lesson learned there for me may also be very applicable to the YAGP conversation.

While my daughter was dancing 23 hours a week at the time, I realized after a year or two that I could not "count" the choreography/coaching/rehearsing/cleaning time for her competition numbers as "class."  Yes, she was getting lots of coaching, but coaching to do one thing only: improve that ONE routine.  (well, in her case, 8 routines, between group numbers, duo, solo, etc...).  That has value, for sure.  And experience with stage time, and managing nerves, and competing all taught her a ton.  But it did not count as technique time.  I realized that she was only really taking technique about half of those weekly hours.  (again, not a bad thing, but in my mind, she was getting "TONS of classes!"). 

A final thought about competition training -- because the goal is high score, the numbers were choreographed to show my daughter's best moves.  So if she has a higher right leg kick, well, that leg kick is what gets practiced a hundred times a week, year in and year out.  Over the years, this led to unbalanced muscular development, something her ballet instructor spent the better part of last year retraining and trying to address.  Probably YAGP training doesn't last long enough with any one variation to have this problem..Also, variations aren't written for each YAGP participant.  But an interesting point nonetheless that I had not considered until DD switched gears and focussed on ballet.

 

Bottom line: I vote more technique too, even if you have to get creative about upping those hours. 

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SugarPlumFairy

Thanks for your input, GreatfulMom.  I am a total newbie when it comes to YAGP, but I’ve been told that dancers prepping for the competition sometimes do start one year in advance, just to perfect that one variation.  It’s the same as you indicated, I think, over and over for quite a long time.

I truly appreciate this conversation.  DD and I talked about it again, and we are both leaning to privates for technique versus YAGP.  Talking to her teacher this weekend to sort this all out.  And, going to take your advice too Noodles, and contact closer company school about any locals who might already be traveling there.  Thanks so much everyone!

 

 

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loveballet

I agree with others - My younger DD is 13 and participated YAGP for the first time last yer. She enjoyed it and benefits from it, but I think technical improvement is not one of them. 

I just want to add the aspects of experiencing ballet outside of your home studio. - If you choose one, I think summer intensive is better option for that than YAGP . 

 

 

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MEWDancer

I know nothing about any sort of competition dance or YAGP (beyond having watched ‘First Position’).  My DD has been ballet all the way from about age 8.  She has recently turned 14 and is at a company affiliated Pre-pro.  They have about 12 hours a week of various ballet/pointe/pas/variations and 4 jazz/modern/Character/Pilates.  I totally agree that more ballet technique would be more beneficial.  We are just now offered more genres.  And in summer intensive’s she has done, sometimes the competition trained dancers will get the special part in the performance with the 20 fouettés, because those with a more strict ballet curriculum have not, at that level, been taught them yet with proper technique.  That is exactly what is glaringly, obviously, lacking in many competition dancers.  Technique.  Having previously lived long a distance from good training, I can sympathize with trying to cobble together good instruction.  But at 13 that is what I would try to do.

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gasguzzler

MEWDANCER I hope she gets it. She has waited her turn. My fingers are crossed for you (so to speak)!

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