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rane

Private Lessons

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rane

Hi,

This is my first time posting. I'm sorry if this has been asked before, but I couldn't find it on a search.

What is a good age to start private ballet lessons? My 5-year-old does group ballet lessons, but she has some specific flexibility goals to go along with figure skating. (Her coaches say that ballet is the best type of cross training at this age.) We love her group ballet lessons and will be continuing them long-term, but I'm wondering if it might be helpful to have some lessons catered to her specific goals or if at this age group lessons should be sufficient? 

Thanks for your help!

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dancemaven

 rane, hopefully one of our Teacher-Moderators will come by and comment, but until then, I will offer some information for you to consider based upon my DD’s long journey in ballet training from age 3 to 27.

Actual ballet training doesn’t start until around age 8.  Prior to that, the classes are really more about co-ordination (e.g., skipping, galloping, chasse-ing, walking toe to heel, walking backwards toe to heel, giant walks, walking on tip-toe), developing muscles,  developing rhythm sense, learning to respond to verbal cue, learning to respond to non-verbal cues, learning change of directions with verbal cues and with non-verbal cues, learning spatial awareness (e.g., the room, the space, other children near them), learning diagonals—both spatially and crossing the body, co-ordinating movement with other children/people (e.g., forming circles without pulling each other all over the place, moving with another person—with or without holding hands), creating patterns while moving, sequencing of movements, stretching and flexibility,  learning to stand quietly while waiting their turn, learning to pay attention quietly, learning discipline of class, etc.  These are all pre-ballet skills——skills that all young children can benefit from.

At age 5, your child is growing.  Slow and steady approach to muscle and bone development is best.  Too much too soon can screw things up.  I doubt there is much a “private ballet class” would do for him/her.  It takes time for little muscles to gain the strength to do certain things.  Walking in a tip-toe ballet walk with straight knees takes development of the calf muscles, for instance.  Children’s muscles reach that development range at different times.  I am not sure it can—or should—be hurried.

Based upon my long experience and careful watching and learning from DD’s teachers—especially the information DD’s earliest pre-ballet teacher and her Early Childhood Development director shared with us parents and information I sought from them out of curiosity, I would say just let your child’s skating instructor and current ballet teacher do what they do best—-teach their classes.  To me, any “private ballet class” at age 5 would be overkill—-assuming you could find a responsible, professional ballet teacher to actually accept such an assignment.

Including a lot of typical unstructured running around, playing and basic 5-year old activity will also help improve strength, co-ordination, flexibility and endurance.   Good old-fashion playground and yard play is great cross-training for little folks.  :D

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labrador

Pointe magazine once published an article discussing private lessons; recommended age for beginning, other pros and cons. I believe you can do an internet search and find a link to the article.

From what I remember the article agrees with Dancemaven’s post above.

 

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rane

Thank you all so much for you help and for the specific details! I am glad to know that her training should be sufficient as it is :)

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twinkleandturn

Hi Rane-I'm responding to this late as I'm a new member and just came across your question.  My daughter is 8yrs old and loves dance.   We have done private lessons in dance (based out of our home) off and on for the last couple of years and most recently private lessons in gymnastics (based out of a gym) for my daughter.  The private dance lessons were with a pilates certified dance teacher we found on coachup (not sure if this website is still as robust as it once was).  My daughter absolutely LOVED these one on one lessons.  We chose to do private lessons because we could really cater to DD's unique goals.  Her dance class many times did zero stretching and DD wanted to do splits, heal extensions, etc.  With the private coach, DD was able to have a tailored stretching routine that was safe and sound...and helped her reach her goals.  She also participated in her school's talent show and worked out a dance routine during her private lessons that she performed.  It was a great experience for her.  And her private coach is now a dear family friend, goes to my daughter's dance performances often, and has really been such a lovely mentor/big sister figure.

We just started doing a few private gymnastic lessons for the same reason-DD had a few unique goals that she wanted one-on-one time to master and she's gotten incredible gains.  Honestly, we feel our money is better spent-specifically with gymnastics-in private lessons.  DD is more dance focused and her gymnastics lesson can be tailored to her unique dance goals vs. spending time on say the uneven bars with a class of 10 kids.  For the record, her ballet/dance school does not offer any type of acro class, so we have to seek out another avenue to get the training DD wants.  Plus, in my honest opinion, I prefer DD working on gymnastics curriculum in a gymnastics gym with the proper mats, floors, tumble track, etc...vs a dance studio.

Overall, in our experience, private lessons with the right coach, with unique goals in mind are a wonderful supplement, even for a younger child.  Hope this helps!

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rane

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with private lessons! twinkleandturn.  That is so helpful! It sounds so nice to have lessons catered to specific goals!

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