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Ballet Talk for Dancers
newballetmom

When to scale back.

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newballetmom

 My daughter has no desire to be a professional dancer, but she loves dancing and wants to continue to progress. She’ll be 11 in the summer and is getting to the age where some kids are going into SIs, but that’s not something we even discuss because she’s just not at that level. 

Here’s my conundrum. We drive 45 minutes each way to get her to her (very good!) ballet school. She has class 3 days a week + Saturday rehearsals.  There are half a dozen schools much closer to us that teach dance. It’s not ballet, of course, it’s just...dolly dinkle, but I’m wondering if maybe that’s ok. The thing is, she’s a very serious child and ballet fits her personality well. 

Has anyone just drastically cut down on the number of hours your child dances? I guess I’m looking for a more recreational path. She’s ambivalent about pointe (the pain seems to be a big red flag for her), but when we talk about cutting back on hours she gets upset because she truly would like to dance every day if it were an option. 

I guess I’m just looking for what other people have done when it’s become clear that ballet isn’t going to be their child’s future, but that child still feels passionate about it. 

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JBallet

My DD is 11 and sounds a lot like yours! Her brother is attending his first SI this year but she finally made the decision to scale back. She enjoys ballet and does well but has no interest in pursuing a professional track, and the schedule was keeping her from other things like school clubs and social events. She recently made the difficult decision to drop down to ballet on a part time basis, taking 2 days/week instead of 4 +. On her days off she swapped ballet class for jazz at a closer studio, so she is still dancing enough for her liking, just not so much ballet and no pointe. 

I think she would have a hard time taking ballet at this other studio, because although she enjoys it, it’s not the same level of instruction that she’s used to. On the other hand the downside of staying at the ballet school is that she definitely won’t progress at the rate of her classmates, so that’s just something we made sure she understood when we discussed it.

 So far she is happy and seems to have the best of both worlds. I see her enjoying ballet even more now because it’s no longer preventing her from pursuing other interests :) 

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newballetmom

Thank you for your reply, JBallet. It sounds like our daughters are on a similar path. I think for now we might just back off the gas a bit and drop a class and see how that goes. 

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DanceMumNYC

Hi newballetmom! My DD just turned 11 and at this age, it is perfectly normal for kids to cut down, or completely stop, extracurricular activities. Even if she doesn't want to be a professional ballerina, it's great that she's found something she loves to do. Going the pre-pro route is definitely a huge commitment and sacrifice (time, money, etc!), especially when the child doesn't want dance as a career. Yet, I honestly don't think a "dolly dinkle" is the answer based on how you've described your DD. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have her take a trial class & see how she responds to that school, but overall I think the level of training may differ so vastly that your DD may not enjoy ballet/dance there.

My DD is very serious too & ballet has always fit her personality. She attends a ballet studio, as well as another school for other dance genres (tap, jazz). People at the other school always question why she doesn't just take ballet there with everything else. They couldn't understand that the training was so different (and off!) compared to what DD receives at her ballet studio. When I asked her if she wanted to take ballet at this school, she looked into their ballet classes & responded, "No way!" This school is great for other genres, but just not ballet. And if a child loves ballet so much, I don't think they'll be happy or satisfied with a dolly dinkle level of ballet training, especially if they've already been exposed to the opposite.

That said, I would suggest staying at the great school she's in now rather than switching to a dinkle. Since your DD made it clear that she doesn't want to cut down on classes, I would suggest trying to maintain the current schedule for as long as possible, without adding any more classes next year or enforcing pointe. If you absolutely must scale back, I agree that dropping 1 class at a time is a good place to start. 

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AnastasiaBeav

Newballetmom, what did you end up doing?

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