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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Late start... what next

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My daughter is 11 and took pre-ballet as a young kiddo, had a break, and then started formal ballet training at age 10 at a ballet academy. 

She loves ballet, works hard in class and works on stretching and different techniques regularly outside of class. She did the full summer intensive last summer and will do another this summer. She would do classes every day if she could. As far as ability goes - I don't know. She's long and flexible, has endurance and focus. She seems to be doing what is asked of her with ease (if she's struggling, I can't see it but I'm not a dancer).

I'm afraid she's too late to really do much in dance though. Is that correct? The academy she is at is only doing class for her twice a week for an hour each time and I just don't feel like that's enough to make progress. The academy doesn't offer other ballet classes for her level - this is it. I understand they don't need to shape their program to match her and I understand the constraints teachers have but I want to be sure we do everything we can to help her.

I wasn't a dancer so I'm not really sure how to help her. Do we just keep doing what the academy asks and not anything extra outside of it or is there something else I should be sending her to? 

I guess my main question is what should I be doing for a late start but motivated ballet student??

She really wants to join their jr. company and eventually company (this is a program that goes through 12th grade, not an actual professional program). Even so, is that even possible for someone starting as late as she did? 



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Hi, Stephanie-Marie.  Welcome!  You’ve come to the right place and we are happy to have you join us!  Please take a little time to look around the Board to see what all we have to offer, drop in on threads that interest you, nose around the various Forums, and just get a good feel for the world of ballet training.   We do ask that you take the time to read through our Rules and Policies.

The short answer to your question is “No, it is not too late.”   She will just need to get good quality training and focus on what she wants to learn and get out of dance.  It may or may not end up as a professional career (and yes, there is time for that with the right training, some luck, proper tongue placement on the right day,  with the right artistic director, with the moon and the sun aligned in the proper houses, etc.)

To start, check out the Pinned Topic in this Forum in which our esteemed Teacher-Moderators set forth some Age Appropriate Guidelines for Pre-Pro Ballet Training.  That will give you minimums to shoot for in terms of training hours.  If her current school does not have sufficient hours to offer, you might want to consider looking around for a school near you that does.  The most important aspect of training is the quality of the instruction.

Ballet is built slowly on foundational building blocks.  Each block must be in place before the next skill is layered upon it.  Therefore, it is important to get very good foundational skills in place.  Typically, in the early years of training, it is best to get the training from one school (although it may entail multiple teachers grounded in the same basic philosophy so that they compliment and reinforce the muscle memory in the same manner).   Later, as the dancer develops, mixing instructional styles and philosophies is less of a problem and eventually becomes desirable.

Reading through many of our threads here will give you a better feel for what you might want to look for or how to evaluate your DD’s present situation.

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Thank you so much, Dancemaven!!! You have been incredibly helpful. 



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