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Dance Magazine: CPYB methods

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I apologize if I am posting this in the wrong spot, but...


I bought this month's issue of Dance Magazine and was quite amazed to hear about the choreography project at CPYB (ChoreoPlan, I think, or something like that).


(Leigh Witchel participated.)


For me, the amazing thing was the apparently very advanced ability of 10- and 11-year old children. Based on my observations to date, most 10 and 11-year olds are not expected to execute sophisticated choreography, and I guess I'm wondering how CPYB "does" this.


Do they train children in a different way? Do they just attract some remarkably talented children and advance them at a remarkable rate?

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Fendrock, I saw that article too and thought it sounded like a very interesting experience for all concerned. I posted it and it was moved to:


However, I think your questions are appropriate here! :)


I can only speculate about the reasons these young dancers are so accomplished, however I am sure others who have first hand knowledge will be happy to oblige by answering!

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The reason why these children are so strong is because they do take a minimum of 2 classes per day, unlike other school in America CPYB is more like the big European School, it always amazes me when parents ask me if it's not to much 3 times a week, I always ask, is you child serious about it and wants to become a professional dancer? well how many hours do you thing a young child that wants to become a skater, swimmer tennis player etc, train a day. So when a child get the proper hour of training then yes they can dance...........;)

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I wonder what the two classes a day are - at that age? Isn't it true that it is not a good idea to take two technique classes in a row? Are these 10 and 11 year olds en pointe? Granted ability is all relative, as is physical maturity.


Often the problem in this country seems to be that they do not offer classes everyday for lower age groups... :)

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the reason for that is that you wouldn't fill the class, in order to train a child properly he/she should come everyday, otherwise it is not fair for the other that do, a child that come everyday will progress faster, but the thing is to make understand parents that twice a week is not enough especially for a ten year old

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My daughter's class is composed of 9-11 year olds and they have technique class everyday but weds. and sun., plus rehearsals. Also stuff like modern,character, etc. This is not the norm? Its the same path that my son followed when he was in the younger classes. The kids in PA still look very talented to me.

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I'm afraid that five technique classes a week for a pre-teen is far from the norm, especially in rural and suburban schools. It shouldn't be, of course, but so many parents are trying to provide an "enriched" cultural and social environment and lifestyle for their children, that they often take a smorgasbord approach, providing many different things to do, while not providing a course that will give the child mastery of any one thing. I field a lot of questions, both on- and off-board about my belief that ballet requires a concentration not common in many other disciplines. In the end, the kids end up with an "instant gratification" and "I can have it all, easy" attitude which leads them to ask questions often involving how to cut corners in order to get what they want.:mad:

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I joined the Paris Opera when I was 10 and I had 2 dance class from monday to saturday, half of saturday and sunday off, we had to rehearse also, if you have to be in a competitive field I don't think it's going to ballet class 3 times a week enough, I never heard of someone winning the gold with 4hour of training per week


The Kids in CPYB do not cut the corner either, the training from the vry young age is exemplary and Marcia Dale Weary is the most amazing teacher. Unlike other school they are placed accordingly to their weakness and when it comes to placement whinning parents will not get their way like unfortunately it happens in many school:mad:

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I am still curious about what the two classes are each day for students who are not yet on pointe? As BW mentioned earlier, we have been told that more than one technique class per day for this age group is not in the best interest of growing bodies. Is the second class in another dance form such as character or modern?

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When my daughter was that age at Nutmeg, she was taking a daily technique class and then also had, about 3x a week, repertoire or modern classes. I don't recall her having regular pointe classes till she was 13 or so and even then, I don't think it was daily.


Rehearsals were at night and on Sat. afternoons.

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my guess would be that one class would be ballet technique, and the other would be something like stretch&strength, historical/character, or modern. I would also guess that the schedule would vary, with ballet every day and the others sprinkled across the week.


I remember looking at the schedule for the younger students at the national ballet school in Toronto. This would be typical of their dance (although I don't think they do madern at such a young age). They would also have a music class several times a week.


Where I live it would be quite uncommon to find 10 or 11 year olds receiving intensive ballet instruction. I live just far enough away from the big city that it is quite impractical to travel there on a regular basis. Classes that I have been able to find end fairly late at night, which would get us home on a school night at 9:30 or 10. Other classes start too early and are impossible for a child dependent on the schedule of a working parent. Most of the dance studios in my little town do competitions. The 10-11 year olds can and often do dance many hours per week, but probably would have only 2 technique classes in ballet per week. Teachers sometimes find it difficult to keep the students' motivation in ballet classes (or so they tell me)...


From a developmental perspective students this age may not be ready to make the committment serious ballet training demands...but then again, perhaps I'm wrong here..those who have posted thus far seem to have had experiences quite different than my own.

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Guest Leigh Witchel

Someone with more first hand knowledge, please correct me, but I think it's two technique classes rather than different classes. My experience there is as a choreographer, not a teacher, student or parent, but from that viewpoint, the training is impressive.

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And that's the way it should be, has anyone heard me when I say that ballet is exactly like training as a gymnast, ice skater and so on and so forth, don't you listen the side story during olympic times? Hello.....................

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Guest Leigh Witchel

[Moderator beanie on]


On this issue (how many classes a day a youngster should take) we're probably going to be able to find people with good solid evidence to support several different points of view. It's probably best to listen to the arguments, look at the evidence and then draw your own conclusions. We probably won't settle this one here!


[Moderator beanie off]


Embarrasingly enough, I have to admit I haven't yet read the article, and I'm in it! I gotta go find a copy. I think all the choreographers had a similar experience; it was a very concentrated period. I made a 15 minute ballet to Stravinsky in 8 days, with a few 5 hour days thrown in. I try if at all possible to not choreograph new material more than three hours a day, the ideas get progressively worse for me after that point. The interesting change from the first Choreoplan I did in 1999 was that Alan and Maurinda expanded the number of students participating from around 24 to closer to 50 - we didn't just get the top level, but a few levels down. It made sense, though, the point of Choreoplan for CPYB is to give their students a chance to work with choreographers. For me, it was interesting to see what their dancers beyond the cream of the crop looked like. I do think that the amount of classes and the discipline of the place makes as much of a difference as the pedagogy. I really liked the kids there and recall them with great fondness. (I stay in touch with a few, too!)


The funniest memory? Leta Biasucci, a preternaturally talented 11 year old, losing a baby tooth in the middle of my rehearsal and simply going on. I realized I was dealing with kids - but some of them were so focused one forgot, and it was incidents like those which brought that fact back to you full force.


This year's Choreoplan will be in Mid-October, coincidentally at the same time as my concert :(


[impressario cap on]


If you're in Pennsylvania, I hope you'll show your support for CPYB! If you're in NYC, I hope you'll come to MY concert!


[impressario cap off]

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