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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What to do year round?


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My daughter is in an arts high school. They are virtual like most. The Angst we face is what to do next year? Her school is great and has the name factor. She will most likely not go back to face to face classes or any performances until January or later. If I take her out, she could attend face to face at some point when fitness studios reopen in our state and possibly have performance opportunities. She could not go back to her arts high school once she withdraws. We can’t afford to do both. What would you do?

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I know it depends on the state, but am curious as to why you believe ballet / dance classes and performances could happen through “fitness studios” while not being allowed through ballet schools or studios? I’m in a state where gyms are to reopen, but am not sure what that means for dance studios versus ballet schools. 

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Ballet studios in our state fall under fitness studios. Her high school, she is in the dance program, falls under public schools. Fitness studios open in phase 2 which is roughly August/September projection. Public school may remain modified to academics only once or twice per week while the remainder of school will remain virtual until we are in “green” or phase 3 of reopening.

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HarfordDanceMom, it is difficult to give you advice on this because there are many things we don't know about your DD and the programs your are considering.  However, here are some things to consider:

  • How old is your DD? - If this is her senior year, it might be important to get her consistent regular training if she is preparing for a career in dance.  Would the high school or studio be better at providing this?
  • Where is your DD in her training? - Did she start late and is she trying to catch up?  Is she experienced enough to be able to maintain her technique and abilities virtually or does she need the presence of a teacher?  Which program is better designed to meet her training needs (now and in the future)?
  • What is the quality of training at both places? - You and she chose the performing arts school for a reason.  Is the ballet studio similar in quality to the high school?  Would she want to return to the high school next year or would she be okay with remaining at the ballet studio?
  • What are the academic options if she leaves the performing arts school? - Is the regular public high school a good fit for your DD?  Would she need to attend a different private school or do online school? 
  • Is there another ballet studio that would allow your DD to train there but be more flexible if her high school opens back up?
  • Many times dance teachers teach at multiple locations, is there some other studio where you can find the performing art's teacher(s)?  Or can they do in person private or semi-private lessons at another studio to supplement the online classes?

Since this is a personal decision, with many factors at play, I don't think anyone can give you a firm answer on what you should do, but I hope these questions can help you and your DD make the choice(s) yourselves.


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Another thought - the plans for Phase 2, green reopening, etc may very well change at any time.  If cases increase again, which is the only projection I've seen modeled by epidemiologists, the current plans for re-opening could be scrapped or changed completely.  It's entirely possible that all classes will be virtual for some or all of next school year as they were this spring.

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She is 16. Will be going into 11th grade. We discussed homeschooling or regular high school.

The instruction at our local studio is very good, but most kids go on to academic colleges instead of dance after high school. Their ensemble placed 2nd at our regional YAGP and it is a classical conservatory based approach.

She developed anxiety at her arts high school and they have held her back a level all year because she had some panic attacks during class at the beginning of the year, whereas she has never had them before when she was at a studio and her anxiety and related rashes have gone away completely.

Junior year is the first year they have performing opportunities at school and it looks like those may not happen at all. They are offering 2 ballet and 2 modern classes on google meet per week. Very basic and no pointe. 

At our local studio, she was taking Saturday classes and they have her in the most advanced level and really push her. They are offering zoom ballet classes at her level without grande ellegro and such 3 times per week plus pointe and modern and are moving to offer outdoor class in the next couple of weeks. She is doing Saturday ballet and pointe with them in addition to her high school dance classes.

Dance space in our home is limited to a 6 foot by 6 foot section of the living room with Marley, a barre and a tripod for her iPhone.

She is not sure what she wants to do after high school, but is very good at math and science. She loves dance and the atmosphere of art school, but the Dance teachers at her art school are more like drill sergeants and it is not fun. It is all about perfecting technique and artistry for grades. 

It is a tough decision, that we have to make by August 1.

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HarfordDanceMom, I felt sad reading about anxiety created at your DD school of the arts and academics.  What does she want to do?  Your last paragraph kind of says it all.  Drill sargents have their place but I'm not sure it should be in ballet.  You do have some tough decisions to make but you have some time at least.  As the time draws closer, I think you and your DD will be able to sort out how to proceed in conjunction with were we are with the virus.  Please let us know how it turns out for your DD.  At the least I am wondering if the school will allow a hold for you until in person instruction can happen.  These are unusual circumstances that may require the school to allow for exceptions to policy.  Wishing you both the best

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