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DanceMumNYC

Value of online/Zoom SI for younger dancers?

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DanceMumNYC

I would like to revisit this topic, keeping in mind all that’s happening in the world right now. I know many have said SIs aren’t necessary for younger dancers/tweens & that they need time to just be a kid. I know many have said the young dancer would be just fine in the fall if they didn’t dance all summer, & that it would be equally beneficial if they stayed active in other things, like swimming, instead.

Now that we’re quarantined, swimming isn’t an option for us personally. DD12 also outgrew her bike & the shops are still closed so we won’t be able to get a new one for some time. Summer camps are cancelled... What I’m getting at is that those other physical activities that would normally take the place of, or complement, summer dance for younger dancers are no longer options for many of us.

So, I am curious to know if those who don’t think SIs are beneficial for younger dancers still have the same feelings given the circumstances. Is it okay to still take the summer off—not just from dance, but also from other physical activities due to the quarantine—or is it better to sign up for some virtual SI? Does anyone think virtual SIs have any value in a young dancer’s training at this time?

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AmyMary

I am feeling this is a good time to take a break from dance, reflect and relax. Great for moms too! Our studio is having very low key summer classes with small groups. I would personally never pay a sizeable sum for an online SI. It may be worth it if your DD has a studio space at home with flooring, Barre, and most of all privacy. We don't have that luxury of space.

Here is another thought. My DD really needs to work on flexibility and turnout. She has been practicing those things at home with free YouTube videos from renowned dancers she follows.

We are looking forward to doing an SI in person next year but I'm fine with her taking class or free videos right now.

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DanceMumNYC

Thank you for responding. I thought “something is better than nothing” & planned to sign DD up for a virtual program for 2-3 weeks, since that’s the duration of the Junior SIs she attended in the past. The rates are heavily reduced, so I found myself conflicted as to which program to choose since she was accepted into 4. I asked parents from our studio & many of them opted out of a summer dance program, which made me reconsider things. They said virtual SIs aren’t valuable since there’s a lack of home space, hands on corrections, etc. 

Yet, I think this is an important age because they only have 1 year before performing arts high schools’ auditions. I’m worried the kids will really not be where they’re expected to be by that time, since we have no idea how long studios will remain closed, & there’s supposed to be a second wave in the fall/winter. I guess you’re right that they can use this time to work on specifics (for free!), but motivating DD to do anything virtual without a live instructor & peers presents another challenge! Lol

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AdventurerMom

DanceMumNYC

We opted out of the virtual classes just because the lack of corrections in Zoom classes was getting my DD so frustrated with ballet.

My daughter had had two in studio, no contact private lessons last month and just having proper space, flooring and a teacher who can pick apart and really adjust your stance (even without hands on, just by motioning toward you and explaining exactly what her muscles needed to be doing differently to get back into alignment) was so much better than Zoom.

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GingerMama

My DD is all about dance and really wanted to keep dancing when her studio closed. At first it was various live classes and then different Zooms from various studios. There were definitely some she liked and others she did not. Zoom is not her favorite but she’d rather do that than not take a class so she’s doing more this summer. I think the value is what you make of it. I actually think DD has improved a lot since she started virtual classes while stuck at home. I think she’s been very motivated to dance however she can so it’s working for her. There’s definitely a lot less options for other things this summer so I’m glad she still has the the chance to do something she loves. 

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DanceMumNYC

AdventurerMom, that sounds great! Our studios here in NYC are to remain closed until at least late-July, yet many of our arts centers & ballet companies already announced remaining closed through the fall. So, I’m not really sure when we’ll be allowed back in a studio even for privates. 

GingerMama, I agree that it’s great they can still do what they love, though not in the most ideal way. May I ask what kind of improvements you saw & how many classes per day is your DD taking? Is it a young dancer SI or just individual classes? 

I believe it would’ve been a better experience if my DD was somewhere between the ages 7-9 & taking fewer classes. But some of the young dancer programs we’re looking into merged with the teen SI, so they’re a bit more intense although they will be grouped by age. Asking pre-teens/teens to attend a Zoom SI for 6-7 hours/day, while taking away favorite classes like variations & partnering, is a lot on them. I’m also worried that our studios will remain closed this fall & they’ll be expected to have virtual classes then too. So Zoom from March-December...I wish we had more information, because if that’s truly the case, I’m thinking of having DD cut back somewhat this summer. 

 

 

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GingerMama

DanceMumNYC 6-7 hours a day would be way too much for my kids I think. My oldest has trouble with staying interested in Zoom but he’s excited  about doing a Shakespeare virtual camp that’s 3 hours a day and even that I think will be pushing his limits on staying engaged virtually. DD has been doing live classes that range from 2-3.5 hours everyday since March and since those are in the afternoons she has been doing an hour of dance to recorded classes in the mornings along with her daily practice. She usually does the morning dance before starting school. She tried a lot that she had no interest in until we found the ones she wanted to keep doing. It’s been fun to see how much she has improved since she’s doing all the dancing at home and not in a studio anymore. She’s definitely just looking better and more graceful. Once she really felt better about how she executed certain moves she could move on to fixing different things like how she held up her arms or pointed her feet. It’s also been great for her ballet education in terms of expanding her vocabulary and nailing all the terms. She moved into tweaking how she does them with minor corrections that have really helped. Some teachers are better than others on Zoom with corrections but she really loves improving and really wants to perfect all the moves. She’s doing much harder things than where she was when she started. One of the teachers noticed and did a virtual placement with her and recommended skipping ahead of the next level so I do think learning can be done virtually. It’s obviously not the best and DD can get frustrated with it but for her it’s better than not having the instruction and it’s been a great way to do something with so much else not an option. Have you thought about virtual privates? We started doing those with her favorite teachers for short sessions and I think the prices are a steal for how much value she’s getting out of them. It’s been a great way for her to get feedback and really importantly for her to get things to work on. She works on them throughout the week and then shows it the next week and adds on something new. She also gets different strength and flexibility exercises to add in to her daily routine. She does all those on her own and really enjoys having that to work on and practice. That might be an option if you can’t find something that would be a better fit than all day. I know for my DD she is loving having things she can do everyday even if it’s just by herself. 

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AmyMary

I didn't realize so many studios were still closed through fall. Ours did reopen recently with a max of five dancers per class...so SI doesn't seem necessary but I can see the dilemma if your home studio is still completely closed.

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DanceMumNYC

Thanks for sharing your experiences & input. I didn’t consider privates because I didn’t know if they’ll be valuable either at this time, & the private teachers most of our studio’s kids use aren’t offering discounts. At this point, we are thinking a focus on strength & flexibility training will be more valuable than a virtual SI.

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AnastasiaBeav

DD10 decided not to take any SIs via Zoom this summer. Her home studio is open to limited in-person sessions but our county is experiencing a spike in positive COVID-19 cases so we are being super cautious. She stretches every day and takes a weekly class via Zoom but anything over 2 hrs on Zoom and she cannot stay focused.

This is a very light dance summer - nothing like we expected!

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AmyMary

That sounds like a cautious plan to me. I think these young girls will be fine with a break this summer. I feel really bad for the older teens who are truly preparing for a career in these precarious times.  I'm grateful mine is only 13!

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Noodles

Please forgive the intrusion, my dancer is over 13 but I just wanted to share some food for thought... a younger child dancing via zoom without appropriate corrections could lead to developing bad habits. There is nothing to be lost in just having a summer (as abnormal is it may be this year!). Most dancers are in the same boat. Older dancers are under a bit of pressure to maintain fitness but younger dancers are fortunate to have time on their side. 

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dancingjet

Noodles, I have had similar thoughts regarding corrections and habits. 

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DanceMumNYC

Thank you, Noodles. My DD12 was supposed to attend a 3-week SI from about 9:00/9:30am-3:30/4pm. I was shocked when they announced that it would be held online this year...with the same hours scheduled! That worried me to say the least. We then considered shorter 2- & 3-week programs with about 3 classes/day, until we realized that Zoom may well continue into the fall & winter. Talk about virtual burnout! I know hands on corrections are needed, but I didn’t really take the time to think about building bad habits & its (often long-term) consequences. Thank you for adding that perspective. 

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AnastasiaBeav

+1 Noodles

DD's audition-only SI went to online and open to anyone who wanted to participate. Since it was at a school she never attended I figured the likelihood of it actually benefiting her was really low. There is no way a teacher is going to be able to give proper corrections via video with 50+ students. It seems no better than just following videos.  DD has done well with online private lessons with a teacher who knows her. The teacher has her write down the corrections so my DD can keep track. But I can see dancing via Zoom is just draining the love from her so she is doing the minimum amount she needs to continue in her program.

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