Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

WA, Australia ballet mum, no ballet experience


LEM

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

Our daughter is 13yo, loves her ballet and contemporary. She wants to dance at the Opera de Paris and also go to the Grand Prix de Lausanne. She still has a long road ahead of her of course but she has big dreams and It is great. Our finances are not as big as her dreams so not sure how this will pan out but I guess if she is good enough for all that we will find a way 🙂 I am just worried that when she turns 14-15 she changes her mind and then what... what about school and her future? To start or not to start full time? She was accepted in a school last year but we worried about the education side of things... also it is a big investment . One has to be sure it is the path they really want to pursue.  Is it wise to wait she is more mature to make this decision? My mind is all over the place. I would like her to follow her dreams but worried about everything hahah I am sure I am not alone.  Hence why I signed up here, to learn from experience and educate myself. Thank you.

Link to comment

I look forward to hearing more answers, hopefully from fellow Aussie parents as the ballet situation is different there I imagine. However, it's pretty universal that all ballet programs in any country are going to require students continue with academics through high school graduation that they complete around their dance hours. Some professional schools in US just start after school hours and dance into the evening, and some are daytime hours that require homeschooling or online programs. Even with dance training, your student will still be preparing for university if that is the route she chooses to take instead of dance.  At graduation from even professional ballet schools, the majority of students go to college for other things, while a smaller number pursue training programs of college ballet programs. In US there are strong dance programs at university as well. 

While they will academically be well prepared for college- the ballet girls are generally pretty focused on academics even as they are on ballet- they will give up usual high school activities usually, football games (in US)- and whatever the equivalent usual high school social things are in AU.  There's a lot of sacrifice to complete school and the ballet hours required.  Best wishes and enjoy perusing this site!

Link to comment

Thank you 2Busy, interesting and it helps to thing about the whole ballet/academics aspects of things.

Link to comment

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, LEM. I hope you'll find some useful general information about the different training paths towards a ballet career, in whatever location. But sometimes Western Australia can feel a long way away from anywhere where ballet is more accepted, although there is excellent training available in Perth, as far as I know (but WA is huge so Perth maybe a day's drive for you!)

In Australia, there are some very reputable state or federal-funded ballet schools for pre-university vocational training. The Australian Ballet School, for example, runs an outreach programme of associates - is that available to you in WA? It might be worth seeing your DD in context of her peers. With potential and good local training, a lot of Australian dancers don't start more intensive training until they're 15 or 16 or so. So there is time!

As for her ambitions - those are marvellous dreams for a 13 year old, but as she progresses in her training, I'm sure she'll come to see a much broader range of possibilities for life as a dancer!

Link to comment

I second the comments from Redbookish

Incremental steps is a logical way to go! There are schools in Perth with students that have done very well.  The teachers are in the position to provide personalised advice.  

It is fine, and very common, to change your mind along the way.  Whichever pathway you follow will include academics.

Most 13 year olds will be going to their normal school by day and dancing afterwards. They seek out the best teachers and gradually increase their hours.

If the commitment and talent and money is there, then some students attend fulltime ballet schools but do Distance Ed.as well at night! The ballet schools that offer this spell out how it works with their program.  The best way to understand this is to go to summer schools and audition with a range of reputable Australian schools.  Ask a lot of  question as you are doing now.

Your DD and her teachers will not know if she should audition for PdL until she is 15.  Overseas summer schools are not an option for quite a long time to come.

My litmus test has been...is it ok for my daughter to do what she is doing right now, even if she never progresses to the next level or a career.

'OK' means financially, emotionally, academically, socially...

Link to comment

Hi Lem,

Welcome to BT4D! There are a few of us Aussies on the board so you are in good company.  I second all of the advice above.  When you say she has been accepted into a school, do you mean a full-time dance training program? Or a school that offers dance and academics.  At 13, there is no need to be doing only full-time ballet training...

Link to comment

Hi LEM 🙋‍♀️ 

Fellow West Aussie mum here 😊

Being just a couple of years down the road from where you are, I can honestly say that I’ve had all of the same questions and worries! It can feel quite burdensome when weighing up the pros and cons of these important decisions. I think it’s helpful to keep in mind though that there is not one ‘right path’, each child and each family are unique, and thus their paths to achieve their goals will be unique too.
 

I do agree with much of what has been said above- it is possible to receive great training in WA whilst also getting a full education, especially at 13yrs old. There are a number of excellent ballet schools in WA who provide top-notch training while their students also study academics either via distance education (for full time dance students) or traditional on-site education during the day (for after school training programs). I am a firm believer that it is important not to put all of your eggs in one basket too soon. While many ballet schools in WA accept full time students at 13yrs old, it is not entirely necessary to begin at that age. As others have suggested, there are some extra programmes that would do well to supplement a quality after school dance program, such as the WA Ballet  Masterclasses and the Australian Ballet School ITP (Interstate) Program, both of which your daughter would need to audition for. I assume you’ve probably already come across these programs!

I guess I want to reassure you also that your decisions are never set in stone 😊 If you decide to allow your daughter to begin full time training, it might be wonderful! But if it isn’t, it’s absolutely fine to choose to return to traditional school and after-school ballet training, and perhaps re-visit the idea of full-time training later down the road. Likewise, just because an offer to a school has been presented to your daughter, remember you are free to say yes, no or not yet (the later would probably mean re-auditioning at a later stage but that is ok!). We chose the ‘not yet’ option for our daughter when an offer was made when she was 14, and then said ‘yes’ when she was 15 and we’re so glad we did. 

I’m happy to help if I can LEM 😊 Please feel free to ask more specific questions if you would like to. 
 

Edited by Orange Blossom
Link to comment
10 hours ago, Orange Blossom said:

I guess I want to reassure you also that your decisions are never set in stone 😊 If you decide to allow your daughter to begin full time training, it might be wonderful! But if it isn’t, it’s absolutely fine to choose to return to traditional school and after-school ballet training, and perhaps re-visit the idea of full-time training later down the road. Likewise, just because an offer to a school has been presented to your daughter, remember you are free to say yes, no or not yet (the later would probably mean re-auditioning at a later stage but that is ok!). We chose the ‘not yet’ option for our daughter when an offer was made when she was 14, and then said ‘yes’ when she was 15 and we’re so glad we did. 

 

I wholeheartedly support this thinking.  Over the last 10 years in Australia I have noticed a very, very worrying trend of a "we're going to miss the booooooooat!!!!" mentality 🥺.  I am seeing dancers younger and younger thrown into fulltime (FT) ballet training with a heavy academic load on the side - and for what reason? 

Yes - our children/students need good, solid, foundational training that will set them up for a pathway for a career.  No - this does not mean endless classes, private coaching, summer schools, plus throw in some competitions for 'experience' too.  Oh yes, and school too.  Let's stop killing our kids with kindness in an effort to try and help them.  You will not 'miss the boat' by not doing a few summer schools, not having a competition solo, and by not immediately starting intense training at 13.  It's not fair, it's not safe, and it's not sustainable IMO.

Apart from the Australian Ballet School (ABS), none of our companies and few international companies want students in their affiliate programs before 17.  They then train them to produce the type and style of dancers they want.  This means that dancers who have been trained well can still look at taking up fulltime training at 15 or 16 when they are a bit more mature in body and mind.  I'm not saying go from 2 classes a week to FT at 16 and you'll be fine - don't get me wrong.  But it's ok to take a graduated approach.  There is such a thing as 'over-training' so why aim for 30 hours a week at 13, when you could do 15, and add a few hours each year over the next few years?

In the last few years our school had had 4 students accepted into ABS between age 14 and 16, none of whom were doing FT training at the time.  We've also had dozens accepted into company affiliated programs in Australia and overseas at age 17 and 18 after doing a few years of FT.  It's ok - the boat is still tied to the dock! And if it does sail off, guess what - there are other boats around.

I'll put my soapbox away now....

 

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/15/2021 at 9:05 AM, Miss Persistent said:

Hi Lem,

Welcome to BT4D! There are a few of us Aussies on the board so you are in good company.  I second all of the advice above.  When you say she has been accepted into a school, do you mean a full-time dance training program? Or a school that offers dance and academics.  At 13, there is no need to be doing only full-time ballet training...

We live in Perth and she audition for a full time ballet school and was accepted. The cost was too much for us unfortunately 😞

Link to comment
On 3/16/2021 at 8:58 PM, Orange Blossom said:

Hi LEM 🙋‍♀️ 

Fellow West Aussie mum here 😊

Being just a couple of years down the road from where you are, I can honestly say that I’ve had all of the same questions and worries! It can feel quite burdensome when weighing up the pros and cons of these important decisions. I think it’s helpful to keep in mind though that there is not one ‘right path’, each child and each family are unique, and thus their paths to achieve their goals will be unique too.
 

I do agree with much of what has been said above- it is possible to receive great training in WA whilst also getting a full education, especially at 13yrs old. There are a number of excellent ballet schools in WA who provide top-notch training while their students also study academics either via distance education (for full time dance students) or traditional on-site education during the day (for after school training programs). I am a firm believer that it is important not to put all of your eggs in one basket too soon. While many ballet schools in WA accept full time students at 13yrs old, it is not entirely necessary to begin at that age. As others have suggested, there are some extra programmes that would do well to supplement a quality after school dance program, such as the WA Ballet  Masterclasses and the Australian Ballet School ITP (Interstate) Program, both of which your daughter would need to audition for. I assume you’ve probably already come across these programs!

I guess I want to reassure you also that your decisions are never set in stone 😊 If you decide to allow your daughter to begin full time training, it might be wonderful! But if it isn’t, it’s absolutely fine to choose to return to traditional school and after-school ballet training, and perhaps re-visit the idea of full-time training later down the road. Likewise, just because an offer to a school has been presented to your daughter, remember you are free to say yes, no or not yet (the later would probably mean re-auditioning at a later stage but that is ok!). We chose the ‘not yet’ option for our daughter when an offer was made when she was 14, and then said ‘yes’ when she was 15 and we’re so glad we did. 

I’m happy to help if I can LEM 😊 Please feel free to ask more specific questions if you would like to. 
 

Ask ou Orange Blossom! Yes our DD auditioned for the master program and was accepted in a separate program created from this audition. She does extra classes and private lessons for her solo ballet and solo contemporary. But we have to limit all of it as it goes up financially.

 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, LEM said:

We live in Perth and she audition for a full time ballet school and was accepted. The cost was too much for us unfortunately 😞

Personally, I do not think there is any need for students to be training in full-time ballet at 13.... They are going to grow, change, and be susceptible to injury.  There is a thread about appropriate age based training here

 

Link to comment
15 hours ago, Miss Persistent said:

Personally, I do not think there is any need for students to be training in full-time ballet at 13.... They are going to grow, change, and be susceptible to injury.  There is a thread about appropriate age based training here

 

Thank you 🙏 I do share the same view but when you are told girls are going full time earlier and earlier and as a ballet mum you don’t know anything except not wanting to miss out for your DD + peer pressure of other girls going full time at the same age, you start to wonder...thank you all for your input, this is a great group!

Link to comment

I would add that some students in Australia move to full time or semi full time for reasons other than just ballet!

I know 3 young students who were doing home schooling or Distance Ed. alongside their part time ballet.  They then moved into full time ballet at a young age and kept doing their academics in this way.  Sometimes when you see young full time ballet students you may imagine that they made a big decision to leave a mainstream school for the sake of their dreams for a ballet career.  That may not be the case!

Mainstream bricks & mortar schooling is not for everyone.  Australia has a long history of Distance Education and home schooling.  It is accessible.  Distance Ed Schools allow some students, e.g. those in dance programs, to watch the online lessons at night rather than attend the live daytime classes. In addition, some children have learning issues or disabilities that lead their parents to seek out alternative options.  If such a child is good at ballet, full time programs can provide an environment that supports that child's holistic development.  

As an observer, you may not know or ever be told what went into the decision to go full time.

Link to comment
On 3/27/2021 at 4:55 PM, balletfan said:

Mainstream bricks & mortar schooling is not for everyone.  Australia has a long history of Distance Education and home schooling.  It is accessible.  Distance Ed Schools allow some students, e.g. those in dance programs, to watch the online lessons at night rather than attend the live daytime classes. In addition, some children have learning issues or disabilities that lead their parents to seek out alternative options.

I have no problems with this ------^^

 

But, I do have problems with this ----vv (Not with you LEM, but that you are made to feel like this)

 

On 3/27/2021 at 1:08 PM, LEM said:

when you are told girls are going full time earlier and earlier and as a ballet mum you don’t know anything except not wanting to miss out for your DD + peer pressure of other girls going full time at the same age, you start to wonder...

It is the ballet equivalent of panic buying toilet paper.  Unnecessary and unhelpful pressures that are becoming more and more common.

I teach at a big school with a part time and a fulltime program, and kids who do distance education.  I get it.  I did it myself as a teenager. 

I'm not saying that fulltime or distance ed is not a good thing - I'm saying that if we keep going the way we are going we will be ripping children out of school at age 9 soon.  It is getting ridiculous.  As an examiner I see a lot of students all around the world, and in Australia I am seeing more and more intense training at an age where I do not believe it is physically appropriate - all so we don't 'miss the boat' that we're not really sure the child will want to be on by the time they are 19....

And if I'm brutally honest - I think a lot of this is being driven by money.  Some schools and dare I say, some companies have worked out the money train of getting kids/parents to pay for programs, summer schools, seminars, masterclasses, private coaching, endless pilates and more and it creates a feeling of panic that a child will be 'left behind' if they are not doing it all. 

I am advocating for good, well managed, but staged training for our students.  Age appropriate and manageable for all involved.  You can't 'stockpile' ballet training the same you can stockpile toilet rolls..... It has to be the right amount at the right time.

Link to comment
52 minutes ago, Miss Persistent said:

I'm not saying that fulltime or distance ed is not a good thing - I'm saying that if we keep going the way we are going we will be ripping children out of school at age 9 soon.  It is getting ridiculous.  As an examiner I see a lot of students all around the world, and in Australia I am seeing more and more intense training at an age where I do not believe it is physically appropriate - all so we don't 'miss the boat' that we're not really sure the child will want to be on by the time they are 19....

And if I'm brutally honest - I think a lot of this is being driven by money.  Some schools and dare I say, some companies have worked out the money train of getting kids/parents to pay for programs, summer schools, seminars, masterclasses, private coaching, endless pilates and more and it creates a feeling of panic that a child will be 'left behind' if they are not doing it all. 

I am advocating for good, well managed, but staged training for our students.  Age appropriate and manageable for all involved.  You can't 'stockpile' ballet training the same you can stockpile toilet rolls..... It has to be the right amount at the right time.

I agree, Miss Persistent!  Even with teachers we respect, these ballet schools are of course driven by money.  They also want to emulate or prepare students for the rigour of training in senior years at top schools e.g. John Cranko.  The problem is that Australian classes are based on level of technique so young teenagers are placed alongside older teenagers!

The full time dance hours are too long for young bodies.  It leaves too little time for academics.  Some ballet schools in the US have been able to arrange schedules with local academic schools to allow a more appropriate mix of ballet and school.  This is starting to happen more often in Australia but it is difficult for the these academic schools to accommodate more than a few hours per week.

That means that parents have to individually negotiate a reduction in load for younger full time students.  Costs stays the same.  Maybe more and more parents will start to push for programs that better meet their children's need!  

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...