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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is the investment worth it?


cupcakesandcoffee

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Hello! I have a 14 DD who has been dancing since 4. She lost 2 years (12-13) due to pandemic and studio closure. Even then, we kept paying for private classes at our home twice a week for flexibility and strength not technique.

starting last fall, she went intensive and she is training 8 hours a week of classes plus 1.5 hours of privates four times a week.

We just came back from SI SAB audition and she has her first rejection.

I just want to know if my HUGE investment in private is worth it. Are the teachers worth it? Is my DD not working enough? 
 

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR GUIDANCE

 

Edited by cupcakesandcoffee
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I wouldn’t let one rejection from a top school drive your decision. See how she does in other auditions.

I do get privates are expensive - we are in the same boat. Has it been worth it? Yes, her studio wasn't enough. Is it sustainable? No.

which brings me to my next question…Is there another studio she can pickup classes at? Or online opportunities? 

 

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In my area, 8 hours of classes per week is not intense training for a 14 year old. This forum lists general age-appropriate training guidelines. Note that those hours are "at least", and many serious dancers do far more hours.

Four privates per week sounds like a lot, unless she is polishing multiple solos for competition.

I wouldn't read much into a single rejection from SAB. SAB rejects lots of girls. On the other hand, how did *she* feel about the audition class? Presumably the audition class was designed for her audition age range and had a reasonable number of girls of varying ability levels. Did she feel that it was an appropriate class for her ability level?

Whether or not the investment is worth it depends on your goals. Do the teachers have a proven track record of getting girls to achieve those goals? Does your daughter have the same natural abilities as those girls? Do the teachers say if your goals are attainable?  

FYI, I believe that photos of dancers are not allowed on this forum.

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Thanks for the advice! 

Edited by cupcakesandcoffee
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cupcakesandcoffee it is understandable your frustration and concern with the rejection. SAB is not the school for everyone. Did your DD teachers encourage her to go to the audition? If so, I assume they understand what SAB is looking for. Did they tell you she had what it took to get into SAB? I recommend various auditions for our students according to where each student is in their training, body type and the reputation of a school within the professional world. Not every school is right for every student.

A good way to measure whether or not a school could be the right fit for your DC is to look at the websites of each school. Look at the photos they post. Generally speaking, they are looking for students who look similar to the photos on the website in proportions and physical attributes. Professional ballet teachers are able to mold bodies with good training, but first the proportions must be there to mold. I did not see your photos and yes, you are not permitted to post photos due to safety concerns. 

As for the privates, they are not necessary unless your DD is preparing for something specific. Professional ballet is taught to a group of people, in a class for many reasons. Students need to learn in a group setting as it teaches so many valuable lessons beyond "technique" Find a teacher who is able to teach a class, not give a class. Staying after class to work on a specific thing used to be the way students were able to fix lingering issues that had not been understand. I suggest, find a school that is willing to offer help before or after class for free. That will tell a story or two about a teacher or a school.

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I'm sorry your dancer had a disappointment. My DD12 got her SAB rejection on Friday as well (for the young dancer program). (Yes I know this is 13+, but I have DD in both groups) My DD18, who is taking a break after many years of intense training for her physical and mental health told her sister this: Programs like SAB like what they like, and it isn't just about ability, although that is part of it. That sentiment was echoed by DD's teacher at home and her private coach.

Which brings me to the second part of your post. We have found private lessons to be a good investment--to an extent. Even though DD18 has stepped away, the years of privates made her a stronger, more confident dancer. They gave her the opportunity to work on things that were giving her trouble in a one on one environment, and enabled her to really delve into variation work. She did YAGP just for the chance to prepare and perform a variation, something her home studio was not offering. They were also helpful when she was rehabbing injuries. But even then, we never did more than 1 a week.

For DD12, we do them twice a month for similar reasons, and to supplement her training because our home studio's schedule is uncharacteristically sparse for her level this year. Only you can decide if it is worth the investment for your family and dancer. For us, it has been, because my DD's have enjoyed them, and seen really progress from them. If I was quantifying it by summer acceptances, or how fast they got pointe shoes, or advanced levels, then I might feel differently.

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1 hour ago, Mom de deux said:

I'm sorry your dancer had a disappointment. My DD12 got her SAB rejection on Friday as well (for the young dancer program). (Yes I know this is 13+, but I have DD in both groups) My DD18, who is taking a break after many years of intense training for her physical and mental health told her sister this: Programs like SAB like what they like, and it isn't just about ability, although that is part of it. That sentiment was echoed by DD's teacher at home and her private coach.

Which brings me to the second part of your post. We have found private lessons to be a good investment--to an extent. Even though DD18 has stepped away, the years of privates made her a stronger, more confident dancer. They gave her the opportunity to work on things that were giving her trouble in a one on one environment, and enabled her to really delve into variation work. She did YAGP just for the chance to prepare and perform a variation, something her home studio was not offering. They were also helpful when she was rehabbing injuries. But even then, we never did more than 1 a week.

For DD12, we do them twice a month for similar reasons, and to supplement her training because our home studio's schedule is uncharacteristically sparse for her level this year. Only you can decide if it is worth the investment for your family and dancer. For us, it has been, because my DD's have enjoyed them, and seen really progress from them. If I was quantifying it by summer acceptances, or how fast they got pointe shoes, or advanced levels, then I might feel differently.

Exactly, the reason we did the private is that we live in a small town with only a few options for ballet, and those few options are not proper schools and more of recreational studios offering limited classes. I am starting to second guess the competency of instructors in teaching the level and rigor that a 14yo needs. We are contemplating moving to a city which offer a proper ballet school. 

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Hi @cupcakesandcoffee,

I think the real issue raised in your message isn't so much about receiving a rejection from an audition as about the training schedule you outline.  I don't think 8 hours of class plus 6 hours of private lessons per week is considered standard.  That schedule raises questions for me about whether or not the studio she is dancing in is an environment that offers proper ballet training.  You can learn a lot - if you don't already know - about what standard ballet training looks like for different ages from this site.  Best of luck!

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Sadly, it does sound as if it might be worth the while to find a new school that offers a schedule with more training options. At your DD's age, she will need partnering, variations and repertoire too. Wishing you all the best in your search.

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20 hours ago, vrsfanatic said:

Sadly, it does sound as if it might be worth the while to find a new school that offers a schedule with more training options. At your DD's age, she will need partnering, variations and repertoire too. Wishing you all the best in your search.

You are correct. For us, it is no that simple as finding a new school. We will have to move because we live in a ballet dessert. There is not even a ballet company in our small city. Luckily, my husband works remotely and we are able to move. I think it will be worth for my daughter to experience the environment and training of a proper ballet school. 

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I would NOT read too much into a SAB rejection. Remember that 85-90% get rejected from that particular summer intensive. There are many talented dancers that get rejected from SAB. It is very hard for the dancer and often the parent(s) too. It’s okay to be down about it for a little while. Maybe she can audition for an intensive that isn’t as difficult to get into.

One more thing about auditions…I’m not sure if it was your DDs first big audition, but it sounds like it was. Even though it is “just a class” they can take some time to get used to a learn what to expect. Last year was my dd’s (also 14) first year auditioning for the big schools. She was very intimidated and she got rejected. After the 3rd she knew what to expect and had much more success. It is all a learning process. If your daughter keeps a dance notebook/journal with corrections then I suggest she do write 3 things she learned from the SAB audition. Or write about what she liked about the class or something she can work on.

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I forgot to add another thing (Sorry, I’m a bit wordy today). My 14 yo has noticed that this is the age where it starts getting more competitive. She now attends a year round residential pre-pro program. It is a very serious environment, and she’s noticed at auditions this year that most people in her age group have stepped it up, even the dancers who don’t attend residential programs are training harder and the talent pool is big. I think if your dd has professional aspirations then it is a good time for your family to consider better training options. Her current school doesn’t have privates available (except for the few kids that are selected and coached for YAGP), and she has picked up a lot just by being in a class and paying attention to all corrections given to everyone. Best wishes on this journey!

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