Question regarding taking part in Dance festivals

(12 Posts)
Sparklymommy Tue 19-Mar-13 09:17:33

I agree that it's a how long is a piece of string type of question! My oldest dd did her first solo at a festival at the age of three and we had no idea what we were getting into! She is ten now and has eight solos, two duets and is in a number of group dances. Her younger brother did his first group at the age of two, his first solo aged three. He now does two groups, a duet (with his sister) and a ballet solo. He is about to learn a song and dance solo too. My youngest dd is three and has done her ballet solo at two festivals. Yes, it's very expensive!!

Our dance school do not expect you to enter solos or duets at every festival, however if you sign up for a group then it is a commitment that you should honour. Groups at our dance school are £20 which includes the lessons and costume hire although you are expected to provide some bits of costume (well fitting shoes, a skin tone leotard to wear under costumes tights, being the norm). My ten year old usually has one or two lessons to learn a dance and we record it for her to watch and practise from. Occasionally a teacher will look at it again in a private lesson but mostly she just gets on with it. The younger ones have a few more lessons ATM as they need it.

Costumes can be hired, bought, or made. Totally up to you and your budget. My oldest has always had tutus made for her, my youngest we have bought second hand.

At the end of the day is it worth it? My oldest has had her confidence built and knocked by the festivals but she still wants to do them. The chance to perform is what keeps her interested in dancing. I could do without the bitchy mothers back stage but whilst the children enjoy it I will continue to take part. We do take them quite far in a bid to find different festivals with different children to dance against as it can be very monotonous when the same children win all the time.

Tanktop Wed 06-Feb-13 12:36:35

Thanks for all your replies.. Defo will consider her taken part but only in certain solo's. Probably Ballet and Tap. Up to now there hasnt been any talk of group work. Not sure if they enter a group from the dance school into these festivals. The festival she did on Saturday was all solo dancers.
Thats interesting to hear that you can hire the outfits.
Thanks again...

teacherwith2kids Tue 05-Feb-13 19:55:05

Yep, judging is brutal. All that standing on stage holding your number while the judge decides on the winners, then maintaining exactly the same look come triumph or yet another no mention or 'also danced well'. You don't say how old your DD is, but certainly DD has become much more aware of the brutality of the process as she has become older - originally she just like 'doing her dance'. Is there a chance of being involved with a Group from the dance school rather than going down the solo route? MUCH more fun IMHO.

teacherwith2kids Tue 05-Feb-13 19:52:08

(Expense of costumes will vary. DD's dance school rents them out at a few quid per time, though tutus are more, and I have made a couple. The expense of prepatring for festivals through lessons is MUCH more significant than the cost of the festivals themselves - I've just sent off a cheque for around £25 to the next festival, which will cover all of DD's solos, a duet and a programme. Add around £15 in costume hire charges, and that's done....it all pales into insignificance compared with the cost of the weekly private lessons....)

teacherwith2kids Tue 05-Feb-13 19:41:32

Hmm. Many of your questions are a 'how long is a piece of string' question, and others will depend very much on your dance school.

DD (now 10) has been dancing in festivals in group dances since she was 6, and as a solo dancer since just before her 8th birthday. Her dance school enters festivals 3 times a year, and DD is expected to be available for the group dances at every festival. However, the choice to enter as a soloist / in a duet is up to us - so although so far she has entered every one, that is not something we have to do.

DD takes tap, ballet and modern theatre lessons, and as a result has solos in ballet (her best discipline), character (danceable by a dancer who has had ballet lessons IYSWIM, it's not a separate discipline), modern theatre, lyrical (a sub-branch of modern theatre) and tap. She does not [yet] have a National solo, as that is something that her dance school does not focus on, nor a song and dance solo, as frankly her voice isn't up to much.

A child who just does ballet and tap could do ballet, tap and character. At DD's bdance school, there is no particular push to expand the range of lessons in order to expand the range of solos IYSWIM - many girls don't do tap, and don't have tap solos. At festivals, I see children who only do 1 type of solo - just tap, or just modern, or just ballet - all the way through to those who do vast numbers. There are some 'aggregate' awards, but usually adjudication is per class, so it doesn't matter how many solos your child does, they will be judged on their dancing in that class IYSWIM.

Schools vary in how solos are taught. DD has weekly solo lessons year-round, where she learns new solos, practises old ones, and runs through anything else she needs to - so when she was in panto last year, she caught up on a lot of syllabus that way as she was missing her normal classes, and this year she's preparing for the ISTD ballet awards. Other schools just teach a solo over short series of lessons, and those then cease until the next solo needs to be learned IYSWIM. There are probably other models of doing it - perhaps learning solos in class time - but I haven't come across those.

It's expensive, yes. The parental taxi service is hard pressed on occasion. Luckily, as a teacher, all but 1 of the festivals we do are in half terms, and the third one is the most local so other mums often take and look after DD. DD is never going to be 'a dancer', and I have no ambitions for her to be so. However, she has admirable poise, self-discipline, work ethic and 'presence' which she has gained from dancing.

ledkr Spain Tue 05-Feb-13 19:41:31

Ds did them for years he did groups and solos. On top of normal lessons factor in an extra group class and a private lesson which is usually about fifteen quid a week. Entry's are about three quid per dance then costumes about twenty to hire (I make all mine) they try to do festivals in school hols but not always I'd sometimes be there about five days out of seven.
It was very time consuming but good fun and ds had a shirt dance career afterwards.
Dd dances now but there is no way ill ever go to that level again she dies Groups but not solos which is far less expense but still a big commitment as if she can't go it let's down others.
My advice is I my do what you can afford in money a d time

out2lunch Tue 05-Feb-13 19:33:52

Dd did a few back in the day ballet only though.
She enjoyed them very much. it took up a whole day and was quite expensive iirc.Also could be quite stressful for some children as the judging was quite brutal.
Good luck.

Tanktop Tue 05-Feb-13 19:32:31

Thanks Panda, I really want her to get involved but just scared I can't give the commitment needed.. Working fulltime and being a mum is hardwork but needs must. hay ho... Think I will organise a meeting with her teacher to discuss...

PandaNot Tue 05-Feb-13 19:27:54

My dc dance school doesn't do festivals thankfully as we're busy enough just with lessons, associate classes and show rehearsals. I understand festivals are very, very time consuming but that the children get an enormous amount of pleasure from them and get to perform regularly which is obviously important. Good luck if you go down this route. smile

Tanktop Tue 05-Feb-13 19:23:05

bump

Tanktop Mon 04-Feb-13 17:00:37

bump

Tanktop Mon 04-Feb-13 16:45:24

Hi, my dd has recently taken part in her first dance festival. she has only been dancing since August so is still a beginner but is showing signs of becoming a promising dancer. I am more than happy to allow her to continue in the festival scene but as a fulltime working mum would like to know from others in a similar situation how much time you really have to dedicate to these festivals and how expensive can it get. Another question I have is does she have to take part in all of the dance types or can she stick to only ballet and tap.. At the moment she is only taking ballet and tap classes but I got the impression that if you want to take these festivals serious then you need to take part in a wider rage of dances. 7 in total I think. Also can you choose to take part in only 2 festivals a year or are you expected to take part in all the festivals your school is entered into.
I don't want to disappoint my dd by not letting her do something she enjoys but at the sametime I don't want to commit to something that I just can't fit into my already busy routine or afford, Especially when her younger sister who has also started classes may want to be involved later on down the line.

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