Contemporary always used to mean Rambert/Cunningham style which I always found easy to adapt to from ballet (just remember no turn out!) but does it now mean street type stuff too (as in actually contemporary to this age!)?
Oh, and contemporary covers a massive range of styles really, depending on who the influence is etc. It is something that a lot of people find takes longer to get into though - personally I have always been much happier in a ballet or jazz class than a contemporary or street or hip hop one. It's like everything else - people have their strengths. It is partly just down to what you have done most of. If she goes to dance college then she will do contemporary there, but for most colleges it isn't part of the audition (except obviously for the colleges who specialise in it). The only exception I can think of is London Studio Centre, who see Ballet, Jazz, and Contemporary classes, but they know people have different experiences, so they are very much looking for potential.
Katy, it isn't really something you can work out - it is just that CATs are run on different lines, focus more on different disciplines etc etc. You can't choose which you go to anyway, but some just are more suitable for certain children than others, and it sounds like yours just doesn't suit your DD.
On the plus side she is dancing for enough hours a week without it, and doing holiday courses etc as well, so she should be fine without it.
Katy, I watch with a lot of interest the progression of my old (small town) dance school's current/recent students and I see and hear about lots of them getting places at the top London schools every year and I'm pretty sure they're not doing any more hours than your dd (if she stuck to those core classes you mentioned and gave up the extras, I mean). They have also had time to be involved in local amateur dramatics/pantos (large scale, full theatre productions) and some, but by no means all, do Urdang etc.
There's no problem in her dropping it Katy. It is well known that some CATs are better than others, and as long as she is keeping up with her other classes, particularly the ballet and jazz, it won't be a problem. The colleges appreciate that these kids do not have unlimited time for dance, particularly during their GCSEs. If she's not happy with it then drop it.
You say your DD is thinking of giving the classes up. What does she think the consequences would be? Does she have a mentor? Could she on her own have the conversation with the other teacher about options? At 15 is it time to make her own decision and live with those consequences? Tough for you to stand by but if she's going to be living in London in 18 months...
"Will giving up the scholarship be seen as insufficiently committed" I guess that's what worries me
"or can she say early decision to focus on specific styles?" that is a possibility
Yep - London (probably) in 18m - if (& it's a big if) she makes the grade and you are right she needs to be on top form (particularly emotionally)to get there and manage the big changes she needs to address
I know nothing about the world of dance but wading in anyway...Your DD is mid-teens, been unhappy with the class for the better part of a year and it is doing nothing for her confidence. Will giving up the scholarship be seen as insufficiently committed or can she say early decision to focus on specific styles? Would I be right in thinking that in 18 months she'll be off away to college to persue her career? I'd be thinking get her into the best place confidence and happiness wise to face the challenge of independent living.