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new dance school

(24 Posts)
AdelaideDancer Sun 17-Apr-16 12:49:59

Today I have been told about a new dance school in the area. I have been to see the school principle and she said that my 11 year old daughter could do
4 1/2 hrs grade 6 ballet a week.
4 1/2 hrs if ballet a week
3hr non syllabus ballet a week
4 hour grade 4 Modern a week
3hr bronze jazz a week
2hr silver jazz a week
3hr grade 5 Tap a week
2hr grade 6 tap a week
3hr contemporary a week
Should my dd move to this sschool.

Stillunexpected Sun 17-Apr-16 13:09:26

Should my dd move to this school. - how can anyone answer that question based on the information you have given? Is your daughter a very talented and committed dancer? Can you afford all these lessons? Is 29 hours of dance a week advisable?! When will you daughter do other things like go to school, eat and sleep?!

WhoKnowsWhereTheT1meGoes Sun 17-Apr-16 13:11:10

That's a very busy schedule for you both. What does she do now?

LIZS Sun 17-Apr-16 13:19:40

Is that what is being offered throughout or what is being suggested for her. Is it a full time vocational school or extra curricular? I'd be surprised if a 11 yo was ready for all that unless very talented and at the exclusion of everything else.

Stillunexpected Sun 17-Apr-16 13:24:41

I've just read some of your other threads mow and realise that your DD is currently Grade 2 in ballet and Grade 3 in tap so what is all this talk of Grade 6 ballet and Tap? It doesn't matter if the school offers those classes if your DD is not of that standard. I think maybe you actually need to reread some of the very good advice that you have been given on those threads by other dance mums and perhaps temper your expectations and enthusiasm a bit!

dodobookends Sun 17-Apr-16 14:33:27

What is your dd best at, and what does she want to do in the future?

If it is ballet, 5 hours of tap a week would be counter-productive if she is starting inter foundation. That grade introduces pointework, which requires totally different use of the ankles and feet (loose and relaxed for tap and strong with no sickling/winging for ballet).

Depending on whether your dd is interested in a classical career (and has the facility in her physique for the training), or whether she is wanting to be more of an all-rounder, the emphasis on what classes she takes now would be different. For an all-rounder/musical theatre, she wouldn't need to do so much ballet; for classical, then many drop tap completely and concentrate on ballet, contemporary and jazz. Those three genres are what students are taught at the major vocational ballet schools.

dodobookends Sun 17-Apr-16 14:49:20

By the way - dancing for 29 hours a week is more than what full-time vocational students under 16 will be doing.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Apr-16 16:22:34

I have posted on your threads here (and elsewhere).

You currently have an 11 year old working towards - not yet taken - Grade 2 ballet, Grade 3 modern (both entered for soon) and Grade 2 tap (not yet entered for).

You have asked for advice on whether she is doing enough dance, and whether she is at the 'normal' exam level for a dancer you see as 'serious' (though I am not quite sure what you mean by this - do you mean she wishes to move to a vocational school very shortly? Maybe dance college at 16/18? Maybe one day have a dance-related career? Or 'enjoys dance and takes her current classes seriously'?)

The answers you have received are all pretty much along the lines of
a) she is rather below the level expected for her age, especially since she has been dancing for so many years.
b) at her existing school she is doing rather too few hours to make it likely that this situation can be rectified quickly.
c) she would benefit from 'filling these gaps' with high quality teaching at a well-established dance school used to pupils doing higher grades, and supplementing with high quality associate-type classes.

The solutions that you have proposed don't seem to take much account of this consistent advice, and are increasingly far-fetched:
- An in-school dance club
- A big mix of lots of different dance schools
- And now a very, very large number of hours at another dance school, all at grades much higher than your DD is taking.

I am surprised - to the point of shocked and disbelieving - than any reputable dance school teacher would immediately offer so many hours at such an advanced level to a dancer currently at low grades, and with a likely lack of stamina due to number of hours currently danced. the risk of injury alone would be far too high.

If you had said 'the dance teacher can offer 2-3 hours of ballet a week at Grade 2-3, an hour each of Tap and MT at the same grade she is currently doing, body conditioning or stretching, maybe an hour of non-syllabus work and contemporary', I think it could be realistic - especially if it is clearly a serious school with good 'graduate' destinations, high exam scores and with pupils attending e.g. associate classes regularly, and maybe if the principal can offer rapid progression or private lessons that can enable your DD to progress faster from her current low base.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Apr-16 16:24:56

Is the new dance school principal aware of your DD's current level? Has she auditioned her or seen her dance in all the genres offered?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Apr-16 16:30:26

I mean, DD's dance school principal would say e.g. we OFFER 2x Intermediate and 2x Advanced 1 lessons per week, or that 3 x 2 hours of troupe work at different age groups are TIMETABLED etc, but that wouldn't mean that a specific child joining the school at Grade 2 would DO those lessons, just that they were there to progress to.

Did the principal tell you what a child at your DD's current grades would normally do at this dance school, rather than what classes were there on the timetable?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Apr-16 16:39:56

(Final point - IF and Grade 6 ballet, at least at ISTD, have a pointe component.

DD's dance teacher - ISTD - will allow no-one on pointe who has not done at least Grade 4, and even then, the process is very slow, so that by the time the dancer takes Grade 6, usually c. 2 years after Grade 4, they will have progressed through pre-pointe exercises, then basic pointe, then onto graded pointework. Some never do pointe because they are insufficiently strong, formation of feet / ankles etc.

I cannot see how a child who has not yet done Grade 2, and does limited hours of ballet at that level, would be able to achieve the strength and technique needed for the pointe elements of the Grade 6 and IF grades)

donadumaurier Mon 18-Apr-16 10:21:33

My sister dances professionally. Her take on it is not only was she doing about half those hours of dance through college (and certainly less than that at 11!), there is no way a child in grade 2 would be able to cope with launching into that timetable on strength, fitness and technique grounds even if you discount the pointe, and definitely not a child who had been in the same grade for some time rather than coming to dance late. Her advice is to move your DD to a different school as by your other threads the teaching at her current school doesn't sound adequate, but put her into grade 3 classes. With a good teacher, she should progress faster. But putting her straight onto that timetable is madness, not to mention dangerous.

You say she is 'serious' about dance- do you mean aspiring to be a professional ballerina/musical theatre/commercial dance/dance teacher/something else?

AdelaideDancer Mon 18-Apr-16 17:01:21

These hours are what the general grades is for the girls who are at this age. Also, they were the maximum amount of hours that the school offer but non of the girls do them all apparently.
However, when we went for an introductory class today the teacher said that it would maybe be better that if for the time being she did:
2 hrs of Grade 3 tap
2 hrs of Grade 3 modern
3 hrs of Grade 3 ballet
1.5hrs of Grade 4 ballet
2 hrs of bronze jazz
1 hr of contemporary
45mins pre-pointe
2 x 45mins of stretching
As well as this she is going to have privates in ballet, tap and modern for an hr each every week.

AdelaideDancer Mon 18-Apr-16 17:07:02

Also, when she is older my dd is hoping to be a professional ballet dancer however she didn't decide she wanted this until Christmas so was too late to audition for yr 8 in a full time ballet school.

donadumaurier Mon 18-Apr-16 17:11:24

That sounds more sensible than your previous post. However, that's still a huge, sudden increase in hours compared to what your DD was doing before.

What is it she wants to do with dance? Is the aim to play catch up grades wise? Could she cut down on hours in disciplines she's less bothered about to make the increase more gradual and therefore more manageable? My sister will quite happily admit that she is no tap dancer. She has always focused on ballet and contemporary. My worry with that timetable so soon is you're going to burn her out and what was a fun hobby is going to become a real chore.

donadumaurier Mon 18-Apr-16 17:15:15

Sorry, just seen she wants to be a ballet dancer. I admit I am not a ballet expert, but from what I've been told by people who are, she would be better off dropping tap altogether and focusing on ballet. When I was competing in a sport to a high level I did 16 hours training a week but that built up gradually over about 4 years, it didn't go straight from a couple of hours a week to 16. Hopefully posters who know more than I do will be along in a bit, but I would seriously consider cutting the hours for now, focusing on ballet and gradually increasing BALLET hours over the next few months should your DD continue to enjoy dancing more hours.

LIZS Mon 18-Apr-16 17:16:42

That is still a lot of extra curricular dance even if at a more typical level for her age. Not exceptional by any means though, even for a later starter. Have you spoken to the teacher about her ambitions? What about auditioning for likes of English Youth Ballet, although probably too late for this season.

AdelaideDancer Mon 18-Apr-16 17:50:31

Okay, I will see if dd wants to drop tap. This is quite likely though as she has always said she doesn't enjoy tap as much a ballet and modern.

dodobookends Mon 18-Apr-16 17:57:47

That sounds like a much more achievable and very sensible timetable for her - might I suggest that if there are two tap classes, two jazz and two stretching, that she starts off with only one of each these? Otherwise she will start to suffer from burnout in no time at all. Tired dancers get injured, and the last thing she needs is an injury if she is wanting to progress quickly. The amount and level of ballet suggested sounds perfect for her.

I seem to remember that she has already auditioned for EYB and will be performing with them, which is another reason why she needs to stay injury-free and not take on too much unnecessary jazz/tap classes. The EYB rehearsal schedule really takes it out of them (speaking from experience here, my dd has danced with them 4 times) so she will need downtime and rest built into her schedule.

I know you feel like some of us are lecturing you a bit and sorry for that, but we as parents really have been there, done that, got the t-shirt (literally!) so do please try and take on board the advice people are offering, both on here and Balletcoforum smile

teacherwith2kids Mon 18-Apr-16 19:50:07

Oooh! That sounds really hopeful! Fantastic news smile

I agree with pps that maybe a 'build up' period to increase the number of hours a little more graduaklly, and perhaps focusing hours initially on core 'ballet related' disciplines rather than tap / jazz might be a good 'tweak' to an already much better programme. If these are the ISTD jazz awards, they overlap a LOT with the MT skills - DD has taken them every now and again as 'exams along the way', just learning the specific exercises and taking the exams on the back of of her weekly 1 hour MT class. IME your DD wouldn't be missing out particularly if she doesn't do a lot of jazz during the transfer and step up period, and that might enable faster progress in the core 'ballet -related' disciplines.

Good luck to you and your DD!

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 18-Apr-16 20:29:59

that sounds more realistic but I agree the hours sound like a massive increase and I think would lead to injury or strain as she hasn't built up gradually. I am not from a dance background myself but a different sport with a very heavy training schedule and we would never have jumped a child that drastically.

dropping tap and even doing either modern or jazz would sound more sensible to me and focusing on ballet.

AdelaideDancer Tue 19-Apr-16 19:08:02

Dodo, sadly my dd had to drop out of eyb due to the fact that it clashed with a family reunion that was only planned after the audition.
Also I have spoken to my dd and she has said that she still wants to do modern and jazz but that she will drop tap.

dodobookends Tue 19-Apr-16 19:19:22

It's a pity she's not doing EYB, maybe next time. Although to be honest, if your dd is really serious about her dance, then it won't be long before family life has to come second, and you will have to decide as a family just how much commitment is possible. Exams, auditions, rehearsals and performances have a habit of clashing with everything!

I've lost count of the number of parties and occasions my dd has had to miss, but the show must go on. This year she may have to miss a family wedding sad

Balletgirlmum Tue 19-Apr-16 19:19:28

My daughter DID suddenly at age 11 (yr 7) suddenly go from 45 mins each of grade 3 ballet, modern & tap plus 1 hour Jazz & a monthly associate class into a timetable of 9 hours of inter F ballet per week plus 2 hours each of tap & modern & approx 3 hours of other dance.

Boy was it a culture shock. She was behind her peers but she was carefully monitored (not allowed on pointe for the first year) & it was at full time vocational school so academic pressures were all accounted for.

You have to allow your dd to build up to this level & also have some down time.

My dd is in year 9 now and got her Intermediate results today. Distinction do with hard work it's possible.

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