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Cara in NZ

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  1. Cara in NZ

    Homesickness

    Just putting in another vote for listening to your child really carefully, asking 'open' questions (What/How rather than ones they can say yes or no to). Our DD is 14 and we don't even have vocational schools here before age 14. But even living at home the whole time, she has recently started having counselling related to the death from cancer of a family friend who was like an aunty to her. That was 3 years ago — but if they feel they can't talk about something because it's too hard, it gets bottled up and 'leaks out' in other ways that often are more damaging than the original event. Listening without criticism or judgement is just about the most valuable thing we can offer, whether it's long-distance or face to face. And gently prompting them to suggest what options are open to them is a good way to make them feel empowered to deal with difficulties. I wish you well — it's not easy!
  2. Cara in NZ

    Which RAD grade for a 6 year old beginner?

    I do think that late starters in ballet (ie 13+) have more problems with basic principles like turnout as of course that is being trained gradually through the younger years. Also bodies are less 'pliable' as we get older and things set in place. The adult open class I do has a mix of people including one woman who has only done ballroom. She has no idea about turnout but the teacher reminds her gently and gives us a mix of Grade 3-5 RAD, as Nicola mentioned. She is planning to get us learning the Discovering Repertoire level 1 but I'm not sure how ambitious that is! After a 15-year break from ballet (age 40-55), my hip flexors are a big constraint as I've maintained flexibility with Pilates but not the strength where ballet needs it. My teacher can hold my leg up past 90 degrees but on my own it's barely at 45 degrees. (Sorry if this digresses from the OP) @invisiblecircus Do you have enough info now to be reassured?
  3. Cara in NZ

    Rad discovering repertoire classes

    @Viv The dance you posted was my DD's first variation. It's the 'other' Peasant Pas, that we knew as 'the Kirov Peasant Pas'. The Repertoire one is just known as 'Peasant Pas', and our teacher talked about us learning it in adult class... but after watching a gazillion 11-year-olds dance it at competitions (as it's a good one to start with), I'm not sure I want to! We're lobbying for the Spanish Coppelia dance instead (Not that I ever want to do a ballet exam again at age 55 but she seems to think we should be working towards something!)
  4. Cara in NZ

    Which RAD grade for a 6 year old beginner?

    I wouldn't worry too much. It's much more 'big picture' stuff until age 8 or 9, ie learning about your body and moving to music. Our school had a girl who had only done jazz, started ballet at 13 in RAD Grade 5 – and (by sheer determination and hard work) passed Adv 2 by age 18. Sure they lay foundations in those early years, but as they get older they also get smarter and more coordinated, so pick things up more easily.
  5. Cara in NZ

    Dance bag recommendations?

    I've said this before, but over 10 years we have concluded that dance bags are just not very tough and rarely last more than a year (some even less). We finally opted for a dark Nike sports bag that has a ventilated compartment for shoes and a separate pouch for drink bottles. There are usually three top considerations (especially as they get older): 1. You don't want smelly shoes near snacks. 2. You REALLY don't want water bottles leaking onto pointe shoes or black character skirts whose dye may run into anything pink nearby 3. You need more space as they acquire things like foam rollers, sewing kits, first aid/pointe rescue items, ice-spray for sore bits etc etc. So go bigger rather than smaller but make sure the poor DC isn't staggering under its weight. I think that's all!
  6. Cara in NZ

    How to keep up interest in dance when it starts to falter?

    Completely agree with Fiz and baby steps. My DD is nearly 15 and winding down, intending to stop dancing at the end of this year. The most upsetting things I have read on this forum have been from parents saying they'd found out that their DDs kept going with ballet long after they really wanted to because they felt obliged to after the investment their parents had made in their training. They have to want to dance for themselves, not for us, and if she really wants to do ballet, she will return to it. At her age, it's not a big deal if she takes a break to reassess. Much better now than when she's older! (Only caveat is if you think another dance school might suit her better. Ballet does get a bit more 'serious' around age nine in terms of expectations and focus, but a good teacher should still make it enjoyable!)
  7. Cara in NZ

    Miko Fogarty

    I loved that film!
  8. Cara in NZ

    Claudia Dean's thoughts on when to go full time

    I also wonder if those hours include 'supporting' classes such as Pilates, Progressing Ballet Technique (the strengthening programme using the big gym balls) and other body conditioning/strength type classes or one-on-one sessions with perhaps a physio to strengthen specific areas after injury. She doesn't specify what the hours comprise, I don't think? So the total could include non-dancing too maybe. I know that the dancers in NZ's national company all have gym memberships that come with the job, which also suggests that the professionals do complementary training outside their 'working hours'. It's hard to know what to count!
  9. Cara in NZ

    Claudia Dean's thoughts on when to go full time

    Completely agree — but coaching professionals is quite different to coaching young dancers in training. I can see potential for conflicting advice. At DD's dance school, private lessons may only be taken with the school's teaching staff. I'm sure other schools would have similar conditions, although I don't know about Australia. However, plenty of girls from NZ have flown to Brisbane to attend holiday workshops with her (short intensives/workshops are ok, but one-on-one regular coaching wouldn't be)
  10. Cara in NZ

    Can you put insoles into ballet shoes? (not pointe)

    I actually had trouble with how thin ballet shoes are, after returning to adult ballet this year at age 55. I put some thin insoles into my canvas flats, but they moved around. So I stitched them into place and that worked. If you're sewing them in, you could also cut out the middle and sew them separately around the toes and the heel so you keep the split-sole arch?
  11. Cara in NZ

    Claudia Dean's thoughts on when to go full time

    DD Driver, yes I did wonder if there might be repercussions for speaking so frankly! I also note that by calling what she does 'coaching', she is avoiding the fact that (as far as I can tell), she doesn't actually have teaching qualifications?
  12. Cara in NZ

    Ballet shoes for wide feet

    I'm so glad I read this thread! This year I've returned to adult ballet after 15 years away. I bought some second-hand shoes and they are too big. I had some Hanamis put away for DD but her feet stopped growing and they were half a size too big. I'm a whole size bigger than her but after reading that Hanamis were suggested here (she doesn't have wide feet), I tried them on and unbelievably they fit my wide size 4 feet just as well as they almost fit her average-width size 3 feet! So here is a huge endorsement for Hanamis! The 6.5 is a snug fit on my feet, as a guide for fitting
  13. Cara in NZ

    Beginning to panic now!

    How far is the commute, Pictures? Possibly it might be easier to find lodgings once she knows some people at the school?
  14. Cara in NZ

    Claudia Dean's thoughts on when to go full time

    Bravo, Claudia! She certainly knows there's a huge audience of impressionable kids listening to her (I saw 25,000 views on one of her YouTube videos). I do wish she had defined 'full-time' though, as even the NZ private schools combining dance with academics do half and half study and dance classes for 13-15 year olds. Dancers we know of DD's age (14) who want to train for a career are definitely doing 20+ hours a week including Pilates, contemporary, body conditioning and anything else they add to the mix. Many dance 7 days a week, and may have weekly ballet privates with three different teachers (for technique, competition work, and extra RAD coaching for exams). They are at school as well. I certainly wonder where the balance is sometimes!
  15. Cara in NZ

    Miko Fogarty

    I've been reading this thread with interest, as Claudia Dean is very much 'flavour of the month' here in New Zealand, and parents of talented young dancers have been flying to Australia to do workshops with her (as well as begging her to come to NZ). She also appears to have a line of dancewear, as several young NZ dancers at the Asian Grand Prix tagged her in photos of them wearing her leotards to class. I've watched some of her YouTube videos, including the one about why she left the RB, and found her very personable and likeable. But I don't think there is any comparison really with Miko. My son works in Korea, and says that there and in Japan it's quite normal for kids to go to one 'academy' after the other as soon as school finishes every day, to study English or ballet or gymnastics or a musical instrument. So I think Miko's mother would be considered favourably in those societies and it's just our Western opinion of 'Asian tiger mothers' that influences how we feel. Miko says she lost the passion, and seems to have found a new one. As my DD has also lost her passion and wants to study medicine, I think she's made a brave decision after investing so much in ballet. Claudia seems to me quite a different kettle of fish, who is using her valuable dance experience to build a new 'empire'. She is obviously building her 'brand' successfully, and is gathering a good following of young dancers keen to benefit from her recent experience in the ballet world. I'm not critical of either young woman. You take the good things ballet has taught you, and hopefully learn to deal with the not-so-good aspects. I say good for them both for starting a new path!
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