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Cara in NZ

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  1. Completely agree with this. I know that Claudia Dean's take was that the *maximum* number of hours per week should not exceed the DC's age. So I would not be worrying that your DS should be doing 10-11 hours every week!
  2. NZ's most successful male ballet dancer of the 1980s and 90s stays with us when he is guest teaching. He is about 5ft 10 and partnered all sorts of famous people while at ENB and Royal Danish Ballet. He also partnered Sylvie Guillem for a guest performance and she asked for him to dance with her again but he had to say no as he found her too tall to partner comfortably! He always says that corps de ballet just need 'matching pairs', so if they have a tall or short dancer, they need another one to complement the appearance of the corps on stage. One girl we know here was accepted for pre-professional training at NZ's national school and she is about 4ft 10 at age 18. The companies in Asian countries often have smaller dancers. The other thing is the length of the feet. My DD is 5ft 3 and when standing is the same height as her peers. But she has tiny feet so when they are en pointe, the peers rise above her, to her annoyance! I don't know if that's another consideration for company corps de ballet though!
  3. One word of warning about fleece — if it has a dark fleecy lining you can get fluff balls all over their tights. Our favourite one was a black corduroy type that didn't shed. Might have been Sansha. (You may have already figured this out if DD wears fleecy track pants over ballet tights!)
  4. The best one we had had ties at the shoulders and waist, and also drawstrings down the calves (vertically) so you could 'let it out' as they grew. Great for keeping kids decent over a nude undertard when they are between costumes or tutus.
  5. I had some success with a pink tutu that had a slub silk bodice with grease marks at the waist (probably from hands/fingers). Just part-filled bath with warm water and 'delicates' washing liquid then dunked the whole thing and rubbed the marked bits gently. Erected clothes airer outside and laid it on there upside down so the bodice was hanging down through the gaps. It was fine (and I echo Sheila's 'tougher than they look' comment!)
  6. New Zealand doesn't have any vocational schools at age 11. The only real option is to go to one of a handful of private ones that integrate dance and education for Year 9, 10 & 11 before auditioning for full-time training. Having said that, a brother and sister from here have been accepted into RBS this year! The girl is Year 9 and going to WL and her brother is Yr 11 and going into US. NZ has many dancers going into pre-professional full-time training without ever going to vocational schools (I know of teenagers currently training in Australia, Amsterdam, Houston, John Cranko, Rambert). As others have said, quality of training is the vital thing. The young girl actually said that after dancing in American summer schools and at Princess Grace, Monaco, she realised how good her training has been (as obviously you can feel a bit apprehensive going to another country, particularly to a prestigious school). It's only from reading this forum's posts that I've come to understand just what an achievement it is for these two (and think how awful it would have been if only one of them had been accepted!). To get back to the original question, if vocational school isn't an option/wouldn't suit your family, I don't think it has to stand in the way of a dancer's progress.
  7. Completely agree with Pups mum. DD did comps age 11-15 and was happy to stop 6 months ago as she found the adrenaline rollercoaster exhausting with eight solos by the time she gave up. Do explain to your DD that the other dancers at the festivals are probably the more/most talented ones from their dance schools so it's much harder to shine. Adjudicators can be lovely or miserable. One told DD in his early comments the he wasn't going to place her until he saw her 'connect with the audience'. She had always struggled with this and so her teacher had given her two solos where she was either in a dream or a flashback type of scenario. So she felt she couldn't do anything right! The best adjudicators will recognise what DC did well and encourage them while also offering some constructive feedback – DD's teacher always checked the comments and they would both smile at the same corrections that she was constantly raising! I think it builds great life skills too – eg DD (who is a reserved introvert) does well every time they have speeches in her class. She says that after dancing on stage on your own, just having to speak seems easy! So we never know what skills they are learning that will stand them in good stead whether they continue dancing or not. Do enjoy the whole experience – I bought 3 or 4 inexpensive replica trophies for significant things my DD won (first classical, first variation, first aggregate), so she will still have some dance mementoes on her trophy shelf even after she's returned all the real ones. But we all celebrate differently. For me it was about building her confidence, but as they get older they compare themselves with the DC who want a dance career and are training much more seriously, so the time came when it was no longer a positive experience for my young perfectionist. Others adore performing and keep going as long as they can. You will certainly find out which camp your DD is in!
  8. Sounds to me like she is doing quite a lot already! I once watched an Instagram video by a dancer in our national company, where she said that the absolutely most valuable exercise for strengthening is daily 'Calf Raises'. This is literally just standing on one foot (you can hold on to something, feet in parallel but one off the floor, obvs) and slowly rising up to high demi-pointe and down again. She said she still does these daily even as a professional, and recommended doing repetitions that match your age. So your DD could do 10 per day on each foot. It's excellent strengthening and also gets kids thinking about all the different parts of the foot that need to be strengthened as well as the ankle – all good prep for pointe too!
  9. I've recently returned to adult ballet at the grand old age of 56 and like the fit of Eurotard leos. I'm a size 12-14 but a shortie and I wear size L. I can wear an enormous sports bra under it (14DD) without it showing, which is the main thing I care about! Not sure where you can get them in the UK but I'm sure someone will know.
  10. Sounds good! I believe Bloch often work best for wider feet. But your DD will gradually figure out what works for her, with the help of her teachers. My DD went through 5 styles in 4 years without ever finding the perfect pair. We were told just to wear them round the house with socks at first so that the feet warm them up and they mould to the feet a bit better. But don't try any dancing at home in them to start with! Good luck with it!
  11. I watched this Youtube video recently by Kathryn Morgan (who says she has wide feet and wore pointe shoes that were too narrow for years, even as a professional). Even though it's under the name of Suffolk, she talks quite generally about the importance of getting box/vamp/profile right — and has a handy tip about checking the shank. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7TLF2PxkIs I would also add that any fitter should be looking at the feet with no shoes on first, and seeing how they spread/compress as the dancer rises to demi-pointe. If they don't, it's like a hairdresser trying to cut your hair when they've only seen it after it's been washed!
  12. Bravo, Julie! We don't hear much about this. My DD had a year in our Scholars associate programme in Year 8. Didn't get in again, but it actually served to confirm in her own mind that she wasn't cut out for a ballet career – in fact she didn't even want to finish the year! I'm always amazed at the endless enthusiasm and positivity I see/hear from the young dancers dedicated to pursuing their art, but of course there's plenty more who give up the dream or realise it's not for them. In no way does it take away from their talent and achievements! When people ask me why DD doesn't want a ballet career, I just tell them that about 2% might have everything in the right place at the right time, and maybe 0.5% of kids who dance actually end up with ballet as a career. But they gain so many other things! Particularly confidence, poise, and it's great brain training (all that mirror image work 'doing it on the other side' is awesome for brains!).
  13. Just wanted to add that I think a lot of laddering is caused by the girls yanking the convertible part over the feet/up their legs. It seems to create weak spots. My DD also wanted her pointe shoe backs to be on bare skin to help avoid them slipping off her heels, so used to stretch the hole of the convertible part up the back of her foot. We don't usually see how roughly the tights get treated, but I bet if they had to buy their own they'd be more careful!
  14. I have sold almost all of DD's old pointe shoes on our equivalent of eBay (no creepiness in the ballet section, thank goodness). I just list them honestly as worn, broken in, but suitable for decoration or craft project. They always sell, usually for £5-10 (they cost at least £65 new here, although the Bloch ones say 'Made in Thailand' on the bottom, exactly the same as the ones I get from the UK when I have someone to bring them over). It's much harder to sell the unworn ones where DD has outgrown them or changed style, and you want to make some money back, but size/fit is so specific that it's rare to find a buyer!
  15. We did get some although DD never actually used them. They are really just a leather toe-cover and some narrow strips of elastic. So just go by her shoe size and you can adjust the elastic if necessary. I don't think the brand is so important as there's not much to them – although DC will always have favourites! For example, on this website they give sizing info according to street shoe size: https://www.movedancewear.com/dance_shoes_contemporary_shoes-bloch_vantage_leather/1763/
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