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  1. All great suggestions! Thank you! Taxi4ballet - Haha, we are navigating some language gaps. The teacher knows we will have a conflict with next year’s schedule and my daughters school, and will do what she can….but no real ability to have an in-depth discussion. So if it works out with the current studio, then we are perfect. However, now is the time to look at alternatives too, as back-up Lusodancer-Yes, there are studios that always have space, but classical dance may not be the focus.…hence thinking about navigating some of the schools that want auditions, try-outs or whatever they are called. This would be the schools that are a little more sought after. …and someone else mentioned fit from my daughter’s perspective too. Yes! Agree! I cannot lose sight of that!
  2. We are actually not in the UK. We’re in continental Europe at the moment. Some schools have open auditions. However unfortunately, quite a few schools don’t do an open audition at this age. They have some form of evaluation, either 1:1 or in a class. Then they will offer you a spot, based on skill level and availability. Maybe some goods and bads to this. Sometimes, I hear it is just logistics. Your dancing may be fine, but they just don’t have space in the level in which you were assessed. However, I think it also feels more personal to the child too, as they don’t see all the other kids who may be trying out. Maybe the explanation is just “We try a couple places and see if they have room.” Maybe I shouldn’t even paint it as an audition, per se.
  3. I love the idea of turning it into a ‘day out’ and happy to hear maybe my concerns about physical attributes aren’t as valid as I thought.
  4. Any thoughts on the age to start auditions? And how to set expectations for younger children? We have avoided schools and programs that require auditions. I worry that there is a big genetic component that will be evaluated, which my daughter cannot control. (Ie banana feet, hyper extension, flat turnout.) However, at 9-10, we are finding more and more programs that require auditions. How do you manage audition expectations with a young child? I struggle to explain that there are physical characteristics that are part of the evaluation which she cannot control. Every time I try this in my mind, it either seems like it has the potential to kill her motivation or lead to body issues. However, it also seems a bit unfair to avoid this topic all together. Any thoughts?
  5. What I know of dancers is that they are incredibly smart and they persevere. So don’t give up on your dreams. But also know there are lots of awesome careers out there that aren’t dance too! As a teenager, I almost followed a long-shot opportunity. I was talked out of it by a family member....and I don’t think that is fair. But I also look at the career I have today, and it is incredible....and will just grow and grow in status and recognition, probably until retirement. At best, a dance career is highly competitive and fleeting. Put your whole heart into it....but know it shouldn’t be a final destination. It should be a stop along the way.
  6. Agree, the brooding emotional aspects of some Contemporary pieces are perfect for teens! 😂
  7. Belgium vs US - We’ve seen several Belgium studios that use mirrors sparingly. Students need to learn with the mirror, and are then moved to a non-mirror barre to demonstrate competency (most US studios have lots and lots of mirrors) - Contemporary is integrated very early into training in Belgium and involves a lot of floor work (US usually start kids on tap and jazz, if they want something other than ballet. Contemporary is saved for the teens.) - Non-ballet genres seem a little different. Jazz in Belgium is closer to Lyrical in the US. Theater Dance in Belgium is closer to Jazz in the US. A lot of US kids have taken gymnastics, and the US lyrical has integrated some ‘gymnasticy’ tricks. -Ballet ‘leaps and turns’ are taught a lot later in Belgium, but basic technique is stronger. (US starts some basic pirouettes at 7-8yrs, with focus on feeling the movement rather than technique. In Belgium, my 9yr old’s class is just starting quarter turns and pirouette prep.) -Teacher reverence: Belgium teachers are a lot more serious. Compliments from the teacher are held in high regard, and saved for really big accomplishments. US teachers tend to operate closer to that teacher/friend boundary, especially with older kids. Lots of compliments and support for everyone. -In Belgium, training hours for classical ballet are 1 hr per week up to 8yrs and 2 hr per week until 9-10yrs. Around 13 years, students would consider daily training with a vocational program. (In the US, training hours are all over the place. A lot of kids follow the training hours above, but some kids are dancing every day by ages 8-9yrs....though usually in a couple of genres.) As I write this, I do hope I am not falling into too many generalizations, as I know every studio is different. This is just the ‘flavor’ I notice, having had my child in a couple US schools and tried a couple Belgium schools while selecting. And no criticisms-I just find it very interesting how diverse dance training can be. And all of these methods work, as there are fabulous, happy dance students in all countries.
  8. Beautiful dancers are trained all around the world, and I assume there are some subtle differences in training technique and styles. We recently became expats in Belgium from the US. I find it so interesting to hear about the little differences in my child’s training. I would love to hear from others who have trained in other countries. What was particularly unique? (I realize this also varies from school to school too...and training method to training method.)
  9. I am an expat in Brussels and have a young daughter who dances. If any of the older students have thoughts on the children’s program, I’d appreciate it. Reviews seem to indicate that Brussels International Ballet really doesn’t cater to younger children (under 13). (Some parents who left internet reviews seemed upset at last minute decisions to leave young children out of shows or drop a schedule that works with school hours.). Still, BIBs has children’s classes on their internet site....so I assume there still is an active children’s program. Also, with regards to the sparing compliments, wondering if this is a good fit for younger dancers who are enthusiastic but not certain they are interested in pre-pro.
  10. Anna C...you outlined my concerns better than I could. Spot-on. Yes, there are a couple other dance schools in the area. I am a little worried about leaving and then sheepishly coming back if the other studio isn’t better. Hence, I thought it worth doing some research to understand how common this behavior is. (It sounds quite common, but also sounds like the severity varies from studio to studio.). Good idea to try out another school on a trial basis or for summer classes. Since the PM moms are unlike to be evident at first, do you have any suggested questions to the studio? I think I need to look for a clear and consistent approach to leveling, correct? Maybe philosophy and age at which to start considering privates? (I’m really shocked to see kids as young as 8yrs taking privates at my studio....which is what makes me think it is more about studio earnings than dancer development. Granted, some of those 8yr olds are quite good.) Ultimately, I probably take the queue from my daughter. Her frustration is mild at this point. If it becomes moderate (and before it becomes severe), I think I need to nudge her into taking an exploratory class at another studio. I’ll learn to ignore even the worst Mom behavior if the kiddo is happy and thriving.
  11. Crazylifecrazykids - Oh no, really didn’t mean to make you feel bad! We give little Christmas presents and cards to our teachers around holiday season too. This is not that. To all others: Thank you for your feedback. My takeaways are that some favoritism probably happens everywhere AND talent will payout in the long run. I think that’s what I needed to hear. I may also need to grow some thicker skin in order to stay out of the Mama-drama. Can be hard when you are a non-dancer and all this is quite foreign. ☺️
  12. I get the same comments about talent too: naturally talented, such stage presence, we can see her joy when dancing.... I wonder if studios feed this to the parents of all children who are 50% and above. Who doesn’t like being told their child is fabulous? And what parent wouldn’t sacrifice to nurture their child’s talents? Probably a separate topic, but I wonder if dance teachers can really spot talent in the 8-12 pool....or if they cast a wide net knowing that the course of adolescence will significantly dwindle the numbers.
  13. MrsMoo2 - Oh my, that is my thought too. We are financially able to pay for privates, but I don’t want to perpetuate a revolving-door of children initiated into higher-cost-tier of privileges...esp when my child is barely approaching her pre-teens.
  14. Haha, yes I am. I reviewed a couple of forums, and this one seemed pretty balanced. I guess I missed that it was UK based.
  15. My daughter attends a Ballet/Dance academy with lovely teachers, many of who have professional experience and good connections. In a vacuum, we’d love the school. However, there are some favoritism-type behaviors that I cannot tolerate. I’ve been told by other Mom’s that favoritism happens everywhere. However, I am seeking advise from others...those not connected to my current studio. In my studio, mothers are doing one of two things: 1) They are befriending the dance teachers with compliments and gifts and 2) they are paying for private lessons for their daughters. In both cases, I see their daughters getting selected for more advanced casting. The most blatant case is the best friend of the owner, whose daughter is always guaranteed a preferred role. She is a good dancer, but not the best in the school. Then, for the kids who take private lessons, the teachers promote those children as successes to show the ‘hard work and money’ has paid off....again, not consistently the highest skilled dancers in the school. The school does a good job always offering multiple castings, so there are plenty of spaces available to those who are truly talented. ...but I still hate the hypocrisy of it all. I worry that my daughter will eventually come head-on with one of these ‘favorites’ and not get judged on her talent. Ultimately, I’m worried she will become disenfranchised. (I know I am!) So is this normal everywhere? Or is this a sign of a bad dance school, and I should look elsewhere? Seeking advice!
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