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Danceworks class levels


Primaballerina1
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The class may be tagged as general/advanced and say that some teachers are willing to accept under 16s into their classes but it does then tell you to click on individual pages/teachers for further information.  When you do so for Emma Northmore and the class in question it says :

"This Ballet Class is aimed at the advanced/professional dancer ........

The exercises are peppered with tips to aid that all important goal of acquiring work using her vast professional knowledge, whilst also providing useful industry contacts where required."

 

A 12 year old who is studying at grades 4,5,6 ISTD in no way matches this description - even if they are over the magical minimum age of 11. Even in grade terms , going though foundation and intermediate is likely to take a couple of years, even for a talented dancer , before even starting on the work of advanced 1 or 2.

 

It is at the discretion of the teacher to allow an under 16 of a suitable level into his or her class. The classes are not aimed at children.

 

Last year my DD was put off an advanced masterclass for over 16s (though not at Danceworks or this teacher I should add) We were waiting for her younger sister when another parent came to ask if younger DD was going to attend the masterclass. DD was too young, which was my response. She then proudly told me that age did not matter as she had spoken to the teacher and got permission. Her 13 year old DD was going to attend, along with 5 of her 13 year old friends, despite the venue having a no under 14s policy and as their children were under 16 the parents were to stay and watch. There was a class limit of about 20 places - so that was 6 taken by younger children and not surprisingly DD chose not to go and 2 of her friends cancelled - all 18 year olds, at the advanced level the class was supposed to be for. Such a shame as there are not many workshops and masterclasses in the first place that the 15-18 year old age group of advanced dancers can attend.

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I sympathise with your daughter and her friends. There are huge developmental differences between an 11 year old and a 16 year old, and there's the reasonable concern that having 11 year olds in a master class designed for 16+ young dancers would slow the class down, and draw attention from those for whom the Masterclass was designed. I don't understand the desire to push young children inappropriately like this - it's really bad for their training and their bodies. Is it bragging rights for parents? 

 

As an adult dancer, a "hobby" dancer but nevertheless a serious student of the art of ballet, there are even fewer opportunities for non-professional adult dancers to develop their skills and technique than for the older teen dancers. It seems only fair to keep adult classes for adults!

Edited by Kate_N
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My dd is almost 12 and working at RAD grade 5, and intermediate foundation and intermediate, I would not take her to a class at Pineapple for general/advanced or even intermediate as is way beyond her. She did elementary and that was ok but she watched the other classes and there's no way it was appropriate. Its the maturity and pace apart from anything else. I can't comment on Danceworks but if it's similar to pineapple then that our recent experience :)

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From my DD experience advanced /professional was mostly experienced dancers but she has done general classes and intermediate at pineapple and found they were fine and a mix of different capabilities ! My DD is 17 and was youngest in there so prob not for under 14 yr olds.

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Not that I am planning for either of us to attend a class, but I would presume that a beginner class was more suitable for me (last ballet lesson was at least 30 years ago and grade 1) than my 13 year old dd who has cost me £1000's in lessons over the last 11 years!

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Yes suzysue a beginner class would be more suitable for you than your 13 year old DD because you are an adult and these are classes aimed at adults.  Your DD has more ballet experience than you but surely you would be looking for more appropriate classes for your DD, that matched her level of experience and age, rather than putting her in an adult class.  Its not as if there are not plenty of opportunities available for her age.  Danceworks itself runs a childrens programme - after school and weekends - so why would you choose an adult class and not one aimed at the appropriate age group.  Maybe its me - but I would never have chosen to put my DD aged 12/13 in a room of adults with many years more experience than her.  I would have chosen a class appropriate to her level and with her peers.

 

Edited to add - I think to be honest my statement would run true across many sports and activities.  I would not choose for any child of mine to have done football training, swimming, hockey, netball, tae kwo do etc in an adult group when there were more age appropriate groups available at the right level for my child.

Edited by 2dancersmum
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My dd is almost 12 and working at RAD grade 5, and intermediate foundation and intermediate, I would not take her to a class at Pineapple for general/advanced or even intermediate as is way beyond her. She did elementary and that was ok but she watched the other classes and there's no way it was appropriate. Its the maturity and pace apart from anything else. I can't comment on Danceworks but if it's similar to pineapple then that our recent experience :)

Thanks for the reply, did your DD do a children's class at pineapple??
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After years of taking dd to dance classes I found it very strange to find that when I took ds to taekwondo is is completely standard & expected for children to train alongside adults.

 

If w lived closer to London dd might use somewhere like dance works as a means to keep up her classes/level of fitness over the long summer holidays. It's not somewhere she would use for weekly development classes.

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yes tae kwon do might not have been the best example. DS and DD both learned tae kwo do in a class of mixed children and adults, although I have to say that had I known at the time of the classes in the next town, where they were separated, I would probably have taken them there. My DD was tiny for her age and I know adults found it very frustrating when they were partnered with her as she was like a little whirlwind with a very high kick. And DS got hurt - by an adult - misjudging his height!

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2dancersmum - yes, you've put really well what I was trying to say, without sounding anti-children! Classes at Danceworks, Pineapple etc are for adults ... I've done classes put on for adults, with under 16 yos in them, and it does change the feel of the class. One class I just stopped going to because the mother who brought her two children along with her, had no idea about how to train her children not to get in the way in the centre. And the teacher just let it happen. 

 

 

And 

Just think a beginner tag would attract those with no experience rather than several years at a lower level. 

 

 

I don't think it's confusing if it's an Adult class. Adult Beginners ...

Edited by Kate_N
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I'm certainly not anti children. I post on here as a parent of 2 dancers, not as an adult dancer myself. As it happens, because I have been on the forum for years, my DD have got older and one of them now happens to be an adult. But it does mean I have seen for myself the difficulties our DC face in finding classes, auditioning etc, right through from the perspectives of a 12 year old to an adult (vocational school graduate). I fully understand why some of the teachers allow under 16s in their adult classes - but it is more for the exception than the rule -to allow for those children who need supplementary classes. DC who are at vocational school (or at the same sort of level in non vocational training) can find it really difficult to find drop in classes at their level and in particular during holiday periods when they need to maintain their fitness levels. It is these children, working at an advanced level that 'some teachers are willing to include' - surely - not any child who happens to meet the minimum age requirement.

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With hindsight when dd was 11 & working at Grade 3 ish standard she was very much a beginner although go you don't think so at the time, you think of the little Grade 1's/Primaries as beginners. Grades 4-6 couod probably be seen as improvers.

 

It's only when they start working at a higher level in the vocational grades & are also used to faster paced non syllabus/free work classes that you can even begin to compare them to an intermediate adult in this type of class.

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Yes, 6 is bizarre. But that is a different sort of class, I suspect. I think that even if one had no idea of what Danceworks is - except that a good read of the website does tell you it's a studio for adults - you might pick up a hint or two from the statement made that open classes are for adults, and children are an exception, for which you need the teacher's permission. And that there is a separate children's programme ...

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Gosh, those age guidelines seem quite strange; last time I did the Russian ballet class, it was mainly adults including a few professionals- there were a handful of teenagers, the youngest I'd say was about 14 and probably a vocational student; I don't see how a 6 year old would ever manage that class!!

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Primaballerina I would perhaps investigate the Ballet Academy at Danceworks for your DD . This is aimed at children up to the age of 18.  At Danceworks itself, there are no classes specifically aimed at under 16s.  It is an adult venue and the classes are aimed at adults  but some teachers will allow under 16s into their classes.  If you prefer your DD to attend the adult classes, I would be inclined to let her try out one of the beginner classes to start with.  She may well be the only under 16 in attendance and she could feel that alone is quite daunting, without struggling with actual technique within the class. 

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Sorry for all the questions but for the classes aimed at under 16s, for Classical Ballet which class would the average grade 4 and 5 dancer be working at?

Do you mean children's classes at Pineapple or Danceworks? Or adult classes that accept under 16s?

 

Edited to add: Posting at the same time as 2dancersmum and I agree. For adult classes that take under 16s, definitely beginner.

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I have just about tried all the adult ballet classes at Danceworks, and I am also vaguely familiar with the vocabulary of the RAD grades. Of the classes that accept under 16s on that list, it's my opinion that the beginner classes are probably the only suitable ones, maybe Anna's elementary class too. Even some of the beginner classes can get quite fast-paced and crowded as each class attracts regulars which speed up the class sometimes. I agree with all the other posters above about Danceworks being an adult-oriented studio. Hope this helps. 

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Sorry for all the questions but for the classes aimed at under 16s, for Classical Ballet which class would the average grade 4 and 5 dancer be working at? 

 

 

A child working on Grade 4 or 5 (I remember doing Grade 5 RAD waaaay back) should be in the children's course at Danceworks. I don't think they'd cope with much more - maybe the Beginners level. And even then, the Beginners classes I've been to cover far more than is in the Grade 5 syllabus, iirc. 

 

There's so much out there for children, I'm not sure I see why an 11 or 12 year old should be going to adult classes. 

 

Her's the link for the Danceworks Ballet Academy (the children's programme). You'll see they allow drop in classes, details in the "Fees" section:

 

http://www.danceworks-academy.net/

Edited by Kate_N
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The daytime classes at Danceworks (and probably Pineapple too) during termtime are full of adults, and many of them go to the same class every day. They just aren't designed for children.

 

During the school holidays, quite a lot of teenagers will do their classes on a drop-in basis, but the advanced classes would probably only be suitable if you are at least Adv 1 exam level and can pick up combinations really quickly. The professional classes... strewth, you would need to be a very strong Adv 2 or at vocational upper school IMHO. I've occasionally spotted dancers from the Royal Ballet and ENB in those.

 

There genuinely isn't any point in taking a class that is way beyond you, the classes are pretty full, and there isn't much opportunity for stopping and starting so new/less experienced people can learn new steps.

 

The other thing is that the teachers will not usually give any corrections to under 16's if they involve positioning the body with physical contact.

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Thanks for the reply, did your DD do a children's class at pineapple??

No there was no age specified it was just an open class during summer holidays. There was only her and two others around same age. The rest were all a fair bit older 16+ I'm guessing and most looked a lot older. Each time there were about a dozen people in the class at least.

 

She did the elementary first then another time we stayed to watch the intermediates. the door was open so she was able to stand near the door and listen and she said "this isn't for me".

 

Yet she did other classes there in other styles at advanced/professional and got on fine (commercial) so it seems it was the ballet that was very different

 

Hope that helps :)

 

I'm not trying to put you off by saying too difficult as who is to say what's difficult for your dd but it honestly didn't feel appropriate for my dd. What she did was watch a class through the window or by the doors to see for herself what might be right for the next time we came. It's not just the difficulty level, she felt like she would have been intruding if that makes sense. It was the way that a sequence of movements were communicated and completely understood without any real explanation, and then the dancers were able to jump straight into it whereas she would have been a lot more hesitant and would have felt like she was learning choreography and not dancing to practise and improve technique.

 

I don't know if that helps. She certainly enjoyed just watching and listening at the door.

 

Three times she's taken her pointe shoes to do a pointe class on a Saturday (as there were a few youngsters who went in for half an hour after another open ballet class) but each time she's chickened out so did acro instead!!

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would have felt like she was learning choreography and not dancing to practise and improve technique. 

 

 

 

That's a really interesting distinction, Annaliesey. Because for a serious but non-professional adult ballet student, what you describe is normal, and is indeed "practising and improving technique" - We learn through the choreography - the combinations given in exercises at the barre and centre. Your daughter's judgement seems very accurate and mature: if she couldn't see herself learning in that way - which is normal for adult advanced dancers, then she wasn't at that level. There'll come a time when she is at that level!

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That's a really interesting distinction, Annaliesey. Because for a serious but non-professional adult ballet student, what you describe is normal, and is indeed "practising and improving technique" - We learn through the choreography - the combinations given in exercises at the barre and centre. Your daughter's judgement seems very accurate and mature: if she couldn't see herself learning in that way - which is normal for adult advanced dancers, then she wasn't at that level. There'll come a time when she is at that level!

 

Thanks Kate_N

 

She's probably in that middle ground area at the moment where she could, like a lot of other young dancers, scrape through the class without looking like a complete muppet but would feel pretty awkward and embarrassed, and what's the point if there are other more appropriate classes instead. 

 

She did not want to do a Summer School last year so we agreed she could have a budget to spend at Pineapple and she chose every class carefully. If anything it was probably me saying "why don't you do this one?" and possibly having a little bit of a pushy-mum moment but honestly it was more to do with having spent money on train fair so I thought "why not? you might aswell while you are here". She was honest and said she wouldn't learn well in that class as she was a long way off comfortable at that level and would rather come back another time for the elementary class. 

 

The first taste of having a tutor give verbal instructions without any demo was an RAD Associate class and a couple of girls actually quit the 4 x sundays or whatever purely because of that. Her current teacher does that too in their regular syllabus classes from time to time so she's built up gradually to that and that's OK up to a level :)

 

I think what's difficult from talking with other mums is we hear the terms "intermediate" being used and it can have such a vast meaning! Sometimes it can mean a bit more than a beginner and other times it can mean semi-professional!  Quite tricky to get right if you are a non dancing mum choosing for your dd/ds!   So I'm just leaving it to dd now to decide for herself and I make the phone calls or check beforehand. We made the same mistake in a tap class at Pineapple too where she did an Intermediate class and wanted to come out 10 mins after the warm up! Completely and utterly different from any syllabus stuff she had done up to that point and she felt like a complete novice even though she's working at ISTD Grade 5 and been doing tap since age 6!

 

Another example we had recently enquiring about classes was at a University Ballet Club. That too was inappropriate for her by age range yet was described as "Intermediate". I'd much rather people be honest than have her try and learn in an environment that's not right. 

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your DD sounds like she has a very wise head on her shoulders annaliesey and even more importantly that she is self aware, for her level and for her own dance needs. That's a skill in itself that shows a level of maturity and will help her progress.

 

The difficulty in understanding levels for adult classes is understandable. I think it shows an important distinction between childrens and adult classes. Childrens classes are mostly grades - designed to progress technique, introducing more complex steps and vocabulary gradually. Adult classes are broad level bands - the level assumes the student has already learned the steps and vocabulary and is practising and improving their own technique. The description of level will always be quite general/wide as it will always depend on who attends - a group will probably move more slowly for instance, if there are a lot of new people, or more quickly, if most of the class are regulars who may have been taking that class for years.

 

If you think of RAD associates, or any other non syllabus childrens class, then you have the closest comparison. If your child is in the inter-foundation class, for example, they are expected to be familiar with the steps and vocabulary reached to be working at that level. In the first class a child close to taking their exam would probably find the class easier than a child who has just started the grade, although both are eligible to be there. Fast forward a few months and the 'new' child will have found their stride.

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But they are being 'honest' by describing a class as 'Intermediate level' if it is between Beginner and advanced or professional. I think the mistake is to assume that the dance world runs on the terminology of children's graded syllabi - it really doesn't!

 

RAD, ISTD and all the others are simply children's graded syllabi, used mostly in the UK and former colonies.

Edited by Kate_N
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