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Happymum

Ballet or gymnastics dilemma

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This year My DS is planing to audition to a couple of vocational schools for year 7 entry. He recently started RAD grade 4, used to do two 1h long classes per week plus RBS JAs every other week plus boys Training at Tring once a month. He really likes street dance (does one 40 minutes class a week which I don't think is worth anything but he likes it) and loves all the tricks like back flips, aerials etc which he is working on but can't do as never done gymnastics.

Now - the plan was to carry on with 2 grade4 Classes a week (plus associate classes) but today we got a call from nearby gym that he got a place at boys gymnastics class - of course at the same time his ballet class would be.

His ballet teacher just had a baby so she was kindly ready to teach just my son's class twice a week but says that DS should take up gymnastic instead and she will be happier teaching just once a week. What do you think? Will 1 ballet class a week be enough? I'm worried it won't be. Will he get any "bad habits" from gymnastics which will decrease his chances during auditions? Are they any advantages of starting gymnastics now?

Sorry for such a long post. Thank you for reading. I'm just not sure if I should let him go for it as he really wants to try? Or should I encourage him to focus on ballet until auditions and let him join the gym (if he is lucky to get a place) after the auditions are finished (especially if he doesn't get in to any of the schools). Help!

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My brother coaches gymnastics and used to do ballet, your son is still young and one class a week of gymnastics won't do any harm but enhance his strength and flexibility. Keep up the ballet too and see what happens at the vocational school auditions. Good luck! 

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Hi Happymum, is it artistic gymnastics?, my Dd auditioned while training as a competitive artistic gymnast last year and also did only 1 grade 4 RAD ballet class per week, plus RBS Junior Associates, before auditioning.

 

She built up a lot of upper body strength from her bars, and was very ripped, but for a boy this would be a good thing, maybe not a girl. Also, you have to bear in mind the possibility of an injury from a fall off bars beam etc ruining everything your child has worked for. Also dd got tight Achilles a bit from tumbling and growing, which plagued her during audition time.

 

My dd wasn't successful in audition, I doubt it was down to her being a gymnast, she doesn't have a typical gymnast physique, tall and slim, but has lots of natural power and good strength to weight ratio, so good for gymnastics. In ballet physique seems to be important in auditions, also things like turnout, feet which are still a mystery to me. I am sure there may be bad habits for ballet picked up from gymnastics too though I am not sure what.

 

I would let your ds decide, my Dd loved gymnastics more than anything in the world since she the age of 6, and made the county squad the last 3 years, had the time of her life, but the level she reached through regional ove up rules required 20 plus hours a week training and some pretty scary skills. And that leaves little time for anything else let alone ballet, family time and grammer school comute and homework in y7.

 

I suppose you need to ask the gym what type of programme he would be committing to, a full on pre elite type programme or a low hour commitment week floor and vault squad, which maybe a fun safe environment for him to learn how to flick and tuck with a British Gymnastics qualified coach, or even a recreational class, if he likes street dance. And then decide, if he really wants to try it, maybe let him try an hour a week only until after his auditions? Or take him to a holiday camp over half term if the gym club run them to see if he really likes it. And then take it from there?

Hope this helps.

Edited by Snowflake

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Thank you Lollylamb and Snowflake.

I think I need to be more clear about my question.

With coming up auditions for year 7 - is it OK to do just one grade 4 ballet class a week and one hour recreational gymnastic (plus ballet associates) or should I stop my DS from doing gymnastic and send him to two grade 4 ballet classes instead of just one.

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My question would be 'does he enjoy and want to do the gymnastics?' If so let him do the gym class. If you concentrate on the ballet at the expense of something else he enjoys at this age and the year 7 auditioms lead no where he will have missed an opportunity. The gymnastics will give him strength training and flexibility etc. Some children will get into vocational school at year 7 with minimal ballet lessons a week and no associate experience. They are not looking for the finished article at age 11 but something they can work with at the vocational schools.

Gymnastics used to be on the timetable at White Lodge I believe. And a number of too dancers have a mixed background of ballet and gymnastics.

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It would be a shame for him to miss his ballet class before auditions. my son loves karate nd he does an hour a week recreational gymnastics on top of this it really helps his conditioning and flexibility, he practises his splits there, hand stands, But at his club the recreational gymnasts wouldn't really learn to do flicks and tumbles until they are older if thats what your ds is hoping for as these are more advanced skills although my ds is only 8 and it coukd be different elsewhere plus your son is a little older.

 

Have you tried looking at another gymnastics club that doesn't clash if you go on the British gymnastics website it list them? If it's a an recreational class most of the larger clubs run one or two every day? Bear in mind he coukd get drawn in begore you know it my Dd started at a rec class after school at 6, next thing she we knew she was there all the time she loved it so much

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I would ask your son. If he is very keen to do gym I would let him but he needs to know it may affect his ballet posture unless he is careful to separate the 2. I guess it may depend on how keen he is to audition? As others have said it is potential at this stage so while he only does 1 syllabus a week he does have Associates.

 

Your ballet teacher thinks gym would be ok by the sound of it and it is good for flexibility which boys often struggle with. I agree to clarify exactly the level of the gym and whether it would satisfy him.

 

You can ask the Associates teacher but I expect they are most likely to give a conservative opinion (ie no).

 

Finally - what can you manage? It will be a tough time for you with auditions.

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If the gymnastics class clashes with one of the two Grade 4 classes, I was wondering whether there was another available ballet class the teacher might allow him to join instead, for instance Inter-foundation? 

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That's a problem - this is the only gymnastic class available and the only two ballet classes available. At the moment I've sign him up for a trial gymnastic class for next Monday, so he will miss one ballet lesson. I think I did it hoping that he is not going to like it or will be disappointed that it is a beginners class where he won't lern any spectacular flips etc this year. But at least he will have a go. I think he should carry on with both ballet classes but he disagrees and really want to try gymnastics. The funny thing is that he doesn't won't to be a gymnast, he only want this gymnastic class to learn tricks to improve his contemporary and street dance. (All thanks to "the next step" and YouTube...)

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Good luck, like you say he may find it boring depending on the age of the other children there and if it is advanced enough for him. Hopefully they will have a more advanced group of older children there who are ready to progress also.

 

If he doesnt like it and there are no other clubs nearby maybe a trampoline club?

 

I would look for a club that is well equipped with a bouncy floor has a tumble tracks, trampolines and pits. The one my ds is at is amazing, they are so strict with the recreational gymnasts though they wouldn't teach them anything more than a flick and that is only when you reach the very highest level which takes forever but my Ds is not a daredevil so he is more than happy with that, a few straddle jumps on a trampoline are more than enough for him

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His ballet teacher just had a baby so she was kindly ready to teach just my son's class twice a week but says that DS should take up gymnastic instead and she will be happier teaching just once a week. 

I've just re-read your opening post and noticed this bit. Do any of the schools he wants to audition at require a solo as part of the audition, and will his current teacher be able to help with that? Will she be in a position to be able to give him enough attention/support in the period leading up to his auditions? If not, then (with her agreement) it might be worthwhile investigating whether there is another dance teacher locally who could give him extra top-up lessons for a few weeks/months until the auditions are over. 

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Your DS sounds in a very similar position to mine. With the way the timetable works at his dance school, he can only make 1 ballet syllabus class a week (I can't really say why, as I think it may be obvious to anyone else at his dance school who I am!) but is having privates (including a gym class) at times we can fit in.

 

I'm not too worried, tbh. At JAs on sat, his teacher said this year is pretty much preparation for the auditions, so I think they will go in well prepared. From what I've heard and read, I think most schools are looking for potential and teachability, along with solid technique and enthusiasm, rather than specific syllabus work. If he gets in to voc school, great, if not, we can worry about exams etc later. With senior school entrance exams this year too, I don't want to pile any more pressure on than necessary.

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My feeling is let him do the gymnastics...as you have said he really likes the street dance etc.

 

He may like ballet too but at 10/11 may not be ready to decide yet which direction he wants to go on.

Some vocational schools are not completely ballet orientated so at least it may help with the decision of which ones to apply to!

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Thank you all for your replies.

DS went to his first gymnastic lesson today and loved it! His ballet teacher is happy for him to swap one hour of ballet for gymnastic. She says it will help his flexibility and core strength. So hope one hour of ballet and one hour of gymnastic plus JAs will be enough to get him ready for year 7 auditions. Good thing is that his gym coach reminded him to point his toes, more than once. This will definitely help.

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Your DS sounds in a very similar position to mine. With the way the timetable works at his dance school, he can only make 1 ballet syllabus class a week (I can't really say why, as I think it may be obvious to anyone else at his dance school who I am!) but is having privates (including a gym class) at times we can fit in.

 

I'm not too worried, tbh. At JAs on sat, his teacher said this year is pretty much preparation for the auditions, so I think they will go in well prepared. From what I've heard and read, I think most schools are looking for potential and teachability, along with solid technique and enthusiasm, rather than specific syllabus work. If he gets in to voc school, great, if not, we can worry about exams etc later. With senior school entrance exams this year too, I don't want to pile any more pressure on than necessary.

My DD is now in year 9 at a vocational school and she had never studied ballet syllabus work or taken a ballet exam before auditions. She was a RBS JA for two years but that was really all the focused ballet she had before year 7! The schools are definitely looking for potential rather than syllabus work.

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