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Is an hour enough ballet a week for a 9yo?


Confuddled
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I know there are endless threads about how many hours of dance. Sorry. But I have a specific question.

 

For a 9yo who wants to have a decent chance for youth ballet auditions, but isn't interested in dance as a career, is an hour of ballet enough per week? I'm getting conflicting advice... We're in a position where she's going to have to make some choices, based on how many hours of classes I can physically get her to each week, and I'm trying to work out whether she should prioritise a second ballet class and lose one of modern / contemporary / tap, or vice versa. Obviously, ideally I'd get her to everything, but I have a job, and a family, and even (very occasionally) a social life.

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Does she prefer ballet over everything else? Personally, I think that even an hour a week is enough if the teacher is very good, especially as she does not want a career. I would say it's up to her... If she wants more ballet and doesn't mind dropping a style, then that's good but if she likes all her styles then an hour a week is ok. If she does decide she wants ballet as a career, then vocational schools look at potential at age 11-13 and so technique doesn't quite matter as much. She can always change her mind! :D

 

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Hmm, she's only Grade 3, so IF is a while away. But that's useful to know, thanks! Can you remember, were they doing two classes of the same grade, or one of their current grade and one of the grade above? From what I've read, the latter seems more common?

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RobR - she's changing dance schools, part of the decision about which one to go for is about how many hours (and of which type of dance) classes I can get her to. So no current teacher to ask. I'm seeking advice from various sources, this is just one :-)

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I'm sort of inclined to say three styles at an hour each is too much. My 9 year old is doing three styles, but he's doing one hour tap, one hour jazz and up to six or seven hours ballet

 

If she's not that into tap I'd drop it and do a bit more ballet. I feel that you need to get a bit of depth in one rather than spreading oneself too thinly (speaking as the guy doing ballet, tap and three martial arts ?).

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Maybe you will find another family to share the ballet run with at one of the new schools. It makes the logistics of fitting in the ballet run around work and everything else so much easier.

 

Over the years the commitment expected has got bigger at the local school, and then there have been exams, rehearsals, summer schools, associate classes etc., but (thankfully!) the taxi run has always been a group effort, with a little bit of organisation! I don't think I'd manage otherwise!

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At 9 and at start of year 5, DD was doing an hour of ballet a week, but by the Easter, had added an extra ballet class.

She was also doing 1 hour Jazz, 45 min Tap, 1 hour singing and 2 hours drama. Oh, and 45min 'festival' class to practice festival dances. And I can't remember when she added in a 45 minute 'street' class! ( bad mummy! ) I'm pretty sure it was when she started in year 5! 

 

She also swam for an hour a week. Sadly that has had to go as no time anymore.

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Until the end of year 6 dd did 45 minutes each of ballet, tap, modern, and festival dance classes in the local village hall, plus gymnastics. Then it all took off! In year 7 she added on 2 hours of associates ballet, which increased to 4.5 hours in year 8 (plus Easter and Summer intensives), then another 3 hours of open classes in ballet and modern and a fortnightly 3 hour associate class were added in year 9, and finally CAT programme in year 10. Starting year 11 next month she will be doing a total of around 20 hours dancing a week. She will be auditioning for vocational schools this year.

So the point of all that is ………….. I think an hour a week is fine when you are 9, but probably needs to increase at some point. Exactly how much training is ideal, and at what age, depends on all sorts of factors - how far they want to go with their dancing, how good the training is, natural talent. And then you have to balance what is ideal for them with what you can manage………… 

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In Year 5 DD was doing 45 mins classes 2 x ballet, tap, modern. An hour musical theatre plus 30 ballet class at school. She also trained with local swimming club for 3 hours a week, should have been 4 but we couldn't make one. By the end of year 5 I made her choose between dance and swimming, she simply couldn't do both. Dance classes stayed pretty much the same for the next few years, only difference was ballet increased to hour long classes. 

In year 9 she changed dance schools and everything increased. At the start of Year 11 she was dancing 7 days a week for about 17 hours. This did vary as various other shows, festivals also took place. Somehow she also managed to take 9 GCSEs ( she took one in Year 9 ) and is off to vocational school in September. 

This took a huge amount of juggling and at times relying on other parents to bring her home but it was what she wanted. She kept up with her academic work without being asked to. So my advice is take it step by step. See how things go at the new school, let her settle in and take her lead. Personally I would let her do as many different classes as possible until her teacher says she needs to do increase her ballet classes because of the grade she is in. Let her enjoy her new school, make friends and have fun. Maybe arrange to talk to her teachers towards half term once they have got to know her. 

Its a hard one but I don't think there is a right way or wrong way. 

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I would say if your daughter is saying she wants a decent chance to do her best at auditions, and she wants to do more than an hour move her on somewhere she can do more classes.

 

My Dd until year 5 only did an hour ballet a week at her dance school, then up until y7 only a hour a week RAD grade 3/4 class alongside Royal Ballet Associates.  She felt behind where she felt she could be, and started to get frustrated!  I.e. Wanted to learn to pirouette more etc, learn pointe work more, progress faster, dance move, just get more involved in dance.

 

Be lead by your child if she has ambitions of obtaining a place at a youth ballet, and has a real passion for ballet i.e. Is always dancing everywhere she goes 😀 and wants to work hard, I think definitely more than one class at age 9, as long as she doesn't find it too tiring even alongside other dance styles as well rather than giving them up! but, of course it depends also on what you as a family can commit too as well as you need to be there to drive her to the classes.

 

My Dd eventually moved dance schools after the first term of y7 and she is very furfilled and happy now on loads more going on more classes, shows, contemporary, pointe work,  it's all a lot more for her to get involved in! one hour a week is not enough really to cover much at all! I am surprised looking back Dd did aswell as she did in exams and auditions, although not doing much was lucky to have had really amazing teachers! 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Confuddled said:

Hmm, she's only Grade 3, so IF is a while away. But that's useful to know, thanks! Can you remember, were they doing two classes of the same grade, or one of their current grade and one of the grade above? From what I've read, the latter seems more common?

They did two Grade classes (same grade) and two I.F classes a week.

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At the dance school my DDs attended grade 3 was the point that children moved from 1 x50 mins class a week to doing 2 x grade 3 classes a week. At this stage they also did 1 x 45 mins modern and 1 x 30 mins non syllabus work (usually ballet or character). Towards the end of grade 3, those that were ready also started inter foundation classes, though the majority started foundation once in grade 4. So definitely by grade 4 the hours for ballet were increasing and that's really when we hard to start making decisions about any other extra curricular activities.

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If she's keen on auditioning for youth ballet then it would probably be worth dropping tap if it isn't her favourite and swapping it for a second ballet class, either the same grade (if the school has more than one a week) or the grade above. Some schools offer a non-syllabus/free work class and that might be an alternative as well. It really depends on what the school can offer.

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I have noticed a number of posts recommending that you drop the tap.  This is understandable as this is the balletcoforum and the interest is in ballet, but I would recommend that your DD retain all styles until she has completed at lease grade 4/5 which will give her greater options should she ever decide that she does want a career in dance, particularly if she wants to go the musical theatre route.  Age 9 my dd did one hour of tap, ballet, modern jazz, 1.5 hours drama and singing and  1hour of festival and competition work, plus a 1 hour street dance class as a fun thing.

 

I too work full time, and am a single mum, though I don't have other children or a social life!  I was lucky that the dance school was in the same village as DD's school and our home and I did have a group of friendly dance mum's who helped me out for after school classes.

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Yes, I agree with Huddsballetmum, although whether you can continue with a variety of styles depends on timetabling, and whether your dc has a particular aptitude for one of them, so would benefit from extra classes in that style. (And also, how many classes you can realistically afford to pay for!).

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6 hours ago, taxi4ballet said:

Yes, I agree with Huddsballetmum, although whether you can continue with a variety of styles depends on timetabling, and whether your dc has a particular aptitude for one of them, so would benefit from extra classes in that style. (And also, how many classes you can realistically afford to pay for!).

 

I don't know if she's got a particular aptitude - I can't tell by looking, so I can see the advantage in keeping her options open, that's a good point. Thanks! I've now got to work out the possible timetables, and match that to childcare / other commitments (which are also moving) / location etc.

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Re tap - although I agree to a certain extent that keeping as several styles going is a good idea, it is down to what you can afford and what fits in with your timetables. My DD only did up to primary tap. Tap was not part of any of her auditions for entry to vocational school aged 16. She did the Trinity diploma in Professional Dance rather than musical theatre, though does some musical theatre in her professional life. She was able to pick tap up again very quickly at 16 and it certainly did not hold her back.

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The  recommendations to drop tap are based on tap being least favorite rather than any bias (starting tap proeporly myself in September 😂).

 

Personally I think you're best off with a primary style and secondaries on top of that. Getting to know the primary style in a little more depth seems like a good idea.

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18 hours ago, taxi4ballet said:

It is a logistical nightmare isn't it, all this timetabling/scheduling business!

 

(I remember it well, hence my username) ;)

 

Try it when you're trying to fit the parents' dance classes in too! We've got two times in the week where we need to get three different groups to three different places at the same time. The ten year old is going to be learning to take the bus. 

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On 16/08/2017 at 15:56, Colman said:

 

Try it when you're trying to fit the parents' dance classes in too! We've got two times in the week where we need to get three different groups to three different places at the same time. The ten year old is going to be learning to take the bus. 

 

Yeah, one of the logistical issues is where the class is and therefore can she walk there by herself (how far, are the crossings safe etc). And what time does it end and therefore am I happy for her to walk home by herself in winter when it's dark.

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If tap isn't your DC's favourite then I would also suggest dropping it if necessary in favour of another ballet class or jazz/contemporary/modern. If that would also assist in the wish to be involved in youth ballet, all the better. - However, it will depend on the timetabling and available classes/parent taxi service! Tap can definitely be picked up again at a later date if needed and except for 42nd Street or a solo tap specialist number, I usually don't think the tap numbers in MT are particularly difficult - just showy, which is what is needed.

 

I think at 9 DD was doing 2/3 hours of ballet classes per week with a youth ballet scheme on top of that. From grade 3 there were at least 2 graded classes timetables per week for each grade, along with unset classes for those students of grade 3 and above who were considered ready. She took her grade 4 ballet at just 10 and had started IF classes alongside it (not en pointe) from c 9.5, so would have had the option to take 2 grade 4 and 2 IF classes plus an unset class per week; however, being a busy child with sports and music etc she didn't go to all of those classes (nor would I have wanted her to do so). BUT that was at a school which offers mainly ballet, with contemporary for older students c 12 years and up plus Pilates classes and guest jazz teachers often giving classes. 

 

I would work out which classes are available and when they take place, then sit down with your dancer and explain the options. At 9 no decision - even if it turns out to be the wrong one - is irreversible and as long as they are enjoying their dancing then they are doing the right thing.  If ballet was the only passion in terms of dance, then that should be prioritised as far as possible as high quality training from an early age is required - but as it is more generally dance which is the passion, follow the heart as far as possible re cost, timetabling and practicalities of travel etc. 

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very sensible advice from legseleven which is pretty much what I was going to say - but just to add that at 9 yrs old my DS wasn't doing any ballet at all! or any other form of dance either... so even if she does want to do youth ballet later and doesn't do more ballet classes right now she can perhaps catch up when a bit older? I know it's hard not to get overwhelmed by the huge amount of classes and hours some children do and this may suit them and what they enjoy (and are able to timetable) but it doesn't necessarily mean that is what is needed to achieve a particular level....

 

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