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Help required! Embarking in a new world .... Ballet!


Lifeafterballet?
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Until I joined this forum last week I was blissfully unaware have niave I am!!! How do I gain the info to become "a dancing mum". My daughter would love to progress her ballet but it is a whole different world! Girls from her local dancing school have gone down the musical theatre route (as preferred by her dance teachers) so I don't have any mums to ask for their experiences regarding ballet. She is 14, dances ISTD advanced and doesn't pass a mirror without checking "her lines"!!!! Where do I start?! Any advice would be great! Thank you :)

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Hi, lifeafterballet. When I first joined the "old" balletco, some 6 years ago, I had no idea of what I was getting into! My dd was 7 and had just moved ballet schools, got a Distinction at RAD Grade 1, and I knew next to nothing.

 

My first bit of advice is to ASK. Even if you think it's a daft question, ask anyway. Use the search function to see if anyone else has asked the question, because chances are they will have done.

 

The folks on here have a wealth of knowledge and experience and are happy to share it. Many of us have (or have had) dancing children, some have grown-up children who have graduated and are embarking on professional contracts. We have teachers, pupils, ballet fans, you name it, they are here! :-)

 

If your dd is serious about wanting to train as a dancer, I would do the following:

 

Speak to her teacher (s) about their thoughts on your dd's physique, technique, musicality, work ethic, focus, and likelihood of progressing further.

Look at the number of hours and quality of training she does each week.

Is she an Associate anywhere, e.g. at a CAT or at Royal Ballet School Associates etc.

Does she do holiday courses?

If her school is not a "festival" or competition school, does she get the opportunity to perform?

 

There are probably things I've missed out but hopefully that will give you a starting point. :-)

 

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Thank you for your kind reply. She has done summer schools for past 3 years and is looking forward to going to again tomorrow. She does do Festivals too so has no confidence issues and loves performing. I fear you may have "hit the nail in the head" when you say the hours and quality of ballet - as it is a local dance school she does ballet, tap, jazz and modern - maybe it is time to concentrate on a discipline rather than spread herself thin. I think we have a lot to research to do!

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Until I joined this forum last week I was blissfully unaware have niave I am!!! How do I gain the info to become "a dancing mum". My daughter would love to progress her ballet but it is a whole different world! Girls from her local dancing school have gone down the musical theatre route (as preferred by her dance teachers) so I don't have any mums to ask for their experiences regarding ballet. She is 14, dances ISTD advanced and doesn't pass a mirror without checking "her lines"!!!! Where do I start?! Any advice would be great! Thank you :)

 

Your sentence about the girls in her school "going down the musical theatre route (as preferred by her dance teachers)": - caught my eye. Some schools are more ballet oriented and some tend to be more musical theatre centered. When speaking to her teachers about her more ballet oriented goals, keep this in mind. Their goals might not be your daughter's goals and this could possibly influence the teacher's opinion.

 

It is always a good idea to also get a second opinion. If ballet is your daughter's primary goal find a teacher who is not connected (perhaps in another city/town altogether) to her present teachers and tell her you would like her opinion. This will mean most probably a private class.

 

Assuming the assessment of the teachers you've consulted agree that she has the capability to concentrate on ballet - you may have to change schools to place her in a more seriously ballet oriented environment. If, after doing so, your daughter changes her mind - you can always go back.

 

I would say your first step is to speak to her present teachers and then get a second opinion from a ballet teacher totally unconnected to her present school.

 

I hope this helps.

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
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I know this may sound like a stupid question, but how does your daughter school do in the ballet section at festivals and that includes the all England ones. This may also be a good indicator of how well the ballet is at your daughters dance school.

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Welcome :-)

My only advice for now to add to these excellent points - read as many old threads as you can bear and don't expect to know everything quickly. I knew nothing about ballet when I found the forum 10ish years ago and I'm still learning ;-)

 

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I would second the question about festival work - a) how does your DD get on in the classical sections? and B) how does the school as a whole do in classical sections? Do they go to All England regional finals or finals for classical work? Having said that, some schools will do festivals but not bother to heavily invest in All England.

 

My second point would be to investigate attending some additional classes - either an associate scheme or another local school doing RAD or maybe Russian.

 

(I am a ballet teacher with a lot of experience of the All England competition, and working with quite a few dance schools so if you want to ask anything feel free to PM me!)

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Thank you everyone for your support and experience.

 

Hi Drdance, as a dance school we do "ok" with ballet - probably better with the younger age groups than older. For modern and tap we do very well. As most will agree at every festival there is always a school that does well in the classical sections; we have a different one at every festival we do, but they are not within travelling distance on a school night to attend classes. We do not take festivals on to regional finals although my daughter has qualified.

 

I think finding this forum has been a great eye opener to us and we need to talk to her teacher in September to see where we go from here. Thank you :)

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Lifeafterballet you mentioned that your dd is on Advanced level ballet I think as she is only 14 she sounds as if she is doing very well, she must be doing enough ballet classes and good training to get to this level and if she has received qualifying marks at festivals this is a good indicator too. I am glad you are going to speak to her teacher for advice I am sure she/he will guide you and your dd.

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