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Hours a week


rowan
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Two questions I've been wondering about for some time, so while the forum is up and running, I thought I'd get the questions asked!

 

Why do forms for summer schools, etc, ask how many classes/lessons are taken a week? Isn't that a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" question? Surely it would be better to ask about the number of hours spent dancing in a week? Don't the length of the lessons vary according to age of child or the school?

 

Are there any guidelines about how many ballet lessons / hours a child "should" be doing a week as they progress? How much do children at vocational school do? I've heard that children at vocational school do about two hours a day. Is that right?

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Generally speaking a "normal" ballet class is 90 minutes long. However, a class for the very young (4-5 yrs) is usually 30 min. A class for beginners (6-7-8) is usually 60 min. But that's just a generalization. It also depends upon the intensity of the class - how demanding - how fast it moves.. (I've taken some 60 min. classes which had me bent over gasping for air while there were some at two hs which barely warmed me up.) And, also, the rest of the dancer's schedule must be considered. If the rest of the day is spent in rehearsals and performance at night - then the class in the morning should be less intense. So, there are lots of variables.

 

For the very young child, a dance class is not about technique (especially something like turnout in ballet) - it is more about learning to move to music and to move along with other people. To become used to identifying with instructions.

 

For the mid-childhood years - then it depends upon the goal of the student. I think the student's interest should be the guiding line - with input from parents and teachers. The child always reserves the right to say "no." Often when parents sacrifice with time and money - the student begins to feel obligated. So, it should always be possible for the student to change his/her mind as time goes by. We all experience change in goals and interests. This is especially true of girls as they are much more reluctant to "disappoint" the adults around them.

 

But, all that being said....assuming all else is in place...(for ballet) .the child beginner ballet student from 6-7 yrs should do one 60 min. class a week. If that is successful....then 7-8 yrs. two 60 min. classes per week. Then starting at 8-10 yrs - three 60 min. classes. Frequency, I think, is more important than going to a longer class at this point.

 

After that, class length can increase to one hr and 15 min. and/or 90 min. At 12 yrs old - pointe begins which means that several minutes are lost in putting on pointe shoes - which is ok - it gives them a little break.

 

Class is not about working the body - but working the body intelligently. This means that both the body and mind should not get exhausted. Class should end BEFORE that happens. A tired body/mind don't learn.

 

And, always, the child reserves the right to say "no." On the other hand, the child might want to overdo (girls especially) and the parents and teachers have to monitor that, too. Life must be lived in balance. Ballet can be a very insulating and isolating experience. The child should always have friends and activities that have nothing to do with dance.

 

I hope I've said something that helps. :)

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So helpful Anjuli :-))

 

Rowan, if it helps, I don't know if my DD does "enough" hours in a week, but at this stage, short of moving local school, there's nothing I can do about it. DD does 4.5 hours locally plus Private lesson every other week, plus a twilight GCSE dance course, plus 3.5 hours at Associate Class on a Saturday. There aren't any other suitable classes locally she can go to. I try to top up with Easter School, Genee Dance Challenge and either EYB or a summer school. Given that she's also a high flyer academically and in two choirs, plus piano and singing lessons, plus an extortionate amount of homework, I think it's enough for now (she's not yet 13).

 

I don't know whether or not adding in another hour or two at this stage is going to increase her chances of an Upper School place at 16 but personally I feel it's more important that she has some time just to relax, watch TV and rest her body and mind! So I do think it's important to find a balance. :-)

 

How many hours does your DD do?

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Hi Rowan, just to answer your query about vocational school hours.

 

My DD is at a vocational ballet school in yr 8. Currently she has a two hour ballet class every week day which includes some body conditioning exercises at the start. Quite often they will have an additional class i.e. character/pointe/choreography after academics. They also have a gym class on Saturday and maybe another class depending on what they are working towards. Hope this helps.

 

Spanner your DD sounds like she's doing an amazing job juggling everything :)

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It can be very difficult to get 'enough' hours of training in for teenagers who are not at vocational school. I think we have to do what we can and not beat ourselves up with what just cannot be done. Look for quality rather than quantity and be guided by what your child can cope with in terms of fitting everything into their schedule. Remember that travelling time can be a huge extra burden and really cut into the time they have for homework etc. A child who is too tired or stressed because they can't fit everything in just won't be able to work to their full potential in class so it may be beneficial to back off a bit if this is the case. We always tried to keep one evening a week completely free of dance activities for homework and sanity.

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Very sensible glowlight. At Primary School it worked taking our DD to Tring for some classes, but with at least an hour's drive each way I know it would never be possible nowadays. All you can do is, as you say, find a balance and allow for some time off. :-)

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I don't know if this is a difference between USA and UK thing or not but in our area classes tend to be 45 mins long and the seniors will do 2 or more classes on an evening. Typically the more serious dancers will do 2 evenings plus 2/3 45min classes on a Saturday and will supplement their classes by associate programmes/workshops etc. I guess in other areas where there are larger and more schools it would be possible to dance more frequently but my DD has had a maximum of 5 days.

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I think it depends on the school and perhaps the number of 'vocational' students they have. My dd used to go to classes at two schools (with the agreement of both teachers). One did shorter classes - generally 45mins - 1 hour for the seniors, but then there might be an extra (optional) half hour on top for pointe work, pas de deux or rep. The other did 1.5 hour classes for vocational grades. I guess it depends what they can fit into their timetable and what will work for the range of students they have. Most local schools cannot cater solely for the students who want to make a career of dance, as it is the majority who dance for fun who keep the school financially viable. They have to somehow look after both.

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I was thrown by Fiz's 10-3 as well! For a moment I thought you meant weekday daytimes and the kids just didn't go to school!

Anjuli, very interesting. I've never come across a breakdown of lesson progression like that before. The only other guidance I've been able to find is that for the CAT scheme nearest to me, I think the children have to do a compulsory six hours of dance a week, not including the time at the CAT. It was a couple of years ago that Iooked into CAT schemes, so I might be wrong. My issue is that DD wants to do more ballet and I think she does more than enough, about 15 hours a week at just turned 14, spread over 6 days. But she knows people who do much more than this, admittedly adding in other dance forms as well. A basic ballet class for DD is 1 hour 45 mins, though other classes, like character, would be shorter. I'm afraid that I get "the look", Spanner, if I suggest less ballet and more homework!

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hi rowan

while i think school is very inportant i also think dance is to

we take our children to school from 9- 3 then there is homework

we do not question going to school for 30 hours a week

if youre daughter wants to do more dancing and obvieously she has a great passion for it

i would say go for it

she will let you no if it comes to much for her

she sounds like a very determind young girl

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I think a point to be remembered is vocational students sacrifice their academics to fit in their hours of dance training. So to try and replicate the same number of hours whilst attending a secondary school is probably unachievable.

 

Quality of life has to be a factor both theirs and yours!

Edited by BankruptMum
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Yes, definitely, especially in a school like my DDs where their aim is to send all the girls to Oxbridge with 12 A* GCSEs and at least 4 A'levels! Yikes! It's a very difficult juggling act trying to keep both academics and enough dance going. Hence DD always wants to do as many holiday courses as possible.

 

I feel for you Rowan! :-)

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HI,

I have been reading this thread, Both my dd's do 3 x 1hr30min ballet classes a week with more at exam time,

they also do tap modern and drama classes at a theatre aswell. It doesn't seem much compared to some of you.

 

One of my dd's would do the ballet all the time if she had the chance, but as you all say they need a rest sometimes too.

 

It too have had the look from my dd's if i say to have a break from something. I have also had that look from parents as if

i am pushing them too much. My answer is simply if you can get them to stop feel free, i think i could do with the rest even if they can't lol :)

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hi my daughter does 1 55 min advanced class a week it used to be 1 hour but the teacher has to leave early

as the place where she hires bangs on the door to tell her times up

i have asked for more classes as you no but she says the world does not stop for one child

i go to the gym more times than she goes to ballet

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hi anjuli-bai

i agree i also find it disgusting but that is nothing

my daughter has been told she is stupid untalented

will not pass any exams

she has been put into a corner and made to stand there as one teacher said she was a show off

as she picks things up easy

i could go on as the list is long but even writing this is hard

i hope no other child has to exsperience this

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Well, having taken ballet class myself for over 40 yrs and taught for almost as long.....I've seen just about everything...done by teachers and classmates. There is little that would surprise me. What horrifies me is that it still goes on and that people put up with it as if ballet teachers were gods of some kind.

 

Ballet class can be a very toxic place. If, as a parent, one is aware of this stuff and the child remains at the school, even if there is no other school around...then the parent is enabling the problem. This is child abuse. Better no ballet class than this abuse.

 

The parent is the guardian of the child. That means taking responsibility for the child's welfare and that includes emotional welfare as well as physical.

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hi anjuli-bai

Stardancer quote

i agree i also find it disgusting but that is nothing

my daughter has been told she is stupid untalented

will not pass any exams

she has been put into a corner and made to stand there as one teacher said she was a show off

as she picks things up easy

i could go on as the list is long but even writing this is hard

i hope no other child has to exsperience this

 

Hi Stardancer

From what I have read from your experience if this teacher is registered with any examining body ie RAD/ISTD/IDTA they do have a code of conduct that involves safeguarding children, this sounds as if she is breaching this and needs reporting.

Ax

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a further comment on the how many hours question on an application form. In an audition the panel may not have this information in front of them but at every audition my DD has been to involving a meet with the physio and an interview, she has been asked how many hours a week she dances and what type of dance she does.

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