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HowMuch!

Ballet vs academics

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I’m after some perspective please! Something to stop the nagging voice in my head that says “she can’t be good at everything”. 

 

Basically, it’s not even half term yet and the increase in my 9 year old’s  dance hours (from 3 to 5) has come at the same time as a huge dip in the quality of her school work. Perhaps a coincidence, perhaps just start of term wobbles? But part of me wonders if it’s connected. 

 

She does 5 hours dancing a week; streetdance, contemporary, ballet x2 and associates (3 hours during the week and 2 hours at the weekend). At school she’s in the top stream but suddenly dipping to the middle. 

 

How have those of you who are more experienced than me at supporting an aspiring ballet dancer managed to get the balance between dance and academics? 

 

I’ll happily take her out of streetdance so maybe that’s my first step? 

 

Conflicted, confused, concerned 😟 xxx

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I think its very unlikely that 5 hours of dance per week is affecting schoolwork that much.

 

It's much more likely to be something else, friendship issues, moving into Year 5 so heading towards SATS in year 6 and extra pressure.  Others in her class at school being late bloomers so catching up academically or just a sudden discovery of social media, Fortnite or whatever the current trend is.

 

Does she sleep well?

Edited by Picturesinthefirelight
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Is she happy at school?  Does she have a new teacher? Has her friendship group changed? All things I would consider first. I had 2 boys who did a lot of outside activities at primary school and the only time anything changed at school was due to school and issues within it. 

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Maybe i’ve been too quick to blame the dancing! I think in my head it’s the only change from last year but actually you’re right, there’s so much more that could be going on for her. I’ll investigate whether there are any school worries and take it from there. 

 

Perspective restored! Hopefully it’s something as simple as sitting next to someone she’s not happy with in class, or a strict teacher, or a jump in the expectations.

Thank you all!

Xxx  

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Absolutely.  A long time ago now but I remember my dd struggling with maths in one particular primary school year.  The following year - with a different teacher - she was top of the class, where she stayed.  I think she just didn’t click with that particular teacher.  

 

If after investigation it turns out that the increase in dance hours is having an effect - even if it’s just making her a bit more tired - then you still have the option to drop a class. 

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I’d say ballet is more likely to be the making of her academically if she is enjoying her classes. It has given dd a strong work ethic, the ability to focus, learn time management skills, a broad outlook on life, etc etc. She seems to be in great company too!

 

Must be down to what other posters have suggested.

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I have found the opposite with my DD. She is Year 5. Does between 4 and 7 hours per week of ballet as is. Royal Associate and a Cecchetti Associate this year too. All of a sudden her ballet has seen an improvement and keeps being commented by her ballet teachers, and her school work has come on loads so that now she is on top table for maths and English :)

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my daughters dance 4hrs a week each (90mins on each of two nights plus an hour of drama another night and 1hr at weekends) and they seem to manage it well.  I would expect it is due to other things.

 

various possibilities I would think of are

the new curriculum is taught i believe in 2 year chunks, yr4 might have been spent consolidating year 3 if they had done most of the learning in year 3, year 5 therefore will be a jump in learning suddenly if the school chooses to do a lot of the teaching in year 5 and then spend year 6 consolidating and going to greater depth.

different teacher who assesses her groups differently and actually middle isn't middle but there may be a few middle to top groups instead.

different teacher she just doesn't gel with.

age

hormones

friends

annoying partner sat next to her

a lot of children starting 11+ tutoring over the summer holidays! this can have a major impact on a class if you are in a grammar school area. I remember one of my girls coming home saying "suddenly these children having always been at the bottom of the class they are now doing well". their parents see the grammar as the most important thing and have spent a fortune on tutoring to try and get them in. 

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Oh I absolutely get the last issue....

my DD was always mediocre it seemed but in line with most of her friends. All of a sudden they started  to  way outperform her leading to serious low self esteem & feelings she’s just rubbish. It was like they suddenly all just got it.... well, years later I discovered that they all on the quiet were having  home tutoring..... done to sit Grammar test, done just to make up for what I niw kniw was a rubbish school with rubbish teaching. So my DD was not rubbish - just at a disadvantage as were many others who trusted the system. I moved son & wow what a difference at another school just 7 miles away! Pleased to report DD doing really well boarding at vocational school.... due to take 10  GCSE’s in far weightier academic subjects than her former peers at ‘normal’ school.... though of course I think more subject choice will have been a factor for others. 

It is so important to find the right fit school & teacher & peer group.... you may not get all 3 in one setting but look around , research & ask questions until you get answers! 

I hared the almost sneakiness.... kind told not to let in that they were seeing tutors. The worst aspect of this is the schools then reap the benefit with improved results so think that it is their teaching getting this success so they don’t have problems or need to improve. This can I’m sad to say be mapped in the extra private coaching done - often on the quiet - in the dance world; even by voc kids, again leading to disparity in improvements & achievements, guess it will never be an even playing field as sadly an element of what you can afford in time & money (& moral jedegemt) will always mean different routes..... 

We do need to remember that school days are just one part of the journey in  all our lives!

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I wouldn’t feel at all concerned @HowMuch! as long as your dd is tired at school - I am sure her teacher would tell you if so and her dance teacher if she was exhausted in class.

 

My year 9 dd dances 4 nights a week straight after school and we don’t get home until 9.30.  Saturday does RBS associates and festival classes.  She also makes her own way to school on the bus and packs her own tea and lunch.

 

She loves it and is in the top sets for English and maths at a very academic Grammer.

 

I am sure all the dancing has made her mind sharp and not to mention the health benefits and other transferable life skills.

 

My dd wasnt in the top set at primary either - I didn’t realise how bright she was until she started excelling in secondary - she was fortunate to get a dance scholarship to go this private Grammer school - Which also goes to show other kinds of doors can open if you have a dedicated attitude x

 

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Hi,

I’m going to go against the majority and say that it is of course possible that the dip in your child’s schoolwork is because of the increase in her dance hours.

Not all children especially when younger can cope and consequently something suffers.

I understand your concern, I would be too, your instinct or first thoughts are that it could be the extra hours. 

What does your daughter think about her school work dipping?

Would she like to give up one of her dance classes, like street dance?

what does her teacher think?

How much down time does she have to relax, for her body and mind to rest and have fun,  this is as important to our children’s emotional well-being as a tightly packed schedule. Balance is everything. 

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My DD was spending an average 12hrs per week in the studio aswell as maintaining her grades throughout the recent GCSE season. Her school teacher paid credit to her and other dancers in the year group at a standard academic school  stating that those pupils who trained in Ballet and other genres were statistically better off in the classroom.Striving to be a high achiever, dedicated, polite and time managed all their home work commitments. She actually wanted to Bottle those skills and share with others. Dancing not only trains the body but also trains the brain As long as they maintain a healthy diet and sleep pattern as well as access to fresh air, then any increase in studio hours shouldn't cause any dips. My DD is a July baby so was always one of the youngest. Never held her back.  It could be as simple as different teachers or change in the household environment/routine which can have an affect even if the child concerned isn't directly involved. well worth a chat.

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I’m also going to offer a slightly different perspective. Has the increase in dance hours been driven by your dd or you? Are you sure that she is ready for this increase in hours and that she actually wants it right now? She is very young and you talk of her being an aspiring dancer. Dance only enhances other areas of life, academics etc if the child is the one with the passion and drive, and even then it can be a tricky balance between how many hours is enough or too much.  I fully appreciate and understand that it is a difficult balance and that the passion for dance can become all consuming. At 9, I’d say that quality versus quantity, and enjoyment of dance are the main considerations. I do hope you get to the bottom of things and that you find a way forward.

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Thanks again for all the reassurance and insight. She’s only in Year 4, one of the oldest which I expect has worked in her favour early on but now the others have caught up! She seemed much happier this week and doesn’t seem to be telling me that she’s finding it difficult anymore. I think it must have been her adjusting to the new teacher etc. It’s parents eve next week so we’ll get a better picture then.

 

It was her request to increase the hours although the streetdance is more like a convenient after school care option which she thought she’d enjoy but she doesn’t. Perhaps because it’s a mixed group and she finds it a bit slow. She’d prefer an extra ballet class instead! 

 

We’re going to review everything at half term and see whether she’d be better off dropping the street dance.

 

Thanks again for all the words of wisdom! Xxx

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Just wanted to ask what level she's at ballet wise?  The 9 year olds in the school where I teach are usually in RAD Grade 3. There they have 2 x 75 minute ballet classes plus an hours flamenco.  They are still very young in 4th grade at school.  Your daughter sounds rather talented especially if she's an Associate as well,  but she is only 9....... Kids do need some downtime too just to be kids.

Edited by Dance*is*life
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10 minutes ago, Dance*is*life said:

Just wanted to ask what level she's at ballet wise?  The 9 year olds in the school where I teach are usually in RAD Grade 3. There they have 2 x 75 minute ballet classes plus an hours flamenco.  They are still very young in 4th grade at school.  Your daughter sounds rather talented especially if she's an Associate as well,  but she is only 9....... Kids do need some downtime too just to be kids.

 

She’s RAD grade 2, her dance school alternate show and exam years so she’ll do a show this spring and her exam nearer Christmas next year. She goes to the Grade 3 class too but doesn’t want to officially move up as they’re all in year 6 and she feels tiny next to them. 😊

 

It’s a local associates rather than RBS but she’s planning on auditioning in the new year for both JAs and Northern Ballet Academy.

 

She seems much more settled this morning so i’m imagining it was all just a wobble, I’m sure there will be more to come! 😁

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On 15/10/2018 at 12:21, Dance*is*life said:

Just wanted to ask what level she's at ballet wise?  The 9 year olds in the school where I teach are usually in RAD Grade 3. There they have 2 x 75 minute ballet classes plus an hours flamenco.  They are still very young in 4th grade at school.  Your daughter sounds rather talented especially if she's an Associate as well,  but she is only 9....... Kids do need some downtime too just to be kids.

Ooh somewhere else where they do flamenco. Not many places do it. It is the favourite dance style of both of my daughters, they love their Spanish Dance Society classes.

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Yes, flamenco is a great extra dance genre for them.  Each class has a colour leotard to suit the RAD level and then we order flamenco skirts to match - so they have their costume for performances all ready!  Several of our seniors have actually become pro dancers and teachers.  They also learn to sing, play castonets etc as part of it. It's fun for them and we prefer to start the Grade 3s on flamenco as an extra, rather than jazz, which we bring in at Grade 5 level or modern, which is taught from Grade 4.

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On 20/10/2018 at 14:02, Dance*is*life said:

Yes, flamenco is a great extra dance genre for them.  Each class has a colour leotard to suit the RAD level and then we order flamenco skirts to match - so they have their costume for performances all ready!  Several of our seniors have actually become pro dancers and teachers.  They also learn to sing, play castonets etc as part of it. It's fun for them and we prefer to start the Grade 3s on flamenco as an extra, rather than jazz, which we bring in at Grade 5 level or modern, which is taught from Grade 4.

It is a lovely classical style. Ours do the Spanish Dance Society syllabus which involves learning castanets, theory, turns, arms, footwork, flamenco and also other regional dances at different grades but there aren't many teachers in the UK so they are very lucky to have the opportunity, and their teacher is amazing. Mine started it at 6 and 7 but the school does say they have to be strong in ballet in order to do it.

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