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thoughts on doing other dance tap, modern etc?


2peas
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My dd has only ever taken ballet classes - she's doing about 4/5 classes per week 9 yrs old. She is doing very well in ballet exams and wins festivals, is an associate of various schools etc but she is interested to try other dance forms such as modern, tap, jazz etc. She loves ballet and says she wants to be a ballet dancer - but she is now beginning to realise the reality of what it takes to be a ballet dancer - she knows that ballet is difficult to get it right and that its hard work! I know that at the moment ballet is 'her thing' and doing other dance would be more about having a bit more fun, I've been told by her teachers that she is a 'natural performer'. Other people (family and friends not those in the know) are telling me she should do other forms of dance because just doing ballet is too limiting and especially as she is a good performer and loves being in shows she should be doing musical theatre - also what if her body changes and isn't right for ballet etc etc. I don't really mind her doing other forms of dance - apart from how we'd squeeze it into the already busy timetable! But would doing other forms detract from what is her main goal at the moment - to be a ballet dancer. Also as she's only 9 at the moment does it matter? But I also think that if it dosn't work out for her in ballet then it would be good to have the training in other forms aswell, do we need to decide now - I don't think she'd want to start out at grade 1 tap and modern when she's older. I'd be interested to know what others think about this. Thanks,..

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If you child doe not want to do both of these other dance, forms, I would leave it. My eldest daughter started both at nine as she then wanted to do musical theatre and enjoyed them more than ballet. She stuck ballet because she knew she had to do it. If you daughter does not want to take this route, then it is just additional expense and tap shoes, jazz shoes and extra dance wear soon mounts up, without even the cost of the classes included :)

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I think any dancer today needs versatility in styles, not only as a backup but it provides further opportunities in years to come.

 

There will be some children very advanced in tap/jazz/modern styles at age 9 so better to start now than play catch up later on.

 

If your daughter has an interest in anything other than ballet I would suggest explore the avenue, you can't discover a love / skill if you dont try.

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Hi 2peas,

 

When my dd was about 9 her teacher suggested that she should take up ISTD Modern as a relaxing contrast to ballet. She also did some tap on and off (took her Primary exam, studied Grade 2 but skipped the exam).

 

When she started pointework her ballet teacher asked her to stop tap for a year as her ankles are hypermobile and the teacher thought that tap might hinder dd's ankle strengthening exercises. She started tap again after a year and will take her Grade 5 exam in the spring, but she'll probably stop again after that. It's enough for to be able to say that she has studied tap. She will keep up her Modern though as she finds it very relaxing and wants to take her Vocational modern grades.

 

I would say that if your daughter loves to perform and would be happy to apply for Musical Theatre training if the ballet doesn't happen for whatever reason, then she would certainly benefit from tap and either modern or jazz classes. Todays dancers need to be versatile, so as long as tap and modern wouldn't be to the detriment of her ballet, I would try to introduce them at this stage.

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If she wants to try other forms of dance, I believe she should. She is only 9 and already enjoying many classes of ballet so another class of say modern or tap would do no harm. She may not enjoy it but at least then she will know and if she does she will experience another form of dance and a new way of using her body but with the added benefit of her ballet technique. Go for it!

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If your dd wants to give it a go then let her. I always say to my students that if they want to dance as a career then they should be prepared to be versatile- there are very few companies these days who are only classically ballet based and even top ballet students are finding it difficult to get work whereas there are more opportunities for all round dancers.

 

So I too encourage my student to do more than one genre if possible and I don't mind if they have to attend another school in addition to do this.

 

One of my biggest regrets was that I took up modern and tap far too late to really be good at it and being classically certainly restricted me when looking for work as a young dancer, it was sheer luck that I got a contract fairly quickly at the time.

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My dd has only ever taken ballet classes - she's doing about 4/5 classes per week 9 yrs old.

4/5 ballet classes a week at age 9 sounds like a lot! I would think trading one or two of these for tap/modern would give an insight into other dance styles and some much needed relaxation, otherwise she may be at risk of burnout or too much stress on a young body.

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I would personally recommend that if she is to add another dance style it would be ISTD Modern or IDTA Jazz (basically the same thing as far as I can make out). My DD has always been a ballet girl but took IDTA jazz from aged 7. This has more age restrictions than ballet and they tend to be at least one grade behind their ballet grade. My DD auditioned for vocational 6th form and auditions were generally a class of ballet and a class of modern at all but RBS and Elmhurst so this style would stand her in good stead for the future. As spanner says it offers a relaxing contrast to ballet but it also compliments it as it is the exercises in these classes that really helped DD with her flexibility and by intermediate level (for IDTA in any case) they have to do a dance of their own choreography also. For my DD this dance included extra costs in terms of lessons and exams but the uniform was the same and it was barefoot. To be really good at tap I suspect you do have to start young but my DD is learning fast and enjoying it despite having never done more than 3 lessons of tap before starting at vocational school.

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They are both beneficial but especially modern. It works the opposing muscle groups to ballet as a lot of it is in parallel and this helps prevent injury and imbalance. It is also very relevant to the changes in the ballet industry where a lot of the newer work is much more contemporary in style.

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I think that at the age of 9, the most important thing is for her to be having fun and enjoying her dancing. If she wants to try out some different things then I think it's a good idea to let her, even if it means cutting back on a bit of the ballet.

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My advice would be to let your daughter try other styles of dance that she is showing an interest in. At 9 she is very young to be limiting her options to ballet alone as so much beyond her control can prevent a career in it. Although her schedule is busy could you swap one or two lessons for a lesson or two of tap, modern and jazz. When my daughter was young, in addition to several weekly ballet classes, she did ISTD tap and modern (1 class per week) on alternate weeks and a 45 minute ISTD jazz class each week which was enough at a young age. Contemporary dance is another valuable skill to have (your daughter is possibly a bit young for this yet) and an increasing requirement when auditioning for contracts.

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I would definately try out modern. My dd is definately a ballet girl but also does ISTD modern and ISTD Jazz and loves both - they are a definate contrast to ballet! If she wants to take things further and audition for dance college these extra skills will be invaluable. Also I echo what other people have said - dancers these days need to be SO versatile if they want to secure jobs and contracts and the end of their training!

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Thanks for all your replies, I will definitly look into her starting some modern, tap and maybe jazz. The problem I've found is that most of the schools would want her to do her ballet with them aswell and don't seem to be happy for her to stay at her ballet school and do the modern and tap with them. The ballet school she goes to is only a ballet school and dosn't do the other dance so its a bit of a problem as she loves her teacher and the other girls at that ballet school.

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My dd has always done ballet, tap and modern jazz. She is a ballet girl first and foremost and is a York Scholar, but really enjoys her modern as well and also the tap. She does extremely well in competition and is becoming an alround performer. Ballet is the foundation on all types of dance, though her beautiful ballet feet do not help in tap!

 

If your daughter is interested then I would encourage her to try other forms of dance. It promotes understanding and variety, and gives other options. It's also a lot of fun.

 

 

 

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Thanks for all your replies, I will definitly look into her starting some modern, tap and maybe jazz. The problem I've found is that most of the schools would want her to do her ballet with them aswell and don't seem to be happy for her to stay at her ballet school and do the modern and tap with them. The ballet school she goes to is only a ballet school and dosn't do the other dance so its a bit of a problem as she loves her teacher and the other girls at that ballet school.

It always makes me quite cross when schools insist on a monopoly of their students in this way. One of the schools Ive taught at have lost a few students this way, we were happy for them to do subjects such as tap that we didn't offer, at other schools, but unfortunately some insisted that they had do the ballet with them also. Yet sometimes a busy parent may find the timings of classes are such that it would be easier if their children were able to attend different places. Fortunately a lot of the schools where I teach elsewhere are all friendly with each other and are happy for students to mix and match as it were if that is best for the pupils concerned. We've even met with each other to support ex pupils at Vocational school events.

 

But back to original topic. I agree with other posters about doing a variety of dance genres but only if the child is willing and able!

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Would it be worth asking your dd's ballet teacher if there is a local school offering modern/tap that she could suggest? Maybe some of her other students go to one nearby.

 

yes I have asked them, but the school they recomend isn't one I'd want her to go to. I know some friends of mine weren't happy with the teaching there.

 

hfbrew - i agree its such a shame that so many schools have this policy.

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yes I have asked them, but the school they recomend isn't one I'd want her to go to. I know some friends of mine weren't happy with the teaching there.

 

hfbrew - i agree its such a shame that so many schools have this policy.

Why don't you see this school for yourself? You may not feel the same way about it as your friends and it would give your dd a taster of different genres even if she doesn't stay there long term. Do they have a trial period whereby you are not committing to anything?

 

I always think its a shame if people are put off a school that could potentially be the best one for them because of the negative views of others. There are very few teachers /schools out there who please everyone.

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Absolutely hfbrew. I would always go and see something for myself, regardless of other people's experiences. Plus if ballet is your dd's main focus, and tap and modern classes are purely supplementary, then you've only got to do one or two classes a week.

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Thanks for your replies - I should have also said that I know the teacher because my dd did do 1 term of ballet with this teacher when she was 5 I took her out because they wouldn't move her up into the primary grade class and she had been doing pre primary already for 2 years at another school (we had moved into the area). dd was so bored in pre primary but this teacher didn't want to know. The school does have other teachers but it would be the same one for the modern and tap!! Sorry should really have mentioned that! The friends we know who went there were in different grades and had similar experiences with her and that she has favourites in the class we had already left by then though! However maybe things are different now - maybe we should try it out again - at least they don't mind if she does ballet elsewhere - maybe you can't have it all!!

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I took my DD out of that sort of school, 2peas. The teacher would not put her in for grade one even though she had done very well in her primary exam and put in a girl who had never done ballet before. I said nothing but watched. She was not as good as my DD. I took her away and later heard that the teacher told the child that she could do the exam had then told her she couldn't after all :angry:

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2peas, You mentioned that your dd does festivals - maybe next time you're at a festival, see if you can find out some info about schools on the grapevine while you are there.

 

yep i've tried them they are good schools with good all round reputations and they are the ones that won't let her do ballet elsewhere!! :angry: She really loves her little ballet school and they love her and have really encouraged her in ballet - but they just don't do any other dance foms she won't leave them and so we are a bit stuck!! - there are a few other schools that i can try but they are more musical theatre and jazz don't do the istd modern and tap exams. maybe that would be good enough. I could try further afield but then it would be too much travel time!

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yep i've tried them they are good schools with good all round reputations and they are the ones that won't let her do ballet elsewhere!! :angry:

 

What ballet syllabus is your dd currently studying? My dd does RAD, and when we approached another school about jazz, they offered ballet too, but they taught ISTD. We explained that we wanted to stay with the same ballet syllabus and they were happy to take her just for jazz. Maybe we were just lucky then!

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yep i've tried them they are good schools with good all round reputations and they are the ones that won't let her do ballet elsewhere!! :angry: She really loves her little ballet school and they love her and have really encouraged her in ballet - but they just don't do any other dance foms she won't leave them and so we are a bit stuck!! - there are a few other schools that i can try but they are more musical theatre and jazz don't do the istd modern and tap exams. maybe that would be good enough. I could try further afield but then it would be too much travel time!

It really isn't important to actually do tap and modern exams, in fact musical theatre and jazz sound just fine. At this stage its all about her experiencing different genres. The trouble with going to syllabus led classes is that it can sometimes restrict the students to only learning the steps required at that particular level depending on the teacher. Now there is nothing wrong with following a syllabus (I follow several!) but there is no need to be worried about having passed exams in certain grades of certain syllabi. All that proves is that you are good at that one particular style! Edited by hfbrew
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Thanks for all your replies, I will definitly look into her starting some modern, tap and maybe jazz. The problem I've found is that most of the schools would want her to do her ballet with them aswell and don't seem to be happy for her to stay at her ballet school and do the modern and tap with them. The ballet school she goes to is only a ballet school and dosn't do the other dance so its a bit of a problem as she loves her teacher and the other girls at that ballet school.

It's always worth reminding teachers who have a problem with a student taking classes at different schools, that you as the parent are the paying customer and as such it gives you the right to choose what is best for your child. Best of luck 2peas, hope everything works out well for your daughter.

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