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how many lessons should a 8/9 year old be taking in ballet


balletmum20

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My daughter has just turned 9 and she takes 3 ballet classes per week plus an associate class. She should certainly be taking a minimum of 2 or 3 I would say but quality is more important than quantity obviously. Have you looked into associate classes near you? Now is the time to audition if she's keen.

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Aurora took the words out of my mouth. Although I was going to say two classes was fine - but agree that quality is important (we've heard of some people on here who have a kind of mixed dance class and only occasionally concentrate on ballet!).

 

Plus as Aurora says, have a look at associate classes - if she's serious, or just interested in seeing if she's serious ;) that's the way to go at this age if you can. I've known many JAs (Junior Associates of the RBS) who have only been taking one ballet class plus JAs (as JAs usually clashed with what would be their second local class on a Saturday), so one local class plus associates would be fine, or two local classes with perhaps some other dance as well (as I have just seen hfbrew post as I'm typing!)

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Let the child's interest guide you on the down side - let your common sense guide you on the upside.

 

As a general guide - I would say (if she thinks ballet might be in her future) not less than two but at this age not more than three.

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Hi my dd goes to ballet class twice a week and then has a associate class on Saturday , she is 9 and I think that is enough for her she enjoys her ballet , she did do tap and jazz but decided she wasn't enjoying it but I do agree a good variety of classes so they can try different dance styles

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Well if you consider that at 11 they're dancing for a few hours a day 6 days a week if they go to vocational school it's not so much really. It totals less than 7 hours a week spread over 3 days, at vocational school they probably do at least double that.

 

It's partly for practical reasons that she does so much anyway, my husband can't be home in time for her one night a week and I'm at the studio so she has to come with me so she does extra ballet and tap that night.

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I know kids this age can be very keen and want to do more than 2 classes a week. However looking back, and knowing how ballet has taken over her life now, I would have encouraged her to do a variety of activities. Especially lots of outdoor,unstructured play.

Before you know it your dd has no free time, and nor do you.

Associate classes are great but their value depends a bit on how accessible they are. I am not sure if 3-4 hours in a car and a 2 hour ballet class is a sane way to spend a Saturday for an 8/9 year old. (which is what we did) It might have made a bit more sense in Year 6.

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We had a very similar schedule to taxi

 

Dd did 1 class each of tap, ballet & modern plus Saturday mornings at her theatre school doing drama, singing and jazz

 

She has now added an extra ballet class and we've applied for monthly rad associates. She now also regularly has show rehearsals.

 

She isn't RBS associate calibre but us serious about musical theatre.

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Ds does 3 ballet classes plus an associates class and one tap and one modern per week. He did nothing a year ago but it doesn't add up to that many hours compared to what he could be doing at gymnastics, which he's been doing since he was five. The club wanted him to do three three-hour sessions, now that is too much.

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Oh yes that's a point, my dd was doing gymnastics until July and that was 6 hours per week but some other 7 and 8 year olds were doing 15 hours per week which involved some of them leaving school early regularly!

 

Dd's associate class is only half an hour away so that's not taking time.

 

She does other things too, she did gymnastics like I said, she did tennis in the summer and she's taken up badminton now which she enjoys. Swimming is done at school.

 

She normally has enough 'play time' but not for the next few weeks as she's in a panto!

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At DD's dance school it depends on the grade they are at (RAD) Some take 2 classes from grade 2 and others from grade 3, depending how keen they are. All will already have a free or non-syllabus class aswell and most also do modern. When they reach grade 4, many also start inter foundation so classes then increase to 3/4 syllabus classes a week, 1 free and 1 modern. Some obviously do associate classes alongside but not many as it is a long trek from here to the closest scheme. DD's teacher always says it is quality not quantity that counts but above all a child has to enjoy dancing and her experience has been that if it is too intense too young their interest often wanes .

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I dont believe there is a 'fixed' number of classes a child should be taking at any age. It all down to the quality/variety as has been mentioned before.

 

Associate classes generally focus on basics and secure classical technique whereas a lot (not all) of local classes focus on passing exams and progression - two entirely different goals. Make sure you are attending the right classes.

 

Audition for lower schools is all about 'potential' it makes no difference if they are in Grade 1 or IF - if the schools dont see what they are looking for a string of distinction exam passes mean nothing.

 

Lower school auditions contain relatively simple steps to allow all students to give it their best shot - they wont be expecting to see pointe work or advanced arabesques. They want a body they can train.

 

Dont get wrapped up in multiple classes mean greater opportunities. It doesnt always follow. Although audition experience, performances, and freework opportunities are all great foundation skills to make a child confident in an audition room which speaks volumes.

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