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Hi everyone, this is my first post so sorry if I don’t know all the terms. My 9 year old daughter attends a dance school on the weekends, she does all the classes available and is working towards her grades. She has just done grade 1 IDTA ballet which she got a distinction. Her ballet class is only half an hour a week and we both (my daughter and I) feel like this is not enough for her. 
She would like to take extra ballet and I have found her a teacher who does hour classes once a week. Is it ok for her to attend two studios? 
I have a great relationship with her teacher, we are the ones who help with shows, I sort out costumes and help back stage with the littles so I don’t want to ruin that. 
I don’t know what to do really, I am happy for my daughter to learn from as many teachers as she can but don’t want to burn bridges. Should I see if her current teacher can do a private just to work on technique once or week or send her to this other one too. 
She will not be dropping any classes at her current studio, apart from acro but her teacher is aware she is not keen on it, so it’s not like we are replacing lessons just adding extras. 
Any advice would be appreciated, thank you. 
 

Edited by DancemumLouise
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I would say that half an hour of ballet once a week for a 9 year-old is very little if she wants to rqlly improve or take it seriously in the future. How long as she been dancing? G1 at the age of 9 is a lower level of ballet than I would normally expect for that age unless they have only just started classes. Just in comparison my 8 year old is doing G3 and G4 ISTD. 

 

If you already have a good relationship with her dance teacher then I think your first step should be to discuss it with her/him and see what their reaction is? Only then can you make any decisions. 

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6 minutes ago, Millicent said:

I would say that half an hour of ballet once a week for a 9 year-old is very little if she wants to rqlly improve or take it seriously in the future. How long as she been dancing? G1 at the age of 9 is a lower level of ballet than I would normally expect for that age unless they have only just started classes. Just in comparison my 8 year old is doing G3 and G4 ISTD. 

 

If you already have a good relationship with her dance teacher then I think your first step should be to discuss it with her/him and see what their reaction is? Only then can you make any decisions. 

Hi Millicent, thanks for your reply. 
She has been dancing since she was 6. She went into pre-primary first and has carried on from there. Her teacher said that G1 is the hardest to get through so it takes a while ( it took over a year ) as they are really looking for technique which I can understand. Other teachers in the studio always comment on how talented she is and her natural abilities as a dancer. 
Her teacher believes they should be in 45 minute lessons but can’t book the hall for the extra to change my daughters classes to 45 minutes so she will stick to only half an hour ( other children in G2 and above get 45 minutes ). 
My daughter has expressed wanting to go to Bird College as that’s where the older students go, I would just like that to be possible for her. Again many thanks. 

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It's good to take the time to get the technique right in the early years, so not necessarily a bad thing that she has taken it slowly, and great that she got a distinction at G1. I should also have said that my DD is advanced for her age so I wouldn't say G3/4 is typical for an 8 year old but just to give you some comparison to others who take their ballet seriously. 

 

But I can understand that you would want more than 30 mins a week. You could also see if there are any PBT classes locally as these can have a massive impact on technique and the correct development of muscles/muscle memory.

 

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S

10 minutes ago, Millicent said:

It's good to take the time to get the technique right in the early years, so not necessarily a bad thing that she has taken it slowly, and great that she got a distinction at G1. I should also have said that my DD is advanced for her age so I wouldn't say G3/4 is typical for an 8 year old but just to give you some comparison to others who take their ballet seriously. 

 

But I can understand that you would want more than 30 mins a week. You could also see if there are any PBT classes locally as these can have a massive impact on technique and the correct development of muscles/muscle memory.

 

Her teacher does split her classes into two, one on a Friday which is half an hour and then one Saturday morning which is 45 minutes, my daughter does the one on a Friday, maybe I will see if she can attend both, that will keep her at one studio but increase her time to 1 hour 15. There is no PBT. This other studio does not do grades, she is all about experience but she also think my daughter is good enough to join their competition team, she will be the second youngest, but I know her current teacher will be annoyed at her doing competitions with another studio, which I understand. 
I’m in two minds about the whole thing and can’t make a decision 😩

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1 minute ago, DancemumLouise said:

S

Her teacher does split her classes into two, one on a Friday which is half an hour and then one Saturday morning which is 45 minutes, my daughter does the one on a Friday, maybe I will see if she can attend both, that will keep her at one studio but increase her time to 1 hour 15. There is no PBT. This other studio does not do grades, she is all about experience but she also think my daughter is good enough to join their competition team, she will be the second youngest, but I know her current teacher will be annoyed at her doing competitions with another studio, which I understand. 
I’m in two minds about the whole thing and can’t make a decision 😩

I would be wary of a school that offers ballet but doesn’t do graded examinations, as there is a high chance their teachers are not qualified by any exam board. Unqualified teachers have no requirement for teacher training, no need to keep up any professional development and far less accountability. Unsafe practices can cause lasting damage, especially to growing bodies. That’s not to say the teachers at the other school that you are looking at are unqualified, but it’s definitely something to check out.

If you talk to your DD’s current teacher, she may be able to double up on grades in order to increase her training. PBT is fantastic, but if this is not available Pilates is also really good. Quality is definitely more important than quantity.

Associate schemes are another excellent way to supplement training. If you give a rough idea of where you are, people in here may be able to recommend a scheme.

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I know our dance teacher is very strict about her students not attending multiple schools. My 10 year old only does one hour of ballet with our dance school (with other forms of dance). We do 2 associate schemes on weekends where she will get extra ballet. I would maybe consider applying to associate schemes if you need extra training? They look for potential at that age rather than grades so it wouldn't matter if she is only grade 1...my daughter also did English youth ballet when they were in our vicinity which was a lovely experience. This year we might apply to a few easter/summer courses too to supplement training. Hope this helps x 

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I would definitely recommend speaking to the current teacher and telling her that your dd wants to be a professional dancer and feels she isn't doing enough ballet at the moment.  

 

Ask how she would suggest your dd could increase the number of ballet classes she does.  I don't think it is an unreasonable request.  Many of us have been in the same boat!

 

The idea of doing both the Friday and Saturday classes sounds like a good one.

 

Some teachers will suggest a student attends a grade below or a grade above to get extra classes.  So doing the G1 class and a G2 class might be an option.

 

Or your teacher may have an arrangement with another local teacher which she might send students to for extra classes.

 

If she has no other suggestions ask her views on your dd going to classes with the other studio you have found.   I wouldn't send her there without telling the existing teacher, she is bound to find out!

 

 

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Hi DancemumLouise

 

i agree entirely that 30 mins a week is insufficient for your DD - however in the current times I'm afraid that you may well run into problems due to COVID-19 restrictions (children have to remain in the same "bubbles" for all their classes and not mix with other groups).

 

I would be wary of the competition studio - while the teacher may not actually be "unqualified", the emphasis is likely to be on harder and flashier steps at the expense of the good solid technique that your current teacher has been carefully building.

 

If you could afford it, private lessons with your current teacher do sound a better bet.

 

BTW I can assure you that Grade 3-4 at 8 is definitely not the "norm" with any exam board, although you do need to bear in mind that different exam boards have different syllabus structures. For IDTA what your teacher means is that Grade 1 is a huge "leap" from Primary in that it is the first grade to have formal barre work and centre practice. That is also the case with ISTD, but not with RAD where this does not happen until Grade 2.

 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, SissonneDoublee said:

I would be wary of a school that offers ballet but doesn’t do graded examinations, as there is a high chance their teachers are not qualified by any exam board. Unqualified teachers have no requirement for teacher training, no need to keep up any professional development and far less accountability. Unsafe practices can cause lasting damage, especially to growing bodies. That’s not to say the teachers at the other school that you are looking at are unqualified, but it’s definitely something to check out.

If you talk to your DD’s current teacher, she may be able to double up on grades in order to increase her training. PBT is fantastic, but if this is not available Pilates is also really good. Quality is definitely more important than quantity.

Associate schemes are another excellent way to supplement training. If you give a rough idea of where you are, people in here may be able to recommend a scheme.

Thank you for your advice. We are Oxford or Swindon area, I could get her to either. 
She is now starting G2, she was 9 last week. I think I might ask her teacher if she can join additional grade classes just to help her improve not jump grades. 

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15 minutes ago, Raquelle said:

I know our dance teacher is very strict about her students not attending multiple schools. My 10 year old only does one hour of ballet with our dance school (with other forms of dance). We do 2 associate schemes on weekends where she will get extra ballet. I would maybe consider applying to associate schemes if you need extra training? They look for potential at that age rather than grades so it wouldn't matter if she is only grade 1...my daughter also did English youth ballet when they were in our vicinity which was a lovely experience. This year we might apply to a few easter/summer courses too to supplement training. Hope this helps x 

Thank you I will look into extra courses outside of her school, maybe her teacher even has one she recommends x

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13 minutes ago, youngatheart said:

Hi DancemumLouise

 

i agree entirely that 30 mins a week is insufficient for your DD - however in the current times I'm afraid that you may well run into problems due to COVID-19 restrictions (children have to remain in the same "bubbles" for all their classes and not mix with other groups).

 

I would be wary of the competition studio - while the teacher may not actually be "unqualified", the emphasis is likely to be on harder and flashier steps at the expense of the good solid technique that your current teacher has been carefully building.

 

If you could afford it, private lessons with your current teacher do sound a better bet.

 

BTW I can assure you that Grade 3-4 at 8 is definitely not the "norm" with any exam board, although you do need to bear in mind that different exam boards have different syllabus structures. For IDTA what your teacher means is that Grade 1 is a huge "leap" from Primary in that it is the first grade to have formal barre work and centre practice. That is also the case with ISTD, but not with RAD where this does not happen until Grade 2.

 

 

 

She is one of three students who do all classes available. Children in her tap and modern class are not in her ballet class but are in a separate one. I’m not sure how the bubbles are working within our school ( she is still trying to find a hall as her current one won’t allow her back yet ).  The competitions sound great, the other studio do win a lot of the things they go too but I don’t want her just being a competition kid and for fitting her formal training to win medals.  

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20 minutes ago, glowlight said:

I would definitely recommend speaking to the current teacher and telling her that your dd wants to be a professional dancer and feels she isn't doing enough ballet at the moment.  

 

Ask how she would suggest your dd could increase the number of ballet classes she does.  I don't think it is an unreasonable request.  Many of us have been in the same boat!

 

The idea of doing both the Friday and Saturday classes sounds like a good one.

 

Some teachers will suggest a student attends a grade below or a grade above to get extra classes.  So doing the G1 class and a G2 class might be an option.

 

Or your teacher may have an arrangement with another local teacher which she might send students to for extra classes.

 

If she has no other suggestions ask her views on your dd going to classes with the other studio you have found.   I wouldn't send her there without telling the existing teacher, she is bound to find out!

 

 

Hi Glowlight, I think it’s best to keep her at the one studio if I can. I will talk to her teacher and see what she suggests, also don’t want to make her mad 😂 she loves my daughter though so she should want the best training for her so I’m sure I’m just being a scaredy-cat about asking.

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I can only share our experience...My DD started dancing aged 3 at a local school which had classes in all styles and we too were a family who helped out. I even danced there too in their adult tap class. When she was about the same age as your DD, she realised she wasn't getting quite enough from the first school and started doing extra ballet classes somewhere elsel. Her original teacher was OK with it, but not thrilled. The second school was more ballet focused and was also a lot stricter. This continued for about 3 years and we eventually realised that the first school was never going to offer her what she needed - they were mainly recreational and she didn't get enough focus on technique. Although we did consider moving to the other school they only offered ballet, and DD wanted other styles too. So after months of agonising she moved to a different dance school which offered multiple styles AND was vocationally focused. They also had an exclusivity policy that students only danced there, so DD had to give up her extra ballet classes(there was more than enough ballet at the new school anyway). Last year she graduated from the third school and is now studying a contemporary dance BA in the UK. This would never have been possible for her if she had stayed at the first school! Even though it was hard to leave, we never regretted it and wished we had done it years before. So my advice to you is to look carefully at what the schools are offering her - and don't be afraid to look at other options too. 

 

Applying for associate programs is a great idea and that will also give you and your DD an idea of what she should be doing.

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Hello and welcome from me too. ☺️

 

I think it’s important to find a balance between remembering you’re a paying customer and treating your teacher with professional courtesy, so being upfront and honest with her.  If extra classes at the current studio aren’t possible, I would investigate junior associate schemes, performance opportunities like English Youth Ballet and so on.  

 

At 9, the most important thing in ballet is technique, followed by fun, so personally I would steer clear of the “competition school”, but that’s just me.  I would make an appointment for a proper chat with the teacher and take it from there. 

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2 hours ago, SissonneDoublee said:

I would be wary of a school that offers ballet but doesn’t do graded examinations, as there is a high chance their teachers are not qualified by any exam board. Unqualified teachers have no requirement for teacher training, no need to keep up any professional development and far less accountability.

 

My local studio doesn't do exams or grades as a deliberate policy, and the Director is the reverse of unqualified - she has far higher qualifications (both in her training, her professional experience as a dancer and her post-graduate degree & ongoing CPD) than the nearest studio which does send students for graded exams! So this is not always true.

 

I'd second the excellent advice about talking to your DD's current teacher - put it as a dilemma, and ask her advice. That would be a courteous and also sensible approach. 

 

Quote

My daughter has expressed wanting to go to Bird College as that’s where the older students go, I would just like that to be possible for her.

 

And just to say ... just because the older students go to a particular college, doesn't mean it's the only option. I'm sure you know that! It might be worth doing some reading in this forum about the range of vocational dance schools around. 

 

You're well-located fr some excellent training in the Oxford-Swindon area. Swindon Dance is the local dance agency (not a "talent agency" but a publicly funded organisation which is run to give young people access to good training. It's not very ballet-focused, but it might be good for your DD to experience other forms of dance. I know of several children of friends who've gone on to excellent vocational training from Swindon Dance.

https://www.swindondance.org.uk/

 

 

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2 hours ago, DancemumLouise said:

Thank you for your advice. We are Oxford or Swindon area, I could get her to either. 
She is now starting G2, she was 9 last week. I think I might ask her teacher if she can join additional grade classes just to help her improve not jump grades. 

Associate-wise, I know a Swindon based family that travel to Birmingham for associates (Royal Ballet School JA and Elmhurst Young Dancer) and Richmond for Ballet Boost, so I assume both must be doable. There is so much on offer. A good associate scheme is definitely worth a bit of a journey... we used to do 1.5 hours each way for JAs and have never regretted it.

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I agree with everyone else who has said to talk to your current teacher and also to consider additional things like associates and youth ballets rather than necessarily lessons at another studio.

My personal view, and I'm just a Mum so don't claim any particular expertise, is that if you have a good teacher who your DD "clicks" with, then at this stage you may be better off sticking there. I think that as dancers get more experienced and older there is definitely a lot to be said for having lessons with different teachers. They may see things that one teacher has not spotted or has become blind to because they know a pupil well, explain things in a different way that helps the dancer overcome difficulties, or see potential that a longer standing teacher has overlooked because they have set ideas about what a pupil's strengths and weaknesses are. And of course teachers have different strengths so different ones can definitely complement each other and it can be very useful to experience different teaching methods.

But....it can also be confusing. Different syllabi use different terminology, different teachers might teach the same step slightly differently or disagree with each other etc. An older, more experienced dancer is generally better able to understand and cope with this, but it can be a challenge for some younger dancers. Obviously everyone is different and it may be that your DD would thrive with different teachers, but it would be important to ensure that the two studios were complementary rather than contradictory and that the standard of teaching in the second school was good enough. Ultimately you are your DD's mum and its up to you where she goes, but when teachers ask that their pupils don't dance elsewhere without their permission it may be for good reason. I always used to think that it was just them protecting their own businesses and that asking for exclusivity was unreasonable, but having seen the huge variation in standards from school to school, I can now see why some teachers ask that their pupils only attend their own classes and particular associates etc. 

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On 13/09/2020 at 13:36, DancemumLouise said:

Thank you for your advice. We are Oxford or Swindon area, I could get her to either. 
She is now starting G2, she was 9 last week. I think I might ask her teacher if she can join additional grade classes just to help her improve not jump grades. 

I think that sounds really sensible. If she’s taken her Grade 1 exam and has moved into Grade 2 then you might want to see if there is another grade 2 class that she can do. If she’s just moved into G2 then her teacher may be reluctant for her to join a higher grade for the moment (& prefer her to be doing both classes at the same level), but if you have a conversation with her then at least she knows your DD is keen to progress, for when the time is right.
 

She sounds like she is at a similar level to many of the children in the associate programmes. And most associate programmes don’t look for a particular grade, it’s about potential, amongst other things (that’s a whole other thread 😉). 
 

And as others have suggested, you could consider looking into associate programmes in your area. I think lots of girls, who don’t have the option of multiple classes at the dance school that they go to, really benefit and enjoy those classes. It’s often their first experience of being in a ballet class with other children who love it as much as they do! 
 

Good luck. Ask any questions you need to. On here and to your DD ballet teacher. It’s a whole new world sometimes 😊

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You are relatively close to getting to Tring too....either for their Associate Classes (not sure if these are by audition) or their equivalent to Royal JA’s; Tring CBA (Classical Ballet Academy) which is entry by audition. It was the first ‘extra’ thing my DD ever did (local school only offered one ballet class a week but we’re supportive of auditioning for & attending this & others did RBS JA’s/MA’s) It’s a good way to gauge your child’s potential & also their dedication & help make future choices.

And I’d always recommend first talking to current teacher; she may have god advice & courtesy goes a long way in life! 
good luck! 

 

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It sounds like you have a good relationship with your teacher. Times are hard for teachers and we're all feeling the pinch financially, and emotionally as it has been incredibly stressful trying to keep going. I'd steer well clear of a competition school without syllabus classes. A lack of syllabus classes alone isn't an indicator of a poor teacher, but the combination of no syllabus classes plus emphasis on competition makes me concerned. 

 

Instead of looking further afield, talk to your current teacher. If she knows what she's talking about, she'll agree that a keen child would benefit from a second weekly class and she'll either suggest an option within her school, or if she can't she'll recommend associates or another colleague who could help. 

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I agree with first talking to her current teacher to see what she suggests,but honestly 30 minutes a week???  My 9 year old Great Niece is currently taking two 60 minute classes a week in RAD Grade 3 ballet, plus a 60 minute Flamenco class.  At the very least your daughter should be having 2 x 45 minute classes a week.  Is the 45 minute class on Saturdays also in Grade 2?  That could help substantially.  Also a 30 minute private lesson could be good.  Whatever you decide about the other school I think you should tell your current teacher that you're considering it in order to get extra hours. That might give  her an added incentive to find a solution for you!

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Hi everyone. Thank you so much for the advice. I spoke to her teacher and she believes she is ready for G2 and G3 together, she said that my DD might not be ready to take the exam with the other girls as the have been doing it a few months but if she can catch up then she can do that too. She completely agrees that half an hour is not enough but with current Covid restrictions she needs time to clean items between classes so it’s the best she can do which is completely understandable. So she will be doing two classes a week in ballet plus the other styles she does. Thanks everyone x

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On 13/09/2020 at 13:24, glowlight said:

I would definitely recommend speaking to the current teacher and telling her that your dd wants to be a professional dancer and feels she isn't doing enough ballet at the moment.  

 

Ask how she would suggest your dd could increase the number of ballet classes she does.  I don't think it is an unreasonable request.  Many of us have been in the same boat!

 

The idea of doing both the Friday and Saturday classes sounds like a good one.

 

Some teachers will suggest a student attends a grade below or a grade above to get extra classes.  So doing the G1 class and a G2 class might be an option.

 

Or your teacher may have an arrangement with another local teacher which she might send students to for extra classes.

 

If she has no other suggestions ask her views on your dd going to classes with the other studio you have found.   I wouldn't send her there without telling the existing teacher, she is bound to find out!

 

 

This absolutely. A good teacher will always try to support you and your dd and not hold them back because they want to keep hold of talent in the studios. Be honest and that will go a long way. 

 

We were there once. We ended up leaving and going elsewhere. Not looked back and wished we'd done it earlier

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21 hours ago, DancemumLouise said:

Hi everyone. Thank you so much for the advice. I spoke to her teacher and she believes she is ready for G2 and G3 together, she said that my DD might not be ready to take the exam with the other girls as the have been doing it a few months but if she can catch up then she can do that too. She completely agrees that half an hour is not enough but with current Covid restrictions she needs time to clean items between classes so it’s the best she can do which is completely understandable. So she will be doing two classes a week in ballet plus the other styles she does. Thanks everyone x

 

 

Sounds like you handled the situation brilliantly  - well done you.  I hope the great relationship you have with the teacher lasts a long time!  

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