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Intensive courses for beginners


newatthis
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Hello everyone!

 

I am very new to this forum and indeed this whole 'world' in general - hence the name - and so please ignore my complete and utter ignorance!

 

I have a thirteen year old daughter who has been extremely eager to begin dance for a long time - ballet in particular. She would really like to do a Summer or Easter course to begin with and ideally like it to be one of these 'intensive' ones so she could learn a lot, fast, and hopefully get her up to a good standard for when she starts lessons. I have been having a look around and can't find any intensive courses that are for BEGINNERS - unless you're American! We live around the London area - just north - and are not really willing to travel all the way up north, but would not mind boarding so long as it is around the London/surrounding counties area.

 

Can anyone help me?

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First let me say that I cannot answer your question about where to study, but I can try to give my view of how to study. I also gather from what you've said (forgive me if I'm wrong) - that your daughter has not taken ballet lessons before.

 

Ballet is learned by slow progression - the mind learning what to do and the body learning how to do it. As quick as the mind might be the body still has to acclimiate - change - in order to do what is asked of it. This means physical change and that doesn't happen quickly. The strength and stretch needed must not only happen slowly - they must happen correctly. This is important because the ballet asks the body to do things which it has never done before.

 

In addition, the learning process is built a brick or two at a time so that the structure is able to support and do what is asked of it. One component helping and depending upon another. This cannot be accomplished quickly - nor should it be.

 

If the body is tasked too soon - before the structure is ready to do what is being asked of it - injury could result. It is like a finely built house - the foundation must be laid - the exterior structure able to support the interior design. Each room carefully designed so as to enhance the use and beauty of the house. The furnishings will then enhance and be enhanced as the entire project comes together.

 

Intensives are just that - many classes in a relatively short period of time. But, it is not a good idea for beginners to work too many hours - the body is not prepared. A tired body results in injury. Many times an "intensive" tends to be crowded. A beginner should not be in a crowded class - he/she needs the attention of the teacher constantly. Intensives tend to be of relatively short duration - but a beginner needs a teacher who has the time to get to know the body, mind, capacity and yes, spirit of the student.

 

I can't account for why any teacher would undertake to teach beginners in the manner of "intensive" study. Ballet is one of those things that can't - and shouldn't be - hurried.

 

This is just my opinion - nothing more.

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
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Hi,

 

My elder dd used to do ballet from the age of 4 to 8. We know now that she is dyspraxic and struggled with ballet. She decided to try tap and modern and did this up until the age of 11. She went to an Independent school (her choice) and as we couldn't afford school fees and dance classes, she stopped. Her school later became an academy and so we no longer had to pay school fees. She started having singing lessons and then a part time Musical Theatre school. She then decided that she would like to try for Musical Theatre schools at 18. As she hasn't done any dance classes for a while apart from a bit while doing her Musical Theatre school she started dance classes last January aged 16. Our local dance school has adult classes and she started an adult beginner class (ballet), beginner tap class and Intermediate jazz class. She now does 3 ballet classes a week, 1 tap and 2 jazz classes a week. She is taking her Grade 8 singing exam at Easter.

She would recommend adult classes as she finds adults work hard, listen closely and as the classes are longer she finds she learns more (plus she feels more grown up). Although the classes are beginner, they do bits of different grades as they don't follow a syllabus. Currently, she is working at building the strength in her feet in readiness for pointe work. Other dancers at my dd's dance school have also recommended adult classes for teenagers who haven't had dance classes, rather than starting with young children (that is just their opinion though).

Hth.

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Hello and welcome to the forum. Can I also add that professional dancers have trained from a young age for often 8,or 10 or more years,gradually and very slowly building up strength ,co-ordination and flexibility as the years progress. I am sure your daughter is fascinated with the idea of going en pointe ,and like many young people, probably can`t wait till she does so. Can I ask you to please not let her have pointe shoes until she has done at least three years of regular ballet lessons first? I`m not saying your daughter wants to become a professional dancer, but the same rule of training applies for everyone ,whether it is just for a hobby or more serious. She risks injury and damage to her feet if they are not sufficiently strong to be able to undertake pointe work.

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Welcome Newatthis :)

I would echo the above, if there was a magic wand that could be waved, I would have found it!

However, I would agree that adult ballet classes might be a good starter - we have some teens come to our classes from time to time - they come keen to learn and are therefore treated as equals, without the peer pressure or embarassment by learning with other children/teens.

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Hi Newatthis, and welcome!

 

My dd has been on several Easter/Summer schools, and generally the classes are split by age and grade/experience. It's fairly likely that everyone else her own age would have been dancing for quite a few years.

 

Perhaps it might be a good idea to think about having some lessons first, and then book onto an intensive once she has some experience?

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I can understand wanting to get an idea of the basics first, I hate feeling like I don't know what I'm doing!. I don't know of any intensive courses for beginners but maybe you could organise a couple of hours a day for a week or so with a local teacher to give her a basic understanding before she joins regular classes?

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My DD's teacher tends to offer later starters some private lessons before they join a class, so that they are not totally lost in their first lesson. She usually tries to start them in a class where the other children are not a huge amount younger, and carries on with private lessons along side until they are comfortable in the class. Might be worth seeing if your DD can find a teacher who would be willing to do something similar?

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