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Private lessons as preparation for ballet school?


anneeliz
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My DD is 11 and in a grade 4 class. Her teacher recently asked her and 3 others in her class if they would like to have private lessons with her, presumably in preparation for vocational school at 16 or ballet school. I would like to know if this is a normal thing to do and how necessary it is at this age. The lessons are really too expensive for us and would involve travelling quite a way two or three times a week (on top of her normal class).

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But have you said you want your daughter to go to vocational or ballet school anyway?

You mention at 16 well that's an awful lot of private lessons as she is only 11 now!!

 

Private lessons every so often can be generally beneficial to work on certain things or before an exam etc but two-three times a week just as an extra sounds alot and as you say would be expensive.

 

If you were suddenly deciding to progress your daughters progress and were intending to start auditioning for vocational schools next year say then there might be a point to so many classes right now but otherwise I think not!!

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Welcome to the forum

 

And I agree with LinMM - I thought you were going to say "in preparation for auditions next year" !

 

I don't know if you've looked at any "associate" type classes - that would be a much better use of your money at this stage imho. You'll find lots of advice on here with a bit of use of the search button :-)

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Thank you to all of you who have replied so far; that is very helpful to me. Not knowing much about ballet, I didn't know if it was that competitive that these lessons were almost crucial for DD to get into anywhere at 16. That was the way it seemed to be presented to us anyway. I will look into the Associate classes.

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You say on top of her normal class. At her age and grade I would expect at least two classes per week (more leading up to age 16)

 

Dd has been having a few private lessons in preoaration for vocational school because time tabling and other issues means she can only do 1 class per week and another per fortnight. Its only been for a few months though.

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I would say an occasional private lesson might be useful but given her age she should be able to pursue her career options without engaging in weekly private lessons. If preparing for an exam, competition, performance or wanting to focus on a specific area eg strengthen pointe work, then this would useful.

I encourage young people who think they may want to go to vocational school to look at things which can be added in to improve their technique, flexibility and artistry. There is merit in looking into basic things like a floor barre/pilates class or DVD. Using a theraband to strengthen feet and also generally watching performances either live or in the form of DVD. I think it helps to encourage young dancers to develop skills in terms of assessing what they like about a specific dancer/performance and what they can learn from it. Setting goals for self and attending summer intensives or other workshops can help augment training at this age. Can I ask how many classes she is doing per week?

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Guest Autumn days

Anneeliz, has your dd actually said that she wants to go to a ballet school at 16 and has your teacher said that at this stage she thinks that she has the potential to do so? Does your dd want to do the extra classes?

 

I would agree that if she does want to pursue ballet as a career then she should be doing more classes but private or very small group ones on a regular basis may well not be the answer.

 

I think it is time for a chat with the teacher to make sure that you are all going in the right direction for the right reason!!

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DD is currently doing 1 class per week (plus helping with the lower grades). She definitely wants to get into a ballet school (actually she wants to go right now, but that is not an option!) and she wants the private lessons. Her teacher has said that she thinks she has the potential to pursue ballet as a career and needs these lessons because it is so competitive. We would like her to go to ballet school if that is what she really wants (and she does seem to) and don't want to close her options down now. What we really would like to know is if we said no to these lessons now, would it mean that she is much less likely to succeed?

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At 16 everyone is in competition when they audition for 6th form at ballet schools, whether they trained at a Vocational school or at a local school.  Those at Vocational school will be having ballet and some other dance classes every day .

 

The difficulty for those at a local school is getting enough hours of training each week to match those at Vocational school.  So I do think you should talk to your teacher - it would appear she is aware of the problem of needing more hours and is trying to find a way to help your DD and the others invited to take part in those classes.

 

Yes anneeliz I fear you would be limiting your dd's options if you say no.

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My dd is 11 and is starting white lodge in sept she didn't have any private lessons prior to auditioning! I dont think they are neccessary.

Not necessary at that age unless they want a few to help with confidence or prepare a solo dance for the audition. At 16 I think they can be a big help for a year or so before auditions start but not from the age of 11 certainly.
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I'm no expert, and I am sure more knowledgeable people will correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, a student hoping to gain a 6th form place at vocational school would be expected to be working at Advanced 1 level. Now depending on how big your school is and how many other more serious dancers there are, this may well require private lessons at some point. My DD is doing her advanced foundation this summer and (assuming she passes of course) will be the only one moving up to Advanced 1 in the Autumn term so she will have to do this in her private lessons. I would imagine the situation would be similar in a lot of local dance schools.

At your DD's level I wouldn't think that it is essential that she has private lessons, but I agree with the other posters who have said that she needs to be getting more hours in. Remember that if she applies for a 6th form place she will be competing against a great many other talented dancers, including those who have been at vocational schools since year 7. To get to a similar level whilst attending a "normal" academic school and working with a local teacher is not impossible as a number of the children of regular posters on here have proved, but it is a very big challenge. If this is your DD's definite ambition then I would think that you need to be making plans about how to get her "on target" over the next few years. As she gets further along in her academic schooling, especially once she starts GCSE courses, getting tge hours in becomes even harder, so don't leave things too late. 6th form may seem a long way off now, but believe me, time flies! There are lots of things that can help - associate programmes, youth ballets, summer schools etc all have great benefits - but don't underestimate the value of hours spent under the tuition of a good local teacher. Some private lessons may well be a beneficial part of your daughter's training, along with other things. I think a serious chat with her teacher about her ambitions and what opportunities are open to her would be a good place to start, but she almost certainly needs to be increasing what she is currently doing. Good luck with everything.

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She is doing IDTA. I need to look into the associate program possibilities.

Thank you to all who have contributed with advice; it is very much appreciated.

We are going on holiday now, but I will be happy to read any more comments when we get back!

:)

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