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Concerned about CAT ITP


Clara
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I have just stumbled across dd's ITP (Individual Training Plan) which I think arrived before Christmas but our house is a little chaotic at the moment as we're having some work done!

She started with the CAT in September following a very successful year both audition and exam wise. She is not the best dancer technically, but I think her success has largely been down to her real passion for dance, her determination and effort to succeed as well as the ability to perform. I was therefore quite concerned to read in her ITP that she looks fatigued, loses concentration and attention and needs to develop her sense of performance! I would have been less surprised to have read she needed to work on her turnout, flexibility, contemporary technique, core strength etc!

I'm really worried that she's lost the elements she was once so good at. I'm concerned that either she has become complacent, is doing too much, doesn't enjoy the CAT.......or could there be another reason?! I'm not sure if this is the right route for her if her dancing is deteriorating as opposed to improving?! I have spoken to her and she insists she doesn't want to give anything up. Ballet is still her first love and she is adamant this is the career she wants to pursue. Could it be that the heavy focus on contemporary at the CAT isn't suited to her? 

Any advice would be much appreciated especially with auditions coming up! She needs to recapture her sparkle!

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Hi Katymac,

I have emailed Kate about my concerns as Becky no longer works there. I teach 2 of her classes and she is not always receptive to correction from me now that she is getting older.........But I put that down to me being her Mum! I am also emailing her other teachers to see whether there are any problems. 
She is level 1 and only started in September. I thought it may be a good route for her as although she is determined to be a ballet dancer I know how tough it is and thought that a strong contemporary foundation would stand her in good stead as an alternative route. 

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Sorry - didn't know about Becky

 

Umm I guess wait for her other teachers to get back to you?  It's tricky with you being her teacher

 

I posted on here about DD possibly being 'over trained' before Christmas as she had lost her sparkle & she has come up with some rules for herself (which we are developing but I think my DD is older than yours - so softly, softly; we are only up to 2!!):

 

Be worried if you feel you HAVE to dance

Remember you can say no to doing something, even having a day off class

 

What are the other mums at the CAT saying about their children?  Can you talk to some of the mums of older children in the other levels?

 

Edited to add

 

My DD greatly benefited from the training the CAT gave her; however we left as it wasn't the right training environment for her.....still not sure why but seeing her where she belongs is amazing and validates our choice

Edited by Katymac
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Thank you Katymac. Definitely a few things for me to consider! I don't often take her or pick her up from the CAT as I'm usually teaching myself when she has classes, so I haven't really got to know any other parents. To be honest I had no idea until I read her ITP as dd always says she's enjoying it. I know that she prefers ballet and has obviously only just started contemporary so it could take some adjusting to, but the remark about working on her sense of performance came from her ballet teacher! She is still very young. The youngest in her class I believe. I will see what her other teachers say, but I would rather she did less and recaptured the love than become bogged down with it all. I don't want to make any hasty decisions but ultimately she isn't going to achieve what she wants to if she has stopped dancing from the heart. I did question whether she was only doing things because she felt I wanted her to (I'm sure even my 3 year old thinks that dance is just a way of life in our house!) But she became so distressed when I suggested a change of hobby altogether that I cant doubt that she is still desperate to make it as a dancer. Time will tell I guess! 

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Don't rush to take action, speak to her other teachers and see what happens when she starts back again. It must be difficult for her to have you as a teacher as well as for you. Is she getting problems from any other children who know you are their teacher, is that a factor in loosing her sense of performance, is she trying to fade into the background in case someone says something nasty? She may also have been tired with academic school as well as lots of dance. I think CAT provides such a good complementary training that can only enhance a dancers experience but it is no easier than ballet in gaining employment after top class training. I do hope your DD regains her performance but worth looking for what is going on!!

 

Heather

Aka Taximom

 

Edited to add signature!

Edited by taximom
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I agree with taximom, not to rush to take action but talk to other teachers and see how she gets on.  Remember if that report was from before Christmas then it was towards the very end of a long winter term, when children often begin to flag and if your DD was doing more dance hours than she had been previously used to, she may well just have been getting tired or overtired.  Definitely keep an eye on her that she is not doing too much at the moment as obviously she has had chickenpox too and to see if other factors like other dancers in the studio are affecting her.

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Jazzpaws is absolutely right. My dd trained for 5 years at the same CAT and keeping on top of what's happening with your child's training there is vital.

 

It's especially important considering the age of your dd and the fact this was her first term.

 

Sometimes comments in the ITPs can seem a little out of context. I know the teachers always used to go through their ITP comments with the students - so they could understand exactly what's meant and how they can work on any improvements. But perhaps this doesn't happen in Level 1? Parents also had the opportunity to discuss ITPs with Lucy (or other staff members) - have you been offered this option? If not, ask for this, so you can understand exactly what the teachers mean  :)

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Thanks all! I have a meeting arranged for Saturday, but I have also spoken to the teacher who she dances with predominantly as well as her associates teacher who have not had any of the problems with her that have been mentioned in her ITP at all. In fact they were both very positive about her so whatever the problem it only seems to be connected with the CAT unfortunately. Hopefully it's just a case of adapting to all of the new hours etc. last term and coping with a new style of dance. I know how advantageous the scheme can be and the benefits of it to a dancer, but ultimately however much I can see what a good basis it would be for dd I will have to follow the route that's best for her. Fingers crossed it's just a few teething issues. When I spoke to her she said she didn't feel she was any different at these classes than she is anywhere else and that she enjoys it and wants to be there. She also said she'll just have to work even harder! That's the spirit I guess! I did double check that she wasn't doing lots of dance because she thought it would please me and told her I wouldn't mind if she didn't want to dance at all........She looked at me mortified and said her life would be pointless without dance!.........And so I guess the crazy schedule of classes, auditions etc look set to continue!  ;)

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Saw your post and wanted to help.  ITPs came just after Christmas and the process has changed this time, the students spoke with their tutors and as a result the ITPs were written, previously the ITPs were issued and then discussed between student and teachers, there was one opportunity for parents to come in as well but the team are always more than happy to discuss.

Your dd sounds very like mine who is now in her third year at the CAT, her first love is ballet and she often finds CAT ballet frustrating because it is quite difficult for the teachers to manage the very differing abilities in the levels.  In any of the levels there may be a student who has no ballet experience, limited ballet experience or has been training since a toddler.

As you say the contemporary training is great but like ballet very difficult and limited when it comes to a career.  My DD has now decided it might be better to be a good all round dancer with sound ballet technique.

Her first ITP was similar to yours, it sounded like they were talking about a different student and it was not in keeping with what her outside teachers said.  We had a long heart to heart, about how much she was doing outside the CAT and whether it was the right place for her and she just became like your dd even more determined to work harder and show them!!!!

I hope your meeting goes well, I am sure they will listen and be able to offer their advice and opinion.

I do think that for every student who successfully graduates from the CAT after years with them, there are also as many for whom a different scheme might be better.

I really hope things become clear for you and your dd regains her sparkle which I suspect is not really gone

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Thank you GeriatricBallerina, your post does sound strikingly familiar with our current situation! I do feel happier now that I have spoken to her other teachers as I was really concerned that her dancing may be suffering all round and that she had just taken on more than she can manage, but I feel more reassured now that there is no real concern and hopefully Saturday's meeting will help too. 
Your dd sounds very sensible and I agree with her that any dance career would definitely benefit from a sound ballet technique! Thank you for posting, I greatly appreciate it! It's good to hear that others have gone through similar and come out the other end still dancing and working hard for their dreams!

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