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Looking for a dance school in North London/Watford/Herts


Ilma
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Dear all,

First of all - Merry Christmas to everyone and lots of success for the New Year!

 

Could you please help with finding a good modern dance school in North-East London? 

 

My daughters are gymnasts and I am trying to find the dancing style combining high level ballet skills and acrobatic elements but haven't succeeded so far.

 

On youtube there are videos from USA, Australia, Canada of this kind of dance (like the ones of Sophia Lucia, Autumn Miller, etc) but none of them from UK :(

 

Thanks a lot in advance!

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Merry Christmas Ilma! It's far more of an American thing than British but maybe someone can help. Have you looked at aerobic gymnastics?

Yes, I have looked at aerobic, it's not exactly what we are looking for (((. Maybe some ballet schools do have more of modern dance?

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There is freestyle dance which is quite big in the UK but I wouldn't say it involves a high level of ballet technique - it's more tricks & gymnastics/flexibility to music.

Thanks, I will try to google freestyle dance, it maybe similar to what I was looking for. Do you know any schools that teach free style? We need it though to be really hard and challenging as my gilrls  got instantly bored at the local "ballet" for children, which doesn't even include any stretching, just tapping and clapping.

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IDTA do a wide range of dance styles - a look at their explanations of styles offered and studio locations may help you.  Also ISTD offer more than ballet and might help you find a teacher/dance school.

Thanks for this, searching... :)

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Unfortunately you can't learn "high level" ballet skills until the basics are in place - no different to gymnastics. They may have to return to "tapping and clapping". Maybe a different dance school to the one you tried earlier. You won't find schools like the programme Dance Moms in the UK. Modern dance is also quite slow initially and doesn't really resemble dancing until higher grades. There is no shortcut.

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Oooo, my reply disappeared. I was just going to say that it would depend a bit on their age as to whether they should still be doing very "childish" stuff (as well as ability of course), so perhaps you need to find a different ballet teacher, but also bankruptmum is right, they have to learn the basics.

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Having looked at a couple of the clips you mentioned, to me it looks much more like what is called disco freestyle in the UK (with a certain amount of contemporary style too).

 

Perhaps you could ask on the Dance.net forum? There are lots of people on there who might be able to help you find a dance school which offers the freestyle training you are looking for :)

 

Contemporary classes might be harder to find though, as generally they are only for dancers in their early teens upwards.

 

Best of luck!

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Unfortunately you can't learn "high level" ballet skills until the basics are in place - no different to gymnastics. They may have to return to "tapping and clapping". Maybe a different dance school to the one you tried earlier. You won't find schools like the programme Dance Moms in the UK. Modern dance is also quite slow initially and doesn't really resemble dancing until higher grades. There is no shortcut.

Thanks, yes I do understand - basics is important. However we spent 2 (or 3 ?) years in our local ballet school and we had no progress and I don't think it is possible to learn even posture and basics in 45 minutes per week. By now their posture and balance is much improved but it took 5 years of gymnastics (rhythmic) 10 to 15 hours per week. Am I naive to think that having this amount of training they still will not be able to "shortcut" some basics? I don't see how they can benefit from 45 min lessons of basics :(

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Hi

 

I think you may be looking for something similar to what I have been wanting for my daughter for a while. It now exists and is not to far from yourself. Here is the link: 

www.thewriocreative.webs.com

 

Thanks, it looks interesting indeed. The most interesting part though from age 12 only :( but I will look into it.

 

Having looked at a couple of the clips you mentioned, to me it looks much more like what is called disco freestyle in the UK (with a certain amount of contemporary style too).

 

Perhaps you could ask on the Dance.net forum? There are lots of people on there who might be able to help you find a dance school which offers the freestyle training you are looking for :)

 

Contemporary classes might be harder to find though, as generally they are only for dancers in their early teens upwards.

 

Best of luck!

Thanks - will try there as well :)

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Thanks, yes I do understand - basics is important. However we spent 2 (or 3 ?) years in our local ballet school and we had no progress and I don't think it is possible to learn even posture and basics in 45 minutes per week. By now their posture and balance is much improved but it took 5 years of gymnastics (rhythmic) 10 to 15 hours per week. Am I naive to think that having this amount of training they still will not be able to "shortcut" some basics? I don't see how they can benefit from 45 min lessons of basics :(

Gymnastic posture and style is very different to the posture required for Ballet so unfortunately gymnastics training is no substitute for learning the basics in ballet - even the spinal alignment is different. It takes years to learn how to work fully turned out and to have the control to maintain turnout. Different muscles are used and developed which is why gymnasts are essentially a different shape to Ballet dancers. Hence it is not a case of years of Gymnastic training being a shortcut to skipping Ballet basics. IMHO the two are as different as learning to drive an automatic and then getting straight into a manual car.

 

However I do think Disco Freestyle sounds more suitable. The IDTA has some info on it and they may be able to help you find classes nearby: http://www.idta.co.uk/Site2/Styles.html

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llma, do your children compete at gymnastics? Perhaps you could ask other parents for information.

 

Have you asked their gymnastics teacher for advice?

Yes, they do compete and we have plenty of medals at home :)

Their gymnastics teacher recommends ballet classes to master the posture and pirouettes but as I said I don't think 45 minutes per week group lesson at local ballet school is enough and I doubt that those of you who do ballet professionally ever did it only once a week for 45 minutes :(

 

That is why I was thinking of a private ballet teacher. However, recently I started to think of retraining them from gymnasts to dancers but as I can see from spannerandpony and many others' replies it is not straightforward and may be even too late having wrong groups of muscles developed....

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I don't think at 8 and 10 that it would be too late. :-)

 

However, if they wanted to become serious about ballet then they would probably need intensive quality training to get out of gymnastics muscle memory (ribs forward, working in parallel) and build Ballet basics into their muscle memory.

 

Plus you speak of "retraining" your children but I wonder how they feel? Do they want to give up gymnastics to start Ballet? Or do they want to continue Gymnastics and take some dance training to complement their Gymnastics?

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I shouldn't think it's too late at all as I believe you said your children were 8 and 10 years old. So if you wanted to switch to ballet training instead if you start now then they should be fine. I'm sure you can find somewhere where there is more than one class a week and if you want them to progress faster perhaps combined with individual tuition as well.

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Completely understand that the basics of ballet isnt what your children need but unfortunately the way classes are structured, teachers can only follow set progression.  I think you would need to hire somebody privately who had a good understanding of gymnastic requirements - my daughter used to do both, its not an easy one to resolve, thankfully she had started ballet first and it was those skills gymnastics were able to gain!

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My girls definitely do not want to give up gymnastics, but it is getting progressively more difficult with years and also gymnastics-end-of-career age is very young... So I started to think of an alternative for the future..

 

A question to all - what age did you or you children started to dance and was it many hours per week from the very beginning?

 

And another one - do all  ISTD and IDTA  school follow the same curriculum in ballet re ages and grades and program?

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Dd started a musical theatre class aged 4

 

She went to a dance school at 6 starting with 1 45 ballet class per week (plus she carried in with her MT jazz class)

 

At age 8 she added a 45 min tap & a 45 min modern class

 

At age 10 children of her age/grade at her dance school were recommended to do a minimum of 2 ballet classes per week. She was also doing an extra once a month non syllabus class plus dance troupe session once a fortnight. She began contemporary at age 11.

 

The dancers you see on these American shows will be doing a variety of classes. Id guess most were doing at least 2 ballet classes per week plus jazz, stretch/flexibility & an acro/tumbling class.

 

Dd is 12 now & in her first year of vocational school. She does 7 ballet classes per week (9 hours) plus 2 hours of tap, 2 hours of modern, one hour of street, a stretch class and contemporary/creative.

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ISTD and IDTA have curriculum and graded classes and a qualified teacher will teach the children up through the grades but typically age and grade will depend on the ability of the child.  I recommended these 2 to you as they both have curriculum in a wide variety of styles so a school that does IDTA syllabus might offer classes in ballet, jazz, acrobatic dance, freestyle, disco etc all within one school.  My DDs both did jazz with IDTA, starting at about age 5 or 6 as there are some minimum ages for taking exams and medals.  My DDs did ballet with RAD - a system that only offers ballet.  That was 1 class of 45 mins a week until grade 2 or 3 when it became 2 classes a week.  Hours really only stepped up from grade 4 when vocational grade classes were added but I cannot stress enough that every school/teacher will do things differently, even if they are teaching the same syllabus.  So much depends on factors such as number of students, number of teachers, numbers of studios - for what each school can offer.  You really need to check out the schools in your area and see what syllabus they follow and what styles of dance they offer.  Websites for IDTA, ISTD and RAD should give you contact details for your area.

Incidentally 2 of DDs close friends both did gymnastics and ballet up to about aged 14 when really they had to choose which they wanted to go with.  It was more about hours required for training (and injuries from gymnastics for one) than the differences in body requirements (turn out etc)  Both competed and did well in gymnastic competitions and both always got distinctions in their ballet exams.

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My youngest daughter started gymnastics at 3 and did competitions, she only started ballet when she was 11 and at that time only did two ballet classes a week just because she enjoyed it. However within a year she said she loved ballet and stopped the gym, she now does two hours ballet 6 times a week she isn't at a vocational school, she does Russian style ballet, I know when she started ballet her shoulders were very strong and she had to work a lot on her posture but is doing well now and I will say that the gymnastics gave her lots of strength.

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Hi , my dd trained in Rhythmic gymnastics from the age of 6-13 and competed at a high level, was british champion and a member of team GB aged 11! She trained for 20 hours a week this included ballet, as RG ( routines using ribbon, clubs, ropes etc) is closer to ballet than artitistic gymnastics ( beam, asymmetric bars etc) so the transition from this style of gymnastics should be easier as they both complement each other.

Dd stopped RG at 13 to focus on dance and although she found some habits from RG needed to be corrected the strength,flexibility and discipline the sport teaches has only enhanced her dance career. Dd is now a professional dancer!

I don't think freestyle/disco is the style you are looking for. The dancers mentioned above will be trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary and acro. There are UK schools that are teaching these styles to a high level. Iima I will pm you with some suggestions. My dance school isn't based in London otherwise you would be more than welcome to bring your DD's to me! :).

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Yes, they do compete and we have plenty of medals at home :)

Their gymnastics teacher recommends ballet classes to master the posture and pirouettes but as I said I don't think 45 minutes per week group lesson at local ballet school is enough and I doubt that those of you who do ballet professionally ever did it only once a week for 45 minutes :(

 

When I asked about competitions, I was thinking that you could have the opportunity to chat with the parents of other competitors, and see if any of them know of suitable dance classes. 

 

Their gymnastics teacher is obviously keen for them to do ballet, perhaps she could recommend a particular teacher who is used to working with gymnasts.

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