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Is this too much for a 6yo?

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I had such brilliant advice about summer schools, that I thought I'd post about another dance conundrum that's just come up. Again, I'm coming from a position of complete ignorance about ballet and dance in general.

 

My dd is 6, and currently does 1.5 hours of Grade 1 each week. Her ballet teacher has suggested that she (and a few others from her Grade 1 class) should do a Grade 2 class as well. The idea is to make sure that they would be ready for auditions, if they progressed sufficiently, in a couple of years.

 

I have no desire at all for her to be a professional ballerina (she has different ideas, but I think 6 is too young to know and anyway, I suspect genetics is not on her side), and I don't want her to over-strain herself. So I really don't care about being ready for auditions.

 

On the other hand, she loves dancing and really wants to do the extra classes, just because it's more ballet.

 

Would there be any downside for her (I can live with the cost and the logistical hassle for me) doing this?

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I don't specifically see a downside but just to note, grade level is not really a factor in auditions for any student under 11yo. Potential and musicality are all that are judged usually. You could always consider other styles (jazz, tap etc) 

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If she loves it and it is feasible financially and logistically I'd go for it. But as you say she is only 6, so do it because she enjoys it, and not because the extra hours could potentially help her be 'audition ready'. x

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my DD is 8 and currently does about 6 hrs dance (mainly ballet) a week plus extra at home and school. I've always said to her so long as her school work isn't suffering and she's happy then I'm happy

so far is done her no harm and she'd do more of she could! :)

you can always stop but you can never turn back the clock and add those hours in is how I see it x

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What does your 6yo think? Is she really keen to do it or half hearted? There is really no right or wrong amount of dancing for a child to do so long as they are initiating it. You could perhaps let her start and gauge how much she wants to do it and pull her out if you think it is having a negative effect. There is always the risk that they burn out early, but if they really love it as it sounds like your dd does, they thrive on as much as they are allowed. 

 

I remember my dd at 4yo refusing to leave ballet class each week, hiding under the chair and clinging to the leg so she could stay and watch the older girls. After a while, the teacher told me to go and do my groceries and pick her up a couple of hours later every week. She was allowed to join older and younger classes. Having said that, there was no intention of preparing her for future auditions, just allowing her to enjoy her love of ballet.

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I would probably try it for a bit and see how it goes. If you think it's too much, she is tired, stressed or not enjoying it then you can always cut back again, with nothing lost really. But I strongly agree with everyone else, in that the extra must be what she wants, because she loves to dance, and not as preparation for something that may or may not happen in the future.

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I am curious as to what auditions she would be trying for?  About the hours - my 6 year old grandson is football crazy.  He has practise twice a week, kicks a ball around every spare chance he has, plus he also plays basketball and a couple of other after school activities.  As long as your daughter's enjoying it and not too tired, I think that extra hours of dance would be fine, but personally I would prefer to have her take twice a week Grade 1 classes, so as to move up sooner, rather than one Grade 1 and one Grade 2 class.

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Why not give it a go and see how she gets on?! Every child is different and some are able to cope with more than others! If she were part of a competitive artistic gymnastics club it wouldn't be unheard of to be training at least 12 hours a week with more in the holidays at her age...only you and your daughter can make the decisions as to what suits you both!

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I'd say give it a try. My DD did more dance than 1.5 hours a week at 6yrs old (mixed styles not just ballet) and 4 hours or so gymnastics. She thrived on it.

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Thanks!

 

She desperately wants to, and is clear that this will be a harder class and she won't be the best (she currently does two Grade 1 classes a week), so this will be a step up and with older children.

 

I have no idea what auditions or plans her ballet teacher might have for the future - she's always super busy and rushed so I never feel able to ask questions. Anyway, the crucial thing is that dd enjoys it.

 

Since she's so keen we've agreed she can try for a term and see how she gets on. If she's too tired or not enjoying it, she will stop.

 

As for other types of dance, unfortunately the timings don't work with her current classes and it's all much older children, so unfortunately that's not a possibility.

 

She's not very sporty at all, so I am keen to encourage a form of exercise that she enjoys and is likely to stick with, and that's another consideration.

 

Thanks for all your advice!

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I don't think the amount of time is an issue at that age, my children are 5 and 7 and they each do 2.5hrs of dancing a week (1hr ballet, 30 mins tap and 1hr modern theatre). They are not at grade 1 though (not sure if she is doing a different board, we know other children who are grade 1 in different dance schools at that age but they do a different syllabus) so perhaps that is partly because they only do 1hr of ballet whilst she is doing more than that. I would say at that age she would be better doing other styles of dancing, like someone has already said but if the classes aren't at suitable times then that doesn't help you.  I would be very surprised to see a 6 yr old in a grade 2 class, certainly wouldn't happen in our dance school and I think they do need a certain level of maturity to dance well even if they do know the dances and can do the steps so I would say keep her just on grade 1 myself but that is just my feeling as a parent.

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Hello Mrs Brown and welcome to the Forum.  Thanks for your advice.  I do hope you will continue to join in.

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That's very good that she's already doing two classes of Grade 1 a week - that's what our students take from Primary upwards.  She is a little young, but if she's talented that's not a big deal, although she won't be able to take the exam until she's 7.  Taking an extra class in Grade 2, now that she presumably knows Grade 1 quite well, will give her a push to take the Grade 2 exam sooner.  I think you've done the right thing in letting her try it out - she can always drop it if she finds it too much.  I don't think it's important at this age to take other dance genres - we prefer to get them strong in ballet first and then around grade 3 to add on extra classes, so I wouldn't worry about not being able to get her to the other lessons.

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My youngest dd was doing Grade Two ballet with Grade One when she was six but for different reasons. She was only doing one Grade One class a week though. The classes followed on from each other so that she had two hours of ballet every Saturday. She thrived on it.

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My DD did her RAD grades 1&2 at the age of 6.At the time she was doing 4 dance days a week and 3 classes of gymnastics.Shortly thereafter we made her choose between the 2 and she chose dance.One of the classes was a private lesson ,2 were ballet and the Saturday was most of the morning and a variety of dance genres including ballet ,tap and modern.I would be guided by her dance teacher as to what is best for your child.My DD always preferred to be dancing with the older ones.

Edited by celb
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