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ChinaZen
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Inthe beginner's mind there are many possibilities


Ballet and Dance
« on: April 15, 2013, 11:55:10 AM »

As a tangent off the Gymnastics Gripe thread, I am wondering:

Once we move to our new town, I will sign my kindergartner up for dance.  She has been taking ballet with a wonderful, patient, lovely teacher for 1.5 years.  The class is offered at the same place as her gymnastics so it was an easy decision to begin there.  Her teacher is the sort of teacher who gets a big hug every time my daughter sees her.

There appear to be several options for dance classes in our new town.  There is a professional ballet company with an academy for classical ballet training.  It seems they may offer Jazz too, but I am not certain.  I was really excited at the idea initially.

Then a few parents on FB said they loved their studios as well.  At least one of the others is what was described to me as a competition track school with a variety of dance styles.

At her age, I have no expectations for her future in dance.  I just want her to enjoy it.  I took only ballet as a child and I would have liked to learn other techniques, but I also think ballet offers a lot.

So, those of you who have make this decision before, how did you decide between a studio that might one day offer the opportunity to compete or offers a variety of dance styles and a classical ballet studio?
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ChinaZen
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2013, 11:57:56 AM »

I should add that I will also be registering for gymnastics.  Only one place offering that, so easy decision.  Not sure if it matters or not that she will also be in gymnastics, but wanted to add that.
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mommatomany
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2013, 12:03:11 PM »

i don't know. i started first dd at a serious ballet studio and she didn't love it. so we went to a more fun low key one and she didn't love it. she ended up being a track star. lol. go figure. now next dd is in gymnastics....we started at a fun studio and she is happy and i figure later if she shows more interest we can move her to a more serious studio. i don't know that there is one right decision here. Smiley
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MsMama
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2013, 12:14:35 PM »

The main reason I picked our dance studio was because they do a variety of dance styles, plus art and music! DD started at age 3 in a ballet/jazz/acrobat combo class for 1 hour. This year, at 4, she did a full morning program, same dance program, plus an hour of art and music each.  She loved them all! Next year she'll do just dance as she's going to start Chinese school on Saturdays. This studio also has a competition track (and quite a good reputation). Kids don't start specializing in dance styles until they turn 6 and I'm not sure what age they start on the competition track.

I think ballet offers a great grounding for other dance styles but I much prefer having a variety of activities to choose from. And DD has many varied interests (she also swims and starts soccer this summer) so I don't want to limit her choices and prefer having her in a variety of activities.  Right now it's about having fun, and if she shows any serious talent when she gets a bit older we may focus on just one thing. We'll see.

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shaggywing
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2013, 12:32:21 PM »

I don't live in a town with a whole lot of choices, but I did pick the creative dance option over the ballet option for my three year old. I would be inclined to start off with fun and variety, and move to more serious and specialized depending on her interest as she gets older.
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mia2me
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2013, 12:42:51 PM »

My 2nd DD danced for 1 year at a "fun" studio.  It did have dance companies but does a lot of different types of dance and doesn't offer a strong classical ballet track/foundation.  She was 5 at the time.  She didn't love it... I was not impressed with the caliber or the styles of dancing at the end of the year recital. 

We then tried a week long summer camp at a classical studio which has a much more intense and professional studio.  She LOVED it, so we switched and in the fall she began ballet, tap, and jazz (will hopefully only have to do tap next year and then can stop!) 

She LOVES dance now... esp loves jazz.  Ballet, for so many years, doesn't really feel like dancing.. it is more stretching and positioning and is very slow.  But she knows that once she puts in some time (a few more years) then she will truly be able to dance ballet.  Girls can be selected for dance companies by age 9, if they have the skills.

FWIW, my daughter has loved the more serious environment.  She is thrilled to go and is so visibly happy while she is there.  She has learned so much, and I can really see a difference in her skill level (some of which is attributable to her age certainly.)  I think since they require so much more, my DD loves it because she sees that she can actually DO so much more now.  She now is actually starting to feel like a dancer.   Happy
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ChinaZen
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2013, 01:33:47 PM »

My 2nd DD danced for 1 year at a "fun" studio.  It did have dance companies but does a lot of different types of dance and doesn't offer a strong classical ballet track/foundation.  She was 5 at the time.  She didn't love it... I was not impressed with the caliber or the styles of dancing at the end of the year recital. 


I am kind of worried about this as I have no experience with this.  A friend's daughter is competing and I see FB photos and updates regularly and she seems to love it and the costumes are not too racy.  But I am not sure I want my daughter doing this some day.  Ballet seems much more....serious?  Innocent?  Refined?  I don't know.  I really don't.
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lojeslj
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2013, 01:38:49 PM »

I took 15 years of dance (ballet, pointe, jazz, tap), so I'm biased in some ways.  My dds started 2 years ago when a classical studio finally opened near us (we live in a rural area.)  Other options I chose not to do were less rigorous studios (teachers who weren't dancers, per se) and studios who trained mostly for dance competitions.  I am mostly against dance competitions, at least how they're done around here.  Little girls in suggestive outfits and moves not fitting for their age - not my cup of tea.

The current studio feeds into a larger, metropolitan school that performs The Nutcracker every year.  THAT is what hooked my daughters.  My younger, age 10, is not so in love with practice because it's true that early on it is slow and a bit boring, but she LOVED performing, and she was totally motivated by the older girls on pointe. She will most likely start pointe next year.   13 yo dd loves it, and loves pointe.  Their teacher was a professional ballerina, and while strict, is very nice and wants the kids to enjoy what they do.

I do think a more classical method of teaching will also give them better posture and poise.  Again, maybe I'm biased. Smiley

For younger kids, I'd probably go with what's easiest schedule and location wise, but keep an eye on how much your dd likes it and if she'd benefit from more intensive instruction.  

And I would avoid like the plague any place that seriously emphasizes body image.  Girls today don't need anyone telling them they need to be skinnier.  I'm all for healthy (I'm a physician) but dancers specifically can have a high rate of eating disorders.
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ldw4mlo
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2013, 02:39:13 PM »

First is it fun and do the instructors/coaches deal with kids well.

Next is it close to home, fit in the budget both regarding time and money.

As they get older and if they truly seem to have some talent and love for what they are doing then think about more formal training and competitions and so on.

Typically at least around here you don't just sign up for more formal rigorous stuff, you need to be invited or try out.

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Jewel321
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2013, 04:54:13 PM »

Agree with the above.  My kids all participated in various activities for fun.  Once they found their passion then we invested more. 
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luckymama2two
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2013, 07:22:06 AM »

DD#1 started out ballet at a classical dance studio who has their own company comprised of adults.  They're big on competition and put together a professional production yearly.  There were two ballet classes for little ones, taught by two different teachers.  (Same class, different times and teachers.)  Once a month they left the window blinds open so parents could watch...which drove me bonkers since I figured I was paying and should be able to see my four year old at any moment.  Anyway, I managed to watch both classes at various times and was so glad DD was in the class she was in.  Her instructor was amazing...serious when necessary but made it fun and instructive for the girls.  The other instructor, however, was horrible.  She was uninvolved with the children, most times not even maintaining eye contact with the girls when instructing them.  She barked orders and never cracked a smile.  At the recital, the girls from that class were terrible.  Looked like they had learned nothing...what a waste of a grand, not to mention time.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it really depends on the instructor.  Go watch a class and see for yourself. 

The following year we moved and both my girls attended a dance studio near our home, one that didn't bill itself as Classical per se, but the instructors were professionals themselves.  They still had their competition stuff for the older girls, but that didn't impact my girls at their current ages.  One thing I really liked about this new studio is that for their recital they put on a show that included all the children.  It wasn't just a Class A take the stage, then Class B type of recital.  It was a studio-wide production where all the children particpated, from the three year olds right up to the older kids.  It was great. 

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kms
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2013, 07:24:56 AM »

 Does she want to take ballet? Does she want to take another style of dance?
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kms
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2013, 07:35:26 AM »

A little different maybe cause I'm mother a boy with special needs but my only option for dance was ballet. I'd like his first class to be a combination of styles. But since your little girl has done ballet she already knows something about it, whether she is in love with it, and if she'd like to try other kinds of dance. As long as they are in something active I do not think it matters much. If she isn't in love with dance, since she does gymnastics, I wouldn't worry. Especially with her age, she is about to be full time at school.
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lorrin74
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2013, 01:15:30 PM »

End-of-year recitals should be happening soon. Ask local directors/ owners of studios if you can attend theirs at no cost (just pop in for 15 minutes if possible). If you can imagine your daughter - five years from now - wearing those costumes, dancing that choreography and to that music then it may be a good fit for your family. If not, walk away.

If it seems a good fit after that, I'd watch out for places that place too much emphasis on body image.  That's all the advice I've got - from someone who danced from age three through college, with a smattering of adult classes as well. (And wouldn't you know my oldest hates dance. She quit at age five. Ha!)
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Hope47
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2013, 01:37:34 PM »

I should add that I will also be registering for gymnastics.  Only one place offering that, so easy decision.  Not sure if it matters or not that she will also be in gymnastics, but wanted to add that.

DD took a tap/jazz class at almost age 4 and has been in gymnastics for a while. She went to ballet dance camp last summer (4days)
All she talked about was ballet for months and after dance camp did not want to take ballet in the fall, only gym. 

My guess was the instructor was too strict and it didn't seem fun enough for DD.  But she wants to do the dance camp again this summer. Go figure.

Think it depends on your DD and if you want her to dance for fun or get serious. There is a ballet school around here that does the nutcracker every year and they are very strict about everything.  Hair must be perfect, strict about outfits, tardiness, attendance, etc. But graduates have gone on to perform in well known dance companies. 
So you know best what your DD would probably like.
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zhaonuer
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2013, 01:43:11 PM »

We are limited in our choices of studios since I chose to only enroll DS where they had all-boys classes so he didn't lose his excitement by being the only boy in a class of little girls. So far I love the studio we chose even though it is a bit of a drive. What I like:

Free trial class offered (loved this feature - would never have signed up DS at a young age otherwise)
All-boy classes available from 5 yrs up
The instructor dances or moves with the kids almost the whole time (may be unique to the boys class)
Tap, jazz, modern, and ballet all offered
I can watch the whole class on a video screen in the hall
I can walk him back and stay right outside of the room (so many studios require kids to be dropped off at the front desk and you must stay in the common area!). They just encourage you not to stand at the window the whole time, but instead rely on the video.
All kids participate in one of four end of year shows that each include all levels from 3 yr olds up to advanced ballet and each run only 1.5 hours
All costumes for the shows are borrowed
They have toys for siblings and waiting students to play with in the hall (very family friendly)
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nebraskamom
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Re: Ballet and Dance
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2013, 01:47:28 PM »

We have a couple of studios where we live.  At first, I didn't know which one to attend, but a friend told me the difference in the styles.  And I later learned that one of the studios was a one-woman show.  That's not meant to sound negative in any way--it's just that she was the one who was running it, and I don't think there was anyone else to fall back on. (I'm thinking if there were to be an emergency or anything).  The other studio was a mother-daughter studio.  I, too, wanted our dd to have fun.  The studio we go to does have competition, however, I do believe they let you know ahead of time (prior to taking the class) if you are required to compete for that class.  Our dd has done one competition.  This year we opted out.  I like being able to do that.  I like the other poster's suggestion of going to the recital and seeing what the recital is like.  It may give you and your daughter an idea of the expectations, style, etc.
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