CriticalDance Forum

Ballet teacher is not helping
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Author:  Max Power [ Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Ballet teacher is not helping

I have an 11 year old son who loves dance. He has been taking tap for 5 years and ballet for 2. Here is my concern. He is in a class(ballet) of 99% girls and is learning techniques of a female dancer. How should I address the instructor or school to give him proper instructions for a male dancer? Should I go out and find him a private instructor? Where do I look? From what I have seen on a few netflick documentaries about young dancers I think my son is way behind.

Author:  Dean Speer [ Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet teacher is not helping

You actually bring up several topics here. Being in class with class with females will not impact your son's training. Also at 11 no one [really] expects his level of technique to be very high. [Try not to confuse "tricks and turns" with actual technique and skill level.] This will happen over a period of years and will probably peak, overall, in the 17-19 years old range. What we do expect is that he is getting good, solid technical training from a teacher or studio who knows what they are doing. So when it does come time to compare him to his peers, he is on par with them given their respective ages and years of training. Finesse and artistry also occur over time and with experience.

That said, he could be working on some aspects of the "male syllabus" -- turns in the air, simple beats and jumps. His teacher could probably help with this and/or you could supplement his training in an all-boys class somewhere. Ideally, it's good to have males take from males, but this is often not viable in most studio settings. Pacific Northwest Ballet School has this but it's taken years for the School to build to this point.

Caution about partnering -- except for the most simple things, he should not be doing any partnering until he gets his adult frame and most of his adult strength -- usually about 16 on. Backs and knees need to be protected.

Your son has time but the questions you address are good ones.

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