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 Post subject: question concerning training and possible duet for 7-8 year
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2006 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 6:15 pm
Posts: 5
I am a parent of a little girl that loves to dance. We just recently had recital. She has taken dance for 3 years. PLEASE correct me if I am wrong as I am really not trying to sound mean. My daughter was not in every class this year due to school. She focused on Jazz. She did an excellent job all of the girls did. I did notice however in the ballet class and the tap class especially EVERYTHING was just off. All of the girls where completly spaced. This really concerned me because we were going to let our daughter sign back up for all of the classes this year. Seeing all of that got me and another mom (same situation) about them taking a class by themselves for ballet at least maybe tap and have them do either a duet or a solo. Not necessarily for competition but for recital. I know there is a difference in students and how they perfom if they don't really want to be there. I just want my daughter to be the best that she can be since she really loves to dance.

As a parent do you think I am being completely ridiculous?
What as teachers do you recommend for a duet or solo type?
Also, I was thinking about buying a ballet instructional DVD for her to practice during the summer and in between classes, what would you recommend?

Please do not think I am a stage mom or anything like that it is just that my daughter really enjoys dance and I have always beleived whats worth doing is worth doing well.

Thanks.

Jen


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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 10:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:29 am
Posts: 17
Location: USA
Jen,

I'm a parent too, and have seen my share of bad dancing. What I would suggest is re-evaluating the studio as a whole. Did all of the age groups seem off? Even if the students executed well, would the dancing have matched your taste? Given that a studio has only a limited amount of contact time with each class, do you think they balanced it correctly between fundamentals and technique, on the one hand, and the recital piece on the other. More broadly, are you dissatisfied with the quality of training in general, or just the recital?

There are a lot of things that can cause "spaciness" at a performance: general stage fright, dancers not familiar with the costumes or lighting, an over-long recital, performing too late in the night, a poor choice of dressing-room recreation, something about a particular teacher. Did you sense spaciness in all the pieces, or just some?

That said, from the tone of your query, I'm betting that it is more than just the recital that's your concern. Unless your area is extremely rural, there's more than one studio around, and this is the time to --discretely-- evaluate other studios. After the recital is as good a time as it gets to make a change. Even if there are additional costs (more expensive classes, forfeited deposits, whatever) it would be cheaper than coaching for a duet.

I think you and your friend should talk to parents outside your studio, observe other studio's classes, go to other recitals, (as prospective recruits, you might be able to get a cut rate on the tickets, but either way, it's a worthwhile investment.) There is probably another studio that better matches your needs.

Since I'm not a dancer myself, I couldn't point to particular things to look for, but I was struck by the list Spangles posted a few months ago on the topic of "Kinderdance." Yes, Kinderdance is too young for your daughter, but the fundamentals that Spangles listed still seem relevant for your case.

What I'd try to sense at a recital is whether the older dancers dance like you'd like your child to dance, after she gets that type of training. Have students mastered the fundamentals? Do they dance in unison to the level you'd expect? Are they having fun? Does the choreography match your taste? Are the pieces properly and sufficiently coached?

I think most important, though, is to find a teacher to nurture and to guide your daughter's enthusaism, rather than to misdirect it (as your current studio seems to be) or to squelch it, by requiring more precision or committment than she's ready to give.
Hope this helps.
Frank.


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 Post subject: thoughts on the studio
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 6:15 pm
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Well,

I would say at least half of the recital was completely spacey. The numbers that were good were REAL good. Some of the older dancers that have been there a while dance excellent. My daughter has even been compared to one of them. I guess where I get concerned is the younger age is maybe not getting enough attention is applied to them. If you have a group of girls that have been dancing for at least three years is it

A: fair to them to place a new girl in the group that has not danced before or not at the same level? That is done quite a bit.

B: Unfair on my part to expect at least some kind of unison. I noticed this in the ballet and tap. the jazz for the same age was really well.

I am looking into other studios so maybe that will open up so new ideas.


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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 9:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:29 am
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Location: USA
Looking back over your post, I guess I should have seen that some of your concern was with the students as well as the teaching.
When beginning dancers joined your daughter's class, were they about the same age as she was, or a little older? It may be that the studio placed them in the seven-year-olds class thinking they'd be more comfortable there than in with the five-year old beginners, and that they'd catch on soon enough. It must be tough for a studio to balance age and dance experience in making placements. The studio may be thinking that at this young age, they'll catch on pretty quickly.

It may be that others will be able to advise more completely if you shared which half of the recital looked good:
a: the half involving older dancers,
b: the half taught by your daughter's jazz teacher,
c: the first half, etc.

This would give rise to one of a variety of answers: either
a: Just look how your daughter will progress as she continues. The older dancers have more experience and take more classes than the younger ones, so they're destined to dance better.
b: maybe the jazz teacher is the one best able to coach and polish. His or her teaching and advice are what you should seek out.
c: Too much time backstage during a recital season dance-a-thon can turn kids into zombies. It's difficult to snap out of that before going on stage.

Experts: What do you think?


You asked about instructional videos. I'd advise you more toward performance videos, (not to mention live performances) which can nurture your daughter's enthusiasm. Nutcracker, Cats, Riverdance: everybody will have their favorites. Instruction is best done in the controlled environment of a studio, under the watchful eye of a dance professional.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Petaluma, California
Hello, hcierra, and welcome to CriticalDance. Frank N. has given you very excellent advice. And, I second his statement that instruction should be left to class in a studio with a good teacher. Bad habits can be the result of trying to learn on your own. Also, dancers learn by watching their peers, as well. There is no substitute for taking class with others. When I was young (6 years to 10 ish), I used to dance like mad in my living room just for fun. I'm not saying to discourage this. This is part of her creativity and love of dance that will show itself from time to time...


Last edited by Gina Ness on Wed May 31, 2006 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Thanks!
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 2:25 pm 
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I have talked with her Jazz teacher and even asked if she could just teach all of the classes for them next year because there was such a remarkable difference between the dances. I don't feel overly comfortable in talking about the other instructors because they are all related. For the most part the advice I have been getting from other boards as well is that an individual class is not really the answer but to maybe look for a different studio with a different type of structure geared towards the more professional dancer and not just recreational. They also advised to stay away from instructional dance tapes. :wink:

Harlie already loves to watch riverdance. I think that is why she loves tap so much. she also really enjoyed watching a girl at recital dance pointe. she had never seen that before and she was mesmorized at how graceful it can be. She wanted to rush out and do it right then. I had to quickly explain honey a good dancer makes it look easy, but it is really hard and takes lots of work.

Thanks for all of your thoughts. I will keep you updated on what we decided to do!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:21 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Hcierra please do not take offence at this but you did mention that your daughter was not able to make all classes in the run up. That can make a huge difference to performance especially at a young age where really regular repitition is the key to children being confident and performing well in shows. If your daughter was missing from a few classes then it is likely that this was the same with a lot of children. I have had classes where the first time I have had them all together to run through a routine is at the dress rehearsal. It is a complete nightmare for the teacher and although I constantly remind people of the importance of being at all classes in the run up to a show, people have busy lives and frequently other things take precedence over dance class.

If the older students are performing well and they have been attending this studio since a young age I wouldn't be too worried. It can take several years and several recitals before younger children "get" how to perform. With some children it will be natural but with others it can take years of hard work.

I think getting your daughter to watch performances and perhaps pointing out to her performances that you like or getting her to pick out good performances and then talking about why you both thought they were good is an excellent way to help a young child understand how to perform.

In the end is your daughter enjoying the dance classes? Is the technique at this school generally sound? If the answer is yes to those questions I wouldn't be too worried. I would speak to the teachers concerned and ask what things you can do to help your daughter perform better and not so spacey - as they may well have some tips.


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 Post subject: daughters participation in class
PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 6:23 pm 
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Hi,

when i said that she didn't take all of the classes i meant that she only took jazz and gym combo and she was able to make all of those classes except one. I did not want her at the studion for 3 hours on a school night at the age of 6 so I pulled her out of the other classes and let her take the two that she really enjoys the most. So in that respect I feel that my daughter did everything that she could to help her team out for the dance that she participated in. I am very glad she didn't dance in the others. I am going to give the studio one more try but with some classes private and some in a group. I think working in a group is very important. I also think though that a solid technical base is important and maybe she can learn that better one on one or a smaller a class.

Thanks everybody for your help.


Jenn


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Petaluma, California
Hello, hcierra...Your daughter is only six years old? Generally, at this age they should be exploring movement, learning age appropriate beginning basics for ballet, tap, jazz, or gym; exploring rhythm, using their imaginations, and just learning to be in a classroom studio environment with other children. I think I assumed that because she had studied for three years that she was at least eight or nine years old. As far as ballet training goes, serious training shouldn't really begin until seven or eight, depending on the child. I can't imagine it's much different for gym or jazz. My son is a former gymnast, and at age six he was not at team practice five, not even four, days a week (four days began at age nine)...I don't think that even two hours of classes in a row in a dance studio is appropriate for a child this age. I would recommend three days a week at most for a six year old. And, certainly, let her spin around in your living room to music, doing whatever she wishes.


Last edited by Gina Ness on Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Thanks Gina!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:40 am 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 6:15 pm
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We really encourage her to dance anytime she feels the need. I think it is great exercise. She will only be taking one more class this year and then it is going to be a private ballet lesson every other week. She just loves to dance and her starting off on the right foot is very important to me. she doesn't look at any of it as a class type environment because she just loves it. Yeah she is six she will actually seven when classes start back up.

Thanks again everybody for all of your help!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Petaluma, California
Hello...It's great that you support your daughter and her love of movement and dance. :)


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