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lilacdancer

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Reply with quote  #1 
My daughter is 15. She started dance late, at age 11. She moved to a different studio at age 12. She started at beginner level of course and is now up to advanced level. She's a bit shy at sassy jazz, but loves ballet and lyrical. During summer intensive, she was expecting to be in the most advanced level, "A" level. She was put in the "B" level. She felt she did not learn anything, and was stuck with the loud 9 year olds. Im not trying to say she is the best at everything or a misty copeland or anything like that, but she has oversplits, fouettes, a la secondes, and all the flexibility tricks that the "A" level has. Im just confused by her placement and we have another week soon, and I do not want to pay if she wont learn anything. The placement hurt her confidence as well. The reason she was expecting to be in the "A" group was because the girls in all her classes were in that group. Now we are stuck wondering if we should actually do competition because she will look awkward doing dances with 11 year olds. I kind of think her studio is placing her below the others because it is her first year of competition, but she has performed alot and is a natural on stage. I wouldn't think someone with more experience in the competition scene is automatically a better dancer, but that appears to be what the studio is doing. Any advice would be helpful, as her confidence is slipping and we are stuck.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #2 

You've mentioned flexibility tricks and turns. 

Sometimes it's not the actual steps but how the steps are done. That's where actual technique comes into play. 

I totally understand the hits to her confidence. This happened to my daughter at local and away summer intensive programs more than once. First time was at her home program when some of her friends were in a higher level. Last time was just 2 summers ago at an away program. 

I obviously do not know the situation at her dance studio. But I do know that, like dd, she has two choices. One is to take the blow to her confidence and brood over it. The other is to do something about it. She can show take the opportunity to move a little slower and clean her technique. There's no dancer on this planet who would not benefit from working on their technique. It's why you see professional dancers purposely taking classes far below their level just to finesse their technique. A famous quote is "A plie is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master." She can also work her buns off and show them that she doesn't belong there. This is the approach dd has taken and it has paid off in spades. 

And BTW, all those friends who were placed higher than dd at her local school back in the day, they've all graduated from high school already, just like dd. They are all in college now. Dd, however, is a professional ballet dancer. 

One other thought... knowing this is a competition studio, perhaps they are planning to feature her dancing with the younger dancers. Do you know if the summer placement has any reflection on year round? Is it possible for her to maturely inquire about her placement? 

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lilacdancer

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Reply with quote  #3 
That makes sense. I think she will do the second week, and then inquire about her placement. Thanks for the help.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #4 
I will only share what I know from the prior competition factory DD attended; placements were often left to the discretion of the office manager unless a new student really stood out and the DTs took the time to make sure that student was placed higher... when the student was new to the factory. Once established placements often leveled out and students appeared to be placed where they belonged skills wise. I often saw the approach to place a new student in the lowest possible level no matter what skills they brought with them and it had nothing to do with their ability. It was their approach; you're new, you start at the bottom and only if you advocate or blow everyone else out of the water you will stay at the bottom at least for the first year. It was a way of keeping students wanting more and coming back the next year to attain that higher level. They used it as a way of making students have to sit and watch the more advanced levels and develop a hunger to get there so that they would keep coming back to get to the next level... even if they were at or above that level when they arrived. I'm just putting this out there as a warning that some "studios" make placement decisions based on actually developing up a young dancer and some make their decisions based on money and potential income from that dancer in the years to come. Just be sure that you trust the system at your current studio before you assume they have good intentions.

I agree wholeheartedly that any dancer at any level can learn heaps and heaps from attending lower level classes for their entire career... that is not an issue I am addressing. I'm addressing predatory SOs and DTs who place business ahead of children's well being. It happens, more than I ever would have imagined.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #5 
I'd reiterate a lot of what tendumom said.

Splits and all are great, but how good (and consistent) are her feet, her port a bras, her turnout, her balance, etc.?  The basics!!!

Most students transferring to our studio spend time at a lower level than they'd expect, dancing with younger students.  It's OK ... they catch up on their technique (or "serve their time" if you believe the pessimists), but then I've seen them absolutely take off and progress thru the ranks very quickly.

They biggest key is, don't "dumb down" your dancing when you think you might be with less skilled dancers.  They're barely doing doubles when you can consistently nail them? Fine, work on a triple.  There's nothing those dancers are working on that won't also help yours.  

Pros have occasionally dropped into class with my DD14.  Sometimes for rehab, sometimes for warmup. They don't do it with an attitude, and they don't look down on the other dancers.

So if your daughter truly wants to be a dancer, this is a just step in the journey.  If it's too big of a pill to swallow - be it for summer or even a full school year - then dancing might not be for her.  Harsh, but as a late starter in a field full of potholes it can take some extra fortitude in order to succeed.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #6 
It looks like you've been at this studio but are just new to the competition team? It seems you have a relationship- she could approach it with the general concept like I want to improve and get to that level- what do I need to focus on? She then knows and they know she is serious about dance and improving
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lilacdancer

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Reply with quote  #7 
My daughter has consistently taken ballet class, and summer classes with the dancers that were in the "A" group. Ballet is one of her strong suits, and has learned quickly. She is constantly working at home. I just dont want her to be dancing with the younger girls because she is clearly better than them. They dont hit full split leaps, she hits oversplits. They fall out of a double, she hits a triple. She picks up quickly. I want her to be with the right groups when its competition time, as it's expensive (you all know) and I am a single mom. Its not fun for her when summer choreographers dropped into the summer intensive and asked her groups age, and the rest of the girls said "8,9,10" one said 12, and she was 15. Just because she is new to the competition team shouldn't mean she is dumbed down to this level. Yes while she was at summer intensive she did work on the basics in that week, but I know the combos they learned were torture for her. Not to mention the summer intensive grouped the "b" and "c" levels together for leaps and turns, so they would explain over and over how to do them, when she has been able to do them since before she started dance. The "b" group should have been pushed with the "a" group so they could practice switch leaps, switch russians, and tilt jumps. All of which she knows how to do and practices at home
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #8 
I can "hear" the exasperation in your last post. Pulling from another thread ... ask for an explanation. There's going back to basics and there's not being challenged. It sounds like she's not being challenged. If she has already mastered certain leaps/skills (and this is not in reference to ballet), I would be hesitant to pay for that particular class without at least an explanation as to why she's there.

This is the kind of thing, IMO, that leads to questioning other aspects of the studio, eventually leading to resentment. Feeling resentment can lead to a miserable year.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilacdancer
My daughter has consistently taken ballet class, and summer classes with the dancers that were in the "A" group. Ballet is one of her strong suits, and has learned quickly. She is constantly working at home. I just dont want her to be dancing with the younger girls because she is clearly better than them. They dont hit full split leaps, she hits oversplits. They fall out of a double, she hits a triple. She picks up quickly. I want her to be with the right groups when its competition time, as it's expensive (you all know) and I am a single mom. Its not fun for her when summer choreographers dropped into the summer intensive and asked her groups age, and the rest of the girls said "8,9,10" one said 12, and she was 15. Just because she is new to the competition team shouldn't mean she is dumbed down to this level. Yes while she was at summer intensive she did work on the basics in that week, but I know the combos they learned were torture for her. Not to mention the summer intensive grouped the "b" and "c" levels together for leaps and turns, so they would explain over and over how to do them, when she has been able to do them since before she started dance. The "b" group should have been pushed with the "a" group so they could practice switch leaps, switch russians, and tilt jumps. All of which she knows how to do and practices at home



You just need to address it head on and respectfully before it breeds into more frustration and a bigger issue. (Not trying to sound bossy but can tell she and you are both frustrated.)
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #10 
Given your frustration, I would speak to the studio now about her placements for fall. Ask and pay for a private audition if necessary to evaluate her skill set. If the studio feels her placement is appropriate (really their judgment that matters not yours), you can certainly disagree and make a studio switch before the new season. Perhaps you could find a larger studio where teenagers with different ability levels attend. All of our local studios have an A and a B team. So even if the objective judgement is that her skills are not ready for a senior A team, dancing with a senior B team would be more age appropriate and fun for her than dancing with much younger girls.

But perhaps they put her in the lower summer classes for basics work, and they plan to move her with her same aged peers in the fall. I would ask directly and very soon before choreo starts for next season.

As an aside, my 14 year old with have a small group next year with younger girls (11-14) and older girls (14-18). She will benefit from all the roles, but understandably she would prefers to have class with the high school girls.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #11 
Definitely ask for clarification in a non confrontational way.  Sometimes as the mom we have on blinders about our kids ability.  Your DD may be able to do all the "tricks" but maybe the DT's see a lack in some of the minutiae of technique that needs to be worked on.
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cndb

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Reply with quote  #12 
You mentioned you see your daughter as having down pat a lot of tricks, mostly listing flexibility type moves.

Is it possible that your daughter lacks the strength and more importantly control and core stability that is required to execute those advanced skills correctly, safely and technically?

Control and stability are problem areas for many athletes (not just dancers) who are naturally over flexible or hypermobile.

The lower class placement also makes me wonder if her baseline ballet is sloppy. A dancer can have a lot of trick steps in their bag due to lots of practice, a natural aptitude for dancing or things like hypermobility, but still have very bad technique while doing them. Those things will not improve by just doing harder tricks. They improve by basic classes and lots of barre.  

You also mentioned your daughter is still working on "sassy" styles. Could it be her artistry is not yet at the level of the most advanced high school dancers? She might have the tricks down, but if her style is less mature or if she is not fully comfortable with the style they tend to use with their oldest dancers, this could very well be the reason she is placed with the next group down.

Sometimes we see things through our mom glasses, which is not necessarily what a trained professional sees.  Since you are newer to the dance world, this could be very likely what is happening with your daughter.

I agree with the others, just have your daughter ask, not you. She is a high schooler now and is at the right age to start advocating for herself. She is also a dancer in training and will understand the technical critiques better than you will.

With the little you posted, my inclination is that the studio has your daughter's best interests in mind with regards to her training. No studio will purposely hold a top dancer down by purposefully putting her with lower level classes and little kids.  That only makes people angry and disgruntled, and who wants to do that? The only sane and logical reason to put a strong dancer in lower techique classes is because she is either A) not really yet at the level of the more advanced class or B) has technical issues to work through that that are best fixed in the lower class.

You will only get the answer of whether your studio is sane (trying to help your daughter grow as a dancer in the best classes for her) or not sane (trying to hold your daughter down to the point that you are both disgruntled) by asking what she needs to do to reach her goals.  My guess is that the class where they placed her is where the studio feels she needs to be to reach her goals. Then at that point, you need to decide if you can accept this or move on to another studio.
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #13 
What are switch russians and tilt jumps?

You talk about her hitting tricks (hitting is a cheerleading term, not a dance term it doesn't matter if you can do the skill in dance if you look terrible when doing it) which is all fine and dandy but the steps between the tricks matter as much or more.

Complaining to us isn't going to do a thing.  Have her talk to her teacher tomorrow (or have her construct an email tonight).
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
What are switch russians and tilt jumps?

You talk about her hitting tricks (hitting is a cheerleading term, not a dance term it doesn't matter if you can do the skill in dance if you look terrible when doing it) which is all fine and dandy but the steps between the tricks matter as much or more.

Complaining to us isn't going to do a thing.  Have her talk to her teacher tomorrow (or have her construct an email tonight).


Switch Russian -


Tilt jump -
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Jinkerbelle

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Reply with quote  #15 
What @cnbd said pretty much.... I notice at my daughter's studio that the guidelines specifically state that certain moves, turns, leaps, and jumps are performed technically but also with STYLE and ease for advanced placement.
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #16 
Gymnastics skills then, not dance.  That russian is ugly.  We've got all these comp studios telling kids that these gymnastic/cheerleading jumps are necessary dance skills.  They're not and you'd be hard pressed to see them done by professional dancers.
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #17 
I totally get wanting to make sure your money is well spent, but I do see a lot of people at competition "hitting" tricks but with bad technique (open passe in their turns, lazy feet in leaps, etc). While I would ask, make sure you ask in a non-confrontational way. It could be that she is lacking the proper technique, or that her transitions aren't developed. You mention learning at home, and it could be that she picked up bad habits that have to be unlearned which often is more demanding than learning from scratch. Also, dancing is more than a series of tricks, but connecting all of your movements into a flowing, cohesive whole. There are a few girls at our studio that at first glance have awesome tricks but they are executed with poor technique and at recital their lack of dancing through transitions is very apparent, and those girls are often at a lower level than kids who do less difficult tricks with excellent technique.

That being said, maybe you might want to explore other studios? Most of DD9's group has a clean double, center leap, etc, even if our SO hates "tricks" and doesn't use them a lot.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilacdancer
My daughter has consistently taken ballet class, and summer classes with the dancers that were in the "A" group. Ballet is one of her strong suits, and has learned quickly. She is constantly working at home. I just dont want her to be dancing with the younger girls because she is clearly better than them. They dont hit full split leaps, she hits oversplits. They fall out of a double, she hits a triple. She picks up quickly. I want her to be with the right groups when its competition time, as it's expensive (you all know) and I am a single mom. Its not fun for her when summer choreographers dropped into the summer intensive and asked her groups age, and the rest of the girls said "8,9,10" one said 12, and she was 15. Just because she is new to the competition team shouldn't mean she is dumbed down to this level. Yes while she was at summer intensive she did work on the basics in that week, but I know the combos they learned were torture for her. Not to mention the summer intensive grouped the "b" and "c" levels together for leaps and turns, so they would explain over and over how to do them, when she has been able to do them since before she started dance. The "b" group should have been pushed with the "a" group so they could practice switch leaps, switch russians, and tilt jumps. All of which she knows how to do and practices at home



Honestly it sounds like she wants to hang with friends and get plastic trophies.  I have no problem with that, there's a place for that as a recreational activity.  The kids get costumes, dance on bright stages, get nice photos, build friendships, etc.  It's fine.

But as for actual dance?  There are so many red flags with this! 

1) Ballet is one of her "strong suits?"  Possibly. As judged by ... (?)  Not saying that parents can't judge a dancer's skill, but usually not until you've really studied some dance and you know what you're looking for.  HINT: No ballet audition ever starts with jumps.  

2) She is "clearly" better, because ... she hits oversplits? Ballet isn't a circus freak show, running around showing who can spread their legs the most!

3) She can nail a triple? Consistently?  Stopping on balance before putting her foot down?  Both en dehor and en dedans?  OK, great. Then during turns, why not work on 4 or 6?  And if not, then stop working on doubles and learn a proper single.

4) "The combos they learned were torture for her" / "Not fun."  Welcome to ballet.  "Plie and stretch" isn't exactly the big city bright lights excitement every kid dreams of.  But I know dancers who spend 20 minutes a day performing Tendus.  Over.  And over.  And over.   Not at home, but with an instructor watching, to make sure they aren't learning bad habits by cheating their foot positions as they tire or the pace increases. I guarantee you that the only fun in that is the pain and pride of finishing.  And you know what? These girls have a future. 


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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
Gymnastics skills then, not dance.  That russian is ugly.  We've got all these comp studios telling kids that these gymnastic/cheerleading jumps are necessary dance skills.  They're not and you'd be hard pressed to see them done by professional dancers.


Meatball, well said!
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #20 
The lesson dancers learn as they get older - You can learn from ANY class.  This is because you are working for yourself to strengthen all of your dance technique. All dance classes help if you are dancing for the right reasons.  During the summer, my dd would take level 4 at the SI if a teacher she really liked was teaching (there are 6 levels).  
Every kid needs to understand this:  

Dancing... We have all been there!
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tappinmom


Switch Russian -


Tilt jump -


Just in the cover photo of the video upload of the tilt jump, I noticed a few things that would DD9 would have been called out on to fix if that was her:

Head placement - her neck is hunched to the side and she's looking down
Posture - her torso is hunched forward, from her core all through her shoulders. 
Feet - toes not pointed. If you draw a line from her shins to her toes, it should at least be a straight line though some have a pleasing curve
Hips are not squared - you can see the upper leg is pulled forward. 

If your daughter is learning from these videos, she may be learning with poor technique and they may have put her with younger girls so that she can get those sorts of corrections because things like posture should be fixed or at least a work in progress for safety reasons alone, not to mention technique. Believe me, before DD9 started dancing I had no idea there was such detail involved in proper technique in everything.  
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerinamom13
The lesson dancers learn as they get older - You can learn from ANY class.  This is because you are working for yourself to strengthen all of your dance technique. All dance classes help if you are dancing for the right reasons.  During the summer, my dd would take level 4 at the SI if a teacher she really liked was teaching (there are 6 levels).  
Every kid needs to understand this:  

Dancing... We have all been there!


So true! DD9 took both open level ballet classes this year to work on refinement and she's grown a lot this year.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #23 
Tilt jump -  Holy god - those feet.........
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lilacdancer

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Reply with quote  #24 
My daughter finds pride in working on plies and tendu's and doesn't find them boring. Obviously tilt jumps aren't going to be performed in a ballet class or audition, I never mentioned that. I have been in the dance world longer than she has danced, she just didn't show interest in dance until 11. She likes to work on the basic combos but when the basic combos include skipping or other things for 7 year olds, its not right for her anymore. Its not going to that level to correct anymore, because there is nothing of substance in those combos. Its teaching beginner kids how to move. She Improvs at home to work on fluidity, its just that shes not that confident and so obviously sassy jazz is going to be tough. She is still keeping up and performing, its just not as easy. Its not like shes miles behind in sassy jazz. She just doesnt enjoy body rolling and hips. Im not sure what I would say if I didnt say hit? She finishes? Idk. Hit to me implies the skill was done and completed with good technique. You dont say something was hit, if it wasnt done right. That doesnt make sense. Also her ballet teachers were principal dancers and have talked to me saying she does well in ballet class and it was one of her strong suits, especially for starting late. Her ballet teacher calls her out for doing things correctly and well. Also the competition girls at that younger age are hitting the doubles, but during the summer intensive, not all the girls she was dancing with were competition kids, so some were falling out yes. Yes she practices control all the time. She works on core strength. And yes ballet is not a freak show, but you dont see the top ballet dancers have less than 180 grande jetes or penches. Im not saying that she is a top ballet dancer just using it as an example because flexibility is a part of ballet. Most variations have extensions and leaps where the dancer is expected to reach those levels. 
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Jinkerbelle

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerinamom13
Tilt jump -  Holy god - those feet.........

Omg I cannot get over the dang toilet in the background! 🤣🤣🤣
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