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dancerachael1

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Reply with quote  #26 
While I started dancing at age 3, I didn't start doing ballet until age 12 and I am now dancing in a professional ballet school. I think starting at the right time is up to you and your daugther. I suggest just enrolling her in a fun more relaxed class that meets once a week. If she expresses a love for it, you can enroll her in more and, if not, she can always drop the class. This is what my mom did with me and it was really nice becaue there was never a ton of pressure, and that is actually why I feel in love with dancing. I hope this helps!
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DanceMommy2Riley

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Reply with quote  #27 
My daughter started dance at age 10 and started ballet at 11. Ballet is now her favourite style and she is very good for a child that started later on in the game (all of her dance friends started dance at age 3). She is hoping to try YAGP this year in Toronto. [smile] 
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hopefuldancer17

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Reply with quote  #28 
My daughter started creative movement at 3 and moved to a ballet school at 5. Honestly, I'm pretty sure she could have started at 8 or 9 and been just fine. But she loved to dance, so we kept signing her up.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2miracles
Check out this young lady - she's a 1st year trainee at Joffrey Chicago.  She started dance at age 9.  You can also find a lot of videos on YouTube featuring her.  She's a fantastic dancer. 

http://joffrey.org/people/jasmine-getz-0


That's Jasmine!  She danced at our pre-pro studio for awhile.  Super sweet girl and extremely talented!
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AusDM

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Reply with quote  #30 

My DD started at 8.  We didn't have much choice in the matter because we're rural and there wasn't a dance school available within an hour's drive.

She's now nearly 15 and while she can notice some difference in some things, i.e "tricks" - which she isn't really interested in anyway, she is on par with most things technique wise and elements that are within her control physically - by that I mean she may not be quite as slim and flexible as others, but she makes up for it in other ways (story telling, etc).

One of her dance mentors didn't start until he was in his early teens and he has an active career within the Australian dance industry, so never say never.  I think if you have a drive and passion for something, age isn't a boundary.  I remember seeing a video of an outstanding young man who was approximately 11 or so, competing at an American competition, and at the end of his routine they said he had been dancing for just over 12 months - it looked as though he had been training since birth!  So there is no correct answer as such.

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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #31 
I would say easier to start “late” with good training than 2/3 with poor training. Hard to fix years of bad mechanics and technique
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ElleWood2

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Reply with quote  #32 
Thanks for the replies.

I started my first child at age 3. I think that is possibly why she lost interest, but I don't really know. With my younger daughter, I'd rather wait until she sees ballet on television and it sparks an interest in her and she says 'I want to take ballet'. Then I'll put her in it.

Might also see if my son wants to, as well.

There are some dance classes that start kids even younger than 3 but I don't see the point in those. Just my opinion. She can learn a lot about poise and balance at this age by just doing regular activities, I think.
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dncemom01

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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElleWood2
Thanks for the replies.

I started my first child at age 3. I think that is possibly why she lost interest, but I don't really know. With my younger daughter, I'd rather wait until she sees ballet on television and it sparks an interest in her and she says 'I want to take ballet'. Then I'll put her in it.

Might also see if my son wants to, as well.

There are some dance classes that start kids even younger than 3 but I don't see the point in those. Just my opinion. She can learn a lot about poise and balance at this age by just doing regular activities, I think.


My dancer (16yr old dd) starting dancing at 2. We put her in dance because she was spending all her time at the backfield for her older brother and really wanted something that was hers (does that make sense?). Dance or gymnastics were the only things we could find locally that had classes for someone her age and I wasn’t interested in mommy and me classes at gymnastics. She has tried softball and gymnastics but dance stuck and she has been going strong. We are on year 14 with no signs of stopping.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #34 

If it makes you feel any better, irishdear, my own dd (who is now just shy of 18 & hoping for a professional career) didn't find that drive/passion until she was 12.  That year First Position came out.  Prior to that it was really just a fun extracurricular.  She danced no more than 1 day/wk until she was 9/10.  At 12 she auditioned for & made the comp team so that was the year the commitment ramped up considerably.  From that point it's been full speed ahead... & she's never looked back.

I don't know how things are run at your studio but if you are concerned that she's doing what she's doing simply because it's what's she's always done as opposed to because it's what she "has" to do, you might consider dialing back a little if possible.  And then slowly build back up.  Easier said then done if you're in an environment where they push kids from a young age, I know (although I know that they probably don't see it as pushing).  I'm sure you feel like she's a big girl & perhaps worry that if you don't stay on the train she'll maybe get lost in the dust but.... she really is so very young. Please don't get confused by the exceptions (like the Hope Award winner).  She "is" the exception, not the rule.  There is no rush.  And there's a lot to be said for not just slow boil training, but a slow boil journey.            

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LittlePointeBird

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Reply with quote  #35 
My DD was eight when she started and like others have already said, her first two years were purely pre-ballet and gauging whether she'd switch to something else afterwards.

But it changed quickly as she realized how much she loved Ballet. 

Many of the girls she dances with at the original studio and now began dancing at age 3.  Just a few weeks ago she wondered aloud if she'd be any stronger if she had started at that age or even at age 5. And my answer was no.  

A lot of what's been said on the thread reinforces that for me.  

She has a natural talent for dance and tons of passion for it - so add those to a good teacher/program and her ability to build on that was likely going to be what it was going to be no matter what age she started. 

Now is the hard work time and I completely understand when some of those dancers who have been dancing a long time lose interest.  When it moves from purely fun and cute to losing toenails and having minimal social life, because...dance.
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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #36 
@LittlePointeBird It sounds like your daughter is serious in pursuing classical dance. I'm just going to put this information out here for you to think about and investigate over the next year. Most dancers who are interested in dancing professionally or pursuing a BFA are dancing 6 days a week with at least 12 hours of classical ballet class. In another post I believe you stated she is currently 13 and taking 7 hours of ballet. You might want to talk to your studio and/or read what other dancers are doing to be competitive when they are ready to audition for companies or BFA programs.

Please feel free to do some research on this site or pose questions. Also, you may want to check out Ballet Talk for Dancers which is predominately for and about classical ballet training.  
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threegirlpileup

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by irishdear
Thanks Heidi459,

You know, I wasn't really feeling this restless until her best friend, who she dances alongside, was hand picked for the ensemble at YAGP.  I am over the top proud of this little friend, but it also got me thinking about my DD.  Objectively she is no where near ready for that.....however, she is dancing on the same teams as the friend and  was invited to the same private class (with older on pointe dancers) and even shares a solo with her on the jazz team.  As I had said earlier but deleted, my daughter has been told to wait on pirouettes.  I immediately start thinking of all those sad faces I see, the girls lined up as understudies, week after week wanting something they aren't getting, those coveted things (solos, Elite Team placements, opportunities) that aren't coming.  I feel so sad for them, that they aren't seeing the handwriting on the wall.  People need to be honest about this, it's out there....the dancers who seem to want but can't get.  My daughter has not articulated feeling pressure and she is NOT jealous of her friend going on to YAGP - her response to me is "I am not ready for that mom....maybe down the line, but not now...."  and then she runs off to hug her dance buddies and laugh and giggle before class....I've decided to continue, but am going to take a little step back.  I think my restlessness comes from being a bit over attached to her relationship with dance.  I need to let her own it.


I know this is easy to say and harder to do, but I would try not to pay too much attention to where your dd is in the pecking order at 8 years old.  Watching kids grow up at our studio, where they are at 8 is very little indication of where she'll be at 12 or 16.  Some kids peak early. Some kids burn out and quit.  Some are dancing for the applause or for their parents or for other reasons that make it hard to sustain over time.  Commitment and drive make a huge difference in who excels in the long run.

If I think about it, a lot of the strong dancers at our studios were committed late starters (so they weren't even dancing at 8), while many who started really young are long gone.

Sounds like your dd is good and communicating with you about what she wants and is ready for, so just keep following her lead!
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LittlePointeBird

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Reply with quote  #38 
@Tiptoemom  Thank you for your advice.  One of the reasons I joined this board was to supplement my knowledge. You know what they say - you don't know what you don't know.  Also, here and BTFD has given me the most in-depth background on programs vs. the surface data you find in usual research.

It's validated a lot of the decisions we've made, to this point, and reinforced the direction we're going.  So I value the insight, greatly.

Without boring with all the details, once we made the decision to keep her at a local ballet studio (not comp) vs. a pre pro school I knew we'd have to help her navigate a little differently to stay on course with others her age.  And that path course corrects a little each time I learn more.  

Her primary ballet teacher is a great source of not just info but, more importantly, support. She doesn't feel threatened knowing that odds are she's nurturing my DD to move on. I feel fortunate that she and I are more or less tag teaming her path. She helps us fill in the gaps with privates, and DD's connection with a local company doing Nut and Spring Ballet etc...to ensure she's getting additional training.

One of the reasons she did YAGP, this year, was to expose her to where other dancers her age are. For now, by all accounts, she's on track despite those missing hours. 

Outside of diligence and direction from DT, I credit a lot of that with her doing six-week SIs for the last five years.  The first year, I only put her in the local ballet school's SI because she was getting tired of summer camp and six weeks from 9-5 perfectly complemented my work schedule. Oh, and the school is only 7 mins from my office. But after year one I saw how much stronger it made her and I credit it for giving her the pre-pro experience where dance hours are concerned. 

I've been considering moving her to pre-pro school but just haven't found that right program where my husband is willing to go along (i.e. distance, money). Based on my research, I'm not convinced the one closest to us would make her any stronger than the ballet studio. And I'll need to do more work to convince my husband to send her away. Until then...informed parents like you are helping open new avenues for me to explore and consider.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #39 

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishdear
Thanks Heidi459,

You know, I wasn't really feeling this restless until her best friend, who she dances alongside, was hand picked for the ensemble at YAGP.  I am over the top proud of this little friend, but it also got me thinking about my DD.  Objectively she is no where near ready for that.....however, she is dancing on the same teams as the friend and  was invited to the same private class (with older on pointe dancers) and even shares a solo with her on the jazz team.  As I had said earlier but deleted, my daughter has been told to wait on pirouettes.  I immediately start thinking of all those sad faces I see, the girls lined up as understudies, week after week wanting something they aren't getting, those coveted things (solos, Elite Team placements, opportunities) that aren't coming.  I feel so sad for them, that they aren't seeing the handwriting on the wall.  People need to be honest about this, it's out there....the dancers who seem to want but can't get.  My daughter has not articulated feeling pressure and she is NOT jealous of her friend going on to YAGP - her response to me is "I am not ready for that mom....maybe down the line, but not now...."  and then she runs off to hug her dance buddies and laugh and giggle before class....I've decided to continue, but am going to take a little step back.  I think my restlessness comes from being a bit over attached to her relationship with dance.  I need to let her own it.


Re: the bolded...  "sad faces"?  "wanting things they aren't getting... that aren't coming"?  "not seeing the handwriting on the wall"? "we need to be honest about this.. the dancers who want but can't get"?

I can't help but wonder a little if you're projecting here... as far as feelings.  And making assumptions... re: what the future may or may not bring for these very young dancers.  Tbh, while I agree that stepping back a bit, reminding yourself that this is your dd's journey & not yours,  would do you well...  I also think it'd be wise to reserve judgement while you continue to learn more about the process.  Learn more about how things work in the big wide world of dance so you can see the big picture.  So that you aren't misled by what you see/think you see happening at your studio. 

And I'll just throw this out there for whatever it's worth... I do often wonder how many dancers are ruined by studios who make everything so serious & competitive from such a young age.  Eight year olds stressing about making the team, casting decisions, competition results, etc?  It's supposed to be fun.  Not sure when, nor why, we abandoned the 'too much too soon' attitude but imo, in the big picture, this trend really does have the potential to do more harm than good.     

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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #40 
thank you for your response @heidi459. I've been struggling with how to respond to that post. @irishdear, I am trying to understand what "handwriting on the wall" people are supposed to see regarding 8 year old dancers. In ballet, 8 is when you begin real ballet. I'm trying to understand how or why you see going to YAGP as necessary or desirable. My daughter attended one of the schools heavily profiled in First Position and they are a powerhouse at the Philadelphia regional. I really do understand the training and preparation that goes in to YAGP, but you should know that there are schools like SAB and PAballet and SanFransisco that do not attend YAGP and their dancers do not attend YAGP. It is a fun extra but by no means the only route to a professional career. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 these kids are so young. There is no correlation between attending competitions and going on to be a professional. None.

Maybe parents should stop the madness of ratcheting up all of this more, more, more at such a young age. And that is a general sentiment, not specific. I've seen too many posts lately from parents of young dancers stressing about this stuff.
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amandafarris03

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Reply with quote  #41 
my daughter started at 2.5 and she is about to turn 14 next sunday.
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ElleWood2

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Reply with quote  #42 
For those who started ballet at later ages, how many ballet classes per week did you take?
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