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mookiel

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Reply with quote  #1 
Our studio only offers solos to a few dancers that are very strong. My daughter would like a solo but they are very expensive and frankly I find them super boring to watch unless the dancer is absolutely amazing and the choreography is amazing. I would love to see my daughter do a duet or trio instead this year as I find those very fun to watch. She has only ever does groups so far.

Will she be missing out if she never does a solo? Are they necessary for a dancer to grow and improve? Just curious if I am missing something since it seems like every kid and parent we know desperately wants a solo.
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #2 
This year was my DDs first solo. It has been a really great experience for her. It has stretched her as a dancer and has increased her confidence levels. Even though hours and hours of solos are boring, I assure you that you will never find your own kid's dance boring. LOL I've just gotten to the point where I don't cry when I see it. 

Is it absolutely necessary? Probably not. Not too many professional dancers dance by themselves on stage. They're expensive; they can create for a crazy schedule at a competition; and they can bring out hard feelings with other teammates (though we haven't experienced this). 

So, think about the pros and cons and figure out if it is best for you. 
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czmcdaniel

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Reply with quote  #3 
My daughter has had solos in the past - but not this year (new studio) What she misses most is not the solo applause or trophies but the chance to work one on one with her teachers and work on the things SHE really needs to work on vs what the group as a whole needs to work on.  She also misses that bonding time between the teacher and her = having someone there pushing JUST HER...

so is it necessary, no...does it have benefits, yes...it all depends on your dancer and how much you're willing to put into it.. 
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dancer1234

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Reply with quote  #4 
sounds exactly like my husband.. he never understood the point of solos and also was uncomfortable watching them, until it was his dancer.

I agree Melissa745, on her points.

Solos can help a dancer understand their strengths and weaknesses because they are going to be scored and critieked as an individual.  Good to learn but also for some hard to hear.

It is expensive, given most studio's will charge you for Choreography fee, private fees to learn and Practice, most expensive fee at most competitions and many times competitions may limit the number of solos a studio can bring, so you might not be able to compete every time.  So a lot of money and may only compete a few times and some studio's do not do solo's at the recital unless they are seniors.


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RebelSwan

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Reply with quote  #5 
My daughter has won a few scholarships through her solos so that is another tick for the positive column.  The expense is killer though.  She very often has a solo in the first session of the day, and talk about being "alone"....

But some special friendships have been forged with duo/small group partners.
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RebelSwan

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RebelSwan
My daughter has won a few scholarships through her solos so that is another tick for the positive column.  The expense is killer though.  She very often has a solo in the first session of the day, and talk about being "alone" when the groups aren't called till later in the day.

But some special friendships have been forged with duo/small group partners.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #7 
Our studio also does very few solos - especially this year. 

My DDs would love one, but to date it's not been in the cards.  Looking especially at my older dancer, her growth has been amazing, she's learning to dance in a corps (while still developing individual artistry), and she's putting so many hours in already that I worry about additional physical demands.  So it works for us, at least for now. 

I'm not suggesting that there aren't any benefits to performing a solo, or trying to discount anyone else's experience. 
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BreezysMom

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Reply with quote  #8 
With almost everything in life, it is what you make of it.  Will it be some detrimental thing if the child never has a solo, I would think not.  Will the one on one instruction help, probably so.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #9 
Personally I would do nothing that stretches your finances beyond what you can afford.  I don't think solos are necessary but they can be beneficial.  When you hire a choreographer, practice sessions are like private lessons and you get direct feedback and special attention.  It can be a bonding time and lots can be achieved if you are totally open going into those sessions.  Plus it allows you to do someone else's vision.

If your child is old enough, she could choreograph her own solo...but usually that is after a few years of choreographed solos.  You have to be confident enough and have enough knowledge of solo critiques and the process in general, I think.  My dd is in her second year of self-choreographed solos and is on her 4th solo.  I have seen her grow the most doing her own work I think because she can change what doesn't work for her.  She really thinks harder about every movement because it is her own work and often she is trying to convey a story.  Sometimes the solo scores well but the story doesn't come across as strong as she wants it to.
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezysMom
With almost everything in life, it is what you make of it.  Will it be some detrimental thing if the child never has a solo, I would think not.  Will the one on one instruction help, probably so.


And how much of that you get depends on how solos work at your school. Some schools require a weekly private for the whole year. Ours doesn't. You learn a dance and then practice the dance independently. Not a lot of direct instruction.
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Twinkletoesx2

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Reply with quote  #11 
While solos offer great opportunity for growth, they are certainly not necessary for growth. I think solos make them more accountable for their problem areas since there is no one on that stage but themselves and no one to hide behind or blame for mistakes.
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mookiel

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Reply with quote  #12 
You have brought up some great points. Thanks everyone! Like I said, solos at our studio are handed out to a select few so she may not be offered one anyway. I think some of these positives would still be gained from a duet or trio so I am pulling for that!
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Twinkletoesx2

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mookiel
You have brought up some great points. Thanks everyone! Like I said, solos at our studio are handed out to a select few so she may not be offered one anyway. I think some of these positives would still be gained from a duet or trio so I am pulling for that!


For sure! Duets and trios come with their own set of lessons to learn. My younger dd had one last year for the first time and with a boy. It was a great experience.
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mookiel

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Reply with quote  #14 
Oh and my daughter is only nine so I think lots of time to do solos in the future. [smile]
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #15 
For my daughter a solo was necessary for growth.  She need to prove to herself that she could do well on her own.  With her solo, success or failure is up to her.  If she does well she gets the credit - not the studio favorite in the group dance.  If she doesn't do well, she gets the critiques just for her to see what she has to work on.  She isn't getting blamed by the studio favorite for the unsuccessful dance.

This isn't an issue with our current studio but it was with the previous one.  For her (she's the extremely shy quiet kid), she needed to do this on her own.  I can tell you it was worth the money - although ours didn't cost a crazy amount - choreography was done by her teacher and we just paid for the privates.  Advantages of a small, start up studio.  Anyway, I'd say it depends on the situation.  For DD it was a huge benefit and worth every penny.  For others it may not make a difference.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #16 
In general I think that solos are overrated in importance, and their very high price tag puts them high on the chopping block for me every year.  My dd has had some years with and some years without solos.  I think for the most part, she improves and develops well without solos.  

However, I will note that this year, the solo - more than anything else - pointed out aspects of her back stage preparation and performance quality that need improving.  She is learning she really needs to get in the right mental (as well as physical) space before performing, and she is learning that a piece can rise and fall on her commitment to bringing that piece to life on stage. 
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #17 
I think it's depends on your child's goals. I will say if he/she plans to major in dance in college they most likely need to do a solo in their auditions. So that's something to keep in mind.
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mookiel

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128
I think it's depends on your child's goals. I will say if he/she plans to major in dance in college they most likely need to do a solo in their auditions. So that's something to keep in mind.


My daughter is in grade three so this is not even remotely a consideration for us at this point! lol
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Twinkletoesx2

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mookiel
Oh and my daughter is only nine so I think lots of time to do solos in the future. [smile]


My oldest got her 1st at 12 and my youngest is 12 and competed her 1st solo this year.
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Julieg

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Reply with quote  #20 
Our studio will give a solo to anyone who is willing to do (and pay for) one.  My daughter got her first solo at age 16 after she was invited to do the elite dancer program at WCDE.  You had to have a solo to participate.  Our city was the very last regionals for WCDE so she had very little time to learn the solo and we only managed to squeeze it into two competitions before taking it to WCDE.  She has had two new solos since then and I have seen a ton of growth that I did not expect to see at her age.  I credit the private lessons for that.  The things I don't like about her having a solo is the expense and having to sit through a million other solos to watch her.  I really find most solos boring and it really offends me when I have to watch the same person do multiple solos.  If you had told me six seasons ago when my daughter first started competitions dance that one day she would have a solo I would have told you you were crazy.  But the growth in her technique and artistry has been worth every penny.  I think if you get the chance, you should take it.  If it doesn't work out, you can always drop it.  It won't really affect anyone like quitting a group dance would.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #21 
I think a lot depends on the choreo/teacher.  Some will really push the dancers to be their very best which of course comes w/some real potential for personal growth.  But I've also seen a fair amount of just going through the motions.  Teaching choreo, running it again & again to be sure they don't forget the steps.  Maybe trying to fix the obvious mistakes, maybe working on a skill that's giving them some trouble.  Tbh, I'm not sure how much growth comes of that scenario.    

My own dancer wasn't given a solo until the season she turned 14. She had 1 that year (w/her team) & the next 2 yrs did 2 (as an independent).  Was it an important experience? I think it was for her but I think it was more complicated than "solo = growth".  It was more the entire process & that process is going to vary from individual to individual.  I could never tell someone that their dancer would grow based on my own dancer's growth because your experience could be entirely different.  So, IDK, I guess I'd just advise you to get more specific information about how the experience might play out.. from beginning to end.  How much input will she have (music, costume, style, etc.), if any at all.  Will they create a solo that will capitalize on her current strengths or will it be the type of solo where the dancer is expected to grow into it over the course of the season?  Will privates be focused primarily on learning and then practicing the number or will there be considerable time spent refining it... where the goal is to consistently improve it and not just technically but artistically as well. And how much will it cost you?  In total.  Always need to know exactly how much it will cost you. Can't make any good decision without ALL the info. Good luck.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #22 
Solos can be great for growth but not necessary.  Both studios DS attended only gave solos to the strongest dancers and DS was 16 before he did his first.  It didn't hurt him to wait that long but I did see a huge amount of growth in him the years that he did do one.
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dmjrm4

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynmckee
Personally I would do nothing that stretches your finances beyond what you can afford.  I don't think solos are necessary but they can be beneficial.  When you hire a choreographer, practice sessions are like private lessons and you get direct feedback and special attention.  It can be a bonding time and lots can be achieved if you are totally open going into those sessions.  Plus it allows you to do someone else's vision.

If your child is old enough, she could choreograph her own solo...but usually that is after a few years of choreographed solos.  You have to be confident enough and have enough knowledge of solo critiques and the process in general, I think.  My dd is in her second year of self-choreographed solos and is on her 4th solo.  I have seen her grow the most doing her own work I think because she can change what doesn't work for her.  She really thinks harder about every movement because it is her own work and often she is trying to convey a story.  Sometimes the solo scores well but the story doesn't come across as strong as she wants it to.


Ummmmm, I have seen Cyn's DD's solos and they are spectacular! Cyn is so humble, her DD knocks every solo out of the park. I am begging Cyn to post this year's solo on this forum sometime so you all can see the magic of her DD's self-choreography.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #24 
I'm not sure if it's the solo itself or the one-on-one time that has helped DD12 immensely.  I guess you just decide what your goals are, if you think having a solo will help meet those goals, and if it's worth it financially.  For next year DD12 wants to do 5 solos; 3 classical variations and 2 contemporary.  For the classical variations, she wants to do one where she is already strong and it will showcase her strengths.  For the second, she wants to do one that is difficult and will really challenge her to get better; one with skills she needs to improve on.  For the third, she wants to do a "pretty" variation.  Her biggest issue right now is epaulement, and just "looking" like a ballerina.  She is not very mature when she dances.  But she is 12!  So she wanted a variation where she really has to BE a ballerina.  I'm not sure if that makes sense or not.  My kids have all been late bloomers and it's true for her too.  She is extremely short for her age and hasn't had her growth spurt yet so she looks 8 instead of almost 13.

Anyway, I guess my advice is just to think about what you want out of it and whether you think doing the solo will achieve that.  How she scores at competitions is irrelevant.  All I have in the back of my mind always is if she is improving and getting better.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #25 
To be frank, they are not important until a dancer is older. The concept of student dancers performing all these solos is relatively new in the dance world, tied very closely to the continued expansion of the competition dance world. It's even the same in ballet with the growth of YAGP especially after First Position.

While I agree that there is value for the student, I think that the ultimate reason behind this change from 15 or more years ago is $$$.

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