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Lpr3

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Reply with quote  #1 
DD6 is totally in love with dance.  We switched studios this past year to a comp studio and she is happy as can be.  She goes 3 hours a week over 2 days, taking ballet, jazz tech, jazz comp rehearsal and hip hop.  She has nice flexibility and musicality for her age, but I don't think I've got a prodigy on my hands [smile]  That said, she LOVES dance.  She has a CD player and CDs (Moana is a current favorite) and she literally just plays music, stretches and dances whenever she's home.  I'd say she dances at least 2-3 hours at home every day.  She asks to go to the studio every day and asks why she can only go 2x per week.   Let me emphasize, this is not me pushing her.  (I actually got her the CD player so she would stop bothering me to use my phone for the music :-)  So she has a lot of opportunity for dance classes next year and she wants to do everything (of course).  So for her age and ability, it would include the following dance classes:  

1 hour ballet class, 30 minute ballet company rehearsal, 30 min ballet co tech class, 30 min demi petite lyrical tech (she can't join the lyrical company until she's 7), 30 min jazz comp rehearsal, 45 min jazz comp tech, 30 minutes tap, 30 minutes tumbling/acro, 30 minutes lyrical 1, 30 minutes hip hop, 1 hour stretch, turn, leap class.

so about 6.5 hours a week as a 6 year old probably over 3 days (2 hours a day over 2 week days and 2.5 hours on Saturday morning).  Note that she'd be doubling her amount of time in the studio from this year.

What do you all think?  Should I double down and let her do all of this or should I try to slow the train down a little so she doesn't get burnt out?  I also thought maybe i could sign her up for all of it and then after the first week or two let her drop any classes she/I thinks are too much (as long as its not a comp team the studio allows trial classes in the first couple weeks of the season).

Also, I'd like her take a break this summer from dancing and try another sport.  She agreed to do swim team but really wants to take at least one dance class.  Should I make her take the break or let her take a class this summer?  Studio doesn't require it.

Thanks for any advice!

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beachgirl

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Reply with quote  #2 
Only you can decide how much is too much. When my DD was 6 she had about 7 hours of regular classes each week but had choreography and rehearsals on the weekend. It was a lot for some in our youngest company but perfect for her. She is now 12 and of course her hours have increased a lot, but she wouldn't trade it for anything. You can always let her try the extra classes if she wants and scale back if it's not working.
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momcrew

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Reply with quote  #3 
My daughter is 6 and has just shy of 4 hours / week. I can't see doing double that this year or even next. And it's not because she doesn't want to, she would be there every day if I let her, but because she's 6 and I don't feel that at the age of 6 she needs to be that involved in dance. She has many more years to ramp up the hours if she chooses to stick with this. A slow boil is best for our girls and I don't think doing that has lessened their abilities or opportunities in the least bit. 
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sandj

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Reply with quote  #4 
I agree with this. The slow boil allows for better balance....The whole don't put your eggs in one basket thing.
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mic123

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Reply with quote  #5 
I agree that every child is different and you have to decide what works best for your family.

At 6, I think my daughter took a ballet/tap combo class and maybe a jazz class (but that may not have been until 7), so she was taking one hour a week, maybe two.  At 7 I believe she took two ballet classes, one tap class and one jazz class. 
She was also swimming two days a week, and participating in Girl Scouts.  We also tried cheer, and gymnastics.  Dance was what she stuck with.

Well, as someone else said, the older they get the more hours of dance and now she's there six days a week and wouldn't have it any other way (she is 13 now).

I think it's good to introduce her to other activities so she knows what else is out there.
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cmdancemom

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Reply with quote  #6 
Last year my daughter was 6 and danced 5 hours a week.  This year at 7 she dances between 7-9 hours a week depending on competition schedule.  She loves it and wants to do nothing else.  She does well in school and keeps up with all of her other responsibilities.  Like your daughter when she is out of class she is practicing or making up her own dances. I think you need to know your kid and know what is right for her.  We did cut out a class that was too much for her in the fall when I realized she wasn't ready for it.
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Lpr3

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachgirl
Only you can decide how much is too much. When my DD was 6 she had about 7 hours of regular classes each week but had choreography and rehearsals on the weekend. It was a lot for some in our youngest company but perfect for her. She is now 12 and of course her hours have increased a lot, but she wouldn't trade it for anything. You can always let her try the extra classes if she wants and scale back if it's not working.


Did you/have you had any burn out going at that rate?  What about injuries?  
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lovemykids

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Reply with quote  #8 
Every child is different, so this is all relative. At 6 I don't think my daughter would have been able to handle 8 hours. Now at 10 she has 10 hours of class + 2 of choreo/rehearsal. Last year she had 8 and it was a lot for her. This year she seems to have matured and is doing really well with all those hours. We currently have a 6 year old at our studio who is just amazing, you forget she is so young. I believe she takes 8 hours of class + 2 hours choreo/rehearsal and she keeps up with the older girls, many times doing better than them. As far as I know she does well in school too. All those hours work very well for her, I'm sure she could handle even more (not that is necessary but I'm sure she could). So something that would have been a disaster for my daughter is great for this other girl. I guess you will just have to try and see if it works for her or not
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #9 
If she loves dance, why is it nessesary to take a break over Summer? Most kids do year round sports like dance and gymnastics all year. I understand you wanting her to try other sports and activities, but continuing with one class a week of dance is a good idea. She clearly has strong goals and if she doesn't dance at all over the Summer it may set her backwards

Forcing her to stop something she loves altogether may have other negative consequences too.

I think 6.5 hours a week is fine for most 6 year olds, my kids did similar hours of dance at 6. Especially as the classes are so short and varied, she will get to experience a lot. Also to have it spread out over three days is great, she will still have more days off every week than she has at dance.

At 6, I would nit worry about injuries too much, she is not going to get over use injuries doing such short classes in each style of dance. These come from doing the same movements over and over. She will be doing a great deal of varied movements and this will have an incredible positive impact in other parents of her life like comgnitive abilities! Injuries from dance at her age are quite rare, they are more likely to receive injuries in the playground.

Some parents worry that they are limiting their child's future sports options but that could not be further from the truth. In fact you are enhancing them. Activities like dancing, gymnastics, martial arts etc Develeopmemt a nude variety of body movements. They are good for overall strength, fitness, agility, coordination, balance, spacial awareness, etc. this means that they will help her to do well at almost any sport as she gets older.

Kids who dance can take up a sport at any age and often quickly excel past kids who have been doing that sport all of their lives due to the training they receive. However, they reccomend that you don't take up sports at this age that require the same movements over and over again, like many ball sports.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #10 

My dd used to ask every.single.day if it was "ballet day" and that was when she was a toddler, so I totally get it. But I am also at the other end of the spectrum with a now grown dancer who dances 9-5 most days. 

As others have said, the hours only increase each year until they reach a point where there is no time for anything else. Of course, that's not the case in every studio and for every child. At your studio, I would imagine that the class times increase with age. I would hope older dancers are not taking 30 min classes. If that is not the case, then at some point, the hours are going to double yet again without even adding in any other teams or genres or additional days of ballet and/or jazz! 

Summer is a great time for a break and a great time for her to just be a kid! Though, at 6, I think dd was at the studio most days in the summer because they had dance camp, which was FAR cheaper than the local day camp we sent her to before that (it was a child care necessity in our home at the time).  Even there, they were not dancing all day. They had ballet every morning and then various other genres including acting and singing during the day, but they also had craft times when they created everything they needed for their camp shows. That included decorating the walls as sets, making costumes, programs, posters, tickets, etc. They kept them busy and they kept it all age appropriate. If you are going to let her do one class a week in the summer, I would pick either ballet or jazz, something with the basics. 

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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #11 
Every child is different and only you know your DD.  At 6/7 DS took 2 hours of jazz (tech and choreo), 2 hours of tap (tech and choreo), 2 hours of ballet (tech and choreo), 1 hour stretch and 1 hour MT.  It was fine for him but other kids on his comp team couldn't handle that.
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LeapYear0208

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Reply with quote  #12 

My DD was dancing 11 hours a week at 6.5, 9 required for competition team and 2 additional. Now she is 12 hours because she is tumbling at a gym in addition to dance, she is a little over 7. Previous to that, she was doing 5 hours a week at her old studio so from 5.5-6.5yrs. 

If she asked to cut back or I noticed a problem, I would cut her off and just have her take the 9 required hours. But she is passionate about this and is having no problems at home, at school or in classes. She asks me to dance more, but it just won't happen, not enough time. We had a medical emergency occur 6 months ago with my husband, it was a TOUGH road and we have a long road to continue on, but without dance (and the hours she puts in), she would have completely lost herself. Which is opposite of our oldest, so all kids are different. 

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Ktyyyyyyy

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Reply with quote  #13 
If your dd loves it and you think she would be happy with that many hours, you can try it and drop a few classes if it feels like too much.

When my dd was 6, she was taking 2.5 hours of ballet and 1 hour of musical theater. She was also doing 4 hours of gymnastics though and played soccer in the fall. She didn't join the competition team until she was 8. Her dance hours increased every year from age 4 (when she started) to age 13. At age 14, with the start of high school, she cut back slightly on studio hours, but also added in her school dance team. She is currently dancing "only" 22 hours a week at the studio. With all of those hours over the years, dd has not burned out on dance at all. In fact, she wants to major in dance in college. She's also only ever had one minor injury. Two years ago she pulled her hamstring. Even that wasn't really an overuse injury. She was at a comp where she had warmed up, but then had to wait backstage for a very long time in very cold conditions before performing, and she ended up pulling it. She should have known better and made sure to stay warm. Lesson learned.
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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #14 
I wish mine could take more classes. She begs for more, but is only allowed less than 2hr a week. When I am able to supervise, she's able to watch YouTube tuts, but I feel the need to prescreen and the though I have many saved for her, she needs my phone or tablet to watch them.
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beachgirl

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lpr3


Did you/have you had any burn out going at that rate?  What about injuries?  


Burn-out? Yes me! Lol! But seriously, no burn-out for her! And *knock on wood* no injuries!
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #16 
My DD at 6 was dancing just about that many hours. It was spread out just about like what you describe. Two evenings and a few hours on Saturday.

She was on a mini comp team and had two groups, production, and a duo. She loved it, and wanted more classes. I liked that she had three weekdays free for other things.

Based on what you describe, it seems like a good fit for her and your family.
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Lpr3

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Reply with quote  #17 
Thanks for all the helpful advice. I talked to her about it again. She's convinced she wants to try all those classes. She talked about maybe dropping hip hop "because it's boring because it's too easy" that's not actually true, but I'm cool with nixing hip hop. It's not exactly her strength currently ;-) I think I'll discuss in more detail with her DT and see if she really thinks that will all work for next year, but I know there are other girls her age on that schedule. So I'm inclined to let her try and then drop whatever we think is too much.

I'm also going to let her do a jazz/tap class this summer which is 1 hour a week and doesn't conflict with swim team. It's a community class so she might be bored, but at least it's something.

In terms of ramping up, the following year would only add about an hour overall because she moves to an extra hour of ballet, replaces her current jazz team to the next level up jazz team which is only like 15 more minutes a week, and switches our lyrical 1 for lyrical team (assuming she make it). She most likely wouldn't be selected for any small groups, duo, trios, etc. at 7, which is where the extra hours really get you. So we'll have a very similar schedule for at least 2 straight years. I don't know what happens after that (because, let's face it, I don't know what we're having for dinner tomorrow [wink]

As an aside, she came home from school today telling me that she was showing her teacher her pirroutes. I asked her (just for my own piece of mind), why do you dance? "Because I love it". Then I asked "do you ever not want to go to class?" "No". "Do you ever feel like I make you go to class or I make you dance?" She started laughing. I asked why she was laughing. "Mom, you're silly. I have to make you take me sometimes." Which actually is true [smile] haha!


Thanks all!
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JulieDB

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Reply with quote  #18 
Mine did only 2 hours a week at 6. Ballet and tap. Only reason she didn't do hip hop then was that the class was full. Only reason she didn't do jazz was that we didn't realize it was an option until late in the year. Her studio in NY didn't allow them to take jazz until they were 8. But once she saw a lyrical class, she made that her goal. Our studio did not allow them to take lyrical until they'd had 4 years of ballet and jazz.

At 7, she took 4 hours. She didn't compete. But she also took summer classes and camps. The studio didn't always offer the classes due to lack of interest.
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Pinklily2

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Reply with quote  #19 
Every kid is different. My daughter is 5 and she dances 6 days a week from about 7-8 hours a week. This is her 2nd year on a competition team and we do 5-7 competitions a year. She takes ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical and tumbling about an 1-1 1/2 of each a week but this year she is doing her first solo so we are at the studio more for those practices. She loves dance and literally has tantrums when she has leave the studio. I on the other hand definitely get burned out especially since we don't get a break for summer. She has tried lots of other sports and activities but has no interest in anything but dance. Next year she will be 6 and will be on unlimited tution so imagine our studio hour will go up. There are other kids her age at our studio who only take an 1 1/2 hour combination class once a week and don't do competitions just recital. If she ever gets burned out or tired of dance we will just take a year off and she if she wants to continue next but I don't see it happening anytime soon.
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nyklane

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Reply with quote  #20 
My daughter is 7 and has been dancing in some shape or form since.  At 6 (last year) she wasn't on the competitive team - she took 45 mins each of Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop and Acro.(almost 4 hrs a week).  This year at 7 she joined the comp team (solo, small group) and has 45 min of Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Acro, Solo(1hr) and Comp(1.5 hrs) group a week(6+hrs). However, we saw that so many solos had acro moves, and she really was not strong at that (barely could do a cartwheel/backbend) - she wanted more time with tumbling - so we also take 1hr of tumbling at gymnastics and 3 hrs of tumbling at a dance/karate type place. So total this year at 7 is about 10.5 hours.  She would do more if she could (and we'd let her).  She's really improved this year.  Last year we also did basketball and lacrosse  - but this year it's all dance/gymnastics and she wouldn't have it any other way.  With her as with yours she loves it (I'm totally fine with her doing less) - and when she's not at the studio she's dancing at home..

My only concern is the summer.  Our studio only runs classes during July and she's going to miss it.  There are not many summer intensives for kids at 7.  I did find a ballet 1/2 program so we are auditioning now..
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nyklane

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyklane
My daughter is 7 and has been dancing in some shape or form since 3.  At 6 (last year) she wasn't on the competitive team - she took 45 mins each of Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop and Acro.(almost 4 hrs a week).  This year at 7 she joined the comp team (solo, small group) and has 45 min of Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Acro, Solo(1hr) and Comp(1.5 hrs) group a week(6+hrs). However, we saw that so many solos had acro moves, and she really was not strong at that (barely could do a cartwheel/backbend) - she wanted more time with tumbling - so we also take 1hr of tumbling at gymnastics and 3 hrs of tumbling at a dance/karate type place. So total this year at 7 is about 10.5 hours.  She would do more if she could (and we'd let her).  She's really improved this year.  Last year we also did basketball and lacrosse  - but this year it's all dance/gymnastics and she wouldn't have it any other way.  With her as with yours she loves it (I'm totally fine with her doing less) - and when she's not at the studio she's dancing at home..

My only concern is the summer.  Our studio only runs classes during July and she's going to miss it.  There are not many summer intensives for kids at 7.  I did find a ballet 1/2 program so we are auditioning now..
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #22 
It totally depends on the kid and the family. If you can afford it, and she wants to go, I don't see an issue. I just don't believe in forcing kids to do things they don't want to do. Summer is a perfect time to get her involved in other things, but don't be surprised if your DD is addicted to dance. We tried swim, martial arts, cooking, lego robotics, art and gymnastics and within a few weeks she would cry about having to go. Since I'm used to her always wanting to go to dance, I don't see the point in fighting her about activities lol. Soccer, tennis, and cheerleading she refused even before we signed up, even though all her friends were doing it. Just make sure you let her have an hour of dance in summer in case the other activities don't pan out.

Until this year, she was pretty much doing as many hours as she was old. This year, her hours doubled because she's doing an aerial troupe in addition to her dance team. And she's totally fine. She still has time for sleepovers and making great grades and was just moved to the school district's gifted program. I realize not all kids could keep up this pace, but my kid seems to thrive on it. If your DD's grades drop or she shows signs of wear, you can always back off of the hours.

As far as injuries go, that also just depends on the kid. One of the girls on DD's team is always injured, and she takes roughly half the dance hours DD does and a quarter of overall hours. DD and one of the other girls are also in an aerial troupe, and another is also a competitive gymnast, and none of them show signs of injury whatsoever. Every year, I run DD's schedule by her pediatrician and she says that since she's not complaining of pain it's fine. She also said the aerial helps prevent overuse since it stretches everything back out, cancelling out the effects of repetitive motion, in addition to strengthening the muscles.
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crafty1

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Reply with quote  #23 
It depends on the child and the family. You need to do what is right for your family and your child. Since it is spread out over 3 days, I don't think it is unreasonable. My DD did not start dancing until she was about 8 or so, so I cannot speak from experience here.

However, I do want to point out that if my DD only wanted to eat candy and sweets, I would not let her. Just because she wants it, doesn't mean it is good for her. (I am not saying you are doing this. Actually, I see that you are having her try something else as well.)
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nicknoralove

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Reply with quote  #24 
I've been away from the forum a while and I'm so glad to see this thread. My daughter is 5, she'll turn 6 in the middle of the next dance season. 

Last season our SO talked to me about getting her ready to audition for the pee wee team this year (which means if she made it she wouldn't actually start on the team until the next dance season - Fall 2018, when she'll be 6/7). I said we'd see how she does at this year's recital. Turns out my daughter loves being on stage and wished she'd had more dances (she had 4!). 

She's going to take Tap, Ballet, Acro and Jazz this summer and then our SO said she'd like for her to start pre-comp classes in the fall. Pre-comp classes are 2 and a half hours per week that include Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Acro.  Then she would have another 45 minute ballet class, an extra one hour acro class (my daughter likes to take two per week, that's not a pre-comp rule) and a 1/2 hour private. (As the kids get older the ballet classes get longer). 

So that's 4 hours and 45 minutes per week spanning over three days within the week. 

My daughter is the one who approached me and our SO and said she loves dancing on stage and can't wait to have more numbers next time. None of it was prompted by me, the only place I will probably have to be a little more firm about the matter is with ballet. I don't know how she'll do with the two ballet classes because that's her least favorite. If she hates it I'll know she's probably not cut out for the comp team, which is fine with me. 

I had posted about this previously but people (some of my daughter's friends' moms) who go to another studio in the area that is rec only tend to act like the comp studios are too over the top and that dance comp is ridiculous. 

It seems every time they ask me about dance they can barely contain their disgust at my answers.[confused]

I get a lot of questions like "Do you worry at all about her getting overwhelmed since she's starting Kindergarten this year?", or they make comments like "I just can't see allowing that and trying to get [daughter] to get used to doing homework too". 

I enjoy dance so i have no problem with the hours as long as my daughter enjoys it. We've tried some other sports and activities and she just didn't enjoy them. 

I guess my whole point is if it works for our families that's what is important. I feel that way even though some folks clearly think i'm nuts. 

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Lpr3

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Reply with quote  #25 
FYI as a follow up we decided on about 5 hours. She'll do the mini comp team (1.5 hours/week), 1 hour ballet class (recital only), half hour ballet performance team (3 performances only, no comps), 45 min tap (recital only), and 1 hour lyrical technique class (recital only). It's over 3 days, with Monday being the longest, 2.5 hours but half hour break in the middle for dinner. I was really worried about the length on Mondays but I actually think it will turn out to be fun and not too overwhelming with that half hour dinner break. There will be a big bunch of girls packing dinner during that time and they will eat together and the parents are going to rotate supervising them (so we don't all have to wait there for the 2.5 hours and the girls will probably have a blast). We decided to drop hip hop this year and she'll do gymnastics somewhere else. So now I think it's actually going to work out really well.
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