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tcm118

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi! My DD is 10 years old. She's been dancing 4 years and is about to compete her second year of solos. She's grown so much over the last year, but she still seems to be catching up to her peers in technique.

I guess my question is about being self-motivated to practice at home. She committed to the work and loves to perform and dance in class, but she hates practicing at home. Her DT always gives her challenging choreography that she doesn't manage to master during the months leading up to comp, so I try to encourage lots of short practices at home. It often feels like a fight to get her to, and I'm wondering at what point I should just stop being in charge of her home practice schedule and let her grow or not based on her own drive to work for it. The DT just changed a turn sequence she struggled with to another turn sequence she struggles with and dress rehearsal is next weekend.

Did your junior dancer ever need the push to practice, and how did you handle the lack of drive to practice outside of the studio?

Advice is appreciated, because I always want dancing to be about what she wants, and I want to support and encourage her to be her best without overstepping.
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rubydancemom

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Reply with quote  #2 
DD is 12, self-motivated. She processes things differently. While I don't see her practicing, she's working things out in her head and practicing that I don't see. She doesn't want me to see until she has it. The difference between her turning when 10 and now is amazing. While she had the mechanics down, the artistry has come in and is such an improvement. The motivation to master it all had to come from her, though.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #3 
It's not like we have a home studio, nor a qualified dance mom/dad at home to supervise "home practice."  

Exercises, proper stretching, etc,. sure, but dance?   Not really "practiced" at home unless there's a longish layoff (weather/holidays) with no class.  Then maybe DDs give themselves a bit a of a class at the barre.
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hopefuldancer17

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Reply with quote  #4 
DD never really practiced at home. We don't have the space for that. She could have done more stretching when she was younger, but I refused to get into a power struggle over it. Maybe she regrets not doing more now, but it's hers to deal with. She does quite a bit on her own now, but it's all along the lines of stretching, pilates, cross training, running through choreography in her head, etc. All of her rehearsing happens at the studio.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #5 
Same as the above. No official practice at home. My offer these days is to let her know when there is an open studio. If she wants to use it, I drive her there. But she does not iwant to go as often as I think she might.

With just a couple weeks to go, I would make sure she knows the dance and maybe ask her teacher to take the turn sequence down to doable. She can move it back up later if she masters it.
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negarkidman

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Reply with quote  #6 
My DD age 10 does not practice her routines at home. But a great teacher once told her to work on her weaknesses at least 20 min a day, for her it's her turn out. She tends to pronate. She should be doing the exercises but does not. She tells me she dances 14 hours a week and goes to school full time and is tiered. So I don't want to make it a battle. But I really do wish she would. 
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LilMama

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Reply with quote  #7 
I always tell people that DD9 likes to dance but doesn’t love it. And definitely don’t love it to the point where she would practice or stretch at home unless I make her to. But once I can get her to start, she doesn’t complain and can go on and on.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #8 
I don't know...I kind of get it.  I bring work home all the time and never do it.  Home is home.  Get her out of her element.  Take her to the studio  an hour early (sometime you might have to rent it...but at ours, studios are often open.)  Tell her that is self rehearsal time.  Let her bring her phone for music.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #9 

DS never "practiced" at home.  He would mark steps he was struggling with or listen to his music and run choreography in his head but that's it.  From 8 years old on he was at the studio 10-15 hours/week and got plenty of practice there so I wasn't worried.

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Innisfree

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Reply with quote  #10 
Not at home, but she runs her solo in an empty studio about once a week. Solos are expensive, and she knows that part of the deal with having one is regular practice.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #11 
This is always a question asked by parents of young dancers. My dancer is 18 now and in college. I've never encouraged her to practice at home. When she was competing she ran her solo just about every week in a studio. No practicing at home other than marking some stuff on her own and later doing nightly stretching (her choice, not encouraged by me). I wouldn't worry so much and I definitely wouldn't push or even encourage her to practice multiple times per week at home. If she progresses into the type of dancer that is always moving and thinking about dance, great. But that has to come from her, not you.

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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #12 
When DD was younger she practiced at home; we have some marley and mirrors in our unfinished living room.  She does not practice at all at home anymore.  She spends so much time at the studio that when she's home she wants to be doing other things.  She will stretch at home, but not "practice".

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threedancingdaughters

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Reply with quote  #13 
DD9 rarely truly practices at home. She does do her splits and some stretching, sometimes. She'll play dance with her little sisters and be the teacher and attempt to teach them foot positions etc. when her dance friends come over, they'll choreograph dances and have pretend competitions. Is it really practicing? Prob not. They don't mark or run their real dances much. But they're thinking about dance and movement and musicality. So I guess that's helpful in some way!

ETA- I encourage her to practice, especially if brings it up, but I dont force it
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Motherhem

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Reply with quote  #14 
My dd is older now and sometimes she would dance at home at that age but rarely. I didn’t push it. It didn’t hurt her either. She is still dancing and she wants to continue after HS. Now she dances at her studio a minimum of 20 hours a week and she just won her 4th SI scholarship. She still doesn’t practice at home. But if they have too many off days, like at Christmas, her and some of the other girls will meet and have class on her own.

In my opinion, you shouldn’t push her too hard. That is a sure fire way to take the fun out of it for most girls and make them want to quit.
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MimisMom

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Reply with quote  #15 
Mine is 7 and she loves to dance, so she constantly either makes up her own “routines” or practices parts of her dance. I do ask her every once in a while to run her solo but it’s on her to make sure she knows her routine.
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Virginia9

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Reply with quote  #16 
I guess I'm the odd one out, I do make DD practice her solo, stretch and do exercises regularly. Her DT's have always expected her to run her solo at home, even when she's having weekly rehearsals. When she's learning her choreography I have her run it multiple times a day, if she didn't and forgot anything between sessions her DT's would NOT be happy with her. Once she has it down, in the week leading up to a competition I have her run it daily if possible. The rest of the time weekly.
She's 10, she loves dance and LOVES performing solos but will only rarely practice on her own, and as I tell her, rehearsing is a part of the deal or I'm not paying the extra money for solos!
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Motherhem

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Reply with quote  #17 
I was thinking about this today and wanted to add something. My daughter isn’t in competitive dance. If She were I would have felt differently and would probably have pushed her to practice some. Competition can be expensive. I would want to make sure she was going to perform her best if I spent the money to compete.
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Angel2228

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Reply with quote  #18 
I encouraged my dd to practice until she was 10/11. She doesn't pick up choreo easily and they only practice choreo twice a month. I would tape the practice and she would come home and write out the counts on paper, then go through the dance. She stopped practicing for the night when she didn't make a mistake. Some times it was 20 mins, other times two and a half mins. She did that every second or third day. Half way through the year everyone on her team except her, got a call home to say that they didn't know it well enough. She was so happy and proud of herself for knowing it so well. Ever since then she's been pretty good about practicing. And I don't get involved anymore. She's 15, and if she doesn't care enough then it's her problem. I just give her the info if I know a studios open and offer to drive.
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tcm118

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Reply with quote  #19 
Thank you everyone for the responses. I did talk to DT about making the turn sequence easier and she told me what to have DD practice instead, which is a relief. I think DT sees lots of potential in DD and tries very hard to challenge her, but DD doesn't quite have the mindset to push herself that hard at this point, and I am deciding to be ok with that.

I may try to set a specific schedule for DD to practice certain combinations that the teacher recommends, in addition to stretching. I do think at our studio the expectation is that the kids practice independently after choreography is set.
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elastigal

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Reply with quote  #20 
No, my DD9 is not self motivated. She works hard at the studio when she is there (about 8-9 hours per week) but she rarely practices at home. She is always moving though. Yesterday she was talking to me while I prepped dinner and she was practicing turns at the same time. She's a kid who when she's upright is in constant motion and she just does stuff like that without thinking. She has practiced her solo a few times at home but not lately - first comp is in 3 weeks as well! 
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jamquint1

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Reply with quote  #21 
My daughter is only 7, and our DT expects them all to run their solos and stretch any day that they are not at the studio. We do our best, but there are days when she is just not feeling it, and I don't push her. I don't want dance to be a chore for her and only see it as work. She does love it, but she's so young. Honestly, I think our studio pushes them a bit hard, IMHO. Just my perspective. I try to keep practicing/stretching at home as fun as possible. 
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Mamala

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Reply with quote  #22 
I don't think many young kids are super self-motivated to practice at home. My DD (9) is definitely better about it this year than she was last year at 8, but she'll never do it unless I ask her to. This year the difference is that she doesnt get as frustrated with me for asking as she did last year. Last year it would be an all out battle. This year, she'll kind of roll her eyes but then do it.
In regards to how hard to push your DD to practice at home, I'd say it should depend on how much practice she is getting at the studio. If she's there many hours a week, and she is getting a consistent choreography rehearsal with the teacher, there might not be as much need for working at home. At my DD's studio, the teacher requires them to do a lot of practice at home. They only have a few private solo rehearsals to learn the dance, and then a few scattered privates to rehearse the dance. That's it. There are no regularly scheduled rehearsals for them to practice their solos. If they dont do it at home, then they wont get enough rehearsal.
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hopefuldancer17

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Reply with quote  #23 
This may be wrong, and it's pretty counter to what you might see in something like First Position, but I always felt dance had to come from DD. If she wasn't motivated to do something outside of class, even if she knew it might help her, that was her choice. As long as she was working hard in class and at rehearsals, I wasn't going to force her to do more. Maybe she might say now, in hindsight, that she wishes I'd pushed her more. Maybe not. Maybe I'll ask her, lol. But she had to decide that she wanted "it" - whatever "it" may be - to work for it. As she's matured, she's figured out what she needs to do on her own. If anything, she wants to do more but her brick and mortar school schedule gets in the way sometimes.
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prettyprissy15

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Reply with quote  #24 
My daughter is 8, and she is on the competition team. She is at the studio 7 hours a week, and she has a private one day a week. I don't encourage her to practice at home, because she has other activities that she enjoys, so I allow her to also be a normal kid. She will bring out her mat and do aeriels and backhand springs sometimes, but that is because she loves to flip and tumble! She puts on music and makes up her own dances, but she doesn't practice her competition routines at all! She loves to dance, but she also loves to make slime, read books, play with her friends, ride her bike, swim, etc. I think that she should do everything she loves, and I don't want dance to take over unless it is what she wants. Right now, we just play it by ear. I think she is too young to be serious about anything right now! Until then, we take it one dance day at a time!
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2tinydancers

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Reply with quote  #25 
My DD is 8 and has her first solo this year. She would at first fight me to practice at home. I told her a solo is very expensive and if she didn’t she would never do a solo again. Between the choreography, privates, costumes and como fees, a solo costs in the thousands of dollars. So, if she doesn’t give it her all which involved practicing at home, I won’t spend the money. She no longer fights me.
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