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dancingymnast

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I'm still new to dance. DD took one class this year, and wants to take more next year, but her goal is to eventually compete. I know nothing about competitive dance. We came from gymnastics, and in gymnastics world the process of making a team is often very confusing, invitations only, very secretive, etc. 
We are only at the beginning of our dance journey, but I want to understand how it works here. How long did you daughter take lessons before making a team? What classes did she take? Do you have to take classes at a studio you are planning to audition for team at, or can you take classes at a non-competing studio, and then go and audition at a few competing studios?

The studio we are at now doesn't compete. They have a "performance company", which performs at different events throughout the year, but not competitions. It's a local studio, literally 3 minutes from our house, and a lot of DD's school friends go there. I found 4 competing studios within a reasonable driving distance (20-25 minutes), but I would rather not do the driving until I absolutely have to. Plus she likes it at her current studio and wants to stay with her friends for now. So, if she takes classes at a local studio, can she then audition for team at another studio? Or maybe take some classes here and some classes there? What would you do?

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My2DanceLoves

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Every studio will have different policies/ways of doing things.  I think I can safely tell you that if she is on a competitive team at a studio , that studio will expect that she is not taking classes elsewhere.  There are always some exceptions to everything , but by an large taking classes here and there will pose as a problem if she wants to compete for one.  There are often contracts involved when competing.   I have heard of studios who have no problem with a dancer taking supplemental ballet at another school , but some would have a problem.

You will need to ask a lot of questions when the time comes that your DD wants to compete , and find out all that will be expected of you and your DD , as well as what you can expect. 
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingymnast
I'm still new to dance. DD took one class this year, and wants to take more next year, but her goal is to eventually compete. I know nothing about competitive dance. We came from gymnastics, and in gymnastics world the process of making a team is often very confusing, invitations only, very secretive, etc.


I think you'll find at many schools this is exactly the same process - full of secrets and unknowns.
The exact process is different for every studio. Some are more open and some are so truly secret and bizarre even team members have no idea.
My dd11 was dancing for 7 years at our studio before she was invited to join. Other girls at her studio were taken at 7 after only 4 years. At our studio, you cannot be on a team until you are ready to compete at the elite level, and that really varies among girls.
The best way to get started is to start looking around. Ask other moms for studios they recommend. Go to a local dance competition and watch the dances. Try to figure out which schools are doing well. It's not always a great judge of whether or not those schools have great technique, but it will sure show you the ones that don't.
If you mention the general area where you live, there may be moms on here that can help steer you towards (or away) from a studio.
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dancingymnast

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Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. I'm not talking about taking classes somewhere else while on a team. I'm talking about now, while she is not on a team yet, she would be taking classes at studio A, and then next summer audition for team at studio B and C, hoping one of them would accept her. Or she needs to be at a Studio B or C now if she ever hopes to make a team there?

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momcrew

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Every studio will be different. I would call a few you are interested in and see what their policy is. Our studio allows kids to audition from other studios in the hopes of switching studios the next year. Two of my daughter's friends did this last year and both made it into our comp team. Some studios want you to dance a year or two with them before auditioning. 
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My2DanceLoves

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingymnast
Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. I'm not talking about taking classes somewhere else while on a team. I'm talking about now, while she is not on a team yet, she would be taking classes at studio A, and then next summer audition for team at studio B and C, hoping one of them would accept her. Or she needs to be at a Studio B or C now if she ever hopes to make a team there?

 

I would recommend being at a studio for a year before auditioning.  You will get a feel for the studio and they will get to know your DD before she auditions. 

But this is still something that is going to vary by studio.  
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dancingymnast

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OK. So, how long on average does it take to get enough training to make a team? Is it possible to make a team after one year? What classes would you suggest to take? 
She definitely wants to do ballet and hip hop, and maybe Modern and Jazz too.
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My2DanceLoves

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingymnast
OK. So, how long on average does it take to get enough training to make a team? Is it possible to make a team after one year? What classes would you suggest to take? 
She definitely wants to do ballet and hip hop, and maybe Modern and Jazz too.
 

It is very hard to generalize these things , as it will vary by studio.  Some studios let anyone audition , some have strict guidelines about who can audition , some do not have auditions and anyone can be on the team , some have teams of dancers who were specifically selected.   It just depends on how the studio does it.    You might be able to learn quite a bit by looking at studio websites and facebook pages , but I would suggest calling around and asking how it works at any studios you are considering. 
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #9 
Most studios have auditions and they likely advertise the audition times on their website. Around here most auditions are in late May or early July. Yes, if you are receiving good training, I think you should be able to make a move. But in many places recreation dance classes are not as good as company classes - that is a question to explore.

How old is you dd? Mine came to dance from gymnastics and was competing after one summer of dance, but she was only 8/9 and gymnastics training crossed over nicely with dance ( except for tap! ). So if she is strong, flexible and young she might be able to make the transition more quickly than you think.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingymnast
Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. I'm not talking about taking classes somewhere else while on a team. I'm talking about now, while she is not on a team yet, she would be taking classes at studio A, and then next summer audition for team at studio B and C, hoping one of them would accept her. Or she needs to be at a Studio B or C now if she ever hopes to make a team there?



That happens everywhere I think.  DD is at a studio that is kind of a place for students to go when they have outgrown their local studios.  There are a lot of auditions from kids who don't go to our studio currently who are hoping to make a change.  If they make it on team (auditions are in June) then they usually start immediately taking summer classes to try and get in condition so that when full blown classes start in the fall they aren't dying.  They are also required to take the studio summer intensive in July (which means he has to keep some spots open for those kids...it sells out.)

I think this is the way it works in most of the big competing studios here.
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dancingymnast

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Reply with quote  #11 
DD is 11, will be 12 in December. That's why I'm a little worried that the time is running out for her. Maybe it's just a gymnastics mindset, where at 8 a child might be considered "too old" to be starting on a competition path. 
She is strong, flexible, and has a good body control. She started her Jazz class last September with the girls who have been taking dance classes for a few years, and had no problems keeping up. She is hoping to make a team next summer, so I'm trying to decide if we should be pro-active and get her to a comp studio now, or just let her stay where she is and see where it goes. Who knows what happens next year, maybe she'll decide that dance isn't for her after all.
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emmymom

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Reply with quote  #12 
Rest assured, 11 or 12 is not too old!  Development in dance is a very personal journey and varies widely dancer to dancer.  Some phenoms at 7 and 8 level off at 12, some of the weaker dancers at 7 or 8 flourish at 11 or 12 and even beyond.  Your DD may have a natural facility for dance and the transition may come fairly easily and quickly.  There are no finites in this, no way to predict.

I'll be honest with you, you will probably be able to find a studio who will take your DD on their team based solely on her gymnast background; her flexibility will be seen as a strong asset by some...however, I personally wouldn't go to a studio who took a total "newb" until they had a little technique training under his/her belt, but that's just my opinion.   

That said, I know many gymnasts also train in ballet to some degree.  Has your DD had ballet all along with her gymnastic training?  If so, that will probably help her in the whole process.

There are studios out there who offer a "pre-comp" or "performing company" in preparation for the competitive team.  They may be a good option to try.  Some studios have lower level and higher level competition teams at each age level, that may also work for your DD.

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heartmom

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingymnast
DD is 11, will be 12 in December. That's why I'm a little worried that the time is running out for her. Maybe it's just a gymnastics mindset, where at 8 a child might be considered "too old" to be starting on a competition path. 
She is strong, flexible, and has a good body control. She started her Jazz class last September with the girls who have been taking dance classes for a few years, and had no problems keeping up. She is hoping to make a team next summer, so I'm trying to decide if we should be pro-active and get her to a comp studio now, or just let her stay where she is and see where it goes. Who knows what happens next year, maybe she'll decide that dance isn't for her after all.


Based on what you wrote here, I will give you my opinion (based just on my experience). If she is hoping to make a team next year, she would be best off taking classes at the studio whose comp team you hope to make. Some studios have a requirement that you take classes there for a year before you are allowed on a team. We don't have that rule at our studio, but you are required to take so many technique classes, etc. in the summer FROM OUR STUDIO to be able to participate in auditions, and to get enough tech classes in for some teams, you'd need to start taking those right away in June. Also at our studio, in general girls who are new to the studio are not usually put on the regular comp team. They are put on a lower, pre-comp kind of team. If they do make the regular comp team, they are usually on the B team. There's kind of a year of having to be at the studio to "pay your dues" so to speak. I honestly think part of that is before they put you on the most top teams, they are wanting to make sure you aren't that person who won't show up for half the rehearsals, not pay fees on time, etc. so you are leaving the team in a lurch. 

Also, it will vary by studio, but at ours it would be harder to move into a comp team at age 13 than the younger ages, 6-9. There aren't much expectations at the younger age level, but at 13 they are in the Teen division and the expectations definitely increase. I would hesitate to base how good her training is if your only experience is your current studio and how she compares to the girls in her current class. My DD could go to the only other comp studio in our town and probably be one of their top dancers. I could also drive her to the larger city an hour away that houses a majority of the studios we compete against, and she could walk into at least a handful of studios there and she likely would NOT have a shot at making even their lowest rated team. There's a large variation of what's out there for studios. 


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DanceMomLaura

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Reply with quote  #14 
If it were me, I'd have my DD taking classes at a studio that competes.  Perhaps one of the studios you mentioned, that competes, mixes comp kids with rec kids in their classes.  That would be good for your DD.  I would suggest ballet (more than one class if possible) and jazz to start out with. 

At our studio, there aren't auditions to be on team.  The dancers are watched throughout the year during rec classes and invited to team.  If a dancer comes from another studio and is interested in our comp team, then yes, they would need to audition.
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beachgirl

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Reply with quote  #15 
Echoing that every studio is different. You would really need to ask the SOs or parents from the studios you are interested in. At our studio, anyone can audition for our company. During the audition, they look for age-appropriate technique and natural talent/potential. You do not have to have previously danced at the studio. Our teachers are great at recognizing potential from the auditions, even if they have never seen you or heard of you before. Plus we have different levels so even if a dancer auditions for company and they aren't ready, they might still be placed on a pre-company team that competes.

With that said, it would definitely help to take classes somewhere to prepare and be familiar with ballet terminology and have some technique training.
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #16 
I agree that it would completely depend on age and on the particular studio.  At DD's studio they have open auditions and absolutely accept new students to the studio onto the comp team.  And it's not unheard of for dancers from outside the studio to make the elite team.  DD made the elite team as a new student last season, and there were two more members added to the team from outside the studio this season.  On the junior elite team there were 3 members added from outside the studio last season and 1 added this season.  I mean, there has been a huge response to the open auditions in the last couple of years, so in comparison to the number auditioning, it is a small minority of dancers that made the elite team, but others did make the other teams... and the other teams do well, so I don't like to call them B teams.

That said, if there is a particular studio your DD would prefer, it certainly can't hurt for her to start taking classes there prior to the audition.  Even if it's just drop ins.  It's good for them to be familiar with her.
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dancingymnast

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Reply with quote  #17 
Thanks all! Great info!

So, since we are not sure which studio she wants to be at, is that okay to try classes at different ones? Drop in or sign up for 1-2 classes at different studios? 
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingymnast
Thanks all! Great info!

So, since we are not sure which studio she wants to be at, is that okay to try classes at different ones? Drop in or sign up for 1-2 classes at different studios? 


Summertime is a great way to try out a new studio, as most have drop in classes that are open to everyone. So you can try a few at a couple of different places and see what you like.

Just know that sometimes that summer classes are not necessarily taught by the person that would be teacher your DD's class.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #19 
Yes definitely look around. You can try classes at different studios, but the teachers may not be the same ones that coach the team. Another option is to watch comp team numbers at recitals, or go to some local competitions next year. Perhaps you will see a studio you like.

At your dd's age dance technique is becoming very important for competition. Studios offer summer intensives (training camps) and some may allow your dd to train with them. This is a good way to get some condensed training and check out a strong contender if you wanted to get her going. Girls who joined our team at this age have stayed "B" team dancers, but none came with a gymnasts background.

Big differences for gymnasts to learn about dance technique include properly pointed feet that do not turn in, straight knees (gymnasts tend to have tight hamstrings working against this) and turnout from the hips. She can ask for help with these skills wherever she dances to make the most of her classes.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #20 
I would start looking now. Ask these questions at the various studios. Ask if she can take trial classes both so they can evaluate her and so that you can evaluate the studio. It may be hard this time of year as some places will not have technique classes but will be rehearsing. Some places pretty much only rehearse in their classes, so that's something to look at as well. 

Go to the recitals at the schools you are considering. Keep in mind that some places only work on recital dances at the end of the year and some work on these dances from day 1, but you will still get a flavor of the school and you will get a glimpse of what the families are like too.

And as others have mentioned, making the team can be filled with secrecy too! Dd was invited to join the team for 2 years before she ever joined. There were no open auditions for the team, but she was a young one then. After that, there were auditions, but it was hard for kids who were not already doing competition to have the skill set to make the teams. 
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #21 
Can I ask what your dd is thinking longer term?  I know she's only 11 and is just now deciding that she wants to dance but.. has she expressed anything beyond that?  Does she want to dance seriously?  Try to become the best dancer that she can be?  Or is it more about dancing for fun... and hoping to compete just because it sounds like even more fun????  The answer to that will help guide you here.



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rdsmom

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Reply with quote  #22 
I would recommend starting ballet training. As a gymnast, your DD probably has great strength and flexibility. It will most likely be the ballet training and tap that she will be behind in. I'd also suggest shooting for a smaller studio, or a studio that has teams at multiple levels. Many dance competitions have the equivalent of beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of competitions, and maybe starting out at the intermediate or beginner level will help her build technique and confidence as a dancer. 
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dancingymnast

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
Can I ask what your dd is thinking longer term?  I know she's only 11 and is just now deciding that she wants to dance but.. has she expressed anything beyond that?  Does she want to dance seriously?  Try to become the best dancer that she can be?  Or is it more about dancing for fun... and hoping to compete just because it sounds like even more fun????  The answer to that will help guide you here.



I'm the one who also posted about DD's back problems. So, for now we are just hoping we can make her back strong enough to be able to dance at all. So, no, not really thinking long term.
I'm just looking for an activity that she would enjoy and that would occupy a good amount of her time. Not a once-a-week-45-minute-class type of thing, but something she would do 2-3 hours a day 3-4 days a week.
She used to do gymnastics 20 hours a week and loved it. And I loved that she had something she was passionate about, and was busy enough to not spend too much time in front of the TV or computer screen. Gymnastics would have still been her first choice, but since she cannot do it because of her back, dance is the second best thing. And competing was a big part of her gymnastics experience, she loved it, and she wants to continue competing. We had a recital this past weekend and watched the girls from their Performance Company dance. They looks pretty good. I asked DD if she just wanted to stay at her current studio and audition for Performance Company next year (you have to be 12 to audition). She said no, she wants to compete. [smile]

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