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Noel

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Currently making the decision to transition DD10 from a "competition" studio to a traditional ballet centered studio and am hearing different things regarding ABT based and Russian based. Have been told Russian is more fluid, more artistic, have been told by one studio owner that ABT is the superior method...

So, being new to the ballet centered approach wanted to reach out here to get your opinions as to the two different approaches.
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JojosDanceMom

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I don't have much experience with ABT, so I can't really get into the technical differences.  However, I have to ask if the studio owner who said ABT is the "superior method" had ABT at her studio.  TBH I don't think you can say one is better or worse... they're just different.  It all boils down to the method preferred by the dancer, and that's something they'll only really know as they experience them.  
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Noel

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Yes, JojosDancemom, that studio owner had an ABT based studio. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Trying to "google" my way through and find some objective comparisons.
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Noel

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http://www.ottawaballetschool.com/Ballet-Methods.html
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #5 
What matters most is the teacher not the method.  Different kids thrive in different environments.  My daughter did a year in a Russian studio and we specifically chose to avoid that type of program because of the way the classes are delivered (she needs a more nurturing environment, Russian teachers are harsh).

No method is better, they all get kids to the end point (although I think the best is teachers who are a bit more of a mix and talk about the differences) it's the teacher that really matters.  You need one that works well for your kids personality.
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Noel

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Thank you, meatball77. I truly appreciate your perspective. I really want to make an informed transition for DD. We really are feeling the effects of not making an informed investment the last time around.
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Ktyyyyyyy

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
What matters most is the teacher not the method.  Different kids thrive in different environments.  My daughter did a year in a Russian studio and we specifically chose to avoid that type of program because of the way the classes are delivered (she needs a more nurturing environment, Russian teachers are harsh).

No method is better, they all get kids to the end point (although I think the best is teachers who are a bit more of a mix and talk about the differences) it's the teacher that really matters.  You need one that works well for your kids personality.


I agree that the teacher is the most important factor, but I wouldn't definitively say that all Russian teachers are harsh, although many are. DD has only ever trained in the Vaganova (Russian) style, with the exception of SI's. She definitely had one extremely harsh teacher. She was actually Romanian, but still Eastern European. Even though her technical teaching was good, the way she talked to the kids was very negative and really crushed some of them. DD also took ballet from a Russian couple who were very nurturing and also great teachers. DD's current teacher is not Russian. He is strict, but not at all harsh.

Another difference is that ABT studios tend to have exams and Vaganova studios typically don't. I have also heard that ABT studios are more likely to level by age than talent. I'm sure this varies though. Vaganova studios are more likely to place dancers en pointe at a young age, if the dancer is strong and taking lots of classes.
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ggsmith

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I have to agree with Meatball, the teacher or teachers matter more than method.  There is a teacher at DD's ballet school that is ABT certified through all levels and has an impressive performance resume, and the students really don't like his class and avoid it.  DD says his corrections conflict with everything she's ever been taught and he's rude and condescending.  There are no more than 3 students left in his class and sometimes it is a private lesson.  DD takes class at another studio with an ABT certified teacher who is just amazing at creating a positive atmosphere and providing meaningful corrections for the group and individual students who has never danced professionally.  She had a RAD certified teacher who was amazing as both a teacher and performer that left the area.  She's had teachers with no certifications that were poor and others that were great.

The best way to evaluate the programs is to take your DD to trial classes at the different schools.  Try to get her in with more than one instructor (if there are multiple instructors) and listen to the talk in the lobby as students and parents come and go.  Sometimes the "best" school in the area isn't the best place for your dancer, and you have to decide what is most important to you both at this stage in the game.  Travel time?  Performance opportunities?  Atmosphere?  Teacher's performance resume?  Connections for future employment?  Supportive environment?  

It seems like such a huge decision, but in reality schools open and close, teachers come and go, your family situation may change, and your daughter will change over time, as a person and as a dancer.  We just make the best choice for our current situation, and know that if this doesn't work out, there are other choices to be made in the future.

ETA:  I must have somehow deleted this, but her favorite teacher is an Eastern European woman who trained at the Vagonova school.  I've never seen a warmer, more loving teacher and DD has improved leaps and bounds from the corrections.  The attitude extends throughout the school and the other dancers and parents are also very friendly and welcoming and supportive of one another.
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Noel

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Thank you, Ktyyyyy, again, I really appreciate that insight. Particularly about ABT. DD has walked away from every ABT experience (admittedly only 2) not feeling very positive at all.... but 4 Russian based experiences and she's always motivated and energized. I think we have our answer.
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JojosDanceMom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
What matters most is the teacher not the method.  Different kids thrive in different environments.  My daughter did a year in a Russian studio and we specifically chose to avoid that type of program because of the way the classes are delivered (she needs a more nurturing environment, Russian teachers are harsh).

No method is better, they all get kids to the end point (although I think the best is teachers who are a bit more of a mix and talk about the differences) it's the teacher that really matters.  You need one that works well for your kids personality.


See, my DD has had very harsh Russian teachers and she LOVED them!  LOL  That goes back to my point that you really have to find what's best for the individual dancer.  For example, a girl that danced at the ballet school where DD danced was the stereotypical image of an NYC Ballet dancer.  Every time she auditioned for their SI she was accepted with significant scholarships... but she always chose other SI's instead because she knew she hated Balanchine.  It's just not a style that appealed to her, she was a Vaganova girl, all the way.

So, while the teacher is definitely going to be important, you'll find different teaching styles within each ballet method anyway, but finding the ballet method that is more comfortable for the dancer is something that will be specific to that individual dancer.  That said, ballerinas need to be adaptable if they want to work because they never know where they may end up.  
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thank you, JojosDanceMom, can you tell me a little more about the ins and the outs of Balanchine? Reading the details online and hearing it from a parent of a dancer are two totally different perspectives.
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gymanddance

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Reply with quote  #12 
My DD prefers Vaganova. Our studio teaches what I would call a mixture that is mostly anchored in Vaganova, but her SI experience has been both Vaganova and Balanchine. She adored her Balanchine SI last year and even found that she finds turning in that style easier. She isn't a fan of the hands, however. We don't have much experience with ABT. 
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Noel

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This is sort of fascinating... how do Balanchine turns differ?
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #14 

Balanchine turns use a wide 4th and a straight back leg. 

Please understand that Vaganova training in the US (and probably almost everywhere else) is not necessarily using the actual Vaganova syllabus nor is it necessarily truly Vaganova. Many schools in the US say "Vaganova" but really mean "in the style of."  The actual training in the Russian schools is quite different. Students are specifically chosen for their body type and facility. The training is designed for those specific bodies. 

In contrast, the ABT NTC is designed to accommodate different body types and facility. If followed, it teaches the students to maximize what they have. It is supposed to be based in sound developmental principles. 

When you look at an ABT certified teacher, look at what their actual certification is. Many are certified in only the lower levels. If they are not certified past level 3, they have not learned from ABT to teach past about age 10 or so. I have seen many teachers using it in advertisements, but without actually be certified to teach all levels. DD was in the curriculum through level 6. Her school did not go any higher. Many schools only teach to level 5b, if that. Also, as already mentioned, in the end, it goes back to the teacher. Is the teacher someone who offers hands on corrections that connect to the student? Do they speak the same "ballet language?" Is the teaching inspirational, encouraging the student to progress and try harder? Those things are FAR more important than the style of teaching. 

Dd has studied a great deal under the ABT NTC, some Vaganova (spent a few weeks in Moscow at the Bolshoi), and Balanchine. Balanchine appeals to her the most at this stage in her career. She has always been a jazzier dancer at heart and Balanchine is definitely jazzier sort of ballet than the other styles. But, you can't really do Balanchine without a foundation in the Vaganova style. If you look at most Balanchine schools, including SAB, you will find some Vaganova trained teachers. Her teachers at her last school came from NYCB and the Marinsky. Some of her current teachers in her trainee program come from the Bolshoi, NYCB and PA Ballet. They work nicely together. 

At this point, dd is mainly looking towards companies that are more Balanchine in style. Note that there are very few companies in the US that do not do at least a little Balanchine. 

 

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Noel

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Reply with quote  #15 
Thank you, TenduMom. Extraordinarily helpful to both DD and I. She is a fast learner, but there is so much more to learn about the ballet side of dance.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #16 
My understanding is that different ballet styles focus more on different things. So different body types may excel more at one or another. (That being said, I'm sure a talented ballerina with the right facility will excel anywhere). But I think finding the right fit comes more about the feeling and environment until a certain age. You are changing now so remember to be open to the change later on if need be. What's right at 10 may not be what she needs at 13 😃
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #17 
So, coincidentally, the principal dancer from our local professional company shared this throwback link, yesterday, of her rehearsals of Balanchine's Anon from a couple of years ago. I remember going to see this performance, it was stunning. The AD was so thrilled to have gotten permission to perform Balanchine work. I don't know if you can see this link, but if you can, here's an example of Balanchine.

https://www.facebook.com/vilia.putrius/posts/10154173501946121
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Noel

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Thank you, NCKDAD. Thank you JojosDanceMom, the link is private [wink]
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JojosDanceMom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel
Thank you, NCKDAD. Thank you JojosDanceMom, the link is private [wink]


Really? I'm surprised she has her page as private.  She's always posting links for her small business on there, so I figured it was public.  Oh well... I tried.  [smile]
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #20 

Too bad it is private! Dd learned part of Agon in her variations class a few years ago. It's such a hard piece! I was very impressed.

 

(Should probably add that her variations teacher was a Balanchine repetiteur, part of the Balanchine Trust and is someone who is hired by companies and schools to set various Balanchine works)

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JojosDanceMom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tendumom

Too bad it is private! Dd learned part of Agon in her variations class a few years ago. It's such a hard piece! I was very impressed.

 

(Should probably add that her variations teacher was a Balanchine repetiteur, part of the Balanchine Trust and is someone who is hired by companies and schools to set various Balanchine works)



Yes, this company had to have someone come in to set the piece.  I think it's a requirement, once a company is approved to be able to do a Balanchine work, to have someone from the Trust come to set it.
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #22 
I just check with her, she said she's made it public.  Feel free to watch!  [smile]
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #23 
So kind of you to ask but I still see this, "

[u1x2f6M2IP1]Sorry, this content isn't available right now

The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you're not in.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #24 
Thank you, Oatmella.... not really curious for DD to put into practice, just trying to get an idea of the "whole" of ballet. It's a big change from where she's been.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #25 
Oatmella, thank you very very much. DD and I will watch this together. This is exactly the kind of background I want to start to immerse myself in so that I can better understand where DD will be at this stage in her learning. She was never interested in strict ballet ... until that is all that she is now interested in. I could tell you all there is to know about the All Star dance world (which is fantastic in it's own unique way) but ballet has so much more history and depth and variety. It's overwhelming and exciting all at once.
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