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Ballet or continue with combo?

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I talked to DD's ballet teacher last night, with her having just moved to doing a separate ballet technique class a couple of months ago, and he strongly suggests that maybe she should move away from the more music theater focused classes where ballet is primarily taught just for vocabulary, but a lot of time is spent on Jazz and tap and consider focusing on ballet-which would require changing studios, since her current one doesn't teach higher levels of ballet at all. She needs more time and practice to develop her strength or skills, but he thinks that she's very well suited to ballet. She could probably (the schedule isn't out for Fall yet) do two technique classes a week at her current studio, but might have to give up the Jazz/tap combo or Street Jazz to do it-she's weakest in Street Jazz (she simply doesn't seem to move that way-if you've seen the Dance Academy season 1 where Abigail is trying to dance hip-hop, it's kind of that effect), but it's also the class she enjoys most.


My concerns are


a) DD's dance friends ARE her primary peer group. While she has kids she likes spending time with in her homeschool group, it's the little group of girls who she started dancing with in preschool who have stuck with it who are her close-in age friends, because the common interest is a bridge. I know she'd make friends at a new studio, but I know just how close-knit the kids are at ours who have danced together for years, and I could see it being very hard to break into that group, especially since DD struggles socially.




b) I'm not sure I want DD pursuing ballet seriously. Right now, she does a lot of things at a more recreational level, and because of her sensory issues (and the fact that she would tend to choose to spend all day with her books, legos, and computer-and simply isn't a get out and run around kid), I've encouraged her to try a lot of activities, and dance/cheer has stuck-but I think it's stuck as much because her friends do it as because of the intrinsic enjoyment of the activity. And this is the first time I've ever had an instructor in any motor skills activity say that she's doing more than holding her own-usually it's more what we need to do or where she's weak. I'm a little afraid that the talent/ability her teacher sees now is something that she's not going to be able to keep up, and that if she starts treating it as something more than being fun, she'll end up getting hurt by it. DD is so hard on herself academically already, I hate to put her under more pressure. I can't see her pursuing dance as a career. She enjoys it, but she's a lot more passionate about math or computer programming or reading and writing stories with dragons in them than she is about dancing.





So...what do I do? 7 seems so young.

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7 is young! It sounds like the peer group is really important... I wouldn't take that away.


Could she try one extra ballet class at a different studio and continue a class at her current studio? Then you could see how the social situation is at the new place. Maybe it would be wonderful. Maybe not. It might be easier to make the decision, though, after at least trying a new studio.

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:iagree: 7 is very young and she has some time to make that decision. If she took one class at the new studio she could see if she likes it, but keep her friends at her old studio. Then if in a year or so she wants to focus on ballet the transition wouldn't be as hard since she'd have friends at the new studio also.


My 17 yo dd is a serious ballet dancer. At some point it became about where she could get the best training, not where her friends were. But that was her decision. Right now friends are important for your dd and if she is getting good, solid training she can switch later.



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It sounds to me like you're feeling like keeping the status quo would probably be the best thing. She is super young. If she were begging to just do ballet, I think I'd transition. But if she's happy and enjoying where's she at, that's wonderful and I wouldn't take that away from a 7 year old.


My daughter just turned 8 and does a circus arts class and dance. I've had circus arts coaches pull me aside and say she should be joining a more intense prep team. I've had a ballet coach tell me she should do more ballet. She is at a combo studio and last year did 2 hours of ballet a week, plus 1 hour tap, 1 hour jazz, and 1 hour floor acro. She hasn't said a clear preference and is enjoying the package she has now. We'll see what she's interested in for fall.


I know some ballet purists will say that you should just be doing ballet, but so few kids can really make it to the very highest levels and the tone of the ballet only studios around here is very intense. I won't switch to a program like that without seeing a bunch of enthusiasm from my DD about a program like that. And our studio does turn out some very talented kids that go on in college (and beyond) to dance and/or teach. I have a nephew that is majoring in dance at college and he didn't even start to dance until 10. He did gymnastics and other sports before that.


I do think if she can fit another class or 2 into her schedule and she would like to do that, to go for it. If you asked her more ballet vs. street jazz what would she say?

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If it is possible to continue with her friends and add 1 day of ballet technique at another school, do that. At age 7, waiting another year to do that won't hurt her, either.


Friends at dance are wonderful, but in time, they may all decide to go to another studio, join the volleyball team, or simply be moved up or held back and not be in her level anymore.


But for this year, if it were mine, I would keep her with friends, but spend time considering other options. Can you try out a class at another school? Take this year to look around, and possibly have her evaluated at a ballet-focused studio.

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I think that trying to do a class at the more ballet-focused school sounds like the right idea. I know one thing she's liked about ballet this summer is that she says the instructor is both more serious and more relaxed-that her jazz and combo teachers are both more nervous and make her nervous, and that her ballet teacher is just so calm that he keeps her from getting nervous.

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