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Jenny in Florida

Dance Parents (Inspired by the "Gym Moms" thread, not the TV show)

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I'm so glad dd got to be part of this.  I'm so glad this school does a different ballet each year, selected based on what will stretch the students  -- and, believe me, Giselle was a stretch!

 

That does sound wonderful!

 

When my son was at the pre-pro school here, they often recruited kids to be in the company productions, but the roles were usually limited to the equivalent of the party children roles in Nutcracker

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The boys started dancing almost 2 years ago now and moved up to Ballet 2 this year. Both boys will be ginger snaps and little toy soldiers in this year's production of the Nutcracker. So happy that someone was considerate enough to place them together so that I wouldn't be driving even more.

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I was reading the posts about the tall, gangly kids. My dd has btdt. She is about 5'7" and very thin, but she has developed grace and elegance. 

 

That said, in the Irish dance hard shoe steps, rhythm is the biggest factor, and she's struggling with that. Any suggestions? I know she needs to listen to dance music more than she does. An instrument would be good, but I don't know how we'd fit it in since she has dance class 4 days a week plus competitions and performances. I think it would be too overwhelming. She has done a therapy called Interactive Metronome in the past, so I am looking into doing a refresher using the IM-at-home program (cheaper and less driving than doing it in office). But the therapist she had before left and they are still working on getting another therapist certified for the at-home program. Any other ideas that we might be overlooking? 

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I was reading the posts about the tall, gangly kids. My dd has btdt. She is about 5'7" and very thin, but she has developed grace and elegance.

 

That said, in the Irish dance hard shoe steps, rhythm is the biggest factor, and she's struggling with that. Any suggestions? I know she needs to listen to dance music more than she does. An instrument would be good, but I don't know how we'd fit it in since she has dance class 4 days a week plus competitions and performances. I think it would be too overwhelming. She has done a therapy called Interactive Metronome in the past, so I am looking into doing a refresher using the IM-at-home program (cheaper and less driving than doing it in office). But the therapist she had before left and they are still working on getting another therapist certified for the at-home program. Any other ideas that we might be overlooking?

I think the biggest help for my dd is just doing her steps in tandem with one of the better dancers; that is how she gets a feel for the rhythm.

 

She is really struggling though to improve her turnout and straighten her legs; if anyone has any good tips for that I would really appreciate it! Turnout has always been hard for her as her knees naturally turn in slightly; she can turn out , not as much as some but it isn't impossible. Takes a lot of concentration and effort to do it consistently in her dances. More turnout and straighter legs are consistent feedback from the judges.

 

We're gearing up for oireachtas, she has a new (to us) solo dress and just had her last fitting for the new team dresses. One of her hard shoes is pulling apart on one side though, I need to take it to a cobbler for repair. Of course now that it is finally broken in it starts to fall apart!

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I got to see my son dance in two pieces in the student-choreographed dance "happening" at his college last night. It's always one of the best-attended performing arts events of the semester, and this one was pretty awesome! My guy was featured in the big tap number and also was one of the primary lifters in a really lovely contemporary piece.

 

He's pretty delighted, because the "second in command" for the percussive dance ensemble he started is a year ahead of him and is now qualified to choreograph for these events. She's already planning what she'll do for the spring event and has made it clear she anticipates using him again. He is currently doing the first of the two courses required before students are allowed to choreograph and plans to take the other next semester, meaning that, for next year, they may actually have two tap dances in the student shows.

 

The happening is the last dance-related performance he's doing at school this semester, but I got a note yesterday that it's time to register him for the annual Tap Into the Holidays intensive coming up in December. So, he has that to look forward to, still.

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I don't know about rhythm but turn-out she has to remember to turn from the hip instead of the knees. Her ballet teacher recommends she practices turning out while doing standing activities such as brushing her teeth.

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I do wonder if some of the trouble with straightening her legs comes from the growth spurt she has been in--maybe the bones are growing too fast for the tendons to keep up, making them tight?

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I do wonder if some of the trouble with straightening her legs comes from the growth spurt she has been in--maybe the bones are growing too fast for the tendons to keep up, making them tight?

 

That's what we were told when my son was younger. It was so frustrating for him, because he'd work at stretching and getting more flexible and feel like he was making progress . . . only to grow another two inches and be back where he started.

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I think the biggest help for my dd is just doing her steps in tandem with one of the better dancers; that is how she gets a feel for the rhythm.

 

She is really struggling though to improve her turnout and straighten her legs; if anyone has any good tips for that I would really appreciate it! Turnout has always been hard for her as her knees naturally turn in slightly; she can turn out , not as much as some but it isn't impossible. Takes a lot of concentration and effort to do it consistently in her dances. More turnout and straighter legs are consistent feedback from the judges.

 

We're gearing up for oireachtas, she has a new (to us) solo dress and just had her last fitting for the new team dresses. One of her hard shoes is pulling apart on one side though, I need to take it to a cobbler for repair. Of course now that it is finally broken in it starts to fall apart!

 

She is one of the best dancers in the novice/prizewinner classes, but on Saturdays they practice with the champs. In her private lessons, she and her teacher dance together, but we can only afford two privates/month. 

 

I'm not sure how to improve turnout. I know it has to come from the hip to prevent knee and ankle injuries. DD used to get a lot of comments on turnout, but not so much any more. 

 

Can you believe hotel rooms opened for Nationals before any Oireachtas? It's normal that they open up before Southern Region Oireachtas since ours is the last one, but it's really early this year. I told dh I made the reservations and gave him the dates to put on the calendar. He said, Now that's what I call planning ahead! 

 

I ordered new ghillies today. Her current ones aren't that old, but the foam padding is pushed forward and broken in front so it can't be repaired.  We're switching from Pacelli to Hullachan and I'm hoping the Hullachans might hold up a little better. 

 

We found out today that our favorite Irish pub is closing. DD's school has danced there about once a month for years, so everyone is really bummed. None of the other pubs in the area has a decent stage. 

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She is one of the best dancers in the novice/prizewinner classes, but on Saturdays they practice with the champs. In her private lessons, she and her teacher dance together, but we can only afford two privates/month. 

 

I'm not sure how to improve turnout. I know it has to come from the hip to prevent knee and ankle injuries. DD used to get a lot of comments on turnout, but not so much any more. 

 

Can you believe hotel rooms opened for Nationals before any Oireachtas? It's normal that they open up before Southern Region Oireachtas since ours is the last one, but it's really early this year. I told dh I made the reservations and gave him the dates to put on the calendar. He said, Now that's what I call planning ahead! 

 

I ordered new ghillies today. Her current ones aren't that old, but the foam padding is pushed forward and broken in front so it can't be repaired.  We're switching from Pacelli to Hullachan and I'm hoping the Hullachans might hold up a little better. 

 

We found out today that our favorite Irish pub is closing. DD's school has danced there about once a month for years, so everyone is really bummed. None of the other pubs in the area has a decent stage. 

 

This weekend is your Oireachtas, isn't it?

 

Good luck to your dd and the rest of her school!

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For turn out help you might look into Lisa Howell's Training Turnout Manual. Lisa Howell also has youtube videos and a lot of articles online about turn out -- lots of good advice. I haven't seen the turnout manual, but we've been impressed with her other products (although younger dd feels some of her info as it relates to non-dancing alignment is wrong).

 

Deborah Vogel also has a book entitled something like Tune Up Your Turn Out. I wouldn't hand it to a kid to read, though, unless they're a physiology nerd (as is younger dd). Lots of good information on how turn out actually works.

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This weekend is your Oireachtas, isn't it?

 

Good luck to your dd and the rest of her school!

 

Yes, it was. Her senior choreo team got 1st and their whip and nae nae generated some twitter chatter ranging from, "If I'd known that, I would have stayed another night" to "It's a sad day in the world of Irish dancing." LOL. Her teacher has a world championship in choreo and danced with both Celtic Tiger and Riverdance, so I trust his judgment on these things. Choreo is the right place for some originality and creativity. One of the twitter comments was from Ciara Sexton, the current lead female in Riverdance! 

 

Her other teams got 3rd, 5th and 7th. Our other teams also did great. We had 8 teams in the top 3 with 2 of those being 1st. 

 

She didn't recall for solos, so she was very disappointed. But she danced beautifully and did her best, so it's all good. She knows what she needs to work on for next year. Most of our dancers recalled, most of those qualified for Natls and some for worlds. Our school started off small with our TCRG and former owner retired to FL and flying in once a month so we could qualify to compete. We've only had a full time TCRG for 3.5 years, and each year we've done better in the major comps. Our second TCRG will be here as soon as his visa is approved. It's exciting to see the growth both as a school and in our individual dancers. 

Edited by LizzyBee
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Yes, it was. Her senior choreo team got 1st and their whip and nae nae generated some twitter chatter ranging from, "If I'd known that, I would have stayed another night" to "It's a sad day in the world of Irish dancing." LOL. Her teacher has a world championship in choreo and danced with both Celtic Tiger and Riverdance, so I trust his judgment on these things. Choreo is the right place for some originality and creativity. One of the twitter comments was from Ciara Sexton, the current lead female in Riverdance! 

 

Her other teams got 3rd, 5th and 7th. Our other teams also did great. We had 7 teams in the top 3 with 2 of those being 1st. 

 

She didn't recall for solos, so she was very disappointed. But she danced beautifully and did her best, so it's all good. She knows what she needs to work on for next year. Most of our dancers recalled, most of those qualified for Natls and some for worlds. Our school started off small with our TCRG and former owner retired to FL and flying in once a month so we could qualify to compete. We've only had a full time TCRG for 3.5 years, and each year we've done better in the major comps. Our second TCRG will be here as soon as his visa is approved. It's exciting to see the growth both as a school and in our individual dancers. 

 

Wow, that is an impressive showing, congratulations!!!

 

And I'm still in love with your school :)

 

This was dd's first time competing solos, right? It's disappointing not to recall but it can be that much more motivation for next year. 

 

Our school put in a good showing, the choreo team took 3rd, all the teams recalled including dd's U12 ceili team; they came in 12th out of 31, much better than last year. She also didn't recall in solos, got to get those legs straightened out. 

 

I think we've got seven worlds qualifiers, the choreo team will also go to worlds but dd is not on that. And a bunch going to nationals. 

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For turn out help you might look into Lisa Howell's Training Turnout Manual. Lisa Howell also has youtube videos and a lot of articles online about turn out -- lots of good advice. I haven't seen the turnout manual, but we've been impressed with her other products (although younger dd feels some of her info as it relates to non-dancing alignment is wrong).

 

Deborah Vogel also has a book entitled something like Tune Up Your Turn Out. I wouldn't hand it to a kid to read, though, unless they're a physiology nerd (as is younger dd). Lots of good information on how turn out actually works.

 

Thank you!

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Wow, that is an impressive showing, congratulations!!!

 

And I'm still in love with your school :)

 

This was dd's first time competing solos, right? It's disappointing not to recall but it can be that much more motivation for next year. 

 

Our school put in a good showing, the choreo team took 3rd, all the teams recalled including dd's U12 ceili team; they came in 12th out of 31, much better than last year. She also didn't recall in solos, got to get those legs straightened out. 

 

I think we've got seven worlds qualifiers, the choreo team will also go to worlds but dd is not on that. And a bunch going to nationals. 

 

Katie did trad set last year, but this was her first year doing solos. Our choreo team is going to nationals, but I don't think they'll go to worlds because it's so much expense for just teams with only one of the team members doing solos. If the dance teacher thinks otherwise, I'm sure we'll be getting an email in the next few days. :-)

 

Our school is amazing. Our senior ceili 8-hand was the last team to dance, so they had to run upstairs for their choreo hair and costume change and make-up touch up. Our parents and other students had 4 flat irons going, a few people doing the hair style, people holding bobby pins, clear pony tail holders and hair spray for them; and people unzipping ceili dresses and pulling on the choreo leotards and skirts. It was a sight to behold. 

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Dance moms, how are things going this year?

 

I'm feeling like we are in an unfamiliar place right now, and I need to process my thoughts by writing about them. This seemed like an appropriate place to do so.

 

DD14 has been feeling a bit ambivalent about ballet this year, which is new. She is enrolled in b&m school this year for the first time and is a freshman. She loves school and her friends and has been sulky at times when ballet class conflicts with other things she would like to do with her school friends. I hope that this is just a time of adjustment to a new kind of life and busyness with school and homework and less sleep. We all agreed for her to skip Nutcracker this year, and though it has given her some extra time on the weekend to do homework, I think that not performing means she has lost a little of the fun of dance. She loves to perform.

 

She has also chosen to be a cheerleader. She goes to a small private school, and the coach is excited to have her on the squad and is willing to let her miss some practices and games that conflict with ballet (she is at ballet five days a week this year). Cheerleading makes our family life more hectic, and we were hesitant to let her, but we wanted her to be able to join something at school and decided that without Nutcracker, this was the year to try.

 

Today she got an interesting comment from one of her dance instructors, who used to dance with New York City Ballet under Balanchine. Her teacher pulled her aside after class today and asked her if anyone has talked to her yet about maybe joining the trainee classes. She thinks DD has potential to rise through the ranks and go far (DD has heard this before from other teachers). She asked how long DD has been in this particular ballet level, which is the top level of the school (not counting the trainee program, which is mostly high school graduates with a few seniors, and which attracts advanced dancers from across the country). DD was only promoted to this level at the beginning of the school year. And now there is the suggestion that she would fit in at the trainee level.

 

Just to be clear, this was not an invitation to bump up to the trainee program, but just a comment.

 

The trainees have daytime classes and are at the studio 30 plus hours per week, so it is not something that we thought would come soon. We thought we might have to make choices about full-time school versus full-time ballet when she was a senior, but perhaps she will be presented with the trainee option for next year, when she is a sophomore.

 

It's a compliment, but it also makes my head spin. I suspect she would turn down a trainee position next year and remain in her current class, so that she can keep attending school full time.

 

I don't know what lies ahead, but it's going to be an interesting journey, filled with difficult decisions.

 

ETA: Though this teacher danced for NYC ballet, the ballet school is not affiliated with City Ballet or SAB, though it is attached to a different professional ballet company.

 

 

Edited by Storygirl

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For Storygirl,

 

Tough situation. Just to throw a kink in, has your DD thought about moving into competition dance? It would fit the cheerleader schedule better, plus allow the tricks she also needs in cheerleading. Many of DDs fellow competition dancers have also been cheerleaders. Otherwise, unless she wants to be a professional ballerina one day, I would let her give it up if she doesn't like it anymore. Then she could add in tumbling at a local gym to help her cheerleading.

 

DD16 finished a great year winning the grand national championship at nationals. Her solo finished third which was unbelieveable since it was a hip hop number. Hip hop never does well against the lyrical, modern, and jazz numbers. Her team moved to a new studio this year. The verdict is out on whether this was a good move or not.

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Congrats to your DD, Minniewannabe!

 

Our old studio had a jazz competition team, which DD participated in back in third and fourth grade. She did enjoy it, but ballet is her obvious area of talent and has always been her main interest. She also was a gymnast back in early elementary and chose ballet over tumbling. She is enjoying cheerleading, because it allows her to spend time with school friends and be on a school team, but it's just for fun. I doubt she would end up choosing it over ballet, but you never know!

 

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