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My 9yod (10yo in May) has taken ballet since she was 4. We are getting to the age where we are thinking through if she wants to commit to this. She's not very coordinated and didn't get the best evaluation last year - basically said she tries but she's not coordinated. She goes to a highly regarded pre professional classical school. She has been in Ballet 2 level for the past two years. We went to lunch today to talk about it. We are leaning towards trying one more year if she moves to Ballet 3 to see how she improves. It becomes such a commitment after that - 3 1 1/2 hour classes a week next year then 4 classes, then 5 all through high school.

 

We just aren't sure she should focus on that - she's pretty academic and service oriented. She has special needs brothers and a strong desire to go into the medical field. She's thinking academics and volunteeer work will be her priority in the coming years.

 

She really enjoys piano & art, and will continue throughout high school with lessons. She takes ballet and worship dance at church too, so she wouldn't lose dance completely if we quit the classical school. For exercise, she loves hiking. She will continue daily long walks/ bike rides. She said she would enjoy running in time. She doesn't have an aptitude or desire for any other team sports or swimming or tennis. She's dabbled, but just isn't coordinated. She's healthy, trim and strong though.

 

So, how does a family decide? When the cost/ commitment of ballet is just too much, if you are primarily just doing it for the exercise and the director and teachers aren't encouraging of progress!

Edited by LNC
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My 9yod (10yo in May) has taken ballet since she was 4. We are getting to the age where we are thinking through if she wants to commit to this. She's not very coordinated and didn't get the best evaluation last year. She goes to a highly regarded pre professional classical school. She has been in Ballet 2 level for the past two years. We went to lunch today to talk about it. We are leaning towards trying one more year if she moves to Ballet 3 to see how she improves. It becomes such a commitment after that - 3 1 1/2 hour classes a week next year then 4 classes, then 5 all through high school.

 

We just aren't sure she should focus on that - she's pretty academic and service oriented. She has special needs brothers and a strong desire to go into the medical field. She's thinking academics and volunteeer work will be her priority in the coming years.

 

She really enjoys piano & art, and will continue throughout high school with lessons. She takes ballet and worship dance at church too, so she wouldn't lose dance completely if we quit the classical school. For exercise, she loves hiking. She will continue daily long walks/ bike rides. She said she would enjoy running in time. She doesn't have an aptitude or desire for any other team sports or swimming or tennis. She's dabbled, but just isn't coordinated. She's healthy, trim and strong though.

 

So, how does a family decide? When the cost/ commitment of ballet is just too much, if you are primarily just doing it for the exercise and the director and teachers aren't encouraging of progress!

 

 

As an outsider reading this, it seems like it might be time to drop it now. Ballet at a pre-professional school doesn't seem like the place to take ballet for exercise or as a hobby. Since she's getting dance at church, I'd let her drop now if she wanted. Now if she's pushing to continue, I'm not sure what to tell you.

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I think one year at a time is a good way to approach this now. I danced from about 10-16, several of those years at more serious, pre-professional classical schools many hours a week -- though like your dd, I wasn't talented or in any danger of becoming a professional dancer. ... I'm still very, very glad that I did it and that I stuck with it for as long as I did. I'm more glad of the hours I spent with more rigorous teaching than the time spent with "decent" but not truly demanding instructors.

 

I loved ballet. It changed the way I carry myself to this day. It gave me greater poise and coordination than I would possibly have had otherwise. It gave me an appreciation for others' dance. And while some people might argue that it's not a "lifelong" sport, I've had the chance to go to adult classes (there's a great drop-in dance studio for adults from beginners through professionals in my city), and I really, really love it.

 

All I'm saying is: don't let the fact that she won't be training to be a professional some day convince you that it's "not worth it". Cost to family, other priorities, all those things are reasons to consider doing something else... But if she loves it, and you can afford it, don't think it's not worth it just because she's not destined for greatness. The skills and poise she learns may help her in ways you can't possibly imagine right now.

 

My own kids take ballet at an RAD school three days a week as well. I really don't think either one of 'em are going to use dance as a profession... I can't even say they'll stick with it as long as I did. But I think the foundation they're getting in mental and physical training, control of their bodies, poise, musicality, discipline... These are things that will go with them...

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If she loves it, what about dancing at a less serious studio? Very few become professional ballerinas (I think 3 percent of those who go to preprofessional schools). If they do, it's not a lifetime career. But she might enjoy learning jazz, tap, etc--and she might do better with tap as it seems to me to be a different type of coordination. Some schools will let you take an hour or two per week; some do require you to take ballet as the "foundation of all dance" but don't require such a huge time commitment because they're not preprofessional.

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My 11-year-old son has been dancing since he was 7. He takes three classes a week (two ballet, one character) at the pre-professional school and another two (ballroom and tap) with a different teacher. He enjoys it, especially when it allows him an opportunity to perform. But he's now finishing his second year in his current level, has watched two friends with whom he's been in classes for the last few years move up ahead of him and doesn't seem willing to put in the work I think would be necessary to get any forward momentum.

 

We've told him that, if he does not move up this year, he will not be returning to the current school. I've emphasized that this does not mean he has to quit dancing, just that I'm not willing to continue putting in as much time and effort and financial support into this if he isn't more self-directed about it.

 

In his case, too, there are other things he'd like to explore, but between dance classes and choir and music lessons and model rockets, his schedule is just plain full. So, in order to try anything different, he'd have to drop something. And ballet is the obvious candidate.

 

But then I see him up on that stage and having such a great time and being so cute, and it breaks my heart to consider making him stop.

 

All of this to say that I don't have an answer for you, but you're definitely not alone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update: She received her end of the year evaluation today. It placed her in level 2 for the third year in a row. Her younger friend that she introduced to ballet and the conservatory in last Jan. moved up to Ballet 3 - already. She was holding it together until she found that out, but she has been crying since. She got excellent marks for all self-control and knowledge categories, and good to very good marks for all technique. In the comments the teacher remarked a lot about my dd wonderful behavior and focus (better than last year!), and she also said my daughter needed to focus on core strength.

 

Should I talk to the director? I'm wondering if they remember she's been in this class twice? My daughter wants to go ahead and continue with ballet until she's on point in a few years. She's embarrassed that all of her friends move up without her two years in a row. She's worried that she'll be the very tallest in a class of little girls. She's very tall. My heart breaks for her. I am so thankful for her growth in character, but I don't want my little girl to go through this!

Edited by LNC
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Update: She received her end of the year evaluation today. It placed her in level 2 for the third year in a row. <snip>

 

Should I talk to the director? I'm wondering if they remember she's been in this class twice? My daughter want to go ahead and continue with ballet until she's on point in a few years. <snip>

 

I don't think it's likely that they forgot she's been in that class twice. In such a serious school, I also don't think that it's likely to matter, kwim? You make it to the next class or you don't.

 

I'd say it's time to move on to a less competitive school. It's not like your dd has been goofing around; she's been working hard, and this just isn't the place for her.

 

In a more suitable studio, she will be able to continue progressing with less stress and embarrassment. I don't see any benefit to staying at this studio. Can't your dd progress and move toward on point at a different school?

 

If your dd insists that she wants to stay at this school, that's when I'd talk to the director and ask her to be brutally frank (with me, not dd).

 

Remind your dd of how much she has learned and grown during her time at this school. Aiming high and working hard are worthy things to be proud of; the end result is important, but so is the process. Accepting things as they are with grace is an important life skill, albeit one none of us enjoy learning.

 

:grouphug:

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She's improved, she's focused...and she's being held back. Unless she is falling over, I can't imagine why.

 

Not every child will develop into a wonderful ballerina, but at this young age, fun and developing confidence should be a big part of the experience. They are little girls; if the school finds the next Pavlova, good for them, but but each child should gain from their time in class, not only those with professional potential.

 

 

You should observe at other schools to make a decision about where you would like your daughter to attend. Even while attending one school for a core program, it's good to take an occasional class with teachers affiliated elsewhere. And it will give you some more information to judge your current school with a better perspective.

Edited by HS mom
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I think that you should talk to the director. Ask for her/his opinion. Tell her that your daughter would like to progress, but that if it's not possible, it's best to let her know while she's still young. My daughter has been taking at a Royal Academy of Dance for 6 years, and if she stayed behind....I'm not sure she'd stay. She has had to work on "core" strength...but riding bikes..running around the yard...etc. RAD schools are great at technique...perhaps a different "serious" school would be better? OR, maybe it's not something your daughter will be able to progress at...and it's better for her to go put her efforts somewhere else.

I'm sorry! I know my daughter would be devastated if she couldn't advance with her class!

Carrie

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first, this is a year by year decision in my house. If dd wants to continue and we have the $$ to do it, then we do it. She doesn't want to be a professional. She wants to be a veternarian. Besides exercise, she is learning discipline, focus and commitment. These are things that can be applied over and over.

 

Having read your second post I'm disturbed by how your school handles things. I don't know anything about ballet. I do know my dds school has an excellent reputation. They have a student who graduated 2 years ago who dances for Mariinsky Ballet (formerly known as Kirov) in St Petersburg. Every year there are girls who are accepted to prestigous summer programs and to professional programs in this country. They also have girls who have gone to medical, PhD programs, become accountants... The girls who go to this studio love this place and keep up with it and send updates on their lives and drop by. In other words this studio doesn't just produce professional dance it produces successful young women. Anyway, we don't get an end of the year evaluation which tells girls they are too awkward/uncoordinated. At the end of the year we do get a notice of the level the girl should be in the next year. The school takes into account age in the decision. So, a less skilled girl may be bumped up, but this would not affect parts she could do. She would be cast in parts for her skill level. Additionally, there is no social promotion for pointe. That I believe is an injury issue. Also, if a girl wants to try classes above her level, she may speak to the studio owner and get permission to do so. My dd asked to do this and she goes to one of the advanced classes once a week. The approach of my dds studio may sound loosy goosy, but the results are that the girls really enjoy being in the studio, really enjoy dance, dance amazingly and really do become successful adults.

 

I'm wondering if the directors of your studio are trying to weed out girls based on their own perception of potential. Have you seen Children of Theater Street? (Available on DVD from Netflix) It was made in 1975 and is biased documentary of the school associated with the Kirov as it was in the former Soviet Union. On audition day for the school the judges are very concerned with body shape --both of the child and the child's parents. The reason for a school to do this is to improve their performance in competitions and improve the percentage of girls placed in professional programs.

 

Given that your dd wants to continue, I would go to the director and discuss the issue. I'd also ask dd if you would like to look for a knew studio. I'd try to get her to visit a few studios with me. I would not want my dd in a program that hands out demoralizing report cards.

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Well, I think it would be worth asking to speak to the instructor or director (whichever is appropriate), and very gently ask for further information about why she wasn't moved up. Is it just about core strength? (And it certainly could be...) Are there exercises they could recommend or skill sets that she specifically needs to improve in order to move up?

 

Even if you decide to switch her to a different school, it would be useful for you to know specifically *why* she didn't move up at this point -- and it sounds like the evaluation was confusing in offering various positives and yet demonstrating some lack of progress that's holding her back.

 

You might want to pull her out of ballet. You might want to find an alternative school. You might want to investigate this further with her instructor, and allow it to be a character-building experience. Sometimes sticking with something (particularly something that requires the discipline and perseverance that classical ballet does) even when it's *hard*, and even when we *aren't* particularly talented, can be worth while. But it's a fine line between making a child stick with something that's discouraging and simply beats them down, and making them push through with something at which they can succeed (on their own terms -- not necessarily on the world's terms) eventually with effort.

 

I certainly have empathy for her. I loved ballet, but I was never, ever going to be a dancer. ;) And I went to a classical school and at one point all of the girls my age started pointe, and I was told to wait. I was crushed. I started 6 months later, but at that age, it seemed like forever! There were other girls who had dancers' bodies and to whom things just came easily in a way that they never did for me. And it was *hard* to see some of the younger girls end up progressing more quickly than I did...

 

But I'm also *very* grateful for the excellent training I had (well into my mid-teens). It changed the way I carry my body to this day, I loved to dance (even if I wasn't great, lol), I had good friends through dance, it gave me a more acute physical control that I did not get through other activities (including gymnastics, ice skating, soccer)... And recently, I've even had the chance to attend some drop-in adult ballet classes, and I *still* love it! I'm still not great ;) but I have good technique... And I'm so glad I stuck with it when I did.

 

I don't think sticking with it or sticking with this particular school is necessarily the right choice for your dd. But, on the other hand, it might be.

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:grouphug: I feel for your dd. I highly recommend that you look for a less serious school unless being a professional ballerina is all she wants to do period. Ballet is extremely competitive, and only about 3 percent of girls who to get to pre-professional schools ever make it to become professional ballerinas. I mean this very kindly (and I'm breaking my board break to write about this.)

 

As for newer students moving up more quickly, that's a hard, but true part of the performing world. Some people just have more innate ability, or some people might simply be later developers. If this is all she wants to do with her life, then I'd find ways to help her improve her core strength, etc, and have her continue at the level they have placed her if this is a hard and fast rule. But performers do have to learn to face rejection, even the ones who go on to make it. My brother has had tons of rejection and worked his rear end off for over a decade before he got a big break in acting, and even before that big break he was in the one percent of the one percent to actually make a living with screen acting.

 

There are people who have acted all their lives who never make a living in it, and there are people who simply show up and get in because they're naturals and have what's being looked for at the time. With dance, it takes more than being a natural, it takes a lot of training. But all the hard work in the world isn't always enough. Body shape is a huge issue in such a visual thing, most especially in ballet, and the serious ballet dancers frequently suffer from eating disorders, etc., even in high school. I've seen professional dancers who don't have ballerina bodies, but they were in modern dance. A hard example that's not ballet is the Rockettes. You can't even get in the door to audition unless you're 5 ft 7 inches and have legs a certain length; they measure you at the door. I met someone who spent years as a professional dancer who couldn't even audition due to this requirement.

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Guest Katia

I'm going to try and make this short and sweet without a lot of details. We had a situation similar to what you have, only our dd was 16yo and had trained at this pre-professional studio for 6 years.

 

What we did: I sat down with my dd and told her I could not afford to continue at the level of ballet she was in (both time and money) and still continue her music lessons (same issue of money, time and travel to lessons). I only have so much money and time, and she has two other siblings that deserve to have an outside activity/interest.

 

The decision was hers to make, but what I told her to ask herself was this: I know you love ballet. I know you love music. But....which one can you not imagine living without? Which one would you just miss sooo much, that you felt you couldn't breathe if you could not do it?

 

Surprisingly, she answered immediately. She said she loved ballet....LOVED it....but...... she simply could not imagine living without being able to play her instrument. It was a part of her soul.

 

She also said she had never thought about it that way before, but that it made so much sense. So, instead of feeling bad about dropping ballet, she felt like she had made the decision....the right decision for her, no matter what the studio felt about her and/or her abilities.

 

Later that next year, she told me she thought she would really miss all the ballet classes, roles and performances, but also surprisingly; she didn't! She threw herself into her music and in other pursuits here at home (crochet, knitting, painting); things that she had always wanted to do but never had the time for while running to all those ballet classes/rehearsals!

 

Just something for you and your dd to think about. Does she live and breathe for ballet....or for piano and service? Life is about choices and here is an important one for her to make. Let her think about it and make her decision from that viewpoint; not from someone's opinion about her abilities or lack thereof.

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I think you've written a good letter. One thing my dd's studio talks about is having a "ballet mind". It is an abstract concept to me, but the dedication and other things you describe in your letter suggest what's been described as this concept.

 

It doesn't sound like she's going to learn more in Ballet 2. If the problem is physical strength, she can continue to practice the skills in Ballet 2 and perfect those skills, while learning new things. The skills at each level rely on the previous level, so while she's learning new skills in Ballet 3 she would be perfecting the Ballet 2 skills. I know this is how things are handled at my dd's school. The exceptions are pointe (pointe classes are separate) and the very advanced class.

 

Have the teachers ever suggested exercises for improving core strength? If her core strength was as weak as they suggest, I would think they would have made suggestions last year. I might consider asking specific questions about this in your letter and asking about strength building activities she can do at home.

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I think your letter sounds great. At my dd's ballet school, once the girls get to the higher levels they have outside judges come in the from the state. All they have is the number on the girl's leo to go by. THEY decide whether the dancers move up. This makes sure that their skill level is what determines their placement.

 

I hope you get this resolved and you and your dd have peace about your decision. Maybe, like some of the other posters mentioned, it's time to find another studio.

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I hope you understand that I really am sympathetic... Seeing our children disappointed is so incredibly hard! Their suffering (physical, emotional) is so much worse than own!

 

That said, I think there are a few things I would reconsider about the letter... First off, even before the letter, you may have acknowledged some of the reason she was held back right here: "I actually think that is why her core is weak - she has grown so many inches this year. Her feet have changes 4 sizes in one year! She is turning 10yo next month and wears a ladies 8. All of that affects her coordination and balance. She's just trying to get used to her changing body, I think." That's really huge! And it might well explain some of their reasoning for keeping her where she is now... It may not be *fair*, but it's *possible* that it's wise...

 

But with regards to the actual letter... I would try to edit out anything that could be *perceived* as whining. There's also more detail than necessary. I would pare it down to the essentials, and a plea for further, specific information about why she was placed (again) in level 2, and if that's a placement they would reconsider (or justify to you in a way that makes sense).

 

I would absolutely not bring other specific dancers into the discussion at this point. It begins to *sound* like sour grapes. Focus on the hard work *your* dd has done, and your confusion as to why she is not moving on (again).

 

Perhaps something more like this?

 

(one potential reworking)

*Director and teacher*,

 

Thank you for another wonderful year of dance. I'm sure you're aware of how much *dd* loves (insert appropriate praise here -- dancing, performing, her teacher, whatever). However, after her evaluation and placement recommendation, she and I have some questions, and would be so grateful for more specific answers.

 

This past year was **'s second in Ballet 2. Her evaluation from 2007/2008 from Jaime shared that she needed to work on her combinations and lifting her leg higher, and that she wasn't coordinated. She has worked so hard on flexibility this year, on practicing at home, and learning the Cecchetti Ballet 2 packet inside and out. I was also pleased that this year’s evaluation showed excellent marks for focus/attention areas.

 

So we were both surprised and discouraged to discover that she has been placed in ballet 2 for a third year. Seeing all of her friends move on for the second year in a row and being passed up by younger girls who are newer to ballet is understandably disheartening for her.

 

The first year *dd* was held back, I was able to encourage her to work hard on all of the areas Miss Jaime suggested needed improvement, and we used it as an opportunity to discuss growth of character as well. And I believe *dd* has really demonstrated commitment to ballet and to *schoolname*. She was so encouraged last year at the spring performance when you, (director), shared about (**ed. high school graduate moving onto professional) not having that natural ability as a dancer, but through hard work and determination she persevered to become a beautifully accomplished dancer. I know *dd* is trying her best to improve.

 

But now we find ourselves perplexed. After three years at *oldschool* and two years at *newschool*, we don't understand what prevents her from moving on to Ballet 3. I would love to have a clearer understanding of the specifics of why she is being asked to remain in Ballet 2, and what would be required of her in order to progress. *dd* shared that she feels that no matter how hard she works she is worried will remain in Ballet 2 until we quit eventually. Is that accurate? Do some girls simply never move on?

 

I’ll look forward to hearing from you. I can talk in person or on the phone, but email is fine if you prefer.

 

Thanks,

*my name and phone number*

 

BTW, I totally understand your unwillingness to consider a less rigorous school. I would feel the same. I think rigorous, classical training really *is* better and worthwhile. But it's tough to be in that position too -- especially as one who loves dance, but is not destined to be a dancer. I really do applaud all of your daughter's hard work!

 

ETA: I realized that some of what I said may have sounded harsh, and that's not at all what I intended. I did not mean that *I* believed you to be whiny or experiencing sour grapes, etc. I just wanted to help remove anything from the letter that could, perhaps, be *perceived* that way by the recipient. I think by keeping the emotion in your letter to a minimum, and deleting your judgments about other dancers in your dd's class, you come across as more professional, and more willing to hear the specifics of what would have to happen for her to progress. I think that would be more useful to you long term, and maintain a better relationship with the school, should your dd wish to continue.

Edited by abbeyej
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I would not go the letter route - - instead, I would simply tell them I'd like to speak to them about it. Writing it all out ahead of time can help you focus on important points, but an in person discussion would be better, imo.

 

If you decided to stick with the letter, I would eliminate any reference that doesn't relate directly to your daughter and her performance. I wouldn't talk about the family situation or dd's disappoinmtent, and I definitely wouldn't talk about other dancers.

 

The only issue here is whether dd can and should continue with this school, and whether she can and should move up to another class. Focus on that and that alone.

 

If your dd has the cojones to speak to the teacher or director herself, I think that would stand in her favor. "I'm taking everything you said in your eval to heart, but I really think 3rd class is best for me. What can I do to convince you that I will be ready for the class come fall? Are there specific ways to address my core strength, which seemed to be a big issue?"

 

2nd best would be you and dd giving this speech together.

 

I do really think you need to reconsider your thoughts on "the best school or no school at all." Rigor has the meaning of strict precision and challenge, but it also has the meaning of unyielding and harsh severity, kwim? You want the first, not the second. For a child at x level of ability, the 'not-best' school can still be rigourous and challenging, requiring a high level of performance and work to move forward. That is a positive thing!

 

Change the area of challenge to math - - if dd was in a rigorous math program, but wasn't able to understand the concpets no matter how much she studied, wouldn't it be better to try switching math programs? You wouldn't say, "If she can't handle Singapore NEM, then she won't do math."

 

And if she took that attitude, you'd probably over rule her. "I'm sorry honey, but you have to math, and NEM isn't doing the trick for you. Let's try something else for a while to cement those concepts; we can always try to return to NEM at a later point."

 

I'm just trying to offer possibly helpful advice here; I'm not trying to judge or say you're making the wrong decisions, and I really hope that's coming across. I wanted to say that I'm impressed with the way your dd is handling it overall - - she is exactly between my two girls, so I know the age, and she's doing really well.

 

Her incredible growth spurt is one factor that I would certainly raise, and something they may not have realized. Along with that, all the parts in your letter that speak of her hard work, wilingness to accept correction, and dreams of being an accomplished dancer even though no plans of going professional - - those are the aspects I would concentrate on if she wants to request that they move her up.

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One question to ask yourselves: who's pushing her to continue ballet at that school? Is it you to vicariously live your lost ballerina through seeing her there are does she genuinely want to keep trying? It sounds like she has other interests that are more of a priority. Ballet is wonderful and beautiful and enjoyable but not when it's being pushed on someone who would rather not, or maybe should not, be there.

 

HTH!

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I really like Abbeyej's re-work of the letter. I think you should send the letter, making it clear that you want to meet and talk. Abbey's letter will put the teacher at ease before the meeting, because it's not emotional. The teacher will then be expecting a meeting based on facts, not emotions. If you just ask for a meeting about moving up, the teacher will not know what to expect and might be on the defensive.

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I honestly would be glad in your situation. The school obviously does not want to risk injuring your daughter. If she doesn't have the needed core strength, she could be hurt. Could she take a pilates class?

 

I actually had the same problem, but in reverse. My daughter (age ten) was moved up at the beginning of this year, and I opposed her placement in that class. I thought she was too young and that her growing feet would be ruined. It turns out her teachers had been monitoring her feet even more closely than I had, and knew her growth had slowed considerably. It was time; I was wrong.

 

Parents are just so hard to please! :tongue_smilie:

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Thanks so much for helping me rewrite that letter Abbey!!! I wrote it in the middle of the night as a Word doc, and I knew I shouldn't send it for several days. But it made me feel better :001_smile:. I'll use your wording exactly when I send it next week. I just made it into a Word doc and filled in the names. It's absolutely perfect. What a relief.

 

One reason I included all of the family info is bc the conservatory offers a parent room with a videomonitor of the classes. However, it is on the second floor with no elevator! So, I've never been able to watch it. I also can't walk in to talk to the teacher without scheduling a nurse to come to my home to stay with my oldest son. My motivation was to remind the director of my situation, bc I can't see everything that goes on in class. Attendance is a big issue at that school - I emotionally wanted her to see the sacrifice I have made to get my daughter there. It is pretty darn remarkable I've been able to drive her to ballet for 5 years. Maybe that's whining, but there it is!:tongue_smilie: The part about the friend is unnecessary to include, but its the heart of why we are struggling. It was good to at least admit it to ourselves. It is much better to leave all of that emotional personal info out of the email. I really needed that input - thank you!

 

We just got back from Special Olympic spring games for my 11yo. What a wonderful perspective changer. My daughter also got up cheerily out of bed this morning. She whipped up the family french toast with her bread she made yesterday. She's had a great day!

 

Thanks again!!

Edited by LNC
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Certainly, it's okay to include info about your inability to observe class, if that's important. You could even mention "due to personal and family health issues", or whatnot. ... I just know that I, too, sometimes put in far more personal information than is necessary, and those things can actually cloud the *real* issues -- in this case, "Why was dd kept in Ballet 2, is that really necessary, and what can she do to move forward?"

 

As another poster mentioned, it really *might* be the right placement for your dd to be in Ballet 2 again -- her recent growth and lack of core strength (which really is so vitally important) might mean that another year would be beneficial and help her avoid injury... Or it may be that she's right on the cusp, and realizing that this is important to your dd and something she's willing to work on might prompt the teacher to say, "Sure, let's give Ballet 3 a try"...

 

One other thought that came to mind... How often does your dd have class? Is it as frequent as the other girls her age? For instance, if she's only going in once or twice a week, it would not be unusual for her to spend more time at each level than the girls who are there three or more times a week...

 

I hope that you're able to have a really great discussion with the teacher and/or director and come away with a clear understanding and a plan you can feel good about (whether it involves continuing with dance or not). I also think you're wise to wait a few days before approaching them, since it will help you to be less emotional (not completely emotionless or anything -- if you cry in the meeting, that's not the end of the world! -- but at least past the initial awful sting) and more objective about all of this...

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I agree about a less professionally focused school. My dd is currently in Ballet 3 at a preprofessional school. The school currently has dancers in professional companies throughout the US and Canada. It is a "big deal school". We find out in the next week or two if she will progress to Ballet 4. Some of the reason for the delay is safety. No one wants to see a child injured trying to achieve a level their body is not ready to achieve. But, not every child is able to progress at a professionally driven school.

 

For what it is worth, we are this school because it is classical ballet and stage jazz. It is professional and emphasizes modesty. They will not allow the students, no matter their age, to enter or exit the building without a "proper cover up". They have windows to view the classes. Parents are encouraged to be informed. This is why we are there, not trying to get dd into a professional company. There are many families who are there with the goal of NYC Ballet or ABT. But, we are their because dd loves to dance - so far.

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Wow, I hadn't realized just how much your dd has grown. That can have a huge effect on strength and coordination. And it's true that for some having a ballet body means they're not as strong yet because they're so thin, but some are just wiry;).

 

Wasn't it Magic Johnson or some other basketball legend that wasn't good enough to make the varsity team one year in high school? He grew an enormous number of inches (I think something like 5 or 6 inches a year for two years) and once he was done, his coordination, etc was fabulous.

 

Had I known about her growth, I would have put this in my other post. I'm just sorry I didn't even think of it. If this is all she ever wants to do and the director refuses to move her up, then let her do level 2 again, because when she slows down in her growth her strength and coordination will come back and she may do a rapid catching up to her peers.

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Everything went great! My daughter's spring performance was this weekend -they all did beautifully. This conservatory is really amazing. Great performances in all ages. All six high school graduates are going into prestigious college dance programs or companies. My daughter had a great weekend and loves ballet more after each performance. She was beaming on stage. When all her friends asked her if she was upset about her placement, she said she kept replying - "I did my best so I'm not upset about it."

 

I sent the email as AbbeyJ worded it, but I even shortened it up some more. The director replied right away thanking me for such a kind and thoughtful email :). She and the teacher met with me and said that Ballet 3 is strictly to get ready to go on pointe at the end of the year. The lean and lanky girls (3 of them) were all held back bc of weak cores. They said they both will show my daughter how to do her pilates dvds properly, since I can't do it. She can also do Ballet 3 over the summer. They will reassess her in August to decide for sure which class she should take in the fall. They both said she's doing wonderfully - and that is why she got all 9's and 10's this year on her evaluation.

 

Now, that I understand Ballet 3 is about pointe prep I'm totally fine with either decision. I almost would rather she go on pointe at 12yo anyway! But, if they say she's strong enough at 11 she will, it's almost like ballet peer pressure.

Edited by LNC
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Everything went great!

 

Now, that I understand Ballet 3 is about pointe prep I'm totally fine with either decision. I almost would rather she go on pointe at 12yo anyway! But, if they say she's strong enough at 11 she will, it's almost like ballet peer pressure.

 

 

I'm so happy for you! Isn't this forum great? Abbey--hooray for your great writing, and everyone else. I like the fact that they'll let her try Ballet 3 in the summer and reassess. And, if she has to wait because she's growing, that's okay.

 

ONE KEY POINT about pointe is the development of her foot. Perhaps your school already stresses this, but she should be checked by an MD who knows what to look for to ensure that her foot has reached the proper level of development before she ever does pointe. This will reduce the potential for foot damage.

Edited by Karin
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I'm so happy it worked out well, and that you got a quick, courteous response that addressed your questions adequately. And the response really does fit with what you said about your dd's body type and rapid growth this past year. That core strength is just as important as foot development to avoid injuries when making the transition to pointe -- and if she has good strength and good foundational training, she will likely catch up very quickly to the girls who have been on pointe longer once she *does* start.

 

The summer compromise sounds like a great option too...

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