The worst way to deal with any problem is to talk about it with other parents in the hallway. No one except staff knows anything more than you about any situation. Mulling it around as a group just increases speculation and confusion, and everyone detests gossip! As we all teach our children, "Be part of the solution, not part of the problem!"
The best way to deal with any problem is to come directly to us (email is the best way - - firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask for yourself. We will try to get back to you quickly with an answer.
When the child has developed enough sense of self to know if ballet is something they want to do, their mind will be focused and body matured enough to start to develop technique. Generally, age seven.
Your child can only improve if they come to all their classes regularly. Often students have the ability to do well, but for various reasons, they miss a lot of classes. Sometimes this is the main reason that they do not advance, and not accomplish what they could. So it is very important for them to attend all of their classes.
But, of course it is impossible for them to attend all their classes unless they stay healthy. Please assist them in getting enough sleep, a proper healthy diet, and keeping a positive attitude. These are absolute necessities.
Then, the last thing that is important is for them to stay focused. Help them make each class happy and productive by encouraging them to be totally present and focused and believing in what they are doing. Remind them that energy spent in negative thoughts during class is wasted energy. They should take that energy and put it into making the next step better. Students who learn to work intelligently, and who don't get overly upset with themselves over mistakes are the ones who will improve the quickest.
In order for your child to handle all the hours of dance and still get all of their schoolwork done takes major organization and commitment on their part, and a great deal of effort and cooperation within your family. Thank you for helping your child develop a love of the arts.
The art of dance (and especially ballet) is a multi faceted discipline. It combines dance movement and music with an appreciation of painting, literature, history and sculpture. As parents you could help your child learn as much as possible about this wonderful art form, by helping to keep their interest peaked through an exposure to classical music, books or videos of ballet stories such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella. In addition, always try and attend live dance performances, as this is an essential part of dance training. The closest professional company is Pacific Northwest Ballet, in Seattle. They are considered one of the 10 best companies in the country and they perform many times throughout the year. Check out www.pnb.org and don't forget to look into teen tix at www.seattlecenter.com
In our fast-paced society, we have found ways to speed up almost everything. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there are a few things that can't be sped up, and as this is unusual, our patience is often tested. As Ralph Waldo Edison said, "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
Dance skills, just like nature, can't be rushed. Ballet is just too difficult and demanding to expect immediate skill. True ballet grace is only achieved through constant work, time and training, and as with other beautiful art forms, what we see as spectators is the culmination of arduous effort, extensive learning, and talent honed through dedication and patience.
Once your child is dancing at an Intermediate level they probably know much more about ballet than you, and they work hard, very hard in ballet class. They give an intense focus and keen determination.
Often, after class (when they get in your car) they need a chance to vent. Maybe they feel that they didn't do as well as they would have liked or that the teacher gave them too little attention or paid them too much attention by correcting so many things. The important thing to remember is that they are venting, not complaining.
Venting is just a release (often what many adults do after a full work day) and does not have a call-to-action attached to it. Your child usually does not want you to try and do anything to help (just like you would not want your spouse to go talk with your boss). They just need to get it out of their system.
This is very hard on us parents, we feel the need to fix things, to make the road less bumpy for our children, but experience shows that our children almost always just want us to listen and not act. Certainly, If this behavior becomes chronic then it is time to address it.
As Diane Sawyer says, "Competition is easier to accept if you realize it is not an act of oppression or abrasion - I've worked with my best friends in direct competition," or Sarah Lamb who dances with the Royal Ballet in London, "There's always going to be someone who's younger, can do more turns or jump higher. The earlier you can accept that, the happier you can be."
Try and teach your child to not waste time on comparisons. They have to work for themselves, with their teacher. Not to compare themselves constantly to someone else in class as they will rarely have a realistic idea of the differences, and what someone else does is quite irrelevant anyway. Martha Graham has a famous quote about comparison and competition, "Remember, you are only in competition with yourself and the person you could become." The better your child's peers do in class, the better the whole class will be including your daughter/son!
Your child can develop a decent technique as a recreational dance student by only taking 2 to 3 classes per week, (if they are consistent in attending classes), BUT, their ability will develop slower. They can enjoy dancing and enjoy other activities as well. They may be able to enjoy performing at civic events, and dance tournaments and competitions as there are many non-professional opportunities to perform in every community. However, if they have any desire to dance professionally they will need to focus on dance.
I do not want life to imitate art.
I want life to be art. - Carrie Fisher
Art is the signature of civilizations. - Beverly Sills
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. - Twyla Tharp
Ballet is the foundation for all other types of dance because it develops the body's abilities fully. Other types of dance such as jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical often introduce a dance student to dance routines or combinations right from the start. Learning a dance routine will not improve dance students. They might be challenged with some exciting steps that are too complicated to perform, but they will not improve and grow as dancers. In ballet the learning process is opposite to what is described above. Ballet starts with training, creating the dancers body and developing physical abilities using traditional ballet exercises. Only after this training is achieved to a certain level can the student perform the choreography.
For example, to create any music you need the instrument: a piano, violin, drums, etc... The same is true in ballet; we need to have a finely tuned instrument "a dancer's body" that we then put on the stage.
In sports, a coach would never put his players on the field without the proper repetitive drills to develop their skills.
Ballet training is an opportunity to master and develop physical abilities. Battement tendu, grand plie, rond de jamb a terre - - these are all tools for training. Choreography is not.