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Old 07-20-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
turkeymama
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Dance makes me tired these days, more adventures

I posted recently about installing a ballet barre at home for DD to practice some of her dance techniques. At the end of this past dance season, DD was invited to join the competition class (level 1 of course) and the head of the school said she was ready for pointe. DD was thrilled and over the moon with excitement.

The last several weeks, she has been participating in summer workshops to prepare for next season. Today, she runs to me after workshop to tell me more news! She can audition for the local ballet company. Now, if she auditions and makes it, she will not be up for any major parts in any of the shows yet. At best, she would have very small, background or "extra" parts. This would be the case for at least two seasons, possibly more depending on how she progresses.

I have been thinking about this and considering whether or not we would let her audition if she got "the card". I was almost hoping she wouldn't. The money isn't the issue because it really wouldn't add much to what we pay for classes already. She would have to commit to Saturday classes. She will already be taking dance for up to 5 hours a week as it is. Last year, she was in dance class for almost 4 hours a week. Also, DH is a huge college football fan with LSU season tickets. DD used to go with him to these games, but she has really backed off as she gets older. We live a few hours away and going to the games requires travel and usually an overnight stay. He will be disappointed, but I don't think she will miss it much.

The first part of auditions are tomorrow morning at 10:00. DH and I will have to make a decision pretty quick.

Last edited by turkeymama; 03-12-2013 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:53 PM   #2
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That's awesome! Congrats! As you know, that's how it works - even a tiny part onstage, walking on to bow at the queen or what have you, is a big deal. It's competitive and that's how companies work, first you walk, eventually you may get to dance with a wreath, etc., heh.

Five hours a week isn't a lot - I understand the missing games and the time with her dad but if the games aren't her thing... I'm sure they can find some other way to spend time. Maybe Sunday breakfast out or something to make a new tradition.
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:57 PM   #3
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May I ask how old she is? I was just wondering since she is starting on pointe. Thanks.
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #4
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That's awesome! Congrats! As you know, that's how it works - even a tiny part onstage, walking on to bow at the queen or what have you, is a big deal. It's competitive and that's how companies work, first you walk, eventually you may get to dance with a wreath, etc., heh.

Five hours a week isn't a lot - I understand the missing games and the time with her dad but if the games aren't her thing... I'm sure they can find some other way to spend time. Maybe Sunday breakfast out or something to make a new tradition.
Thank you! I think DH will be okay. Like I said, he'll be bummed, but he will suffer through anything if he thinks it will make her happy. Total daddy's girl, she is.

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May I ask how old she is? I was just wondering since she is starting on pointe. Thanks.
She is almost 12. They are not allowed to begin pointe before age 11 at this school. Even then, age is no guarantee that they will be allowed to begin.
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:40 PM   #5
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Thank you! I think DH will be okay. Like I said, he'll be bummed, but he will suffer through anything if he thinks it will make her happy. Total daddy's girl, she is.



She is almost 12. They are not allowed to begin pointe before age 11 at this school. Even then, age is no guarantee that they will be allowed to begin.
Congrats to your DD. My girls absolutely adored their time in ballet.

Not to rain on anybody's parade, but just in case you are anywhere near the fish out of water I was as a dance mom it is incredibly important that your daughter is physically matured enough to go on pointe, particularly the growth plates in her feet. I just mention it because I had no real idea & just wound up very lucky our ballet teacher had hard and fast rules about when she would let someone on pointe -- and for some students she ruled them out permanently because she knew they had a physical issue that precluded it. Some teachers and schools are not so knowledgeable and/or committed to their students' wellbeing and put the little phenoms on pointe too early.

I hope she has a long future ahead of her in dance, especially ballet. They benefit from the training in so many ways -- and have a great time, too.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:12 PM   #6
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I have to say, I feel very fortunate that we are at one of the most reputable dance studios in the area. The owner has been around literally for decades. I trust that she has the dancers' best interests at heart. Some of DD's friends did not make it this time for various reasons. Also, the owner of the studio insists she approve the pointe shoes on the dancer before they can begin. She wants to be sure the fit is right (and apparently there are different types of pointe shoes based on foot shape?). I am definitely a fish out of water here!
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:32 PM   #7
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That's good - never before 11 (different times after, people are ready at different points but never earlier) was always the rule. I saw some horrifying video online of a flipping 8-year-old who has been on pointe since she was 6. A couple of people commented on how dangerous and bad that is and whomever was defending it because her teacher is russian and says she was ready because she's so precocious. Yeah, not unless she's got bionic, non-human feet that aren't going to be completely destroyed.

Fun ballet drama story - A friend of mine was talking to someone who works at ABT and learned that only one principal dancer uses shoes with a plastic toe box and she's roundly mocked for it. The costume mistresses think her feet look cheap and tacky and talk about her scandalous shoe choice. Except it's pretty much impossible to tell a shoe with plastic from a traditional one, they're just all scandalized that someone would dance with .... plastic! in her shoes, heh.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:45 PM   #8
Tinker'n'Fun
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That's good - never before 11 (different times after, people are ready at different points but never earlier) was always the rule. I saw some horrifying video online of a flipping 8-year-old who has been on pointe since she was 6. A couple of people commented on how dangerous and bad that is and whomever was defending it because her teacher is russian and says she was ready because she's so precocious. Yeah, not unless she's got bionic, non-human feet that aren't going to be completely destroyed.

Fun ballet drama story - A friend of mine was talking to someone who works at ABT and learned that only one principal dancer uses shoes with a plastic toe box and she's roundly mocked for it. The costume mistresses think her feet look cheap and tacky and talk about her scandalous shoe choice. Except it's pretty much impossible to tell a shoe with plastic from a traditional one, they're just all scandalized that someone would dance with .... plastic! in her shoes, heh.
I was worried, that is why I asked. DD is petite and has small feet. She was one of the last girls to be able to get on her Pointe Shoes. The teacher made sure their feet were growing properly and the bones were in the proper place. DD was 14 and still needed special shoes to fit her feet. Same size for 2 years since she didn't grow out of them, just danced out of them. And yes her teacher went with each child to fit them properly with only one store and one fitter. I am blessed. DD has not had any feet problem, but did stop at 18 when she went into college, but is talking about going back. Time will tell.

Congrats to your daughter and on the decision you need to make.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:13 AM   #9
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Poor DD hasn't grown much in a couple of years, but her feet sure have. She is a tiny little thing but she is in a size 6 shoe. Most of that is her toes. We went to get some tights and the little foot undeez things a few days ago. The lady at the store told DD she could play piano with her toes! Oh my goodness, it was funny.

DH was a little disappointed when I explained this would cut into daddy/daughter college football weekends for the foreseeable future. I had to explain to him that dancers come from the surrounding areas to dance in the ballet company. It would be near impossible for this to happen during the week.

So it looks like I'm getting up early in the morning to take her for auditions! I don't think we get the final results for about a week and a half. I feel pretty good about it though. She has worked really hard this year.
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
That's good - never before 11 (different times after, people are ready at different points but never earlier) was always the rule. I saw some horrifying video online of a flipping 8-year-old who has been on pointe since she was 6. A couple of people commented on how dangerous and bad that is and whomever was defending it because her teacher is russian and says she was ready because she's so precocious. Yeah, not unless she's got bionic, non-human feet that aren't going to be completely destroyed.

Fun ballet drama story - A friend of mine was talking to someone who works at ABT and learned that only one principal dancer uses shoes with a plastic toe box and she's roundly mocked for it. The costume mistresses think her feet look cheap and tacky and talk about her scandalous shoe choice. Except it's pretty much impossible to tell a shoe with plastic from a traditional one, they're just all scandalized that someone would dance with .... plastic! in her shoes, heh.
The Russian style of ballet is pretty punishing to the dancer's entire body, period. The thought of a 6 year old working on pointe, Russian style no less -- .
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:33 AM   #11
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My DD18 is an accomplished dancer. I know what an exciting point(e) you are at right now! First, congratulations to your DD; pointe shoes are a LOT of hard work and pain, but so worth it if that's where her heart lies! Throughout middle and high school, DD's time in the studio increased. Originally it was three, one hour classes a week with a 30 min pre-pointe training (in pointe shoes but ONLY at the barre), which after six months changed to three one hour techniques classes with a 30 min pointe class tacked on to the end of two of the tech classes. This changed throughout high school as she progressed, so she finally ended up with 4 days of ballet, each consisting of a 90 minute technique class followed by a one hour pointe class. Yup, 2.5 hours of ballet a day, four days a week. She also dances with two local companies, so she has anywhere from 2-6 hours of rehearsal on each weekend day- Sat for one company, Sun for the other- with length of rehearsals depending on the season and productions. We both have become pretty experienced with the ins-and-outs of ballet training over the years, and I am fairly competent at fitting pointe shoes (but only as a consultant- NEVER buy a pointe shoe that hasn't been professionally fitted, until your DD's feet AND body stop growing and she's dancing enough that she can order multiple pairs at a time... in other words, experienced). We are fortunate in knowing that DD has an excellent teacher- trained by Balanchine, soloist for NYC ballet and Joffrey, etc., extensive professional career- so we are confident that DD is safe and well-trained in ballet.

Shoes... I remember thinking "my kid will wear these, because it's what we can afford." All I can say is HAHAHAHAHAHA ! Pointe shoes MUST be fitted and there are about 20 different things to take into consideration, including length of toes, height of toes, instep, etc, length, width, heels... endless! DD has worn probably 20 different brands/styles, all of which were complicated by her hereditary bunions exacerbated by dance bunions. She always ends up back into the much-maligned "plastic" pointe shoes (famous maker with initials GM). Our experience with these is do NOT put an inexperienced dancer into them. Girls need about 4 years or more of classical training in a paste shoe to develop their feet enough to deal with the elastomeric shoes... otherwise, the shoe is just flinging them around and her technique will suffer (to say nothing of her safety).

Company dancing... Such fun, but such a commitment! DD is now at a level where she gets the coveted, solo, featured roles, but you know what she says? As much fun as it is to be one of the "stars," she misses her days in the corps. Beginning and corps dancers are in the background, but they are dancing ALL the time, in multiple roles sometimes, with their friends. DD misses the constant dancing and camaraderie of the corps... although I don't think she'd willingly give up her Nutcracker solos to be back in the corps!

May I suggest that you search the board "Ballet Talk for Dancers" (dancer.invisionzone.com)? Similar to the DISboards, BT4D has a variety of different topics. The boards are populated by professional dancers, teachers, and parents with an amazing depth of experience and knowledge about all things ballet. Sometimes the get a little snooty (ballet purists, so to speak), but the knowledge and experience available will be invaluable. You'll find me over there occasionally, too!

Congratulations to your DD, and you, too; you're at the start of a remarkable, incredible journey!!
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:08 AM   #12
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Thank you and I will check out that website! Well, she is in auditions now and all the moms were politely ushered away from the scene. She is so excited and I am excited for her! Some of her friends are here and some are not.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:10 PM   #13
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Merde to your DD! She's about to embark on a wonderful experience!

My DD is also into dance, has been in ballet & dance since 2 1/2, has just gotten into the Gifted & Talented program at our local VoTech for high school and will be in the Company owned by the Director of the program which is affiliated with Joffrey. Having said that I will tell you that she's been on pointe since she was 11 and she gets fitted for shoes every 3 months since they wear out pretty fast and never ever buy shoes online - always have them fitted with a professional. A recommendation that her ballet teacher as well as the owner of the school gave her (she danced with ABT for many years and the owner of the school was Principal at Dallas Ballet) is too take care of your feet, after an hour of pointe soak your feet in water and do exercises so that there is less oppoturnity for fracture or problems. Also have eat lots of protein.

Let us know how she does!!!
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:52 PM   #14
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The workshop she is doing right now is being put on by the ballet company. She will have to wear her audition number next week and she will get her results the following week in the mail. She told me she only messed up on one move today (and then she rattled off something in French that I didn't understand, ).
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:12 PM   #15
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Merde to your DD!

Spoken like a true ballet mom! Turkeymama, keep us posted as to how your DD does this week!

PS- when I mentioned ordering shoes, I meant through the fitter. DD has friends who wear shoes that die in about 2 weeks during Nut season, so ordering multiple pairs is a must!
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