My fiancé and I have been in dance for our entire lives. I’m a coach, choreographer, and director and she’s one of the best dancers in the world (I’m a little biased). Whenever I consider advice for dance families that I coach, I ask myself ‘what would we do if this was our kid’.
Here’s a little recipe that I’ve cooked up…
Your biggest focus should be looking for best quality, correct quantity, and affordable prices. Generally, 1hr 30 min to 2hr ballet classes 5-6 days per week is the way to go. Pointe should happen 3-4 times per week and should be attached to or immediately following their ballet class. Character, Variations/Rep, Jazz, Modern, and Contemporary are each one day a week things. (If my kid wants to be active before 10, I’m putting her in gymnastics)
When it comes to Dance Summer Intensives, understand that this is usually a big opportunity for the institutions to make their money. What works for one kid doesn’t work for another so read through as much info as you can! Find good forums (Ballet Talk is a GREAT one) and do some digging on what might work for your dancer in terms of location and skill level.
As they get older they need to start to look at companies or colleges that they might be interested in. Considering cost-of-living is VERY important. I teach my clients to focus of QUALITY OF LIFE over how famous or well known they’ll become. A lot of companies will give you fame and pay you pennies. When you find organizations that you might be interested in, start auditioning for their summer intensives or find other ways to engage with them.
If you have other children it’s important that you set the boundaries for the amount of time and money that is devoted to your dancer. I can’t stress this enough. Your kids (and maybe your partner) will start to resent you and the dancer you’re supporting without strict lines.
Remember that this industry is about process. That’s where you find success and the best quality of life. Don’t focus on the carrot dangling on the end of the stick and be weary of anyone that pitches you on the carrot. This industry is about the stick itself and LOVING what you do. Put yourself around people that LOVE dance… you’ll only go as far as your love for it!
I hope this helps you on your journey!