• Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is Ballet?

    To most, ballet is a picture in one's mind of fluffy tutus, glittering tiaras, shiny pink pointe shoes and silly giggling girls. That is the child's dress-up play version of what ballet really is. Ballet requires much more than being able to play dress up. Learning to dance does not work like school; where everyone is put in a class with people their same age and they all move along through life at roughly the same pace. There isn't a magic age where you get you pointe shoes. Everyone does not graduate into being a "professional" all of a sudden when you are done going through the levels of ballet classes.  We are here to work with both the students who wish to dance has a fun after-school recreational activity, as well as to train up young ballet dancers who are hoping to become paid ballerinas one day. Ballet is surely fun to all of our students and we are here to share in that fun with them as they grow from small children into strong male dancers and beautiful and graceful young ladies.

  • How come the levels of ballet are not done by age? And how come I am not moving up a level yet?

    The majority of our youngest students are grouped together based on age because it is scientifically proven that during specific age ranges, certain abilities, both mentally and physically either have or have not been developed yet. During Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet and Primary Ballet, we help nurture and build and sometimes even speed up a process that is already taking place inside your young child's body. At these young ages, we have a base curriculum to teach and work with them on, but as their teachers, we take our cues from the class at hand and guide our students according to the abilities of the whole class. If a student shows that they have developed more coordination and a better understanding of how to move their body as well as how to focus their mind better, then, regardless of age, we will move that child into a class that will better serve their abilities as a student. We will never hold a child back simply because of age. However, age does not play a part in the process of being able to move to the next level of ballet. Ability of both the body and the mind is very important when graduating to the next level.

    In the later levels of ballet, because the developmental speed of every person is different, we base our levels solely on ability. If a 15-year-old student is in the same class as 7-10 year olds, it is because there is a possibility that, for now, they have the same understanding of the terminology, execution, definitions of ballet. However, there is also a good chance that because a 15 year old student is at a time in her life that her brain retains and recalls information better, as well as the fact that she may understand her body better than a younger student, that she will most likely be moved up into a level with students being closer to her age and development.

    Levels are split up based on body and mind abilities to prevent injuries that could occur during class, as well as later on in life, due to moving in a way that one's body was not ready to move correctly yet. We split levels up this way in order to protect our students. If you are concerned with seeing other students move up a level while your child stays behind, there are two things that are important to think about. One: how often does my child participate in class and do we come to classes consistently each month as opposed to how often other students attend classes? Or do we consistently miss coming to classes each week because we are busy doing other activities? Two: Is my child interested in dancing as more than just an after school recreational activity or is she just interested in being with her friends? If you have a concern, you are always more than welcome to approach her current teacher, who will help you and your child understand where she is at as a student.

  • Why is my child is repeating a level? I do not understand level placement.

    Being asked to repeat a level can be frustrating, but it is almost always in the best interest of the dancer.

    Here are some valuable points to remember in your child’s ballet study:

    The teacher is always acting in your best interest. The teacher wants your child to be successful, progress steadily and become the best they can be. There is a reason they were placed in a specific level, even if it is not the class you/they feel they should be in.

    Age. This can be a major factor, particularly for girls. In most cases, matter how talented the student is, she will need to wait to begin pointe until the age of 11. Young girls who advance very quickly will not have the physical maturity to begin pointe work (starting pointe before the growth plates have closed can cause lasting physical injury and damage). This means that a young student who moves up in level quickly will then need to be held back because she is not physically ready for pointe. In the long run it is usually better for a student to stay with her age group until age 12; otherwise she may need to repeat a level multiple times until her body is physically ready for pointe work.

    Class leaders. Within every level there will be a variety of talent, or in other words weaker and stronger dancers within a class. At certain points in your child’s training it is important to be both. Being the weakest in class can motivate a student to progress more quickly. However strength and repetition are crucial to developing a strong technique– it takes time to become an advanced dancer. Sometimes your dancer can learn the most as the strongest dancer in the class and prove to his/her teachers and directors that he/she are deserving of opportunities.

    Repetition. Even professional dancers go back to take school level/basic classes in order to fine-tune their technique. It is impossible to be perfect at ballet- technique is a constant study. A dancer can never do too many pliés or tendus!

    It is fairly common for students who have been asked to repeat a level to become quite discouraged. However in the end these students usually make steady progress and end up on par with classmates who moved up earlier.

    Sometimes these students end up doing better in the long run. As a teacher, it is a tough decision to hold a student back rather than promote him/her in level – it is usually because the student has not yet achieved a particular goal. This does not mean the student is not talented or gifted. The decision is always based on what the faculty feels the student needs to achieve... the student may be weak in just one particular area and once he/she corrects the problem can then advance very quickly.

    There is always something a student can learn in ballet, even at the lowest level. A good teacher will help your student progress no matter the class. The best students are frequently those who can absorb information and apply it in their dancing. In the end if you are concerned about your dancers class placement, request to meet with your teacher. Being informed is never a mistake!

    Below are excerpts from an article entitled “Understanding Level Placement at Ballet School” To read this article further, please click this link: http://ballethub.com/understanding-level-placement-ballet-school/

     

  • Why doesn't my daughter automatically get her pointe shoes? She is 12.

    Pointe shoes are awarded to students who have developed both their bodies and their minds correctly. Each student takes his or her own time to develop. We cannot rush into pushing our children into pointe shoes simply because of their age. Injuries occur most in students whose muscles, bone structure and minds have not matured or strengthened enough to handle the grueling pains of pointe shoes. Not only does a child's understanding of ballet terminology and execution of the steps need to be very fine tuned and consistent, but their muscles and bones need to have developed correctly as well. In order for a young dancer to progress into receiving her pointe shoes, she must be in ballet class more than five or six hours a week; she must do it for more than just a recreational activity. The execution of ballet steps needs to have become second nature to her so that when she puts her pointe shoes on, the shoes only enhance instead of hinder her movements. A student looking to receive her pointe shoes needs to have a close relationship with her teacher and her teacher should know her body. By being able to observe a student's body several hours each day, a teacher gets to understand how the student is developing, can work through weaknesses and help the student strengthen both her mind and her body. "Twelve" is merely an estimate of when a person's body should be mature enough to handle the stresses that pointe work places on muscles and bones.

    Be ready to have your child in ballet classes of her own level as well as some at a lower level; a place where she can work on perfecting her technique as well as serve as an example to younger students. Be ready to be at the studio every day available to your child.

    If ballet is more of a recreational activity that your child simply enjoys participating in after school, please do not push to receive your pointe shoes. If you are not ready to make a commitment to protect your child's body and mind by having her dance more than five to six hours a week consistently, then pointe shoes may not be for you.

    Please see attached article for more in depth information by clicking this link: “When Can I Start Pointe Work?”

  • What is the dress code, and why is it required?

    Yes, we do have a dress code, and it can differ from varying levels. For more information, please view our School Divisions by clicking here, which details the specific dress requirements for each of our programs.

    Classical ballet training demands correct body alignment and placement, from the earliest stages. The only way an instructor can see this alignment is with the student attired in form-fitting clothing, including tights and leotard (or close-fitting t-shirt for boys). The hair is worn up and off the face and neck, not only so the steps can be executed properly (i.e. head can move freely without hair flying in the face), but also so the instructor can see alignment of the head and neck, which is also important.

    There is a strict dress code for a reason. If a dancer is wearing loose clothing, or dark clothing against her body, she will have a harder time seeing her body alignment and her muscle tone in the mirror than if she were wearing pink tights and a tightly fitted leotard. We enforce our dress code for the benefit of our students. By following the dress code, a student will most likely become more familiar with her body and the way it works, thus she will most likely also progress at a quicker rate. If a student's hair is down draping around their neck, shoulders, and back, it is in the way of the student's ability to see the correct alignment of those body parts. It is also a distraction during the execution of some ballet steps. For the student who follows the dress code and hair placement rules, he/she is more likely to succeed.

    Benefits…

    Ballet teaches its students lessons that go far beyond just dancing. A ballet student learns respect for his/her body, and mind and how to care for both. The student learns to respect and honor authority figures and to trust his/her teachers. The student learns that there are consequences for every action, whether it be the result of pushing harder and gaining a higher leap into the air or choosing to disregard watching the alignment of his/her body and getting injured. The student will learn to set goals and then go out to fight and reach them, giving him/her a tough work ethic. The student will learn a healthy level of competition, because there are so many young men and ladies that want to dance. The student will learn self-discipline, an attribute that will make him/her shine in any situation.

    The rules inside the Ballet world seam harsh and are tough, but when a student has learned to operate according to the rules, life in general will become much more easy. Anyone who has mastered respect for themselves and others, self- discipline, to set goals and then keep going until she reaches them ends up being a successful person in whichever area they choose to pursue a career in.

    If your child has any special needs and needs to be cared for in a specific way according to a medical doctor's diagnosis, our teachers have been prepared to handle special needs accordingly. Please know that in the event that you as a protective parent might feel like we have wronged your child, we as the teachers are only trying to instill important attributes in our students.

  • Why do I have to pay a full month's tuition in months like December when there are so few classes?

    Our tuition is based on the entire school year, from August through the last class held in June. We offer several payment options for your convenience. Tuition, across each payment option, is divided into equal installment amounts. Semester plans pay two equal payments; monthly plans pay nine equal payments. Over the years, we have found these methods of payment the least confusing for our clients.

  • What “style” of ballet is taught at The Ballet Conservatory?

    The Studio style is based on the traditional Vaganova method with influences from methods of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB). Our syllabus yields a solid classical ballet technique, which is the best base a dancer can achieve. CPYB has developed a curriculum that is focused on building technical strength, stamina and flexibility, as well as nurturing artistic development.  The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas follows closely this curriculum.

  • How do I receive feedback on my child's progress?

    In the lower levels, our instructors make an effort to check in with parents at regular intervals. Most of the progress your child makes will be slow and steady, as classical ballet is a long process. Parents of students in levels Blue and up are encouraged to sign up for an annual Parent/Teacher Conference Evaluation with the instructors in May. Conferences are offered in 10-minute intervals, enough time to answer your questions and give you an update on your child's progress.

  • Is there a recital/performance where the family can see what our dancer has accomplished?

    Each year in May, we present our Academy Showcase. Our performance is held in a real theater, so parents can clearly see their child and classmates.

    We also offer two Parent Observation Weeks during the year, one in fall and one in spring. Any and all classes can be observed during these weeks. We encourage every parent to come see his or her child at work. The atmosphere of concentration at BCSTX and what your child is expected to do will amaze you, but it is usually truly awe-inspiring to see what your child actually CAN do.