As we are starting a new semester we have a lot of questions about the idea of “Leveling Up” as dancers enter their 2nd, 3rd, or even 10th year of dance. A lot of parents and dancers assume that if a dancer has completed Level 1 that they are automatically ready for Level 2. Unfortunately that is rarely the case. It can be hard to hear and understand, but most of our dancers stay in a level for 2, or even 3, years before moving on and up. This does not mean that they are stagnant or no longer learning new or valuable skills!
There is a lot of room to grow in each path and in each level, and honing in on strength, flexibility and basics will only make a dancer better over time. Reviewing the proper preparation for a pirouette and holding your passe on balance will only help your doubles and triples when it’s the appropriate time to work on the more advanced skill. Reviewing tendus and plies at the barre is something that Ballet dancers will do their entire lives, even as professionals. If you move up too quickly you end up cutting corners on your technique, and eventually you’ll hit a wall where you don’t have the proper foundation to back up more advanced skills.
The hardest part of assigning levels, however, usually comes when a friend gets the invite to advance and you feel left behind. This is usually when we have the discussion with the parent or dancer about only comparing you… to you. Sometimes a dance friend or someone similar in age did get the invitation to move up, and that can be discouraging. However, it may be useful to make some notes at the beginning of the year along with setting some specific skill-based goals. That way, you can look at your progress and recognize your own strengths and limitations. Rather than looking at the dancer next to you, we want you to be able to look at the dancer you were last week, last month, or 3 years ago and acknowledge the growth you have attained.
This is just one of the life skills we teach at Lonestar Dance Center. Interested in joining us? Check out our Fall schedule here! Registration is open through September 28th.