The “Right” Number of Hours at the Studio

From My Inbox:

This year, we did not opt for my dancer to be considered for more dances than she had last year.  She will compete six dances total (Jazz small group and large group, Lyrical small group and large group, Tap, and Jazz Production).  She is 10 years old and she is at the studio 9 hours/week with occasional weekend rehearsals.  Several friends decided to be considered for more dances this year and are participating in things like contemporary, musical theater, acro, and solos/duets/trios.  My dancer wishes she was in some of those dances, but I was worried about the additional hours.  She is already talking about next year and dancing more.  She will be entering middle school and I know the amount of homework will increase.  What is the right number of hours (balance) for a dancer to participate in at this age?  Am I being too cautious?

How Many Hours

This is a question many families ask when they are considering an increase in their dancers schedule – how much is too much.  There is not a right answer or a right number of hours – only a what is right for your dancer and your family.  A few things to consider as you look at increasing your dancer’s schedule:

1.  Does she happily get ready for class each week?

2.  Is she excited to go to dance or are there nights when she doesn’t feel like going?

3.  How far do you live from your studio, can you make the schedule change work?  If you live further away from the studio, drive time can be used for getting homework done.

4.  How are her time management skills?  Will the increased workload create a lot of stress with trying to balance it all?  Does she get her homework done in a timely manner or does she prefer to take a little more time with her work?

For a child who loves to dance, participating in more dances can seem like a lot of fun – more costumes, more choreography, more time with dance friends, etc.  However, in order for it to be a positive situation for everyone involved, you need to know that both of you are ready for the change.  If your answer to questions 1 and 2 is “No”, then you may need to reconsider. 

Since you are able to provide a number of dances to be considered for, perhaps adding one additional dance will allow your dancer to ease into her schedule more slowly.  Also, see how things go this year, you may decide by the end of the dance year that she is ready for more.  Speak with your daughter’s dance teachers.  They are a wonderful resource and can give feedback as to if they believe she is ready to increase her time in the studio and be considered for more dances.  Hope this helps!

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Writermom Angela

    This was a concern for us at this age as well. We’ve always made maintaining the same GPA a requirement for the increase in dance, if the grades dipped then so did the amount of time at the studio. Dance is absolutely her passion and now midway through High School she’s talking about dancing through college and after. The homework turned out to never be a concern because she found a lot of times the older girls at the studio were easily able and happily willing to help if she had a homework question! I have to admit, they were better help than she and her father would have been! 🙂

    • Angela, that has been our stipulation as well – grades must stay up. So far so good! LOL about the older girls helping with homework – so true!

  2. We were in the same boat last year and it has turned out better than I expected. My daughter loves being in the studio more and she knows she has to stay on top of her work. She is in 7th grade. I think being busier helped her to procrastinate less. I did get feedback from her dance teachers just to make sure they felt like she was ready. Good luck with your decision.

    • Thanks for stopping by Staci. Glad your schedule change has been a success!

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