Q: Balancing school and competitive dance can be very challenging for dancers, especially in high school. How can I help my dancers manage their stress?
A: I believe it's important for dancers to have as much time to study as possible. Freeing them up to focus on schoolwork will help them avoid burnout. Our senior and advanced dancers are at the studio three nights per week. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, they dance from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. (During competition season, we also hold rehearsals on Sundays.) Having Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays off allows them to study and to have personal time that is essential for balance.
We request that all high-school-aged dancers give us a list of their exam schedules in advance. Then, we try our best to avoid scheduling visiting choreographers on dates when our dancers have pressure at school. We also allow dancers to miss ballet classes during exams, as long as they make them up when they are done with testing. This is very challenging to accomplish, but we do our best.