Ask the Experts: How Many Hours for Comp Kids


Q: How many hours a week are competition kids required to dance at your studio? Ours have to put in six hours, but I'm thinking of upping that.

At our studio, the number of hours depends on the comp dancer's level. Most of our competitive students are in the studio three to four days a week, and we add Sundays on for solo, duet and trio choreography from mid-November to mid-March.

Mini company dancers (average age is 6): five to six hours per week

Junior/intermediate: six to seven hours

Intermediate/advanced and intermediate/senior: eight to nine hours

Senior and advanced: 10–12 hours

We require the minis to take at least one jazz, one tap, one ballet, one hip-hop and one company class. (Most take acro, as well.) Once dancers get to the junior level, we add a second ballet class and tap class. At the next level, we add a lyrical/contemporary class and a third ballet class into the mix. Intermediate/senior-level dancers pick up what we call a large group class, which incorporates two levels of dancers. Senior dancers take class from guest choreographers, too.

When dancers spend so much time in the studio, it's important to have a space where they can eat and do homework. (It also helps keep the parents happy.) We don't get many complaints about the time commitment, because we stress time-management skills—something that all kids can apply to their future.

Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less
The author with Maurice Hines. Photo by Anthony R. Phillips, courtesy Hopkins

In March, prior to sheltering in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, my husband and I traveled from New York City to Miami to screen our award-winning documentary, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, at the Miami Film Festival.

Our star, Tony Award–nominated dancer and choreographer Maurice Hines joined us in Miami for the festival—stepping and repeating on the opening night red carpet, sharing anecdotes from his illustrious seven-decade career with local tap students, and holding court at a cocktail mixer with lively female fans.

Keep reading... Show less
Haruko Photography, courtesy ABT

Gabe Stone Shayer may be American Ballet Theatre's newest soloist, but he never dreamed he'd be dancing with the company at all. Though he grew up in Philadelphia, his sights were always set on international ventures—especially The Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

Even in his early training, he was learning from Russian educators: Alexander Boitsov at Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, and Alexei and Natalia Cherov, from the Koresh School of Dance. At age 13, he transferred to The Rock School for Dance Education, where he danced until his acceptance to The Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 14. At 16, Shayer returned to spend his summer in the States and attended ABT's summer intensive—fully intent on going back to Bolshoi to continue his training in the fall. Four weeks in, he was offered a studio-company contract. "I was so surprised," Shayer says. "Having come of age in Russia, I was very Eurocentric. Of course ABT was on my radar, I just never imagined it was for me."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.