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.