These days there's so much pressure to be the best at everything, but not everyone is going to be the best, so how do you know if your child is really talented, or if they just really have a passion for dance? Having a passion for dance and having the talent for dance are two different things, and an Elite Student must have both. But if you ask me, passion is always the most important.
Having a child that is talented often sends parents into a panic! The activity does tend to become a full family commitment, and studies have proven that children who have parental support are more successful in everything! It’s very rare for a child to succeed in everything on their own.
So you've been told your child is talented….what next? The most important thing is to keep an open relationship with the main teachers. They will always give you an honest and open view based on years of industry knowledge. The core component of our Elite Course is free, so you know we’re not money driven. We always have the goals and aspirations of our students at heart.
Keep in mind that not everyone will succeed, but to progress, you need strive as if you will. It's a bit like school, you choose your subjects based on what you want to do with your life, and in dance there are always difficult choices to make. Saying you want to be a professional Ballerina and only taking one class of ballet a week is like saying I want to be a doctor, but not taking any sciences as subject choices.
The difficulty is working out what is too much. When you think about the children in Australia, United States States and Europe that become full-time dancers at the age of 13, you realise we don’t push as hard in the younger years as other countries. I don't agree with their methods as I see too many burn out quickly, and it does make for a very competitive environment. Personally I believe that dance is something you can do for life - when nurtured correctly with the goal of remaining as injury free as possible. Being taught correct technique early on is the key to injury prevention. We ensure that all our teachers have a good background in ballet to aid this.
So what is our programme based on? an Elite programme should be one of performance, but more importantly training. There is a quote which I love that says ‘it is at practice that you earn the trophies, you just collect them at the competitions’. My number one value that I see in my Elite students is hard work and dedication. With practice, most faults can be corrected, artistry can be learnt and precision can be perfected. Without hard work and dedication, there is no way a child can succeed long term. They may be a star when they are young, but the goal should have a long term focus, seeking technical precision peeking at the time of auditioning.
What is the time commitment you should expect? This will vary from studio to studio, as well as the area your studio is in, and the competition that it faces either on a local or national level. We expect our students to dedicate approximately 2-5hrs to the Elite programme every week on top of normal classes. Further, there are competitions which always fall in school holidays or public holidays as well as workshops and seminars, all of which are essential to the young dancer. The more an individual puts in, the more they get out. For many, this is the one commitment that stops them from going into an Elite programme, however I would always recommend a trial, join us at a competition if you are unsure instead of discounting it completely. You may find it's not as bad as you first anticipated.
But dance is already expensive…. Yes it is! And there's no denying that the higher up you get, the more expensive it gets. However at DWS, the core classes of the Elite programme are not charged. This includes learning group dances which are entered into competitions. All we ask for in return is dedication and hard work as we get so much from watching our students succeed. As an article beautifully put it (you can read it here) you learn so much more from these classes that help in later life, that you really can’t put a price on it.
If you would like to know more about our training programme and the application process please see here