Ask Amy: Am I Training Enough Hours a Week?
I’m 15 and want to be a professional ballet dancer. I have ballet five times a week, contemporary once a week and rehearsals year-round. It is 15 to 20 hours a week. When I hear about dancers doing 30-plus hours a week, I worry that I dance too little. Is my schedule enough? —Caroline
I think you’re on the right track, as long as the quality of your training is high. Besides, 15 to 20 hours translates to about 2.5 to 3 hours a day if you’re dancing six days a week. How else are you going to have time for homework, friends and family? Those things are important too!
Take a hard look at your training to see if it’s competitive enough. Keep in mind that many dancers who train 30 hours or more a week have most likely made special schedule arrangements to do so. For instance, they may be studying academics online or are homeschooled so they can devote more time to ballet. They could also be enrolled in a full-time training program with built-in academics. While this may put them at an advantage, doing so means they give up things like having a traditional high school experience, cultivating friendships outside of ballet class or living at home during their teenage years.
Since you have professional aspirations, it’s smart to question whether or not you are doing enough to achieve your goal. You especially want to make sure that you’re getting enough pointe classes. Take a hard look at your training to see if it’s competitive enough—how do you stack up against other dancers your age that you’ve met at summer programs or competitions? If you feel you’re behind, you may want to consider ramping up your schedule or training at a more rigorous school.
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at [email protected].