marigold

Training decisions at 15/16 years old

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What are the most important aspects of training decisions half way through high school towards a career in ballet? I am asking this without factoring in Cost or Geography, two factors which like to play havoc with decision making and get their own orchestras anyway. :blink: Can anyone comment on the significance of company affiliations, faculty with current contacts, school name recognition, curriculum?

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All of those things can be a factor, but the most important thing is always the quality of the training. Many of the schools with excellent intensive programs and faculty are company connected, and many are not. I think that most of the top level teachers will have some current contacts, but in the end, that is not the most important thing. School name recognition and curriculum also not the major priorities. So, while these things can figure in, none of them are the most important. Assuming a very talented, dedicated, focused student with a good work ethic, combined with the quality and quantity of training, should ultimately have pretty equal opportunity.

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Okay. That chart I was planning to make with all the pros and cons of every choice can't be procrastinated any longer. :blink:

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All of those things can be a factor, but the most important thing is always the quality of the training. Many of the schools with excellent intensive programs and faculty are company connected, and many are not. I think that most of the top level teachers will have some current contacts, but in the end, that is not the most important thing. School name recognition and curriculum also not the major priorities. So, while these things can figure in, none of them are the most important. Assuming a very talented, dedicated, focused student with a good work ethic, combined with the quality and quantity of training, should ultimately have pretty equal opportunity.

Victoria,

Do you think that going to a summer intensive (on almost full merit scholarship) at a program that does not have an affiliation with a company is NOT a good idea for a 16 year old who has the desire to see how far in the world of dance she can go? We have heard that she should only be going to certain places, and she and I are thinking that she needs to graduate high school and then pursue company ideas. Am I needlessly worrying, because there are many paths to the same destination? Thanks for your input - and I hope this question is in the right place!

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marigold, the pros/cons chart is a good idea, to organize your facts and compare things. But, never underestimate the importance of The Gut Feeling or Mother's Intuition, or even your DD's intuition. Sometimes, something can look good on paper, but it still doesn't feel right. In our experience, it usually isn't.

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brokemama--while you're waiting on Victoria. It's important to consider that 16 is an arbitrary age. I know that you've often heard "by 16" in many different generalizations in ballet. Some are still valid with today's dance market, but some are not. It's important to remember where your own child is at 16. My DD2 was a high school sophomore at 16 which meant that the answer to your question would be different from someone whose child was 16 and a Junior.

 

Marigold--the chart is absolutely a good idea. Even if all you do from making it is to eliminate some things off your list. I would encourage you to put cost and geography on the list if they are important to you. Both were on DDs list. Cost because it had to be by our initiative and geography because at the time she had a 6 year old sister for whom she wanted to be close enough to drive home to on some special occasions. This during those days when she had no full paycheck and couldn't afford a flight. (not that she can now, but it really wasn't an option then :blink: )

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Yes pointprovider and Momof3darlings... at least with the chart we can be sure to see all the factual aspects of the options. There are aspects my DD hasn't thought of, I am sure, in her enthusiasm for one over the other. There is a little gut instinct of mine in there all the time, too... and I'll be glad to let that have precedence, once I'm allowed to and have made the chart. haha. And then, all of this may be putting the cart before the horse, which is also the pesky little reality!

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Brokemama, that is a call that I can't make. Attending a very good program with a scholarship is hard to turn down, and if she is happy with that program, then I certainly don't think that it is critical to attend a company school, especially if she has two more years of high school.

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Momof3darlings and Victoria Leigh, thank you both for your comments. We are all pleased with what has transpired with the merit scholarship, and I was feeling great. I lost focus a bit and started comparing and listening to others. My DD is a sophomore and we do have time. If she is meant to be in a company, it will happen when we pursue it. Whew! Thanks for bending an ear (oops, I mean an eye! :blushing: )

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This is a very helpful topic. Thanks for starting it Marigold.

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My daughter is 16 and a junior in high school. We are trying to determine the right route for her as well. She got a good merit scholarship from a non affiliated SI and that is where she would love to go! She attended there last year and felt the training was wonderful! Should she at this age be auditioning for company SI's that will possibly keep her on as a trainee or is that something she will do next year?

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Hi Watching in Awe. There is a lot of good information in this other thread on Company School vs Local School. I posted there too.

 

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=48635&hl=&fromsearch=1

 

And in one of my posts there, I posted a sticky note in that thread to another thread - something like recipe for ballet - that was also good.

 

Personally, at this point, we aren't really looking at non-affiliated SI's as his home school and home school SI's instruction quality and quantity is very good. What we think he might need is to feel out companies and have companies see him before he needs to audition as a trainee. The other thread is good. See what's posted there. It might help.

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I notice there don't seem to be recent posts here, but this topic is key to my DD's decisions about SI's this summer, so hoping for responses. She is a sophomore in hs, going to turn 16 just before summer.

Two programs she has been accepted to are quite attractive to her.

The first is with a company she has aspirations towards dancing with one day, and which has a trainee program she can audition for. Thinking she could go there this summer, if she loves it and isn't asked to join trainee program this year (probably wouldn't be), she can return next summer and hopefully get into trainee program then. Quite expensive and while financial aid and an outside scholarship are possible, will not be known until after our decision deadline. 5 week program.

Second is affiliated with a company but not directly feeding into it. Not a company she would be interested in, however training would be rigorous and potentially better at helping her with weaker areas, and a friend is attending. They have offered a 50% scholarship. Three week program.

 

Trying to decide whether to go for the one we can afford, possibly corrective of issues. but shorter and not with company she wants, or the one with her dream company, potential trainee offer down the line at least, but expense is an issue.

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Hi PointeMama, my gut says to go for what you believe is the better training. It sounds like it's the SI with the 50% scholarship. It's better for her to get the best training she can at her age than to attend a program that's not as good. She still has the next summer to audition for the program with the school of her dreams.

 

However, your comment about the shortness of the program is well taken. How long is the program at the "dream" company's school? Is there a way for your daughter to get a couple more weeks training at another school? One summer, my daughter went away to a shorter SI. She didn't want to attend any part of her own school's SI that year just because she wanted a change, so we found a summer program at a school about an hour away that was wonderful. It was not a sleep-away program, just a small ballet school with solid training. She did 3 weeks at the away SI and another 2 weeks at the day program. It was terrific.

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My first instinct is to go with the better training - that always seems to pay-off in the long-run.

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