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When to switch schools?

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From what I have read on this form, I need to find the best training I can manage for my aspiring ballet dancer. Right now she is at a wonderful small school, with a fantastic teacher, who has had some students join professional companies. She absolutely loves her teacher and this school feels like home. But the school is very small and at 13, my daughter is already maxed out on the number of dance classes the school offers. She is able to go 6 days a week, but I don't think she is going to be getting enough hours (12 hours a week right now). She has made so much progress and has gotten into a more difficult SI, but I don't think it can meet her needs for more hours in the future. There is the possibility of her picking up some extra classes at another studio though.

 

We live within driving distance of a pre-pro school which has a company attached. The tuition cost would be more, but not impossible. The only problem I can see is that if she goes to this school, at first she would actually be cutting back hours, as her level doesn't meet every day. She could make up some time by taking lower level technique classes though.

 

If we decide to wait a few years, I have heard that it is harder to get into the upper levels if you haven't already been in the school, so waiting until she is 15 or so may be a risky choice. So I guess I am asking for some experienced perspectives on the best time to switch schools. Do we make the switch now, and take the cut in hours because in the long run she will have more time and opportunities with this school? Or do we stick it out at her current school for a few more years because it has been going so well, and then hope it works to switch when she is older? There is another school within driving distance that is a little easier to get into and less prestigious, but still would offer lots of hours and more connections, but higher cost.

 

Here are some pros and cons I see right now:

 

Current school pros:

Lots of one-on-one attention, quality teacher, very small class size, gets to dance with older dancers so is challenged, lots of support from teacher, reasonable cost, conveniently located, daughter absolutely adores her teacher

 

cons:

not enough hours, parental involvement and a few parents don't like the attention my daughter gets, lack of connections to companies, higher tuition

 

Pre-pro school pros:

more hours in the long run, several very experienced teachers, connected to a company, more networking with other companies, opportunity to take additional lower level technique classes

 

cons: initially less hours, considerably less convenient location, more cost, less one on one, you hear rumors of favoritism, they discourage SIs for lower level dancers

 

We are hoping to make a decision regarding this after she gets home from her SI. I am leaning towards waiting another year and then trying to switch when she is 14. Any advice would be appreciated!

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It sounds as though the current situation is working, and I can see you have thought this out quite well. Quality must also be a factor in the "quantity" equation, so if the quality of the pre-pro program is significantly higher, then it will not hurt to initially drop a bit in quantity. But, I hear what you are saying about how this will affect your family, and that's important too.

 

This current school has recently produced professional dancers, so I personally think if your dd really, really wants a professional career, and if the current school is meeting her needs, I see no reason to change just yet.

 

Every school will have favortism/bad parent issues/rumors, so that will not change. What is good to focus on is whether the current situation is providing her with the training, networking, and other things she needs to become a professional dancer, if that is what she wants.

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Thanks Clara 76!

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