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"Asked to Stay" w/o a residential program setup

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Victoria Leigh

Actually, there are some of us who, while of course loving the easy ones, really love the challenge and the work involved in making a dancer out of those who are not born with everything perfect for ballet! The magically gifted are so rare, actually, that if we really dwelt on those alone, I don't think we could consider ourselves teachers! :) The most rewarding work we do is when we can really develop a dancer who has a lot of ability and a lot of passion, but perhaps not the perfect rotation or the perfect foot, or whatever. If they are intelligent, musical, have some sense of artistry, and a decent facility even though not perfect, who knows what can be accomplished! :flowers:

 

(I'm not saying that we are magicians and can make an Anna Pavlova foot out of a flat foot, anymore than someone can make a musician or an opera star out of someone who is tone deaf, or a pro basketball player out of someone who is five foot two! But, if there is a GOOD facility, and all the other things there, most especially the work ethic, it can be amazing the things that can be accomplished.)

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labelleballerine

Amen. :flowers:

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Shadow

If the SI's were only interested in making money, why not ask ALL of their participants to stay year round and the law of averages would take care of everything! There has to be more to it than that.

 

Those singled out and "recruited" might be "asked to stay" because the program feels that the student is a good fit for their program for various reasons. It's up to the individual and their family to decide if a move like this is right for them.

 

 

Also Ms. Leigh, Amen from me too!

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Stork

Given the number of companies who have added year-round training with no residency/housing or academics, I am one who feels that there are way more dancers staying year-round, when asked, than there ever will be trainee or apprenticeships or corps positions, even taking into account all ballet companies (and not just the company school in question.) It would be interesting to add up the students at residency programs and the students training year round at PBT, Ballet Met, Miami, SFB, PBT, Houston, WSB just to name a few. I am sorry, but I think for some (NOT ALL) of these programs, they are helping their bottom line MORE than they are getting dancers contracts. Finishing off ballet training appears now to be as big a business as SI's. Sorry if I ruffle some feathers. But I think that companies and their schools that are now in the business of asking students to stay, with little set up in the way of housing, are just wrong in many instances. I think that the additional money coming in is tempting to the programs. And I think that looking for dancers that will make those programs "look good" via YAGP or the various IBCs, or placements in companies, is a bit selfish on the part of these companies/schools. They can ask 20-25 to stay and get serious training, offer scholarship to 4-5, and get 2-3 that will help the schools to shine as they place these chosen few into a company, or have one go far in a competition. Yet all 25 that stay think they are all special. And have that something. But the more kids who are asked to stay with the proliferation of this type of training, the less likely any one kid will make it.

 

Sorry, but asking 15-16 year olds to stay under these circumstances is alot of false hope. But it is paying the bills. I think one has to ask ALOT of questions, and go into this with eyes wide open. I think that some of these programs have their own financial health coming before the dancers' best interests.

 

Now, parents will have even more expenses, and students even less academics, for what might be a low paying job that cannot continue beyond the age of 35 or 40.

 

Sorry, but you caught me on a bad day.

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Momof3darlings

Absolutely Ms. Leigh! Thank you for reminding us! There are many teachers and facilities out there who are willing to go the extra mile to touch a child. Those are the teachers/facilities who ENGAGE themselves not just in class but into the lives of their students to make a difference not a dollar. Those are the people that despite the "bottom line" are in the field for the right reasons. Those are the ones who see a flaw and dismiss it, yet find something to key in on to make one forget the flaw existed. :)

 

 

vj

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Shadow

Stork, so does that mean that all of the DK's who aren't "asked to stay" have an even lesser than a fat chance of making it? I don't blame the programs for trying to get the most talented students that they can get, but I agree that one has to ask A LOT of questions, before making any moves at all. The student's families are the ones in the drivers seat on this one, not the program doing the asking. The individual families have the power to make the decision that is best for them, not the other way around.

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Momof3darlings

Not necessarily Shadow. Some students might be asked to stay at one program and not another. I think the biggest, most visible example would be SAB. Lots of talented students are even accepted more less "asked" to stay. Some of those students are principal dancers elsewhere.

Sometimes a specific body type, or maybe the student had the "fire" expected at one program. There are so many variables that it is probably impossible for even teachers sometimes to tell.

 

Bottom line is the "fat chance" you mention is in effect for all dancers period. But if it's in your DK to aim for the goal, it's in them and a dream is a dream.

 

vj

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Guest sehoy13

Even programs with residency and support can surprise you. We usually don't know what the heck is going on until a couple of weeks before a start date. In my limited expereince, I have found this to be true about ballet from the small to the big. This has been one of the most difficult things for me as a parent to adapt to. I used to like to know what to expect a year or two in advance. :) I understand why it is this way -- a program or a school needs to evaluate a dancer closely, obviously. It's just still new to me after three years.

 

I'm sorry if this is off-topic since you are mainly addressing programs with no built-in residency support. I just wanted to add the last-minute stress applies across the board.

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Shadow

Bottom line is the "fat chance" you mention is in effect for all dancers period. But if it's in your DK to aim for the goal, it's in them and a dream is a dream.

 

Oh I do realize this, but I don’t see it as the programs fault for seeing potential in certain students and "asking them to stay”.

 

Stork seemed to be saying (correct me if I got it wrong here) that some si's do this for purely monetary reasons. I was saying if this were the case, why not ask all who attend from both near and far to "stay for the year"? Should the programs stop doing this all together, or should they be able to choose the students best suited to their programs needs?

 

Bottom line, it's the families’ decision, its not even the DK’s decision regardless of what their DREAM is…they are still minors after all! I’m just saying that it never hurts to ask for what you want (dance schools included). It’s the families responsibility to do what they feel is best for their kids. Stork had the best point that decisions like this need to be made with "eyes wide open", and I feel it's the parents responsibility to protect what is in their childs' best interest... and do their research! :)

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BW

Ah yes, parents should do their research, but back to the question of what responsibilities the programs have in doing the asking - without the properly set up system to support these students. Where are their responsibilities - or do they have none?

 

Glad to see you back, Stork! A bad day for you might be a good day to post. :) Thoughtful posts by everyone are what we're after.

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TutuMaker

Shadow...More to the point...how do you do this "research" when there are frequently no facts to be had, when most of the information about placement sucess is by word of mouth? How does one find out how much real help a residency school gives dancers in finding housing? How many residency schools have detailed data about graduate placements in companies available to inquiring parents? How many residency schools will give parents exact data on how many students are merit scholarship students and how many aren't? How many schools supply data about percentages of students not asked to return in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th...year? I think that is the big issue, frequently there is no information, supplied by the schools themselves, to be had!

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Shadow

"research"... if the program can't supply answers to any questions that are important to you...you say, "thanks for asking, but no thanks." I guess i'm not expressing myself well ... I'll crawl back in my hole now :yes:

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Guest sarabesque

I am in the midst of deciding about something like this right now. I have found that calling people really can give you an insight into the school. Make a very careful list of questions fo rthe desk, find some email connections ( sometimes there are people here on BT), maybe a friend of a friend knows a student who goes there, or a teacher might know a fellow dancer whose little sister dances there... so i guess just trying to network, you could call it. and i'm really not that connected, but I've finally learned to just ask and not to be afraid to call someone new and introduce myself.

You can get different information from people who are promoting the program and people who have experienced the program...

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BW

Shadow, please don't think that because someone might have a different point of view about various aspects of this subject that their opinions and thoughts aren't welcome. It's inevitable that differences will arise - that's how these types of topics emerge. Usually there aren't going to be any black and white, finite answers. Everyone comes to a subject with a different background of experience, etc. This is a particularly difficult subject because it is one that is filled with emotion.

 

I brought this topic up because it seems to me that it's become more and more prevalent. If anything, I hope it's stimulating thought. We've had a variety of people post - obviously many more read - and they're all at different stages along the ballet path.

Edited by BW

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Treefrog

Shadow has a very good point -- it's all very well to get information from other sources, as sarabesque so wisely advocates, but how can a parent trust a kid to a school who can't get it together enough to provide such basic information?

 

This is such an interesting and revealing thread. I had NO idea this sort of thing was so common! I find it really disturbing on so many levels.

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