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Festival in Montreal

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Treefrog   
Treefrog
As for missing school, I tell my parents that they (or the school) never flinch at students missing classes if it is a school-based activity. Think: choir competition at Disneyland, regional/state sport tournaments, Odyssey of the Mind competition etc. RDA offers artistic directors a letter to their school to explain the importance of RDA festivals to help students that have difficulties being excused. Ask your director for a copy if this is a problem for your DD.

 

What RDA seems not to get is that it isn't a question of schools allowing absences or not. It's a question of running kids ragged. When this came up several years ago for our studio, the proposal to go to the National festival didn't last more than about two minutes. Not a kid there felt they would be able to dance all day, perform at night, and keep up with their school work. And it's not just a question of turning in assignments; it's a question of learning the material, participating in the discussions, and acquiring a firm base for next week's lessons. It really makes me boil to think that adults are encouraging kids to treat school as something disposable.

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Victoria Leigh   
Victoria Leigh

For students seriously involved in dance, RDA Festivals are just as important as choir or orchestra competitions, sports tournaments, and yes, even academic knowledge competitions. With all due respect, I don't believe that parents who allow students to attend RDA are treating school as something disposable. I have never found that any of our students, from several different schools I work with, have been hampered in their school work by missing a few days for an activity that is valuable for them in their choice of art form to study.

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moasg   
moasg

I think this is really an individual decision and probably influenced by many academic factors such as what year in school your dancer is, what sort of classes they are taking (i.e. APs) and so on. The last time there was a National Festival (Pittsburgh?), my DD was in 8th grade, at a very competitive private school. Her company was performing, but she was not dancing in the piece. I did not feel that it was worth it to pull her from school for the Festival and she was one of the only ones from her company to not attend. That did not make me a very popular mom. If my child was a Junior, had APs coming up, and was on track to try for a prestigious college, I would also be leery about her missing that much school. Our RDA festival seems to always be right before or during AP exams, and often right before the company's Spring Performance. Nothing like getting back into town on a Sunday night from your RDA festival with Performance Week and AP exams starting on Monday. This has happened more than once. Very frustrating, and exhausting, as has been mentioned. However, It was a schedule I had no control over, so it didn't do any good to get all bent out of shape about it. I just looked at it as one of those times that you need to make a decision as a family as to what needs to take priority at that moment. Usually, for us it was academics. All that being said, Montreal will be a great experience for the kids who are able to attend.

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Kathleen Sinclair   
Kathleen Sinclair

Concerning the hotels:

 

The RDA room block at the Hyatt is 235 Doubles and 90 Kings. At the Delta, the block is 250 Doubles and 97 Kings. All of the double rooms in the RDA block at the Hyatt are sold out. There are still some King rooms available there. Whenever you book an event at a hotel, you work a deal that says we promise to have X number of rooms booked and the hotel promises to drop the price on those rooms as an incentive. No hotel will ever give you every room they have in the hotel. Yes, there are other rooms in the hotel out of the RDA room block. But they will be at the normal rate.

 

There are plenty of rooms for RDA at the Delta, at $139.00/night. As for the Delta not being as nice as the Hyatt I would have to disagree. I have stayed at both hotels. The rooms at the Delta are much larger with plenty of room for 4 dancers to spread out; 2 big chairs and table, a desk and larger dresser. The bathroom has double sinks and a large countertop. In comparison, the Hyatt’s rooms are quite tight; a small chair tucked in a corner along with a desk and the bathroom can only hold one person at a time: a single sink with barely any room on the countertop. The Delta is further from the venue for classes (3 blocks more than the Hyatt) but once at there the dancers will spend the entire day. The Delta is 2 blocks from the theatre and an easy walk.

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Momof3darlings   
Momof3darlings

It's hard to make blanket statements about anything RDA (or blame RDA blanketedly) since so much is region specific in terms of planning, dates, location, etc. And how studios react to it based on even more narrow restrictions like school district policies coupled with how far from each festival a studio lies, etc. etc. etc. This factors into issues with school schedules, etc. There is no way for each RDA region to please each schedule because school schedules are so different in each district. I would venture that the schedule of the Southern schools would be most problematic with Nationals dates since they get out of school for summer in May. Just like it affects SI scheduling because schools start back early August.

 

However,because my DD was interested in a dance career, I saw the missing of school for RDA no different from all the many other opportunities that are presented to students for missing school in their activities other than this particular activity isn't a part of most schools. Athletes miss for Region, State competitions. Band and Chorus students miss not only for festivals but also for the yearly "fun" trips or performances like MENC Convention and the like. The Foreign Language clubs miss for travel. While some of those activities are curricular, it doesn't mean they are more sound for an individual. RDA attendance is no more educational disposability than any of those activities are. It just isn't sanctioned by the schools in some instances. Luckily, we had several dance parents who were leaders enough to fight in the school district of the studio for RDA attendance to be excused. We did not live in that same district but presented the package that they presented to the board to our principal and he requested excused absense for my daughter as well. She did take AP classes, and while it certainly was stressful and difficult, it wasn't impossible because of her focus and desire to attend AND keep up her grades.

 

The "running kids ragged" quotient isn't a fault of RDA, it's a fault of how we live our lives now and how much we allow our kids to participate in and dedicate themselves to. It is also within our hands to control. An organization shouldn't be responsible for limiting that. The organization should provide the opportunity, each studio and family within should institute choice. Our studio always allowed choice in attending RDA. Possibly because the company was large enough to do so. You just had to state that choice prior to being cast in a piece. Once you allowed yourself to be cast, then you were "choosing" to attend.

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cakers   
cakers
Concerning the hotels: All of the double rooms in the RDA block at the Hyatt are sold out. There are still some King rooms available there. Whenever you book an event at a hotel, you work a deal that says we promise to have X number of rooms booked and the hotel promises to drop the price on those rooms as an incentive. No hotel will ever give you every room they have in the hotel. Yes, there are other rooms in the hotel out of the RDA room block. But they will be at the normal rate.

 

We were told that there would be an RDA discount. Period. We weren't told that you had to book the morning the reservations opened or you would be SOL and paying a higher rate. So people in the know get a discount and the rest, tough.

 

. As for the Delta not being as nice as the Hyatt I would have to disagree. I have stayed at both .

 

Our information about the hotels also came from someone who has stayed there, who told us that the Hyatt is much nicer and more convenient. As if flying clear across the continent isn't expensive enough for the Pacific Region, we get slapped with higher hotel fees also. I'm already not happy about the inherent inequalities and it's still over 6 months away.

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Momof3darlings   
Momof3darlings

Again, I would venture to guess this is a case of the studio representative not notifying of the information provided when they attended the meetings to their home studio. Our hotel rooms were always book by the Studio Owner and we just paid the studio for our rooms when we paid for everything else. Different things are just done differently within the regions first and foremost and then within the studios themselves secondarily.

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mom2   
mom2

regarding hotels - which Delta is it? I have stayed at the Delta Montreal many times and my only "complaint" would be that the elevator can sometimes take awhile (it's a very large hotel, so the elevator works overtime at peak guest periods).

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cakers   
cakers

Again, I would venture to guess this is a case of the studio representative not notifying of the information provided when they attended the meetings to their home studio.

 

Notifying them of what? That there only a limited number of discounts available so that it's a race to the switchboards; Ready, Set, Go?

I think this is a terrible policy. In the interest of fairness to all the participants, the discounts should be available to everybody or there should be no discounts.

 

And at our studio, where the AD's RDA expenses are paid by the company fundraisers, the mom's do all the work. Communication and organization are not our AD's forte. I was initially enthusiastic about RDA because I thought it was a good experience and opportunity for the dancers, and while I do still think that, I no longer think that it is a good "return on investment", as the cost over the last few years has way exceeded the benefit the dancers are actually getting. And not just the cost is terms of raw dollars, but also in the time and amount of work required of the parents. Summer intensives are way more bang for the same buck.

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Mobadt   
Mobadt

I may be speaking out of turn and Ms. Sinclaire should answer, but I just thought I would throw out the fact that we were told by our AD that they had to book the rooms by a certain date - ie in the form of a non-refundable deposit to hold the room. For us it was the beginning of October. I would definitely try and continue to contact someone at RDA and sort this out. I am sure they will be able to help with the details and get you any additional information necessary.

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Kathleen Sinclair   
Kathleen Sinclair

mom2,

Yes the Festival hotels are the Hyatt Montreal and the Delta Montreal. And at every Festival I have been, slow elevators are ALWAYS a problem. My solution is to give yourself an extra 10 minutes :)

 

Cakers,

There are still rooms available with the RDA discount; king rooms at the Hyatt and both king and double/doubles at the Delta. The hotel registration site opened Oct 15th and those who registered first had more choices of rooms/hotel. I spoke with Gretchen Vogelzang, RDA Executive Director, today and she assured me that there rooms available but not if you wanted dbl/dbl room at the Hyatt. She also said that the majority of the companies have booked their rooms at this time. I do know that many long-time directors in RDA know that to get a specific type/room or choice of hotel at Festival, you need to be "quick" and prepared to book rooms when reservations open.

 

That said, this is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for dancers and directors alike. Let's not let minor inconveniences take this away from us.

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cakers   
cakers
Let's not let minor inconveniences take this away from us.

 

Minor inconvenience? I don't consider a $500 difference between the expected hotel cost and the actual cost (at the Hyatt) a "minor inconvenience". The minor inconvenience is having to walk a quarter mile further to classes and performances. But I stand by my opinion that it is grossly unfair that a discount is provided for those who are fortunate enought to be "in the know" but not available to those companies who didn't know to be standing by their phones the morning reservations opened. I'm sorry, but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

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Temps de cuisse   
Temps de cuisse

Cakers,

I am a director of a RDA company and received the "reservations are open" email on Sat Oct 15th along with everyone else. There were not companies "in the know" as all members were listed as recipients of the email.

I chose the Delta Montreal as you save $20/night over the Hyatt....I stayed at the Hyatt at the RDA fall meetings last month and let me tell you; I couldn't imagine 4 people sharing that tiny tiny bathroom. I would suggest you save money and enjoy the Delta :)

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mom2   
mom2

I am not associated with RDA in any way. I've looked at the location of the two hotels, and the Hyatt does seem closer to the dance venue, but if it's sold out the Delta is a really good choice and it's not a bad walk. You're in a great part of Montreal, lots of people are out walking. There are also lots of other hotels in the area if you care to explore further. I envy all of you who will be in Montreal at this time!

 

mom2

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Momof3darlings   
Momof3darlings

And at our studio, where the AD's RDA expenses are paid by the company fundraisers, the mom's do all the work. Communication and organization are not our AD's forte.

 

Unfortunately cakers, this sounds more where the problem begins and ends. Especially since it appears there still are discounts and the majority of companies have already booked their hotels. I'm sure it makes for a less than desirable experience, but since all companies get the same information at the same time, possibly there just wasn't the organization at home to help out with the planning in the manner it needed to be handled.

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