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3girls

ABT Jackie Onassis School

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dluna

Sorry I did not read your previous response before. I think Mr. De Vita did a great job at JKO and I think Ms. Harvey is improving and fine tuning what he started. We had a bad experience at another school in the past when the leadership changed and the new management threw out the good from the past and did not add in a positive way. Unfortunately that happened after we had changed to that school when it had the old leadership. The old and new schools in that case were both 3-letter schools and the training before leadership change was better than the old school if you were just taking the classes. The old school was fine if you took lots of privates but we could not afford that. We needed regular classes to be sufficient. We also had a much easier commute to the second School and the types of classes offered were better for one of our kids. But after the leadership changed we left. One of our older kids had to quit ballet at the end of training due to numerous injuries partly caused by overwork at that school, so I am very careful about that now. One thing I love about JKO is they do a better job than most schools of handling injuries and keeping the students healthy and not overworked. They had medical supervision of the ABT curriculum which I think helped this a lot. My other older child is a professional dancer. 

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DanceMumNYC

Wow, half is a lot. Thanks for the info! 

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DanceMumNYC

Dluna, thank you so much for sharing your experiences! Best of luck to your kids this year! 

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dluna

Thank you! Same to yours!

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Fraildove

DanceMumNYC, I think what most parents new to the ballet World (I’m assuming you didn’t dance as a pre-pro or professional. Apologies if I’m mistaken) is exactly how things work from younger childhood into the upper levels, especially when the schools are competitive nationally and internationally and especially so in the upper levels. Take SAB for example: almost no dancer that starts at 8 or 9 ever makes it into the company. Many dancers are cut each year from the lower school until they have a tiny handful that make it into the upper division. You have to remember that even though I’m Mew York, most dancers in the lower divisions are local and when drawn from a local pool still has less competition. When you open it up nationally and internationally the school has their pick of the best of the best. So even if a child is a good dancer and hard worker, often times that isn’t enough when drawing from such a huge talent pool of dancers that are already incredibly gifted. Sometimes it is thought that you have a better chance getting into the upper division by auditioning in. I think that isn’t really true but I understand how it could seem that way. Dancers growing up in the school have a kind of familiarity with the directors and staff and will not have the Benefit of being the ‘bright, new IT dancer.’ At the same time, growing up when highly talented will also endear the dancer to the staff. Honestly the staff will be interested either way if the dancer has what is being looked for. The same thing happens even at Th Royal ballet School in London as well. The most important thing is that a young dancer get the best quality in their training that’s available, and trust the school has his/her best interest at heart. At least until proven otherwise. With your dancer being so young try to just enjoy this time and not fret so much over little details like skills learned. Ballet is a slow boil experience, a marathon and not a sprint. Yes you will run into the young phenom that may or may not grow into an adult phenom (often it’s not). But if your child is getting top notch training with amazing faculty and is steadily progressing, then she will be fine in the long run. Remember very few dancers that start ever grow up to be a professional, but they almost all grow up thankful of their ballet journey and the richness it has added to their life. So listen to your daughter and if she is happy, if the training is nationally recognized then just breathe and take one year at a time. Best of luck!!!

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DanceMumNYC

Thanks fraildove! I’m mostly aware of how the process works, and I do trust her school. They are not bad. However, I think that better quality training may be available nearby. Thanks for the advice. I will try not to fret right now, but I’m keeping my eyes open for other possibilities. 

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