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Ballet Talk for Dancers
cclw

Decision time

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cclw

Learningdance, that's really helpful. I would be so very much more comfortable having her go to a local pre-pro program, and it's important for me to be confronted with the reasons why it might be better for her to go away. 

I still think the first point in the decision tree is for her to decide whether she wants to go for the possibility of a professional career or not. Then we get to decide about local pre-pro versus residential. Her current studio has obviously done an amazing job of training her to this point, but I don't think they can take her much farther. Meanwhile, I have to let her make that decision, which would be harder if I were entirely clear about how I felt. 

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learningdance

cclw. . . makes sense. And I don't know your background or professional work but for me, where I am now professionally is not AT ALL where I predicted that I would be at 15.  So. . . . life is always up for revision and what allows people to "revise" are resilience, work ethic, sanity, intelligence, education, and training.  All of these are not taken away.  Once you have them, you have them. 

I don' t think that you can go wrong.  

 

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cclw

Yes. And no one gets to this point in ballet without resilience and work ethic, so we know our kids have those advantages on their side, right? 

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Slemon

She is 15 years old, what does she want to do?  Giving up real school is tough, you miss out on so many milestones, like Proms..  then there are no guarantees.  What happens if she loses her hip in 6 months?

 

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Slemon

Your second question.. No..  My DD is in a non residential PrePro Program  and 100% of our graduates go to College dance programs, if they want or Professional.  The 2 that are not going to dance in college are heading to Georgia Tech and UNC Chapel Hill.  I love my DD has the chance to  know girls with all different dreams, not just dance

Edited by Slemon

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cclw

Slemon, thanks. She's pretty much decided to give up a normal high school for her junior and senior years already, no matter what happens. It was just not working with the number of hours per week she is dancing, particularly because she has a very long commute to her current high school.  She's been admitted (yay!) by lottery to a local magnet program that would allow her to finish high school within the local community college, where she'd rack up some college credits and have many fewer hours of class a week--so it's going to be that or online high school. It's just that the residential program looks to me as though they don't allow enough hours for classwork for her to really do the high level academics that Stanford Online High School offers, and she obviously can't do the magnet program if she moves away. 

We talked to the artistic director of her current dance school, Wednesday night. It looks for all the world like a recreational school, but it's clear that they train some stellar dancers, and we owe the world to them because they were willing to take her despite her late age starting ballet, and to work with her to get her to this point. She's still thinking about all of this, but my guess is that she's going to decide that she wants to stay there.  Personally, I think that will foreclose the professional ballet career, but maybe I'm wrong.  We'll see. 

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cclw

And I'm back to say that I never really know what's going on in her head. Like me, she enjoyed the meeting with the school's AD on Wednesday night, but remains entirely unconvinced by the AD's assurances that she can provide adequate preparation for a possible professional career.  So she's still back at the first point in the decision tree: 1) stay with current school or 2) go elsewhere and hope for a professional career.  

Specific question for those of you who really understand dance training: If the school can provide adequate numbers of hours of ballet per week, but has (because of a scarcity of boys) little training in partnering, is that alone disqualifying? 

I should add that there are no perfect alternative schools in our area. There are some pre-pro schools within commuting distance, but that puts us back in the realm of spending hours every week in a car, which we were hoping to avoid.

 

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Eligus

Again, there is no absolute answer to your question.  Sorry, cclw, it's another "it depends" answer. 

Is partnering training absolutely necessary?  In my opinion, at some point, YES, it is very, very helpful for the more advanced dancer.  But I'm not sure what your DD needs in terms of her current training (i.e. next year).  I would not rule out your local pre pro right this second because they aren't teaching her partnering next year, for example.  If she's a late starter, I'm not sure how much partnering (versus clean, foundational technique) she needs right now.  I'm guessing she needs to get herself up to the level of her age peers by pounding foundational technique.  Partnering training can come later (again my opinion only).

Personal opinion and what I did?  I kept my DD home and as local as possible for as long as possible.  Learningdance had some great points about what makes a residential program work for some students, but we chose to keep DD home (versus going away) as long as possible because:

1) my DD had siblings, and I wanted to nurture the "family bonds" that can really happen well when they are living in the same house;

2) my DD needed more time developing her own executive functions with my support (time management; task initiation; self care; navigating social status with peers);

3) I am of the opinion that a strong, supportive, steady family base gives dancers (who are generally very young when they leave home) an advantage in the difficult world of the professional ballet career (where rejection and disappointment are common occurrences);

4) I worried that in a residential away environment, my DD would focus completely on the ballet side, and allow the academics to slide.  Therefore, I insisted upon a HS diploma before leaving home;

5) and a purely selfish reason?  I loved spending time with her.  Once they leave, I feel as if it is highly unlikely they will return.  Therefore, I was okay delaying that moment until close to "college" age. 

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ballet1310

Hi cclw - it’s hard to say if your locL studio can prepare her for a professional career not knowing the studio ... so I would look at  how many students from this studio have gone on to a professional career. Lots of ballet classes are great IF the technique is there ... I know you are at a crossroads but if the current studio can not provide adequate training, you may have no choice but to commute or go with a residency program.   My dd commutes close to 2 hours each way but it is necessary ... exhausting ... but is getting the training she needs 

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dave9988

I would not disqualify simply due to lack of boys/partnering.  There are so many factors to weigh, and as you've already pointed out - they don't all relate specifically to training.  Time in a car and schooling and other life factors are real issues.

If partnering (or the lack thereof) is the ONLY issue, then I'd look at ways to supplement.  Summer Intensives are of course one approach.  But also, is the school associated with a company?  Perhaps you could hire one of the company men to provide privates (we've done that).  If they aren't directly affiliated, it's likely they could recommend someone.

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dani_t
On 3/3/2018 at 10:29 AM, cclw said:

Specific question for those of you who really understand dance training: If the school can provide adequate numbers of hours of ballet per week, but has (because of a scarcity of boys) little training in partnering, is that alone disqualifying?

I don't think it should be an ultimate disqualifier, at least not in the short term since your daughter's still building her skills. DD(19) has realized that she developed some bad partnering habits due to working with boys who weren't sufficiently strong/attentive when she was 12-15, so there are drawbacks to starting with it too early. That said, it's important to have some experience with partnering before attempting to transition to a professional career -- but you have plenty of time for that!

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Noodles

My opinion....first, get the best training possible. Good training is the foundation for your dancer's future, most studios are offering sub-par training and if you have a serious dancer,  and you are willing and able to support her pursuing her dreams, then that may involve excessive driving. Only you and your family can determine the boundaries on that. You mention driving for hours per week. I know there are threads here that discuss our various commutes to ballet, you may want to search for that to get a feel for what others are doing.

Secondly, Pas does not make or break a young dancer. The foundation of great training trumps pas in my opinion. My dancer is 15 and only gets one pas class per week, but her training throughout the week is rock solid so we have no concerns. Her pas work will catch up at some point when she is older. 

Thirdly, smart minds are always smart. This is not a popular opinion but it is mine...education is wonderful and important, but it will always be available, one can get a college degree at any age, ballet only has a small window and it closes relatively quickly. You may want to weigh the pros and cons (for you and your family) about easing up on the academics in favor of focusing on ballet. I do not mean slacking off and not earning a diploma, but for us direct entrance into college is the back up plan but DD is not doing AP classes because the course load is too much. Between academics, ballet training, PT, cross training, personal care, family and personal responsibilities, downtime to relax and sleep....AP classes just don't make the cut. Her overall health, and sense of well being is more important to me. It is possible to do rigorous online academics and ballet training but I think it is wise to go into it with open eyes and some flexibility. I think it is very difficult to take a full course of online classes and live away from home at a residential program. One option is to keep your dancer home for another year while she adjusts to online academic with the family support she has at home. Next year you will both be confident in what she can handle. Unless your kid wants to reach for Harvard, then that is going to be a different focus. Again, for clarity...I know kids get hurt, plans change and all young people need to be prepared with a back up plan. I am just saying that in my family we are ok with a different approach. My DD dreams of getting a traineeship and eventually a contract. Online college will probably be her future. If and when she is ready to attend college with real focus she will most likely  go to community and then transfer to a university.

Lastly, your dancer probably knows what she needs. Listen to her :-)

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cclw

Thanks to everyone for your responses. I'll pass on all your advice to her, and we'll discuss everything.

Noodles, so far my DD has been unwilling to give up the AP courses, which gives me some insight into her priorities and how they could be different. 

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Noodles

claw...keep in mind that nothing is ever set in stone. She can start with AP and always drop it for the following semester or year if it is too much. Good for her for knowing what she wants!

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