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BKsmom

How far would you drive?

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BKsmom

How far would you drive for a better school for your dancer? We live in a small city and have a few studios around us, but none are super strong schools. My DD is almost 8 and really has a tremendous passion and talent for ballet. We are currently at the most recommended school in our area but we are about 2 hrs from a large city with a much stronger Vaganova school.  However, my husband and I both work full time. My hours are a lot more flexible but his are not. I’m not even sure if it’s even possible for us to travel that far for class but at this point I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to support her goal.  So is 2 hrs one way too far?

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L_One

Too far for me yes - 4 hours a day in the car at 8, when class is maybe 1.5 hours is not sustainable long term. The only way I've seen this work at that age is if it were a weekend class and the parents made a day out of it - shopping, movies, dinner, etc

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Blanche

Are you unhappy with your current studio? Eight seems very young to travel that far unless there is a compelling reason...

At younger DD's studio, we are one of the "farther away" families. We started making the hour each way trip when older DD was 12 and younger DD was 8 and really just along for the ride. Seven years later, we're still doing it, but even with a carpool, it's exhausting (and I have a fairly flexible work schedule). The farthest students at our current studio commute from about 1.5 hours away each way, but they are in the pre-professional level, and those girls are now old enough to take the train a few days per week. With that said, each family is different. If your child is an only child, then you may have the time and ability to make such a trip. But if you have other children, how will this time commitment affect them?

My general commuting rule of thumb is that the time spent at the studio should be equal to or longer than the commute itself, so when we were there 3 hours per day, 3 days per week between the two kids, it made sense to commute an hour each way. If I were driving one kid an hour (or more!) each way for one hour and a half class, it would not.

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classicmom

I might drive that far, but not at age 8. I couldn't keep that commute up for 8-10 years. If I had a 14 year old dd and knew it was for a short season and that she couldn't get the necessary training otherwise, I might consider it. 

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Bavalay

Hi BKsmom,

Is your DD8 getting solid training?  If she is learning, progressing, and in a supportive environment, then you may want to consider waiting on spending 4 hours commuting until she needs more.  Having commuted 1 1/2 hours one way to work I can assure you is exhausting and takes away time from other things you may want to do.  For me a 2 hour drive is equal to 120 miles...the cost on top of the finances involved in ballet training might be better spent in the future on summer SI away--especially if her current training is good.  Best wishes as you sort out what will work for your family.

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DanceDaddy

we're keeping our eye on a studio that is 10 mins further (one way). Heck, my wife is concerned with the extra time! But, we think the other studio might have better training AND is actually cheaper if you choose unlimited classes.

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BKsmom
On 5/13/2018 at 9:30 PM, L_One said:

Too far for me yes - 4 hours a day in the car at 8, when class is maybe 1.5 hours is not sustainable long term. The only way I've seen this work at that age is if it were a weekend class and the parents made a day out of it - shopping, movies, dinner, etc

Kinda why we were leaning to maybe doing a few core strengthening classes like two times a month instead of weekly ballet classes. 

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BKsmom

Blanche,

We are not really unhappy, just wondering when is it the right time for better training. I have a comparison because of our previous studio where most of the girls in her class were actually at her level. Here she almost leads the class (and it was very visible at the recital). We do have another child to think about who is two and he would of course be part of the equation ;) just trying to keep the original question as simple as possible. 

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BKsmom
23 hours ago, classicmom said:

I might drive that far, but not at age 8. I couldn't keep that commute up for 8-10 years. If I had a 14 year old dd and knew it was for a short season and that she couldn't get the necessary training otherwise, I might consider it. 

My husband’s work unfortunately doesn’t keep us in one place for very long so this wouldn’t be long term anyway even if we did decide to make the commute. I guess that’s why I’m asking at her age. 

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BKsmom

Bavalay,

I completely agree as I also recently had a 3hr daily commute to work before accepting a position literally down the street ;) and the commute was killer but mostly because it took so much time away from my family. And yes the cost of the commute in general is also a factor. 

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BKsmom

DanceDaddy,

Lol yeah 10 mins is nothing. This is really for a true ballet school so not sure if it’s worth it at this point. 

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Sunnygirl

Having traveled for the better part of two years with my daughter for 1.5 hours one way, I can assure you that two hours is too much.  As flexible as you think your work schedule is, there will always be scrambling to get what you need done and pull this off.  Things will suffer. The cost is significant when you add in the gas, food, wear and tear on your vehicle, and not to mention complete boredom on your part!  She was there 5 days a week for around five hours a day and she was almost 12 when she started.  It was a good program, but it drained us as a family.  I feel like I missed some of the last years of my son being home before he went to college (which is ironically now in the same town I was traveling to). Also, eight years old, in my opinion, is too young to make this sacrifice.  With that said, I always say you don't know until you try it. My experience may not be your experience.  It never hurts to try something new and there is no shame if you have to back away from it. Good luck to her!

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Ballerinamom2girls

Way too far... remember it's not actually 2 hours.  You have to add traffic time, and getting there early for warming up.  We leave 1 hour early for a 25min drive (which always ends up being longer).  Then you have to consider Nutcracker shows, end of year shows, and other ballet events that cause the schedule to become even more hectic.  

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DanceMumNYC
On 5/14/2018 at 10:54 PM, BKsmom said:

We are not really unhappy, just wondering when is it the right time for better training. I have a comparison because of our previous studio where most of the girls in her class were actually at her level. Here she almost leads the class (and it was very visible at the recital). 

If you don’t mind me asking, why’d you leave the old studio? I would be a little concerned if my child was leading the class. However, I must agree with the other comments. Two hours isn’t a horrible commute in my completely honest opinion, but it is seriously something to consider when your child is only 8 years old and since you have another child.

I admit my dd and I started traveling 1 hour and 15-30 mins. when she was only 4 years old for extracurricular activities in NYC & I don’t regret it one bit because of the training she’s received and all the opportunities she’s been given in the past 6 years. I know that it wasn’t absolutely necessary, but it was something that we both enjoyed doing on Saturdays, and I love being in the city. As someone mentioned, you can make a day out of it (shopping, movies, museums, play dates etc). We were also taking public transportation, so a car ride would’ve been only 45 mins-1 hour. Either way, I can’t imagine traveling any longer (ie. 2+ hours) on a regular basis, except maybe when she’s a teen and can sometimes take herself or carpool with another family.

We have commuted 2 hours for a summer program and Nutcracker rehearsals, which were only 2-3 months each. I don’t think I’d be able to do it the 3-4 times/week she has dance during the full school year, including after school when homework and studying need to get done. We still take the 1.5 hour trips a few times/week and people think we’re insane, while others have longer commutes and come in from completely different states (NJ, CT etc). You just have to find what works for your family. 

As long as your dd is learning and improving where she is, it isn’t necessary to seek out the most popular schools. Many kids receive great training (and more attention/corrections) in local studios than they would in larger, big name schools. You mentioned it would be temporary, since you expect your husband’s job to change your location...You can also see this as her being in the current school temporarily & going somewhere better after your next move.

Last thought, I read on BT4D that it’s hard to know if a child is really serious or has what it takes in the professional world until the mid-teen years (15+). I think that’s when it’s safe for most families to make major sacrifices. 

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dancingjet

4 hours roundtrip for an 8-year-old seems excessive to me. How many days a week would that be? Would rehearsals be added in for recitals, Nutcrackers, etc.? Can you afford to lose a solid four hours of work each time you drive her? What if you don't wind up relocating in the near future? Can you imagine keeping up the four-hour drive plus 1.5-2 hours of class for 2, 3, 4 or more days a week? We've been driving an hour a day just for school for years (and I also work full-time). We spend a lot of time in the car, and that isn't even close to what you're considering. Personally, I wouldn't do it while also working full-time.

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