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Guest Rachel

Family decisions: "Growing up" at a Residency

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Seeing as how there may be some students - and parents - who might be considering some major changes in ballet schools for September, I thought I'd bump this thread up. :D

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Knock knock...


I'mdesparate to get away to a residency program next year, not for the sake of going away, but because I'm not getting the training necessary at home to fulfill my dreams of becoming a professional dancer. I was looking at UBA, CPYB, Walnut Hill, and a few other places. I was already accepted into the UBA summer intensive and am going, hoping to be asked for the year round since, it is, as of now, my dream school. The issues here are the dates when they let you know if you're accepted or not. How do other programs/parents handles these types of problems? My parents want my plans for the next year finalized ASAP and with the dates of acceptance for these programs, that isn't happening until July or August. I called UBA asking if they might let me audition now with a class of their fourteen year olds and use the summer to reevaluate if I might be accepted, but they refused.


Sorry for the rambling and any confusion I caused...


I can try to clarify if anyone needs it.

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Many residency programs do not accept students for the year round program until both the student and the school have passed an additional "audition" process for very valid reasons. Residency is not for everyone and everyone is not for residency. A four week "try" at least gives some hints of whether or not a student will like the program in terms of ballet and lifestyle as well as whether or not a program finds a student is a good fit for the program. Schools recognize they are dealing with young people's lives. Choosing a residency program and selecting students for said program is serious business.


Often, unhappy students (and their parents) at residency programs do not recognize how difficult it is to survive muchless thrive with the high demands placed upon them balletically and with the code of conduct in the residency hall. Many students want it to be like home. It cannot be. Too many students, lots of rules of conduct to be followed.


Be patient, the wait is for the best.

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I was thinking about this issue earlier reading all the threads about all the parental anxiety regarding when it would be settled as to where their kids would be going this summer.


I think that amongst us ballet parents, many of us deal with the world, as much of the time as we can, by thoughtfully planning ahead, budgeting, dealing with the side issues related to a big change in advance, etc. --- It is very difficult for us to essentially "be spontaneous!" about something that means sending our kid away, changing their academic school, spending thousands of dollars, arranging for transcripts, medical appointments, etc. Sometimes this all has to be responded to in a three week period to get it all in order. It is a ballet-world induced family emergency. If we conducted our professionally lives like this on a regular basis we would be, quite reasonaby, fired. It goes against the grain of good planning and calm decision making, and, of course, it is substantially in someone else's hands until the acceptance, when the family has to decide - o.k. - great, now do we want it?!


So, my answer is not about why (or if) it must be this way - but just sympathizing with your parents that it is tough to run a family this way.


I think the best that the family can do, is use this time to make a definite decision as to whether they will allow the student to go if the opportunity is offered. Do they have any threshhold criteria that will affect their final decision (academic program, price, residential situation, etc). How can they get the answers they want in advance. And truly do the thinking and prep work for plan A and plan B for the year to come.


I did find these years to be a roller coaster at times. The family's resilience can be tested almost as much as the dancers. Good luck - I hope it all works out terifically for you. :D

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Victoria Leigh

Syr's post brings up an important issue, in that this is one of the times when a parent needs to be seriously involved early on. I'm all for teens doing their own research and being totally involved in these decisions, however, when it comes to sending a child away to a boarding school then a parent should also be researching everything about every program. There are things involved, such as the academic and medical records, and of course the money, that the students cannot be expected to know. Getting a parent involved early could help some of the late decision problems by taking care of these things ahead of time and being ready in case there are only a few weeks to do everything. :D

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