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Ballet Schools in Virginia - Northern

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Sheryl Roberts
I believe over the years, here on BT4D, we've learned that there have been several 'only American(s) to be invited to train at the Vaganova Academy' . . . . , although there are still relatively few dancers chosen. Why the press folks think it is necessary to make that claim, :shrug: Perhaps, it is 'the only American' from School X or at this time.

 

Actually, after reading the articles linked, I would surmise from the dancer's quote that she was the only American present for that session and one of the articles does state she was one of a few Americans to have trained at the Academy.

 

Our own vrsfanatic has trained at the Vaganova.

 

 

Hurrah! for any dancer, American or not, who is fortunate enough to attend the Vanogova school in Russia! :wacko::clapping:

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Violin4Me

Thank you for all of the replies. It is nice to know that there are so many dancers in the area. You are correct, dancesmith, as a military family, we have been many places where we struggled just to find a decent school, let alone a good school.

 

Let me tell you a little bit more about my DD. Like I said, she is 15 and has been dancing for about 6 years (actually 7 now that I think about it). She started when she was 4 and danced until she was 9. We were transferred to a place that had no good school, so she decided to try gymnastics. She enjoyed it and stayed in gymnastics until she was 13. That's when she decided that she really missed ballet and wanted to start again. There has been no looking back since then.

 

She started back at a small school in the first level of their pre-pro division. About 9 months after she started there, they let her go on pointe. She was able to stay there for another 6 months or so before we were transferred to Carlisle,PA. DDs teacher did not think CPYB would be a good fit for her, but we could not find many other options except rec classes. So, DD went to the 2 week intensive at CPYB and loved it. Signed up for the school year program and HATED it - it was just not a good for for her at all. Nothing against CPYB, they do what they do and they are obviously successful. We are now driving her 35 minutes each way to a small school with a WONDERFUL teacher who has just done amazing things with DD - she has improved SO much in the time she has been there. The small studio atmosphere and the individual attention have been great for her.

 

DDs teacher knows she is leaving - she knew from the beginning that we were probably only going to be stationed here until June. We have discussed the move with her and she is very open to helping us find a good program for DD. We brought her info about a couple of schools the other night and she thought that Virginia Ballet Company looked like the best choice. It turns out that her sister and brother in law both used to dance there with Oleg Tupine and her brother in laws picture is still on the website from 30 years ago. She also liked the philosophy of the school and thought that the faculty list was impressive. She knew several of the teachers and many of the people that other teachers had studied with. But, there seems to be some reservation about that school here and I would be interested in hearing more if anyone would be willing to share.

 

It seems like most of the schools in the area are big and DD is intimidated by that. She is also worried that they will be very competitive and she tends to do better in a more nurturing environment.

 

I appreciate all of the other school suggestions - definitely good info to have. Unfortunately, I will be somewhat constrained as to how far I can drive to take her to school. I have another daughter who is a competitive swimmer and is waiting to find out if she will get into Thomas Jefferson High School. This year I have had the luxury of my hubby being able to help me with the kid-driving, but his job at the Pentagon is not going to allow that anymore. So, I need to stay fairly close. My other DD will most likely be swimming in the club at George Mason. We will be living in South Run. I have looked at the Manassas schools, but there is no easy way to get there from our house. As the crow flies, they are not that far, maybe 5-10 miles. But there is no way to get there except to head way north then head west and then south again. It would take us at least 35 minutes to get to them. Frustrating...

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Sheryl Roberts

The Academy of Russian Ballet is small and is right around the corner from the Freedom Center at George Mason. I don't know if that is what you meant by swim club at George Mason.

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Victoria Leigh

Sheryl, below the line where you see Delete, Edit, Quote, "Reply (quote reply), you will find a row of options called Fast Reply, Add Reply, and New Topic. If you click on Fast or Add Reply, the previous post will not automatically show up in your post. :yes:

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Violin4Me

Thank you Sheryl, I did not realize they were that close. I will check into that.

Edited by dancemaven
removal of unnecessary quote of a previous post. Please see Ms. Leigh's post immediately preceding this one.

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Violin4Me

Okay - maybe I am confused here. When I search for Acedemy of Russian Ballet, I get an address of 8840 Rixlew Lane, Manassas. When I map that on Google, it says it is 12 miles from George Mason. Is that the right location??

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Violin4Me

I think I get it now - there is another aquatics center at the Freedom Center in Manassas. The Mason swim team is at the main campus on University Rd in Fairfax.

Edited by dancemaven
removed unnecessary compound quotes of previous posts

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cheetah

Hi Violin4Me - traffic in our area is definitely problematic. Which is why I only suggested a few schools where I know there are students from where you'll be moving. The best thing to do is to visit the school that was recommended to you. Virginia Ballet Academy was never a school we considered because of its location - it was impractical to get there. So we've never even visited the school - only heard feedback about performances (which can often be petty in this area since everyone thinks their own studio is the only one with good performances!!)

 

Manassas schools will be very difficult for you, especially in the evening since you will be going to class in rush hour traffic. But it might still be worth visiting them. I actually work not far from Rixew Lane and I'm also close to the other Massas school I mentioned. If you're interested in either of them, I can easily ask around and find out back-routes that might get you here. (I don't actually live here but everyone I work with seems to have been born and raised in this area!)

 

Looking on a map, anything north of 267 - the Toll Road - will be tough for you. But not undoable. I'm not sure where South Run is specifically. If you can provide a road name, that would help me give you a better idea. If you're close to Fairfax County Parkway, then it's a somewhat easy drive up to Classical Ballet Academy - but it's not a 10 minute trip. Reston Conservatory is closer, but will actually be more difficult because it's not off a major road. The Fairfax School might be doable since you would be actually going against the flow of traffic to where they're located. We did visit there once but it was six or seven years ago.

 

Most of the schools in the local area are fairly small. I don't think my DS ever had more than 12 or 15 students in a class - often less. The schools we know of aren't super competitive - much more friendly than you might expect. The important thing to note is that the instructional style varies tremendously from school to school! Some are very rigid and strict, and that appeals to some and scares away others. Some go to the other extreme, so they draw a different crowd. I actually have seen very few dancers go on to major companies in the years we've lived here. Several studios have dancers that went to those companies - but many, many years ago. Instead, we're seeing dancers that really like to train and dance but many opt for non-dance majors in college. There are some few moves to regional companies and smaller companies. I don't think that's a reflection of the training, but more reflective of our area where students often have multiple interests. We do know several students that have started training here and left for residency programs. But again, that's not a reflection of training quality, but often the fact that with both parents working, and the traffic, it's hard to meet the hours demanded of programs for high school students! My point is - from our experience - it's very hard to get a feel for a school from a studio's website! Fortunately many of the studios here are now offering their own summer programs, so this is a good chance for your DD to visit and see the instructors, the facilities, etc.

 

Another thing to consider is carpooling. It never worked for us, unforunately, because we lived in a county completely different from where the school - and all the other students - were located. But that might help you quite a bit, especially with another child. So don't rule out a school you like just because it's farther than you'd like.

 

You're in a difficult situation because of your other committments and the location where you'll be living. We actually ended up allowing our son to move away because we simply couldn't make it to class without quitting work!

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Solnishka79

There are two George Mason Campuses in NVa (well, three if you count the law school in Arlington). The main campus which Violin is referring to is in Fairfax while the second, smaller campus is in Manassas. Both have an aquatics center.

The traffic in the area is absolutely a nightmare! Many people work just 15-20 miles from home yet it takes them an hour or more to get there. Even during non-rush hour times the traffic is awful. Don't believe the mapquest "estimated times" for Northern VA!

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Violin4Me
The traffic in the area is absolutely a nightmare! Many people work just 15-20 miles from home yet it takes them an hour or more to get there. Even during non-rush hour times the traffic is awful. Don't believe the mapquest "estimated times" for Northern VA!

 

Oh, yay, that sounds great! Looking forward to it... :yucky:

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Solnishka79

It's quite a shock for "non-natives". A teacher friend of mine moved to Michigan some time ago and laughed when the studio director told her the commute from her home to the studio might be too long-25 minutes. She (and many of us in the area) used to drive at least an hour to teach several times a week. The problem stems from the huge, quick growth in the area. Avoid I-66 at all costs!!! :yucky:

I know I'm getting off track...back on now.

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cheetah

You'll get used to it, though. But you're moving to a fairly heavily traveled area, especially around George Mason. So finding friends at a studio - or your other daughter's swim club/team - will really help! And there are lots of alternate ways - sometimes you just have to think creatively. Even I-66 wouldn't be too bad for you if you needed it to get to a dance studio. As long as both of you are in the car (i.e. you didn't drop off and are going back to pickup) then you get to use HOV. Summers are better - traffic is lighter - so you'll get used to it. But let us know what you decide and we'll see if we can help you find out ways to make it work!

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Violin4Me
If you can provide a road name, that would help me give you a better idea.

 

We will be about a block south of Burke Lake Park.

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cheetah

OK - that helps. I'll do some checking around in the next few weeks and will let you know what I find out. I know a few people (that I work with) that live in that same area, so hopefully they'll have some good ideas!

 

Edited to add: If you are moving to the Burke Lake area, then to get to Manassas you are best advised to:

 

For Manassas Ballet Academy - get on Henderson Road (it starts at Ox Road) and go to Yates Ford Road. Then get on Prince William County Parkway (Hwy 3000). This will cross over Liberia, where you'll turn right. You can get specific directions from the school's website. The site I looked at says this is about 9 miles from where Henderson intersects Ox. It should be about 20 - 30 minutes.

 

For the Academy of Russian Ballet, stay on Prince William County Parkway which sort of becomes Wellington (it's an incredibly illogical series of roads right in that area - they change names arbitrarily). You stay on Wellington until Rixew Lane. Again, check the website for specific directions. This is a few miles farther - about 12 or so, and probably closer to 25 - 30 minutes. The parkway moves fairly quickly, though.

 

The one problem you fight face is that around Yates Road there are lots of schools. I'm not sure how many may be on Yates, but you might get slowed down with school zones. We use a videographer in Burke. Getting to his house, in a five maile stretch, we go through four or five school zones. Anwyay, this is the quickest recommendation - so perhaps you'll be able to view more options that you had anticipated.

 

As for those two schools, I can't provide a lot of information. My DS did a class at Manassas Academy and was not impressed. But it's a popular school in the area. The odd thing is that a lot of the studios here seem to have a high teacher turnover and one or more instructors always seems to be moving from one studio to another. One teacher from my son's last studio taught at Manassas, as did his wife. I was given an article a few years ago about the Academy of Russian Ballet and I recall the owner was once an instructor at Manssas. We never visited that studio, though, since DS had decided to go to a residency program. I've heard a few things about it, though. Everything has been positive. But haven't heard anything about their performances. Manassas Ballet Academy does a Nutcracker and a recital. They also have a regional ballet of sorts that is surprisingly well attended - there are lots of long-term residents in Manassas that regard it highly - or think it's adequate to meet their need to watch ballet without having to drive into DC!

 

If you want to consider some of the other schools, look at a map. You'll see that West Ox Road (near Burke Lake) is an easy jump to the Fairfax County Parkway. It's a fairly large road and traffic moves fairly quickly on it, even in rush hour. So this makes it possible to get to Reston Conservatory or Classical Ballet Academy. Of the two, Reston Conservatory is larger and probably more nurturing. Classical Ballet Academy is trying for more of a Vaganova approach, though it's not "pure" by any means. They've started annual exams and they also do two full-length productions each year - no recitals.

 

To get to Russell School of Ballet you simply get on 7100 - Fairfax County Parkway - until you get to route 50. Go west a few miles (but there will be a LOT of traffic). This studio has been around a long time, but you never here much about them.

 

There's another school in the Fairfax area that a friend moved to, but I can't recall. It may be the studio you're thinking of. It has a junior and senior company. I can't find the name but will continue to look.

 

When you get more posts, feel free to PM me and I can try and answer any more specific questions.

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Hattie

Hello :)

 

I'm Moving to Norfolk Virginia, from England. I've never been to america before.

I started dance when i was 13. After 4 months i passed my grade 3 rad exam and started grade 4 and intermedite on pointe.

I'm now 14 and should be moving in about a year and a half.

Do you know any Good Ballet schools in/near Norfolk VA?

 

Thanks H x

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