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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Virginia School of the Arts

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  • dancemaven


  • e'smom


  • Banana Feet


To answer Cahill's questions:

Dance class is 1:45-6 Monday through Friday, rehearsals three days a week after dinner to 8:15 (but not all year round) one ballet class on Saturday plus rehearsals. There is pas class and lots of pas in rehearsal. All of the leads for performances have one or even two understudies so there is an opportunity there too to partner. In the past three years there have been between 40 and 50 students and about 9-11 boys. These are split pretty evenly between 3 or 4 levels depending on the population each year. There is individual attention given although more or less depending on the teacher. My daughter feels the classes and choreography are challenging.


The academics have been very good (we were skeptical at first since my daughter came from one of the best school districts in our state). There are honors and AP classes offered from freshman year on. There is free time in the evening so usually enough time to get homework done although I have noticed some of the kids in AP classes have a very large workload and I am not sure I would recommend more than one AP class at a time. Sometimes right before a performance the homework suffered; however, most of the teachers at EC Glass are pretty understanding if your child is usually a good student.


There are usually 2 to a dorm room (although some returning seniors and juniors have a single). The dorms are in two old mansions which are charming and comfortable although typical of old houses. The students are able to paint and decorate their rooms. No airconditioning in the dorms - bring a large fan.The studios are very nice.


Hope this helps your decision.

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Thanks for the information, how long has your daughter been in the program? What percent of the kids return for two or more year? My DD would be a senior. In your experience do some kids join the program that late in their High School years?

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Hello cahill. This is my daughter's third year. There are a few who have been with her since freshman year, and the same with the senior class. I am not sure of the percentage who return; however, there are many students who do not enter the program until junior or senior year and many of these students have done quite well and depending on the level of talent have obtained very good roles in performances, etc. It might be adviseable for your daughter to attend the summer program so she is a "known" quantity in the fall, but I don't think it is absolutely necessary.

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  • 4 months later...
Banana Feet

I am going to be attending Virginia School of the Arts in the fall, and I have a few questions.

Can anyone tell me about the full-time faculty and the guest faculty?


Also, packing for the year seems a little overwhelming at the moment. Can anyone point me in the right direction toward what I do need to pack and what I don't need. Is it similar to packing for the summer?


Thanks in advance, and I can't wait to meet any of you that will be there :lol:

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  • 7 months later...
Guest toetallyonpnt

Hey everyone, I know that this thread hasn't been updated in some time, but I had some questions that I hope could be answered. I am very interested in the residence program. I was wondering if they offer any sholarships. I was also wondering the schedule in the morning such as what time they eat breakfast and what time they have to be at EC Glass. I attended the intensive the summer of '04, and absolutely loved it. Any further info that you could give me other than what has already been posted, woul dbe greatlu appreciated. Turning Timmy, I think I might remember you from the summer intensive '04.

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toetallyonpnt, I think the timing for being at E.C. Glass each morning differs on whether you have a first period class or not. If you do, then I believe class starts at 7:30 (I'm sure the kids will come on and correct this if I've misspoken). If you do not have that first period class, then you don't have to be at Glass until around 8:30. So, it will depend on whether you are carrying 4 or 5 academic hours.


I think breakfast begins around 6 or 6:30. I think the first bus leaves the dorms for EC Glass around 7:00 a.m. Some of the dancers keep cereal, breakfast bars, juice, etc. in their rooms (they are permitted small room refrigerators) so that they can sleep just a little longer and not go over to the main building for breakfast. There is also a microwave in the dorms for their use. Again, I expect the kids will come on and correct any mis-statements I've bumbled into.


I'm not totally clear on scholarships. There are some small merit scholarships offered to girls. I believe the boys may garner larger merit scholarships, but I may very well be wrong on that. (Best to ask the Admissions Director.) They also have need-based scholarship dollars available, but again, it is probably best to ask the Admissions Director.

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Banana Feet

Toetallyonpnt, E.C. Glass has an optional first period for the whole school, so about half of the VSA kids take it and the other half don't. Most all freshmen and sophomores do in order to get the necessary credits, but many drop it after junior year (like me next year!!!). If you HAVE first period, the breakfast run is at 6:15 and the bus comes a little bit before 7. First period starts at 7:24, and we are always there about 20 minutes early. If don't have a first period, breakfast is at 7:15 and school starts at 8:20. I think the bus comes around 7:45am.


Scholarships---merit-based for girls are limited and small. I don't know of any girls who have more than $600 unless they are also receiving financial aid. They will help you out if you need it though. Most of the scholarship money just goes to the boys.


Things are a little bit different this year. There are still 3 main ballet teachers and 1 modern/jazz teacher. We have recently just found out that they are planning to hire 2 additional faculty members for next year as well as make certain guest teachers make regular appearances monthly. I know they are also planning to bring in some more contemporary choreographers to set pieces.


There are 3 levels, but it could change next year depending on enrollment. Currently my level 3 class has 8 girls and 4 boys. I'm not sure about levels 1 and 2. They try to keep the class sizes small, which is great!


Schedule--There are 2 lunches, so people who have 2nd lunch can leave Glass after 5th period at 12:30 or just wait for the bus which comes a few minutes before 1. We eat at VSA when we get back and classes start at 2. We always start with ballet, which is almost always 1.5 hours. Then usually there is pointe or pas. 3rd hour can be anything---modern, jazz, rehearsal. Then dinner is at 6 and after that there may or may not be late rehearsal depending on the time of the year. We always get done around 8:30 if there is late rehearsal.


If you want to know anything else just ask!

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Guest toetallyonpnt

Banana Feet,


Thanks so much for your info, and yeah I have a few more questions, sorry to bother you more. I am VERY interested in VSA yearround. My ballet teacher took all 4 years of high school there and loved it. I would be a senior next year, and I was wondering if that would affect my chances of getting in. I'm also pretty short, and I was wondering if they weighed very heavily on body type. I was also wondering the sort of things you are learning in Level 3 right now...just to get an idea of what your top level is doing. I was also wondering how many roomates you have, and any challenges you have faced dorming with people, and what it is like? I was wondering about nights, and how much time you have to do homework. Haha I'm almost done, but i have a few more questions. What sorts of things do you do on the weekends. Would I be allowed to go to church if I wanted to? I'm so sorry to bombard you with these questions, but I'm just very interested and I don't have enough posts to PM you....I just found ballet talk a few days ago and fell in love with it. Thanks so much for your help!

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Banana Feet

No problem at all! As for you being a senior, it most likely won't affect your chances of getting in. In all honesty, VSA is mostly interested in having people here no matter their age. I know that sometimes they are more selective with seniors. If you come for the summer again just talk to Mr. Bosman or Ms. Faesi about it, but I'm sure you will have no problem at all.


Our level pretty much does everything. It really depends on which teacher is teaching (as you probably know). Ms. Faesi is more technical, so her class sometimes moves at a slower pace, but from her you get all the little picky technique things. With Mr. Brooks we mostly work on moving and challenging ourselves. We don't really have a set syllabus, so we just do whatever everyone needs that day or what people need to work on.


I have one roommate this year. It's always a little hard getting used to living with someone else. You learn a lot relatively quickly though. You just have to be open and flexible and very forgiving at times. It's really hard to separate the dorms from the studio. Some people are close at the dorms, but drive each other insane at the studio. For me, it's always a struggle, but it makes living with all these people so much easier if you're able to do that. Leave casting and all of that alone so you don't drive each other crazy or hurt people's feelings. It's a lot of fun though too. There are always people around to talk to, and there's always something to do. It's hard to get extremely bored.


Nights---if you have late rehearsal you usually get back to the dorms at around 8:30, so you have the rest of the night to do homework or whatever else. It's really easy to get distracted. Some people stay up really late. Others lock themselves in their rooms. You just have to get used to light and noise, but it really isn't that bad.


Weekends- Lynchburg is not the most interesting place I have ever been in my life. We have a nice selection of stores: Wal-Mart, Target, Sonic, Barnes and Nobles, the Dollar Theater, Starbucks....exciting I know. They definately do a lot more activities during the summer. It can get a bit boring on the weekends, but we always are able to find something to do. Yes, you can to church. They take church runs every Sunday. There is quite a plethora of churches...this is Jerry Falwell's town after all. The RA's will pretty much take you wherever you want to go (if you need something for school or what not).


If there's anything else, feel free to ask.

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Guest toetallyonpnt

Banana Feet,


Thank you, thank you , thank you. I just have two last questions for you. WHat will I expected to do in the audition. And also do you think there would be any way for me to visit ya'll and maybe observe a day in the life of one of the students.

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Banana Feet

The audition is just a normal ballet class. You can definately come visit and are encouraged to do so. Just call Debi Power, our Admissions Director, and she will help you set something up. You will be able to follow one of us around Glass for the day, then come and take class with us. You can even spend the night if you want.


Hope to see you sometime soon!

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I can answer some of your questions and banana feet and ellebelle will have to fill in the rest. You can definitely attend church - there is no class on Sunday and depending on your denomination and its popularity either the RAs will take you, some are within walking distance, or you can arrange for someone from the church to pick you up. DD has done all three over the years and it has been a wonderful part of her experience.



Height short or tall is not critical as much as technique and presentation so I wouldn't worry about that.



As far as time to do homework, this is the reason my daughter chose a residential school. Rehearsals (except during tech week) are generally over by early evening, allowing plenty of time to do homework. Also no late rehearsals on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I would be careful about selecting too many AP classes at EC Glass as there is LOTS of reading!


You should have a two girl room although occasionally with a really large room there are three. Make sure to specify your roomate preferences when asked.

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Toetallyonpnt - My DS was considering VSA this past fall. According to the correspondence we had with them, they have a fairly comprehensive full-day visitation program. A visit includes a tour of the high school in the morning and a meeting with the guidance counselor. The prospective student then returns to VSA, tours the dorms and talks about student life with the Director of Student Services. Then there's lunch in the cafeteria and a ballet class. The woman we were in contact with indicated that my DS was then welcome to take class the rest of the day as well, but the first ballet class was the "audition." This isn't actually true "shadowing" since you don't go to high school with the students for the day, but it seemed like a really good overview of the school. By the way - our point of contact was Debi Power. Assuming she's still there, she's very responsive and replied to all of my emails within a day (usually only an hour or so.)

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  • 1 month later...

I recently visited VSA and was able to go to the high school and meet with a guidance counselor, visit the dorms, eat lunch at VSA and then take class. I have already been accepted for the fall so the class wasn't an audition for me. I think VSA has a great visiting procedure. I was really able to see what the residential program is all about. Now I just need to figure out what I want to do! :)


It's so hard to decide. I really want to dance in college and I think VSA could give me the extra experience and training to make a difference. But I have already been in HS a couple of years and it's hard to imagine leaving the "safety" of friends I have!


I am attending VSA for the summer and I am so excited about that.


While I was visiting, I did find out that VSA is expecting to have more students next year than they currently have.

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