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Changing Schools; switching programs

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Mel Johnson

Just remember the advice of the great Yogi Berra, who said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!"

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Gremlin

We moved 6 months ago, so the transition from my son's very first school was easy. However, when we found his current school, we were very pleased with the teacher, but they only offered 3 classes a week. What to do the other days? Well, when you don't speak the best Italian and they don't speak the best English, it can create problems. :wacko:

I was told there were only 3 days a week offered there. No problem other than my son needed more classes a week and finding this school was next to impossible. So, I asked around and found another school where the teacher knows exactly the kind of training that is required. She speaks NO English :wacko: No problem. We get the point across. She asked me the name of the other teacher. I felt dumb. I did not know her last name :blushing: So, my son asked her at his next class and of course, my son tells her he is going to another school. My son speaks little Italian also. With language barrier, I felt as if we had landed in :( and my son would pay for it. I was approached by director, director's husband and daughter. They each speak little English. I felt like I was on a firing squad unable to explain exactly what I was trying to say. I told them I had asked previously about more classes and was told they had only 3 days a week. Apparently back then, they misunderstood what I was asking. Now they say they can send him to their other school in another city and they would not charge me the extra days. A generous offer, but not with the same teacher and nowhere near the qualifications of the new teacher I wanted my son with. How do you explain this so they will understand and how do you explain it without offending? :blink: I wanted to keep him there 3 days a week, but take him somewhere else the other 2 days a week. After about 10 minutes of retrying to communicate my feelings with examples, they finally understood and were ok with it. I have to admit, for a split second, I considered taking up their offer just to avoid the miscommunication and having them take offense and my son pay for it. I'm not one for confrontation. I'm glad I did not cave in. :sweating: His new teacher is wonderful and my son says he is getting excellent training in areas the other teacher is is not focusing. My son has been completely retrained......from even the 5 basic positions. :sweating:

I have learned that not every school can train a child from beginning to professional career. You cannot allow loyalty or friendship to prevent you from seeking a better school. If the current school has a problem with moving to the next level, then to me, that is reason enough to leave. I can't imagine having a school react as some of these parents have explained. Makes you hesitate to give notice even when it is in the payment contract to give notice when leaving.

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Gremlin
FairyofMine, I don't think there is any question here. Make the move! Now! Change schools. She will get over the "heartbreak".  If the family can move and save a lot of expense, that would be great too.

 

FairyofMine, I took the same advice from Miss Leigh last year. She saw my son and evaluated his performance. Until I placed my son in another school, he had no idea just how bad he was. He went from having that huge ego, to leaving each class of the new school uttering the words...I stink! How did the other school miss the simple things? He is now enrolled in a second school along with the new school and my son, once again, sees there is always room for improvement. My son still misses the old school. Talks about it all the time, but he also sees the improvement in his ability and knows they were unable to offer what he needed.

Like one of my friends said.......*You have to remind yourself of the reason WHY you walked through the door of another school. What were you looking for? If you find it, why not take advantage of it?*

 

Miss. Leigh......Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your advice was worth the price of gold to my son. Knowing we were moving out of the country and not there for your school, you could have said whatever you wanted. Your brutal honesty is appreciated.

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Guest Watermill

My daughter is suffering some pretty serious reprisals for (accidentally) letting the news slip that she was leaving at the end of this school year: No solos in the upcoming end of year performance (she's one of only two scholarship students), ridiculous SI audition roadblocks and other bad behavior.

My real-world advice is not to let the current school know what your upcoming plans are.

It seems there is sometimes a very fine line between "I believe in you" and "Get out of here!"

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Victoria Leigh

Gremlin, I'm very glad to hear that it worked out for the best! And thank you for the vote of appreciation. Sometimes that honesty is not so welcome and gets me into trouble, but I just don't know how to do it any other way. If a child has potential and really wants to dance, and is not getting good training, I just feel that it is crucial to say so because the child doesn't know and usually the parents don't either. There are a lot incompetent teachers out there, everywhere, and with no laws to stop them I just think that it cannot be ignored and accepted.

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chatwidow

I know there has been many threads in regards to changing schools but I really need some advice based on our circumstances. The concerns I have about her current school is increasing teacher absenteeism with poor substitute teachers and her current class level. You see my DD currently attends a school where there is one main teacher who is also the director and with the exception of an additional teacher once per week(Sat.'s only), there are no other teachers. This becomes particularly problematic when she is absent, which has increased over the past several years from one or two weeks a year to one week a month (she may be ready to retire), and she has one of the older students teaching. This has turned out to be a disaster as they cannot control the class, play favorites amongst their friends and don't really provide quality instruction. The other concern is that my DD has been in the same class (the highest class available) for the past four years and still has three years to go. She really likes this school and has gone a long way because of the instruction there, however, how do you know when its time to move on, that you've gotten all you can from the current school?

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vagansmom

Chatwidow, I'd be very concerned about the situation you describe. As far as I know, the very best way to ascertain that is by getting an outsider's professional opinion. Can your daughter take a class at another studio outside of your locale with the understanding that the teacher giving the class will evaluate your daughter's progress for her age and length/hours of training?

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Victoria Leigh

chatwidow, your concerns are valid. It's time. I'm assuming your child is only 14 at the most, and is in the highest level and has been there 4 years. That means the highest level 4 years ago had a 10 year old? It's very definitely time to seek a more professional school. It does also sound like the teacher might be nearing retirement and needing more time off, which would be okay if she brought in professional teachers. However, turning the class over to students is not a good idea at all.

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eskimopieo

Except for the "she may be ready to retire" part, you could almost be describing my dd's studio. She had been progressing nicely, but with the teacher's frequent absences this year has felt like she is falling behind. Now that her teacher's health issues seem to be under control, she is not absent as much & dd once again feel she's making improvement. She will be finishing out the year with this studio because she already has some performance obligations, but we are looking for a new place. It sounds like you know what you need to do, and I can completely sympathize since we are going through the same thing ourselves. Her current studio has given her a love of dance & taught her all the basics, but we think she has gotten all she can from them.

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chatwidow

Thank you everyone for telling me what I've already known in my heart. It's so difficult to make the change because there is no going back! My DD has been with the studio since she was 6 years old! We will be leaving a great deal behind. However, I believe she will have a great deal to gain by making this change.

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Momof3darlings

I would follow everyone's advice here that you've been already given. And I would follow it SOON. Take one day a week and visit other studios in your area. This will give your DD a chance to stay among her friends while searching out a new place. If nothing else, she'll decide that what she has isn't so bad after all. But most likely, she'll find a wonderful place that will take her to the next level.

 

vj

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Gremlin

As I said in another topic, my son dealt with a similar situation of changing schools. he does miss the old school, but realizes they cannot offer him the training he requires and not changing schools would have been a disaster. The only way I knew there was a problem was I took my son for an evaluation during an audition for an SI. Loyalty cannot be the reason to stay at a school that does not give your dancer what she needs. When you start to doubt your decision, remind yourself WHY you started questioning the school in the first place.

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sierramadre

Hello everyone (I'm new here and I hope I post this at the right place!)

 

DD (aged 15 ) should pick a new ballet school out of two alternatives. As we are new to the area we don't know much about them but as a curious mother I've tried my best to get some information. Deciding which one is in the end the better one is the problem right now.

 

Few words about my dd. She's serious about ballet and moving to this city is actually good because her previous studio couldn't have offer her serious training when she's older. She's taken pointe since 11 years and during the past term her weekly schedule has consisted of 4-5 90min ballet classes, 1 pointe class (pointe also sometimes on technique classes) and 1 modern plus some intensive courses on jazz, tap etc. Her former teacher was trained in England so it was pretty RAD emphasized altough, I guess, more concentrated just on the basic, solid technique.

 

Then about these ballet schools.

 

School no.1. This one is closely co-operating with a company. Lots of performing opportunities. Traditional one. Style is pure Vaganova. Some say it's old fashioned in a bad sense. Offers partnering classes. The level where dd would probably be placed would have 5 90min ballet classes, 2-3 pointe/variations classes, 1 pilates and one drama/improvisation class.

 

School no.2. This one is not connected with a company but still, several students have gotten into one. I guess there is no specific style strongly emphasized. They don't have that much performance opportunities and partnering is not offered (only on summer course). I have heard lots of good things about one specific teacher, I'm not sure would she be teaching Dd though. There dd would probably have 5 ballet technique classes, 2 pointe classes, 1 floor barre, 1 modern and 1 character/ballroom class. Also weekend courses on other dance styles: jazz, flamenco etc.

 

So the main questions are:

1)How crucial those partnering classes are? Dd hasn't done any yet.

2)What about style?Vaganova/no particular?

3)Dd loves performing and is sort of fascinated about the fact that school no.1 is a company school. On the other hand also students from that school no.2 have been accepted to this company and others as well so I don't really see that there could be a major difference.

 

Thanks in advance!

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Victoria Leigh

Hello Sierramadre, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers....AND their parents! :D

 

Both schools sound quite fine, so I think the best thing would be to visit both, take a class or two, and try to get a feeling from the classes how she feels about the school. The method is not as important as how it is taught. All of the methods work if they are really well taught. Performing is important, especially in the last couple of years of high school. Partnering is not as important right now. That can come later. Really no way for us to tell which is better, so I think she needs to check them out and try them to determine that. If they are both good, then it's a matter of which one seems to fit her best! :thumbsup:

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sierramadre

Thank you so much for your fast reaction Ms Leigh! :) I actually called both schools and dd can go and try how are the classes at school#2, school #1 is already having its summer break.

 

I'm so happy that my daughters introduced me this site... It seems very helpful for a parent like me with not much background on dance. Keep up the good work! :thumbsup:

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