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Ballet Talk for Dancers

San Francisco Ballet School


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Our daughter use to take Pilates at Informed Body, which is very near the ballet school (less than 5 min walk). Her instructor switched studios, so can't recommennd a specific person. It's a small studio, but very conveniently located. I also should say that like most things in SF, they are not inexpensive, however they were reasonably priced for the area.

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pirouetteprincess100

Thank you Coco. I looked up their website and it's exactly what DD is looking for.

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You are welcome. I realize that I only answered half your question. There's a swimming pool and fitness center at the Jewish Community Center in Laurel Heights. It is not walking distance to and from SFB; however a short bus ride away. Membership is open to everyone regardless of faith.

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  • 1 month later...

Allo,

My child has been requested to repeat level 3. There wasn't any feedback toward the end of the year (any other feedback was good). One other parent suggested that they are holding back the girls who have yet to visibly start puberty. Is this a crazy idea? And if this decision is talent based, should she realize now that they do not consider her a good fit for this school?

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If things have not changed at SFB regarding when they start pointe, level IV is when they start. It could merely mean that they feel your daughter needs another year before starting pointe. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that your daughter isn't a good fit. I thought that the school did not invite students back if they thought the dancer was not a good fit.

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Thank you so much for answering, I appreciate it. She will be heartened by your reply. They have started level 3 on pointe for the first time this year. so I suppose she'll go off and then back on... Is it customary to receive very little information? I do not know ballet schools well, so I was surprised that they did not explain at all how they made the decisions.

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I am not certain how they are currently handling the lower levels, so may not have the answer. Our recent past experience with upper levels was a letter that basically states placement for the next year and a pretty comprehensive report card; however, it wasn't like academic school where you, the parent and student know what grades it takes to pass to the next level. Also the parent conference often provides insight.

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Thank you again. I called the school (after realizing it was level 4 she was repeating--apologies! I was confusing my kids/gymnastics and ballet) and the said, as you did, that repeating was quite common. This too has put her mind at ease. I appreciate you taking the time to reply :).

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Level placement and level curriculum has been drastically changing since Mr. Armound took over the school. Pointe is really now starting in level 3, not 4 and the age range for all the levels is going up. It is now very, very common to repeat levels, where that was not true in the past before level 5 or 6. It also appears that this year they have three level 3 classes which has not been the case in at least the last 6 or 7 years. We obviously cannot guess why they choose to hold your child back, but as there seems to be only one class of level 4 this year, it seems they are placing kids carefully.

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  • 1 month later...

Would anyone be willing to post a more recent update on the year round program? it sounds like there have been changes. What does a day in the life of a 16 year old student look like? What are the current levels? How many dancers are there in class? What kind of performance opportunities are there? Is everyone in the Jackson House or is there an apartment? Do they offer scholarships or is it financial aid only?

Thank you!

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  • 2 months later...

Hey dancer dancer - sorry I didn't see your questions.

 

If your child's dream is to dance in SFB's company, then they are better off training someplace else and then coming in at 17 or 18 through their summer program. Training at SFB is lackluster and the company hires dancers who've been trained elsewhere, particularly at international schools.

So student dancers beware - we know many students who started at SFBS at age 6 and have gone on through age 17 or 18, but they have no place to go because no one wants to hire them (not even SFB) because of poor technique: no turnout, weak feet, poor jumps, poor turns.

The only ones with any chance are those that are just naturally gifted, go away to SAB, Royal Ballet, Paris Opera or the such for the summer, and return with the better technique and can maintain it. But that is a tiny minority.

We know from other parents and students that that terrible teacher is still there, pretending to teach anytime Patrick or Helgi come in and criticize what the students are doing. It's really too bad that SFBS hires based on friendships rather than on competence. And don't waste your time nor your students' of going there for any type of training. It should be considered a "finishing school," where a student only goes after they have completed most of their most important foundational training and are going there just to learn their particular style.

I hope this is helpful to some.

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Would anyone be willing to post a more recent update on the year round program? it sounds like there have been changes. What does a day in the life of a 16 year old student look like? What are the current levels? How many dancers are there in class? What kind of performance opportunities are there? Is everyone in the Jackson House or is there an apartment? Do they offer scholarships or is it financial aid only?

Thank you!

 

@Narfie, my daughter is in her first year at SFBS. She is in level 8 and is 15 years old (she trained for 9 years at a ballet school near us).

 

She lives in Jackson House with about 25 other level 7s, level 8s and Trainees. There are little to no performance opportunities for students. Trainees get to perform more than level 7s and 8s in outreach programs, and as second or third cast in productions. Most level 8s rehearse snow/flowers in Nutcracker (and other big productions) but are 3rd or 4th cast, and only a handful of evel 7s get to rehearse at all for Nutcracker. The big performance opportunity for students is the end-of-year showcase (in May, I think).

 

SFBS does offer merit scholarships, usually only for tuition, not for housing. Jackson House is offered by invitation only (and students still have to pay to live there) and is typically reserved for the Trainees, level 8 and some level 7. Just this year they opened a second residence for older Trainees (I can't remeber the name of it).

 

My daughter's typical day is that she has to catch a bus near Jackson House around 8 or 8:30 that gets her to the studios by 9am. Class begins around 9:30. She is in classes most of the day, and now that it's Nutcracker season she has rehearsals too. She is usually done by 5 or 6. She takes the bus back to Jackson House, runs errands, eats dinner, does homework, does laundry, does her house job, etc. Once in a while there is a house meeting. Most of the students go to bed by 10 at the latest. Since she is one of the few students in the house who is still enrolled in school (most have graduated since they're 17-18, or they are home schooled by parents, or they have an easier academic schedule somehow), she has to do homework when almost no one else does. She attends an online school. SFBS does not seem to recognize that some students have schoolwork to do and do not make any accommodations or concessions for this. SFBS does not offer any academic support of any kind. Students are completely on their own. That has been the hardest part for our daughter, balancing the grueling dance schedule with homework when there are so few students around her who are in the same situation.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you Hendolvik for your thorough reply. It has been a long time since I checked this thread. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

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