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Parental views: residencies or moving w/dancer

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I've been wondering how many parents that read Ballet Talk have either had a child move away to attend a year round residency program, and/or moved with their dancer, in order to allow them to continue their training away from home?


If people do care to respond, I'd be interested in hearing if the ballet school in question had an academic program they recommended and/or how your dancers' academic studies were continued? I'm also interested in getting an idea of how old, or what grade, your children were in when this move was made.


I know various people have mentioned this in other threads but thought it might be valuable to have it on a special thread. Naturally, it would be a plus to know the schools that your offspring attended but if you feel you'd rather not say, that's OK too - something is much better than nothing. :D


P.S. If any teachers care to respond, that, too, is more than welcome!

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  • mylildancer


  • lillianna


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  • Balletmartyr


BW I was wondering too. I can not think of how this would all happen.

People with established jobs, siblings, etc. Especially with a "husband of the driver of the dancer"within close range of a retirement.

We both feel it is very improtant to keep out core together at the age of 14.

I can't even think of the finances of two households, plus ballet etc etc.

Not that this has not crossed our minds, but husband always has a way to ground us.:D

He was the one when she was 9 and all others at the studio were taking 5-6 days a week said......I don't think so yet. He was right the increased time was better spent as she got older. He was right to say some would burn out.

I guess that is why I married him.;)

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Daughter went away at 12 (grade 7) to attend NBS in Toronto. The school has its own academic program and residence, students are required to complete highschool. I feel sorry for any family that faces this situation, it is so difficult to know what is the best thing to do. After a rough start with homesickness and injuries she is now loving her life surrounded by peers that share her passion. As for me, life at home is so different without her and I miss her every single day.

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This is a difficult answer to give because so much went into the decision that our family made nearly three years ago. Our dancer, then 14, was at a crossroads, so to speak, in her training. Several people, including teachers and former dancers, suggested, from the time she was 12, that she get better training than what was available to her in our then hometown. I looked at the arts school supported by our state, even visited on several occasions in order to take our dancer to summer intensive auditions there. The same teachers and former professionals suggested we NOT send her to this school. Our only other choice was a residency program out of state, or move the entire family.


We had actually been researching and discussing the situation for two years before we actually sent our dancer away. We are a homeschooling family of five children. The older two were in college at the time of the decision, and our dancer, the middle child, was going to enter ninth grade. This weighed heavily on the decision to send her then, because if you have been homeschooling for eight years, the best chance of having fewer problems enrolling in a public high school is in ninth grade. I could go into details, but this post is already quite long!


We knew when she left that the entire family wanted to follow her to her new town, but we needed to rent out our house, get the younger kids prepared, and find a place to live.


Our dancer lived with a host family for four months, then we rented a house in her new town. My husband was to come when he found a job in our new location. Six months later, with my husband coming up on weekends every two weeks or less, driving 7 hours each way, he found a job and we bought a house.


Now we have been in a new town, a new state, for going on three years. The younger two have adapted quite well, and our dancer is pleased with her training. She got a full scholarship to her SI for the past two summers, and we are hoping that we will know what to do after next year, her senior year in high school.


That is one reason I love this message board. There are so many people willing to discuss situations like "Where do we go from here?"


My dilemma after that is that the younger children and my husband have grown very fond of living here and I want to go back home!

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I have been through this gut-wrenching experience 3 times now--since I have 3 dancing daughters.

The oldest was 16 when she left home to go to a year round program at a school associated with a professional company. There was no educational program associated with the school and the ballet day was during the day making attending a public school extremely difficult. So the academic choice for her was to either attend an extremely expensive private school that would accommodate the ballet schedule or do high school by correspondence. We chose the correspondence route for her. She is an extremely organized individual and handled it without any major problems. The ballet school provided a proctor to give exams. She got her diploma and is now taking college courses around her ballet company schedule--so academically all is well.

Daughter number 2 attended the same year round program, also at age 16. By the time she attended there were more academic options. So she was able to attend a public performing arts high school which would work around the ballet schedule. The ballet school provided a bus for some of the trips, but she had to take the subway for others. This option was important for daughter number 2 because she is a very different child and would have had problems organizing and prioritizing her time to do it all on her own. She also has her high school diploma. While she has not yet started college--her ballet company has a much longer season and more performances--she has voiced that college is something she wishes to pursue. She will have no problem with her GPA to do that when she has the time and money.

Daughter number 3 chose to attend a year round professional school that has no housing at present . She is 17. So, I moved across country with her so that it would be a possibility for her. The ballet day here is also during the day but mostly in the afternoon. There is a public school system here(California) that is an "Independence" high school. She attends school one day per week for about an hour. During that hour she meets one-on-one with a teacher. The teacher gives her 35 hours worth of work to do covering 8 subjects. She must complete that work during the week and bring it back the next week for grading. There are strict rules about what happens if you do not complete your work on time so that students don't fall too far behind. The school worked with her over the Nutcracker time since she was performing with the company and had no daytime time available. They gave her multiple weeks of work at a time in October and November so that she would be ahead in December and able to coast a little during that month. She did so well that she completed her senior year in January and has official graduation in June. She is able to attend community college now as a concurrent high school student and receive college credit without cost to us. She, also, plans on college in her future during her ballet career. ( Future dream ballet career).

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balletmom311, thank you for your heartfelt post. It truly brought tears to my eyes. It's wonderful that your daughter has now found her niche at NBS...though I can see it's still very difficult for you to have her so far away.


busymomof5, wow! I take my hat off to you and your homeschooling of all 5 of your kids!!:eek: :) And moving the whole kit and kaboodle, too! I'm relieved it's all worked out so well for everyone and hope that things will come together for you all next year with your dancing daughter's high school graduation...and that if you really want to move "home" again, you'll get your wish.


And lilliana - yours is quite a story, too. I'm very interested in your family's genetics, as well - three ballet dancers!!;) :D The program that your youngest daughter has just gone through in California sounds rather unique - do they have a website? I'd be very interested to see if this program exists in other parts of the United States. Also, I enjoyed your explanations of the three different approaches your daughter's have taken in re their studies and their dancing - very commendable to recgonize their strengths and weaknesses.


I know I'm not the only person who appreciates your taking the time to post on this thread - as certainly driver of a dancer showed her interest too...as have a number of others if you check the "views" on this thread! ;)


Hope to hear from any others who've made these sorts of moves, too.

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My Olderst dancing Dau, now 15 moved to Harid for her Freshman year. She was barely 14. It was a tough decision but one that she had dreamed of accomplishing and specifically attending and graduationg from Harid was her goal.

After her year there, she decided that the school was not a good fit for her and moved back home to train locally and hopes to transfer to a Pre-Pro school in the next year or so.

She has been working extremely hard this year to pull her GPA back up from her "ballet grades" at Harid. Her grades were affected from a few missed classes due to a back injurey. She did not realize that the grades she made at Harid would affect her GPA so negatively. I am proud of all her hard work this year and she has moved back up into nearly the top 11% out of 560 students and hopes to reclaim her ranking before she left by next year.Her training at home is keeps her competitive, but doesn't take her to the next level.But this is OK, as she is in a nuturing environment, doing some normal high school things, like having a boyfriend, learning to drive and getting ready to attend Prom and thriving in all aspects of her life and living life to its fullest. She has no regretts about any of her decisions.

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If all goes as well as anticipated with the summer (in terms of daughter's fit w/ program), I am planning on moving my family so that my oldest can continue her training at the next level next year. Until the last few months, I would have never considered moving the whole family (single parent, 3 kids) as I don't feel the other two should have to make major changes for their sibling's benefit. But this just seems to be falling into place - I'm ready for a job change, my dancing dau. is definitely enthusiastic, and the other two are ready for a change and viewing this potential move as a big adventure. We've had many family discussions on pros and cons and I've made it clear that it has to be a joint decision and that we are moving b/c we are all ready for a change, and only moving to this particular city b/c of the dance program and therefore if the other two are unhappy (which I don't expect as they are very social kids) then they can't blame it on their sister.


Last year my dau. was accepted into a residential program but we decided against her going, for many different reasons including talking to girls that were at residential programs and several instructors (from her studio and elsewhere) very adamant opinion that she was just too young to leave home and it would not be emotionally healthy for her at that point in her life. It was a decision both I and my dau. were happy with.


But her studio has made it clear that she needs to go someplace else next year to get the intense training she needs now - there just isn't that resource available in our town.


Coming into audition season for next fall, she was again accepted into 2 residential programs and her home instructors felt like she was now mature enough to make a go of it. But even though I made plans for her to attend, when it came right down to filling out the forms, etc. I just couldn't do it. If that had been the only choice then I would have done it b/c I know how much my dau. loves dance and needs to persue her dream. But the option of us moving is a viable one and the one I'm most interested in persuing. I don't want my dau. leaving home yet!


One last comment: During our many talks about dau. going to residential prog. next year, she was very certain that she wanted to go, that she would be OK in an entirely new environment on her own, etc. But I have been surprised at how thrilled she is that we are all moving! The change in her is amazing! While before, I could feel her starting to distance herself, now she is doing the exact oposite - I have never been kissed and hugged so many times per day (and she is 16)! She is also noticably more cheerful and also more enthusiatic about leaving for summer program. What this says to me is that she was willing to leave home if that was the only way to get the training b/c she has such a deep desire to dance - but she really didn't want to go and wasn't ready for life on her own and is therefore thrilled that it doesn't have to happen that way. This is something she never would have expressed in words so I am so glad that I found out in another way.


Obviously, every child is different and there are many kids who do very well on their own in a residential program - I am not knocking that choice in any way! But that just doesn't seem to be the right decision for my dau. and my family.


Sorry this is so long!!!

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What an amazing adventure you (Mom of dancer) and your family are about to begin! I try to look at these dance opportunities as adventures and my daughters have taken us on some over the years. My oldest is in college, no longer dancing, and the youngest is still working on her next adventure. She wants to go to a full year program but that hasn't been presented to her yet. We try to believe that if it is meant to be it will. She continues to work very hard in her home studio and goes to SI every year. Best of luck to your daughter and your family.

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  • 5 months later...
Guest fille'smom

Mylildancer posted on another thread that she and her daughter have moved to accomodate the daughters dance training. I would love to hear more about this from her and others who have experienced it. How far are you from the rest of the family? How often do you commute "home"? What are the struggles and advantages? How do you manage this financially? How does this affect the other members of the family?

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Hi fille's mom. My dd actually out grew her local studio by age 12. By the time she convinced us that she needed to leave, we were commuting up to the University of Idaho, 40 min. away, 5x a week and up to Spokane, WA, a 2 hr. drive each way, on Sat. Her teacher in Spokane wanted her to come at least 4x a week, which was not feasible. Dd had come here to Ballet Idaho Academy for two summers in a row, so we were familiar with the staff. Together we agreed that our dd needed baby steps instead of leaping into a big pond since she was only 13 yrs old and from a small town with no public transit. She needed bad habits to be fixed and needed more emphasis on technique, and in a larger school she might have gotten lost in the crowd.


Boise is a 5 hr. drive from our home town, as long as you don't stop. I transferred my job with a major grocery chain down here, but I basically work 2 part time jobs to pay for everything and be financially independant down here while my husband takes care of the house and the boys back home. We have one in college, and one graduating at the end of this year. The boys are old enough that they didn't need me any more, and fully understood that their sister should go and at least try. It was a full year in research, decision making and actually going through the motions of finding an apart., registering for both dance and academic school, etc.


The biggest struggle has been my loneliness. We don't get to go home often. Dad and the boys come down here to visit us as often as they can. This year we probably won't get to go home except for the holiday breaks. My daughter is having a great time doing her thing, especially now that she is in the youth co. The change in atmosphere from small town studio to bigger city studio with it's professional atmosphere is not welcoming to me. Our special relationship made it easier last year, but now my dd is 14 and becoming more independant. Of course, this is natural, but now she's toying with the idea of moving on to a boarding school. She wants to audition for all the "big name" SI's to see if there are any takers, then she'll decide from there. I guess we'll just see where fortune falls. :wink:

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:( I feel for you and the move you must make for your child. Sometimes these moves are extremely necessary for your child to receive the proper training her/his talent deserves.

We have been in your shoes and my heart goes out to your family :wink: We finally realized that our daughter could not continue living at home to meet her goals and fulfill her dreams. We sold our home, put most of our things in storage and moved to a tiny apartment near a big company school miles away. We left dad at home to search for a new house that we would move into after the daughter spent two years training and finishing high school. We worked out dad's visits and sometimes I would leave her for a few days to travel 'home' to be with my husband. I have no regrets nor does my husband. We knew that we were doing the right thing for her future and figured that a couple of years would fly by. They did and our BD was so thankful that we gave her this full support. She was also able to complete a full academic program and apply to colleges. Even though she is dancing professionally now, she is glad to know that she can continue on to college when she decides to make a career change. And she is always eternally grateful to us for helping her reach her dream. If you have any specific concerns, please ask. Maybe I can offer some suggestions. I remember that many friends thought we were crazy. They did not understand the urgency of time that a dancer is always racing against. Go and don't look back! :)

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Dare greatly, and be prepared to make a leap of faith - several of 'em. :wink:


Moving the whole family to support the dancer(s) is a brave enterprise, and not lightly to be undertaken, but the rewards can be great. This is a time for innovation, and for thinking outside the proverbial box. Every step will be revolutionary, because nobody exactly like your family has ever done exactly the same thing, at exactly the same time as you propose doing it. The situations will often be "fluid and dynamic" (which is technospeak for "crazy") and will require decisive, positive action to manage. Cultivate good communications with the new school, and don't lose the ties to "back home". It's good for morale of both parent and student. Don't just be reactive - take your own action ("proactive"), but be judicious when selecting initiatives to take. Be prepared for more changes than you thought could exist, because they're out there, and will be certain to happen.

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Also, this well could be a situation where a boarding academy might be the choice that works for this family. I am normally not in favor of it IF the child is getting the training needed at home, but if not, then it could be necessary as an alternative to moving the whole family or continuing to split it up.

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Guest fille'smom

At what age/level should one consider a move like this? What factors should be considered when evaluating the need to change from current training? It seems difficult to get an opinion about potential and training recommendations from "local" teachers. Of course they want the dancer to stay - they need the tuition and the dancer in their studio. This is a whole other concern of mine....gosh it's too early in the morning for me to post.....I can't organize my thoughts...... :yawn: Back to bed!

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