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Voicing Opinions


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It has been brought to my attention that there are some on this board who consider my postings to be NON-RWBS and coming from the "sour grapes" perspective!

Firstly, let me say that I/We have never been critical of the training available at this residency program. It is top notch, otherwise we would NOT have spent so many years there.

Secondly, that I continue to voice my opinion regarding time and money spent on this training. Yes I still adhere to the opinion that a graduation certificate should be worth the paper it is written on. If a DK doesn't have what it takes to succeeed in gainful dance employment, programs should be upfront and not just take in the cash!

Thirdly, I have commented, negatively, regarding verbal abuse by teachers, for that I still stand firm! Shouldn't be tolerated!

Fourth, My beef with programs doing more to help or teach graduates or aspirants HOW to explore employment options. I.e. what companies to audition for, body style , dance type etc. This should be done for all, not just the chosen few!

I hope that by voicing our concerns things will evolve for the next generation of graduates, so that they are not flung out into the emplyment field with little or no knowledge on where or what to do next.

If this offends, I am truly sorry.

As consumers we all expect value for our money...education/training programs should be accountable also. No??

RWBS offers excellent training, has many wonderful teachers, great performance opportunities...and our DD has benefitted from all of these.

As stated on the SI forum, parents shouldn't feel they have to hide behind any of the negatives they may have experienced. There is no shame in honesty!

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dbleon, I absolutely support your right to voice your opinion. I've come to realize recently that a number of people consider it risky to participate on this board. That's really too bad, because I think the benefits obtained from this forum still outweigh the risks.


Addressing your points:

1) I suspect I have read nearly all your posts on this board, and I have never heard you voice any criticism of the RWBS training.

2) You make a VERY GOOD point. If the graduation certificate carries no more meaning than you served your time, than you have every right to voice that opinion. I haven't read any argument saying otherwise that has any merit.

3) I think we all can agree on this. I mean, who's for verbal abuse?! If you are, stand up and say so right now!

4) I think asking for post-graduation guidance is absolutely reasonable. In fact, it's more than reasonable. If there was adequate guidance by teachers/schools/programs, there would be little need for this board. It's made quite clear, every single day, that parents and students are having to turn here to get this help. Good for you for hammering on this point!


However, regarding the issues you raise--I firmly believe there is no one absolute answer, not for a group and not for an individual. I also think that whatever the opinion reflected by the post, its value is always going to be in the eye of the beholder. Some people will not like what they read and say so; others who agree will write their support, but a lot will just quietly weigh it all and never post a thing one way or another.


Frankly, if a post advances the discussion by provoking further discussion, I think that's great. It's a necessary factor in creating a productive forum. So, dbleon, I hope you continue to participate fully, whether to vent, question, offer advice, or share experience. You're always going to have supporters, whether they agree with your points, or just your right to make them.

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It is my understanding that there are two types of certificates given at graduation from RWBS, one indicates that you have graduated from the school and the other just that you have completed the required courses. I may not be stating this right and others can explain it better, I am sure. It does appear that RWB makes some distinction between its seniors. Can you tell me what your experience is with how these two groups are handled and what kind of notification they receive prior to graduation, if they do not measure up to the standards set for a diploma?


I think that your posts on this topic are very interesting and I think it is good for everyone to be honest about theirs or their dancers' experiences at various programs. I certainly understand your frustration and I think the questions you are raising are valid ones.

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You are correct in this, although I ONLY learned of this at my DD's graduation. There was 1 in the group who only received a certificate of "completion"??? Don't quote me on this as I am not sure of the exact wording, I will need to speak with DD. This came as a total shock to some of the graduating class. We all felt for this DK and the family who travelled out for the ceremony!!

For those who think Iam venting, DD DID received the Graduation Certificate!!


Thank you to those who support my right to voice concerns, offer support and to question when needed!!

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Frankly, if a post advances the discussion by provoking further discussion, I think that's great. It's a necessary factor in creating a productive forum. So, dbleon, I hope you continue to participate fully, whether to vent, question, offer advice, or share experience. You're always going to have supporters, whether they agree with your points, or just your right to make them.
- werlkj


I think that your posts on this topic are very interesting and I think it is good for everyone to be honest about theirs or their dancers' experiences at various programs. I certainly understand your frustration and I think the questions you are raising are valid ones.
- balletbooster


I agree, as I am sure do, if not 100%, close to it.


I know that another poster replied to a post you had made on another thread and used the words "to be fair"... I don't necessarily think she meant it quite that way, but rather, I believe, she wanted to share her son's experiences that were in contrast. Either way, we must all be in agreement that everyone is entitled to share their opinions. Yes, in some ways, compared to other sites, BT for Dancers is more circumspect. I will say that the fairly good sized number of moderators do try hard not to come "down" too hard on people. No doubt, errors in judgement have probably occurred :o:blushing: from time to time, but I know that I would be very disappointed if people who felt "wronged" didn't make their feelings known. :(


Emotions, understandably, can run high sometimes - believe me, I really do know first hand about these things. I think it is a healthy atmosphere that allows people to share their experiences - as long as we don't cross the line into "slander"! :thumbsup: It's important to share the great, the good, the not so good, the bad and the ugly - with the shining triumphs and the disappointments which are usually mixed.


With the world at large in so much chaos and upheaval, I think we do pretty well at remaining peaceful.


There endeth my sermon. :wub:


P.S. It is very interesting to hear about the two kinds of diplomas. :offtopic:

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Speaking of honesty—sure, it’s a great goal, but I think that honesty is overrated if the words that are used are hurtful, disrespectful, tactless, or rude. I know as well as anyone that sometimes it’s almost impossible to choose words that don’t offend anyone greatly. Those are the times I think that sometimes it’s better not to post anything at all. I’d say that honesty accompanied by a little circumspection and attention to others’ feelings is a good goal.


I’m going to stick my neck out here a bit. My observation, over the past year that I’ve been posting, is that peoples’ opinions are better tolerated when the writer avoids making pronouncements or statements of fact. And I’ll concede I’m guilty of this at times, being a rather opinionated and mouthy soul. But pronouncements, even when made by the most well-informed, can be a real turn-off. And whenever I see one in a forum frequented mainly by adults, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because invariably somebody gets hurt. It doesn’t seem to matter how true the statement is, I think it often sounds condescending, and sometimes even like an attack. I know that attack is a harsh word, but it’s the word that I’ve heard used several times lately. And... I’m going to risk being blunt and say something that will be unpopular: My impression is that it is one of the reasons why some long-time posters appear to have all but given up posting. This forum suffers when experienced people would rather PM each other than post, though I don't blame them at all.


Everyone has their own way of dealing with this. I’ve tried some other people’s methods for defusing my statements, but I’ve concluded I’ll never have a well-developed sense of humor and am missing the light touch a couple of our moderators have. So I resort to prefacing every worrying sentence with a variation of “In my opinion...” or “My personal impression was...” I hope it worked here, and I hope the moderators forgive me for stepping on their role.


PS. Don't all jump down my throat at once please. :offtopic:

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werlkj, I love your post! :offtopic: It is very difficult to step back and objectively communicate our ideas, be it parent, student or teacher, yes, and even moderator. Sometimes our emotions may get the best of all of us, but we all need to learn to continue our growth (what else are our options).


This teacher/moderator appreciates every word she reads on BalletAlert, even if it may not always be what I want to hear! :wub:

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My impression is that it is one of the reasons why some long-time posters appear to have all but given up posting.

werlkj, I doubt that I'd be considered a "long-time poster" as I've only been a member for two years or so, but I did post quite a lot in the past, and don't much any more. You may indeed be correct here, but my only reason for being "quiet" (and possibly that of several others, whose DKs are the same age as mine and are fairly quiet, too) is that my kid has moved on, and I don't feel that I have much to contribute any more. Kait's no longer at a ballet school, no longer attends SIs, is still searching for that perfect pointe shoe but it's not my problem as I'm not currently paying for them ( :offtopic::wub::( !) - I don't feel that I have a lot to add to the boards these days.

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I for one really enjoy hearing the advice and the experiences of those whose dancers have successfully navigated the ballet jouney and come out on the other side with a penny or two left to their name, their sanity somewhat intact and a happy, healthy working dancer! :) I hope you will contribute here from time to time. We sure do appreciate you! : :yes:

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:lol: OK - jumping down werlkj's throat :P Contrary to what is being said here, I was NOT attacking dbleon or being condescending towards her in any way. I happen to agree with many concerns she has brought up. They are valid and she has certainly made her frustration known to all of us. I was only pointing out that her post made it seem like the company did not hire any graduates of the school which is not the case. I also pointed out to the general audience why the company cannot hire all of the graduates into the apprentice program. I also wanted to point out my son's positive experiences and yes, the negative ones as well. Life is definitely not a bed of roses at a residential school. I try to be as honest as circumstances will allow and do post most stuff on the board - even when DS has second thoughts about the entire process. :) But, as you know there are many, many more lurkers than posters, and I feel that by posting we are helping out so many more people than we really talk to on the board.


This board is for open discussion and discourse and that is why I post - it is also a place to learn and to impart knowledge or give support when needed. And yes, emotions do run high at times, but that is because we have a passionate interest in this topic and our children's dance lives. So, I will continue to post as will others I'm sure, and the "talk" will go on. :yes:

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k8smom: Gee, it's good to hear your daughter has successfully crossed that invisible boundary to adulthood. Right now, I can't imagine how that'll feel, but I can't wait to find out.


Yes, you make a good point. It's logical to assume that members whose kids have grown up and moved on will become less involved in this forum. And of course there will always be a certain level of attrition.


However, I'm talking about people with 15-, 16-, 17-, even 18-year-old DKs, people with years of experience and insights. Some of them no longer participate very much. I want to hear from these people. I want the benefit of their experience and their kids' experience. And if they are willing to share that information with us at Ballet Alert, I want them to feel comfortable doing it. That's all I want. There is really nowhere else to get much of this information, except from each other.

dancemomCA, I agree with you that "emotions do run high at times," and there are all kinds of reasons for that (including menopause :yes: ). I simply wish it didn't result in long-time members choosing to stop participating. That's all.

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werlkj, I fully understand your desire to hear from those with dancers in the upper teens. They can provide very valuable help and information. I too miss many whom I have met over the last few years on this board and gotten to know when our dancers attended the same programs. Several who were very regular posters a year or two ago have all but disappeared from this website! :yes:


Something that I think is important to recognize is that those later teen years often see a shift in dancers' paths. Particularly as dancers near graduation, they may begin to re-think their earlier commitments to ballet and choose a different path. Even those who go off to residency often find that they have a change of heart, for a variety of reasons. These shifts in focus can be very difficult for both moms and dancers to talk about. Often, I think the parents see these shifts coming, long before the dancers realize that they are moving away from a ballet career. Others find themselves in the difficult situation of still pursuing that elusive ballet job a year or two after graduation from highschool or college. At a certain point, it can become difficult and even painful for the parents to talk about the many years their dancers spent pursuing a dream that has not yet come to fruition.


I'm not saying that this is the case for all of those whom we no longer see on this board, but it might well be the case for some. Hopefully, they will come back and share their experiences and their dancers' current interests, when it is comfortable for them to do so. I know that I always enjoy hearing about the dancers whom I feel I have come to know on this board, regardless of what paths their lives take! :) It is also true that many at this age have gone into a residency situation or have moved to pursue more intense training and their ballet lives are somewhat 'sorted out' for the moment. Many parents in this situation drift away from the board, but often we see them return as their dancers near graduation and start to pursue a ballet contract. I hope that all of these parents will come back and check in with us from time to time. You are missed!

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balletbooster - it's a stretch to say that 1) I have any money left; and 2) I have any sanity left, but thanks for the nice words :yes: .


werlkj - I agree with you about the importance of this board, and the idea that people need to be comfortable posting here. I have a feeling that our (dance) communities are about the same size. Kait got so little help and guidance from her ballet school that BA ended up being a very important resource for us. Those whose children go to company or residential schools usually have access to lots of information, but many of us are/were not that lucky.

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Yes, balletbooster, as I said earlier, attrition is one reason for the decline in participation by parents of older teens. But I stand by my assertion that there are some who leave for other reasons, reasons which I am unhappy about accepting.


I'm not much different than most people, in that I like to put a good face on things when I'm dissatisfied just as much as the next person. I think it's a natural response in a psychologically healthy individual. But I'm trying to be straight here and acknowledge a problem. Maybe it's not a very big problem, but it's a problem nonetheless.


I'll be honest. I don't really want to spend a lot of time in a PM network. A PM communication between me and another person requires me to make half the commitment. Ten PM communications requires a LOT of commitment. But a communication involving me and the membership of BA requires only a tiny fraction of commitment from me, and many, many more than two people benefit. Logically speaking, it's just a lot more practical to participate in a forum.

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I would like to thank both Dbleon and dancemomCA for your openess in posting about RWBS. :yes::) Your posts have given me a much better understanding about this program, and "food for thought" about the difficulties of a ballet career for Canadian dancers. My dds are very young, and I may never need this info, but it is so wonderful to have it available. I'm sure you have helped many people make informed decisions out their children's training.

Thanks to you, and to EVERYONE who has shared honestly and openly about their children's programs.

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