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Hi all,


I've been reading this thread with much interest, and feeling a little guilty because I tend to post only occasionally when I have a specific question. My "excuse" for not being a more active participant may seem a little silly, but here goes. I read the posts and think to myself "Wow, these parents are so intelligent and well spoken. What do I have to contribute?" If I feel this way, maybe there are others? I value the wisdom found here, and the commitment of so many of you to continue to share openly with us.


Would it be a good idea to start a "re-introduction" thread? We could each share a little about what stage of ballet our dk's are, or aren't :yes: .

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I think this thread has gone off in a different direction, however, to respond to motherof5, while I don't think a reintroduction thread is really necessary, I do hope that everyone will be aware that Ballet Talk for Dancers....AND their parents!....is for everyone, and no one is judging the writing of any valid question or experience posted. The only way to learn is to ask. And everyone's experiences add to the discussion and the general knowledge.


Please don't be intimidated by the people who post more and maybe some who are very knowledgeable and write exceptionally well! Over the years of writing here on Ballet Alert! Online, I have LEARNED to write! While I am certainly not in the same ballpark, or even league, as "real writers" and highly educated academics, at least I have learned to make some posts or write a few articles that make sense...hopefully! :) Thanks to Alexandra, who literally lured me kicking and screaming, so to speak, into writing articles, I learned and grew from the experience, and continue to do so! I have seen this happen here on the board a lot over the years. People who were reserved or shy at first, gradually begin posting more, and posting thoughtful, intelligent responses.


So, please everyone, jump in the water, it's great! :yes:

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Victoria Leigh, you make a great point. Writing takes practice. And my experience is that if it's done daily, its quality will improve. I have no specific education or training in it myself, but I have done a bit of writing and editing over the past few years. Unfortunately, I also notice that my skills will deteriorate when I haven't had a project for awhile, not much, thank goodness, but still...a bit.


I can say emphatically, though, that educational levels aren't a reliable indicator of good writing. I've worked with innumerable Ph.D.s and Masters-level people who cannot write clearly, as well as lesser individuals similar to myself, degreed and non-degreed. By that, I mean their writing is circuitous, obtuse, and/or imprecise, and often filled with grammatical and mechanical errors.


Writing posts is very good practice, especially for those parents and kids involved in dance and participating on this board. It's so much easier to write if you have something to say, or something you feel passionate about--whether it's your kids or dance itself. And the medium (an online forum) demands short and sweet posts! Essays are not required.


I will admit, though, I'm somewhat of a failure when it comes to my kids. I homeschool them off and on—just one at the moment—and I should be demanding daily writing. But it's so painful for both of us. No one likes their work bled on (criticized), least of all by their mom. :thumbsup:

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Quote of the day

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."   TEDDY ROOSEVELT.

So lets keep supporting our dancing kids. In supporting them, let us comtinue to educate ourselves and look for answers to our questions. Let's assist them in finding the right "arena" or SI or residency or school. Let us post their SI and other experiences and share information. Let us feel that we can openly and honestly comment on our particular dancers experiences, positive or negative. Maybe we can post experiences without really being a "critic" in a negative fashion. (Being a critic does not mean we have to be critical or criticize.) Whether our dancing kids' experiences are positive or negative, the more information posted the better. Different kids will certainly have totally different experiences at the same school or SI. One experience is no more "correct" or "incorrect", "right" or "wrong" than the other. There will always be a "balance" of experiences in any endevour.


Sure, kids at SI's who dance featured roles may have a more positive experience than one who did not. And graduates of programs who immediately secure a trainee or apprentice or corp spot may have more positive comments than those who do not. But it does not mean that those less than positive experiences are not real, (nor are they sour grapes) and those experiences may in fact be the MAJORITY of the experiences in any given year. We all eventually find out about the 2% who eventually make it and the 98% who don't. Hey, every single NFL team that does not win the Super Bowl each year is technically a "loser." But we don't look at it that way. Heck, the angst in Boston was what made baseball there great. It wasn't about winning the World Series. Heck, it was more about not winning for nearly 100 years. Well, it was about the effort put into trying to win year after year after year.


So lets get back to the posting. Let's post is such a way that the information reflects our individual dancers experience for that SI, or audition , or school etc. We can present the facts. It can be about what we don't say, if we want to leave out details. And if we read a post that differs from our own experience, post a contrasting evaluation. Neither one is more right than the other. If the posts are honest, they are BOTH CORRECT.

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Amen, nlkflint. The value of this Board lies in the thoughtful postings borne of experience filtered through concern and evaluation. Not everyone will have the same experience or will come to the same conclusions based upon their individual experiences. That is a very, very, very good thing. Otherwise, we would all be very boring and there would be little value in reading a Board in which everyone writes the same thing over and over.


One man's trash is another man's treasure; a friend is one who can separate the grain from the chaffe, and with a breath of kindness blows the rest away. ETC. . . . For this Board to continue to have value, we need posters who are willing to relate their experiences---good, bad, indifferent---and give those reports in a framework of thoughtful evaluation in order for the rest of us to put things in context. None of us sit in the same seat. We all come to the table with a little bit different perspective. But we can all learn from thoughtfully considering other's perspectives. If it is not identical to our own, then so be it. We must remember--It IS theirs.


Khalil Gibran wrote that the heighth of our joys may be measured by the depths of our sorrows. Thus, reading over and over about the wonderfulness of a SI really doesn't tell us near as much as if we are able to view the wonderfulness in light of the warts of the program. We must be careful not to choke the bearer of "bad news" or we will have no "warts" to compare. There are so many platitudes that could be applicable: The humanity of a country is reflected in the manner in which it treats its prisoners; etc.


The best evaluation is a result of compare and contrast. Without the "dark" side of a program, we really can't evaluate the relative "brightness" of that program.


Secondly, do not bite the heads of posters whose "experience" differs from your own. It really does make people think twice about posting. I know I have dropped out of one or two discussions because of such a response. It appears to me that others have also. However, at other times, I care enough about the topic to not be "shushed".

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These last few posts have been excellent! I think these ideals and the thoughtfulness of so many of the posters on BT are what make this such a great resource!


I do encourage everyone to share all sides of their ballet experiences. Balanced perspective is always the most helpful to those trying to make decisions or who are working through disappointments.


I think the key to discussing experiences that are negative, begins with sorting through the experience individually and asking some questions, such as:


1. Why did this situation occur?

2. What could have been done differently to avoid it?

3. How did those involved impacted the event, positively or negatively?

4. Is this individual experience representative of the norm or is unique for some reason? If so, what are the reasons?


I could go on and on with factors that one should consider when working through a 'less than perfect' experience, but you get the idea.


It has occurred to me that the time to bring that negative experience to this board is AFTER an individual has considered these questions independently and can put the experience into the appropriate perspective. It helps when discussing negative situations in a public forum, to include the conclusions you have come to on questions similar to the ones listed above. It helps others know the context of your individual experience, understand the hows and whys of the event and presents the situation more failry.


Please don't misinterpret this to mean that I am suggesting that you dilute an awful experience so that it is more palatable for others. Nor, am I suggesting that you keep quiet because you fear retribution on this board. I do think it is a good idea to be thoughtful, fair and as balanced as possible when sharing such events.


Sometimes that means waiting jsut a bit to post about something that has happened, in order to process it and make some sense of it. I know that there are times when what is desperately needed is to talk about the event and to get some help from others in trying to put it in perspective. When that is the case, act responviely by presenting the situation as completely and fairly as possible.


If we will all think twice and carefully ponder our posts that contain negative information about an SI, a studio, a teacher, etc. and put them through our own internal 'quality control', I think that others will respond to the posts in the spirit that they are written. The same sorts of questions should be asked by those who respond to posts about negative events and make sure that we are being fair and open-minded when we respond to posts that might reflect negatively on a program or teacher that we personally might really like or when our personal experiences are diametrically opposed to the negative ones posted.


As Ballet Talk members, we all have a responsibility when posting about negative situations and when responding to them to try to make our posts indicative of the kind of forum we want BT to be when the shoe is on the other foot! :wub:

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Very well stated as always dancemaven and nlkflint!


vj (who is buried under a mound of costumes due for Nutz and will be back with more posts mid-December!)

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This is in reply to both dancemaven and ballet booster and my general musings,


dancemaven has hit the nail on the head for me, except once I am "shushed" I will not respond again, I don't have the time to spend giving my impressions of an SI to be told, in other words, that my daughters viewpoints are not valid simply because others experiences were different!


balletbooster: Shouldn't the positive experiences be analyzed too? If only the negative remarks are to be filtered, then once again, the appearence is that only the positive remarks are wanted. Sometimes children have bad experiences that can only be attributed to the entire atmosphere of their environment, and to go through the "4 step program" would be impossible and therefore their experience goes unwritten! On the positive side, what if the SI if the dk's first and only SI, first and only time away from home, first and only time being with a group of kids that all love ballet. The platitudes that kid will provide needs to be put in context just as a negative experience would. The impression I got from your posting, was-- be extra careful if what one posts is negative--but that leaves unsaid, to post at will with positive remarks!


When I come to BT to read about SI's, I want gut impressions. I want to know how the dk "feels." I don't want someone to analyze the situation for me, if I am given the facts, I can sort out my own impression. For example, if a post mentions that the dk did not like the food because it was monotonous, versus most of the entrees were fried. I take my own kid into account, she can deal with monotonous, but she will not eat fried food. This is the best generic example I could come up with on the fly! If only positive postings are made how does one choose a program when they are all so wonderful! There is in fact a program on the SI forum, that has no negative responses in regard to dancing, and several students I know attended. Their dancing experiences were not what the postings on this board led them to believe they would experience. They have not posted simply because they so not feel their responses would be welcome. I did not agree with this conclusion at first, but I am beginning to see their point!

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:D Oh TutuMaker, I am sure there's a misunderstanding here! Absolutely we don't just want platituteds and I'm sure most people are in agreement about wanting your "gut" reaction with some details about things, too.


There is in fact a program on the SI forum, that has no negative responses in regard to dancing, and several students I know attended. Their dancing experiences were not what the postings on this board led them to believe they would experience. They have not posted simply because they so not feel their responses would be welcome. I did not agree with this conclusion at first, but I am beginning to see their point!


Unfortunately :D , there are more than a few programs that haven't had posts this year. I, for one, certainly know people who attended NYSSSA but haven't posted - the same thing happened last year, I believe. :green:


If anyone who reads these boards believes that they should not post their responses to a specific SI because they did not feel that it met with their expectations based upon what someone posted from the year before, or if it contradicts another current attendee's response - they are sorely mistaken! I do hereby swear to uphold the Ballet Talk for Dancer's "law" that all opinions based on first hand or dk's experience are welcome as long as they don't cross over into "slander". :thumbsup: Frankly, in the too many years I've been reading here, I've come across many very differing opinions. I just can't understand how anyone would think their opinions wouldn't be considered important. Vive la difference! :(:thumbsup: Without differences, life becomes very :blink:!

Edited by BW
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Your points are very good! I certainly didn't mean that positive comments should be posted without any thought. I do agree that the context is important to know, regardless of the nature of the post. Your post made me think that we ought to add that question to our 'suggested question list' for the SI Feedback thread - Is this your first SI experience? If not, how many SIs have you previously attended? (or perhaps the more direct: If not, please list other SIs you have attended.) That might really help put comments into proper perspective, be they postive or negative.


I was focusing on negative comments, because those are the ones that seem to get folks most upset. Of course, the reverse is also true. If you had an awful time and others post about how great the SI was, then you do feel isolated and wonder what was wrong with you, that your experience was so different. So, your point is well taken that ALL posts need to be evaluated before posting and we all have the responsibility to be sure that we post accurately, putting our experiences - good and bad - in the proper context.


Unfortunately, we are not talking about facts only where the SI feedback forum is concerned. We are talking about how dancers 'felt' about their experiences. One student will feel like a teacher really liked them, another will not. That will color their perception of the entire program, at times. One student will feel that the program is too instense, another will feel it is challenging. We are not looking just for facts about a program, we are looking for how individuals responded to an SI. By looking at a poster's age and sex, you get some idea about whether they are in the same demographic as your dancer. Over the years, as you recognize posters, you remember where dancers have attended in previous summers and you begin to form an idea about whether their interests and expereinces are similar to yours or not and that too becomes part of the filter that you individually use to decide whether a poster's impressions of a program might be likely to mirror your own.


I will say it again and again and again - EVERYONE's comments are welcome, needed and wanted on the SI forum! I'm the one who said it first - we want to hear about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly! My post was just to remind folks that there is a responsibility on the part of the poster to post carefully and thoughtfully. When we are dealing with perceptions and not facts, it is easy to step on one another's toes. Kindness and empathy are key elements of a thoughtful discussion. How we post and how we respond to others' posts defines the culture we create here. Let's make it a warm one where everyone feels welcome and included in the discussion!


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There is in fact a program on the SI forum, that has no negative responses in regard to dancing, and several students I know attended. Their dancing experiences were not what the postings on this board led them to believe they would experience. They have not posted simply because they so not feel their responses would be welcome. I did not agree with this conclusion at first, but I am beginning to see their point! 


I am intrigued with this statement. I could tell on at least one thread that folks were noticeably absent in posting, and figured it was because the SI was not all that it was cracked up to be. I have noticed some folks not having a problem being negative about local experiences. Are they afraid to post about the SI experience because the program is a nationally recognized program? That's all the more reason the negative feedback is needed.


I certainly try to put both positive and negative comments into the context of the writer - age, gender, experience, etc. I consider it, massage it, and think about how it would apply to my own teenager. It's all valid. I would have to say that on the thread for my dd's SI, there is quite a bit of positive and negative. Much of it is a reflection of the level, gender, and the kids' expectations before they went. Gender was important because boys worked really hard at this particular SI. In some cases, their experience was very different from my dd's. However, no one seemed to take offense in the varying opinions on that SI thread.


In am interested in the particular case from which I quoted above. As with urging people to vote, all need to be encouraged to POST. Let's see....shall we call it Post or Die??? :flowers: No political pun intended....



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I certainly hope that people from both sides of the issue will post. In fact, people from both sides NEED to post. Just because sides are differing doesn't mean that the information isn't valid. We have been to several SI's over the years and have gotten information from this board concerning almost all of them. We have not always agreed upon return with the original posters. Nor would we have chosen solely based on information given here, however, it is a launching pad for questioning whether a particular SI is a fit. Sometimes we loved the program more than the poster, sometimes less. However, the key is that we left home with information that was at the very least a starting point. And that we could wade through the information to help our purposes.


Now don't get me wrong, I am not senseless enough to think that just because someone posts, that they are being truthful and that their posts are not slighted. That is where PM's come in. A few pointed questions can sometime break through some of the gray area with opinion and personal experiences. However, someone's opinion is just that an opinion and should be valued as such!


For me, it is just as important to know that one DD disliked a program because X,Y or Z as it is to know why she liked another program. Remember that you the poster don't know what information I am seeking when I come to the boards. Any director's of programs would hopefully look at the negatives as ways to improve their own program rather than slaps on the face. If they would do otherwise, that would be an indication for me of the tone of the program.


Knowledge is what most of us come here for, and to get that knowledge we need information given. Post away and the one's who might need to feel threatened or shamed are those who cannot figure out a way to say "I disagree" in a civil way so that the discussion can continue. We all need to realize that the written word doesn't show our voice inflections. Prolific writers can make you feel the intent their words are written with, most of us, just write and get interpreted. Bring on the information!



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Unfortunately, I know other people, such as myself, which have become "lurkers" to the SI board, as well as other topics, because I (we) feel that only a select group or opinions are welcome.

I know that on another area, ping said that danceart.com is becoming a popular area for people to say terrible things about BT and other dance issues. I don't post on there personally, however, I have read several posts, and many posters are out spoken. This is because they do feel they can speak their mind; good, bad or in different.

Many won't agree with this, but this is what is happening. I guess they feel kind of censorship here.

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On the SIs, I think we're seeing the phenomenon of the "Old College Tie" jumped forward a few years. Do Harvard students treat Yale students with contempt? A few, maybe, but don't praise Yale to any Harvard parent! You could lose your nose! Things get downright hard and heavy when dealing with inter-school rivalries. And as for censorship, as far as the board is concerned, say what you like, but realize that "XYZ Ballet SI is for necrophile kleptomaniac firebugs" will not survive.

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