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Good training at "home": staying at home schools


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We have said many times that there ARE good schools out there that are not "large" or company schools. They are somewhat rare, but they certainly do exist. If the school is turning out dancers, then obviously there should be no need to leave home! :crying:

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  • 3 weeks later...
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  • Victoria Leigh


  • Clara 76


  • labelleballerine


  • lorrainegd


Not all residency programs are what they seem. If the school you attend is giving excellent training that will get a student into a good SI, then they are doing something right. :lol:

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  • 2 years later...

My school is not amazing but is increasinglygetting better overall. This year, the older girls from our studio began to try out for major summer intensives (ABT, Houston Ballet, The Rock, etc) and they got in. As I said, our school isn't the best, but some girls who are graduating are going to Joffrey, Butler, and TCU. It seems as if my school is good enough and I don't need to move on to a different school. But I'm not sure. Is this studio going to be enough for me to have a professional career in ballet? Thanks :shrug:

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What do you mean by "our school is not the best"? How are you measuring it? :shrug:

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Without divulging your personal information, can you help us a little here by explaining a bit more. Looking into programs of study is always a good thing. It does not mean one must leave where they are. :shrug: The process helps to educate you and your family. I can spend entire evening surfing the Web, looking around to see what is going on out there in the ballet world. :P If you are in an area that is able to provide better ballet training and that can supply your needs in a way you find to be amicable, then you should be looking around. Opening your eyes to new things is one way we grow and develop as people. :thumbsup:


It is a scary prospect to even consider going to a new school. There must be something that has set your mind exploring that direcction.

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I am so glad that I found this topic. My daughter has been invited to a couple pre-pro schools during their SI's.


She has wanted to go to a pre-pro year round program for a few years. She attended a big name school this summer and was offered a spot in the year round program from the audition and a half scholarship for the summer. We decided to decline the school year offer because of finances. During the SI she was asked to attend again, this time with a generous scholarship offer. We still are not even close to being able to afford the remaining amount.


But after reading this thread...I'm thinking that her home school might be the best place for her. She gets the proper amount of hours training.

The school has been complimented by residency programs, one even sending students to the small school when they feel thay are not quiet ready for their program.


My DD level only has 5 students. We are in a rural area and ballet is not exactly embraced.


A little background on SI's...DD has been accepted to every school she has auditioned for (all big name). Some with early acceptances and some with partial scholarships. This year was her 4th SI.


Do you think, from this information, that she will do well staying at her current school?

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Well, it does sound like her training is certainly doing something right, since she is getting acceptances and getting scholarshipped. Does her current school have a proper pre-pro schedule? It might be possible for her to stay at her home school for a few more years and if she's still getting accepted and scholarshipped, then take one of those when she is closer to company-ready so that she can start networking.

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OK - so I have another question...and I may be playing devil's advocate here :yes:


What amount of dancers being accepted are we looking at being accepted and to what level of training from a smalled school. Is it sufficient that students are being accepted to major SIs? Should we be looking for girls to moving from the school into dance companies? into year-round programs? into college dance programs?


I am asking so specifically because (here's the devils advocate part) I would expect that the larger company schools to be drawing a lot of the more serious dancers and thus for there to be less of a percentage in a smaller school, especially if there is a company school within a reasonable distance.


So would 1 or 2 be enough dancers? And would the #s be skewed if any of them were men? (sorry guys)

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Very good questions, and not all company schools regularly turn out pros, so it's really more a matter of the training. As in real estate, training, training, training!!!! Is the training good enough to get her to a professional level, and then does she have enough connections to be able to find jobs?


My best advice is that if a school has been able to turn out a professional level dancer recently, then she should be fine staying at the home school. Obviously, if the school has been able to produce a professional level dancer that is the same sex as your child, then that is a good sign.


I do need to add though that not all dancers who have been trained properly, and who have all the necessary ingredients for a professional ballet career are able to get a job; not because of anything that they or their teachers have done- simply that there are only so many jobs out there, and a huge pool of applicants. :yes:


I am hopeful that as we come around to grasp the idea that the arts are a necessary part of educating our populace, there will be more opportunities for jobs.


On top of that, I have seen some beautiful, beautiful dancers hit 18, with the very best training/perfect body/personality, and decide that a professional ballet career is not the direction they wish to go.

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Oh, sure - she's 12. We've got the thumbs up for potential from a number of SIs and she's been fine with training up til now but she's hit the wall where she is now. They don't offer enough training for the level and seriousness she has reached and we feel that now that she's been on pointe for over a year it is something that we need to seriously look at.


She was offered a spot at a residency program but she definately too young yet.

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OK - so I've spent some time researching this week, calling around and asking questions, setting up appts to go see classes...but now I have a bunch of questions...


A combined style/method of teaching is pretty common, am I rght? Is it OK/acceptable?


How about if a teacher (main ballet teacher) admitting that they were never formally trained to teach ballet but danced themselves? Or that they have never planned out a class in advance, but teach "by the seat of their pants" focusing on one aspect for awhile and then moving onto another, while she assured me (without my asking) that she insists on clean technique.


I know that dd doesn't want to go to a 'competition school' but what about RDA (which I know nothing about - please feel free to educate me)


Then there's a studio that apparently turns out dancers to professional apprentiship programs and who get scholarships to major SIs but they offer only 3 classes a week at dd level but will encourage her to take 1 or 2 classes at lower level also so that she can dance 4 days a week plus rehearsals on Sat - they offered this info also without me asking.


One more question I can think of right now - is there ever an advantgae to using a smaller school with a good ballet teacher at this stage in the game (dd is 12). Smaller classes, indiviualized attn? DD's private coach seems to have concerns about dd getting lost in the shuffle at a big school (The Rock school is not far but also not convenient) - she loves attn in class but tends to be shy outside of class & reluctant to approach teachers.


Thanks so much for your input - I would be so lost without the support I find here!!!


Oh - I should add that we are pretty much resigned to the fact that dd will go to a residency the last 2 or 3 years of HS f that makes any difference in the last question...

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Lorraine, there are just so many variables to every question that they are really not possible to answer with anything definitive.


1. There is a difference between a method and a style of teaching. All of the methods are good or not good, including those which are a mixture, depending on the teacher. It always comes down to the teacher. The methods are simply a means to an end, and they are all headed in the same direction.


2. There are former professionals without formal training who are very good. There are former professionals with or without formal training who are not good. Being a professional does not automatically make a teacher, and not being a professional does not preclude the ability to become a good teacher. The teacher you mention sounds like she might be quite young, and I'm not really fond of the "by the seat of the pants" idea.


3. RDA is Regional Dance America. It is not a method of teaching. Generally, the schools who are RDA members are respectable schools.


4. In terms of the school that turns out dancers but doesn't have the number of classes you want, if they are turning out dancers who get work, they must be doing something right.


5. There can be an advantage of a smaller school for some students, but not necessarily. The size is totally way less important than the quality of teaching.

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Ms Leigh - Thanks for the quick reply


I hope others will respond also if they have input (i don't to preclude (is that the rght word) responses with this follow up post)... :)


I knew RDA was something that the dancers went to every year - performances and guest workshops, am I right, but I wasn't sure how this compared with competitions I guess.


As far as method goes, it soulds like it doesn't matter as much as the quality of teaching (makes sense), so should I go with my dd's gut on that one? SHe's the one who has to take the classes and she seems to have a good gut instinct on these things. She knew that she wasn't getting what she needed and came to me - Iresearched and sure enough! She's done SI at The Rock and Kirov so I assuming that she has a good taste for what she likes and what good training looks like.


The "fly by the seat of her pants" teacher is actually not young at all. ANd her dancers dance the child roles at the Atlantic City Ballet. These comments threw me about how she teaches - some of her other answers were good.




I know some of these questions are SO hard sight unseen, but I appreciate the attempt to educate this poor unknowing mother of a passionate dancer. :wub:

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RDA is not like competitions, and is actually very positive. Companies from cities in each region are selected to perform and there are no prizes. The workshops and classes with guest teachers are good, and it's a fun experience for the students. It's something to work towards each year that they are in the school's performing company.


No one can tell you whether to let your daughter decide or not. That is something you will need to decide for yourself in terms of how you feel about her knowledge. It sounds like she has had exposure to professional quality training, and, hopefully, will be able to tell the difference. But, she is still quite young, so, you would know that better than any of us could.

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