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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Nutmeg Conservatory


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I had taken a break from the boards this summer (Lots going on this summer, mostly nonballet things) when I recieved an email last night asking if I had been following the recent Nutmeg posts, and was Yours Truly my DD!! Oh my. No, YT is NOT my DD :D Truly :)


My daughter had a positive experience at Nutmeg. She danced for way more than she could dance at home. I think that we all just knew by this year that she was not a shoe-in for a professional career. And her plan B needed more than internet based learning that was a distance from home. And that is that. We both feel that, for the dancer who may very well be destined for that elusive career, that the changes at Nutmeg will be for the better. That type of student will be able to get more dance, and waste less time on the hours that don't matter at a traditional school. For the right student, the changes appear to make sense. They just were not for this student, that's all. And that is exactly what we shared with Nutmeg, and others who ask. It is funny being back home. Many ask questions, and I think,some assume she was not asked back. She did receive an artistic merit award at the graduation dinner/awards, and a small scholarship to return. It was a tough decision. I had made up my mind that I would let her try it for a year. She finished up the school year assuming she would return. But, upon being home and talking about her future, she came to the realization that she was not so sure ballet was "it" for her. And she would miss academic schooling. She thrives on classroom stimulation, and the interactions with teachers and other students outside of ballet.


My only concern was that the change was rather last minute, so to speak. It may have been in the planning stages for some time. But parents were not made aware of it until late May. And details were still somewhat unclear. Now that they are coming together, it appears to be solid on paper.


Nutmeg is all ballet. There is no modern or jazz. No other dance is taught formally, however character variations are taught, and for performances other than Nutcracker, the choreography is both classic and contemporary.


I will say though that with the old schedule, there was class time used for rehearsals. But with designated rehearsals times now, and with classes starting much earlier, that should be less of a problem.

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Victoria Leigh

Thank you for clearing up some of those issues, nlkflint, and, welcome back! :)

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I would like to extend a warm welcome to yours truly, a new poster to the board. I hope that you will find valuable information here and feel free to post often with questions and comments you may have! :)

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As a parent with limited knowledge of Nutmeg other than knowing 4 girls who went all or partway through high school years there, none of whom are dancing professionally, I would like to encourage prospective students/parents to take long look at what Nutmeg does or doesn't do to help students seek a professional career. I think the students who go on to dance professionally are doing so because they and their parents, rather than the school, made that happen. I could be wrong though - so don't quote me on that! That said, I must admit that all the students I have known who have attended simply loved the summer program, and thought it had more dancing and caused more improvement than anywhere else they went before or since.

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dance1soccer1, I understand the point you are making here. HOwever, our experience has been that by and large, at most of the major schools, the responsibility for finding a job lies squarely with the student.


In talking with many who attend various schools, I think that the amount of assistance is usually limited to conferences with faculty where some suggestions about compatible companies are made and assistance is given (if asked) with resumes, videos and photos. I think almost all the major residencies offer this level of assistance to their students and if it is not offered, will certainly be given when a student asks.


There is a much smaller list of major schools who bring ADs into the school during the school year to either watch a performance, present master classes or in some instances to bring their second company or a portion of the main company, to the school for an extended period, where they collaborate with students and have a chance to see them working over an extended period of time, along with the company members.


Some companies hold auditions at a school, but other than these things, there is little more that schools do to participate in finding a job for their students. Rarely does a school get actively involved in calling companies and soliciting contracts for their students.


I think what is most key to the ratio of all students to those who go on to pro careers, is finding a school where the level of dancer is consistently high, due to the school's ability to be selective in their admissions process. When this occurs, coupled with good, solid training, then the percentage of students who will end up dancing professionally generally rises.

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We just received my daughter's schedule for the coming year at Nutmeg and I think there is plenty of dancing! A sample of her day is as follows:


12:45 - 2:15: Technique Class

2:30 - 3:30: Pointe/Partnering/Pilates (depending on schedule)

3:45 - 5:15: Technique Class (Repertoire Class for Apprentices & A1 as scheduled)

5:15 - 5:55: Pointe/Partnering/Pilates (depending on schedule)

6:45 - 8:15: Repertoire/Rehearsals

8:15 - 9:15: Additional Rehearsals as needed


There will also be classes on Saturday as usual (11:00AM to 3:00/4:00PM)


We came to Nutmeg so my DD could get more classes, more partnering and more performance opportunities and have not been disappointed. This year they have added another technique class and another pointe class each weekday!

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Don't get me wrong- my impression of Nutmeg is very positive- the teaching is outstanding, and the staff very kind and positive (based upon summer and visit this last spring). However- I think they may be overdoing it with 2 technique and 2 pointe + rehearsals etc etc. More training is one thing, but too much is not good either. A recipe for overuse injury, I think.

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My daughter is 18. Last year she was in A1 - she won't know until the first day of class what her level is this year.


As for overdoing, that schedule is the schedule for the higher levels. For the kids that are younger/less experienced, the schedule will be less intense. My DD, at age 18 and preparing to look for a job this year, is thrilled with the additional classes. The 2nd technique class is optional, so it will be up to the individual dancer as to what feels right for them and what their body can handle. Of course, the teachers will also be involved and will help with this decision if needed. Also, the schedule will vary from day to day - i.e. there won't be two pointe classes every day, some days it will be pointe then pilates, etc.


DISCLAIMER: This is the proposed schedule for the coming year. Classes do not start until next week and there may be changes at that time of which, as a parent (not Nutmeg staff), I am unaware. I just listed this info. to counteract the comment about how there is not enough dancing at Nutmeg. :blushing:

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Is there any recent info anyone can give me. I'm considering auditioning for Nutmeg, but it sounds like quite a few people are unhappy with it. What is the schedule currently like? Also, do post-grad students have to attend college classes in the morning? Can they just take the dance classes offered at Nutmeg? And where do they live? Thanks for any info you can give me. The website hasn't been too helpful.

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  • 6 months later...

We have heard that Nutmeg is undergoing some changes. No word on what the changes are. It is a program we are looking at for the future. Any information?

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  • 4 weeks later...

We were at Nutmeg visiting. The only changes I heard from Marguerite Sabia are going to occur in "The Keystone" online academic program which they started using approximately two years ago. The artistic teaching staff is staying the same with occasional guest teachers conducting master classes.


The facility is beautiful. The focus for the student is their art (ballet & modern). They want their students to complete high school requirements with excellent grades. They support the students as they prepare for college entrance exams, if this is the direction the student is choosing. However, their focus is dancing and the student must have the drive to succeed. The student/teacher ratio is great (approx. 1:20) unless you are coming from a small studio and you are use to your dancing child being the best at everything. My dd liked the style of instruction and the intensity of the class. According to her, it was more intense in areas that her current teacher doesn't enforce yet in other areas she was strong and leading. She found it to be a good balance for her.


As I said in a previous message, choosing a program is like being fitted for pointe shoes. They all look good, but their fit isn't determined until the student tries them on and actually dances in them.

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Anyone on here currently attending Nutmeg? Have requested information from the school a few times but haven't had a response. Would be interested in current impressions.

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