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Nutmeg Conservatory

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2LF

Our dd is a current student. What would you like to know?

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cheetah

If she is boarding, I would like to know what the schedule is like. Have they been successful integrating the Keystone program? Are students left to simply do the classes on their own? What are dance hours like? How effective is the communication with staff? What type of activities are available for down time? How are injuries handled, especially those requiring physical therapy? Any placements in companies/schools following graduation (for those that graduated last year)? I guess I'm looking for the typical, general, over-all information. I know the school has had changes over the last few years but there hasn't been much activity on this site!

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j'adore.danser

Communication with staff is kept to a minimal..

Edited by j'adore.danser

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choreographer5678

The changes that have and are taking place at Nutmeg are NOT good. Many of the staff have been "let go" under the guise of change for the better. The people with the most power have no background in dance and are only interested in making money. The artistic director seems to be under their control. There are only 3 full time teachers left at the Nutmeg level and two at the TSOB level. The "adults" watching the students at the houses are not much older than the students themselves. Ditto for the dorm. The students are getting less and less professional level training for more and more money. And safety is only "skin deep". Students continue to sneak out at night and come back in whenever they want. Those in control talk a big talk, but if you scratch the surface, they bleed vile green blood. Too bad, because they used to be a truly excellent school. The teachers still there are excellent teachers, but they are going to burn out. Nutmeg is no longer the powerful and well-respected pre-professional school that it used to be. They have sold out for money.

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j'adore.danser

You have hit the nail on the head choreographer...

 

so sad, but so true...

Edited by j'adore.danser

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Mel Johnson

It would be helpful if commentators on this topic would use the "boilerplate" format for school reviews as for Summer Intensives (see the format in post #4 here), so that readers can isolate actual issues. "Vile green blood" is not helpful, except perhaps for those seeking a ballet school run by Vulcans.

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j'adore.danser

I understand Mr. Johnson...will do so from now on!

Edited by j'adore.danser

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listens more than speaks

I have a teen who attended Nutmeg for a year as a boarding student. There have been many changes. I do not see those changes as postive. For several years, I thought that Nutmeg accepted students who did not have the potential to dance professionally. Those students generally paid full tuition, and it seemed they helped to subsidize those with the real talent. OK, typical at many schools, But really, if Nutmeg had room, and you could pay the 18,000-20,000 for dance, room, board, fees, the one meal a day not included, etc-- you were in. Then, when their dear benefactor died and left them a sizable amount for an endowment, I thought this would take Nutmeg to the next level. But I think it is worse now.

 

Mrs Dante was a wonderful hands on ballet teacher for many years. The year my chld attended, I would guess she gave a class twice. Her absence was sorely missed. She continues to draw a sizeable salary, and make the "rounds" on occasion championing for the arts, and talking about what Nutmeg did for the Torrington downtown and such, but she is no longer active in the day to day or even month to month workings. When she was there administrating, things were better. When she was there teaching ballet, things were even better than that.

 

Nutmeg has lost gifted teachers, and seems not to replace them. The number of students is such that they really have three levels outside of the Torrington School of Ballet (the lower levels). Once you are on pointe, there are three levels. While there may be a different designation for undergrad or post grad, for day or boarding, there are basically three levels during the year for dancers from ages 12-24. Sometimes even younger.

 

When mine attended, there were names on the list of faculty that never taught. That year, and for the 2 years before, Ms Quinn and Mr. Pendletons names continued to be listed as modern teachers. But once their D was no onger in attendence, they no longer taught. I believe that there was a master class the weekend that Momix was performing at the Warner Theater. That was it. That year and the year following, there was nothing other than ballet, no modern, no jazz, just ballet. Mr.

Martin did my child's original Nutmeg audition, and I was pleased to learn he was director of the men's program, and the audition tour. But when my child arrived, mine learned that Mr Martin did not actually live in Torrington or even in CT. He lived in NC. He came for about 3 weeks over Nutcracker season, and that was about that. He made an appearance perhaps 2-3 other times. He did still travel on behalf of Nutmeg for their audition tour, but he never maintained a presence at the conservatory. And of course, Ms. D'A was only present on Sat and for a select number of performances. Even then, there was almost a skeleton staff. And now, even fewer teaching. There is a modern teacher on staff now at least.

 

Nutcracker was a big deal, and the performance opportunites were many, including dancing with a live orchestra. But that was it. A spring performance in one of the studios was really no more than an end of the year recital.

 

The year my teen was there, there were two SI auditions, one cancelled due to weather. There was NOT a single van trip to a single SI audition. Students did band together to take the train to NYC on a Sunday and then walked or rode the subway to go on a day there were 2 auditions. Local students had parents to take them, but there is such a separation between local student's parents and boarding students, that not a single local parent volunteered to take a boarding student to an SI audition.

 

My child was very close to a student at Nutmeg, and continued to communicate reagularly. Things did not change much the following year. Supervision became less and less once the kids no longer had the option of attending THS. We knew of two girls whose parents even relocated to the area for them to train. Only to see more clearly what they had gotten themselves into. One lasted two years total. I do not know what happened to the other.

 

During the year mine was in attendence and the year following, the really good students were constantly auditioning and trying to leave for better programs such as SAB, JKO, etc. Several succeeded. The turnover was very high. Except for the fact that those with less potential would return for many years. They would return after graduation for postgrad years. Year after year. Still no placements in companies. Over a three year period. we know of only two trainee positions, no apprenticeships or company placements, and the two trainees are no longer pursuing their craft. While THS was still an option, college placement in nondancing majors was still reasonable, but now, those going on to college seem even fewer.

 

There are few outside guests for master classes. No one comes to view any performances, and again, the van is never available to take kids to company auditions. And the students were constantly reminded that they could only attend audtions on Sunday when there were no classes. And mine had an absence for an audition noted on the report card as a negative.

 

YAGP has their regionals next door at the Warner Theater, and use Nutmeg for the classes etc, but Nutmeg entered one participant in three years. Two years ago, two boys who left Nutmeg for JKO did compete, but they were JKO students at the time.

 

I think it will remain a strong school for the local students of Northwestern Connecticut. BUt there are not headed in the direction of maintaining their "national" ranking. They are so inbread now, that they need new blood. They need someone new in administration to shake things up. They need to hire new teachers from the outside, who did not train at Nutmeg who will bring in a balance of focus.

 

And they need something other than the local ER in terms of dealing with injury. If your child gets ill or injured, there is really nothing in place other than a trip to the ER. And no physicians or AT's or PT's have any affiliation with Nutmeg. You are on your own long distance is working out the issues. All of them. And then you have to pay for transporation for followup health care visits. There was no arrangements for a PT to come to Nutmeg. There were no arrangments at all for any type of injury while mine was there.

 

Either the endowment is still tied up, or it has allowed them to function and take home a salary whether the school does well or not. I can't really tell. But they are falling and failing fast.

 

This is just one opinion, made up mostly of comments from my kid. This is not sour grapes. I have been reading post on BT4D for years, never having the courage to register or post. I usually just stand back and listen. But it was time for me to speak. As a new poster, perhaps I will not be taken seriously. I'll take that chance.

Edited by listens more than speaks

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j'adore.danser

listen more than speaks i am going to add to your comments as soon as I get the chance to sit down and write like you did.....thank you SO much for speaking up.

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balletbooster

listen more than speaks,

Welcome to Ballet Talk! It is very difficult to write dispassionately about a situation such as this and particularly difficult when you and your family were affected so personally. I know nothing of what is going on at Nutmeg. But, I do commend you for the courage that you have shown in posting about what sounds like a very difficult situation and for doing so with facts, rather than emotion. This is an excellent example of how to post about a negative situation! :lol: Thank you for your insights. I hope that you will become an active and frequent poster here. :shrug:

 

We encourage those who might have a differing opinion to share their insights as well. Please remember to use facts when making your case, rather than emotion, and to show respect for the personal experiences of others, whether they match your own or not.

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choreographer5678

Additional food for thought. As a pre-professional school, you would expect your child to be given the best opportunity for performance exposure. Why is it then that over the past several years, the best roles in Nutcracker were filled by guest artists from ABT and former students now dancing professionally? Also, one of Nutmeg's own teachers filled the soloist roles so frequently that ballet parents were asking why she was dancing instead of the students. While it was beautiful to watch the current and former professionals, the roles should have been filled by the more promising students. That is how it was always done in the past, when Nutmeg really did care about the students.

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2LF

This year there are no guest artists. All roles are being presented by students.

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elizacheese5454

Hi I am currently a dorm student at Nutmeg and can answer alot of your questions! Nutmeg has very good training but I find one particular teacher discouraging and a little inadequete. The facilities are absolutely amazing. The eductaion is fine as long as you are a very motivated person and can keep yourself on track and dont take shortcuts. It is an online program so your education is very dependant on you. I have to admit its hard to keep focused when your yearning to go on youtube and watch ballet videos. It is a very small school which is good in some aspects but some times you wish you could meet more people and have more of a social life. I would have to say one of the biggest downfalls is the schools food. You have to feed yourself breakfast and lunch and sometimes there wont be any tasty options in our little kitchen. Dinner is in a catholic school a few blocks away and is pretty good.You can visit family in other areas on sundays if you get permission. You can also stay in the dorms over the holidays I beleive if you need it but I dont suggest it. Many of the graduates have made it into companies and come back and teach. Momix is closely connected with the school also. One day they came and auditioned us for a commercial they were doing! I think they are trying to hire a couple more teachers which is definitely needed. I personally think the summer program is better than the residency program because there are many guest teachers, although the dorms get very crowded. The summer also has more younger dancers. Sometimes Nutmeg does'nt feel like a happy positive place unfortunatly but, ballet can be a very discouraging thing to do. My favorite part is the nutcracker, although i didnt have many parts I loved the costumes and choreography. Good Luck everyone ask any more questions!

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3girls1boy

DD will be attending Nutmeg for the summer, and while she is entering high school in the fall, we're not planning on making a jump to a boarding school experience. But given there were some real concerns in the posts last fall, I am bumping this back up to see if there are any new comments from those currently at Nutmeg. Thanks!

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dance24/7

This is my second year at Nutmeg as residential student. I've seen all the ups and downs within the last two years so if anyone has any questions about the school, I can do my best to answer them.

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