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Mixed school style??


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I've written before about the concerns I have about the "transitions" taking place at my dd's ballet school. Basically, our school director and administrator left at X-Mas, leaving us with no one to run the school and the ballet company scrambling to find teachers. Anyway, yesterday the company board met with the parents to discuss the situation with the parents. Lots of good news, we now have a school administrator from Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and a new master teacher from Australia.


However, both ladies were trained RAD. Our school has never had any RAD in it. The board explained that the ballet company's AD wants the students to learn a well-rounded curriculum of classical ballet rather than focus on one style, and that all the divisions are just differences in style, not anything fundamental. However, I'm not sure if I agree. What does everyone else think? Should I be worried?


The ballet company's AD is a well respected choreographer etc... There was a whole article about him in last month's dance magazine, and the idea comes from him, but it sounds a little fishy??? Opinions?

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I would give them a chance to show you what they've got, freespirit. Those credentials sound impeccable. Many programs in the States describe their curricula as being a mixture of styles, usually with one style being a little more dominant than the others. Our DD has done both Vaganova and RAD: There are differences of course but if the styles are clearly differentiated from each other when they're taught, then it seems to work just fine. I know some people prefer to have their students taught just one style for an extended period of time, but our reality has been that different teachers, even within the same school, often teach different styles. The sooner a student learns how to respond to what each teacher wants, the better for their overall development. At least that's been our experience. My DD likens it to being multilingual. For one teacher, she "speaks" Russian. For another, English. For yet another, maybe Italian!

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Good point Chauffeur. Your explanation sounds exactly like what the school officials said, but I've read on the boards before about parent's concerns even sending younger students to summer intensives with different styles. Is this an overrated worry? We will now have major teachers trained in vaganova, cechetti, RAD, and a very Balanchine AD. Are there any differences that will conflict? or am I being paranoid?

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My DS has also gone through a few different schools with each having a different style. I know it can make a parent worry because sometimes there is a difference in what a student learns from either school to school or teacher to teacher. (Teacher A wants me to hold my arms this way, and teacher B wants me to hold them another way.) I know that it has been argued that a young child with exposure to different styles can have a disadvantage as far as muscle memory.


In my experience, my son has not had any adverse effects at all. If anything it has enhanced his ability to be as Chauffeur said "multilingual." As a matter of fact, he now has 2 different technique teachers during the week and has no trouble adapting to each of their individual styles.


I also think that for the older dancer it is a quality that can help them in their careers, as part of the marketability of a dancer is the ability to work with different choreographers that have differing styles.


Hang in there. I know it must be hard to weather the storm of faculty changes in a dance school. :dry:

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It is an overrated worry.


Good ballet training is good ballet training no matter what the "style". A well rounded student should also be able to switch styles and accept differing approaches as all valid. Those dancers who have been taught to rigidly conform to one technique often are not that successful once they reach professional companies.

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I observed one of my daughter's classes recently, and the teacher explicitly showed a step in three different styles, giving the school for each.


So I think both students and teachers know that there are different styles; it doesn't cause confusion.

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Another thing is, that a gifted TEACHER is a gifted teacher, no matter what style he/she is teaching in. i was trained in Russian-based classical style, but spent each summer learning with RAD teachers at Banff, mostly by Royal Winnipeg teachers. They were EXCELLENT, articulate, tough (no nonsense) and kind, all at the same time, which I have often found to be the characteristics of any good teacher. I say, give it a chance! ....just another county heard from! :)



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:rolleyes: Good advice from everyone! Thank you. I know I worry too much, but my dd's only 11. I'm scared of her getting bad training at a young age, but I've been pleased with all of my dd's current teachers--- all the change going on just has me terrified! Most of the school's old teachers were Russian, but all the newcomers I've met appear effective. I'm glad to here the concensus is that different styles will help, not hurt her!


Ironically, a couple weeks ago I wrote about my concerns about the effect of all the changes in the administration and faculty on the school's summer program and whether or not I should send my dd. Since then, they've got the program together, and to my surprise, put a picture of my dd on the cover of the brochure! I guess I better send her now.


I will feel a lot more comfortable when the school has a solid staff together. I've loved the ballet school for years, but all the changes are definitely nerve-wracking!!!


Thanks again to all :blushing:

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Using my brilliant deductive reasoning skills :rolleyes: , I've concluded that your daughter is a student at School of Ballet Arizona. Since we have family in Tempe, I'm always interested in what that school has to offer for the summer. Can you give any details? Also, we will be visiting Arizona in March for spring break, and my daughter was interested in dropping in for some classes. Could you tell me who the new teachers are, and are they currently teaching?

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I'm glad to help, Amy's mom. I won't know the details of the summer program until today or tomorrow; the brochure won't be out until this evening-- I'll get back to you after I've read it. Right now, all I know is the length. It will be 3 weeks from June 14th until July 1st.


Right now, my dd's teacher, Kim Sonderegger, is serving as interim administrator. Kim is the best, most supportive teacher my dd has ever had. She is strict, fair, and believes in educating the students about all aspects of ballet. The new administrator starting in two weeks is Jackie Davidson-- she's from Royal Winnipeg Ballet. I think she is cechetti trained. However, she isn't teaching.


The new teacher coming from Australia on February 14th is Susan Wye Davis; who is RAD trained. She will be teaching some upper division classes. I haven't met her yet, but the school board was raving about what a terrific teacher she is.


Until the school hires a new director, the highest level classes are mostly being taught by Maria Simonetti, the ballet mistress for Ballet AZ. There are also a variety of company members filling in. The older girls seem to believe that they all teach good classes. My dd has also had some company members for teachers. If I knew your dd's approx. age and level, I could probably find out exactly what classes are available and who all the teachers are. I hope this helps!

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DD is 15 and is in the advanced level of her school (this is her third year on pointe). Unfortunately, the dates won't work for this summer, but she's still interested in taking classes in March. Thanks for the info! :rolleyes:

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