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Parental "WINE" Support Group


dbleon

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Asleep, perhaps you might like to start a new thread appropriately titled that would be a place for people to post if they felt that there were SIs that actually did these things during this very difficult audition period.

 

There are some that do. I know balletbooster very nicely started a thread that lists the various admissions processes in the sense of dates...but another new thread might be just the ticket. :D

 

All of your feelings are shared by, I'd guess, 99.99% of the parents out there. The whole SI scene has expanded almost exponentially in the last few years and, most likely, will continue with "what the market will bear".

 

What can parents and students and teachers do? Keep trying to educate themselves, make the best choices possible when it comes to auditioning, and perhaps, if you have enough energy come May, write letters to the Administrators with a "carbon copy" to the Program Directors, or visa versa, and explain the continual frustrations. Not too many people will do this due to either complete and utter mental and physical exhaustion :wallbash: or because they are leery of setting their names up to be "marked" - but one can send an anonymous letter and if enough people did this it might make an impact...if nothing else all those who did write would feel they'd actually done something to try to make a difference. There will be plenty who will be thinking as they read my Pollyannaish suggestions: "The only way to change things is to boycott - money talks!" They've got a valid point, but we know that there will never be enough people who are willing to do this.

 

The article I posted about overuse injuries gives a very realistic view into the vast market that has been created to meet the expectations of the baby boomer's kids and the next group that's on its way... It's an interesting phenomenon across the spectrum of extra curricular and career aspiration driven pursuits that is certainly big, at least, in the USA. Please! I do not mean this as a condemnation of SI programs - just a little "out loud" thinking about the state of adolescent activities, that's all.

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May I add a little, shall we say, dessert wine to the conversation? I have some GOOD interactions to report.

 

My DD has been looking at two smaller, non-audition programs with very good reputations. We've gotten nothing but exceptionally positive and helpful responses from them.

 

Program #1: We traveled to this program in order to visit it firsthand and see what the teaching was like. In essence, WE auditioned THEM. The staff fell all over themselves welcoming us, giving us a tour of the studios, making sure we had all the information we needed, etc. My daughter attended a jazz/modern class, a technique class, and pointe class -- all for free.

 

Program #2: We sent an extensive list of questions via email, asking all about the things not covered in their website and brochure: How many students attend? What is the class size? How many levels are there? What is the daily/weekly schedule? What are the neighborhoods like around the studio and dorms? How is down time spent? How much freedom do older dancers have? We received detailed answers within the day -- written by an obviously knowledgeable and caring person. Her answers painted a more vivid description of life at this program, and she invited additional questions as they came up.

 

The main difference is that with these smaller programs it's a buyer's market; they need to attract students, not turn them away. But it sure is pleasant dealing with them!

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Well, ALL of us need to attract students rather than turning them away. Maybe it's because I come from a background in retain management, but I am often surprised at how many programs seem to forget this basic fact. We try very hard to be accessible and NOT to make people afraid to contact us with questions.

 

Regarding the e-mail notification question, I can't tell you why others don't do it, but I can share our experience with it when we tried it a year or two ago. The first problem is that we do not have an e-mail merge program which would combine all the necessary info from our database: students' names, e-mail addresses, scholarship information, and level. The second was that there were numerous problems with students' e-mail addresses. Teens like to have unique e-mail addresses which tend to be hard to decipher when scribbled hastily in pencil on an audition card. (Is that a "one" or an "L" or an "I"? A "zero" or an "O"?) A huge percentage of the e-mail notifications we sent were returned as undeliverable, and we wound up going back to the dependable old U.S. mail.

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Asleep--You have hit the nail on the head of why this site and the SI information here is so important! The information you can gleen from the programs is limited, and most parents are afraid of informing programs of our dissatisfaction for fear of any repurcussions to our dancers the following year. Silly I'm sure, but nonetheless we take the approach of safety in that regard. But less stress is what we all need!

 

And here's a friendly reminder to all that are posting in this forum. Don't forget to visit the forums of the SI's your DD/DS have attended and help those parents lessen their stress by answering a few questions or giving a little viable information (positive or negative). There are many trying to make decisions and lessen their stress..............let's help each other out! It'll just take a second of your time. :yucky:

 

vj

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Our major whine is that dd's ballet school does not automatically accept their own students. They have this extension site that they like to shuttle the younger dancers into. They pay the same but get no guest instructors. It also isn't convenient for us to go there. We tried it last year AND I don't think that program receives as much emphasis as the one at the regular site (at least I hope not). There were many days of cancelled classes: "Mom can you come get us now. There's no modern etc. today." Oh my boss sure loved that. My job is flexible but even that has limits.

 

I'm all for voting with my feets(!) so we're going elsewhere this year. I agree with the parent who had pleasant experiences with smaller, lesser known courses: they sure have bent over backwards to make sure we received and understood all their info. What a difference!

 

Another whine is about parents who are secretive about their dd's plans but keep pestering you for details about where your dd is auditioning and what will you do if she isn't accepted? Oy! :yes:

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Eww that reminded me of a whine. We have a mom that runs around asking about classes and how did your daughter end up in that class(of course my daughter is at least 2 years older and has been taking alot longer) and why is she doing so much and when did she get put there. I found out she has even asked these things of my dd. Which makes my dd uncomfortable. Just really bugs me. :)

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Dave hit the nail on the head in his comments about email notification. I coordinate an Irish dance competition (feis) :thumbsup: annually that brings in 600 dancers for the weekend from all over the USA and Canada. There are other feiseanna (plural of feis) that weekend so we are competing with them for entrants.

 

We have an email merge program for all the bits of info. So this past year we decided to bite the bullet and automate the entire registration process. Up to now, we've done it via snail mail and I've typed the data into our program when I open each envelope.

 

This year we sent everything out by email.

 

Well, we were down by over 100 entrants :thumbsup: just a couple weeks shy of the competition - never experienced that before. We had to hustle, resending forms by snail mail and plugging our feis on the Irish dance boards. We DID hit our 600 cap but it was only through that last-minute effort.

 

Never again. We'll return to snail mail for the registration process. People told us that they never got the emails. When they remembered, they assumed we'd capped out as we usually do so they didn't register. (I think sometimes the email goes straight into junk mail).

 

So, yeah, until people's emails are really stable, I wouldn't use that method. There's just too much money riding on it. B)

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