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SI experience and the year round program

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I am entering this post as food for thought and I dont expect too many responses to it. In light of the thread below on faculty behavior at a year round residency program, I thought it might be interesting to hear from any members whose Summer Intensives experiences led them to enroll in the same schools residency program and then ended up with a distinctly different opinion. My dd is now in a residency program and the flavor of the year is quite different, tho not the scenario described in the other thread. Maybe Summer Intensives, no matter how intensive, still have the undertone of a 'summer camp'. It's interesting to consider because the most common advice to parents of children considering residency programs is to attend the SI.

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  • Administrators

This is an interesting thought, AATW. I think it's possible that one can learn from the SI, however it really depends on whether the year round faculty are also the mainstay of the SI. If there are a lot of guest teachers, it could be hard to get a feel for the program. Also, there are usually at least a few year round students at the SI, and they would be a good source of information about the other 9 months. However, this is only one way to learn about the program, and of course one needs to investigate more thoroughly and check out everything they can. There are some good suggestions on the other thread of how to do this. I particularly like the unscheduled visit idea. If the school is open to this, that is a good sign right there. If they hesitate to allow you into the classrooms to observe, that is also a sign. :)

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Our program is different during the summer, in that there are more classes per day and more students in each class. However we bring in very few guest faculty members, really just enough to cover the extra classes. When we start recruiting for the year-round program, I am always very up front with parents and students about what we can offer and what they can expect. We allow them to go to our housing facility and to talk to the director and other students and parents. I answer all the questions that have shown up on this board as questions you should ask. We allow parents to watch classes.


If you have a school that won't do these things, that should send up a red flag.

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I think it would be very difficult to comprehensively evaluate a program based solely on its SI. An SI is, by its very definition, different from the year-round program.


However, an SI that has mostly its year-round staff teaching , with some guest teachers might at least, make it possible to decide about faculty/syllabi.


If you are considering a program for year-round, do follow the suggestions others have placed. I especially like the idea of dropping in and seeing how you're handled.


You should feel welcomed, given a tour of the facilities, and then allowed to peek in on classes- perhaps only from the door if the class has already begun but still allowed to see what is happening in the classroom.


Clara 76

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It's important, too, to realize that even if the staff is basically the same in the summer as year-round, the pressures brought to bear, from the outside as well as at the ballet studio, are greater during the year.


Kids are in academic schools. They have homework, sometimes lots of it. Many of them are getting up very early to get to school and going to bed late. They worry about schoolwork. Their days are long.


Many of the ballet residencies have performance seasons. Nutcracker often falls during exam time. Kids are stressed out. Heck, kids, and teachers, are sicker throughout the school year than they are during the summers. Everyone's ability to handle stress is not as good as it is during the summers that offer - usually- better weather and more sleep.


The performances, if they exist, at the end of summer programs just don't bring with them the same level of stress and overwork as do the performance season schedules throughout the year-round.


So, all that alone, without any other factor considered - and there are many more - is enough to create a very different kind of atmosphere throughout the year. I just don't think it's possible to find any place that can provide the same kind of fun year-long as the school's SI can.

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Absolutely, and it is naive of a parent or especially a dancer to assume it will be the same.


I never want a parent to accuse me of misleading them, so I am very honest and up-front about our programs strengths and limitations. I don't think all school administrators are as honest as I am or they can't be because of their situations. My boss gives me a lot of freedom and trusts that I'm doing the right thing and saying the right things as well.

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As LMCtech said, I think it's a very good sign if a program is forthright with prospective students/parents. I would be leery of any program that claims to have no shortcomings, or is reluctant to let you observe its operations or speak to administrators, faculty or students. On the other hand, be wary of red-carpet treatment when you visit, as you may be seeing a dog-and-pony show rather than ordinary day-to-day operations. The situation someone described in another thread, where they were given a tour and then given free rein to wander, observe, and talk with people as they liked would be the ideal situation, I think, although due to security policies some programs do require visitors to be accompanied by a staff member at all times.

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I agree about the "Dog & Pony Show". That's why I would reccommend dropping in during their normal hours of operation, and not necessarily making an appointment.


You'll be more likely to get a real picture of how things run, being that you were unexpected! :grinning:


Clara 76

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