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Guest willisdju

Walnut Hill Year Round

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Guest willisdju

Our daughter will be attending ABT NYC this summer and just got informed that she was accepted at Walnut HIll for an incoming freshman for ballet. It's so expensive..does anyone go there now and have any information that would help our decision about their year round program?Our daughter of course wants to go..the academics as well as the ballet instruction seem to be very good from all our research..what to do? Any thoughts would be helpful. thank you

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Victoria Leigh

All I can tell you is that I have several students from there who will be attending our SI this summer, and I was very impressed with them when they auditioned for me in Boston this year. I accepted quite a number of them, although not all. Their male dancers were particularly impressive.

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BW

We have a regular poster on Ballet Talk who knows a great deal about Walnut Hill from a parents' perspective. I will try to get in touch with her and ask her to respond. In the mean time you ought to do a "search" on Walnut Hill and you'll find quite a bit about it. :cool:

 

Here is one of the past threads on it but I know there are more: Walnut Hill

 

OK, so I am a frustrated researcher!:) ;) Here is another Walnut Hill post.

I have cut and pasted it from another thread in order to eliminate the need for you to search for it.

 

"I searched back through my old posts and realized that while I have written often, I have not said much about my impressions about the Walnut Hill experience.

 

Academic classes begin at 8 and end at 2. Students must take a minimum of four courses per trimester. More than five would be strongly discouraged. Class sizes are quite small with about 10-12 students in each class. My daughter describes them as challenging. She says that there is very little busy work and that subjects are explored in depth. As an arts school, their philosophy of teaching brings the arts into the classroom. Almost all of the teachers have Master's degrees and many have doctorates.

 

About 250 students attend the school and around 60 (my daughter included) are day students. It seems that around a quarter of the students are Asian and the rest come from all over the U.S. My guess is about one-third of the school is male. Traditionally, the freshman class is the smallest and the senior class is the largest; many students enter in the later years.

 

There are five majors; Dance, Theatre, Visual Arts, Music, and Creative Writing. The talent level is amazing and the exposure to the other students practicing their art, be it a performing one or not, has been a terrific experience for my daughter. She has discovered that there is much more to life than dance.

 

The dance program is very intensive. There are three levels. Auditions the first weekend of school determine placement and changes are made during the year. Dance classes begin at 2 pm and generally go till 6 pm. My daughter had technique classes 6 times a week and pointe 4 times. Additional, classes indude partnering, modern, jazz, pilates, and dance history. There are three performances a year including "Nutcracker" and rehearsals are 6:30 - 8:30. The more parts one is cast in, the more nights of rehearsal one would have. It would not be unusual for the more advanced students to have 2-3 parts. There are about 55 dance majors including around 10 boys. Only one (boy) was a senior this past year, so I would not expect a lower number come September.

 

As far as the retention rate, I don't know the numbers for sure; but I can say that WHS does not invite dancers to leave as has been said about most other programs. A few dancers each year will change their majors, but stay at the school. My daughter reports that a couple are leaving because they didn't get enough financial aid. It is comparable to a private college in cost. My daughter reports that there are a number of students who receive significant tuition assistance.

 

Most dancers that graduate from Walnut Hill seem to go on to college dance programs and not directly into companies. My impression is that most dancers who attend WHS are attracted to it precisely because academics are important to them.

 

The main thing to remember aout WHS is that unlike most year-round residency programs it is a private academic/arts school. The application process follows the same procedure as any other independent school. Each year, however, late applicants are invited from their summer dance and theatre programs.

 

If there are areas or questions, I haven't addressed in this post feel free to ask.

 

 

Last edited by unsoccer-mom on August 19th, 2002 at 02:01 PM"

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Guest unsoccer-mom

I am sorry I did not respond to this post earlier, but I have been away on vacation and did not check either e-mail or go on the internet. My daughter is in her second year at Walnut Hill as a day student. She had been a ballet major, but recently switched to visual arts. BW pasted a post of mine with what is a good overview of the program.

 

There is a change in the academics which is being instituted this coming September. They will be switching to a semester based program with 2-3 academic courses per semester and no more than 5 allowed for the year. The administration feels this will allow for longer class time and more in depth study of each subject. For example, a student would take English/Literature for one semester and then might take World History for the second semster. The only exception to this is that lower level foreign language courses would still be for the entire academic year.

 

If at all possible, your daughter should visit the school. I know after mine was accepted, she spent a full day shadowing another student to class. She was able to get a real feel for the school and how she would fit in there.

 

If there are any other questions, I would be happy to answer them.

 

P.S. WHS just sent to all parents a recent letter regarding a large number of openings still available for music majors.

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BW

Hi, unsoccer-mom - that new semester plan sounds quite good but how does it work out so that the students get their "required" number of credits in each subject?

 

Maybe I'm just not thinking clearly...or maybe because it's a school like Walnut Hill it doesn't matter when it comes time to apply to colleges... I went to a school, Simon's Rock "The Early College", that wasn't even accredited at the time and there was no problem, so I know this sort of thing happens fairly often... Take Hampshire College, etc.

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Guest unsoccer-mom

The required number of credits for graduation from Walnut Hill is 16 which amounts to 4 courses per year. I believe the required breakdown is as follows: 4 - English, 3 - Math, 2- Science, 2- History, 2 - Foreign Language. The rest is electives. My daughter will graduate with 18 credits and will have taken at least 4 math courses and 4 foreign language courses. They have advanced classes as mine is currently in advanced algebra II and has been recommended for advanced chemistry for next year. In addition because the classes are so small, there is more room for individual attention. My daughter had been complaining that her English class was not demanding enough and was given extra work and an additional book that tied in nicely to a recent French class trip to Paris. Walnut Hill's students have no problem with their college acceptances. I have seen the list and it includes the top conservatories, universities, and art schools in the country.

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BW

No doubts about their acceptances. It sounds like a wonderful school. :cool:!

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Guest willisdju

thanks for the information. I just want to make sure that this is a good step in the right direction for her ballet career that she is wanting. It's so hard with everyone having a different opinion about the whole thing. I know being where there is company is great, but I don't think it's the only way to go..we are still confused and want to get up there so she can see if she would like it...I have no doubts that she is mature enough and could handle being away from home..but want to make sure that her ballet would continue to grow..thanks again

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tendumom

Although I don't have first hand knowledge of WHS's year round program , my daughter attended their SI and a friend's daughter attended year round for 2 years after which she transferred to National Ballet School in Toronto. My daughter had a wonderful experience - she was just 12. She is now year round at National Ballet. The other girl felt there was a significant difference in the training she recieved in year round programs - NBS being at a higher level. WHS graduates in the past have mostly gone on to college dance programs...depending on the goals of your dancer, this may or may not be the route she is seeking. Although there are increasingly more exceptions, it seems to me that the majority of ballet dancers go into companies after high school. This said, I have been told that WHS provides an excellent academic education - small classes and very focused on the individual student. It is hard to find a school that does everything.

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fendrock

A quick Internet search indicates that Walnut Hill alumnae have danced with the San Francisco Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal.

 

In addition, I know that Melanie Atkins, a soloist at Boston Ballet, received training at Walnut Hill.

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Guest unsoccer-mom

There are no guarantees when it comes to a career in ballet. One of last year's senior girls is currently with Cinncinatti Ballet and another is with Princeton Ballet. The others have gone on to top college dance programs including SUNY Purchase and Julliard. One of the boys went on to National Ballet School after his freshman year having recieved all of his year-round training at Walnut Hill from a very young age. There is a senior girl who was offered an apprentice position at PNB after attending their SI last summer and chose to come back to graduate. A junior girl is a National Scholarship winner with ABT and another junior girl was the top classical winner last year at the YAGP finals. While it is likely that the training at National Ballet School is better than at WHS, it would be up to each family to decide the which is the better fit. Walnut Hill probably comes closer to offering both the dance training and a more normal high school experience.

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tendumom

Unsoccermom is right that it is important to look at the "fit" as well as the goals of the child. Every school is going to have its strengths and weaknesses. It was good to hear about WHS's recent alumni successes. Just for the record, it was not my intent to get into a "which is better" dialogue... since willisdju was looking for information, I just wanted to share an opinion of someone I knew who had been to WHS and then another school. I believe that this forum is a great way to share opinions to help in such monumental decisions. Good luck in your decision process, willisdju

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Guest unsoccer-mom

Sorry, Tendumom. I didn't mean for it to seem like a "which is better" argument. WHS is not a perfect school, but for our family it is the best fit we could find. A big part of the decision for our family was the emphasis on post-secondary education, so we considered the fact that most WHS dance majors go on to college to be a plus.

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tendumom

No problem. Its just hard to tell how things are meant sometimes and I just wanted to make sure that I was not taken in the wrong way, either. Its great that your daughter has found a good fit.

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Guest unsoccer-mom

My daughter is in her third year at Walnut Hill. I have pasted a previous post below and updated with new information.

 

Academic classes begin at 8 and end at 2. There is a new program in place. Students take two courses a semester for a total of four courses each year. My daughter says that there is more work per class though the intention was to decrease the academic workload. While there is less time spent in class, more time is required to complete homework out of class. Class sizes are quite small with about 10-12 students in each class. My daughter describes them as challenging. She says that there is very little busy work and that subjects are explored in depth. As an arts school, their philosophy of teaching brings the arts into the classroom. Almost all of the teachers have Master's degrees and many have doctorates.

 

About 250 students attend the school and around 80 (my daughter included) are day students. It seems that around a quarter of the students are Asian and the rest come from all over the U.S. My guess is about one-third of the school is male. Traditionally, the freshman class is the smallest and the senior class is the largest; many students enter in the later years.

 

There are five majors; Dance, Theatre, Visual Arts, Music, and Creative Writing. The talent level is amazing and the exposure to the other students practicing their art, be it a performing one or not, has been a terrific experience for my daughter. She has discovered that there is much more to life than dance.

 

The training in not Balanchine. It is just classical style ballet. The dance program is very intensive. There are three levels. Auditions the first weekend of school determine placement and changes are made during the year. Dance classes begin at 2 pm and generally go till 6 pm. My daughter had technique classes 6 times a week and pointe 4 times. Additional, classes indude partnering, modern, jazz, pilates, and dance history. There are three performances a year including "Nutcracker" and rehearsals are 6:30 - 8:30. The more parts one is cast in, the more nights of rehearsal one would have. It would not be unusual for the more advanced students to have 2-3 parts. There are about 55 dance majors including around 10 boys.

 

As far as the retention rate, I don't know the numbers for sure; but I can say that WHS does not invite dancers to leave as has been said about most other programs. A few dancers each year will change their majors, but stay at the school. It is comparable to a private college in cost. My daughter reports that there are a number of students who receive significant tuition assistance.

 

Most dancers that graduate from Walnut Hill seem to go on to college dance programs and not directly into companies. My impression is that most dancers who attend WHS are attracted to it precisely because academics are important to them.

 

The main thing to remember about WHS is that unlike most year-round residency programs it is a private academic/arts school. The application process follows the same procedure as any other independent school. Each year, however, late applicants are invited from their summer dance and theatre programs.

 

Supposedly, cell phones are not allowed on campus though my daughter has never mentioned walkie-talkies.

 

If there are areas or questions, I haven't addressed in this post feel free to ask.

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