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About Ms. Leigh

Guest Liz'smom

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Guest Liz'smom

I wish that everyone on this board could meet Ms. Leigh! My daughter had the pleasure of auditioning for Ms. Leigh on Saturday in Boston. Wow!! We all know that Ms. leigh's love of teaching and concern for our dancers is evident on this board, it doesn's compare to seeing this teacher in action. Ny daughter,pending results of a bone scan for a stress fracture, auditioned, with doctor's approval, because it was important to her. So, we made the trip to Boston, despite the potential injury. Now, Ms. Leigh didn't know me from Adam, and our only relationship has been via e-mail, but she was so pleased to meet us and her concern for my daughter was immediate and genuine. The large glass doored studio was open to the waiting area, which is a rare treat for us waiting mom's and dad's. Through the glass I was able to see a teacher with an absolute love for her art. For two hours Ms. Leigh lead barre and center work, demonstrated combinations, made corrections, moved and aligned bodied, all while addressing the dancers by name!! My daughter felt that this was one of the best classes that she has ever taken. I can only hope that when she attends Washington this summer that Ms. Leigh will be one of her teachers, and that the other teachers share her philosophy and enthusiam. Major Mel, you were so right when you said that one only has to see Ms. Leigh teach a class to truly understand what a gift she is to us all. Thank you, Ma. Leigh!

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Liz'smom, welcome to Ballet Alert! Online, and especially to the Moms and Dads forum! I'm delighted that you have "de-lurked" and joined us here! biggrin.gif


Thank you so much for your overwhelmingly kind words about my work. I really enjoyed meeting you, too, and working with your daughter and the other lovely students in the audition on Saturday. In fact, I really like doing the audition classes every year, it's just the trips that I hate! All the traveling gets to me, and I'm really glad there is only one more trip and that I can take the train to that one (Philadelphia) instead of flying!

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Dear Miss Leigh, We have heard many wonderful things about you and the program at Washington Ballet School. Unfortunately all of your auditions were too far away for the girls in our company to come to. Would you consider a stop in Chicago, Cinncinati, Columbus, Indianpolis or Lousiville? If not I guess we'll have to resort to the old video audition next year! It is always great to hear about good audition classes. IMO it always says alot about the type of program you can expect during the summer. I think we'll have to try and get there next year!! I really enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for all the effort you put into this forum.

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C's mom, thank you, and I appreciate your kind words and your interest in our program. We tried Chicago a few years ago, and Columbus last year. The attendance at the auditions did not justify our making the trip there. I'm sorry about that, as I would love to be able to get to more places west of the Mississippi, but so far they are not working very well for us. I tried Dallas and OKC this year, but they did not do well either. So far we tend to have more interest from the east coast cities. I keep trying to venture more west, but without the numbers attending the auditions, I can't convince the powers that be that we need to do that. frown.gif

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And you said that last year the turn out (no pun intended) wasn't much at SUNY Purchase in NY? That astounds me!


Well, next year you can count on my daughter being at one of your auditions for sure!


Wonderful to hear how well the audition went. There is nothing like a really good teacher! smile.gif

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I vote for Chicago again! Where did you have it at? Ballet is BIG in Chicago. We would love to come to one of your auditions!

So if C's Mom and I come, that's 2, maybe 3 students...we could probably get Treefrog too! (I think that's her name!)

I promise, we'll get that audition filled up, if you just come back! smile.gif


[ March 04, 2002, 11:42 PM: Message edited by: Ba2's MOM ]

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I also want to thank you for all of the valuable information you provide all of us. As a mother and a teacher I welcome just about any advice, comments, information etc. I vote for Chicago along with the others and I think we can get the numbers up a bit more at least coming from Indiana. I certainly would put the word out through the company to audition. Washington Ballet was highly recommemded as a good SI to attend when my company went through our adjudication this year. However, limitations in travel prevented my daughter from auditioning and possibly several others. I can only hope that maybe next year there wil be an audition site alittle closer. smile.gif

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Ba2's Mom, it's something to think about, however right now I'm somewhat discouraged about the whole audition tour. I'm not sure what is happening this year, whether it's the situation in the country and this being DC, or whether the ABT rolling admissions thing has really stopped people from auditioning, but our numbers are so down almost everywhere that I'm not sure we will even do a tour next year. Atlanta was very good, but Boston, which is generally one of our best, was way down. The new cities we tried have not been successful so far. One more this week which is new, and I'm hopeful for good attendance there (Philadelphia).


I love doing the audition classes, but the trips are physically very hard, especially with teaching my full schedule at home. I need to find a better way of organizing them, and splitting them up so that I am not traveling every weekend. That happened more this year because I decided not to travel in January, so that put all the trips in Feb. and early March. Too close together and no time to recover from each trip. The weather is so unpredictable at this time of year, and it's scary booking trips anywhere in the north. I have flown into blizzards twice, including last year in Boston. There has to be a be better way to do this!

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Could your numbers be down because your auditions are so late in the season? Most of the BIG/BIGGER schools have already finished and letters have arrived or expected (SFB & Houston) this week. Most dancers have a good idea of where they are going, already many have already made commitments. I am sure the rolling admissions of SAB and ABT also contribute to your low number also.

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Guest balletmama

Re Purchase, though a lovely facility it is too far from Manhattan for most young dancers, who are sometimes doing more than one audition a day. Most NY auditions that are not at SAB are elsewhere in the city, at the City Center studios or the Ailey studios. Just a thought. Auditions in NY are so mobbed that I am sure a wonderful program like Washington's would attract a ton of dancers.

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Guest aballetmom

Have you ever thought about going to Kansas City to audition? The Kansas City Ballet has a lot of the top programs come every year to hold auditions. SFB, ABT, SAB all go to KCB. Several others as well. It is centrally located and they have had people come as far away as Denver and Texas for example. Just an idea. rolleyes.gif

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I've thought about going to lots of places, but with the number of students who attend our auditions, especially this year, it would not justify the cost of the trips!


As to the late auditions, I started the first weekend in February, and finish this weekend in Philadelphia (except for the DC auditions, which are the following weekend). I did not feel that was late, and has not been in the past. Generally the travel in January is horrific due to totally unpredictable weather, although of course this year that would not have been a problem. Other programs are still auditioning. We had NCSA at our school last night. Houston just finished, which is why their letters are late, however I sent out our letters after each audition. They have all gone out in under two weeks, most of them within a week of the audition.


[ March 05, 2002, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: Victoria Leigh ]

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Ms. Leigh, I have to agree with BA2's mom about the timing of your auditions being a key factor in your lower than expected audition turnout. It may not be that your auditions are too late over all, but rather they might have been late in relation to other SI auditions in those same cities.


You might want to look at when you were auditioning in some cities and how long it was after some of the very large programs held their auditions there. If other SI's held their auditions in those same cities 2-6 weeks before your auditions, then the dancers would have already heard, needed to make a decision in some cases, or felt that they already had several good options to consider for this summer.


In my daughter's case, by the time your audition was scheduled here, she had heard from everywhere else she had auditioned, had several scholarships to consider and two deadlines that had already passed. She was so overwhelmed with the decisions she needed to make that she just didn't feel that adding another SI to her decision making process was a good idea. In talking with other dancers and their moms this year, the rolling admissions and the very early deadlines for many programs were a source of great stress for lots of dancers and their families!


I completely understand about not wanting to travel in January. I think that the audition tour process must be a Herculean effort and I admire you for your tenacity. (As a parent, I would really like a little bit more of a rest after Nutcracker season before beginning the audition process!)


Unfortunately, with so many programs moving everything back into January this year (my daughter's first audition was the 1st Tuesday in January), decisions were made much earlier than last year.


I hope you will not be disheartened by this year's tour. I really think that timing was a huge factor in your attendance. I know from those who have attended the school year-round, that it is a wonderful program. I hope that you will continue to tour and allow our dancers to benefit from your great classes and wonderful teaching style! smile.gif

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You may be right, balletbooster, but there are still major school auditions being held. PNB is here in DC this weekend. There is no way of knowing ahead of time who is going where, when, as these tours are all booked independently and very early. I start in September with the planning and booking. There is also no way of knowing who else will be in the same city on the same day at the same time. frown.gif This is very difficult, and there really needs to be some central organization to it. I was up against ABT when I was in Atlanta, on the same day. Fortunately, a lot of people still chose to attend my audition, although "a lot" for me is very different than "a lot" for ABT! But I was very happy with the 30 very fine students I had there! I believe that attendance was due primarily to a couple of teachers who encouraged their students in the direction of the Washington Ballet as opposed to ABT on that day, but it was a great audition in a wonderful school owned and directed by a former Atlanta Ballet principal who is doing a great job with her students! While I'm sure the Atlanta Ballet students were all at the ABT audition, I had really fine students from Maniya Barredo and Magdalena Maury, plus several who traveled from neighboring states to attend this audition.


In the other cities I have not been up against anyone else, however in one city there was a major local competition going on, and that evidently kept a number of students from attending. There is no way of knowing about those things when the tour is being booked. However, probably most of those students who are in the competition schools would not have been acceptable for our program anyway.


There are often two major schools holding auditions in some of the larger cities at the same time, and this is a huge problem for the students. It's not really fair. There has to be some way to get this thing organized, and I'm thinking a lot about it but really don't know how to go about doing something about it.

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