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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Michelle_r

Boston Ballet School

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learningdance

There appears to be a mistake on that table.  There's a situation where parents at a lower bracket are paying 17,000 more than parents at a higher bracket. 

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momofaboy

I don't think that's an error. That's the maximum amount that a family paid in that income bracket. It refers to a single family. They could have millions in the bank. Look at the average family contribution. 

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Danicole07

learningdance, Look at it on the computer versus phone. It will give high and low within that bracket. 

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JoeyBaby

My DS is a dance student at Walnut Hill (sophomore) and know a decent amount of info about how the program will be structured (all first hand). I can tell you that the WH school community is wonderful. We hesitated sending him to boarding school but they've really just made it such a great experience. It is a college preparatory school, but they are so accommodating with performance schedules and set the academic schedule such that it makes it very manageable. The facilities are top notch and the dorms are quite nice, even though they do have some older buildings. The cafeteria is recently remodeled and the food is also quite good. 

The news of the change in program was a complete shock to students and families (they have a really good existing dance program that is very warm and nurturing and meets students where they are at with really wonderful dance faculty). There's been a lot of back and forth between the administration and families about how the program will work. So what I can say is: Existing dance students who want to return to WH are "grand-fathered" in. BBS students will have a modified audition to be accepted to WH as students. WH does needs based scholarships which will be made at their discretion. BBS has funds for merit scholarships which will be made at their discretion. It's going to take some work to integrate the programs, but we are all hopeful that it will make the program stronger and be a really inclusive environment for both schools. After all, WH has 4 other departments focused on performing arts. It's quite a treasure. Best of luck and happy to answer any other questions. 

 

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Danicole07

Went on the tour today at WH. We are currently at BBS. The campus was beautiful, with some older and newer buildings. It was a lovely setting. The WH team answered questions we had, and they were great. Current BBS will not audition, but will have a modified application process to get approved and placed in The appropriate academic grade.  We have until 12/15 to fill out the application, so we have the same time frame as the returning students for acceptance and financial aid. We look forward to having our daughter continue training with BBS teachers and receiving academics at WH. 

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bluemountain

Sounds like a great option for your DD! Good luck to you transferring into the new program and thank you for the update!

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Adf

A previous poster mentioned no trainee program at the new Walnut Hill program.  Since the focus of Walnut Hill is very much college prep (that is all their website talks about!) is there any reason to even consider going to Walnut Hill if the end goal is Boston Ballet II/ Boston Ballet?  I am veering more into the Post Grad discussion but am just looking for clarification for those wanting to pursue professional dance post high school in lieu of college.  Am I assuming correctly we can cross Boston Ballet School at Walnut Hill off that list? Thank you in advance for any insight.

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NYCMOM

This is such an interesting and unexpected development.  Where will the students have their ballet classes - at WH or BBS?  And what is happening to the trainee program?  It was a very strong program when my DD went through it a few years ago.  It would be a shame to see it eliminated.  But trainees are frequently called for company rehearsals, and it's hard to imagine how that would work if they're off site at WH.  It's also hard to imagine how it would work with the range of ages in the trainee group.  When DD was there some were high school age and others (like DD) had already graduated.  

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bluemountain

Adf, I recently called WH, trying to learn as much as possible about the program. My feeling is that from a pre-professional ballet program at Boston Ballet they are turning it into a beefed up dance program at WH. Which is a great thing in itself, but it sounded like WH's main focus is making the artsy kids college ready, that is why, I was told, the current PP kids will have to re-audition to the program - to make sure their academics are up to the level. Not sure it if helps, as I am still very much confused by this change. Basically, it sounded more like WH with a  stronger ballet program rather than BB PP with better academics and housing. 

The daily schedule will look something like this: morning until 2 pm - academics at WH, 2-6 dance, later if there are rehearsals. 

The school sounds like a huge upgrade to the current accommodations of the out-of-state PP students, and, in general, how bad can it be if a year there costs more than a year in some of colleges. 

Also, I was told that the classes will be at WH. I asked about the current option for the kids to attend company classes in the morning, but received no answer.

There dance department has 65 kids across all 4 years. 

According to the person I spoke with, there will be just one audition - in February, and they expect to fill in their program as the result of it. 

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JoeyBaby

Walnut Hill IS a performing arts high school and the dance majors are in a pre-professional training program. WH as a school has 5 different majors so yes, it is college prep. However, many of their dance alumni have gone on to dance with companies, most recent and notable grad is Harper Watters, a soloist with Houston Ballet, but some do go into BFA or conservatory programs. Historically, WH's dance program has been focused on encouraging the kids to pursue what they want, whether it be dancing with a company or going into a BFA or other conservatory type program. However, Margaret Tracy, BBS director, who will succeed Michael Owen as the new director at WH, has expressed that her focus is to get dancers into companies, not necessarily into BFA programs. SO, this is a big change for current WH students, and will be interesting to see how this culture shift shakes out. Yes, all dance classes will be at WH as far as we know. There may be opportunities to attend company classes but all WH academic classes are in the AM so that would be tricky.

I think everyone needs to attend a tour and ask these questions to see if it is a fit. 

Edited by JoeyBaby

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Adf

Thank you all for your comments.  At first glance I thought it sounded like a fabulous idea, and helps solves some problems for Boston Ballet school like housing and schooling.  I also thought it sounded similar to Royal Ballet School Upper School set-up with a more holistic approach to dance training, education and health.  RBS upper school has 100% professional contracts upon graduation (although many don’t make it through to full 3 year years).

But if the vision of Margaret Tracy is to get professional contracts for more graduates, somehow I think that might clash with the alumni/donors to the school. As why wouldn’t you attempt the same ( professional contracts In lieu of college)for the other art forms the school focuses on?

I do wish all the best for those who are caught up in the middle of this and really do hope it does bring about increased opportunities.

 

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labrador

Walnut Hill has or used to have a relationship with Ballet Austin. Maybe the new affiliation with BB makes WH the school out of which graduates go into companies.

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Danicole07

The goal for Ms. Tracey is to have the dancers Company ready by senior year. The top level will be similar to the current trainee level at BBS. There will only be 3 levels. There is a bus that will take the student between WH and Boston for any performance opportunities (ie Nutcracker). The academic hours are different with only 2-3 a semester. My daughter, who takes classes online will be able to be done with classes when she finishes her 2 she’s in now and transition into her junior year in the fall. So essentially she can slow down her education where others may have to speed up depending on how many classes they are taking. Since the teachers will be the teachers from BBS the ballet program will not be “watered down.” In fact I think of your have a boy dancer there is a lot of positives having Peter Stark who wants to grow the boys program, and has done this since he joined BBS a few years ago. 
 

Change is hard but I feel with the leadership of both WH and BBS this will be okay. Yes the transition over the next two will be tough, but in the long it should be fine.

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bluemountain

One of the reasons I liked the current BB PP program was that the levels were not attached to any particular academic grade. Since during high school years all kids grow and develop with different speed, it allowed for them to progress through the years with their own speed - repeating the levels when it's needed, starting the program not at 14, but at 16, etc. This  change makes the program less flexible, I feel, as most of the kids are not ready to look for professional contracts by 18. But then again, I am sure they will find the kids who are a good fit for them.

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Danicole07

JoeyBaby, that interesting that you’re hearing there sill be some current teachers returning, because that isn’t how it has been presented to us. Thanks for that info.

 The “water-down” comment came from a previous poster saying the Historical goal of WH was college vs Company after high school. Most dancers at BBS want to be a professional dancers, so I was simply saying Ms. Tracey’s goal will to continue to be to have the dancer who do not want to go to college to be company ready or trainee ready. My comment was but intended to be negative toward the current WH teacher or dancer. The training will be different for many of the WH dancers. And the BBS teachers are nurturing as well. 

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