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Boston Ballet School

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At the auditions for a different residential performing arts school with academics, the admissions officer said something that has stuck with me. They said that the most competitive demographic for admissions was the 11th grade female. Even in my experience with ds and a female friend of his, it has seemed that admissions gets more difficult the older the dancer is. 

Walnut Hill dancing hours are about 20 hours/week currently  via zoom. Students are going back in person in November. 

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On 10/3/2020 at 9:57 AM, Adf said:

Completely ridiculous price tag for a student wanting to dance professionally, with college as a Plan B

These days it seems that the majority of professional dancers attend college, either concurrent with or following their dance careers, and in fact many go on to attend leading colleges and graduate schools.  Therefore, I wouldn't discount the value of an excellent high school education, even if you think your child will pursue dance full-time at first.  I am honestly very excited to see Boston Ballet trying to fill the gap that exists here - no other US company-feeing pre-pro program also offers strong, integrated academics (except perhaps SAB+PCS), and there also seems to be a dearth of other pre-pros that offer a rigorous training schedule that works with competitive academic high schools.  In the case of a high school junior, obtaining a degree after attending (and paying) for only 2 years, actually seems like a pretty good deal, especially given what others have said in this thread about the financial aid offered.

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Boston Ballet/Walnut Hill is the only Pre-Pro program in the US that offers academics, boarding and training affiliated with a professional ballet company, without having to look outside for anything else. Harid has the boarding and academics, but isn't affiliated with a company. SAB requires you attend PCS, or other options for academics. I could list other top tier pre- pro programs but its impossible to find one that is attached to a major company that offers the boarding and supervision and academics. There are other wonderful programs, but they either require you attend a separate school, don't offer housing,  or don't have a professional company attached. In North America the only other schools I can think of would be National Ballet School of Canada, and Royal Winnipeg. 

The cost is very expensive, but they offer financial aid. 

I can speak for experience to not discount the academic component of your dancers training, especially during these turbulent times.

My DD who dances professionally, only wanted to go the ballet route through the age of 20. She really disliked school. But she was sidelined temporarily due to an injury and ended up at IU in the ballet program. She graduated with a B.S. in Ballet, and now is dancing professionally. She is also pursuing her Master's degree in Management simultaneously, because she realized that you never know where life might take you.

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I completely get the value of the education in general, but I went to a very good New England private college, after attending PUBLIC high school.  I am having a hard time justifying paying an extra $30K per year for tuition (calculated as $30K over other 3 letter ballet programs at average $30K for ballet tuition and board), to then pay additional for 4 years of college.   

If my DD wants to go the full 4 year college dance /professional route, she would not need to spend $30K per year for Junior and Senior year.  Additionally, if the high school is worth $30K per year, then I would see it extremely difficult to make an academic switch Junior year of high school. They are not just drawing kids from New England, but across the US who may have different academic standards.

I see your point that more professional dancers are going the college to pro route, but just verified that Boston Ballet, and Boston Ballet II have no such dancers. 

I suspect Boston Ballet will draw from other ballet schools to fill Boston Ballet II, and Boston Ballet needs.

I am not saying that this is a bad idea, just don't think the large US Classical Ballet companies are drawing significant numbers of college grads to join their Companies.  If anybody can point me to an article or thread discussing that, I would appreciate it!  


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Just to comment on the plan B, we do have a Plan B for DD as she is in online school taking University Dual credit courses at our local University.  Again, you do not need to go to PRIVATE high school to get into a good college!!  So Plan B is my DD will go to college and graduate high school with some college credits already. I do get the academic route perspective, but having lived in many places in the US, New England prices are not what the rest of the US is used to.  Totally different perspectives on price of education for both high school or university.

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Nobody needs to pay that much for a quality education or quality ballet training.  But if it's right for your family, go for it.  Sounds wonderful.  

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To me, BB's changed from a PP program to a private school with an emphasis on ballet. It will take at least a few years to see whether this change improves anything in terms of BBS being a feeder for Boston Ballet company or any other professional company for that matter. Unfortunately, BBS changes its PP program too often to notice the trend. I hope for the best, as I have seen many talented young dancers in BBS. This would be a shame to turn them away just because their family cannot afford a private high school tuition.

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To respond to a question above about Boston Ballet/BB2 taking students from college programs, I know personally of two dancers who did get hired from IU who were in the Ballet program while my DD was a student there as well. Both started as BB2 then were promoted to the company in a short amount of time.  I also personally know  two students from IU that are at Miami City Ballet in the corps. All of these dancers graduated within the last three years.


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My DS attends BBS at WH (attended last year and stayed for this year; currently a Junior) and while I hear the argument against cost, I would just say that the quality of dance instruction coupled with the quality of academics and vibrant arts community at WH is well worth the effort, and money. Many of the students receive some financial aid (based on need) and the kids are just so incredibly supportive of one another. It's quite clear that BBS wants their students to become professional dancers, either at BB or elsewhere, but that doesn't mean they aren't supportive of students who are on the college track. The price tag is certainly hefty compared to other programs, but I believe if the student is a good fit for the program, it's worth it to consider it as an option. My best guess is as the program becomes more seasoned, the kids who graduate from the program will have loads of options with what they do post-HS graduation. 

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We are in heavy consideration of BB and just learned of the partnership with Walnut Hill. Ill be honest, living very far from Boston, a boarding school situation sounds amazing for my daughter! I am really confused on the cost. In one place it seems like attending BB+WH will cost about $30-$35k per year. Looking at the WH website, its $60k for tuition, room & board (not including ballet). It seems like there are a few current attendees on this thread. Can you give me an idea of actual cost? I can get behind the 30K but 60k plus ballet would make me rethink this option. 

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The cost is about $66K/year without financial aid for boarding. Subtract about $16K/year for day students.  They do have fairly generous financial aid. They have a chart on the website with the average financial aid for each income range. Walnut Hill and Boston Ballet's pre-professional program are completely merged. You can't join one without the other. 

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