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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Nutmeg changes: Internet academics 2005

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Somewhat off topic- but the total hysteria in some schools in getting into the best name brand colleges is ridiculous. It is a fact that it is not that important where you go undergrad- compared to how well you perform. Even "name brand" grad schools are not important- many a successful doctor, lawyer and indian chief graduated from a state school. And finances being what they are for many, the state schools are where many will go. Most have "honors" programs for the best and brightest, and these kids are on a level with those who go to "name brands"- but didn't get enough scholarship $$, or realized going into hock for many years for a name just wasn't worth it.

Bottom line- if the dancers end up in plan B, and not in Yale,Harvard etc etc- they will be fine.

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  • Victoria Leigh


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dufay, do you think perhaps Bravo might consider a reality series on College Application Moms and Dads? :sweating::D Off topic or not, this is a subject that often comes to mind. :hyper:

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I can really only speak from my experience with dd on this important subject. While my dd was really never" ivy leaque" material, she was a very conscientious academic student and loved learning. She was a perfectionist both in school and dance. Somehow we happened upon a compromise during her high school years. She did not take AP classes but opted for a very aggresive academic load without the added homework that AP classes in our school district required. She was able to graduate with an honors diploma in the top 10% of her class at a fairly academically competitive school district. Her determination to maintain her academics to the best of her ability while pursung her dream of dancing professionally made it easier on dad and I. Did we compromise her academically?... Maybe..., she may have been capable of that ivy league acceptance if ballet was not an issue, we sill never know. Truth is ballet was an issue, we could not change that. Instead we worked with it. She has the academic background to get accepted to most major universities Ballet boarding school was never an issue. She lived at home and trained with the best our area had to offer. This I suppose was her portion of the compromise. At 12 she wanted to dance with ABT, by 16 she just wanted to dance professionally. A much more realistic goal as I saw it. We were very lucky to have one of the best college dance programs in the country right in our backyard. DD was able to take classes her junior and senior year of high school at the university. She used her involvement with RDA and other ballet activities, (especially those college classes) on applications she made to 4 college dance programs. (She also applied to 1 college that was not dance related) She was accepted academically to all 5 colleges she applied to. While none of those 5 were extremely difficult to get into, 2 were more difficult than most. Even without AP classes she was offered 3 academic scholarships, and 3 dance scholarships. DD just finished her first year as a trainee with a small professional company. Her learning experience has continued even without college classes at this point. To elaborate a bit more I would like to say that dad and I are not sorry that we allowed her to give this a try. The maturity that has developed in her has definitely been worth the price. Real life as an adult is not always easy. She has had to face challenges this year that she would not have encountered in any college curriculum.

I don't know that there is one answer to this question. It is almost as individual as each dk. I really felt like I was stumbling around in the dark through most of her high school years. So far it hasn't worked out too bad. She's living her dream and I know that eventually she will finish her education at a university that she can be proud to say she graduated from! The hard part for us is "How long do you support the dream?" We are only 1 year "post high school, we are still paying approximayely 50% of her expenses, even though she works about 25 hours a week outside of her class/rehearsal schedule. DD has stated that she will apply to a couple of colleges of interest in the fall, as well as 1 that is in the geographic area that she now resides. I know there are probaly some rough roads ahead for her as it relates to dance, still I stand by the support we have given her in pursuing her dream.

There are so many unknowns in the ballet/dance world. Injuries, artisic staff expectations and personal goals are just a few elements that can change a dancers direction. Even for the "prodigy" there is no gurantee. Realisitc goals, hard work, and making the best of their individual situation is, in my opinion, most crucial lessons we can teach our children regardless of where their ballet training leads them.

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Sorry - crossing over from Under 13s, but I did want to comment on this as I believe I was one of the parents referred to in the below quote, as sarsdad and I had differing opinions in the thread referred to.


I suppose I should not be shocked - this board was filled with posts from the parents of 9 year olds who were sure ballet was their childrens lives.


First, a clarification - I am not fixated on my 12 year old becoming a 'star', but I believe if you have an inner passion and desire, this should be nurtured, whether the passion is for dance, science or anything else. Forgive me if I'm wrong sarsdad, but my perception is that you consider an academic education should take precedence above all else. For a potential dancer, this will probably mean that dance will not be a possible option as a career. This does not mean abandoning an education, but it does need to be balanced with dance programs with the teenager 15-16 and over who is seriously pursuing a career in dance.


Personally, I didn't gain my university education until I was in my 30s. Prior to that I worked in a variety of jobs, some satisfying, some not, some low paid and some adequate. Since gaining my university degree I have worked in a variety of jobs, some satisfying, some not, but mostly adequately paid. I am not particularly happier now, but I do have the money to pay for dd's dance tuition :D


My sister-in-law received her Phd 2.5 years ago. She has just gained part time employment in her field of expertise. For the past two years she worked in a fast food outlet.


Having a university education can give you satisfaction in gaining knowledge, social status, greater earning power (sometimes) and with some, the ability to pursue their dreams, but it does not in itself necessarily bring you these things and nor does it necessarily bring you happiness. It is also the case that not all people are born academics and not all are suited to pursuing a higher education. Let's face it, my mechanic doesn't have a university education, but he's damned good at fixing my car. Age is no barrier to learning, but it certainly is to becoming a professional dancer.

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  The hard part for us is "How long do you support the dream?"  We are only 1 year "post high school, we are still paying approximayely 50% of her expenses, even though she works about 25 hours a week outside of her class/rehearsal schedule. 


We, too, are wrestling with this. Kait is two years post HS; we support her completely (except for the last two months, when she has been working to pay her rent and the board portion of the SI that she's attending this summer), and will continue for at least another year. As a very low-paid but full-time apprentice, she did not have any free hours to work outside of the studio. She has a friend who is a principal dancer with a small regional company; this friend says that she was not completely self-supporting until she was 25.

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From what I understand the situation at this school arose because the students were attending the public school without paying tuition. I would hope that the residency school addressed the possibility of its students paying tuition with the school district. VSA students attend a public high school in the am (and they receive p.e./elective credits for their dance classes) for which they are charged the same tuition charged to any out of district student. The high school does not seem to mind since the VSA students are for the most part honor students. I feel it is the best of both worlds. There is some academic stress around performance time; however, the public school teachers usually are willing to cut a little slack.

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Unfortunately, the HS in questions appears to be extremely inflexible. The guidance counselor with whom we met emphasized that no exceptions were made for the ballet students. period. No credit for PE, no nothing. Even our local HS lets my daughter off with PE credit for ballet.

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My daughter attends Nutmeg, which is in a transition right now, as are we. I will post more in a few days. Suffice it so say that the local high school gives no credit for PE or Fine Arts or anything to any time spent at Nutmeg. They also were inflexible about release time or early release. No taking the academic classes and then off to Nutmeg to dance. You took a full schedule (including PE), were at school from 7:20-2:30, and then danced from 3:30 to 8 or 9 every day. Homework came after that.


Until now, despite this, there was a good relationship between the city, the school, and Nutmeg. And Nutmeg has done more for downtown Torrington than anyone could imagine. It is unfortunate that a compromise could not be offered where kids could take the core academic courses and then be released by noon to then begin studies at Nutmeg. I don't think it is so much about the Nutmeg kids attending for "free." It does not sound like even paying for the academics would result in an agreement that would let students take core courses only.


Home schooling/Internet based schooling in a home setting is a far cry from Internet schooling in a small dorm, in a small town, in a very isolated setting, with no certified teacher to offer help, supervision, etc. Very valid issues are being raised here, issues that, as a parent involved, I have voiced from the beginning.

My concerns are not so much about the "home" schooling issues, they are about the setting in which this will take place, and the isolation that will result. How sure are we of that proverbial basket to put ALL our eggs into it?


Shall we say we are at the crossroads?

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:thumbsup: As mmded stated earlier, in Canada RWB and Quinte work on "Early Release Programs" with local public high schools. NBS has the luxury of teaching academics and dance under one roof. Quinte is located right beside the performing arts high school. RWB drives students to and from the various schools, while others walk. In my humble opinion and speaking from experience with DS who has gone to school all day, then danced later on, I think early release is far better for the serious student who is juggling academics, dance and homework and still trying to get to bed at a decent hour.


nlkflint - it is really too bad that the local high school doesn't give credits for dance or fine arts studied at Nutmeg considering the number of hours devoted to each. Please let us know what transpires.



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My original post was meant to provoke conversation, not offense. I am glad for the former and regret the latter. First, danceintheblood, please accept my apology if I gave offense. I do not doubt your daughter's devotion. I do not suggest that education is an automatic ticket to success in life. I simply state without fear of contradiction that education provides potential options. You know some years ago there was amazing contraversy in the US. Major Universities were accepting students on the basis of their football skills, making money from their ability on the gridiron, but giving them substandard educations. Since relatively few of these players actually make it in the NFL (I believe the number is about 5%) it seems like these students were used and thrown out. The initial response of a number of Big 10 and PAC 10 schools was they were giving students an opportunity to follow their dreams......


Remember, we are talking about highschool here - not college. Perhaps it will work, perhaps not. It is clear that the parents of Nutmeg students who have joined this discussion are going into this experiment eyes open - bravo!


Good luck to all as we attempt to do the best we can for our talented children.

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Somewhat off topic, but just an addendum to sarsdad's comments about aspiring professional athletes:


9 million - approximate number of boys playing in organized baseball leagues

9,700: Number of players on Division I college baseball teams

7,500: Players in minor leagues

829: Players in the majors (29 percent of whom are foreign born)


Source: People magazine, June 13, article on children's overuse injuries due to sports

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I have been reading this thread with interest for several days now...


Having homeschooled for a couple of years, knowing homeschooling families etc, I dont think the question is as much about homeschooling via internet as about what could constitute the best education for our kids. The quality of homeschooling among homeschoolers varies so much, some are very serious and others have a more casual approach. Interestingly, their approach seems to fit their kids, most (not all) parents intuitively sense what their kids need.


The idea that all kids, or even most, must go to college directly out of high school is over-rated. So many are poorly prepared, both academically and socially for the experience. Kids who are preparing seriously for a career in ballet, whether they make it or not, are probably more mature and focused in so many ways. If, they dont make it into a company, and are not prepared for the best name brand colleges, there are tons of lesser known and community colleges that would love to get their hands on them and your $$$. From there, they can move on to Harvard if they like.


Society places emphasis on superlatives....the earliest, the best, the most expensive, exclusive, brightest, prodigy etc. Not everyone can be defined by those words.


As for the range of schools out there in which to take a pre-pro education, internet homeschooling aside, there are no perfect situations.

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I have found this thread very interesting for several reasons and the first isn't because of my own DD. I work in a college of education and prepare science teachers junior and senior high school. IN my job, other than university courses, I spend a good deal of time in high schools. Schools that range from substandard urbans to very competitive suburban, and as several have said previously a good amount of time in high school is wasted time.


IMO AP classes are highy overrated in terms of their ability to prepare students for anything except more classes. They accelerate children through their college education - but I am not really sure what for? I see LOTS of students (our science teachers are smart people) almost all of whom have taken two, three and four AP classes in high school and still take 5 years to finish an undergraduate degree so they haven't even saved the year they came in with.


For most of our children life is long and there are still many entry points into colleges and careers. In fact there are probably more entry ways into college now than ever before. Completing high school is probably important, because making this up is getting more difficult (GED programs are under serious attack). But an adequate high school education for a motivated child, and dancers are motivated, will allow them to redefine their lives when need be. And I also want to put in a plug for State colleges and universities, because at least here in the mid west the Ivy league network, is just not that important.


Now for my DD, she is a an urban public performing arts school that provides an adequate (but atrocious science education) education without interferring with life too much. I am sure because she dances (and does other arts) she is a better student than she would have been without it. She has mastered learning and life skills that will matter more in the future than if she takes all AP classes her senior year. Skills like efficiency, time management, prioritizing, planning and following a plan. On line and corespondence classes develop these skills for learning so I am not sure students/families that make this choice have disadvantaged students in the long run.

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Thank you, calamitous. That was a most interesting and informative post.


I have often wondered how any of us from my generation ever managed to survive, much less earn a decent living, with the kind of education we had. There were no AP classes. There were not even SAT's! :o And, some of us never went to college! :rolleyes: Somehow or other, most of us learned what we needed to learn, even if we were busy doing something like ballet or sports or drama or music. :wink: I ended up, after my performing years, teaching in a major University dance department, having had no college education at all! They accepted my professional career as the equivalent of a terminal degree. However, I had also been trained to teach, and had a considerable amount of teaching experience during my late teens and throughout the performing years.


I will add, however, that this would not have happened without a high school diploma. Even the fine arts college would not have gone that far in accepting professionals! :wink: What they didn't know, or seem to be the least concerned about, was that my high school education was really minimal in terms of courses. Grades were good, but I avoided almost everything that would have meant studying! Florida schools were not very strict or demanding in those days, and I sort of cruised through. Interestingly enough, I ended up serving on Thesis committees in the University, after I had been there a few years, and correcting students who had far more education than I did! I will admit to a grandmother who was an English and Latin teacher, and a mother who, although not educated beyond one year of college, was obsessed with speaking correctly. She even lost her southern accent! :D She was correcting my English even in her last few years of dementia. Seriously! Bless Her! :D) And, perhaps most importantly, I was a reader. I was not thrilled with school, but I did love to read, and that in itself probably does more to educate children than many classes they take. Certainly helps, anyway.


So, I guess my point here is that people who have a reasonable amount of intelligence, and who receive a halfway decent education, plus the education of dance, travel, reading, and now computers that teach all of us many things, will come out okay in the long run anyway. If they are good students in school to begin with, they will be better students because of their specialized training, and this will carry them to wherever they choose to go following high school OR following a professional career! :thumbsup:

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Bravo!!! :D:rolleyes::D for expressing so eloquently the very same thing I have been trying to put together in my head prior to posting. You saved me a bit of time Ms. Leigh. Thank you.

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