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University of North Carolina School of the Arts/UNCSA

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O.k. - it goes back almost two full years now for my daughter, but I was happy about the academics at NCSA and daughter is an excellent student. She was able to take an AP English course in her junior year there, and was very enthusiastic about the teacher. I think of four teachers, there was just one she did not feel challenged by. They take the academics seriously. They do try to do some good things with scheduling of arts v. academics to acknowledge the pressures of each, but if a student is cast often, during more intense rehearsal times, it is not unusual for them to be burning the midnight oil to complete their academic assignments. (But perhaps that would not be unusual if they were home).


A minor point but they also made a good effort to communicate home, with written progress reports in academics, welcoming contact by phone or email. I would be in no position to compare NCSA with Walnut Hill, however.

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steuart, if I were you I'd also ask both Walnut Hill and NCSA for a list of where their graduates were performing. :)


Where would your daughter like to attend and which program does her current teacher/program recommend?

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Victoria Leigh

Steuart, one cannot really say which training is "better". They are different. I have my personal preferences, of course, however, I was an ABT dancer and not an NYCB dancer. We have had good students from both programs. In the last couple of years we have had some particularly well trained students in our Summer Program from Walnut Hill. Michael Owen has only been there a few years, but I have seen a vast difference in their students, gettting better every year.

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Guest steuart

Vagansmom---thank you for all of your suggestions for "research". I am getting started on my calls now. As a mom, I want to ask a question you may have insight on since you have "been there" with your DD: If I find that both Walnut Hill and NCSA are fairly comparable with academics and training, would the fact that NCSA is only a 3 hour drive for me versus Walnut Hill--2 planes away--be important? To me it's very important, but I don't want to limit DD because I want her as close as possible! I know these girls are vulnerable and I worry about staying in touch and being on top of things as a parent. I have 4 other children so the finances play a part too--NCSA is half the cost of Walnut Hill, even though WH did offer DD some aid. What should the priorities be? I am new at all of this--DD is my oldest so I am learning to parent at each stage with her!


My priorities are that she stay whole, nurtured, retain her love of ballet while getting excellent training. I am scared of too much pressure on her (she tends to put enough on herself!) that might lead to all the bad things you read about. I wish the Washington School of Ballet still had their year round (that's where one of her teachers went) so I could send her to Victoria Leigh!

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Guest steuart

BW--DD's teacher--from the studio--says she is out of touch with NCSA's current reputation, however she has heard some stories from past years. She won't come out and tell us what to do though!! She says she doesn't know enough about Walnut Hill either.


DD is leaning toward NCSA mainly because of the location as closer to home, although she liked it when she went there to audition and felt it was a good fit.

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I've heard that some schools ask students to leave if they feel they are not progressing according to their standards and expectations.


I'd certainly check to see if this is the case with any of the schools you are considering.

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I think that this is the case with most of the pre-professional schools. This is a reality that needs to be considered before making a decision to go to any highly competitive school, that prides itself on placing a high percentage of their grads with professional company contracts.

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heard that some schools ask students to leave if they feel they are not progressing according to their standards and expectations.


I'd certainly check to see if this is the case with any of the schools you are considering.


When DD went to audition for NCSA they had an informational meeting for perspective parents, many of these questiones and concerns were brought up during the meeting. One of the things mentioned was the highest SAT scores in the state. I visited class in progress. Which were very small, some as small as 8 in a class. I felt very reassured from what I heard and saw.


Then a few weeks after the audition, NCSA had their winter festival. DD and her school performed a piece for the festival. At the time ABT studio company was in residence. Miss Hayden taught them Symphony in C, they performed this piece with the NCSA students, it was breath taking!


Because of the Balanchine celebration many of the year round students' parents came for this. We also got to watch class and rehearsel. I took this time to ask many of the girls parents about their experience they had there. At what they came into the program. Again, I was impressed with what I was told.


As far as the quote above, there is an annual evaluation with an invitation to return or not.



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Re: NCSA - if you go to their website, www.ncarts.edu, then go to "for students" and then to "HS General Studies Course Planner" you can find the academic courses they will be offering next year. It seems to me they are the basic classes, including some Advanced courses. Also, if you go to "registrar" and then "Time schedule of classes" you can find all the classes they have this semester.


My daughter will be auditioning on campus on April 3. Anyone else? She'll be a senior so I assume the cutting policy won't affect her, they wouldn't drop anyone during the year would they?


She attended the Festival there in Feb. and enjoyed the classes, but I also would appeciate any additional info.

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I believe that, once they are in the program, Walnut Hill does not ask students to leave, but of course that should be confirmed with the school.


(P.S. This information is based on earlier posts by unsoccer-mom. My daughter attends the Walnut Hill extension school for elementary and middle school students.)

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steuart, manageitall and Karen - it sounds as though the three of you and your daughters need to get together. :grinning: There are no rules about adults posting their email addresses, and if you decided to you can then always go back and edit them out after you've gotten in touch with each other. :rolleyes: Just a thought.

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That's fine with me. It's Flyawaytutu@aol.com. Anyone else who wants to talk about NCSA feel free to write too.

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