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Ballet Talk for Dancers

"Asked to Stay" w/o a residential program setup

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Oops, sorry fendrock! Absolutely it's the parent's and student's choice - I just say Caveat Emptor! or, in order to stick with my horse metaphor, make sure to look inside that horse's mouth before you buy! :D


It's true the August angst month for some is either a dream or a nightmare. (I guess I'm obsessed with horses today. :D )

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  • vagansmom


  • BW


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Momof3darlings, I hate to say it but - yes, there are indeed some schools who do have students that are there to pay the bills. Usually, it doesn't tend to be at the higher levels but it can be.

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No, no, BW, I believe we are in agreement.


My point is -- when it is possible to plan ahead, why invite people at the last minute??


For example, in my neck of the woods, the local company affiliated school has auditions at least twice a year, and informal auditions can be arranged at other times.


So, there would be no need to "wait to be asked" from the summer program if you wanted to attend year-round.


I would hope that schools were thinking of the good of the students, and therefore not support such a practice as asking at the last minute with no available assistance for housing and schooling.

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Vagansmom, another way is for a ballet school to partner with an existing boarding school. The draw back in dd's school's case is that it is a more expensive boarding program but has a good college preparatory program. The ballet student population here is naturally evolving to include students living with host families, people moving to the area, along with residential and native students.

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Momof3darlings, I was just trying to write about the false hope thing and BW's Caveat Emptor. This situtation is exactly why this forum is important, so that parents can look at the options and get input from others. If a child has got "it" a parent probably already has that impression. Because of the education I got on this board, I knew at some point the boarding decision would come up. (I didn't even know about SI's until coming here). The easiest decisions are the ones made in advance. I think once a child gets to the SI stage Mom and Dad should already be asking themselves "what if" questions.

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So, there would be no need to "wait to be asked" from the summer program if you wanted to attend year-round.


I think some of what is being discussed is not those wanting to stay or knowing so prior to attending. It might more be the question of those not thinking this was an option or not knowing there was an option but finding themselves "asked". Those would be, in my opinion, the people "under the gun" so to speak. I would (probably naively) assume that someone considering it before they left would have definitely done some leg work prior or at least during the SI to feel out the housing situation.


Boy am I glad that DD made the decision early on to stay at home regardless. She's had offers at some places and not at others. The decision for her was easy...it's called wanting to be a sister to her two sisters even more than a dancer. I admire all of you who have made that choice. It is one I would have allowed her to make if she ever wanted to. I just can't imagine making it under the gun like so many it seems are.



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Actually, it seems that our experience has been that many don't really discuss this possibility with their parents in a lot of detail (if at all) before going to an SI. Then, they get there, there is a sign up sheet if they want to be evaluated or an audition scheduled midway through the course and their good friend is doing it and so they do it too. THEN, when they get asked to stay, all the questions that they never considered, all the details they had not explored, all the issues of actually leaving home, etc. etc. etc. all come rushing at them, while they are still away from home and discussing this with parents via cell phone after a long day at classes and decisions must be made and plans put in place almost immediately.


It would be quite different if everyone was thinking and planning ahead for this situation, as momof3darlings and her daughter so wisely have; but frankly most dancers and their parents are not as on top of this situation as many here on BT and it all comes at them on a collision course (particularly when the dancers are younger and they have not had as many years in the ballet world to see this sort of thing happen to others). :D

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Hans and Mo3D, I need to clarify because I see that my post may have been misinterpreted, especially by you, Hans, and I don't want readers to be confused or to start spreading :D.



So is what you're saying that in the process of building a school, some schools are willing to fill it with students who might pay the bills? All while knowing the implication of being asked to stay (by that student and their parents) is that you "have it", when in fact that may not be the case?


Oh dear, :o No, rest assured :), that's not at all what I said when I wrote:

The money generated from the additional students living with host families is used, along with grants, donations, fundraising, to buy or build a facility for a residency. It costs tons of money and requires a focused plan


My statement is that in order to grow, a school has to grow slowly unless they suddenly have a financial windfall or unusual circumstances (Universal Ballet has Rev. Moon, SAB the Ford Foundation, and Harid the anonymous H.A.R.I.D. donors.)


The other schools, the ones without such investments, has to plan a little differently. Instead of saying, "No, we don't have a residency facility," they accept talentedstudents from outside their local area and shelter them in host family homes. I DIDN'T say, in any way, shape, or form, that schools accept students whom they think won't make it but they'll take their money anyway. In fact, school directors don't WANT to do that because that will then reflect out to the world that they're not a serious training program.


And perhaps I wasn't clear at all in my posting :D because Hans, it appears that you have misinterpreted what I wrote (or I wrote it poorly) when you said,

I'm surprised that Nutmeg doesn't provide housing for its male students,

In fact, they do! They most certainly do! As I stated in my post, they have a couple of

nearby apts. and homes under a ballet parent (the young men still have this arrangement)
. Nutmeg initially rented, then bought 2 homes (and are renting a third from a member of the board of directors), one or more of which, depending on male enrollment, are used to house the men, under RA's and house parents, separately from the women. That separation should be reassuring to parents of both the young men and young women. :thumbsup: They are a couple easy walking blocks from the facility.


Also, Hans, anyone who knows Nutmeg at all is certain that they do, indeed, care deeply about their men's program! I'm not the only person saying this; I read it all the time on ballet message boards from people I've never heard of. Nutmeg is known for this. It's the strongest men's program I know. (I know there are others out there, Hans, and I'm not denigrating them whatsoever, but trying to clear up your misunderstanding about Nutmeg). The staff and the male dancers have a close relationship and the men receive lots of one-on-one attention.


I didn't mean my earlier post to be an advertisement for Nutmeg but since it's the program I know best, I used it as a good example of what I'm seeing some other pre-professional schools (currently without a residency) doing right now. They're on the right track.


BW, I am in total agreement with you about the need for some schools currently without residency programs to get more organized. I spoke up because I didn't want schools without dormitories to automatically be lumped into the more dire category you presented. I also want to challenge parents to insist on schools getting more organized! ASK schools without dormitories to provide lists such as you recommended, TELL them you can't send your child without more involvement on the school's part. They'll get the message. Some of what a parent insists upon may not have occurred to a staff not yet fully used to thinking about housing.


Remember, ballet schools are notoriously short-staffed and they are all at different growth stages. I tend to be kind about those stages as long as I know a school is trying and is heeding good recommendations from parents and others. I've seen that stage so many times in my life within the private academic school world that I'm willing to allow certain small kinds of mistakes as long as the school is willing to amend them when someone points them out. That's another sign of a good school: one which, when mistakes or disorganization is pointed out, are anxious to correct it. It means there's good communication. :thumbsup: And I've seen that a whole lot, thank goodness.

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Vicarious, I agree with you that Bossov's arrangement with a private boarding school is a great way to provide housing and schooling. :flowers:


But I hope that you did not read my post wrong about Nutmeg! :o

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BB, that is what we would love to avoid when considering a year round residential program for dd. Auditioning for the summer program with the intent of applying/requesting consideration for the year round would be the ideal situation. The only problem with that is, most schools invite guest teachers, the year round students are not there and the year round faculty is gone much of the time. It is hard to determine if that school would be a good fit if the dancer was accepted.

It would be nice if the residential schools would have their faculty there 90% of the time so the incoming SI dancers (the ones considering staying) could get a true feel for the style and general feel for the school and teachers.

That way, plans could have already begun for the students to stay and preparations are already in the works.

**Kind of like what Gracyloo and her older sister did at Walnut Hill***

That seemed like a smooth, well thought out transition for all involved.

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Summer staff and year-round are the same at NCSA, Harid, Royal Ballet and Houston! :flowers: I think that SAB has the same teachers in summers as well.

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Is there a specific program or programs whose practice you are decrying, BW? Or is this a general vent?


(It has happened before that we are talking about a specific program, whose identity is known by those who :flowers: , and the rest of us just :o . And sometimes the conversation goes off on tangents and assumptions because of that. If we are discussing a particular place, would you be able to name it?)

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No, just a general cry because of hearing from a variety of parents about a variety of programs. I have no ax to grind about any particular program. :flowers:

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Nutmeg initially rented, then bought 2 homes (and are renting a third from a member of the board of directors), one or more of which, depending on male enrollment, are used to house the men, under RA's and house parents, separately from the women. That separation should be reassuring to parents of both the young men and young women.  They are a couple easy walking blocks from the facility.


Ohhhhhhhh I get it now! I had the impression that the girls received dorm housing whereas the boys had to find their own apartments or host families or something. Thank you for the clarification!


However, I have to make a clarification of my own--UBA has the Universal Ballet Foundation, not Rev. Moon. :flowers:

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Summer staff at WSB is our regular faculty, plus some guest teachers from the Washington Ballet and others from outside the company. But the core faculty is always in place.

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