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Ballet Residency Programs

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Guest Lukayev

I just need something combining a professional opinion and the down-to-earth girl's opinion on switching schools, that is, if anyone has experience of them.


My mother is disappointed with the private high school I will be attending in the Fall because its administration has the worst time keeping track of things, and I am being sent to classes below my level. I can't help the latter situation, try as I might, because those single-track minded teachers absolutely refuse to let a freshmen enter English II. In any case, my parents are seriously considering sending me off to a mainland U.S. high school or perhaps to a foreign country with considerably high academics and good emphasis on ballet.


I have looked into..

  • Walnut Hill (too expensive.. gah)
    North Carolina (okay, but where's the culture?)
    Kirov School (their academics aren't so great)
    Pacific Northwest Ballet (no dorm./school?)
    SAB (public high schools part of program?)


Any other places I might have overlooked? Housing/Dorm. is probably a must, unless I have relatives there (and they only live in Seattle, some farm in Michigan, and in the boonies of Arizona), as is a good 'regular school' program.


I hope there's a school for me somewhere..



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Luka, that's a tough one, since it is very hard to find the very best academics and the best ballet training all in one place. The only place I know of that you have not listed is Harid. Do you know about that one? I'm not sure of their academic program, but I believe it is connected to a public high school.


It sounds to me like you are getting good ballet training where you are. Not sure, of course, but just from your general knowledge of ballet I am guessing that this is the case. Also the pictures we saw on the co. website. Seems to me your best bet would be to stay home, and maybe try to find a better academic school.

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Have you checked Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida? And many SAB students attend Professional Children's School, which has been doing some very impressive things academically in the last few years.


(PS. But I'm with Ms. Leigh on this one - best of all possible worlds would be for you to stay home as long as possible)


[ 06-24-2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]

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Seattle is also the home of Pacific Northwest Ballet, which is a fine company and school! (Not an academic school, just a ballet school however.)

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St. Paul's in Concord, NH also has a great dance program there, along with good academics (as far as I've heard). I think The Rock, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, among other schools, besides the ones you've mentioned, also have high school afiliations. Good luck!

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This is about the Washington Academy of Performing Arts (WAPA). I took summer classes there, and they have an excellent program. You can also take classes in other types of performing arts. You can be in the Open Program, which is for students not enlisted in the highschool program, or the Conservatory, which is where students also take academics.

I couldn't go there on a regular basis because it is too far away from where I live-it's in Redmond-and my mom didn't like how it seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.


I hope that helped! :)

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Guest Lukayev

Thank you! :)


Yes, I suppose that I am getting 'good' ballet training here (our school turned out Amanda Schull, after all); but I don't sense that 'pre-professional' vibe that I got when I visited classes in Tokyo. Everyone here's so laid back, so I keep goading them on by asking for a special variations class and constantly bringing up pdd class as a possibility.. no one, except for our teacher, seems to want this.


The problem with the staying home thing is the academic school itself. Hawaii's one of the worst places to go to for an education, and while my school is supposedly 'the best' in the Isles, the classes are just.. cesspool-like. We dwell on a subject, then moooove on very slowly. Very slowly. :P


As for Harid, I forgot to list that one, teehee. I heard something about its high school.. isn't that where Leyla Fayyaz (ABT corps and YAGP winner) came from?


My mother has asked me to rethink my opinion that I can't do Balanchine, and she says this is an opportune time to do so, because Robert Barnett and Violette Verdy are teaching at my studio's Intensive this year. If I like the style, then my family's trip to NYC will revolve around asking for info on SAB, etcetera.. We've emailed one of the information people at the School and now my mother plans on calling PCS to find out about its academics. :)


It seems both of my parents are all for getting me out of Hawaii, probably because my mother has traveled to every continent except for maybe Africa and Antarctica, and she knows that staying here in Hawaii isn't the greatest thing to do.


About SAB, though, since they're so Balanchinean and I've grown up learning mostly the good ol' Russian/French/Italian mix, though mostly Russian, how will I manage to adapt? And if I study at that school, will I be flexible enough in terms of style, to, say, audition for a major company? I know this all depends on the dancer, but will getting exposed to a totally different way of dancing help?


Again, thank you everyone for your time and opinions.. I'll look into the other schools too and mail for info. :)



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SAB produces dancers who have gone on to careers not only with NYCB, but ABT and many other companies. It asks a lot of the students, but I've found that the Balancine style can be turned on and off as needed. It's also a lot like Harvard. The education you get there is fine, but the networking that sets up there can be a lifetime resource!

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Guest samba38

Additional background for you:

--Harid ballet students attend a nearby public high school with a good reputation and a range of classes including honors -- Spanish River High School. It's huge (2,000+ students, I think), like many US suburban schools but everything is set up for Harid students and many have graduated with honors.

-- North Carolina School for the Arts -- don't be so quick to sneer at the cultural choices in one of the most booming research/education/development complexes in the contry. Raleigh/Durham is home to some top universities and the American Dance Festival -- the nation's top producer and commissioner of modern dance is based in Durham. The couple who heads ADF also double as the people who book all the dance -- ballet and modern -- for the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington DC. NCSA, like any other ballet school anywhere, has its virtues and flaws but it's launched some top flight dancers in major companies today from Gillian Murphy now at ABT to Deanna Seay who will likely replace the lovely but aging and injured Ileana Lopez as the star of the Miami City Ballet, a company many say carries the spirit of Balanchine sometimes better than NYCB.

-- Miami City Ballet, like San Francisco or Pacific NW, does not have dorms for year round students but all have lists of schools which will cooperate with a dance schedule.

-- Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet has just this year I believe affiliated with some top flight private schools in Philadelphia to provide education for their dancers. They may now have year-round dorms as well. You should check them out.

-- Interlochen has decent academics and it does offer ballet but their strength is more in modern as far as I know.

-- National Ballet of Canada I believe offers both education and excellent ballet training.

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Thank you Samba! Some very good information there. I had forgotten about Nat'l. Ballet of Canada!

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Your point (no pun intended):

Interlochen has decent academics and it does offer ballet but their strength is more in modern as far as I know.

I'm not sure that this is true. I had a sister at their summer program. For the year round, there are ballet classes/pointe every day, with 5 hours total dance time per day. There is some modern in that time, but not every day, and I was under the impression that the program was based in ballet. Does anybody else know about this?


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The South Carolina school does not say where and with whom the students study ballet. This seems to be primarily an academic school, with the various programs using other schools for the specialized training. It is not a ballet focused school.


In looking at the Interlochen web site, which has quite a bit of information on the dance program, I was struck by the rather poor choice of ballet photos, and especially by the fact that the music, theater, and arts programs all have far more faculty than the dance program. There are only 3 resident faculty members in dance. They all hold degrees, and one has considerable professional experience. One has some, but more administrative work, and the third one shows no professional experience. I am assuming that perhaps they frequently have guest faculty, but they are not listed in the resident program faculty and might be brought in more for summer course.

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