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Miami City Ballet School


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QuarterKing, I would like to second what Asleep at the Wheel has said. My son loved MCB when he attended the SI in 2005. He wanted to stay for the year. (We live 1500 miles away from Miami). There is no housing. On his own initiative (he was 15) he spoke at length with Linda Vilella who graciously helped him find an apartment. He would have had to stay alone at 15, go to Miami Beach High School on his own and get himself to MCB on his own. No way was he ready for that kind of living experience.


I can't speak for your daughter, perhaps she is focused and mature enough to be on her own in South Beach at 15. It is a wonderful program. My son really hopes to get a trainee or apprenticeship out of high school. He has attended several SI's and this was his favorite. He loved the Vilella's, the entire staff, the quality of training etc.


But if you want your daughter in a residency program there are quite few excellent ones that meet the needs of a high school student while meeting the training demands for a pre-professional program. That is what we opted to do. We found a residency program that met my standards for academic education and his for dance. His training is good and he hopes that Miami year round is in his future after graduating from hs in 2008.


Read the threads for residency schools. there is a lot of information that helped me choose a few to research and visit before making a decision.

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i also must agree i am 17 and attended the si last summer and loved it, i was accepted to mcbs year round level 8 but could not make the move until jan. with my mom. depending on the age, maturity, drive, and responsibility of your dk it is up to you as to how you will sort things out whenthe time comes of deciding if mcbs is a go or not. i love the school and even coming half way through the year i have learned A LOT and improved. after i was here for about a month my mom recieved a call from her boss saying show up to work on moday (back in dc) or you are fired. i was torn and had to find a roomate in 3 days to live with me. thus bringing me to my second point-do not move here unless you (the parent) have a secure position as a job or full time parent bc what you will hear next may have you thinking...i stayed here and my mom left me behiind i live in south beach and walk nearly 20 blocks to class everyday, cook for myself, clean, do laundry, grocery shop, and basically live an adult life. my roomate unfortunatly moved out so i am on my own. It is very difficult at times to get school done also, i am graduating a year early but if your dk isnt enrolled in an online hs program it may be difficult to stay on task. Even on most online programs a lot of kids have trouble trying to get all their work done, not bc they are irresponsible, but learning entirely on your own and taking class i must say is tough and i know many of my classmates would agree. The training no doubt is priceless and the teachers are amazing, my advice to you is to really think thoroughly before you just pack up and move. additionally rent has gone up since i have been here and idk about where you live, but groceries tend to be 2 dollars more than they are in dc for me. the cost of living is pricey i must say, but the ballet is worth it without a doubt. :) i wish you the best of luck!

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As a parent, I personally find it frightening to read of 17 year olds living on their own in South Beach...or anywhere really. Ballet schools that encourage and accept out of town students for their year round programs without dorms or chaperones should maintain certain levels of acceptable living arrangements for minors. Many won't agree but I urge caution in this area.



abidancer, please don't take this post as a personal criticism. I wish you the best. But parents who are considering this arrangement for their own children need to weigh the pro's and con's, and the con's are many.

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Actually 17 is on the older side, I know of 15 year olds ballet students on their own in large cities.

my point being is just that you really need to consider all possible cons if your going to be on your own or with a parent/roomate. i would like to add though that the school director and administrator do an excellent job taking care of all of the students outside of the studio-from doctors appointments to making sure that you are on track. One of the most unique parts of MCBS is the heart-they really care about the health and well being of students and if they sense that something is up, they will come talk to you or vice versa :P after my mom left the school director understood what was going on and made sure that everything was in line and in place so i could continue to take class and live the day to day life without it impacting life at the studio. same goes with all the staff seeing as my roomate and i needed a day or two to move in. asleepathewheel has it quite right though south beach is extremely nice but unlike other cities it is smaller and caution is a very good word in speaking of the area. it is not so much as to the fact that 15 year olds may be living on their own as it is how they manage to live on their own, get to the doctor and deal with insurance, complete schooling on their own...etc im not saying that its impossible but the transportation here as stated before is not very reliable its not like nyc where you can catch a subway or bus every 5 min-try 15-45 min and theres no subway in south beach there is one in downtown miami which is not where the studios are located. additionally as in all places you must weigh in safety issues...if your dks classes end after sunset, depending on where you are staying you need to keep your route safe and in lit areas along with a charged cell phone at all times...unlike nyc and many other cities unless you are on collins or lincoln road you dont find building after building and loads of people. thus explaining a concern for walking alone after classes if it is dark out. its a really nice place to live you just have to keep your eyes wide open at all times even at the beach. if your dk is female i dont suggest walking around or going to the beach alone-plan on having non stop guys staring at you and making cat calls. That is why the school most likely writes that you are appropriatly dressed going to and from the studio- if you want to avoid being harrassed dont plan on leaving the studio with a leo and a little pair of shorts or etc. i think i said enough to be understood.

Edited by abidancer220
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Thank you for your posts. I think that you painted a very clear picture of your day to day life in South Beach while attending MCBS. I know what those 20 blocks that you walk alone are like and I hope that you stay safe during your time at MCBS.

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I thank you as well abidancer. Your comments are quite helpful. (Dd is attending MCBS this Summer & will be walking to & from the studio. I will make sure she is aware of safety concerns & precautions.)

You sound like a very level headed young person. Best of luck to you!

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  • 3 months later...

Can anyone tell us first hand where the Miami Trainee/Apprentice students ended this year? Were any taken into the Company, and if not, did they find other jobs elsewhere?

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I'm not certain exactly where all the students went this year, but I was told by Linda Villella that 14 of 15 students received job offers.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just a few thoughts now that my dd is staying year round. She has attended MCB SI for many years and decided to stay for the year in lieu of her Senior Year of High School. She graduated early so she would not be distracted by academic schoolwork. Some of her friends who are in level VIII either attend the local high school or use a correspondence "home-school" course. Most of her friends in the advanced level have already graduated, obtained a GED or are taking correspondence classes.


She is staying at the Mantell which we have found to be very safe. Everything, including the door to the lobby requires a key. In addition every floor has closed circuit cameras that anyone in the building can view on a particular television channel.


She always walks with at least one other student to class or anywhere and if students do not show up for class and cannot be reached via telephone the "landlord", Ray, is contacted by the school to "check" on the student to determine if assistance is needed. He is very personable and amenable to requests for assistance from both students, parents and staff. There are many, many rules at the Mantell, the first of which is that it is NOT a dorm. The rooms are also inspected periodically to ensure cleanliness.


Many students stay at the Mantell, about 15 this year. The price this year for an efficiency runs from about $800 -$975 and includes all utilities, wireless internet, cable tv. In addition the apartment is fully furnished and the kitchen includes all the necessities, pots, pans, coffeemaker, dishes etc. Basically all you need to bring are your clothes, personal items and food. There is also a pool, exercise room and of course the beach is only a couple blocks away.


Classes are going well but she is very tired! She was able to watch the company perform "Jewels" on Friday which was a real treat.


I have been very impressed with both the school and the Mantell so far. The youngest students she has encountered that are staying by themselves is 16. There is no supervision of the students outside of class beyond ensuring they meet the rules of the apartment complex.

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  • 1 month later...

This is encouraging. However, the approval means that housing can be built or rehabed, which means it could be 1-2 years before anything is available. And while this is supposed to be "affordable" housing....

People who qualify for affordable housing must be artists or employees of cultural arts organizations and will ideally earn between 80 and 120 percent of the county's median income, though they could earn less. This year, the median income is $39,100 for one person, $44,700 for a household of two and $55,900 for a household of four, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

...not exactly student housing, but at least affordable housing for the apprentice/corps member.

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Thanks, cahill, for posting. :jawdrop: I am keeping my eye on Miami. . .DD's favorite place.

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3 MCBS advanced students were offered student apprentice contracts with MCB this year, Gabriela Gonzalez, Elizabeth Smedley, and Rebecca King. (Rebecca King was subsequently promoted to company apprentice prior to the beginning of the performance season.) Both Elizabeth Smedley and Gabriela Gonzalez attended MCBS for several years prior to becoming student apprentices. I believe both of them also have attended SAB's summer program in the past. Miss King studied at the Rock School prior to attending MCBS this past year. I believe she also performed with the MCB last season on several occasions prior to becoming a student apprentice and company apprentice.


MCB Student apprentices remain part of the school but also perfom with the company. They take both company and school classes when not in company rehearsal. Company apprentices are one level above the student apprentices and are not required to attend class with the school. Two SAB students, Helen Ruiz and Cindy Huang joined MCB as Company Apprentices this season. It seems MCB frequently asks graduating students from SAB to become company apprentices while students from their own school become a student apprentice first before being promoted to company apprentice. There are exceptions as in the case with Miss King's rapid promotion.


I do not know of the 14 out of 15 MCBS students who received offers this past year from MCB school's 2007 roster. I do know of one advanced level student, who left MCBS last spring, was asked to join Carolina Ballet as a company apprentice. She also was awarded a full scholarship to study with Vienna State Opera Ballet School and perform with their company. She performed with Carolina Ballet during the summer. Offers made during the summer to two MCBS advanced level students after attending each company school's summer program include an apprenticeship offer with Oregon Ballet Theatre and a studio company contract with Washington Ballet. The student who was offered the OBT apprenticeship had graduated from NCSA one year prior to attending MCBS this past year. A former MCB student apprentice, who left the company in May 2007, is now performing with Pennsylvania Ballet as a company apprentice this season. She was a student at MCBS during the 2005-06 school year and had been a student for several years.


I also know of several other advanced students who left Miami at the close of this past school year to attend other well known pre-professional schools. Several other advanced students who studied at MCBS during 2007 also decided to remain at the school this year. Five other former students who graduated from the MCBS two years ago received offers this season with Colorado Ballet's Studio Company and/or have joined Charleston Ballet Theater as apprentices after participating as students in these company schools.


I hope this helps answer your question as where several of the MCBS graduating students received offers and who MCB hired this year. For Bios on the MCB company apprentices and company members of the you can visit Miami City Ballet's Website. Miami City Ballet does not post bios for their student apprentices.

Edited by pa07
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