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Kirov Academy of Ballet


Guest balletandsynchro

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Guest balletandsynchro

I just wanted to add this thread to this topic. My DD will be returning to this school for her second year. If anyone has questions or comments, feel free to post or to pm me! B)

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A few questions: How many levels are there at this school year round and what level is your daughter in?

How many classes are there, on average, each day?

What is a typical school day like?

My daughter is very interested in this program but has heard that you must be extremely tough to withstand the old school style of teaching.

DD knows a dancer (17 now) who went there when she was 14. She lasted one year and came back a mess. She quit dancing for a while.

I realize this is only one dancer, but unfortunetely, this is the only feedback we have had. We have only heard about her story via dd's teacher.

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I went this summer and loved it so I'm returning for the coming school year. I'm very happy with the dancing, but how are the academic teachers and subjects.?

 

Maybe I'll be able to meet your dauther, balletandsynchro.

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Redstorm, I would say that to do well at Universal, a dancer must be very self-motivated, physically strong, and have the ability not to take things personally. I never encountered anything from the teachers there that I felt was unreasonable or abusive. They expect the students to work very hard when they dance, but classes generally do not go for more than an hour or so without pausing for some sort of break.

 

One thing some dancers find difficult is the relative lack of compliments from the teachers. The idea is that they tell you when you're doing something wrong; if they say nothing, you're dancing correctly. My teacher would, every now and then, say "that's correct" and even once told me my grand jeté was "excellent" (I was thrilled!). When they correct you, it isn't always tactful, but they aren't rude either.

 

I can understand how that style would be difficult for someone who isn't confident and takes things personally, but with my teacher at least, it was always clear that he was simply very passionate about ballet and wanted us to dance to the best of our ability.

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Thanks Hans...DD has 2 teachers now. One is a male Russian teacher and the other is a female German. Neither one is known to give their students the "warm and fuzzies". They do not compliment very often either. Once in a great while you may hear from the pointe teacher...."almost good" or "a bit better". My daughter is thrilled when she gets one of those. :shhh:

This past weekend she actually got a "good E, much better, you are finally listening to me and applying it". DD was floating on air!

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Not related to UBA, but my daughter's favorite 'compliment' was given by a very demanding (but superb) teacher who watched a group do a combination and then said, "That was almost not awful." :shhh:

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Hi BalletandSynchro,

My DD will attend the year round beginning this fall as well. Is the computer room set up with wireless Internet access? Do the rooms have wireless access as well?

If not are there broadband phone jacks in the rooms or close by? Thanks for offering to answer questions.

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Guest balletandsynchro

Redstorm, I don't know what level DD will be in this year, as school has not yet started. Last year she was in level 3, the second highest girls' level. Yes, the training is rigorous, but, as Hans said there are breaks for water, pointe shoe changes, etc... She felt that she had improved greatly this past year. I would agree that this program is not for everyone, and tends to move slowly in technique, because the teachers are looking for technique to be as "perfect" as possible, for a given student. My DD did say she believes her teacher wanted all the students to be the best that they could be, and really wanted all of them to succeed. Nevertheless, this is not a school where ballet teachers give a lot of compliments, as Hans mentioned above. Students are also expected to utilize all general corrections as well as any personal corrections. On another note, the admin. staff is very "warm and fuzzy" and I think in many respects add to the more formal ballet teaching style. The Dean of Students, and Dean of Student life are wonderful women, and were very,very kind and helpful to my daughter last year.

 

Happy, as Hans mentioned there is a computer lab. There is some wireless in the classrooms. No one is allowed to use dial-up in the dorms, because we were told it can effect the telephone service.

 

Hope that helps! :)

Edited by balletandsynchro
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One more question...How are the dancers with each other? Is it a cut throat type school where competition amongst the dancers is high or do the girls support one another? Do they welcome new dancers or are they kept at bay at first to determine if they are competition or not?

DD was considering a school that had a reputation for this type of behavior but after several classes there, it turned out to be untrue. The girls were competitive but friendly after they got to know you.

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Guest balletandsynchro

Redstorm, I think that like with any residency school, the dancers are all very dedicated, very disciplined, very good dancers, and because it is difficult to be accepted/retained, are always working SUPER hard. When people are always working hard, and exams are approaching, or winter show, or such, the stress level gets high! When my DD started at the school last year, she knew one girl fairly well from summer, and had a few more accquaintances, also from the summer program. Thus, initially it was stressful getting into the new routine, getting used to a new ballet teacher, and making new friends. Based on what she has told me that while it is a competitive atmosphere, the vast majority of her peers are supportive and friendly. As with any group of people brought together out of a mutual interest/calling, there will be someone whom one doesn't care for as much as the others - but I think that that is true for life in general! Believe me, if there was any nonsense, we wouldn't have our daughter there - nothing is worth that! :grinning:

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Thanks for the input. DD loved this audition and even though she has been accepted two years in a row...we haven't gone. Her teachers would have preferred her to attend this program this summer but unfortunetely they were out of the country when my super fast decision had to be made.

I have a brother/sister in law in DC too. DD wants to audition for next year and hopes to be asked to stay.

One other question...I am not sure if you will know the answer but....

DD's sister is getting married on June 23rd of next year. I noticed that the program starts on the 19th. DD really wants to attend both sessions so she can be considered for year round. Would they let her come a week late into the first session? and do you think they would give a cost break if she were staying for both sessions but only 5 weeks? It is such an expensive program, losing a whole week and having to pay the full amount just wouldn't be worth it to me.

One more question....do they consider dancers that only go for one session?

Thanks

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When I was there, the dancers were all very close-knit and supportive.

 

I don't know much about how the summer program works, but Mme. V. was very understanding with me, so I don't think it would hurt to call and ask.

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One more question....do they consider dancers that only go for one session?

 

My daughter auditioned at the Academy on a Saturday morning in Februrary and was accepted on that alone. She never attended an SI at the Academy. I do not know if auditioning at the school is a standard practice or not but that was our experience.

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Yes, they do invite dancers that have only attended one 3 week session at their SI to stay year round. A girl from my daughter's studio was asked to stay year round after only attending the second session.

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