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Ballet Talk for Dancers

1) Read First: A Ballet Talk for Dancers---Mission Statement

Victoria Leigh

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Victoria Leigh

First, I would like to welcome the many, many new members who have joined us from all over the US and the WORLD since the former Ballet Alert! Online was split in January, 2005, and became Ballet Talk and Ballet Talk for Dancers! :D


Ballet Talk, which the moderators affectionately term the "upstairs board", is primarily for people who love ballet and love to watch ballet, which would include ballet journalists and critics, dancers and parents of dancers who love to attend performances, people who love to read about ballet and great ballets as well as reviews of company performances, dance scholars and historians, and basically anyone 16 and up who loves ballet! On Ballet Talk you discuss watching, as opposed to dancing, ballet.


On Ballet Talk for Dancers, the "downstairs board", we discuss everything about dancing ballet. That includes students who dance, parents of the students who dance, and teachers of these students. There are forums for Teens from age 13 and up, Parents of Students under 13 and over 13, Male dancers, Parents of male dancers, Pointe Shoe issues, Dance Education, Teachers, Professional Dancers, a Pro Shop to discuss behind the scenes work in dance, and a HUGE forum on Summer Intensive Programs.


From the beginning of Ballet Alert! Online, the purpose of our dancers forums has been to educate students and parents about ballet training. We are here to help everyone who studies ballet, for whatever reason, however, our focus is, and always has been, on the very serious study of ballet. Our faculty on the technical forums are professional dancers and respected teachers. This focus on the serious, or more intensive aspects of training does not preclude our interest or ability to help dancers of all levels and goals, as long as they take the study of ballet seriously. Whether a vocational dancer, hoping to be a professional, or an avocational dancer who just loves to dance and wants to receive the best training possible, we believe that the training should be the same. There is good ballet training and there is, unfortunately, a lot of not so good ballet training. We believe that everyone should have the top quality training available if they are going to put their time, energy, love and passion, and of course money, into this art form.


Our knowledge and expertise lies in the schools and programs that offer this kind of training. When we discuss SI programs and College and University Dance Programs, we tend to think only in terms of the best programs we know. We are not here to recommend less serious programs, as we are not familiar with them. We are not going to recommend "recreational" programs, basically because we just don't believe in them. Good ballet is good ballet, and recreational/competition type schools which offer once a week ballet and lots of other forms of dance, plus lots of rehearsals for competitions in lyrical, tap, jazz, and whatever, are USUALLY not good schools. There are always exceptions, and sometimes there are good ballet teachers in these kinds of schools. However, they are rarely able to give the students enough ballet classes to make it real ballet training. This means that even if you study ballet as an adult, maybe two or three times a week, we will still recommend the very best program that you can find. We will tell students who take once or twice a week that they should not be on pointe, and if they study at a school that will put them on pointe with that kind of schedule they are not in a good school. We will tell students and parents that if a school is using class time for "recital rehearsals", then this is not a good school. If you want to do something as special as ballet, then it is worth it to do it right. It is not an art that one dabbles in and accomplishes anything.


Most major schools will give the same quality of training to students regardless of their goals, as long as they maintain their schedule and do the work of their level. SI programs will accept avocational students if they are good enough and really want to work that hard all summer. Students who do not want to do intensive work, but just very good and steady work, would most likely be best continuing their study at home, as opposed to spending a great deal of money to go away to SI programs. However, well trained and advanced level students who want to study through college, even if they are not majoring in ballet, do need to look for a college with a really good ballet program or they will not be satisfied with the classes. Therefore, it is also recommended these days that students who wish to attend a really good college dance program should also attend SI programs during their high school years, if possible, as they really need to continue intensive training year round to make it into these programs.

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Victoria Leigh

[Note: the first post in this thread contains our Mission Statement, which is about totally different things. Please read that too! ]


Ballet Talk for Dancers is intended to educate and inform. There are topics on this board which may show both positive and negative aspects of certain schools, companies, and teachers. Education and information means both the good and the not so good...BUT, HOW these posts are written is critical to their remaining on this board. We are not out to CENSOR anyone or take away any First Amendment rights, HOWEVER, there are thoughtful and constructive ways of saying that things could be better in certain areas, and when someone posts a personal attack of any kind against an individual, school, teacher, or company, these posts WILL BE DELETED.


In the SI forums there are guidelines for posting information about the many summer programs in this country, and a few from other countries. To date, the posts on these topics have been very respectful and careful to acknowledge both the positive and the negative aspects of a program. The same rules apply in the College programs and everything in the Career and Higher Education forums, including full time Residence programs and pre-professional schools.


In the past we have been attacked for censoring posts. This has been done when the posts are actually attacks, almost always made by a new member who appears just to trash someone or something, and they are very poorly written and totally unsubstantiated. In these situations, yes, we do take out those posts. Censorship? Perhaps. But, that is the way it is here. We are not a chat forum, we are a discussion board, which is about education and information for students, parents, and teachers. When the posts are not respectful and polite, they are not acceptable. This is not a place where anything goes. Therefore, if you are someone who believes that you have the right to say anything you want, anywhere, this is not the place for you. We have used the idea of a "Victorian Tea Party" in the past. Perhaps this is somewhat extreme, and certainly out of date for the times. However, we have limits and they will be enforced, strictly. We are really a private forum, not a government institution. We reserve the right to edit or even remove any post or thread we feel does not fit. The First Amendment is fine, but Congress, the President and the Supreme Court are not involved in any of our editorial decisions.


I would also like to ask that members PLEASE post in the best English that you can. Our members from other countries do a wonderful job of posting in English, and very often members from our country do not. We do not allow "teenspeak", text messaging or computereeze, or any abbreviations which would not be understood by our members worldwide. Please do not use numbers for words, and try to spell things as correctly as possible. Everyone makes spelling mistakes and typos. These are easy to spot. But lack of upper case and lack of punctuation make posts VERY DIFFICULT to read.


Thank you!


Victoria Leigh

March 2006

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