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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Adjusting to high school


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I love Prairie Home Companion too! :devil: Sorry, but I already sullied their reputation when I brought up Lake Wobegone and their amazing kids back in post #104:


I'm with costumier on this one! I didn't take a lot of math courses during my formal education, but I do understand that it is statistically impossible for all of our children to be exceptional at everything! That's only possible in Lake Wobegone... where all the children are above average.
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BW - Funny about the conllege board. I read the CC board for music theatre and have referred a few people who are interested in ballet to this board! (There was some disinformation floating around that the ymight want to 'sign up for' a summer dance program at SAB or SFB.)

As for the Lake Woebegone - I have another example (and I apologize in advance to the men on the board).

A long time ago -another marriage, another city- there was survey about "athletic ability." Well 82% of the men ranked themselves as 'above or well above average in sports'. This just cracked me up. On the flipside more than 50% of the women ranked them selves as below average.

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Georgia, I worry about college like many parents. I don't care what kind of school she attends. I just want to make sure we are preparing her well so she has options. It's just like ballet. We want to make sure our children are receiving the best training for their individual needs.


I hear and read about good students, even those who have a perfect score on the SAT not getting into certain colleges because they didn't have something else they were looking for (ex. extracurricular). My DD is far from perfect and certainly not good at everything. She likes stimulating academic discussions and of course she loves ballet. This thread as well as the college board have been helpful.

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As we get close to ending dd's first year of highschool we are back to the decision making process between regular highschool and independent highschool. DD had a good academic year. She was on honor roll all year. Took 2 years of math in one year and got a lot of her required classes out of the way. The social part was a bust. With dd's ballet schedule and the commute time, it left no time for anything else. She went to one dance and had to have special permission for that since she got there so late. She never made it to one game (football, basketball, baseball), and only had a couple of afterschool dates to go shopping or hang out. The one reason we insisted on dd going to regular highschool was to give her a chance to have the social atmosphere that we felt she missed by doing independent study her 8th grade year. What we did find is dd slept less, was sick more often, stressed a lot of the time, and was basically worn out. She has made friends at her school but not the kind who she does anything with outside of school. She did get some of the social interaction we were looking for. What she found out though is that most, if not all, of the kids at her school that she came in contact with, had completely different priorities and had a very hard time understanding hers. My husband and I thought that by having her attend the local highschool she might develope other interests besides ballet and branch out a bit. She loved her art class and even had some of her artwork entered into some county shows.

We were wrong. Her interest in ballet is just as strong and her desire to continue dancing is first and foremost in her mind.

We are now back to deciding whether or not independent high school should be the way to go to lesson the pressure on her. The local I.H.S. is good and offers a lot of great classes. There are several athletes who attend and are doing very well....one we know is graduating almost a full year early with a 3.75 GPA. DD likes attending the local high school and loves her teachers but has come to the realization that she can't do both....not with the commute we have. Her classes for next year will be very demanding and require a lot of homework and time. I am still hesitant about changing. She wants to move to a year round ballet school her junior year and knows she needs to work twice as hard this coming year to gain the strength to be considered. She has matured a lot this past year. It was a tough one but she has come out on top and is positive about her future. I, on the other hand worry. All those what ifs keep popping into my head and the concerns of her missing out on so much because of this dream of hers. It is becoming even more important to her as she gets older. Do we let her change schools, again? If we don't, she wouldn't be able to keep up the ballet schedule she will have next year and keep up her grades. She knows her grades are extremely important and insists on keeping them up but the ballet classes to her are even more important.

I am at a loss. Things have been quiet and happy these past several months and the thought of turning life upside down again is exhausting. I suggested looking into starting at a year round program this year but she says she isn't ready to leave....emotionally and physically. Any advice out there?

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My DD is 18 now, she did a half day her sophmore year at a local high school and took the light rail to the University for the afternoon of ballet class where she was a concurrent student. She was promoted the following year and could not do even her core classes and be at the University. We did correspondence school and since she was not in HS, we decided to participate in YAGP because there was time. She did well regionally, did not get the scholarship that we were hoping for but grew as a person and a dancer.


I worried for years because her primary social interaction was not just with dancers but with college aged dancers when she was at least 3 years younger then they were. She seemed OK and is returning in a few weeks from 5+ months in the UK. My younger son is a junior in HS and the polar opposite with social stuff. I asked her just last week if she thought we should have "made" her do a more normal route.


She said that she was already not "normal". Her focus on dance and future made her different enough from her peers that she didn't want to be really close to them. In addition, the time with older college aged kids helped her mature and be able to live on her own in a foreign country. She said that our help to prepare her for what she wanted for her future was the greatest thing we could have done and she would not go back and have a single "high school" experience at the cost of missing her training. She has NO regrets at all. So I guess that I don't either and ballet stress is easier for me than waiting up half the night for Mr. Social :)

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It is so interesting how we can all look at the high school "experience" so differently. I hated high school, all of it. I didn't have a passion or talent so to speak. My husband loved high school. He was very involved in team sports, band and had lots of friends. So with our kids we have very different views and expectations for their HS "experience". My husband would like to see our DD dance less so she doesn't miss out on anything that HS has to offer her but I see her talent and passion for dance and think "How will she ever be able to do both?". I did not go to college and I worked my whole life and did fine. My husband finished his college later in life (last year).

Edited by bobbypinfinder
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Redstorm, I'd say a residential ballet program would provide a good solution for your daughter, especially as she would no longer need to spend so much time commuting.

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I don't know if I made myself clear....we are looking into residential for her Junior year of highschool....dd is only a freshman right now. The independent high school versus regular high school issue is only for her sophmore year (next year). She will remain at her current ballet school for one more year. Moving her before she is 16 is not an option at this time. Neither of us are ready!

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While a residential school is easier on the dancer and the parent as far as reduction in travel time, at my dancer's present school, dancers do not do ever do a full academic program even at the lowest levels. Dancers must either do correspondence courses or courses on line and rely on getting credit for ballet, choreography and things like doing a performance tour to reach the bare minimum of credits required for a high school graduation diploma. I must say the affiliated schools are quite creative and helpful getting credits approved that are tailored for the dancer. If your child is dancing up to forty hours a week something has to give! Purely from second hand information, that has not prevented dancers in the past from getting into university when they choose to in Canada.

That being said my dancer will do one course over the summer and only have to do two courses through distance learning so she is able to go to Europe at the end of grade eleven and start a post secondary program there. Even with that she will be a year behind some of the dancers who graduate from high school in Europe at age sixteen. The upper age limit for admission to the two year program she will do is eighteen, so to wait another year to finish high school would have put my dancer too close to the age limit for her comfort.

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If you anticipate a change for her junior year, I would vote for keeping next year the same. My daughter started a new school last year, and enjoyed it much more in her second year than the first. She also does not have time for much socializing with school friends, but enjoys a couple of them, nontheless, and feels a sense of security in knowing the place better this year... and being known. She is also tired from all the work and frequently stressed, but she can get more done in a day than anyone I know, and feels proud of that.


When possible, I think its good for kids to establish some roots rather than having lots of changes. Too many changes can give them the sense that they never quite fit anywhere, when in fact, they just need a bit more time to get established.

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I agree. Stick with the same program for the coming year, and look for the right residential school junior-senior years. My daughter left home as a freshman, however, there really were no alternatives, as our local high school does not allow students to leave early and she would not have been able to make it to the city by the time class started.

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I agree, you should have her stay at her current school for another year and then decide about residency. Give her the message that you have confidence that she CAN handle school and dance, and that she doesn't have to do everything perfectly. Is it possible to cut back ever so slightly on the dance schedule? It is only 10 months, and in the long run, I think she will be proud that she stuck with it. I agree with mom1 about making connections and fitting in somewhere. Change itself is very stressful.


mmded, they have to do correspondence to get the bare minimum of credits? I don't thinkI like the sound of that. :)

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I do agree with mom1 about the second year frequently being easier, but that being said, I believe much of the value of high school is very overrated. I am in an education faculty that trains high school teachers and other school faculty and much of my day I have to be a full on proponent of institutional schooling, particularly public. However, many schools are at a loss for what it is they are really trying to do, and even if they are clear about their vision/mission (as most sucessful schools are) if your child doesn't line up with the vision, then too frequently it is not the experience we all think it should be.


I am, in my very opinionated way, sure that attending HS or home schooling, or residency, or online can never be compared as one route being better than the others. They are different and there is really no need to create heirarchies . What works for one will not work for another and as long as love and reasonableness are part of the picture, kids come out ok.


I also read a book that didn't do much for me as a written research study but had one important message for parents of girls. (Sorry I am not at work so I can't dig up the title or author.) But the author interviewed adult women in crisis and then one year later. What she found was that factors like education and money had less impact on whether the women 1 year past crisis had "recovered and grown" or falling deeper into crisis than having a distinct passion that they threw themselves into when they wre 9-14. To make a rather lengthy research text short, the women who had passions (not all as well defined as sports or ballet) learned, indepence, self reliance, resilience and adaptability in those years, that they relied on when they faced crisis as adults. Sometimes the most important lesson learned in life have nothing to do with school and formal education. These women felt that their personal interests as a child helped to keep them whole when they needed it.


I have no advice but I think what dancingdaughters said is probably really important whatever you decide. Convey the positive message to your D that you are confident that she will be a succesful person.

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Dancindaughters: Independent studies started in grade eight with french done in a group after ballet class in the residence, continued with correspondence high shcool french (not easy after being already out of the classroom for a year) and has continued with either online or correspondence courses in two humanities so far and three more to come (sciences) as well as completing leadership courses on the one day of the week free of ballet. B)

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Guest balletandsynchro

mmded, how far did your daughter go with French? My DD has found French to be difficult on-line. Unfortunately, there is no one at her res. who can help her with French, so she calls me for help! When she is home, before and after SI this summer, I'd like her to work with a tutor. It's sad, because she was an A student in French when in a traditional classroom setting, but now is a B-, C+ student because of lack of interaction with a teacher. B)

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