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Charlotte Ballet--Trainees

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dingdong

[edited by moderator to remove full quote of immediately preceding post.]

 

:( CONGRATS on the offer!!! I can tell you that it is a BIG decision for you with much to consider. 1) Are you finished with your education? NCDT does have a "conservatory" program, but from our experience, the dancer is left to do all the work by themself. The statement of tutors being provided was false. We had to hire a tutor for DD and the cost gets abit high. 2) Do you drive? Comuting in the Charlotte are can be a real headache. Traffic is CRAZY, so it can possibly take 45 + mins 1way. Public transportation isn't an option right now, but a commuter-rail system is due for completion in 2010 to most parts of the city/suburbs. 3) Cost. Apprentices do not pay tuition but trainees do. Tuition isn't bad for the amount of classes you get ($500+ per month) and the teachers are great! Our budget is to try and keep under $2500 per month for her housing, tuition and RDA Fest, gas, utilities, insurance(car and renters) dance supplies,and food. There are some of the Apprentices that work at PizzaHut or O'Charlies at night, and 1 girl does a workstudy. NC law states that a minor under 18 must live with a parent or gaurdian, so a few girls have found host families here. Those over 18 have roomates. It has been a sacrifice for DD to do this, but worth every penny!!! She loves the training, the Company, and the city of Charlotte! Good luck to you, it is exciting!

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Momof3darlings

dingdong--Would you mind clarifying expenses here? (you certainly don't have to) I was just asking because my mouth just hit the floor and I would like to pick it up and put it in it's place so I can speak again in this lifetime. You are saying it is costing you, as a parent, $2500 per month to subsidize your dancer to be able to exist in this program? I am simply amazed and shocked.

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Stork
Large group in the A/T program and to the best of our knowledge no one was hired into the company from the program last year except 1 male dancer. DD is just thrilled to be around real, Professional dancers everyday!

 

It must be somewhat discouraging. Were there girls in the program who became apprentices or corps members at any other company last year?

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dressage

I am also stunned that you pay tuition and your own pointe shoes to be an apprentice. That is a very bad sign that they did not hire any females into their company for last year. It almost would be more cost effective to pay for a year of college as a dance major at one of the top ten ballet colleges. More bang for the buck.

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2marzipans

dressage -

 

Dingdong's dd is a trainee with NCDT, not an apprentice.

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dance1soccer1

Oh my GOSH!!!!! I just tossed THAT offer in the round file! On the other hand, it is a truly phenomenal program, with amazing training and opportunities. You are an exceptional parent to provide that for your child. Kudos to you for believing in the dream and giving her the best. My child, at "tall and curvy", is probably not a future NCDT company dancer, so . . . we'll keep looking!

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Clara 76

I'd just like to add something in defense of NCDT-

 

They have no turnover of company members, literally. What that means is there are no available spaces to hire anyone in for, so the fact that they didn't hire anyone from a given group is not necessarily a red flag, in this case.

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Momof3darlings

Clara--no defense of the program needed. It actually speaks well for the company environment when you hear "no movement". It isn't good for those wanting positions but it speaks well that the dancers like the environment enough that they do not leave their positions quickly. The flip side of that is that when you hear "high turnover rate" or "shrinking size" that you should worry. That is not the case for NCDT. Lucky for the company members, just not so lucky for the trainee/apprentices with hopes and dreams.

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Clara 76

Exactly Momof3. That's what I was trying to say, and you stated it much better than I did :wacko:

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dingdong

Just to help clarify and calm you all. This is an unbelievable experience for DD! The atmosphere here is very supportive and DD dances ALOT!!! The facts that Charlotte is a nice place to live, the Directors are dedicated and creative, and the Company seems to be on solid financial ground means the Dancers do not leave!!! I don't blame them, I probably wouldn't either. Yes, it has cost us as much as 1 year of College for DD to be a trainee here, but as I stated earlier, we feel it was worth every penny for the experience and training!!! More important...DD is VERY HAPPY here! :) The cost would be as much (if not more) almost anywhere: rent, gas, food, insurances, utilities, all important pointe shoes, and tuition are facts of dance life. Dig that out of the circular-file and give it another look. It IS expensive, but it isn't $ wasted in our opinion!!! DD LOVES it here at NCDT :ermm:

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dingdong
Oh my GOSH!!!!! I just tossed THAT offer in the round file! On the other hand, it is a truly phenomenal program, with amazing training and opportunities. You are an exceptional parent to provide that for your child. Kudos to you for believing in the dream and giving her the best. My child, at "tall and curvy", is probably not a future NCDT company dancer, so . . . we'll keep looking!

From what I can tell, NCDT doesn't have a specific body type in the Company. Some of the dancers are tall and wonderfully built, some are very petite, and most are somewhere inbetween. What they do have in common is the fact that they are strong(physically) and versitile. They can go from beautiful classical pieces to very contemporary, to funny, to modern("tantrum"), without any trouble. I would not disregaurd NCDT strictly on your dancer being "tall and curvy", give them another look! Good luck!!!

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Momof3darlings
The cost would be as much (if not more) almost anywhere: rent, gas, food, insurances, utilities, all important pointe shoes, and tuition are facts of dance life.

 

dingdong--With the utmost respect, that has not been our experience in terms of facts of dance life, which is why I was hoping for some additional clarity on your part. I understand that to ask for that is a probing question. However, I was thinking the post you referred to "throwing the file in the trash" was because of the cost you mentioned not the height/body style of the company. If your DD's expenses are the norm at NDCT then it will give alot of people pause about this program. It certainly will cause it to be scratched off our list for any future reference.

 

However, if there are things in your DK's expenses that are on the higher end (by design) then others can see that it is possible to be there on less than what you've outlined with some work. Thereby leaving NCDT on their list of possible programs. As an example, my DD is in an area that has comparable rent to Charlotte. While she does not pay tuition, she did have a time where she did pay for shoes and does have all the other expenses of your DK. If I added your estimated tuition cost to my DK's budget when she was an apprentice I would still have had a huge amount left over. In fact, enough to rent another apartment solo. That alone would be enough for me to question the costs of this particular program in terms of keeping it on our list.

 

While this is your experience, if there is a margin for error I'd like for our members to see that also. I'm sure it would be helpful to those whose mouths just dropped like mine. There are questions that come to mind other parents should be considering before "trashing" their file due to this large amount of support that is suggested is needed: is there no roommate by choice? Is dancer over 21 so she must have her own car insurance instead of a rider for a younger dancer? Is the car payment high or is the car a sporty one where car insurance would be higher? Does she go through pointe shoes more than average or wear a more expensive pointe shoe? Is the apartment near the colleges there or in the bedroom community where rent would be higher? Could gas be cut by living closer in? Does your health insurance allow guest riders in this state? Is RDA Festival attendance an option prior to casting and therefore could be a choice on the more expensive years such as this Nationals year? Is this a bare bones budget or a budget with the ability for the dancer to live comfortably as if still at home? With the schedule at NCDT, how much of this is a dancer really able to subsidize themselves and this amount?

 

I don't think anyone questions that it is worth it because of the nature of the program. I think the question is more, could it be done at this particular program for less if a parent doesn't have the means to subsidize that much? Or is this just what it takes there, period? I think that amount would rule it out for LOTS of people. Especially those for whom college scholarships kept monthly payments out of their mindset. Please don't think that my questions are meant in any way to question your experience. That is not my intent. However, we all come from different places and therefore different things might be acceptable/available to us because of that. I would hope that there could be a middle ground for this wonderful program so it could be an option for more dancers and parents financially. And hope you'll be willing to clarify for us.

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maw

Thank you Momof3darlings. So well stated. My dd has considered this program also, but if this is the norm for expenses, I don't think we could do it. I am one of those whose mouth dropped just like yours!

 

I would love to hear from others who are at NCDT as far as expenses. I know at my daughter's residence program there can be a wide range of expenses. She lives in a very nice area of town, but shares an apartment with 2 other girls. Also, they are within walking distance, so no worry about a car or car insurance. Is it possible to get an apartment within walking distance of the studios?

 

I'm not saying anything against anyone who does or can spend more (I have friends who think we are crazy for what we spend), but it would be nice to know the "bare bones budget" as Momof3darlings said.

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Momof3darlings

I don't remember seeing any apartments within walking distance when we were there visiting NDCT and UNCC. The new, lovely studios are in an arts district that is being revitalized and upgraded. And because of the area of town, like most company studios, it depends which way your drive what you find.

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dingdong

Let me try to see if I can break my info down for everyone. Believe me, this is a real challenge and there are some months that I don't know how we manage.

 

At 15, my DD was offered this trainee position at NCDT. Because of her age, I had to move here with her, hence the reason for no room mate to share the costs. That would help but, make no mistake, it would still be expensive. This is what I have figured so far. unless indicated, costs are per month.

 

Rent: $ 885 for 2 Bedroom apt.We live in the University area because it is less expensive and convenient

to almost everything. Area near the studio isn't safe to walk to/from an apartment and there aren't many in that area, as it is a warehouse district, but new ones are being built.

Utilities:$250(gas, electric, water,cable-phone-internet trio,security system-much needed in Chrlt)

Renters insurance:$45

Tuition: $535+( sadly they do NOT offer scholarships)

Serba/RDA fees: $100 (not an option for levels B and up unless injured)

Car insurance: $60 for a 2005 4 door sedan( no car payments)

Gas: $35 per week- we live only 8 miles from studio and it takes 25-35 mins 1 way with the traffic.

Food:$350 +/- per month

 

We also pay for her online High School program and $20 an hour for a tutor from UNCC twice a week.

If you add all of this into the amounts above you get the $2500 per month, and I didn't include dance supplies/shoes because it is a variable(1-3 pr of Freed studios a week).

 

Also since DD is now 16 we are working on getting her license, which will help me be able to get a fulltime job. Right now I have to work part time where I can be flexable becuase DD's schedule changes daily, often on short notice and I need to run and get her. Many of the Apprentices have jobs at night and room mates to cut costs. If DD were an apprentice it would also cut costs by $535 a month. 1 Trainee does work-study for some of the tuition, but mine can't because she has to do her HS work during that time.

 

Please dont bash, I was trying to explain the rough costs for US and I guess I wasn't very clear.

We have an unusual situation because of DD's age. Obviously there isn't a handbook for dance moms(& Dads) so I had little resources to help me figure the best way to work all of this out. My Husband is back home because of his job and we are trying to sell our home there and buy something smaller and less expensive.We also have a son in College.

I have been asked many times if it is all worth it and each time I answer with a resounding YES!!! We would do it all over again in a heartbeat! DD is loving it here, learning alot, very involved, in awe of the Instructors,Directors and Company, and has grown up alot too. She does not have 1 negative thing to say about the people in charge and would do anything for them. Excellent facilities too! She is VERY happy here!! Now the worry is if they will offer to have her stay for next season, or do we have to begin searching for a new studio/school in a new city... :o I REALLY don't want to have to call the Movers!

 

Hope this has cleared everything up, sorry if it started a near panic. Reality is however, this IS an expensive venture so look things over carefully and be sure to check for options. Good luck! :yes:

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