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Hiring Guidance - advising on summer programs?


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Has anyone ever hired someone to help a parent to make decisions or to give parents suggestions . My daughter is a very strong ballet student and I want opinions and influence outside of just the scholl she is attending. Our school is great and we have not had any problems. It is just that she is at the point that she needs summer programs and I feel slight pressure when I ask questions for her to attend our school. Help?

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  • sylve'


  • Victoria Leigh


  • dancemaven


  • Treefrog


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Sylve', I responded to your post on Welcome last night, and this post is very similar, so I moved it to this forum. The Welcome forum is just to introduce yourself and be welcomed :jump:


Actually, one of the reasons Ballet Talk for Dancers is here is to help people learn about ballet, especially parents of young dancers who have no experience with ballet! There really should be no need to "hire" someone to guide you. Please read my response on your other post, and then respond here on this thread, and perhaps we can help you further.

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Hi, Sylve' --


Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair! You might not find everything you want or need on this board, but it certainly is a great place to start.


Perhaps you could tell us more about your daughter, her school, and the kinds of guidance you seek?


You did mention in your introduction that your DD is 12. I think many of us found that around that age -- 12 or 13 -- we began to see a looming "future" that seemed to create a need for more information, and also a kind of re-examination of the process. Is she at the right school? Does she need more classes? What about summer programs?


In some sense, what is best for the future is also what is best for right now. Is she getting the best possible training? Do you trust her teachers now? Is she dancing the number of hours she wants to dance at this moment? Is she happy with what she is doing?


It is certainly wise as a parent to find out more about what the path to a professional career looks like. However, the choices to follow that path should always be your daughter's. You can only present the options.


As for the specific matter of the summer program, I wouldn't worry too much about the teacher telling you it's best for her to stay at her home school. This doesn't necessarily mean she is protecting her turf or trying to boost enrollment. Twelve is very young to go away to an SI. (You will find in reading this board that it seems like a lot of 12's go away, but this is a very highly self-selected group of ambitious dancers; in the wider world, it is the exception rather than the rule.) If your home studio has a good summer program and you are satisfied with the training she is receiving, than staying home is probably a good thing. At that age, it's nice to have your ballet classes and then be able also to hang with your friends, go to the pool, have home-cooked meals and laundry done, and get tucked into bed by Mom or Dad. For some kids, anyway. Others really are desperate to get out and see the wider world. You, and not a hired consultant, are really the best person to make that decision for your own kiddo.

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Thanks Tree frog... My dd is with Boston Ballet. She dances 10 1/2 hour a week. She auditoned for Nutmeg, Walnut Hill and YSDW(Boston Ballet) and was accepted at all three. We are leanig towards commuting to Walnut Hill but I can,t figure out how competitive it is and if it will be a stronger program than Boston Ballet's.;At her level in Boston Ballet I think she is in the top 6 -8. SHE wants to get even better... She thinks if she is in the same program with the same teachers as the other girls she won't. This Pressure is coming from my daughter. I feel like I really need to find someone independently. Sending her to Boston Ballet so far has been one of the best decisions of my life. I could never have dreamed of a better environment for my daughter. Every teacher she has had has been spectacular in her own right.... and the music(all live pianists) has been inspiring. We both love the school and have had nothing but positive condsiderations...However, she wants MORE than what her counterparts are getting so she can excel further. HELP!!!

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just a tip: Please go all the way down to the bottom of the thread and hit the "ADD REPLY" button rather than the "REPLY' button immediately under the previous post. Hitting the "ADD REPLY" button will open a blank box for you to type your post. Hitting the "REPLY" button will automatically quote the entire previous post, which is both unnecessary and takes up bandwidth (which apparently is causing BT mucho problemo these days!). If you do hit the "REPLY" button, kindly delete the quoted post----unless it is your intention to quote part of a post because you are replying directly to it.


Thanks!! :thumbsup:

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I edited the quote out, as it was the previous post, so unnecessary to quote it. :thumbsup:


sylve', since your daughter is at a very good school, I think you need to trust them to do what is best for her. If she wants more classes, then talk to the director and see what can be arranged. WH is also a very good school, but is primarily a boarding and academic school, so I don't think I would commute from Boston unless she was going to attend the academic school as well. It's a good academic school, from what I hear, and it's a good ballet program too, but very expensive.

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She thinks if she is in the same program with the same teachers as the other girls she won't [get even better]. . . . However, she wants MORE than what her counterparts are getting so she can excel further. 


Whoa, silve'!!! That is one competitive little girl you have there!!!! I think you might want to have a serious discussion with the Boston Ballet teachers and see what they recommend.


Your daughter is still quite young and is entering the age where overuse injuries follow on the heels of growth spurts. My own DD continually sought more and more classes---and now has enough endurance to pretty much outlast anyone (quite the 'workhorse' dancer)---but her reason for seeking those classes was purely self-improvement. She did not factor into her quest a desire to 'leave her classmates in the dust', so-to-speak.


I would caution you to make sure the reasons she wants to work more intensely are reasons that are actually good for her well-being and development as a dancer. I know kids can be anxious, but just because they want something does not always mean it is in their best interest to get it.


I would have to believe that the Boston Ballet teachers have the dancers' best interests and best development at heart. You have said you trust them and respect them. Therefore, I would have a serious and complete discussion with them as to what they consider to be a proper course, intensity, and amount of training for a 12-year-old with your DD's aspirations, talents, and accomplishments. I'd ask them to explain their reasoning/rationale such that I could understand why they believe what they do. Then, I would trust them to help her grow and develop at the appropriate rate.


And if the school thought it was in my DD's best interests, I would rein in her ferocious competitive approach to dance and try to get her to focus her energies on improving herself for herself and for her art rather than as besting her classmates.


(oh, I was posting at the same time as Ms. Leigh!)

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Thank you both!!! I am speaking of the summer program at Wh not the full year program. I am surmizing that I do need to sit down and speak with a principal. I have never had more than 10 sentences with one. I hate to draw attention to myself and prefer to do things without fanfare.... I guess after 8 years of taking no ones time ... it is time I stepped up to the plate and talk to someone there.. It feels safer doing the atalking online and hiring someone.... I am sooo afraid to step on someones toes who might relly matter... she has done so well without me doing a thing at the school... I am afraid to DO anything!!

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*not a parent, so remove if neccessary*

I actually have some personal experience with the hunt for a good pre pro school in the boston area, so I thought I'd add my info. I tried both Boston Ballet and Walnut Hill and I have to say, the afterschool program at Walnut Hill was not quite up to my expectations. I have no experience with the high school program. If your daughter wants a big name school with good training then Boston Ballet is really the only school in the area. But if she just wants lots of dancing and great training and doesn't care about the big name then the dancing arts center in holliston offers 30 hrs + of training in a residence program. sorry about promoting my studio so much, but if she wants more dance this would be the place!

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sylve', For heavens' sakes! They ARE just people. All you need to do is be polite, be confident, and be interested! They are teaching your child; you are paying them to do so. Asking interested questions will benefit your child. The only time they will get upset or put-out with you is IF you are discourteous, ask their opinion, then always "know better" and ignore their opinion and at the same time expect them to change that opinion.


Go in, introduce yourself, ask to learn more about their philosophy of teaching, ask about their opinions, observations, plans for your DD's education, and be interested!!


It is so much more fun to learn about this stuff than it is to hide in a corner or worry about stepping on toes. A polite, interested quest for information is NOT stepping on anyone's toes.----At least that is how I look at it all.


The hardest trick is to find out WHEN is a good time to talk with them. Do they take appointments; are they accessible in the halls before or after their teaching day is done; is there a time earlier in the day in which they are more likely to have time to chat?

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I have a phone appt. this afternoon... thanks for lighting the fire!!!! The only feedback I have ever had is a twice yearly report card and the positions she has been given to dance... All of which have been very good...so far???

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Good for you! Outline your topics and questions for discussions and have that with you while you talk to them. It is an adventure and just think of all the fun things you are going to learn!!!! :thumbsup:

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I'm glad you're going to talk to someone @ BB. Hiring someone from outside really does not make sense here. They would not know your dd as well as her own teachers - in her dancing, work ethic, and all the things that indirectly affect ballet. Her own teachers have been watching her develop and change over time.


Please keep us posted on how the discussion goes.

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Also, after you have gathered all the info. you can, including your daughter's wishes, don't be afraid to make the decision that you think is best. As mentioned in an earlier post, a 12 year old's reasoning behind a decision may not always be the most sound.

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Hi Sylve, What about DanceLab? They begin that program at 12 years old. It offers more ballet time than YDSW, but YDSW offers more variety. The three week young dancers program at Walnut Hill is good for young dancers but not competitive like their five week program. A lot of the dancers in the intensive program at BBS go to YDSW at age 10-11, then DanceLab at 12, then away or maybe SDP.

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