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Ballet Talk for Dancers

SI supervision and discipline issues


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I'm a dancing RA this summer and have been keeping an eye on this topic. (Moderators, please delete if you wish). I can honestly say, if you have younger/more fragile/need more attention kids, I would be cautious about sending them to a program with dancing RAs, regardless of age. Maybe one where the RAs can take a daily class would be fine, but I would be careful about one where the RAs are dancing intensively...as the focus tends to leave the kids and go back to the dancer, no matter how much we try to avoid it.

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I hope swanilda is not deleted. Even if you are not a parent, your honesty is valued. Does this mean that every RA who is part of a SI acts the same? Of course not, but it does make us as parents much more aware of what we should look for in an SI when considering residence.

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At dd's SI, I really like that the Executive Director and his wife (former academic teacher) live in one of the rooms of the students' dorms. You can be sure that hall is quite after lights out. I know for sure that one of the RAs is a teacher at the program and an academic teacher and RA for the academic school during the year. Another is a pro dancer. I don't know about the rest. The ED and the RAs all have walkie-talkies and check in with the ED during nightly shut-down as well as through-out the day.

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Personally, I'm not concerned that RAs be parents or "adults". I do care that they be mature-thinking, serious-minded, caring individuals with a genuine like and concern for their 'charges'. I like young adults, whether they be dancers or not, that can relate to the SI attendees, ages 12-18, pal around with them, interact with them, but still keep enough distance and authority that the dancers know 'who is boss' and what is expected of them.


Luckily, DD has had great RAs at the SIs she has attended. The first year, the RAs were all college-students who had no connection to dance. The SI was one with a younger population (12-15) and the RAs were very much involved with the kids. The last two years, her RAs are college-students or grads who more often than not have dance backgrounds. They are less involved with the kids, but DD has absolutely no complaints.


At her year-round residency school, the RAs are absolute jewels. They are young adults, none of whom are involved with dance in any form (other than through their charges), either seeking advanced degrees or not, but they are uniquely in-tuned with the kids, are great friends to them, are looked up to by the kids, and definitely know how and when to hold the 'no nonsense' line. I am very impressed with each of them and admire them quite abit.


What I don't want are RAs who view the SI only as a means to receiving 'cheap room and board' for the summer while they pursue their own agenda, be it obtaining dance classes or something else. Those are the RAs that are unlikely to enforce rules (or even abide by them) or care what is going on with my DD or anyone else's.

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Dancemaven, I think all you say is spot on. I couldn't agree with you more. Last year my eldest really respected the RA's at her SI. They were really quite amazing and were always there for the dancers 24/7. They even sat up nights when a kid was having a bad time. Pretty amazing I think you'll agree. These RA's were young adults. I don't believe any of them danced. The dancing RA's at another SI we had experience of were lazy and mean and didn't want to be bothered. The paying dancers suffered because of it. I wasn't the only one who was frustrated by them.


The feedback this year is that the RA's are none dancers, older and parents, not always of dancers. They took a little getting used to but the feedback on them is positive. My DD actually told me that she's spent time with one chatting and sharing over a dessert. Rules aren't always liked but when those who enforce the rules are respected the rules are much easier at adhere to.

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It's not just the boys who push the envelope. Talented girls with bad attitudes out of control will push the envelope even more than the boys in my experience.


Just looking at this thread for the first time I would like to back up a bit.

I have to agree with you LMCtech. I dont want to label anyone but the boys will come clean alot more quickly. Girls can be alot more sneaky and can be really difficult if they make up their minds to do so. However a lovesick boy will do just about anything to please "the girl" and will get in trouble if they are in that "state".


Being a teacher of boys and girls and a parent of one of each I have seen both sides. :thumbsup:


The RA's at one intensive this year said something important which we all have to remember. If the kids are allowed to go out and have signed out they do have to trust them when they walk out the front door. there is not much else they can do. If they are found to betray that trust then they must take action. The responsibility is huge to have so many teenagers in one place at one time. I dont know if I could take it. :shrug:

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As, a Mom I wish all the RA's were parents with teaching experience!



As an administrator I wished the same. Even better would be a parent who was a principal or dean.

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Yes, it does. We had one of those one year. What a gift that was. That was the year we had a kid go down with appendicitis. No one else would have been able to diagnose that as early as she did.

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