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Ballet Schools in Canada - Mississauga/Toronto

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DoubtfulGuest

Thank you mom2 and Sickledfeet!

 

It's in Toronto -- they were recommended to me *very* highly by someone I trust. DD had what I guess turned out to be an audition class there earlier this month with older students and was accepted on the spot. The original point of the class was to (and I quote) inspire her. (Amazing!) The teaching was beyond my wildest dreams -- warm, hopeful and encouraging; real enthusiasm and love expressed for every student and what their bodies could do. Small class, beautiful lines. I'm not an expert by any means, but the kids just seemed so happy and motivated, and my own kid came out of it practically crying with joy to finally be in a place where the other students loved Ballet like she does.

 

So with all of this, it sounds crazy not to send DD there, right? I'm hesitating because someone at our home studio warned me off SCB pretty forcefully. The things she said didn't make *any* sense with what I'd observed, and I don't know if I can trust my eyes and my gut. We need to do *something* for DD, and very soon -- she's dying inside in her current program, and she's too young for the National Ballet School (January 2018 would be her first opportunity to audition for their SI.)

 

Thank you SO much!

 

Edited: for sense (and then for privacy)

Edited by DoubtfulGuest

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mom2

Hi again doubtfulguest,

 

Have looked at the website now, and some of the teacher bios. One of the faculty members is a former principal dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and very highly respected. The owner seems to have some good teaching credentials as well.

 

So - if your dd is happy there, that is the main thing right now as she is so young.

 

What did people caution you about?

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DoubtfulGuest

Oh, wow, mom2 -- I can't thank you enough for your insight, and it's so helpful to hear that happiness right now is the main thing; watching that disintegrate has been horrible.

 

The cautions were essentially all of the things that would terrify a parent: injuries, eating disorders, kids quitting dance entirely, and a bizarre suggestion that the owner has no teaching credentials. These claims were made by someone I have so far trusted implicitly, but who does have a vested interest in the current studio. It upsets me to even entertain that the studio interest could be put ahead of the well-being of a little kid, but my gut is telling me that might be what's happening.

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mom2

So from what I read on the bios not all the teachers note teacher training courses. Ideally for a younger student you would want someone who did have some teacher training and understands child development.

 

I see that the school participated in the Toronto YAGP recently - so I'd want to watch that any preparations for this don't overshadow general training.

 

Also - changing topics slightly - you know that NBS does have an Associate's program (different from the full-time program), and younger students are accepted ...

 

http://www.nbs-enb.ca/Classes/Children-and-Youth-Classes

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DoubtfulGuest

Thank you! Those are very good considerations, and I will definitely ask directly before making any decisions.

 

I've had some contact with NBS to see what they thought about a move, and their contact assured me that the Associates program would not be suitable for a child with as much experience as DD9. We're really stuck because she is so little, but very technical -- she begs for corrections, and I recently found out that her technique is more like the better 12-13 year olds than the kids in her class, who are all 10-11. That was shocking to me because she is already accelerated. I don't want her to go faster -- I only worry because fitting into this tiny box is making her so unhappy. NBS full-time is the eventual goal, I think.

 

But thank you again for taking the time -- this is really, really helpful.

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DoubtfulGuest

Just popping in with a quick update so I'm not leaving this thread with an apparent question mark for any future readers!

 

DD9 has transferred to SCB and is loving it. It's all the hard work she wanted, coupled with the emphasis on the whole child that I need to see as a parent. Teachers are warm and encouraging across the board -- with high, but developmentally appropriate standards.

 

DD will join the competitive program, and is currently preparing her very first classical variation for next season* -- rehearsals for competitive pieces are conducted entirely outside of regular class time -- thank you again, Mom2, for mentioning that important point!

 

*This is too funny to not include -- DD takes this new challenge very seriously: "I think a poorly-done variation is a complete insult to the music!"

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Mom2K8

DoubtfulGuest,

I am interested in your perspective about SCB. I am seriously considering moving my 7 year old there starting in Fall 2017. She cannot leave her current program right now - well she could but fees have already been paid and I know she would like to finish the term. We are very happy with the environment where we are but the teaching is not up to what I had expected. My DD is bored and is not advancing at all. She loves where she is as she gets to be the big fish and she has made some great friends- her first best friends were made this year.

DD has big ballet dreams and is very motivated with a lot of self discipline she wants to audition into a pre-professional program like NBS in two years. She will enter grade 3 next fall and we would be looking at SCB's preparatory program for grades 3 and 4. What has your experience been like so far. The one thing I like about where she is now that it is a very positive and nurturing environment and really takes into account the whole dancer. Sadly it's just not the right fit for kiddo.

I admit am a bit worried about placing her in a very competitive environment at such a young age. Also, is there a lot of pressure to get kids into the competitive stream? I don't think she wants to go that route (and as single mum - that's really not $ possible for me).

In all other aspects I like what I have seen of SCB so far. Though it seems from the photos that they may have the girls on pointe younger than I would prefer.

Thanks so much!

 

Edited by Mom2K8
typos

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DoubtfulGuest

Hi Mom2K8!

I'm so sorry I'm only seeing this now! 

For DD9, SCB is the dream. She switched over completely last month and could not be happier. One day last week she hopped out of the car, stood in front of the school, and took a second to breathe it in before collecting herself and running at the door.

Because she started so late in the year, she's doing a mix of levels, and takes the PREP classes Wed/Sat, so I know about those for sure! It's all technique. They work so, so hard on flexibility and controlling where their bodies are in space... and how to feel when it's right. The teaching is slow and personal -- but not intense at the PREP level, it only really ramps up for full-time. Every kid in the school is serious and focused (but fun and lovely at the same time!) and some of them only come for a class or two -- so it seems like there's an individual solution for absolutely everyone who needs it. The teaching is rigorous, yet unbelievably positive -- the feedback is immediate, specific and joyful.

There was zero pressure for competition (and as far as I know, none of the strictly-PREP kids are competing yet -- DD was the youngest SCB student at Dance Canada this weekend (her first competition, a great success!) She loved learning and rehearsing her variation, and will stick with that one and probably add a contemporary for next season. When the AD originally emailed me the plan for her, I think she said something like, "you don't have to do all of this, but this is everything I think she could do." DD took it all, because she likes to drink from the firehose!

The environment itself isn't competitive at all, in spite of the kids all being spectacular. All the hugging and squeezing you see on their social media is exactly how they are. My kid is 3-7 years younger than the rest of them, and they just scooped her up this weekend and made her part of the team.

Regarding pointe. DD (who just turned nine) will be in soft shoes until she's ready -- that was made clear on Day One, and it won't matter that the rest of her class next year will all have pointe shoes -- she's younger, and needs to wait. Right now, she's in a class with kids on pointe, doing all her work on demi pointe, and it's lovely. She doesn't feel left out, and she'll be so, so strong by the time that day finally arrives. 

Two suggestions -- email the school and describe your daughter's situation. There is no full-time admin person (nearly everything is done by the ADs -- they are incredible human beings!) and all resources are poured directly back into the dancers, so it may take a day or two to hear back, but they'll be able to make some suggestions. They also have terrific workshops your daughter could try -- there's one in May -- my DD is going for sure!

Does this help? I'm happy to answer any other questions you might have! 

 

Edited by DoubtfulGuest
Oh dear, grammar and sense.

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dancemaven

We are getting :offtopic:, folks. :).  Please let's get back to the topic of the thread: Schools in Canada--Mississauga/Toronto.  

Discussions of experiences changing schools, etc belong on another thread.  This thread is for researching schools in the area. :thumbsup:

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DoubtfulGuest

Apologies, Dancemaven! 

Mom2K8 -- there is a thread called Changing Studios (I think that might have been my first post -- I am a newbie, too!) I will quote your comment, and reply there -- I hope that is the right place. Still getting the hang of this! 

Thank you to this forum -- it is so valuable to parents like us who are trying so hard to make good decisions.

Edited by DoubtfulGuest

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Veru

Any recommendations for a solid classical ballet school in Toronto for my almost 13 year old daughter? Professional, that push kids who are taking ballet seriously and are keen to work hard. 

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