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Schools that Require their Dancers to Attend their SI and Why?

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This brings up a whole new thread....


Why does Houston make its dancers stay in Houston for the summer? Do any other pre-pro schools have this same policy?


Moderators, please move if appropriate.

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My guess is that Houston Ballet feels that their training is what their dancers need. Many of the HBA dancers hope to get into the company and are discouraged to go away for the summer. NCSA does not have a company affiliattion. The faculty neither discouraged or encouraged my dd to leave the school for the summer. If asked, they will give you their recommendation for summer programs. In general, they do not recommend that the year round students stay at NCSA. By the end of the school year, everyone is ready to leave, to go back home to see their families or to train with different teachers and dancers and to spend time outside of Winston-Salem!

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As noted, a bit off the original topic, but as for the question about other schools expecting students to stay at the "home" school for the SI... this is generally the way things work at some of Canada's professional schools. I don't know about the school of Alberta Ballet or Goh, but at NBS, RWBS, and Quinte it would be an expectation that dancers attend the home school's summer program. Going elsewhere is in many cases not permitted.


That said, I know that NBS does offer some of the older dancers an opportunity to attend one of their "partner" schools, and sometimes students from these other schools attend the NBS program. At Quinte older students may have the opportunity to go to another summer program, but it may need to be something in addition to Quinte's program and dancers generally need to obtain approval from the artistic staff to attend other programs.


My understanding about the rationale is that the schools believe that the dancers benefit from the continuity and consistency of the training in the home schools, particularly when dancers are younger.

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I do understand the method to the madness, but would these same schools expect talented 13 or 14 year-olds to stay at home also, or would it be just for the upper levels?


OK, now that I've veered this topic WAY off topic, I'll quit. (not my intention, I promise. I still hope to hear more thoughts on the original!)

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Perhaps we should make a new thread, as you suggest.


To answer your questions l2daisygirl, for the Canadian schools I referred to, it would be expected that dancers aged 13/14 attend the "home" SI.

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I know this is off topic so move it if necessary!


Personally, I don't like the "never go anywhere else" policy.


I do think that you should pick one school or teacher and train with them consistently - I do not believe in bouncing from school to school or teacher to teacher indiscriminately, BUT....


I do think that during the summers a young dancer should see what else is out there in the world of dance. Suppose you do want to get into Houston Ballet or NYCB or wherever and you devote all of your time and energy to that endeavor because they really seem to be interested in you. Then you reach 17 or 18 years of age and you are ready to move to the professional level, but the company that you want to join already has enough dancers that are your height or style of dancer or whatever. Then what do you do? start over at a new company school - but, oh, they're taking dancers who have trained with them for several years already.


My point is - don't put all of your eggs into one basket. Be consistent, be committed, but be informed, firsthand. Make sure that other schools/companies know who you are.


Certain schools like SAB require their students to train somewhere else for the summer. That way they have room to look at talent from around the country, but even more importantly, there is no way that all the wonderful dancers that SAB produces will get a job with NYCB because there are only so many jobs.


I have encountered dancers from these closed atmosphere schools who have never seen "Serenade" or heard of Merrill Ashley......

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It's important for kids in year round situations to get out, visit other schools, experience new teachers and network. Imagine the surprise of a young student who after a tough year at their own school finds that their travel to a SI has led them to a teacher or a series of teachers who really like and encourage them, and change their views about their own dancing. Most residential schools, or in fact, ALL SCHOOLS, have their stars, the kids who dance more than anyone else while the rest of them get a pas de chat in the back of the line. Change the time and place and suddenly the pas de chat'er is out in front dancing away, getting positive re-inforcements from amazing teachers. This is why kids should, AND DO, go away to summer intensives if they have the opportunity.

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Though most of these later posts will probably have to be moved, I thought I'd weigh in.


Most of the schools in Canada require their students to attend summers session. The summer sessions are indeed an additional audition for the fulltime program, but not necessarily so for returning students. Most of the students are told whether they are accepted back into the programs before the end of the year, so those not accepted are not part of the summer session.


This requirement allows the schools to retain their students without any poaching and the student benefit from a continuation in their training.


The returning students pay a significantly lower SI rate (if any) then auditioning students which is very attractive to families.

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:clapping: It was only last summer that RWB had a slightly lower summer school rates for their full time returning students. Summer 2005 was a total of $3380.00 for returning Canadian students in program 3 and was $3438.00 for auditioning Canadian students in the same level. The four weeks of summer school is significantly more expensive than four weeks during the full year. As for maintaining the training, the older students can be quite busy with Ballet in the Park so the main focus during summer school for the returning students is rehearsals and preparation for the three performances for the public at the end of summer school.
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  • 1 month later...

I know that there are probably many schools who have their year round students best interests at heart when they require attendance at their own SI, but I have to say that I see two major weaknesses in this position.


First, being the parent of a 13 year old, I know that sometimes she needs to hear the same thing from a different person and/or a different perspective. In this age group, some of the things that a parent figure says just goes in one ear and out the other and let's face it, for DKs who have been in the same school for several years, dance teachers are parent figures.


The second weakness that I see is that I have known of schools who have strongly discouraged their students from attending other SIs primarily because they do not want their students to have the opportunity to compare the home school's "product" to the that of other programs. I would think that if a program is afraid of comparision, then the faculty really needs to take a long hard look at what they are doing. I have to say that if a school told me that my child would not be permitted to attend another SI, I would be sceptical of their program, particularly if this were the policy in regard to older students. While I can understand wanting to insure that students do not go to second rate SIs or simply SIs with different teaching philosophys that might not mesh well with a particular style of training, this goal can be accomplished by requiring school approval of the outside SIs rather than making such programs off limits.

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As the parent of dk who has been attending SI's for several years, I know that for my child the experience of going to different parts of the country and having the opportunity to train with different teachers and different students has been invaluable. After each intensive my child is able to detemine where he places in the pack. When one dances with the same teachers and the same dancers year round, it is hard to know where you stand in the general ballet world. Attendance at SI's away from the home school help to clarify that.

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Amen, Dancerdriver. My dd went to a different school after a very discouraging year. Something clicked, everything clicked. Really helped her and the timing was perfect. A school can require all they want, but that does not mean the dancer need be compliant...just discreet. :wub:

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  • 3 months later...

Feel the need to post here and ask for luck in our direction as we literally have to sneak away to do summer auditions. Wish it weren't the case, but it is becoming more and more risky for dancers where we are to go away for SIs. I always get so unbelievably tense this time of the year as I try to help DD navigate and weigh pros and cons of doing this.


And by the way, whoever thought of making this a protected forum gets a big :) from me!

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We are also dealing with the pressures of getting away for auditions. It seems that many programs just aren't good enough. :o Some of the brave who brought their list to the AD's got the nod for very few. Once the no-no is given, it really isn't wise to go against their wishes. DD has steered clear and hasn't told anyone where she is auditioning. :)

We have also heard through the grapevine that rehearsals for the spring show will be starting. This makes it even more difficult for dancers to get away to audition. The dancers, especially company members, are not allowed to miss rehearsals.

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Talk of ANY SIs is verboten where we are. Or, at least, the reactions definitely give that impression. I tell DD not to talk about what she's doing AT ALL. I only wish there was any sort of receptivity to the idea -- presenting a list or whatever! And the spring performance is a conflict here, too. Redstorm, do your unpaid, under 18 company members have to sign contracts too?

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