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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Back to School - Back to Dance


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DD started a new (we moved) academic school last week and we are pulling our hair out already. :flowers: The new school is not working out very well at all. They refuse to let DD skip gym class even after she wrote a 13 page essay to ask them to allow her to do independent study. We also gave them a letter from the ballet school director explaining her intensive training. If she's forced to take gym, she will not only be putting herself at risk for injury, but she will also not be able to graduate early to concentrate on ballet. What makes us really angry is that they said they never did this for any other student, but I know for a fact they do it for gymnasts and the football players don't have to report to gym class on game days! :o "If football was any harder, they'd call it ballet!"


She is taking senior level AP classes as a sophomore and all high academic classes which she is happy about, but after listening to the attendence speeches, the out of classes group projects, television show requirements and other after school/weekend requirements, she's wondering how she'll be able to get it all done. We never thought we'd be looking at home schooling, but I'm definitely considering it now. The full ballet semester hasn't even started and DD hasn't had time for anything but school work. Yikes! She was able to balance a lot the last couple years including taking extra online classes, tutoring other students and joining one club.


Last night, she went to a ballet class after being off almost two weeks. She cried all the way home because she said she missed it so much, it felt so good, she loves it so much, but she doesn't know how she can handle everything when ballet starts up again next week. Then she brought up the invitation to stay at her SI and how much easier that would be. I'm not ready to let her go and the SI doesn't have academic schools with AP classes. DD's other love is academics and she plans to attend college at some point. Her second career aspirations include jobs that require master degrees or beyond so it's important that she has a good high school foundation.


Thanks for letting me vent here. I've been without a good working computer all summer. It's nice to reconnect with people who understand these issues. I hope the start of the school year is better for you and your DKs! :P

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Before you give up totally on "regular" school, you might want to consider talking to the principal and seeing if something special can be worked out, re: attendance, just for your child. All you need is one good friend in the office, and magic can happen. Although DD was never able to get out of PE, she WAS able to take it during the summer before an SI, in a two week course in a VERY relaxed environment. In our state, at least, many public high schools offer PE and Health as summer courses. There are also online high schools that offer a credit for PE, and are definitely worth looking into. As long as the online course is accredited, your high school should take it. We've also known friends who got a PE credit from a private school, and that school gave credit for dance. The dancer then transferred that one private school credit to her public high school.


DD was able at her current high school to speak to staff and administrators, and work out about 20 days a year of leaving early for dance stuff, and about 15 absences (or more!) a year for dance performances, workshops and auditions. All her absences are excused, and the school is very, very patient about makeup work. Her grades have not suffered at all, and teachers are very understanding of her needs, her occasional fatigue, and her demanding schedule. I'm not going to kid you, it's been a ROUGH 3 years (she's a senior this year). Dance 6 days a week and a very academic school schedule is a killer, but as long as she wanted it, it was worth all the late nights, crazy homework, and juggling. And now we find her wanting to be a professional dancer (argh!) but with a great backup plan of fairly good academic scholarship offers at GOOD schools already coming in!

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Thanks dance1soccer1! Yes, having a good relationship with school administrators and teachers has helped DD in the past. She was even able to miss 6 weeks of school to perform with the company. Unfortuately, this school doesn't know her and they haven't been so understanding. We were told the independent study program (her gym credit would come from dance) would work and she wouldn't need to take gym. It wasn't until after school started that we got the letter denying independent study. I'm going to start researching all the alternatives and see how she's handling each day.


Congrats to your daughter! Looks like all her hard work is now paying off! Good luck with all her decisions this year!


Thanks for your support!

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I am sorry to hear that your DD is having school conflicts. If I remember correctly you are/were in our neck of the woods. Did you move within the area or completely away? I was so envious of what sounded like such a good situation with your DD between school and dance, as we have had ups and downs with the academics for my kid. I hope you can find a workable solution.

I know our school district, and I think others in the area have a post secondary option for courses, which allows the kids to take classes at local universities and get HS and/or college credit for them, thus bipassing some of the AP stuff and typcially the universities have more flexible schedules.

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Good News! :D My DD is finding a balance between AP, her other advanced classes and ballet. The classes aren't as tough as she thought they might be. She had her first set of exams and she did well. She got a 96% in the class with all seniors so she feels like she can handle it. Her teachers seem sensitive to her intense evening and weekend schedule so she's thinking they'll let her do the outside projects on her own. Buttering up to them seems to be working. The principal approached her and said she was thrilled to have a serious ballet student at their school. Of course it's still early, but it's a good sign. She also met a lot of nice friends and likes how accepting of the arts this school is compared to her last "athletically driven" school.


We have considered Post Secondary Option and we may consider it again for next year. It's a great option for college credit. She wanted to see if this new school would work out so she could be around non-ballet teens some of her day. I hope it works out for this year. I know they'll be very rough times when the load is too much, but hopefully the good days outnumber the bad.


We are still fighting the gym battle. I have another meeting set up for next week. They want her to take gym instead of Economics next semester. We'll see.


Calamitous, yes, we are still in the area, actually closer to downtown. I heard all about the academic problems at your school. You have good ballet teachers though. My daughter looked into attending your school a couple years ago, but she would have been taking some of her academics classes elsewhere. No situation is perfect. You just have to do what works for your child at the time.


Thanks for all your help and support everyone!

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glad to hear things are working out. DD's school has a new principal and it may not solve all the academic issues but at least some of the rampant discipline problems seem to be more in check and the overall atmosphere has improved. But we are on a year by year basis still- we can move districts if needed.

Clearly the most important thing for us all is to find the best we can for our kids and each has differet needs. My DD did not like school prior to where she is and although there are many challenges she has found the place where she can excell both in the arts and academically (sort of). So we live with the compromises and headaches as well as the joys. And yes the dance training is good at her school and for us free.

Maybe some day we can see each others DDs dance!

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Well, DD is back to school, and back to dance. It is her last year of doing this, as she is a senior. It has always amazed me how she gets it all done, maintains good grades, and dances the six days a week. She says she is so organized, because she has had to be all of these years. She has been dancing six days since the 4th grade. I can't believe that this is the last year, I am hoping it doesn't go too fast.

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This is a year of big change for us. DD started HS at a very demanding school, and is facing her first real homework ever! Her first task is just figuring out how to complete several meaty assignments in one night -- and we're only on Day 2 of school. But so far, she's doing a great job (meaning, tonight she'll get it all done in time to watch Project Runway AND get to bed at a reasonable hour). She's coming home exhausted, as she's still on crutches and it takes lots of energy to move around the school. One thing she's loving is her choir class; they didn't really have good singing opportunities at her old school.


Ballet starts next week, but since DD is still recuperating from her surgery, she'll only go a couple of nights a week to observe. It will likely be quite a while until she's allowed to take class. Let's see, how shall I spend that tuition money...?


The other change, of course, is that older DD is now off at college. Her classes started yesterday, and she sounds thrilled with her schedule ("the neurobiology course is SO COOL!"). Ballet classes seem to be coming together for her, too; it looks as though she can piece together a schedule at two different studios.

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Dd's class is smaller this year, which is good news. Bad news is she thinks the classes so far have not been challenging enough. She's worried she will lose the strength she gained this summer. She really looked forward to returning to classes at her old school and is bummed tonight. She says, "I don't have any time to waste if I'm going to go for this!"


She's kinda getting Type A on me. I admire the work ethic but am afraid to over-encourage her. I know dance can be a treacherous road. But since she's the one pining to plie, no worries then.


I suspect the teachers may be building back up towards the groups capabilities, strength and flexibility and next week they'll work them harder.

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We are in a new school this year. Classes are bigger and some of the dancers are of a lower level. This has felt a bit frustrating for dd who is back from a rigorous SI. It is a big name school but is everything in the name? I hope we didn't make a mistake?

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DD is away at ballet school, living with a billet family and attending the first year of high school. From the phone conversations I've had with her (and there have been many!) this first week has gone well. They have had warm up classes this week only, with the full schedule beginning on Monday.

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New scene for us this year -- DD is homeschooling now. This allows for more dance time (class with the company in the mornings 2 or 3 times a week, extra coaching and practice sessions during the day and well as regular evening schedule) and an accelerated High School graduation date. She's working with a school back east and her teachers are available to her via phone and e-mail. So far, she loves this situation. She feels more in control of her schedule, more focused on her academics because of the way in which she can dive into her studies on her own terms, and more focused on her dancing (is that possible??!!). I was so resistant to the idea of homeschooling for so long but I am a complete convert at this point! It's a great match for my daughter and the timing is just right. She's at the point in her dance training when it's really going to benefit her. :thumbsup:

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101driver: We are doing the same thing this year! Isn't it wonderful!?! We finally have a calm routine instead of unorganized chaos. :thumbsup: No going back for this family. DD is on track to graduate 1 full year early and with college credits behind her. :thumbsup:

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Same here! We actually started school early this year so that we can take a little time off in December when those long rehearsals and performances start. You will continue to find more benefits as you go along, but the best one by far for me is having time with my kids. I would personally never see them anywhere but in the car if they were in public or private school!

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Day 3 of academic school, day 4 of ballet. Lots of shifts. Dd is now dancing 5 nights a week. She chose to add Latin to her courseload, which involves going to the HS 45 minutes before her school starts, taking that first period class, then being bussed to the middle school. She had a lot of trepidation for ballet this fall, as she's been moved up to a level where she is the youngest, and many of the dancers she joins are in their second (or more) year at this level. It's also a split level -- hers and the one above....


But so far...she is loving life! A big plus -- she was allowed to drop PE and health to have a study hall every day. (Good on several fronts.) She was pleased to see that her ballet teachers didn't have rocks in their heads -- she feels well placed in class, and is happy to be back with the school friends and the ballet friends.


Now we'll just see how this all holds up when the homework really starts rolling in, as most days she has less than an hour after school to get her gears (and clothes!) changed, try to get homework done before she has to sit w/it at 9:00, when all she really wants is a shower and a little time to read further her copy of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"!!

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