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11 year old DD attended her first SI, was it worth it?

ballet 24x7

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Not sure if this is the appropriate place to post this....my DD#1 attended her first SI this past summer. The program is well known and she attended only a two week session (first time away from home).


DD had a lovely experience...she enjoyed having a variety of teachers, was exposed to a different style of training other than her home studio, made lots of ballet friends, and generally tested her wings on her own. Definitely helped her confidence.


However, as levels were large and placement is what it is, don't know how much her dancing actually improved. Wondering if she would have been better staying home under the watchful eye of her studio's two main teachers...definitely would have received more personal attention and caring eyes on her. (She did train with them some before leaving for SI).


Granted, two weeks is a very short time. Just thinking of next year (a ways off, I know)...wondering what wisdom other BT4D parents' might share.

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Hello ballet24x7, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :)


It would help to know how much under 13 she is. I certainly think that the two weeks this year was very positive, and a good way to break into the SI summers. However, if she is still under 13 next summer, you might just want to do the same thing, like study at home most of the summer and a short program away, or even none at all away. But, that's why I would like to know her age, and also an approximate level. For instance, how much training she has had since beginning "real" ballet, not counting the pre-ballet and creative movement years, and also how many classes a week she takes and how long are the classes.

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Thank you for your quick response, Ms. Leigh. It is so helpful to get your insight on what is beneficial to our young dancers.


My daughter is 11, she will have a birthday this fall. She is just starting middle school.


She has had seven years of ballet training at a very reputable local studio in our area. She began pointe work last year. She is a solid intermediate level dancer- she works hard. Other than her feet (sufficient, strong but not lovely), I would say she is very well suited to ballet.


She is taking 4 ninety minute technique classes per week. She has one pointe class (1 hour) and one of her technique classes is also done on pointe. She is also taking a variations class, a jazz class, and a lyrical class (for fun).

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Wow, sounds like she is doing quite a lot for age 11! :) This is good, and since she seems to be on a "fast track", perhaps she is quite ready for a longer SI next year. It is certainly not essential at this age, however, so the decision should be yours, based on her desires as well as her maturity level, and some consultation with her teachers. A shorter program is probably still best, but, she may be ready for a longer one. Maybe 3 or 4 weeks instead of 2. One of the ABT satellite programs, like Detroit or Alabama might be good. Or the one in Texas. Not sure how long the Orange County one is, but that is another option.

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Knock knock.........For shorter programs consider ABT orange county which is 3 weeks. AAB also has a 2 week and a three week program that is good for younger kids. :)

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My older daughter attended the Rock School Summer Program in PA at the age of 11. It was a three-week session, although there is the option to stay for six weeks. I was a chaperone there that summer which helped us to afford it. At her age, it was just the right amount of time away from home, and both the training at the Rock School and the residential program at Haverford College were excellent.

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For both of my DD's, their first SI (one at 13 & one at 11) was at Kirov/ Universal/ Kirov (it keeps changing!). It was 3 1/2 weeks long, & perfect for the first SI (for many reasons).

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Here are some first-hand recommendations from my daughter's experience at SI's while under the age of 13:


Atlanta Ballet has a good 2-week program for this age group in Milledgeville. My daughter attended at age 11.


Burklyn Ballet has 2 week sessions and a program for Intermediate dancers that is aimed specifically at this age group. My daughter attended this one at age 10 and again at age 11 and I was the dorm director. So, I can confirm that both the training and the supervision are well suited to this age of dancer.


Kirov Academy has 3 week sessions, if your dancer is Vaganova trained and/or interested in this training. My daughter attended this one at age 12.


Another good one for the younger dancer is Interlochen in Michigan. I like this for the younger dancer because it has good facilities, good training and provides a true camp-like experience where they can canoe, swim, do archery, crafts, etc. and attend wonderful performances by the other arts as well. It is an excellent 'camp' experience and lots of fun. My daughter attended at age 9.


I will also put in a rousing recommendation for the Royal Ballet's summer school for the Lower School at White Lodge. This is, in my opinion, the ideal program for the young dancer. The dorms are in a castle in a cloistered nature preserve outside of London, they are supervised by a wonderful older, grandmother sort, with only 50 students in attendance from all over the world. They get to attend performances by the RB in London. The training is exquisite and the experience is all around a wonderful one. My daughter attended at age 12.

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