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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Leaving SFBS for SAB


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We are planning a family move from San Francisco to New York City which would require taking our daughter out of the San Francisco Ballet School and auditioning for a spot at SAB. Unfortunately, we cannot wait to see whether she gets in before planning the move since SAB starts the week after their auditions. To a girl whose life revolves around ballet, it's a crazy risk to take leaving a first class ballet school without the promise of anything comparable for her in NYC. Could anyone compare the students from both schools so we know what we're dealing with? We are worried that the competition in New York might be tougher than in San Francisco combined with the fact that there will be only as many empty slots to fill as students leaving. The comments of anyone in a position to compare the two schools would be greatly appreciated!

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Yes, SAB is not the only good training ground in NYC. But if your dancers is a teen or older, SFBS might be willing to make a call on her behalf. A smaller school certainly would.

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While I have no first hand basis for comparison, I can also suggest you consider both Studio Meastro and Ballet Academy East-two very fine shools for professional training. There is also the JKO school at ABT.

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I believe that you could come to NYC with your daughter and have her audition prior to your actual move. SAB does not waste any time in getting back to prospective students and letting them know their status. Call the registrar's office and explain your situation. There is a good relationship between the two schools, and her present teachers could put in a call in her behalf.

 

As far as comparisons, SAB is the birthplace of the Balanchine style. If this is the training that appeals to your daughter, there is no better place to be. The bios of dancers who are in companies throughout the USA reveal how influential the school is in the dance world. Best of Luck!

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Excellent advice has been given here! I understand your dilemna and can certainly sympathize with your angst over the uncertainty that this move will involve regarding your daughter's training. However, on BT we do not allow direct comparisons of schools or students. You can read through the threads here about SAB and contact members whose dancers have attended the school, once you have 30 posts and have PM privileges. But, ultimately it is up to you to do your own comparisons and come to your own conclusions.

 

I would heartily support the suggestions made that you talk with SFB and ask that they make a call on your daughter's behalf to SAB and also that you arrange a private audition for her now, so that you can determine if she will be accepted to SAB and if not, can pursue other training opportunities in NYC. Waiting until the fall to firm up her training plans will only add much more stress in what will already be a stressful cross-country move! I wish you the best of luck in your move and in finding the right school for your daughter to continue her training. :shrug:

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Studio Maestro and Ballet Academy East are excellent alternatives to SAB if your daughter does not get into SAB. Talk to the registrar at SFBS. She will be able to give you good advice on this subject.

 

 

Moderator's Note:

Post edited to delete direct comparisons between SAB and SFB because we do not allow direct comparisons on BT.

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LMC, I'm a bit confused about what you mean. Do you mean that SFB is more competitive than SAB or the other way around? This is the sort of comparison that we really don't allow here on BT, as whichever way you meant this sentence, there will be many people who will beg to differ with you. :shrug:

 

It is impossible to be factual about such things, unless you can give us the number of students who apply to each program and the percent who are accepted and do so for several years, showing trends, rather than just one year's results. Then, you would also need to factor in the prior training that each applicant had, which might render the applicant pool for one or the other to be more competitive than the other one.

 

In order for this thread to remain open, we need to keep the discussion focused on suggestions on audition strategies, assistance from her home school, other suggestions for training in NYC, etc.

 

Moderator Note:

-----LMC's post (to which this one refers) has been edited to delete the direct comparisons she made between SFB and SAB, because we do not allow direct comparisons between schools on BT.

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Carolyn - I have no experience with either school, but I know that schools are different things to different people. And often our children have different perceptions about what is a good fit for them as individuals. Is it possible that your DD could make a list of things that appeal to her, or that she particularly likes about SFSB, and then prioritize those items? Then she can take that list with her when looking for other schools in NY. There are a number of schools there. Once she defines for herself what she finds wonderful about San Francisco, perhaps this would make it easier to find the best fit in New York. It may be that SAB doesn't offer what she really wants or needs. Sampel questions I might initially consider might be: Does she want to focus exclusively on Balanchine? Does she want contemporary training? Does she like to experience different styles or focus exclusively on one? Is there a student-teacher ration she prefers? What about the types of teachers - especially personalities - that she feels mesh best with her own learning style? Things like that. Plus, if she can see for herself that she is going to a new school that meets her defined needs, perhaps the move might even be easier. She won't be leaving a school, but moving on towards yet another training opportunity. If that makes sense.

 

Edited quickly to add: I mention this because my own DS has been pushed for years to go to SAB. He has no interest in that particular school at this point in his life. He finally had to take a stand and just say "no" and figure out for himself what would work best for him as an individual.

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cheetah, that is great advice. SAB is not a good fit for everyone and neither in SFBS. The dancer and the family should be very clear on what is important to them in a school. In a city like New York, there are SO many alternatives to SAB and to ballet as well that all options should be considered until you go to see and/or audition for all the schools.

 

 

Moderator's Note:

Post edited to delete reference comparing the acceptance ratios of SAB and SFB and other direct comparisons between the schools' cultures, which are not allowed on BT, as well as information that LMC said she got from parents about SAB. Only first-hand information is allowed here on BT.

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I'm sorry LMC, but your last post, as well as the earlier one, contained hearsay and direct school comparisons, which as I explained above, we do not allow here on BT and so I have deleted the portions that contained direct comparisons between schools, which were based on second-hand information. :yes: .

 

If you would like to post again and tell us from your direct experience on staff at SFB, what you know about the way SFB handles parent requests to contact another school with a referral, that would be great.

 

The parent who originally posted knows about the culture at SFB already, since she is a current parent there. It will be up to her to go to the SAB threads (there are several here) and glean what she can from them about the culture at SAB and make her own comparisons between the two schools. Once she is a full member, she is also free to PM members who might have direct experience at both schools (there are many) and they are free to give their own comparisons of the two schools via PM or email.

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Balletbooster if her post referred to the ratio of students applying and the amount admitted (which I believe it did) and she was an administrator at SFB is that considered heresay?

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LMC can only comment about schools where she has direct experience. Someone at SAB will need to share data/information about that school. LMC is free to post the ratios of those who applied/were accepted to SFB, for the years she was on staff there, only.

 

LMC's posts included some reference to ratios (but no actual figures were given) for both schools and also some comparisons of the two school's cultures, which were gleaned from parents she had spoken with. I have spoken with several parents who have experience at both schools who have come to the opposite conclusion as the parents she spoke with and so you can see where the trouble starts... Again, the BT policy is to post first-hand information only. Information you receive second hand is not permissible. Further, we do not allow any direct comparisons between schools to be made. Our readers can take all the data that is presented from first-hand sources and draw their own conclusions and make their own comparisons.

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What you consider heresay I consider personal experience. I had to deal with the adminstrations of every major ballet school in America during my time as a school administrator and developed my own impressions of the culture at each school based on the ease of my dealings with them. If anyone has specific questions they can PM me. I'm done posting in this thread.

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