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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Training at or near your home - not a residency


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Thank you to all for your insights.


Dance1soccer1: I e-mailed photos and information to dd's guidance counselor, her homeroom teacher and the dean of academics. The responses were wonderful. I am so glad that they are supportive! DD and guidance counselor spoke and dd understands that it will take time to make friends. Her hs is about 1000 kids and she has been in a very small girls private school so it's no wonder that she is a little overwhelmed. The good news is that she made 2 friends this week. :clapping: She also signed up for a couple of clubs that meet when she is at school so that will help too.


Vicarious, your situation sounds ideal! DD's residency does have a school but it is not linked to a public high school like yours. They do a nice job of providing some of those traditional high school experiences but we are trying to stick to the more traditional public high school for reasons ranging from the social aspects to the laboratory sciences not being easily taught via on-line classes. Our situation is not ideal, it is clearly a compromise in both worlds. Just this week dd was cast in the upcoming show but may not be able to meet the rehearsal requirements for one of the roles so she will sacrifice there too. Even with support from both ballet and high school, I worry that the compromises will be detrimental in both places. That said, the training at the ballet school is excellent and the academics at her hs are also excellent so we'll plug on reallizing that life is full of compromise and we will reevaluate annually.

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I am too in a position of struggling with my daughter, who is 13. We have an unusual situation and at times trying one...She is attending a pre-professional school, meaning intensive training (12-15 hrs. week), all the kids attend national summer programs, and those who graduate from HS generally take an apprenticeship SOMEWHERE...or receive a scholarship to college. She wants to dance anywhere...The first difficulty is wondering if I am doing a disservice to her by not sending her to a residency...The costs are astronomical and she has 2 siblings...she is not an only child that we can make all the sacrifices for...Secondly, a very tring situation is that I am her teacher for 1/2 of her classes...and as she is starting to delve into the teenage years, I wonder about the dynamics...when we go home, we do not discuss ballet...

Having danced professionally, I know that the chances of landing a job consist of talent, being at the right place at the right time, and PERSERVERANCE. There is just not a magic formula...but I want to give her the best shot at realizing her dreams while keeping her somewhat balanced in life...

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With the high quality instruction your DD is getting now, there just doesn't seem to be a good reason to consider sending her to a residency. The main purpose that residency programs serve is to provide high quality training for those students that do not have appropriate training available to them within an easy commute to where they live. This definitely does not seem to be your situation, based on the information in your post.


I do understand your concern over teaching your own daughter during the teen years, but there may be no issue at all. I believe that the dance world is full of pro dancers who were taught by there mothers, I know I have read many stories. You may be overthinking.


My daughter stayed in a very suitable local pre-pro program until she was 16. At this point she did go to a residency program due to training needs that existed at the time. Heaven knows that I would have loved for her to stay home until she was 18, but it was not in the cards.


I am a firm believer in keeping children home as long as possible, it's never a bad idea.

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Wow, a big thank you to everyone who shared their own stories of their dancers who are living at home and training at a fairly local pre-pro. As momof3 stated earlier in the thread, for new readers on the board, it may seem as though all dd's are sent to residencies ASAP. As we know from personal experience, this isn't the case. It does seem, oh so much more exciting to say that your dk is at a residency(when you are in the midst of the daily drive/complaint session)(parent complaining about the drive, lol) and the strain of keeping the ball rolling is on us, not on a faculty of a school 500 miles away. As parents, most of us are poorly qualified to be the 'resident career counselor' in the field of dance.


However, as parents, we do have the obligation to do our best when it comes to raising our kids. I don't necessarily believe this means overprotecting them. But it does mean evaluating their needs and then comparing them to what may be out there in terms of residencies and what one can put together at home. I have been around the block enough times to be skeptical when residencies are made out to be the 'apotheosis' of what is available to our kids. The day to day life can be very good, (or not so much) but whenever you put a group of teens together in any sort of residence, sans parents, there will be shenanigans. The question is....how much can your teen deal with without being affected negatively by it all. Many of the choices these kids have to make are ones usually put off till the freshman year of college, when even 18 year olds may be ill suited to deal with the situations they will confront in the guise of 'dorm living'.


Many of us have kids who have trained at residencies for year or two and then have come home, for a variety of reasons. Not all of us will fess up to this and many with this situation don't even post on the board. I don't see this as something to be embarrassed about but rather a fact that should be shared. This happens all the time. Parents can wax poetic about missing their kids as much as they like, but if those kids are being exposed to sex, drugs, alcohol, harrassment and eating disorders on a massive scale (to name a few) how realistic are they in terms of what their dk is actually having to deal with.


The sad fact is that many more dk's are training for a pro career than there will be jobs for. Perhaps if they train at a top residency, their chances for that career may be slightly higher. Maybe not. Unless the residency has superb supervision of dk's and wonderful faculty, maybe even some with degrees in education, good counseling services (both career and otherwise), home may just be the best place to spend the teen years.

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Thank-you...As a teacher, I am isolated as I cannot discuss the situation with any other parent here in the school for professional reasons. I have had students in the past go off to residencies at prestigious schools as mant of the returned for one reason or another. I did have one who graduated early at 17 and studied as an apprentice before joining the main company. I appreciate other mothers who share their insight on this very difficult subject. Having danced professionally many years with a large company, I do not think I would have survived if it had not been for the strong family ties I had and the strength that they instilled in me. After an injury late in my 20's, it was my family who supported me and helped me transition. Had I had a completed isolated life growing up, the transition would have been even more devestating. As a parent, I know those years can never be recovered with your children once they are away... I just want to provide her with the best opportunity to succeed and not jepordize her growth emotionally...She'll always be a my daughter and she'll always have her identity as "XXX" entwined as a dancer but not dependent on it.

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