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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Schools in Texas - North Houston

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'housell', Thank you for your insight. I have heard that the Houston Ballet classes are big. I would image it is hard to get that caring in that enviroment. I think my dancing, being an observer and one to ask questions, would do better in a smaller enviroment.

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  • debby


  • nmp1014


  • gra2wish


  • dancingmeghan


I now have a list!


International Ballet of Houston in Houston (Progressions Performing Arts on Mon. and Tues in Spring)

American Academy of Dance in Spring

Payne Academy of Ballet in the Woodlands

Margot Marshall's in West Houston

Houston Ballet in Houston (Central)


Thanks everyone!



Edited by debby
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I have heard very good things about IBH, and I'm sure you daughter would receive good training from there.


If you decide to give HBA a try, I know there are several students that drive in from the Woodlands and carpooling is a real possibility. We drive in from Katy and have found other students out here to carpool with.


We really like HBA and recommend it. But, then again, I have a young son and nowhere else in Houston would he be able to train in an all-boy class and be closely mentored by a dozen teenage, pre-professional male dancers!


There's something magical about training at a large company school: You see professionals walking in the halls (and occasionally have them as guest instructors), you watch the wardrobe personnel loading up huge crates of exotic costumes to ship over to the performance center, you are surrounded by dozens of upper level dancers who to my eye at least already seem ready for professional careers. It's also a really fun experience to dance with The Nutcracker! My son loved meeting and working with the professionals and performing in front of 2,400 people 17 times (and being paid to do it!). My son gets a kick out of people's reactions when he tells them he dances at Houston Ballet. Everyone is always very impressed and kids (well, at least my son) enjoy the attention that training at a big-name school brings. Sure, that's not very important, but it's always something he will have to brag about in the future should his life lead him away from ballet someday.


But HBA does have it's drawbacks. There isn't a lot of communication; you rarely see the teachers and need an appointment to actually *talk* to them. You can only observe classes twice a year. It's harder to stand out-- at smaller schools you have a handful of talented, gifted students that really shine and your kid loves it when they're one of those kids. But at HBA *everyone* is really talented and gifted harder to be noticed.


If you were to ask my advice, this is what I'd tell you-- audition for HBA and give it a try. If you don't like it (too far away, too impersonal, whatever) then it's very easy to back off and go to a smaller local school. But, if you change your mind and decide to try HBA in a few years you will find it more challenging to get in. It's a lot easier to be accepted at the lower levels than at the intermediate and advanced levels!! Just my 2 cents!


Anyway, Houston has a lot of great ballet schools... I'm sure you'll find one that fits you!

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What age is your son? My DD is 9 1/2. She is trying out the HB during this summer doing the SI level 3. Does it say anything about her training now that she was accepted? How easy is it to get in the SI at level 3? Can HB level 3 girls try out for the Nutcracker?


I wish I could have someone at the HB evaluate her potential and training and tell me if I would be wasting my time.


She is really getting a kick out of saying that she is going to dance with the Houston Ballet. It is something she can talk about later even if she moves in another direction.


She loved the enviroment there at the audition for the HB SI. She was by far the smallest person. She auditioned with the 12 year olds, but she was fine. I think if it was not so far, I would send her there in a heart beat. Even the distance is not that bad, but I have another child. He is in 7th grade and I can't just leave him at home. My husband is out of town alot.


My DD is at a competition school right now. Problem is we love it. I am just worried about the training of ballet. She is soaking it up right now so so fast. She improves every day. She is by far the best ballerina in her age group, but not the best jazz or tap dancer. She just started those classes last year, but she is natural dancer. And she loves the attention she gets at the studio.


So do I leave her where everyone loves her and she is special. Do I make my son fend for himself, do the HB thing year round? Do I try one of the local ballet schools? Which one?


Ballet Talk has made me aware of all issues and many of the options available. I am so grateful!!

Thank you everyone!

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I know it's not an easy decision. Fortunately, it's not a permanant one! You can always change your mind if something doesn't work out for you.


Level 3 only trains 3 days a week. There are some other L2 and L3 kids at HBA that still have a foot in both doors (HBA and a local competition school). By Level 4 things get more serious and she'd probably have to go one way or the other.


My son is 9 and in 3rd grade. L1 kids are mainly 2nd graders and L2 kids are mainly 3rd graders. L3 is mainly 4th grade and higher, but there is at least one 3rd grader that I know of in L3 (could be more). If she auditioned for the SI and got in then you've already had her evaluated. The teachers refuse to comment on potential for kids this age as they say too much can change with puberty. But, they obviously liked what they saw in her or they wouldn't have accepted her into the summer program. And, yes, L3 girls can audition for a role in the Nutcracker although it's not guaranteed (much of the audition depends on the height of the girls and the availability of costumes in the various sizes).


If she is in a competition school then she may find the pace at HBA to be very slow. When I talk to my friends who have kids in other ballet schools I am amazed at what they are already doing. But, my son just got his double pirrouette down and it sure looks good. I was impressed, even if it isn't as fancy a trick as 9 year olds are doing in other schools.


You could certainly bring your older son to HBA. My 6th grade daughter tags along and does her homework in the waiting room. The lounge is full of siblings doing homework.


As you have realized, summer is a great time to explore your options. Hopefully you'll be able to try some summer classes at the other studios you're looking into in addition to the HBA SI.

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Uh oh, my dd can't do a double consistently yet . . She might be moved to L2 on the first day. I think she had a good audition and danced beyond her true daily ability. Are you meaning L3 in the SI will be 4th graders in the fall or third grade in the fall. My dd is in 3rd grade now.


Do most kids move up a level every year?


Can I ask you what level you your DS is? Will they be in the same class?


I am so glad to hear that I can bring my 7th grade son to the lounge. I did not even think about being able to bring him.


Thanks for your insight!

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I wish I could PM you Debby. (Sorry, but I generally don't like to reveal too much about where my daughter trains on here.) Anyway, she has had experience with the Paynes as guest teachers in SI several years in a row for the duration of the summer and they're absolutely wonderful. I don't live anywhere near the Woodlands but if I did, I wouldn't travel anywhere. I'd have her train with them. I don't like to commute. I'm a working mother...off in the summers, however, there are just so many quality ballet studios in the Houston area that I don't see the point to commuting if it's so taxing on the rest of the family. Gas prices are so ridiculous now too and then there's homework, sit-down meals, etc. No offense to others who do it at all, I just need SOME time for my husband and myself. :wub:

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I understand completely about not revealing too much online. I will be able to PM soon. I am at number 27 with this post! I am glad to hear your respect for the Payne's. They are my number one choice at the moment. I know nothing about ballet, but they seem like the real thing. I want to have a normal life for my family. Homework done at home and meals together most of the time. Play time with friends. And Ballet as long as my DD wants to pursue it. I just wanted to use Ballettalk to confirm that this was the appropriate choice. Make sure that I check all my options. I did not do that in choosing where to start lessons. I went to the most popular place when my daughter was 6. It seems the reasonable thing to do. Now, since she seems to be a natural at it, I must choose more carefully!!


Three more posts to go!!

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there are just so many quality ballet studios in the Houston area that I don't see the point to commuting if it's so taxing on the rest of the family. Gas prices are so ridiculous now too and then there's homework, sit-down meals, etc. No offense to others who do it at all, I just need SOME time for my husband and myself. :yucky:


Housell-- I certainly agree with that! I'm not sure if I could handle all the commuting if I didn't carpool with two other people.


We're really fortunate here in the Houston area to have so many great resources! Isn't it a great problem to have to choose from so many good options?!? HBA is an easy decision for me since I have a boy. If I had a daughter the choice would be a lot more difficult.


Uh oh, my dd can't do a double consistently yet . . She might be moved to L2 on the first day... Are you meaning L3 in the SI will be 4th graders in the fall or third grade in the fall. My dd is in 3rd grade now.


Debby, I didn't mean to freak you out like that and was absolutely not suggesting your daughter needs to be able to do a pirrouette! I just asked my son about it and he says he never does turns in his regular Level 2 technique class. That's a skill he practices in the Boys class he attends 1-2 times a week, and the boys have a different syllabus than the girls. From what I understand, they spend a lot more time on jumps and turns because they aren't preparing for pointe.


Do most kids move up a level every year? Can I ask you what level you your DS is? Will they be in the same class?


I believe it's pretty common to spend two years in a level-- especially L3 and L4 (they go on pointe at some point during L4).


My DS is L2 as are most HBA kids who are currently in 3rd grade. He was also placed in the L2 class for SI. He seems to do well in boys class, but I think he struggles to keep up with the girls in his regular L2 technique classes and often comes home from those classes discouraged at the amount of corrections he received.


Get your posts up to 30, Debby, and we can move this discussion off the public boards!

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Whew, ok I am glad no doubles yet. This should be my 30th post!! Yeah!

That is so interesting that the syllabus is different for boys. Makes sense!

Now I have to figure out the PM thing!

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  • 1 year later...

Our family is moving to The Woodlands or Houston over the summer. Our dd (13) will be at HBA in level 6 this summer. We could greatly use some advice about where to train. My daughter knows the Paynes from last year's intensive at HBA and liked them very much. I don't know whether you can stay with them throughout all the prepro years of training, or whether most of the dancers transition into HBA at some point. They seem to have a few less hours of training each week. So, if anyone here trains with them, we would love to hear about it.


We have friends who dance with Boni's dance in The Woodlands and highly recommend it, but I am under the impression that the school may be more competition oriented. Can anyone comment on this?


Thank you!

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gra2wish, if your dd is training with HB this summer and is serious about pre-pro training, I would think that the list of dance studios in post #17 of this thread would be a better starting place. We have been in your position before, changing studios after a major move, and the number of available choices for dance education of all kinds in larger cities can seem somewhat overwhelming.


One of the things I did, and I still do when evaluating summer intensive options, is that I go to the dance websites as an early interview with the studio. Of course, websites can vary considerably in quality, particularly because some studios do not have the manpower or funds to dedicate to the creation and maintenance of such sites. However, I do have specifics that I look for when I am visiting these sites.


I go to the "About Us" link first.


I look at the biographies of the instructors. Where did they train? With which ballet companies did they dance professionally? With what other ballet companies, universities and ballet schools are they currently affiliated, either as summer guest instructors or choreographers?


Also, I expect a program's classical teaching methodology to appear prominently on the site. Is the school's training based upon Vagonova, RAD, or Cecchetti, or a combination of those? Or is there no specific description of the basis for the program's classical ballet training? I don't consider the general words "professional" and "pre-professional" to be necessarily anything more than marketing buzz words.


Does any positive use of the form of the word "recreational" appear in the program description? For us, we don't want to see it at all. However, it's key for some people. More importantly, does "recreational" trump professional? Does "recreational" appear more often, or before, any sense of the word "professional." That clearly explains the studio's focus.


Likewise, how about "competition"? What kind of competitions are they talking about? The YAGP? The USA IBC in Jackson? Or does this refer to heavily-painted young girls in glittered neon tap pants going up against the same?


Read information about the program history. Does the program's focus appear to be on the specific ballet education parents may expect their dks to receive? Or does the site information explain how this program fulfills a life-long dream or vision for the director? Often these websites unwittingly outline how student enrollment has propelled the program from very modest beginnings (for example, in a one-room basement or rented classroom) to a giant and bustling program with state-of-the-art dressing rooms and big windows with lots of light. That's great, but a business growth chart isn't personally relevant. I'm not a stockholder, and my investment is in the quality of education my dk will receive.


Also, take a look at all of the pictures on the website. Do these appeal to you? How many are related to ballet? Of those, how does the technique/form look for the dancer's age? How many photos illustrate ballet training in session? What do you notice about those?


Take a look at class schedules. Do the offered schedules appear to be in line with your dk's needs? Is there any indication of class size?


If a program states as its mission to train the "well-rounded" dancer, is the primary focus still on ballet training? Our professional moderators here at BT4D have warned against program schedules which intend to provide students with skills in many dance forms, but ultimately provide too little training in any of the areas for students to become truly proficient in any of them and definitely not enough in ballet.


This isn't a complete list of considerations by any stretch of the imagination; these are just a few things I consider when doing my early research. The moderators will likely be able to offer more information for you. Good luck with your move, and I hope your dd has a great summer with HB.

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We have friends who dance with Boni's dance in The Woodlands and highly recommend it, but I am under the impression that the school may be more competition oriented. Can anyone comment on this?


My dd is currently at the Houston Ballet, level 5 year round and she also does a solo with Boni's when time permits. I would say that Boni's is very competition oriented. We still love it there. It is a very good studio with very good teachers but ballet is not their focus. I tried to PM you but it did not go thru.

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