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School of American Ballet

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For those hired as apprentices, it would be difficult to talk negatively about the hand that feeds you on a social website like BalletTalk or any other forum. Their contracts are hanging in the balance. ;)


There are definitely some wonderful people at SAB, and there was a crowd that flirts with disaster and know they could not be touched. There is a theme of entitlement among this crowd. While it is similar in a regular high school, there are some unique pressures and variables among the pre-professional ballet crowd. Please be aware of this before sending your children away to any professional ballet program.

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There are many other paths to a successful career in ballet. Choose one that is closer to family. Choose one where all dancers are valued. Choose one where your dancer receives the individualized attention on a consistent basis to grow in a healthy way, both physically and mentally. Choose one with a healthy support group of friends.

Napnap, this is such valuable advice from someone with 20/20 hindsight. Thank you!

Edited by MBdancers
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I may be in the wrong section but I can't help but ask this question since I saw a convo starter in this section earlier about how this particular school tends to rely on the younger kids to generate income. My DD just started at a school attached to a professional company. I can see where yes they may be enjoying the money from ticket sales and tuition from parents of younger dancers, but surely they are training for the future - whether it's at their organization or another. Their name is attached to the student.

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I think any school is training for the future, but I think you have to look at how statistically difficult it is to succeed in this field. And this is speaking only to US based schools that don't screen kids like the vocational schools in Europe and Russia. But if you took a look at all the dancers who start in an age group and then look to see how many of them make it to a professional level, it's extremely small, and SAB isn't exempt from that statistic just because it's New York. Even when starting with a higher level talent base, it's hard to make it all the way to the finish. Some schools have a better track record with the upper levels, training younger dancers is an art in and of itself, so the higher profile schools rely on others to do that. I would be curious to know if any US school has a strong record of training a kid all 8-10 years. I think that is very rare to find.

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Fraildove thank you for the reply and information. It was the previous comments that referred to the school as possibly offering sub par training for the younger ones just to ride on the ticket sales of the parents wanting to see their little ones in the shows. I cannot imagine these children receiving some type of quality training while they're little from these big name schools who are making some type of investment in these kids who may or may not become professionals either there or somewhere else.

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I do appreciate people being candid about their experiences. The good, the bad, the ugly. . The board is powerful in that information can be pooled across the country. All information is good.

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Napnap, we concur, someplace that values all dancers, encourages good support of friends and mutual respect, exacting standards with hard work and personal responsibility. We fortunately found that there is indeed life after "heaven"


Fraildove, plenty of kids get cut, I don't think they are concerned in that circumstance whether there is any blow back against their reputation. It was our experience that the training was lacking in the 11-14 year old stage. While it was true that GB had no direct involvement in the younger divisions, same as GM it seemed to be more a result of the doubling of the class sizes as it didn't feel like that before the school expanded after 2010. I suppose that many students took outside instruction as a way to offset this. This wasn't an option really for my dd.


Buzzandmoo, we also were vexed by who would return and who wouldn't it was always a surprise. Even who was selected for performances. It was exacerbated because even though you found out in the Spring about returning the next season, you didn't see who was swimming naked (meaning the tide would go out) until the Fall. Parents would I think be afraid of telling their dk's they weren't invited back. Happened too often to take it any other way.


As for repeating, many people told me when dd was asked to repeat that it was a nice way of saying goodbye... We were told directly it was related to her injury and they wanted her back., she repeated and moved up the following year. She then had her best year ever and still was not invited back; despite all the investment. Head scratcher...


Every program has an upside downside, like anything you have to weigh the opportunity/strengths/threats and see if it works.

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Please be careful about asking for personal information beyond what a poster has chosen to share. Just a gentle reminder. :wink:


And let's please not get off-topic too far. This thread is for discussions regarding the SAB year-round program. :)

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Thinking about stats. . .I played with numbers around SI acceptance (which is the way into SAB if you don't live in the NYC metro area).


They audition about 2000 (Typo edited) kids, last year they took 192 (9% acceptance)


From the 192 they reportedly select 15% for year round (from their Winter Term FAQs provided to SI participants) (about 28 students--That's a 1.4% chance from the group auditioning for SIs)


Then they seem to take between 0-6 apprentices from their top levels into the company. If I knew the approximate numbers of students in year round, I could calculate the chance of getting into NYCB. If they have 15-20 in their upper levels then you could have a 30% chance at that point.


So it seems like really the hardest part is getting accepted from the SI into year round. Once you are in year round your chances will increase from that pool, but they are not high at all. It's more likely that you wont' go to NYCB than that you will. All the more important to ensure that the training fits your needs and will position you to be marketable.

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Learningdance--this is why posting statistics that are not proven is problematic. If they "auditioned 200 kids and took 192" that would far more than a 9% acceptance. From there it's hard to see the validity of the rest of the post. Errors of that nature make for flawed speculation of any kind.


*typo referenced has been fixed above

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That was a typo, no doubt. My DD had at least 150 in her age group alone last year. Who knows what the actual audition numbers were but I wouldn't be surprised if they had close to 2500 to 3000 kids audition across the country.

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There was a typo.


These are from my first hand experience. The SAB folks directly reported 192 students and directly reported "about 2000."


The 15% comes directly from information that was provided to parents on the portal pages entitled " Winter Term FAQ" I saved i

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Thank you, learning dance. Those stats should be very helpful to those considering SAB. They even match up pretty closely to the two summers my daughter was at SAB in the 1990's.

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