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School of American Ballet

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Just out of curiosity, is there anyone here who knows if a dancer 14 or over can stay in the dorms if they come from another state that is within commuting distance? And if so does the SAB address now give that dormer the ability to attend the public performing arts school -PPAS (not sure if this is correct).



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I don't think so.  DD has friends from CT and NY who commute. There is some type of rule. I don't know what the mileage is? I do think, however, that it might be less difficult to get in if you don't need a dorm spot. When DD did it several years ago, they said that they only had about 60 dorm spots.

You can ask. 

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Hi Lisa, to my understanding, any student who lives out-of-state can apply for housing. Those residing in NY can also apply given they live too far to commute daily (what I got was that this means outside of NYC, such as upstate). Housing is limited, however, so scholarship students are usually given rooms first. The remaining rooms seem to be given based on age and level of difficulty to commute. 

In order to attend a NYC public school, the student would have to provide proof of a NYC address. So, yes, the student would be able to attend PPAS, as many SAB students have done for years. Some also attend LaGuardia, which has a better reputation for academics & is much closer (within walking distance) to SAB. Another option many SAB families choose is PCS (Professional Children’s School), which is also in walking distance, but note that this one is private & therefore costs tuition. 

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Thank you Dance Mom.  We live in NJ very near to NYC.  I was just dreaming that if my DD was promoted to a level where she cannot attend her normal high school, she might be able to dorm at SAB, which would allow her to attend PPAS.  PPAS unlike LaGuardia, fits the child’s academics around the dancers ballet lesson schedual.  I like my DD new high school in NJ which offers dance, but I am a dreamer, and if by some chance.......she is promoted, and ballet is still her passion....well like I said, a mother and daughter can dream so I wanted a plan.

Thank you!


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DanceMumNYC (and anyone else reading) a student cannot realistically attend LaGuardia and SAB, even though they are physically so close. The schedule is not workable (most LGA students stay until 4PM, and by high school, SAB students have early afternoon classes, or even some during the day). Also, neither school is supportive of a student doing that. 

LisaRG don't discount PCS, despite the very high tuition-- they do have need-based financial aid and seem to be very flexible with the dance students. And yes, of course dorm students can attend PPAS, and quite a few do. Of course you can also always ask about dorm spots, and try and make a case for why they should allocate one to your dancer, but its not something I would count on if you are within a reasonable commuting distance. 

Editing to add: I have recent first hand experience of my child applying for high school and entering the intermediate levels at SAB. I want to just be clear that SAB told us that the two options they support are PPAS (public) and PCS (private). We know personally students who made the choice to attend LaGuardia, and were told they could not continue at SAB due to schedule. Many SAB students, both residential and local, attend both PPAS and PCS. Students from those high schools are accepted to a variety of colleges every year including elite schools. Both programs offer some AP and advanced options. But if your family wishes your child to pursue a more intensive academic high school, there are several excellent ballet schools which hold classes in afterschool hours only. SAB classes for intermediate and advanced students take place during some school hours and SAB has a formal relationship with two academic schools specifically because they will work with the ballet students, and SAB does emphasize the need for a complete secondary education. PPAS is limited to students who have a nyc address (including the SAB dorm) and PCS is not, it is tuition based, but it does have financial aid for qualified students. 

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I can confirm 5uptown's comments about the incompatibility of SAB and LaGuardia.  One of my daughters (a modern dancer, not the ballet dancer) attended LaGuardia for dance, and the few SAB students in the dance studio left after 9th grade.  They were ok through level B1 at SAB, but once they hit B2 they have early afternoon classes, as 5uptown notes.  LaGuardia is unwilling to accommodate that schedule.  My ballet dancer daughter attended PCS, though she did not train at SAB.  PCS is very flexible in terms of scheduling and we were more or less satisfied with the level of academic rigor.   

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To my knowledge, most LaGuardia students don’t have 10th period, which ends around 4, unless they have to make up classes or choose to take even more electives for a good transcript for college. 9th period ends around 3-3:30, but if a student chooses to forgo a lunch period, they can get out by 2:30. This is what my nephew did this year. Once the afternoon dance classes start, I think attending any public high school becomes difficult. In our experience, private schools in general are way more flexible & tend to end earlier. So I would agree that PCS is the most flexible option for professional & pre-prof kids as that’s what it exists for. We looked at it for DD for middle school so that she’d be a little closer to her dance studio, but the academics weren’t on par with her current K-12 school. When considering any school, I think it’s important to visit (sometimes several times), have your child shadow during the school day, and ask questions! Think of the long-term dance requirements & show the school a potential future dance schedule to see if they can accommodate it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a question for those whose daughters were asked to stay for winter term.

A friend of mine called and spoke with Amara, the registrar, and she said at this time they almost exclusively ask 14 and 15-year-olds. That they almost never ask kids older than that now because they want to have 3-4 years to train them and mold them in the SAB way.

After learning this, I wondered about SI levels and which levels dancers were in when they get asked to stay.

If your daughter was asked to stay in the past, could you tell me which summer intensive level she was in, how old she was, and how many levels there were that summer? I know the number of levels has ranged over the years. One year there were maybe only 6 levels and at one point it was as many as 9 levels. This summer there are 7 levels.

I read that Sara Mearns was 16 when she was asked to stay, but that was in 2001. A search of more recent newspaper articles (local newspapers writing an article about a dancer being asked to stay at SAB for winter term) shows that they are all 14 and 15.

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Hi PDX mom

My DD did the summer program a few years ago and I don't remember exactly.  She was in level 4 and a bunch of kids were asked.  But there were also kids asked in level 3 and 5 and 6. I don't know that the SI level is the really focus, as much as it is the age--and, well,  sounds like the registrar actually confirms that.  I think its age more than level. 

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Thanks, learningdance. 

My DD is upset about her level placement for the summer (she has a summer birthday, so that makes things weird) and is afraid that because it wasn't the highest level (7) that she for sure won't be asked to stay. She thought that is would be levels 6 and 7 that would be considered to stay for winter term.

It is encouraging to hear you say that levels 3, 4, 5, and 6 have been asked in the past.

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Please do NOT post information/comments regarding the summer program on THIS thread; it is for the year-round program ONLY.

A number of SI posts have been moved to the appropriate SI thread.

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  • 1 month later...

Just for clarification.  While most of the dancers asked to stay for the winter term are 14-15 (asked into levels B2 and C1) they accept older dancers every year.  My dd was asked at 16 (almost 17) into C2 and a dancer this year was asked into level D.  It depends on what the faculty at SAB see in the dancer and the number of spots available in each level.  

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hersupport, do you know how old the dancer was who was invited into level D? Male or female? Trying to determine if the ship has completely sailed for my DD. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi! We just had orientation last night at SAB for the prep program for my son. I am confused about what happens after this year. We were told that some students might move onto the Children's Division after one year, some might need a second year of prep and then move onto Children's Division, and some might do two years of prep and then be asked to leave. Will some children do one year of prep and be asked to leave, without the option of a second year?


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