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School of American Ballet


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On 4/25/2021 at 8:59 AM, 5uptown said:

I want to say it was under 5' to even be eligible to come to the casting, but that there are different requirements for different roles (some are shorter than that). Its been a while though, maybe someone with more recent experience can chime in. My kid is tall, so he was pretty young when he aged out (he was 10 the last year he could attend the casting), but he loved doing it. 

Thanks very much -- appreciate the intel.

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LucyIO
On 7/14/2016 at 5:31 PM, michgem said:

Mamaluv, there are many good schools, and to be realistic there are very few kids who continue wanting to dance as the commitment ramps up and very quickly takes up all free time. in ballet moving up quickly is not always the best choice, children develop at different paces, in my experience as long as a child gets good training and enough attention in the class they will get where they need to be if they work hard and love the art. My experience with ballet is "slow and steady wins the race".

Does anyone know how many girls in the children's division move up from girls I to girls II, girls II to girls III, etc. each year? What percentage are cut/held back in a typical year?

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Balletnica
1 hour ago, LucyIO said:

Does anyone know how many girls in the children's division move up from girls I to girls II, girls II to girls III, etc. each year? What percentage are cut/held back in a typical year?

Usually the cut is pretty significant. I would say about a class a level is cut each year. So they go from 5 classes of Prep/Girls I to 4 classes of Girls II to 3 in Girls III, 2 in Girls IV until you are left with 1 in Girls V. Keep in mind that up until Girls III they are also admitting in new students. A small number also repeats each level and the classes tend to be bigger in the lower levels. So while there are usually about 120 girls in Girls I, Girls V only has in the low 20s. Reality is harsh: over the years, 90+% of the girls will be cut/leave. 
 

Obviously, Covid has disrupted this. There were no cuts last year and we have not received placements for next year yet (although they warned there will be cuts again). No one really knows what’s happening with the numbers (except SAB!), especially since there were no auditions last year and this year’s auditions are limited. 

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LucyIO
35 minutes ago, Balletnica said:

Usually the cut is pretty significant. I would say about a class a level is cut each year. So they go from 5 classes of Prep/Girls I to 4 classes of Girls II to 3 in Girls III, 2 in Girls IV until you are left with 1 in Girls V. Keep in mind that up until Girls III they are also admitting in new students. A small number also repeats each level and the classes tend to be bigger in the lower levels. So while there are usually about 120 girls in Girls I, Girls V only has in the low 20s. Reality is harsh: over the years, 90+% of the girls will be cut/leave. 
 

Obviously, Covid has disrupted this. There were no cuts last year and we have not received placements for next year yet (although they warned there will be cuts again). No one really knows what’s happening with the numbers (except SAB!), especially since there were no auditions last year and this year’s auditions are limited. 

Thanks that's helpful -- do the cuts typically come as a surprise to the girls/their families? Or has feedback already been given throughout the year so there's a sense of what's coming?

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Balletnica
3 hours ago, LucyIO said:

Thanks that's helpful -- do the cuts typically come as a surprise to the girls/their families? Or has feedback already been given throughout the year so there's a sense of what's coming?

Feedback is once a year (usually in February). That’s it. If you get called in for the dreaded longer conference (as opposed to the shorter 5 minute one), that’s usually a sign of trouble. Honestly, many parents in the lower levels are caught off guard by the cuts because they’re not good at interpreting the feedback. SAB has made an effort to make the conferences more specific so that non-ballet parents can better understand the feedback. The cuts are tough because they really have nothing to do with a student’s effort, especially in the lower levels. It is so much about natural balletic predisposition. For example, if the teachers conclude that a student’s turnout is not sufficient for ballet, that’s it. There is nothing anyone can do to “fix” the problem, no matter how much they try. This leads to plenty of bitter disappointment at the end of the year. 

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bellwether
20 hours ago, Balletnica said:

Feedback is once a year (usually in February). That’s it. If you get called in for the dreaded longer conference (as opposed to the shorter 5 minute one), that’s usually a sign of trouble. Honestly, many parents in the lower levels are caught off guard by the cuts because they’re not good at interpreting the feedback. SAB has made an effort to make the conferences more specific so that non-ballet parents can better understand the feedback. The cuts are tough because they really have nothing to do with a student’s effort, especially in the lower levels. It is so much about natural balletic predisposition. For example, if the teachers conclude that a student’s turnout is not sufficient for ballet, that’s it. There is nothing anyone can do to “fix” the problem, no matter how much they try. This leads to plenty of bitter disappointment at the end of the year. 

This is current, detailed info thus extremely helpful, even during this time of Covid. Thank you. This also aligns with what other parents have hinted at. Do summer intensive dancers ALL fit the traditional mold of the balletic predisposition 'and then some'... do they measure up to those enrolled full-time? I am trying to better understand bridge between the two.

Would you say summer intensive dancers have more or less of an advantage than the current year-round students? (Wondering if it is tougher if you've been full-time, winter term, starting at a younger age - to continue to move up vs. coming in from a summer invitation.)

Lastly, what tends be the youngest age/level that are invited to stay for winter term? i.e. the Junior Session is ages 10-12 while the regular intensive is 12+. Do they invite ages below 13 to stay for winter term and generally in which levels?

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Balletnica
22 hours ago, bellwether said:

This is current, detailed info thus extremely helpful, even during this time of Covid. Thank you. This also aligns with what other parents have hinted at. Do summer intensive dancers ALL fit the traditional mold of the balletic predisposition 'and then some'... do they measure up to those enrolled full-time? I am trying to better understand bridge between the two.

Would you say summer intensive dancers have more or less of an advantage than the current year-round students? (Wondering if it is tougher if you've been full-time, winter term, starting at a younger age - to continue to move up vs. coming in from a summer invitation.)

Lastly, what tends be the youngest age/level that are invited to stay for winter term? i.e. the Junior Session is ages 10-12 while the regular intensive is 12+. Do they invite ages below 13 to stay for winter term and generally in which levels?

My understanding is that winter term invites from the summer programs are for kids 14 and above (level B2 and up), which is when the option of a dorm becomes available. The Children’s Division is only for students in the tri-state area who can commute to the school. I am personally unaware of any student 13 and younger who came into the winter term from the summer programs. All seem to come from auditions, most from the spring auditions for those 10 and under and an individual few from the September audition for older kids. Of the latter group, the girls got placed in Girls III (the level right before pointe) even though they had been on pointe already (and auditioned as such). I know of no girls in IV or V ( the pointe levels) that moved up from outside of SAB. 
 

My understanding of the upper levels in the Children’s Division is that they are meant to trim down the ranks of existing students (as opposed to being an entry point for new ones). Of the 20+ girls in Girls V, about 20 will move on to B1, the first level of Intermediate. By the end of that year, only a handful (most years it can be just 1 or 2) will move on to B2. Keep in mind, many of those girls choose not to re-enroll because continuing on to B2 means giving up the traditional high school experience. Also, many kids enroll in the Children’s Division because they want the opportunity to do shows. Girls V is the last level for any show participation. Still, the numbers are drastic: of the 120 or so girls that start in Girls I only 1 or 2 will continue onto B2. 
 

B2 is the main (and biggest) entry point for students into the winter term from the summer programs. B2 requires students to be high school age. I would say that outstanding technique is the main evaluative factor in the Intermediate and Advanced levels and that strong technique can overcompensate for physical “deficiencies.” We joke that Lauren Lovette (who can’t keep her heals down when she plies because the muscle is not long enough) would never have survived in the Children’s Division. Still, there definitely continues to be a preference for certain specific balletic traits. 

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bellwether
6 hours ago, Balletnica said:

My understanding is that winter term invites from the summer programs are for kids 14 and above (level B2 and up), which is when the option of a dorm becomes available. The Children’s Division is only for students in the tri-state area who can commute to the school. I am personally unaware of any student 13 and younger who came into the winter term from the summer programs. All seem to come from auditions, most from the spring auditions for those 10 and under and an individual few from the September audition for older kids. Of the latter group, the girls got placed in Girls III (the level right before pointe) even though they had been on pointe already (and auditioned as such). I know of no girls in IV or V ( the pointe levels) that moved up from outside of SAB. 
 

My understanding of the upper levels in the Children’s Division is that they are meant to trim down the ranks of existing students (as opposed to being an entry point for new ones). Of the 20+ girls in Girls V, about 20 will move on to B1, the first level of Intermediate. By the end of that year, only a handful (most years it can be just 1 or 2) will move on to B2. Keep in mind, many of those girls choose not to re-enroll because continuing on to B2 means giving up the traditional high school experience. Also, many kids enroll in the Children’s Division because they want the opportunity to do shows. Girls V is the last level for any show participation. Still, the numbers are drastic: of the 120 or so girls that start in Girls I only 1 or 2 will continue onto B2. 
 

B2 is the main (and biggest) entry point for students into the winter term from the summer programs. B2 requires students to be high school age. I would say that outstanding technique is the main evaluative factor in the Intermediate and Advanced levels and that strong technique can overcompensate for physical “deficiencies.” We joke that Lauren Lovette (who can’t keep her heals down when she plies because the muscle is not long enough) would never have survived in the Children’s Division. Still, there definitely continues to be a preference for certain specific balletic traits. 

Thank you for taking the time to share numbers among levels and more about the process end of it all, such valuable insight. Your last paragraph perfectly articulates what I could not. I love Lauren and will miss her as a dancer but like you say, there are some who would have been cut if they'd been students 11 but snapped up for their advanced technique and artistry at 14/15. The funnel in the children's division is even narrower than I imagined, but makes sense….  Harder to determine where the level of technique will lead in 4 years so they zero in on feet and turnout anatomy etc.

 
During/after B2 are the eliminations at the same, swift pace or are they keeping most through the advanced levels, leaving apprenticeship as the end, elusive goal for a select few?
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Balletnica
On 5/28/2021 at 7:33 PM, bellwether said:

During/after B2 are the eliminations at the same, swift pace or are they keeping most through the advanced levels, leaving apprenticeship as the end, elusive goal for a select few?

I don’t have enough firsthand experience yet to be able to answer that question for you. All I can say for now is that the end of the year comes with a lot of anxiety for everyone. 

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bellwether

I can only imagine. You've clearly provided them a great support system. Lots of luck to your dancer(s) this year.

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