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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Residency Programs - advantages and disadvantages

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Last night my mom and I were just laying in my bed talking about stuff. I sure wasn't planning on telling her about the binder, but it just kind of came out. I'm glad that she saw it, though. It was good because I could see that she was trying to see things in my point of view. We both decided that I should show it to my dad later this week since he will be on vacation and in a good mood. It was also good because she told me about things that I should change or remove before showing him the binder.

As you said, Kellinger, I should probably talk to my ballet teacher. She went to Harid, so she would probably be able to help. I have another dance teacher who went to another residency program who has convinced my parents that everyone who goes to a residency program ends up mesed up. nice, huh?

PointeDriver, I've never heard of intensives during the academic year. Do you know which ones have them?

My mom really liked the schools who weigh their students throughout the year. Is it true that Harid only weighs their dancers once in the fall, or do the weigh them frequently? I know that NCSA and Kirov do, but are there others?

Thank you sooo much for all of the help! I appreciate it!! :D

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  • vrsfanatic


  • Clara 76


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  • Grishkorina


Harid no longer weighs students on a regular basis unless advised by a Medical Doctor or the parents of the student.

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Since you are more than a year away from going to a residency program, perhaps this is not something that we need to discuss at this time. Let's think about that later, when it may not be an issue. :D

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Oh, okay. sorry.

My parents are just concerned about how eating disorders are just common for ballet dancers, and they want to be able to monitor my weight. Plus, I'm very skinny and I have a super high metabolism... which may sound like a blessing to some people, but it's really not. With dancing so much, I have to make sure that I'm getting enough fat grams or I easily dip underweight into an unhealthy weight. I see a nutrionist, and I was wondering... do most residential programs have nutritionists?

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Nutritionists might or might not be in residence, however, I think every program will have someone who serves as an advisor when needed.

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The availability of a nutritionist might vary from year to year, too, based on various school administrative issues. In other words, a school may have someone one year, and not provide one the next year. If having a nutritionist consistently available is important to your family, you can add that to a "non-negotiable" list if you begin to make a list of pros and cons for each school. Keep in mind that some schools may not have a nutritionist, but might be able to recommend someone off-site that you could meet with on a periodic or regular basis. The cost is born by the family if it is not covered by medical insurance, though. As Ms. Leigh pointed out, there may often be someone, not a nutritionist per-se, that could act as an advisor, such as a school nurse.

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Some schools will offer a one week program during a school break. You would need to check with each school as plans can change from year to year. Bossov Ballet has, in the past, offered a spring break intensive, but not in the past two years. You may find several schools that will offer additional classes during spring break rather than close for that time period.

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NCSA does weight, body fat, weight issues assessments at the beginning of each term (Fall, Winter, Spring). There is a lot of emphasis on nutrition and I do know of girls who were called in because there were concerns they were too thin. I know girls have been sent home in previous years because of eating disorders the school did not feel could be handled on campus.


Even for girls in normal weight ranges, it can be difficult eating in a school cafeteria. The boredom factor, the picky eater factor and the not enough time factor can make healthy eating difficult. My daughter sees an acupuncturist in Winston who works with endurance athletes. It is easy to overextend yourself, particularly if you have a heavy rehearsal schedule, and dd is now taking supplements and is testing out various protein bars, powders etc. to find ways to get more protein in her diet. Students can have refrigerators and microwaves in their rooms and there are trips to shopping centers - one near a very nice Harris Teeter grocery - so there are ways to get healthy snacks and meals outside the cafeteria. Unless you're in a science class doing experiments, dancers are allowed to eat in all academic classes and the academic staff is very understanding and accommodating.


Part of being a dancer is learning to take care of your body and to establish habits which will help your career. It is a lot to ask of girls who may be only 13 or 14 when they start at a residential program, but most schools have resources and health practitioners available to help. If dancers need more intensive help, Winston-Salem has a lot of options. Students can sign up for host families and many host families can help with rides to appointments. The important thing is to know what you need and not to be afraid to ask for help. The residential programs you mentioned in earlier posts have great reputations and parents trust their dancers to these programs for good reasons. As a parent, I also needed to trust that my daughter could make good decisions without the family structure there to support and guide her.


I'm glad your mom is working with you and I wish you all the best as you explore the possibilities with your family. Take care.

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Every program has its pros and cons. You won't find the perfect program but you can find the best fit for you. One of the criteria we looked at was where do the graduates go? Do they get jobs with companies, do they go to university programs, etc. We of course wanted a nurturing environment and great technical training. Some programs have more performance opportunities than others. That is one piece that my daughter misses in her resident program but she felt the training element was more important. She loves her classes but still misses performing. Take your time and do your homework, it pays off in the end.


Maine Ballet

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just an update for everyone! My parents listened to what I had to say this time. They said that they just have to see how this year goes. So, now I have to even just decide what dance studio i'm going to in the fall. Unfortuantly, the only good pre-pro ballet school in the area is an hour away, and my parents understandably don't want to drive two hours every day. If only gas wasn't so expensive.... :wacko:

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Good going, Grishkorina!!!


Now, you'll have to demonstrate your maturity during this year by helping out around the house, doing your chores without being asked, and generally not get into trouble. You'll also have to keep your grades up- waaaay up, AND stay healthy so your parents see that you can be responsible.


I have no doubt that you can do this.


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Thanks! I'm going to try so hard this year to show them that I can do this.

If it's alright, I have another question. Sorry, I guess I ask a ton of things!

As I said before, the studio that I'm currently at is modern based. I was wondering if, by the things i'll tell you, it sounds like I can stay at it for another year or if I should definately look somewhere else. Some of the girls aren't exactly welcoming me back, but I suppose that silly girls shouldn't keep me from my training.

Here's the information:

- For my level, there are two technique and pointe classes offered a week. Since there aren't a lot of class times for my level, I usually took lower levels classes. There is one class offered for the level right below mine, and there are two classes offered for the level below that. If I were taking all of those classes, that would be 5 classes a week. I obviously don't get a lot of attention from the teachers in the lower classes, but hey, it's another time to work on my technique!

- Each of the classes are 2 hours ( 1 1/2 hours for technique class and a half hour for pointe)

- The teacher that I would have at my level is a modern dancer..... but she's teaching us ballet. :thumbsup:

- Last year, there were about 5 of us who really focused on ballet.

- There is one character class offered for my level.

Are there anymore things that you would have to know?

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for all of the help! I APPRECIATE IT SO SO MUCH! :wink:


As I said before, the only good ballet school around is an hour away. :)

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Well, it sounds like you're going to have to make the best of it. A couple of ideas:

Would your parents be willing to take you to the studio that's an hour away maybe one day a week? Say, saturdays? That might be an option.


Or, keep on doing what you have planned by taking the 5 ballet classes and 5 pointe classes per week, and spend some time reading and researching so that you can get the most out of those classes?


Perhaps supplementing by getting videos out of the library so that you have a good basic understanding of some of the major classical works might help.


Definitely take the character class too.


Then when it comes time to audition for Year-round programs, spend some time writing a cover letter for your resume telling of your unique situation and how you've been able to deal with it, and how hard you're willing to work the next few years to catch up to your peers. I have a feeling that if you do this, and if things are meant to be, then they will happen. :)

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Clara76, I hope you don't mind if I ask a "spin-off" question related to the advice you gave Grishkorina in the previous post, regarding writing a cover letter when auditioning for residencies, stating that she will work hard to catch up to her peers if accepted. Students do come in to residencies with varying backgrounds; some have had excellent training previously and were quite sought-after by the residencies, others had trained at that very residency as commuting students, and still others, like Grishkorina, had less than optimal training and have a lot of catching up to do, if they are accepted (and, as I wrote on another thread, it is hard for such dancers sometimes to be accepted, since some programs have very limited enrollment and want to invite only the best-trained dancers, creating a "Catch-22" for dancers like Grishkorina). My question is: if accepted, is it truly possible for less-well-trained dancers to ever catch up, since the well-trained ones at the residencies keep on improving also? Is there a kind of plateau where it all evens out, but the less-well-trained ones just take longer to get there? By the way, this is not meant to imply that Grishkorina or any other dancer is not a good dancer, only that they haven't had the best pre-pro training or enough of it. If this needs to be moved to another thread, please feel free to do that. Also, other teachers' replies are most welcome! Thanks!

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