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The Nutmeg Conservatory


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My 14 yr old ds is now attending the Nutmeg for SI. We are considering letting him go for hs. He loves it there and is very talented. My concern is his not living at home and the supervision of the boys at Nutmeg. I have read one post on this site that really trashes the dorms. We were about ready to agree to send him until I came across that post about the dorms and now i can't even sleep as he is still there for 5 days. Anyone with insight?> :shrug:

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Well conazza, that's a very valid concern to have I'm afraid. Teens will do what they will, and it doesn't necessarily matter where it is. I've heard horror stories coming out of Church camps, band camps, football camps, and of course, academic and ballet residency programs.


I think what is key here is your child. You know your child. Is he a follower? Is he generally breaking rules at home? Is he getting into trouble in academic school? Does he handle responsibility well- doing his chores at home without being asked, abiding by curfews etc.? Has he demonstrated a strong opinion on drugs and alcohol and has the education about these things to back it up? Have you had talks with him about 'birds and bees' and do you have a handle on where he's at with regards to those issues??


Those are some of the questions I would have for myself if I were considering sending my child to any boarding school anywhere.


Kids can get into trouble anywhere, but there are some kids who won't regardless of where they are. Some children are so passionate and driven that they wouldn't let "being popular" or following along with the crowd mess up their futures. Others don't quite think that much in advance, and I'd really want to know which group my child might fall into.


Good luck with your decision. I know it's a difficult one. The other thing you might conside is having a look into other residency programs to see what the differences are in supervision. Ask to talk to former and current parents. read the forums here. :shrug:

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I could write pages on this, but will only add one or two things to what Clara76 has stated: it might help to consider how your son likes to entertain himself during down hours. I don't usually like to generalize, but in this case I will, just to try and get my point across. What I've seen is, often, the girls away at school are able to entertain themselves by reading, knitting, or doing other quiet activities. For many (thought not all) boys, they need something more active, even after a full day of classes. I think of the evenings and how much reading I could get done - or studying. My own DS thinks of out-of-class time as free time and wants to "do something." Of my three boys, only one could just pick up a book and entertain himself. Knowing your own son's personality, likes and dislikes, energy level, etc. really helps when looking at a boarding school. One who really needs to get out and about will be quite stifled by some schools.


One other quick thought - I really don't think it matters how much supervision is available - I've come to realize there are no barriers if kids won't to do things they shouldn't be doing. This goes for boys and girls.


My own son went away his sophomore year. It was tough. His junior year - he turned 16 during that year - was a whole lot better. Not sure if it was an age thing or just having that first year as experience.

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Thank you both so much for you invaluable advice. My son has never been a follower. He has done ballet since 6 and when he tried to quit at the start of middle school because of comments from friends, he couldn't stand not doing it and went back before 2 weeks were up. He is the only boy at his school and has deal with teasing and bulling by his classmates at school and has come out a better person and dancer because of it. I don't want to hold him back. Everyone has told us that he is an extremely talented dancer.


He for the first time seems to have friends that he has many things in common with but even though he is one of the pack, While he has been gone this summer he has gone up to his room and called us when the other boys were too rowdy for him.


At his regular school this year it seemed like the most difficult testing times at school were the same times of big productions at ballet and it was very difficult on him to do both well...and given the choice ballet always won out!


We have had many of the talks with him that you mention, but he has yet to go through a growth spurt and I have heard that kids can really lose their heads during that time and that is what scares me. I truly trust in the kid he is right now...it just worry about how he may change.


Anyway thanks so much for the advice...it is very comforting.

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I have a DD but I also have a son who really wanted to do study abroad since he was in his 5th grade. He was learning a language and all the time in his mind was that he WILL move to Europe and study there. It never crossed my mind that he will go that early, but opportunity came around in sophomore year and he went. It was hard, he was going through growth period, we did explain all the little details of the adult life and we were always available via phone/computer to discuss any of the issues. There were temptations, and he handled them very well. He is more mature now and he is asking for permission to stay another year. I do miss him, but I can not take such a opportunity away from him. He is very young, he will be junior and turning 16 this fall, but his is enjoying his life/education and his dream is coming through.

As a parents - we are really happy that we were able to give him such a gift. Yes, occasionally some oopsis came around but he is very open, well rounded kid and I trust him and am proud of him. Trust your feelings - you know him the best, and assure him that you are always there for him. And of course if you need to see him for any reason make that trip - in a long run - it will make your relationship stronger.

Good luck on your decision.

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We do not at all regret allowing our son to go to a residency program. It hasn't been all smooth, but we know that, at least for him, public school combined with ballet would have been a nightmare. And temptations are available in every environment, both public schools as well as residency programs. It's just more obvious in some places than in others. I, too, concur that open communication is invaluable. But make sure you're OK with a possible decrease in communication. That was the hardest part for me, especially since we had communicated so often before. When DS went away, he essentially took complete ownership of his dance future. We were invited for performances, but that was it. He did not let us know when there were problems - he simply dealt with them himself. Sometimes we found out, but not always, and usually months later. While that certainly shows a maturity, it can be very frustrating not being there to help. Or knowing there are problems at all. If you do decide to try Nutmeg, you can still do research about other schools. If you end up not being happy at the school, you would have other options to explore and your son could make sure he audtions for those other schools' SI programs (if required) or audition for other programs in the winter. Good luck with your decision, though.

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Some of the residencies that our member's kids are at are:


The Rock



Houston Ballet

John Cranko (Stuttgart)

Kirov Academy

National Ballet School of Canada

NCSA (North carolina School of the Arts)

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Hi Conazza, I have a long history with Nutmeg since my daughter trained there for 14 years. I'll be down at the studio later this week to take a peek at the SI students. Will you be there at all? Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend any of the performances. I love meeting Ballet Talk parents though, and have made many friends over the years doing so. I'd love to meet you. :sweating:


I did watch some of the young men in a rehearsal last week, so probably saw your son. :dry: My daughter might know him too. She was one of the main teachers during the earlier SI session this summer, but just taught for the first week of the current session.


Sorry to post this online, but I see you don't yet have PM privileges.

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Yes I will be there on Fri and Sat for the classes and performances and would love to meet with anyone that can offer insight. I'm sure you did see my son...I think he's the shortest one there! I don't know how to get PM privileges.

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Darn! I'll be out of town Friday and Saturday. With the moderators' permission, I'm putting my email address up here for a short time tonight, so you can give me a shout via email rather than doing it here online. Please post here when copy it, so I can delete it from this post.


email address deleted by me

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