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Summer Intensive against teacher approval


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I totally relate to your post. DD sounds exactly like yours- 12 going on 13 (13 next week so I'll have to find a new spot to post!!), but this will be her second year going away to an SI. My DD really wanted to go away and have new experiences. She spends all time out of educational school either driving to and from the ballet studio, in the ballet studio, doing homework or sleeping. We live far enough from the ballet studio that free time is not spent with the girls from ballet. Not much time available to make friends at a new junior high where the kids that dance go to a dolly dinkle type of school and in order to get her to ballet classes on time she must be signed out of school early three days per week. DD made lasting friendships at her SI last summer (going back to the same one this year!!) and learned alot. She also had "aha" moments- even at auditions!! Her home studio also seems to prefer that the dancers attend their home SI- but luckily so far she has had support about wanting to go away!!:thumbsup:

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I would not blanketedly say that you should ignore the teacher's requests. I think you have to look at the child, look at the SI itself, and then look to see what the actual reasons are for the request.


Many teachers do believe that 12 is too young. There are many valid reasons for that. Do not discount them, but clarify them so that you understand why and then make your decision based on that.

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That's a tough one. You are her mother and know her better than anyone. Some 12 year-olds are not ready to go away; but some 17 year-olds are not either! I think the manner in which your daughter's teacher reacted was maybe not appropriate.

I get annoyed with arbitrary age restrictions. (So Mods... sorry I've I'm off topic.) Certain age restrictions are firm: in the US you must be 18 to vote and 21 to purchase alcohol. Other age restrictions are not! In fact, hasn't parts of the board been devoted to just that... ability grouping vs. age grouping in dance classes! My daughter's level at her pre-pro school has students ages 8-12. To say NO 12 year-old should go to an SI strikes me as narrow-minded on the part of the teacher.

Shara77. Think back to the conversation. Did she say NO 12-year old, or YOUR 12-year old? I think that might make the difference in her credibility.

You sound like a loving mother who wants to do what is best for her daughter. Best wishes with your decision!

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Could it be that there is a communication break-down between parent and teacher? or is this a disagreement of philosophy?


Regardless, take this as an opportunity to ensure that you communicate to the teacher that you want the best training for your child. I would expect the teacher to respect your perspective and also to explain her analysis of the training that can be best provided at her studio.


If you come to realize that there is a major difference in philosophy...then its better to know now. Is the teacher the school owner/director? If not, then talk to the director and discuss this difference.


Sorry if I didn't give too much advice. IMO, there seems to be more needed info before making the decision in accepting the SI.

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In my opinion I think that it may be helpful to share some information about SDP Newton with your daughter's teacher, and attempt a more profitable discussion out of which you will both have a clearer understanding of your daughter's hope to attend that program. The decision may still come down to what her teacher recommends but at least it will be based upon a mutual understanding. If your daughter is truly at a low intermediate level then perhaps that is the reason her teacher would like her to stay at her year round school for the summer. We have definitely been advised about muscle memory and how important it is that wherever our daughter trains during the summer it must at least serve to complement her current training. Her school recommends its own SI but is willing to discuss other summer options as they do not restrict their students to stay at the school's SI. They are however opposed to certain programs and they state which ones and why. Some students have been known to attend those programs against the wishes of the faculty and although it doesn't affect their placement I believe that it sends a strong message of a lack of trust. I personally do not feel that it is appropriate to tamper with that because not only do we as parents have to be able to trust a school, the school in turn has to be able to trust us in following their recommendations as closely and as often as possible.


If your daughter is truly set on going away for the summer and you feel that there is no reason to restrict her from doing so then I would additionally go to the teacher not only with the intent to share the SDP Newton info but also to ask for any other possible programs that may suit where your daughter is in her technical development.

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Okay I'm going to throw this out there. Take it for what its worth. I don't know if this applies to this situation but as I have seen it over and over and over, I think it bears saying...SOME schools (maybe not yours) actually only care about the $$$ especially in these tough times or the EGO of the studio--"only our studio is capable of forming your 12 year old". They come across like "Oh--its about muscle memory" or "they're too young" or "we have adequate training here" . But I have found that these schools (SOME) limit your dancer, mentally as well as physically. Especially mentally.


My and my dd philosophy has always been that we want her to be at a school, with a teacher, or at an SI that is operating with an "open hand philosophy". In other words, outside training is good, beneficial, I-don't-own-you, and you should expand your wings. I have a friend who dd's dance studio continually discourages her about SIs and continually bashes her emotionally when she comes back from one. Yet the mom and dd forge ahead, ignoring the studio's advise and continue getting really good SI offers and scholarships. The school actually punishes the girl (via role placement) and you will find this to be true in many cases--so proceed cautiously. My dd's former ballet teacher often said that if a school does not openly let a girl/parent team decide what they need to do, then IT IS THE WRONG SCHOOL. Maybe while considering Boston, you should also consider a switch of schools? Don't know your situation....


Now the discussion of a 12 year old going to a 5 week SI is a whole other aspect...only you as a parent can decide if she is ready...sounds like she is...you can always visit. But as far as a school telling you what to do, in fact hollering at you what to do...my first and last response is RUN...that is what youe dd doesn't need. :):yes::cool2:

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Her teacher was very angry! She believes in only sending very advanced, older dancers to intensives (my oldest daughter, 17, will be attending Joffrey NY). My youngest, again, 12, is low to mid intermediate level.


dancesaway--the school isn't against SIs in general. Just against SIs for the young ones. I'm not so sure that's a money issue since older students are allowed to go.

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Yes, I see, but in a general manner, this is something to be aware of.


As I said-- But as far as a school telling you what to do, in fact hollering at you what to do...my first and last response is RUN...that is what your dd doesn't need. The over-reaction is just too much and I would be afraid that if the dancer goes ahead with the plan, there would be consequences at the studio. :):yes::cool2:

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Even though this studio allows the older students to attend SI's, the money issue could actually rest with the younger group of twelve year-olds. Maybe this is the group they depend on to stay home in the summer and pay the local studio tuition. That could be the reason for the outburst. That's only a guess. In the end, the summer plans should make the dancer and the family happy with their decision. Hopefully, your dancer attends a studio that supports that final decision.

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Last summer, when we sent my nearly 12 year old (then a rising 7th grader) to an SI across the country for a month, I felt almost sheepish posting about it since she was, I thought, considered to be so young to be going to an "away" SI. When I first started reading this board, the advice was that 14 was a good age to start going to SIs, 13 wasn't bad for certain students in certain situations. As the years have gone on, and more and more people have been sending their young ones off, 12 has become the new 14. Our family, of course, has contributed to the downward trend in starting age for away SIs. The reason we sent her to an away SI, however, was supported on this board: She was not getting a true pre-professional school experience at her very small home studio. We wanted her to get a taste of the "real" ballet world to see if she likes it enough to continue devoting 5 and then 6 days a week to. She loved it, and the difference we were able to see in her motivation and interest at a real pre-pro vs. her home studio has prompted us to find her that real pre-pro experience sooner rather than later. If my daughter had already been at a real pre-pro with excellent training, I doubt very much we would have considered sending her away last summer, and if I trusted the teachers at her ballet school and they advised us against it, I doubt very much that we would go against those recommendations.


Soon, my daughter will be moving to a year round school that does not like their 12 year olds going to "away" SIs. I felt totally fine about that, and understood the reasons, and thought those reasons were valid having spent years reading those very reasons on this board: If they are getting very good to excellent training at their home studios, 12 year olds should stay at their home studios in the summer. They are still developing their muscle memory, and they need the consistency in training in order to develop properly. When they are older, 13, 14, even 15 they can go out in the big world, strong in their technique, and learn from other teachers, other schools, other methods. If the AD does allow teens to go to SIs, I don't think it's safe to assume that her decision is ego or even money driven. :)

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In fact, hasn't parts of the board been devoted to just that... ability grouping vs. age grouping in dance classes!


Yes. We here at Ballet Talk for Dancers do believe that each child is different, and each family must do what works best for them. We will also pass along information, like Momof3 did, about how some teachers think, which can help you in making your decisions.


We will also let you know some generalities, like, "Usually, younger students benefit more from staying at their home school SI because the training has not yet been 'set' in their bodies.....but everyone is different."

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I received the same advice from my DDs teacher as some others on this board. Because it seems that many parents send their kids to away SI's, even at ages as young as 10, I thought that this was kind of the norm. I spoke with DDs teacher at her pre-pro school who said that no one from that school had ever approached her about sending a child as young as 11 away for SI. We do have a very good 4 week program, which my DD does, but I wanted to know if she could benefit from an additional, albeit shorter, SI away. I also appreciate members of this board who gave me good advice about away SI's , particularly the advice about talking with her teacher first, before setting up auditions.


The teacher said that older dancers are encouraged to do away SIs--by this I mean 9-10th grade, but that her concern was that younger dancers may not get the same quality of instruction away as at home, where the teachers know the child well. She said if we wanted to do an away SI, it would be fine, but they just don't encourage it, or think it is necessary at this young age. She also said that many SI classes were quite large (>20 students) which might make it difficult for the younger student to learn.


I don't think this teacher has any hidden agenda vis a vis money, so I think it is just an honest opinion, and as this school seems pretty caring about their dancers, and provides good training, I chose to not pursue an away SI.

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I have been thinking about this subject ever since I read these this morning. My daughter who is 12 yrs. old will be attending two - two week SI's this year. This is her third year. Her first year she attended a two week session. Last year she attended Joffrey NY (which we commuted daily) then she went away to Walnut Hill for three weeks. Her dance studio is very supportive - they even offer scholarships for SI's. Even if they weren't supportive - my feeling is this.... what these children will gain from these programs will far out way what they would experience in their local studios during that time. They are experiencing being away from home, independance, having to make time managment decisions, learning how to live with others, being considerate of others, making lasting friends from other states and countries, learning about different cultures, maybe introduced to a style of dance not offered at their local studio and so much more! How could a studio be so selfish not to want to encourage these children who dedicate so much of their time to them. Let them dance!!!!!!!! 1-5 wks. compared to 10-11 months. Dancers will learn and remember what their instructer expects from them. My 12 yr. old has grown with each program. She is empowered by her experiences each and every summer. Lets support our children in all aspects of this art, which includes SI's.

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Why do we all appear to have a fear of our DD's ballet teachers? We've asked this question locally many times and it appears to be a universal problem. Don't get the teacher mad or we'll pay for it later!


Here's my belief after living through this age group. My little ones got each and every audition they ever took from a very young age including ABT NY and it's equals across the country! My DD's did not attend SI's until age 14 and even then I think it was a tender age to send them away. They grow up quickly at these programs, they have to. There are many reasons for this not withstanding the mean girl's who are out there and can make a child's summer pure misery. This I know from my DD's own experience.


We stayed home because we had an excellent program at home where immense growth was seen each summer. A big name doesn't give the growth but rather excellence in training and hard work and if this can be achieved at home I'm a firm believer in keeping a child at home. When my DD's went away, training wasn't always better than at home. Experiencing other teachers alone is a huge plus. Sometimes it really makes you value what you have at home. They did learn other life lessons as well as ballet technique and artistry and I do believe that they were beneficial, even taking into consideration some co-dancers brutal cruelty.


The bottom line is, you are the best judge as to your child's readiness to encounter the world alone. Weigh the pro's and con's and make your decision for your child's betterment and growth. Dare I say here that the ballet teacher and her attitude should be the last thing you consider but do consider it. Many teachers do not advise younger kids going away. The technique argument is an excellent and quite honestly a valid argument. Do not make a decision out of fear. Take a gut check. As Oprah says our sixth sense is there and always working we just have to tune into it!


There are many years to attend SI's, once you start it is hard to stop. Now my dancers again prefer to be at the home program and opt not to go away. They audition to see how they stack up in the minds of the auditioner, especially for the big schools. In truth, unless your wanting to attend a company attached year round program in the hope of a job in that particular company, going to SI's is not going to get you a job but good training just might. There is so much to consider here! At 12, you have lots of time! You really can't make a mistake.

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"Why do we all appear to have a fear of our DD's ballet teachers? We've asked this question locally many times and it appears to be a universal problem. Don't get the teacher mad or we'll pay for it later!"


Pasdetrois's comment really hit home for me, and is pertinent to my most recent post. Because of a vague discomfort at the thought of talking directly with my DD's teacher about an away SI (at the tender age of 11), I actually contemplated going forward on my own, without talking with the teacher first. Fortunately, common sense, and encouragemnt from sensible members of the board, made me realize that this was just crazy. My DD spends a lot of time at this studio--if I can't talk with her teachers, then what is she doing there?


My discussion with her teacher was very productive, it made me feel very comfortable with the teacher (as well as her other teachers) and I was able to discuss head on the pros and cons of the away SI. I now feel that I can totally trust their judgement and I also feel more free to bring up any other concerns with them.


Their must be a name for irrational fear of ballet teachers--I will have to check the psychiatric text books! :thumbsup:

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