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my 10 yr old was accepted to the RWB

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I'm newly registered here and so I hope I am not posting in the wrong place!


My daughter was asked in the fall to audition for the RWB by her ballet teacher. We live in a very small town in a northern community. This was a new teacher to our town who commuted from a larger center. She said we could make a DVD audition and send it in if we were interested. I thought about it and never imagining that my daughter would be accepted, we made the DVD for the experience, and because my daughter loves dance.


I sent in the DVD, even without the letter of recommendation from a teacher (the one who recommended her ended up moving and could not submit a letter for various reasons). But, because it was for the experience of auditioning, I wasn't worried about it and it didn't bother me that we didn't have a letter.


The school emailed me and asked if I had a letter of recommendation, but that I would have until May 2010 to get one. Having no way to get one (her other dance teacher would not write one, again for various reasons), I just left it. Well they emailed me 2 days later stating that they had made a decision. On Monday we had a letter of acceptance for the summer session to the professional program.


Well, my daughter just turned 10. I cannot imagine sending her away to live in residence, possibly for the remainder of her childhood (although I would consider it if she were older). She loves dance and part of her would love to go, but she also says it would be too hard for her to be away from home.


I was totally unprepared for her to be accepted. I knew my daughter loved ballet but never imagined that dancing in a professional school for her could be a possibility, it never crossed my mind.


So now I am feeling completely turned upside down ... worried that by turning down the offer I am closing an important door that will never exist for her again (I don't know how these things work!), but sending her away at 10 to live in a residency does not feel right at this point in time either.


Has anyone else had to make a similar decision?


I will be reading and learning from this forum to see what might be possible for her in the future.

Edited by momtodancer
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I see no problem in sending her for the summer session. It will be a learning curve for you both, she to see just how much daily work is involved in becoming a professional dancer, and you in seeing if this is really what you and your daughter want for her. I agree that 10 is much to young to consider for a year round program ( from our experience with RWB they dont board them in residence that young full time). Best of luck in making this decision! My DD did go away at 10 to her 1st SI,didnt stay year round, but after her 1st SI at RWB, moved there for 9 years ...

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, momtodancer!!!


First off- breathe!!! She obviously shows some promise at this point in her development, and if it's meant to be that she'll be a dancer, other opportunities will happen in the future.


10 is extrememly young for North Americans to be sending their children away to train for anything, but it has been done for years in other places. What matters here is not what works for others, but what works for your family. If you think 10 is too young, then don't send her. Period. Find the best possible training you can locally until time reveals whether this will actually be a viable career option for her.


If for any reason (though I can't think of one) RWB fails to accept her in the future, there are many, many other places to train. I would want to be sure I had a teacher who placed my child's best interests above her/his own, and so would encourage training in whatever may be best for my child at any particular time.

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Thanks, this is all so new to me and although my older daughter has been in ballet for 10 years and my youngest for 6 years (the one who got accepted to RWB), this is a side of ballet I have never considered before and feel a little panicked at the whole idea and the responsibility it entails to help support my daughter.

Edited by momtodancer
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Wise posts from dbleon and clara 76. If your daughter is keen to go for the summer program and family finances allow, it could be a very positive experience. My dd also went to her first SI at 10 (actually she had gone somewhere else the year before, but for only 2 weeks and her older sister was there too). Dd found that some kids were fine being away from home at that age; other girls may have been very talented but struggled being away from family and home for that length of time. It's really such an individual decision!


RWBS is used to having the younger ones in the summer (speaking from experience), and they do take good care of them. There are lots of evening activities to choose from as well - which is particularly good for the younger ones.


Congratulations to you and your dd, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers!!



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I think you should view this as a mother - you know your daughter and her security and happiness are more important than anything. Some children don't even begin training properly until they are ten, so I don't think that you have to be worried that she will lose out. I am sure that if, as it seems, she is talented and is taught correctly at her local school, nothing will happen if you wait until both you and your daughter feel that she is ready to move on and away from home.


America and Canada are huge countries - the distances are great. Whilst it is true that in England schools take boarders from an early age, the distances from home are much less and there is much easier continuous contact with the family. I believe they can go home at weekends if they live near enough. I chose not to board when I was that age, because I didn't want to leave home and I know I couldn't have coped with it. Whatever might or might not have happened to my dancing career because of that, I don't regret the decision. Some children can cope on their own, some can't.


If she does attend the summer school (and I agree that that would be a good way for her to try things out) is there any chance that you could volunteer as a house mother or perhaps come up for weekends to be with her? I don't know what is usual in these summer schools - if it's even allowed - but it's just a thought. Also, would she have to do the full five weeks or at that age can they do less? The summer schools in England for 10/11 year olds are only usually a week long. One or two weeks is ideal for first timers, I think.

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With this particular school, it's not possible for parents to stay in the residence with the students, but some choose to stay off-site. There is an apartment complex nearby that rents furnished apartments by the month, however if you have other children at home this may not be a possibility and there isn't a great deal for a tourist for that length of time (a few days yes, my apologies to Winnipeggers, but a month of a visit is a long time)...


Some parents go with their younger ones for the first weekend, and then again at the end of the session to watch class and talk to the teacher(s). Of course cost of travel is also a factor here, but it does give you a sense of what the place is all about.


As for the year-round, there are classes on Saturdays, so unless your family home is very close indeed it isn't possible to go home every weekend.


momtodancer, did you and your dd ever see the documentary "Ballet Girls"? That might give you a glimpse of things. It was produced by Merit Motion Pictures - there are probably bits and pieces of it on their website. There was a later one called "Ballet High," but it focusses on students in their graduating year so wouldn't be as applicable to your current situation.


All the best!!



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I would love to send her to the summer session, I really would. I worry about her getting homesick though, she has been away from me for 2 days maximum.



The reality is that we will have to move at some point, or she will, to pursue dance. We have a "recreational" dance club and are never sure if we will have a teacher year to year. The closest training she could get at a level that would be remotely adequate is a 2 1/2 hour drive one way.

Edited by momtodancer
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Sorry if I missed this, but where in the US will you be for 2 years? There may be some very good schools in the area and Ballet Talk members may be able to help you. Just a thought.....

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I did find a school, the El Paso Conservatory of Dance, which is according to the website a pre-professional program. I have no idea what that means and I'm not sure what to be looking for or what to be asking when I phone the school. Should I post this question in a different part of the board?

Edited by momtodancer
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EPCD in El Paso is a Very good school! My husband and I have taught their summer 2 week intensive and both of us were impressed with the students. They continue to get into very competitive SIs and year round placement. It is a new school with an old faculty, meaning the school was formed when the pro company closed. They are great to work with. In my opinion, it is the only school in El Paso with the kind of training and staff that will keep your daughter moving in the direction of potential residence schools. Please feel free to PM ne if you would like more details!

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momtodancer, if your question is 'what to ask when interviewing a school?' we do have threads that can help. I can't seem to put my finger on them right this instant, but hopefully someone else can. Or, simply scroll through some of the more general forums and drop in on threads that deal with such.


If your question is 'what pre-professional schools are there near El Paso?', we have a whole Forum entitled 'Finding a Pre-Pro Ballet School' that is organized into individual threads by location, some more finely tuned than others, but all in alphabetical order by State or Country, first, then by area or specific city/town. (There isn't currently one specifically focused on El Paso alone. It would become unwieldy to have every single city/town listed).


So, for your purposes, you'd look first for a thread entitled 'Ballet Schools in Texas', then check to see if there is one pertaining to a wider area that encompasses El Paso. If not, you are welcome to start one specifically for El Paso and/or its surrounding area.

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Thank you dancemaven. I have checked out those areas to see if there was anything about ballet schools in El Paso.

I will try and find the threads about interviewing schools.

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