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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Schools in Houston


finallykf

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Slight possibility we may be relocating to Houston. Houston Ballet Company looks very good on it's website. Any opinions? Also any suggestions of other schools in the Houston area that are strong in ballet but also offer other forms of dance? We would probably be living in the Katy area but would be willing to travel for quality training. Thanks!

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Victoria Leigh

Houston Ballet's school is as good as it gets, finallykf! It's really an excellent school. I have yet to see better training anywhere, and I've been to a LOT of places!

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My son just finished a summer intensive at Houston Ballet and loved it. I have heard great things about Allegro West in Katy and I've seen them perform and their students' technique is amazing. So, if you don't want to drive to Houston Ballet it might be a good option.

 

The Houston Ballet auditions for the year round program are on 8/21/10.

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My son is almost 9 - any idea how many boys there are around that age at the school? It appears to be quite competitive - is that the case for boys as well or just for girls? Since it appears to be well known and respected and draws international students, I wasn't sure if it is the typical school that is desparate for boys and happy to train up any male who shows up or if they have so many lined up that they can be choosy!! I so wish we had a school like that where we currently live. I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of moving, however after researching this school - I'm starting to change my mind!

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They don't have a lot of young boys so they would most likely be very happy to have him. The boys also have opportunities to dance in the Houston Ballet performances like Nutcracker and Pecos.

 

There are a lot of older boys around which is great for our younger guys to see.

 

Houston is a great place to live! If you decide to move, feel free to PM me and I can give you suggestions on dancewear stores, etc.

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Slight possibility we may be relocating to Houston. Houston Ballet Company looks very good on it's website. Any opinions? Also any suggestions of other schools in the Houston area that are strong in ballet but also offer other forms of dance? We would probably be living in the Katy area but would be willing to travel for quality training. Thanks!

 

Welcome to Katy! That's where we live!

 

My son (almost 12) was at Houston Ballet for a couple of years, and obviously they are a really great school. I have nothing bad to say about them at all.

 

However, he's a lot happier where he's at right now-- Allegro West (www.allegrowestonline.com) on the border of Katy and Houston. It's a very small school (you'll notice that it's website is nothing special)-- they don't really advertise and it's basically a word-of-mouth sort of place-- but the small size means he gets a lot of personal attention, much more attention that he received at Houston Ballet.

 

The teacher is British and the school is a RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) school, so once a year the kids are evaluated by an outside examiner. I like the accountability the exams provide. The teacher really has to teach well to ensure her kids score well. Also, the boy version of the exam is different than the girl version, so I know the teacher is doing a good job teaching my son to dance like a man when he scores high on his boy-version of the exam (by the way, there are three other boys at the studio besides my son-- ages 11, 12, and 14). In addition to the exams, she also brings in male teachers occasionally to do special classes and evaluate "her boys".

 

The school emphasizes classical ballet, but they also have some classes in jazz, contemporary, modern, character, and tap (to my son's disappointment, she refuses to have hip-hop classes). They also do some competitions. I wouldn't consider it a "competition" school-- Katy has plenty of those, and we're really not like them at all! When you walk in, you'll see no trophies. Our kids win plenty of them, but the teacher refuses to display them in her studio as she's afraid it will distract the kids from classical ballet focus of the studio. She's extremely selective about the competitions she lets her kids attend, but the 4 or 5 we do attend (competitions with a strong ballet emphasis such as YAGP and DMA) are a LOT of fun and my son thrives on them. He likes his classes okay, but he LOVES Saturday rehearsals when he practices his solo, duet, and group pieces for the next competition. He recently had the best week of his life (his words, not mine) when he represented the 10-12 year old boys in South Texas at the large, 126th annual DMA national competition. He didn't win nationals, but it was a life-changing experience for him to be part of it.

 

If my son sticks with ballet, he may end up at Houston Ballet again when he's an older teen. But, for now, he is really thriving at Allegro West. The older kids are receiving scholarships to big-name summer intensives, so the teacher must be doing a good job with them. He stays in touch with Houston Ballet, and they still call him whenever they need another boy his age in a show (for example, Nutcracker and Pecos Bill).

 

Okay, so that's more than you wanted to know about Allegro West! Another good school in Katy is Adamson Ballet. The teacher (Mr. Adamson) is male, so that's nice for boys (I have no idea if they have male students-- you'd have to call and ask). They are a classical ballet studio, but they also have jazz and drill team. My son was there very briefly, and everyone was very nice. However, he did not enjoy it as much as Allegro. For one thing, Adamsons does not participate in competitions at all, and my son really loves working on solos and the adrenaline rush of competing.

 

There are a lot of other dance studios in Katy, but I don't recommend them at all if your son is serious about ballet.

 

Good luck!!

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Thank you so much for the information. At this point it's really a matter of when, not if, we will be moving. My husband's company's headquarters is in Katy and eventually we will need to move there. At my son's current school they will allow potential students to take a class in order to be evaluated to discuss possible placement - do you know if they will do that at Houston Ballet or Allegro West? Also, do you think Houston Ballet would make an exception to the audition date for a boy? Since we don't know when we might be moving I would hate for us to find out AFTER the audition date and then not have him be able to take class for a year if we decide on Houston Ballet.

 

Do both Houston Ballet and Allegro West have summer programs for younger students? My son will be 9 next summer and since my husband travels to Katy quite a bit we thought we could start having him attend their summer programs, if they have them for his age, to try out both schools and to get to know the teachers and students. Since the company already pays for my husbands hotel, food, and airfare, we would only need to cover my son's airfare and meals.

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...At my son's current school they will allow potential students to take a class in order to be evaluated to discuss possible placement - do you know if they will do that at Houston Ballet or Allegro West? Also, do you think Houston Ballet would make an exception to the audition date for a boy? ...Do both Houston Ballet and Allegro West have summer programs for younger students?

 

I'd send you a private message about all this, but I believe you need 30 posts before you have PM privileges.

 

HBA has auditions in late July and again in late December to fill any remaining spaces. They might make exceptions for a boy-- just give them a call and ask. They are very friendly.

 

Allegro will take students year round. When we joined them, the teacher/director spent a half hour with my son individually to assess his current RAD level then she observed him in a complementary class to make sure it was the right fit.

 

Both schools have summer programs. HBA doesn't advertise their summer program for levels 2-4, but a 3 week class does exist. You just have to call and ask about it.

 

Allegro West has a 3 week intensive (a full-day program for three weeks in a row) in June and a scaled-down schedule of ballet technique classes in July. They take the first week of August off (we're in that off-week right now), then they return to the full, regular fall schedule the second week of August.

 

As I said before, they're both good schools. It's great to go to HBA because of the "Wow!" factor and the famous name. For the upper levels, HBA's program is phenomenal and probably has no equal in Houston (or Texas, for that matter). You really can't go wrong with choosing them. However, for their younger levels, I honestly think the RAD program at Allegro West has worked much better for my son. I don't know if it's worth much, but here's my advice: Once you move to Katy, give Allegro West a try before making the long drive out to HBA. Allegro is closer, less expensive, and more personal. Your son is young-- there's lots of time to make the change to HBA when you're ready to take it to the next level.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry-- Old thread, but I wanted to add a tidbit for any parents-of-boys reading this thread in the future...

 

Allegro West has recently hired a male Houston Ballet Demi-Soloist to come teach two classes each week-- a 1.5 hour ballet technique class and a 1 hour boys class. Yeah! My son loved the class and was beaming from ear to ear afterwards.

 

The studio has also hired a male jazz teacher, so now my son has two different male teachers. I am thrilled, and so is my son! I never knew male teachers meant so much to him until he experienced them for the first time last week. I'm *very* grateful the dance studio's director is mindful of the needs of her boy dancers.

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