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Ballet Talk for Dancers

The Rock School/RAPA

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My DD has not gone to the RAPA program but is a dancer with PA Ballet so works in the same building as the Rock School. When getting her an apt in the city, I looked around and decided that the apts and area looked the safest in the "tree" streets--Pine, Locust, Walnut, Chestnut area. It is a bit of a walk to the studio but she enjoys the walk. There are quite a few management companies that have apt buildings in the city. You might want to try Craig's List.

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  • tsavoie


  • cahill


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  • swanchat


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In 2005-2006 the RAPA students lived in the Marine Club which is across from the studios. At that time the building was being converted from apartments to condos. It is would be an option for Rock Students or Company members. The condos ranged from studios to one bedroom +. You might be able to find units to rent. There had been talk of the school building housing in the vacinity. Does anyone know if that has been done?

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  • 1 month later...

The Drake.


I am looking at the Drake for the fall for my daughter. This will be her first fall in Philadelphia and her first fall at the Rock. From a distance (ie, online), it looks fabulous. A little pricy, but safe, comfortable and a reasonable distance to the school. Appears to be about 10 or 12 blocks. Can any of you give me any feedback on the Drake? Thanks.

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For anyone considering the boarding aspect of RAPA, it would be best to contact the school directly. As the parent of a year round dk, I know they are working on accomodations for RAPA kids but I don't have first hand knowlege of what the accomodations will be. Probably the best contact for the information would be Allison Staplin. She is very accessible and the dean of students for RAPA. This is a very busy time of year for RAPA and Rock. There are a couple of performances looming (one tonight) and one in a few weeks along with auditions, graduation, exams etc. so if you don't hear immediately, be patient. My experience is that Allison always calls back.

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Having visited the school, I can't imagine leaving a dk anywhere but in the supervised dorm/apartment across the street unless a parent is going to be living with the dk and walking or driving the dk to and from class. It looked like the area surrounding the school is not the safest, however, to be fair, I only saw it on one day. The RAPA boarding costs are extreme and preclude many dancers from attending the program. I agree that calling Allison is your best bet for info. She's helpful and easy to communicate with.

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What has been the youngest RAPA student living at the marine club....9th grade?

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RAPA is a high school program and yes, freshman (9th grade) board with the program at the Marine Club.

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I guess there have been no exceptions to that, but have there been younger students at the higher levels that would find a place to live in the city for serious ballet study?

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I am not sure what you are asking but I'll try to explain the structure of the school. The Rock School has ballet classes for dks beginning at pre-ballet and going to the Professional training level. Classes at advanced levels (IV and V) are given in the morning and then later in the afternoon or evening every day except Sunday. At Level IV both sets of classes are recommended and at Level V, they are required. Lower levels take class in the later afternoon or evening.


RAPA is the high school academic program for the Rock School. The Rock School does not have any other academic programs. You do not have to board at the school's residence to attend the RAPA high school program. There are dks from the area who choose to attend the RAPA high school but still live at home. There are also dks who move to the area to attend the RAPA high school (and ballet classes, of course)but elect to live somewhere other than the school's residence program. The residence program for the RAPA high school provides the housing, supervision and meals for the RAPA kids. Yes, housing, meals and supervision come at a cost. If you have a parent with you, then you may not need the supervision and meals and might be able to save-depending on the rental market.


As I said, the only academic program offered by Rock is its high school program(RAPA). If you are not in high school, then you would be on your own for academics. If you are younger but placed in an advanced level, you could seek admission for the daytime ballet classes. On occasion, there have been a few younger, advanced students who take those classes. Working out an academic schedule to coordinate with the daytime and late afternoon classes can get quite tricky at the middle school level unless you are homeschooled.


As far as the living arrangements, it is true that the Marine Club is being converted into condominiums and the Rock School is making other plans for its residence but as I stated earlier, I do not have first hand knowledge of those arrangements. In the past, dks who are not enrolled in RAPA (younger as well as high schoolers with other academic programs) have been able to rent an apartment in the Marine club if they moved from out of town. This is very convenient because it is right across from the Rock School. All the high school age (or younger) dks that I have known who were not part of the RAPA residence program moved in with an adult guardian. I do not know if the Marine Club will still have any rentals but if you are serious about moving to Philly, you could call them. I suspect that they may not be offering rentals or if so, on a very limited basis. There are many other rental choices in downtown Philadelphia. A good realtor could help you or as previously suggested, Craig's list is a great resource on the web.


As far as the area is concerned, I have been bringing dd to the Rock for 4 yrs and I am careful to notice who is around just as I do in any large city. I have never felt threatened. You may have read that Philly has a real crime issue right now but the troubles are not in the area around the Rock School. That said, I agree with Asleepatthewheel that I would not feel comfortable letting young kids find their way alone in the city...Philly or any other large city. I do know of young ones that do that though.


I hope this helps answer your questions. Good luck!

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Thanks swanchat, yes, to clarify, I am against dk's in apartments in various cities without benefit of supervision, parental or otherwise. My view is not limited to the Rock or any other school. Year round schools who provide housing with supervision are the way to go, at the very least. Unfortunately, the costs of this have knocked this type of option off our list. C'est la vie.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Okay so I will be graduating in June 08 and have just been recently researching after high school 'professional programs'. Basically a year or two year program, refining technique and artisitry, Like many dancers do after high school. My question is does Rock have a program like that? Or would I be placed like in a level with high school students, but not do academics? Hope someone knows because I couldn't find anywhere anything about this!

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yes, Rock does train "after high school kids". You do not have to participate in their high school program. The professional division is levels 4 and 5. You would be in class with high school students (either RAPA or other high school programs) as well as other high school graduates and the rare middle school talent. Levels at Rock are determined on strength and ability. If you look at the website, they try to describe qualities at each level. There are many at the Rock who come for 'finishing' after high school and go on to successful auditions. If you are interested, contact the office (on the website) and inquire.


Good luck


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