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Choosing a SI for boys--what do YOU consider?


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May I ask if your son has been dancing long, has he attended an SI before, and how do you choose programs for your son? Location? Length? Reputation? Cost? Instructors? etc.... I am so new to this I really want to become more knowledgeable and it really helps to have seasoned people offer their insights.

Thank you!

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Jhboswell I just saw your post. I don't want to get too off topic here, and this might get moved elsewhere, but to answer your questions (if I'm allowed to because I don't think I can PM you yet? And moderators, if you need to move this elsewhere, please do because I don't want to hijack this thread or get off-topic, but I want to reply to Jhboswell!), he's pretty much been dancing for 8 years, has done home school SIs, but has only been away for one SI- last year (Orlando). I've been doing my research online, through this forum, and through word of mouth. We waited until he was older because when he was younger, his previous studio didn't encourage SIs (they felt that they were the best instructors so no one needed to go away!), then after we changed studios we felt that it would be better for him to be a bit more mature before we sent him away (he was 15 when he went away). Each child matures at a different rate, and I've read that boys mature emotionally later than girls, so that was another reason for us not to send him when he was younger. However, other parents may feel differently. That's just what we felt was right for our son. We looked for programs that have more boys attending, but we also didn't want to rule out programs that might only have a few boys attending because there are some programs that have company males who come in to work with the kids with partnering and that can be a great benefit to the boys, too. My son has been rejected from a few programs that he auditioned for, and accepted to some with merit scholarships. We're learning as we go!


I wish that our Patel deadline hadn't been quite so soon so that it could've stayed in the consideration pile for a bit longer, but we are still waiting to hear from a couple of other programs that my son was interested in, so we had to let it go this year. I think my son is going to end up in a smallish program this year. We wrote a list of what he was looking for in a program and have done our best to try to match up programs to his "want" list, based on what his teacher recommended for him. She meets with each of her students and gives them an individual list of where they should audition that best suits each child, and we really appreciate that, even if the list seemed daunting at first. My DS's list had 20 programs on it! We will not get through all of them, and she is okay with that because she knows that with deadlines and travel to the auditions, some of them just aren't going to be able to happen.


We've had people tell us that DS shouldn't have passed up the Patel program, but at the audition, DS felt that it really wasn't quite right for him and he wasn't sure that spending 5 weeks in a program that didn't feel like a great fit would be ideal. I told him it was okay to feel that way. It is better to feel that at the audition, rather than to feel that during the first week of a 5 week program! I know this contradicts what I said in the previous paragraph about wishing that it could've stayed in the consideration pile for a bit longer, but what I mean by that is that if we had the ideal timeframe to be able to lay out all the acceptances side by side to do a proper comparison before we had to make a choice, it would be interesting to see if thoughts on various programs changed at all, versus the thoughts that one might have within that initial quick timeframe (the Patel results came much faster than we expected!). Of course, his feelings are his feelings, and not mine, and he's the one who is going to do the SI, so he is the one who has to feel good about it, not me (okay, there are aspects of it that I have to feel good about, but that has more to do with supervision, finances, etc.!).


And yes, location plays into things as well because if a program is clear across the country from where we live, we have to factor in the cost of transportation, how to deal with emergencies if they arise (any relatives nearby?), etc. When my son went to Orlando last year, I flew down with him (my mom lives in FL, so she picked us up at the airport and drove us to Orlando to get him checked in), and my mom checked him out at the end, and he flew home alone (his first solo flight, but it was a non-stop flight). He did face an unexpected flight delay due to weather and mechanical problems with his plane on the way home, so he had to deal with that by himself because his grandmother dropped him off at the airport then left (and she lives 2 hours from the airport where she dropped him off!). He called me and he managed to get through it, and he even got a $100 flight voucher from the airline due to his flight delay (which is sort of factoring into this year's decision of where he's going because that's $100 towards this year's flight!).


Anyway, check out the parents of boys forum. That's probably where this reply needs to be, but I don't know how to move this over there for you. I am sure one of the moderators can help with this. :-)


I hope this helped!

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z ballet, Thank you! WHEW! This sometimes seems like a daunting task that I am ill prepared for but perhaps after our first SI experience, we'll learn a lot and I will be able to guide DS in the right direction. I think I will look for a male dancer in the company who would be willing to be a good mentor. Would you Like to trade emails?


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Hi jhboswell,


I am new to this too, my DS is 11 and will be 12 by the time the SIs start. He has been accepted to 2 reputable SIs so far, waiting on the 3rd to send an email, snail mail, smoke signal (we are losing hope that we will EVER hear from them) and one other audition on Saturday. I have been going over the two choices we have now, and I am getting headaches from my indecision. One is a 3 or 6 week program, the other is a 5 week program. We are considering the following criteria: the strength of the boys' program, cost, length of program, distance of the SI from where we live, and other boy attendees' past experiences with these programs. Still, with all these factored in, it remains so difficult to choose. I wish you luck, maybe our DSs will be in the same program!

Edited by mceejay
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I am also happy to offer any insights into boys and SIs based on my son's experiences. He has attended two different schools and is in a year round program right now. When we first began this whole Summer Intensive thing a few years ago it was completely overwhelming!

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SMTA, I hope you don't mind my asking, how old is your DS and which SIs has he attended? What was his experience like in each SI? I am so torn and need help deciding!

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My son just turned 16. He did SIs at his home studio for two summers then he did a summer at National Ballet School of Canada and one at Houston Ballet Academy. He had very good experiences at both. The first year was the most difficult to decide because he had been accepted at three schools, got partial scholarships at two but we got a lot of encouragement to accept the third...we had no idea what to do. The second year was a lot simpler. We auditioned at two schools and accepted the better offer. Period. We didn't talk to as many people about it, we just went with our gut reaction and it worked out really well for us. All I can say is; trust yourself.

Edited by SMTA
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Jhboswell, I tried to send you a PM, but it won't let me! I'd be happy for you to email me, but I don't want to post my email address on here publicly. Maybe a moderator knows how to let me get it to you? Or, if you are comfortable posting yours, post it and I will email you and will mention BalletTalk in the subject so you will know it is from me. :-)

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Jhboswell is new so they won't be able to send/receive PMs until 30 posts!


Since you are adults you may post your email and then remove it by editing your post after the other person has responded that they have received it. :)


We do recommend that if you do post your email you do it as such:

parent (at) gmail (dot) com

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May I just say, however, that it would be very helpful to all our members---and especially the parents of boys---if you all were willing to share your DSs' experiences on the open Board and include your reviews on the dedicated threads for the various SIs.


Every year we have parents of boys lament how few reviews from the boys' perspective there are on the dedicated threads . . . . That won't change (or help those that come after) if you all aren't willing to include your reviews on the dedicated threads. :thumbsup: It would not only help those researching the various SIs, but would also encourage other parents of boys to include their DSs' experiences.

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Thanks Dancemaven, I am looking for a review of the Bolshoi CT program from the boys' perspective from last year in particular, but I couldn't find any. If you know of any, please could you direct me to the thread?

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The dedicated thread for that SI is: http://dancers.invis...showtopic=46205


As for whether there ARE reviews from a boy's perspective, :shrug: I haven't looked. My point was only that to the extent the Parents of Boys do share information about specific SIs with each other, it would help everyone if that were shared on the open Board (and specifically in the dedicated threads, especially reviews)---rather than through off-board channels such as PMs or e-mails. Otherwise, we'll never have any 'boys perspective' information and everyone will continue to lament the sparsity of the boys' perspective. (vicious cycle, know what I mean?) :)


Just a thought. . . .

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Thanks! And yes, you are all correct. We really should share our thoughts on here. I, too, have been frustrated that there is less info pertaining to boys, and I wouldn't be helping the situation if I didn't contribute what we have learned. Honestly, I think in some ways I have felt a little intimidated to share my son's experiences because the other boys I have read about sound so much more professional or experienced than my son, or that he is somehow not as good as they are. That shouldn't hold me back from sharing, though. He is still learning, and all of our kids are at different levels, and as parents of boys we should know that more than anyone, hahaha.


I have to run now, but I will get back on this later- I promise!

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Well, I can say that my ds's experiences at both NBS and HB were very good. NBS is tricky to review because it isn't a traditional SI but an extended audition for their year round program. My son got a lot out of the program and was asked to remain, but we declined. It just wasn't the right timing for him....the following summer he went to HB and loved it immediately. He was older. He had already been away so he knew what to expect and the school was just a very good fit for him. Dancemaven, I know there was a lot of talk about why people don't always review SIs and I almost chimed in several times. It would be impossible for me to get my son to fill one out and the only thing I could respond to was how I felt (was it organized? Did it seem safe? Did my child benefit from the experience etc..) All I can say is that it was very important for us to find an SI that had a lot of other male students. My ds really needed to be trained with other males and so when we looked for summer intensives we looked for the SIs with strong men's programs that actually had lots of boys attend! We also knew that training away from home would be inevitable. Therefore we also had to consider which SIs had year round programs as well. That excluded many great programs that we would have otherwise considered. I hope this helps someone who is looking at the myriad of programs out there.

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