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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Advice for an inexperienced dance mom?

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My dd, is going into her third year of 6 days a week at a pre/pro and she is 12. She has maintained a consistent B+ average in middle school despite missing the equivalent of 1 day of school a week for the last three years, 5-7th grade. Our school district also doesn't allow exemptions. She has gotten by because the teachers come in early and are available for her to discuss the previous day's lesson and taking advantage of lunchtime extra help. However the school district has for the last two years offered their distinct displeasure at her missing so many classes.


It is primarily a money issue, they only get paid for the classes my daughter attends (the take attendance before each class). She misses roughly two classes a day. Granted how does one kid effect the balance? Well if they make an exception for her then all of the kids pursuing hockey, tennis, golf, swimming etc. etc. would be seeking the same exemption, hence a run on the bank. In elementary school it isn't as big problem, provided the dk is a good student, as they take attendance once per day.


The school district got so nasty with me that last Winter they threatened to call CPS on me for educational neglect. This Summer I decided to pull my daughter out of her school and homeschool her. Given the results of the most recent statewide test it looks as if it is good timing. Surprising, considering the school she was enrolled in was recently ranked 20th in the nation. I tried to keep her as normal as a kid as possible, but the school district was very uncooperative. My daughter goes to a pre/pro school has every advantage and yet that is no guarantee of success at Ballet, nor is there a guaranteed certain career track here. We are just taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded us and using every arrow in our quiver.

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Her school day is 7:30am to 3:10pm, in order to make her classes which were MTTF at 4pm she had to leave school at 1:50pm to catch 2:06pm train. She missed two class periods per day or the equivalent of one day of school per week.

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That's too bad....by working with our DD's middle school counselor we have arranged her schedule so that the class she needs to leave early (just 10 minutes) three times a week is a non-academic subject. I have found that by maintaining open communication with the school, much can be accomplished. This is an approach that has worked in two states and two very different school districts. It probably helps that DD is a straight A student! LOL At some point she will have to online/homeschool (if she stays on this track) but it is to her benefit to have a "normal" school day as long as possible.

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When my daughter went to elementary school we enjoyed such a great relationship with the previous school superintendent, and the assistant school superintendent (whose son went to Julliard) they were very supportive. Sadly they both retired.


In talking with her Principal and the New Superintendent, they suggested that I take my daughter out of the storied pre/pro school in Manhattan and put her in a local Ballet school. Nothing against the small school as they are very competent with a good track record, but if I were to add up all the current hours that my daughter gets training, without the pre/pro endowment it would be the cost of a full semester at a decent private university.


Needless to say we pay a 1/4 of that for world class training. After that meeting I received their correspondence and I wish I could post it here. Let's just say it probably wouldn't pass their own anti-bullying effort.


I am actually amazed at all the resources available for homeschoolers and there are many advantages particularly when you read about the things that go on in middle and high school. My dd also thinks that she will do better, which is really encouraging to hear. So we're off th grid.

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Hey firedragon, good for you for making the leap into homeschool. I hope it works well for you.


I worry about the day when we will need to take a hard look at our school situation and have to potentially make a change. I am hoping that we can work with our public school for many years to come (just entering 6th grade).


Tough choices we families face!

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  • 4 months later...

Midway thru the school year I thought this thread was due for an update :-)


DD, now 11, is doing well juggling 6th grade and dance. I should clarify that she is NOT at a pre-pro school. My mistake...she is on a pre-pro track at a very high quality recreational school. Quite a difference!


She takes 4 technique classes, plus 1 jazz and 1 pilates, to make up 4 days per week at the studio, rehearsals for Nut and the Spring production add on a 5th day, that is about 60% of the school year. So far the homework load has been fine although she is feeling pressure from one of her classes (she has gotten 2 Cs on tests and is freaking out, even though she has an A in the class) so we are meeting with the teacher this week to discuss it.


I don't anticipate her dance schedule changing next year (7th grade), so I think we are good until 8th grade when she will be auditioning for her ballet school's company. At that point we may need to reevaluate the school schedule. I know that she can take "office assistant" as her elective and be able to use some of that period to work on home work...or we may take a closer look at HS.



This is an interesting journey and I am grateful to have this forum as my guiding light!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Almost every activity our kids pursue past elementary school is expensive and time consuming. I have two daughters and both ended up chosing dance as their primary activity besides school and church. (I really appreciate that they chose the same thing.) That said, one wants to pursue professional career and one does not. For the one who is pursuing ballet career, summer intensives are an important part of the learning process and getting exposure... For the one who doesn't want to continue after high school (other than for fitness), ballet and dance training has still had a tremendous benefit. My daughters have both noted that their academic performance is higher when they are busy. Auditions, performances and competitions each teach them so much more than dance. They both have attended summer intensives at their home studio each year and they both went to Open World Dance Foundation's summer intensive in St Petersburg, Russia. It had a tremendous impact on both of them. The dancer used the experience as her college essay and the younger came home with a passion for international business. Hang in there! They grow up fast.

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