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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How can you tell? PrePro or Dolly Dinkle?

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Was reading about Dolly Dinkle schools. Now not sure if my DD is in one or not?


The younger children 3-6 years olds are placed in a creative dance. From them Ballet starts, students are placed on ability to listen, pick up and learn terminology and technique (correcting based on discussion). From that point on students only progress based on the above. At around the 5th grade (school) mark students begin 10-15 minutes of pointe workups. From their students can audition around 11 yrs old for the Prepro dance company housed at the school. This prepro-company performs the Nutcracker, Spring Story Ballet, Ballet Gala, and RDA Festival. Younger students than 11 can paricipate in the performances, but the main/ lead parts go to the prepro dancers. The Company Dancers also have many quest artist including well known artistic Directors of famous companies.


There is a recital each year in May that shows what the students have worked on through the year. The school has a separate group that does competitions. It also offers Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Modern.


Would this be considered a mixed school. My DD wants to be considered for a Pro career in the future. Should I be worried and look else where.


As for my DD, she has been at this school since she was 5. Danced annually in all above performances when age appropriate. Has been to 3 summer intensives (one of which she received scholarship for 5 weeks).


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There is a thread around here somewhere about telling the difference between, but I do not have time to find it at the moment.


I can say this: If both the quality of instruction and the quantity of hours on the schedule is appropriate for each level, and the school has been successful in placing dancers with professional ballet companies, then staying is fine.


This sticky may help:


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I'd like to point something out. If you don't have a background in ballet, then it's difficult to know if the quality of instruction is good. My DD's old Dolly Dinkle school's owner told me she was the best dance school in the area. I didn't have a reason to think she was lying. I didn't have a clue. I didn't know that linoleum floors were a bad thing, or starting en pointe at age 8 was too soon, or that my DD should know French terms... You don't know what you don't know, so my suggestion is to educate yourself about ballet so that you can tell the difference between a Dolly Dinkle, a good recreational, a competitive school, and a pre pro school.

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I agree with backstagemom. It's tricky to figure this out. I think it's important to distinguish that if a studio is not a pre-pro school, it doesn't automatically mean that it is a Dolly Dinkle. There are good recreational studios out there that offer quality instruction and the right quantity of hours for younger dancers, even though the studio may not be able to get a dancer all the way to "company ready." Some studios may call themselves professional studios even if they haven't actually produced professional dancers, so beware of what studios say about themselves. They all believe they are the best!


In our case, our children dance at a local studio that calls itself professional but has not actually produced any professional dancers over the decades it has been in business. Okay, there are two dancers who cobble together part time work with a couple of small local dance companies, so I'll amend my statement to say that none have found full-time work as dancers, although several have attended top ballet colleges.


What this means for us (this has taken us years to figure out. I'm serious. Years.): Because there has been some success with college admissions, I'm confident that our studio offers some solid basic training and is okay for now. At the same time, because no one has succeeded professionally, I'm also sure that our studio ultimately doesn't have the chops to help DD train seriously for a professional career (which is what she wants). We're going to have to make a change eventually. Soon, now that DD is in middle school. In our case, it will probably involve a move for our family, which is a big deal. We want to be sure it is right for our family overall, not just our aspiring dancer, so we aren't rushing this decision. In the meantime, we take the good things our studio has to offer and downplay the things we don't like.


All that to say...every studio is different, and every family is different. Make the best choice that you can for your child today. Perhaps you will need to make a different choice later on, as your studio's strengths and weaknesses become clearer to you (and they will!). It's okay for it to take awhile to figure things out. It sounds like your studio has some good points. Do you know if they have produced any professional dancers?

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The oldest dancers at our studio have practiced with well know (Professional) directors, and those directors always have great reviews of our dancers and studio. I think for the most part the studio would qualify for a Pre-pro designation. Thanks for all of your thoughts and insight to Pre-Pro vs Dolly Dinkle. Now what I have to understand is it the right school for my daughter. There are other concerns that are needing to be addressed, now.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just as a guess, but if your studio houses an RDA company and has well-known professional guest artists, then there's probably a pretty good chance that it's NOT a Dolly Dinkle.

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