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Ballet Talk for Dancers

boys who get serious


Thyme

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hi everyone- we are moving home to Canada after 25 years in Australia. it seems to me that the career path of young Aussie dancers is quite different to that of the US and Canadian dancers. I am trying to get my head around what our just 15yo DS needs to do to get going in North America. Moderators, I apologise if this seems repetitive of my post in Crosstalk but I am hoping for a broader response here? I would love to hear from parents of male dancers who could tell me what their son's have done after about 14yo to pursue a ballet career? SIs, class time, competitions etc etc. A picture of how they spend their time. I am trying to familiarise myself with the new landscape. Hope that is ok.

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This is a repetitive topic, Thyme. So please decide where you would like the thread to reside and I will leave one and close the other.

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sorry. can we leave it here? perhaps it will get a broader response. thanks

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hi bluemountain- that looks so lovely! sadly no. we will be on Vancouver Island- way on the other side! :)

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We are in the US so I don't know if it is different in Canada. My son is 12 and the discussions we have had with his teachers have centered around finding a residential program for him when he enters high school. He has his sights set on one in particular but we have been looking into others in case that one doesn't work out.

 

I should add that we live someplace that has extremely limited pre-professional ballet schools to begin with so to get our son any kind of additional training will require us to move or to move him. Considering that you never know what can happen with injuries and since residential programs don't last forever, we figure moving him is the best option.

 

We have a few kids from our studio who have gone this route so far that we keep in touch with and it seems to be working well for them. So far they have all been girls though. The first boy will (most likely) be going to the school my son is hoping for next fall. He was invited to Winter Term last summer but decided not to go but got a personal letter asking him to please to come back this summer and reconsider.

 

If you are open to sending him to a residential program, your location doesn't really matter - he could go anywhere. And boys are often given scholarships to residential programs as well.

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We are fortunate to live close to a small pre -pro school that has very good training. DS, 13, takes classes there 6 days per week, but he needs more men's classes, so he will try to get them in the summers. He is homeschooled, and our current plan is to graduate him from high school in 3 years and then, hopefully, he can attend a residential school for a year.

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thank you everyone for your comments so far. Finallykf- is it your experience that full time residential programs are the best option? At this point it looks like our DS will be able to have extensive classes at two studios (one ballet with primary teacher a man and one contemp). Sk8jdgca - yes I have heard good things about the Goh. It could be a good option for additional workshops. Sounds like it has a wide reputation. :) Am I correct in thinking that our young men can move forward by supplementing regular classes, live at home and go away for SIs? That this is a reasonable path? At 15yo, are SIs in North America also about being seen by potential ADs? I get that impression. Thanks for chatting with me about all this!

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Mom to 3 dancers - the oldest one being a soon to be 16 year old boy. We live in the US, in the middle of Iowa, more specifically, which is not exactly the mecca of the dance world. My dancers go to one of the three pre-pro schools in our metro area and my son has recently started dropping into partnering class once a week at another one. He has ballet classes 4 days a week, with jazz/modern/pilates/partnering each once a week. During performance runs, he will add at least 1 day if not 2 of rehearsals of multiple hours each per week. He doesn't take PE at school - he gets credit for dancing instead which has effectively eliminated his injury rate since we started that. My son has gone away 2 summers for intensives so far - first summer was for 4 weeks, last year was for 8. He will go again this summer because he comes back with so much more skill. He is on track to finish high school a year early and will be doing online high school in the fall. What he will do after that kind of depends on what opportunities are available to him. Options would be a resident ballet school, some type of trainee position, or perhaps a college ballet program. Money is forever an issue so we just kind of play all of it by ear and go where the scholarships take him. We absolutely love his teacher and she always has his best interests at heart, but he has to go away to find great male teachers. Also, he is now THE only serious dancer, male or female, left in his level at our studio. High school has proven to be the "great eliminator" for those who are not serious about dance. Dance team and show choir are less work for more attention it seems. He is my first experience with dance so we are just learning as we go. I have met plenty of dancers on this journey - some with varying degrees of professional success with training just as different as the next. I have had these dancers tell me I should send him away to residential, some tell me not until he's a certain age, some who say not at all. I don't think there is a hard/fast formula to all of this but I do think there is a whole lot of luck involved. Most of the time we just make this up as we go and hope for the best. :dizzy:

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It depends on a number of different factors. My son goes to a very good pre-pro school but it is the ONLY GOOD pre-pro school in our area - any other good pre-pro school is literally about 4 hours away. He has had excellent training so far but the school has only 1 other boy who is three years older who wants to be a professional (a few younger boys who aren't as serious). Although they are trying to build a boys/men's program, it just isn't there - and that is really necessary for our boys who want to be professional dancers. He needs to be around a lot of boys his age and older who take it seriously as well as male teachers who are very experienced in training in male dancers who want to be professionals. So in our particular situation we need to look for a residential program because we need to send our son away somewhere that he can live and do his ballet and school work.

 

If we were lucky enough to have a studio nearby that had a great men's program, we wouldn't need to go the residential program route. However we would most likely need to homeschool him by high school or have him in a very flexible school that would allow for the amount of hours that a serious male dancer would need to be dancing during high school.

 

We used to have a professional company in our city with an associated school and my son goes to a Christian School that at one time had a student that transferred to his current dance studio when the company folded. His academic school allowed her to attend school half days and be homeschooled with the school curriculum by her parents for the rest of the day which allowed her to graduate with the rest of her class with a high school transcript just like her classmates.

 

That is the one perk of a residential program - they will typically help with the academic portion of the student's life and have agreement's with one or more schools so that you don't have to try to convince a school to be flexible with your child. It also can your child the option of staying in a physical school as opposed to being homeschooled if they don't like that option - although sometimes homeschooling or on-line school is one of the options the residential program offers.

 

If you will be near a good school and have flexible academic schooling options I don't really see the need for a residential program - unless there is somewhere specific that your son really wants to go for some reason.

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You should have some good options in Vancouver. I would take some time to explore your options priorto committing to one. your location is good though. My son is in a Canadian residential pre pro school that is 45% boys and had somewhat outgrown most of our local ballet options. His school does have quite a few dancers from the west.

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Our DS attended SI for a residential school just as he turned 14. His teacher there (where he was offered a scholarship and has subsequently been for 2 years) told us that he would never achieve his full potential unless he started vocational training from this age- he said he would certainly become a dancer but it would be the difference between being perhaps an international level principal and member of corps de ballet / principal in a regional company. We knew absolutely zilch about ballet and 2 years later know only a shred more, but our DS has become (in my eyes) an astounding dancer- and I honestly don't think he could have done this and maintained any kind of academic progress without the whole family giving up our lives (he is eldest of 4) ad even then possibly not.

Of course he's only16 so just beginning on this journey- but no matter what happens he has been amazingly happy and fulfilled the last 2 years and progressed hugely as a dancer and as a person. Despite our sadness we don't regret sending him

Appreciate this is only one persons experience....

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Thank you CeliB- it sounds like you made a good decision for your DS. I am interested to know what having your DS in a res school is like. How often do you see him? Do you live nearby? What does he say about his life there in terms of dorm life etc? We could well end up going down this path but like you, we don't come from a dance background and aren't really sure what to expect! Feel free to PM if you would prefer.

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bluemountain

Not to sidetrack your thread, Thyme, I am just curios, are there any res programs in US/Canada teaching Vaganova style?

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