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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Academic advice for high school dancers at year round programs

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Yes they would. The academic programme is an integral part of the school day.


If they are over 16 however they can choose to do a dance diploma instead if or alongside an academic programme.

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How old is your child baltroj?


My dd is 13. Her day starts at 9am. She has ballet class most mornings for 90 mins then academic subjects up until 4pm. Sometimes she has an academic class first then ballet at 10.45am-12.15


From 4-6pm she has more dance classes. The children get back to the boarding house around 6.45-7pm. They have about 45 mins to an hour of homework each night. Then free time until bed at 9.15-9.30pm.


On Saturdays they have 2 dance classes/Pilates from 9-12. The afternoons are free.


There are times in the year (leading up to a production for example when academic classes are suspended & they dance all day.


At other schools the timetable may be organised differently but it gives some idea of the hours involved.

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My DD attended a residential program abroad last year. She was able to graduate from high school a year early here in the US before going abroad so the only academic course she took was a daily Russian language class. Her roommate was completing her academic requirements online. It was a challenge for the roommate due to spotty Internet service.

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I first found this forum three years ago and since then DD and I have navigated our way through several changes of both high school and ballet schools.

DD has just finished high school and is about to embark on pre-professional training on the other side of the world. We have been through the options of full time training and on-line schooling, residential schooling in a different state/country etc.

Although there are "many paths that lead to Rome", I feel that the ideal is for your dancing teenager to live at home, get good quality ballet training and complete their high school education face to face (not distance/on-line). Next is the first two plus distance/on-line education or living away from home either at a residential (ballet/dance) school with a well set up high school education programme.

I have seen many teenagers who are living away from home, struggle to complete their high schooling (via distance/ on-line) whilst training full time.There's too much pressure to train a huge number of hours per week (and enter x, y, z competition) at the expense of completing high school.

Finishing high school at 17/18 years still allows 2-3 years more training before auditioning for companies. It also means that students can concentrate fully on their further dance training without worrying about completing high school and usually means plan B is more feasible if necessary.

In DD's case she will defer her University place whilst she is training but she has the peace of mind that it is there "just in case".

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My dd is not at a residential school but does attend a day time ballet program. She also commutes more than an hour each way. Due to the nature of her commute she does not do school work during travel. She completed her first two years of high school at a very, very academic high school and had 3-4 hours of homework per day. At that time, she was in an afternoon/evening ballet program.


Dd now does k12 online. She is taking two AP classes. Although the program does require daily log in, she is doing about as much total academic work in a day as she did homework previously. Even during the craziness of December, she has been able to keep up just fine. I would not dismiss program like this that have schedules and deadlines. You can adjust the days counted, for example, to have Sundays be a school day if your dancer doesn't have ballet that day and wants to do a ton of academics on that day. Also, if your grades are kept up, you do not have to attend the "live" teaching sessions. They are all recorded and can be watched whenever your dancer has free time.

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Clutterbug, I like the way you describe it. I've never really thought about it that way. Essentially, it's like this:


(in no particular order)

A. Living at Home

B. In-Person, Face-to-Face high school education

C. Quality, Pre-Professional Training


Ideally, a pre-professional teen will have all 3 of these factors in his/her life. But, if that's not possible, then try to have 2 of them--


-- Live at home while getting good dance training and completing school online

-- Live away at a residential program that provides good dance training and an in-house school (or local school option)


Where teen life gets challenging is when you only have 1 of them. For example, living away from home AND doing online school. I didn't say "impossible" or "shouldn't be done". I just said "challenging".


This is on my mind right now because my 16 year old son is training full time 6 days a week. He's a junior and does online schooling that has flexible due dates. His commute is about 45 minutes, so he has to leave the house at 7:15 am and doesn't get back home until around 6 pm. He does school work during the commute and on Sundays. At the rate he's going, he'll probably be doing his current school subjects throughout the summer to get them finished.


His schedule has been difficult-- especially during this holiday season when he's at Nutcracker until 10:30 pm night-after-night. So, we've been talking about letting him move into the dormitories or an apartment across the street from the dance studio. RIght now, having just read Clutterbug's post, I'm leaning towards encouraging him to stay at home until he's done with his high school coursework.

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I agree with you slhogan and it's helpful. It frames the costs and benefits.


But it seems that high quality pre pro training has to AT least be one of the things that you can't let go and then for us high quality college prep education since DD is a strong, strong student.

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Depends which country I guess.


In the UK we don't have high school diplomas & students don't "graduate" as such from high school.

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How do the kids apply to college then? What credentials do they provide? I just want to make sure we keep all options open.

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baltroj, your best bet will be to check with the post-secondary schools your child is interested in. As a temporary shorthand, Boston University's admissions department has mapped out what global secondary school credentials it accepts: http://www.bu.edu/admissions/apply/international/secondary-school-credentials/ (other schools may make this information available too). If your child attends a school that operates in a language other than English, you can expect colleges to require a certified translation of any transcripts/documentation.

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gav has given you a good place to look for such information. Check the International Student admission requirements on the college websites. It is usually right there with the Admission Requirements or you can locate it through a search of the college's website.

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In the UK all children sit between 8-12 exams called GCSES (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in the May/June that they are 16. The exams are set nationally & children sit them on exactly the same day. They sit maths, English Language, English Literature & 2 or 3 science papers as compulsory then they choose what other subjects to sit. Usually a language & usually history, geography or another humanities subjects. Optional subjects range from music, drama, art, dance, computer studies etc.


Each paper is graded from A star to F. Below a C grade is sort of considered a fail. You have to pass English & Maths plus at least 2 other subjects to be considered for the next level.


Children who pass these exams well then have a choice.


Option 1: They can choose to study a further two years for Advanced Levels. These are again nationally set exams. They choose between 2-4 subjects to study from a wide range. (I took English Literature, Music, Theatre Studies & History back in the day). At the start of their 2nd year of study they apply to university through a central admissions system. They full in the form online & write a personal statement about themselves. Their teachers estimate what grades they are predicted to get & students may be invited to interviews. The universities then either make an unconditional offer (rare) a conditional offer (we will accept you if you get ABB grades for example) or reject you. The exams are taken during May & June & results are sent back to the schools in August.


Option 2 is to study for a nationally accredited vocational exam, usually a Btec diploma. These can bw taken in a variety of subjects from business studies to performing arts. There is some academic content but often more practical content & coursework. Some universities accept these qualifications for entry but highly academic ones such as those offering medicine or pure academic subjects (pure maths, science etc) don't.


Option 3 is to leave school & get a job where you can train & gain qualifications whilst you work.

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So the main difference I guess is that each student gets certificates in each individual subject that they study & the certificate is awarded by a national body, not by their high school.

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