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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Upside / Downside of Repeating Same SI Each Year v. Different One


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I would agree with what was said about doing multiple auditions- becase you get a sense of what the teaching at that SI would be. For example DS auditioned for 3 SIs for last summer, was offered full scholarships to all 3, but one also offered to pay board etc (eg total costs to us would have been travel to get there). However sadly for my bank balance DS chose to go to one of the others (which ended up costing us a fortune because of its location and the travel and food costs) on the basis of the style of teaching at the audition. He certainly didn't regret this.


I would also agree that it is essential to start focusing on where you want to dance professionally. Doing a final year at the SI of the company of choice gives you a huge advantage when it comes to getting a contract- we are currently learning just how hard it is even to get an audition if no-one knows you or your teacher doesn't have any connections with the company you are interested in.... (e.g. DS has so far gained 2 auditions from 3 companies approached through his teacher, and 0 replies from 3 companies he has so far approached on his own).

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  • finallykf


  • mom2two


  • Marseas Mom


  • firedragon0800


Great insight, CeliB. Firedragon-repeating an SI can be great if it is a good fit! But I can think of a few downsides-including for the younger set, a little boredom with the "same" set of outside activities, etc. (not a major deal!). One issue, though, that can come up (hopefully not in your case!) is placement in a level different than the one expected/where former summer classmates are placed. In our case, DD had not grown at the pace of her cohorts that year (causing an "ah ha" moment and was probably the turning point in her training), but it was a difficult first few weeks of the SI.

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We are struggling with this same issue. My DD who is 16 went to an SI 2 years ago. She had a great summer, lots of growth,improvement and fun at the same time. She went back to the same SI last year and once again she loved it. She seems to be doing very well at her home school. She was late to start ballet and she is being promoted at home school quickly. I like to think some of that is the excellent training at the SI. This year she is on the fence. Part of her would like to try something new and part of her just wants to go back to the beloved SI. While I know she will probably be fine with whatever happens this summer I struggle with this question all the time. I'd love to hear from others who might be in the same boat.

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Ultimately it may depend on what your goals are. My D is hoping to attend a BFA college program. Looking back here is what we have learned along the way. My D has only attended SI's during her high school years. The main reason we send her is to gain training that we do not have available at home. The first one gave her insight as to what type of dance she wanted to pursue long term. The second one was amazing and offered training we don't have access to at home. Sadly, we switched audition sites and she did not get into that program the following year. She attended a SI in a very different location setting. She had great training there but realized exactly what type of location/environment she needs to thrive. Thus, this helped her decide which colleges to apply to. Thankfully she was granted another chance to attend the SI she loved 2 years earlier! However, her experience was slightly different. She did end up loving the program and the training was excellent. At first she was sad that she was not in the level of class she thought she should have been placed into. In hindsight, she ended up having instructors who are on faculty at multiple college programs on her list. These instructors know a little bit about her. We have to hope it all works out for the best!


My friend has also mentioned that after training at several different places her daughter has realized what style she wants to focus on. It may feel uncomfortable sometimes but each program has something to offer. We just have to be open to seeing what that is.

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DD has attended a couple SIs for multiple years. At ages 12 13 14 and 15 she attended one of the big three letter company affiliated SIs. She loved her experience there but knew that was not a company she wanted to dance with and decided she wanted to try something new. At age 16 she attended ttwo SIs both big three letter company affiliated. At this age she really wanted to try to find a company she thought she might have a future with. She really enjoyed one of these programs and returned there for the next two summers. After her third summer at age 18 she became a trainee with this program. She will be attending their SI for the forth consecutive summer this year. This is her dream company. DDs summers have been devoted to trying out training styles different than her home studio Ito increase her marketability. She also knew she wanted to dance professionally and wanted to find a company where she thought she would be a good fit.


Hope this helps!

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This is all good information to digest as dd will be attending the same SI she attended last, but with added bonus of a scholarship. In addition, this school offers training in a style different from her home ballet school. Even with all this SI has going for it, there was a little part of me that was wondering if she should do something different (this will be her 4th SI, only first time repeating). But I think she's made the right choice for her this year.... And we'll see where future years take her!

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My son attended his first big name SI last year at 12, loved it - never stopped talking about it - said he was going back next year. Fast forward to this year - he was still bound and determined to go back to the same place. We were concerned that he only wanted to return because, of course he loved it - it's the ONLY big name SI he's attended. And we were worried that it might not be good to repeat the same SI, that it might be better to attend a different one to experience something new. His AD suggested auditioning for many places and seeing where the acceptances and scholarships came from. He was accepted everywhere he auditioned, including all the big three letters. Ugh!!! He still wanted to attend the one he went to last year. But in talking to his very experienced, wise, and business minded AD, the place who gave him one of the best scholarships, placed him in one of the best levels, and showed the MOST personal interest and excitement over him was . . . the place he attended last year. Not to mention it has the best men's program out of all the places he auditioned. So in the end we decided that it was best to have him return to the same place because it is the best choice for him. I don't think it is a coincidence that it is the best choice for him. DS says this place "feels like home" and is willing to turn down some places that others would give anything to be accepted to. Although he is still VERY young I am beginning to believe that sometimes a dancer just has a gut feel about someplace. Over the next several years this could change, but for now we are very comfortable that he is returning.

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One benefit for us has been the fact that repeating at the same SI for two years helped smooth the transition from an abrupt shift from one full year school to another. Dd will be going for a third year, the only reservation she has is that her roommate for the last two years might be going elsewhere.


Conceivably she could go for a fourth year, but I think she will likely be ready for a change at that point.

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My DD is repeating in name (different program at that name) this summer and has no reservations about it. I think it boils down to a few issues.....is the training good? will the dancer grow or stagnate? and what are the overall goals the dancer has.... Some dancers need exposure to new cities, new faces and new styles/techniques because where they are year round restricts their exposure to new things and summer is the only way. We are very lucky...not only had my DD been at a big name for 5 years but we live near a big metro area with lots of opportunities. She also goes to a year round now that really develops a well rounded ballet dancer; not emphasizing any one technique but enhancing each other. And honestly, what we have figured out, both from this board :whistling: and personal experience, is training trumps name. There will be a time, in the not so distant future, where it will be paramount to be seen and see what might be a good fit, but for now she is happy to continue with a course of study that has reaped tremendous benefits for her already.


If it ain't broke don't fix it! LOL

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Buzzandmoo, totally agree with ain't broke don't fix it, dd seems to still be on that upward trajectory through this summer. However it looks like next summer's decision is going to be the challenge!

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This is a fantastic topic! Here is our perspective as DD is now 18 and looking for a full time position for next year.


At 13 and 14 the options were both local and a first away SI ( suggested by AD) not affiliated with a company.


At 15 DD ( along with AD) selected a large SI with excellent teaching and much freedom to explore a beautiful large city.


At 16 DD repeated the same SI as she wanted to attend their year-round school. DD was accepted to the year-round program, but at the last minute housing fell through and wasn't able to attend


At 17 DD was accepted to the same SI but without any type of scholarship. After consideration that this would have been her third year attending this SI-DD decided to accept a scholarship opportunity with a smaller company's SI as they showed more "interest". This small SI and company were not a good fit for DD, so she turned down the trainee offer for 2014/2015 to finish her senior year with her smaller pre-pro. DD never considered that she wouldn't like this smaller program, and there were many lessons learned as she scrambled to finish out her senior year.


At 18 DD auditioned yet again for dream SI , was accepted ( but no scholarship), and is about to give up on this particular dream. A new small program has awarded her a full tuition scholarship with a possible trainee opportunity for next year. She will also audition for companies/2nd companies in the hope of a solid offer for next year. DD has decided that her dream school had their opportunity and the time has come to move on. The lessons learned were valuable and each year the SI's offer different but excellent training ( and lessons learned). Each dancer probably needs to evaluate this issue for themselves, but it is not easy :nixweiss: We have learned to follow the advice of the AD at her home school, which we are fortunate offers exellent training, and of course the sage advice of those who have traveled this path before.

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My DD attended the same SI two years in a row and had her heart set on attending once again this year as it was not only her dream SI but company. Unfortunately she was not accepted. She is heartbroken but I have to believe that she will realize that with that door currently closed she will discover another fabulous opportunity awaiting her. She has been offered scholarships to two other "3 letters" and awaiting the results on a few others. I think that the individual dancer seems to know what "feels" best. No harm in letting them feel "at home" - no matter if it is only for a few years of bliss :ermm:

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Marseas Mom - is your dd's bday earlier in the year or closer to the end?


As I look to the future, something mom2two pointed out earlier in the thread, is that dd's bday factors promeniently into the mix. Dd will be 17 when she graduates high school, and likely be in the top level of her year round ballet school, at present course and speed...


This kind of changes the focus I think for us a little and makes 15/16 SI's a quite a bit more important, because at 17 she theoretically be in a position to seek a company contract....and adds quite a bit more heat and pressure to picking the correct time and opportunity window, not to mention getting the fit right...


Wow, right now there is absolutely no pressure per se, but the next two years... I can't even imagine the pressure and stakes! Zoinks!

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Jambo - I'm so sorry for your daughter - but I have invariably found that in life when one door closes, another one opens.

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Jambo, My DD has also been through her share of ups and downs through this journey. BT4D has been wonderful in helping us to understand that DK's move through their journeys as they are meant to, with these decisions about SI's a moment in time. My DD is 18 and will be graduating high school this year. The stress and pressure ( mine) are incredible as with no firm trainee offer for next year, I am trying to get DD to consider plans B and C. DD has made the decision not to attend her dream training program's SI this year ( would have been her third year). She tried to look objectively at the facts, and felt that while she was accepted to what is likely their highest level for the summer, there was no token scholarship etc offered. Based on her perceived lack of serious interest by this larger program/company, she will accept an offer from a different company that she is interested in- who offered her a full tuition scholarship for the summer. It is a risk, but as

Dancemaven stated, things can be re-directed if she doesn't receive an offer.


For my DD, decisions at ages 14-16 were a bit easier for us because they were more about the training itself ( although it didn't seem so at the time :dizzy: )at 17 and 18 DD's decisions are about "fit" within their company.

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