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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Boys and Scholarships


momtoemandel

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momtoemandel

Has a studio ever offered a partial or full scholarship to your DS to study year round? The ballet moms (of girls) always talk about boys getting scholarships.

 

My son just started at a new studio this year. Just wondering if they approached you or you approached them.

Edited by momtoemandel
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At our studio, scholarship auditions are open to all students through participation in particular observation classes during the year. About a third of our boys are either partially or fully funded. DS does not happen to be one of them. It is a myth that all boys have scholarships at least at pre-pro studios with robust male student populations.

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We go to a small local studio, so if you are at a large pre-pro, our experience may not be useful, but I'll share anyway. We've found that the boys' scholarship situation has varied year to year, depending on the financial state of the studio (enrollment has been down lately, so that has affected things), and also the whims of the studio owner (she tends to change policies every year). She does not have the policies written down anywhere. We have very few boys at our studio. Every single year has been different. We've had the following:

 

Year before we had a male dancer: All boys danced free (I only know this because she announced at a meeting that she would no longer be able to continue this).

 

Our first year -- boys dance free only for the first year (follow up years might have been half price, not sure)

 

Year two -- all boys pay half price

 

Year three -- boys got a discounted rate only if a parent volunteered to work around the studio; discount dependent on hours volunteered. I could not volunteer, so we paid full price. (After this year, several boys left the studio to dance somewhere that wouldn't charge them anything, so I think she felt compelled to offer scholarships again)

 

Year four -- boys get the first $100 in class fees per month free.

 

As you can see, there is no telling year to year what discount we will get. We've never asked. If you would like to ask your studio about scholarships, I'd suggest asking what their policy is and whether they have an application process. If they have no policy and no discounts, but studio fees are an issue for your family, perhaps you could have a private conversation with them about your needs to see if they can give you a discounted rate anyway. I don't see that it would hurt to ask this as long as you do so respectfully. I do know that the families who left gave our studio owner an ultimatum -- give our boys a scholarship or we will go somewhere else. That did not go over well with her (I happened to be part of a conversation in which she discussed that situation), so I'd advise against that approach.

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Our son just auditioned successfully for a serious prepro, and he'll be attending the prepro after the end of the current dance year. We did ask them about scholarship/bursaries for future reference.

 

We were told that there weren't scholarships available at his level (he's only entering the program and will only be starting with 3 classes/week) but we were more concerned with fees once he gets to 5-6 days a week. So it sounds like there are scholarships for older boys. And that they will always consider financial aid help as well on a case by case basis, but there aren't any rules for that.....you have to talk to them and they consider it on an individual basis.

 

Also what might affect availability of scholarships in general are if the school is a profit or nonprofit. I believe all the majorly recognized major prepros in Canada (including the company feeder schools) are all nonprofit and that means they get government funding and such so they should have more bursaries/financial aid help too.

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We've found the answer to vary drastically. And the attitudes of the studios/owners/teachers/school directors to vary just as dramatically. For several years we, too, have heard all about how guys get automatic full scholarships. This has never been our dancer's story. I truly believe the competition for male dancers is increasing each year.

 

Our dancer has auditioned for and been awarded scholarships awarded by a local charitable foundation that allows students to use the monies at any school meeting their (reasonable) criteria. You may want to look for that type of scholarship to supplement your ds's training.

 

Ds's current teacher has become convinced that competitions are the way to get scholarships and has been frustrated at our lack of participation.

 

The first pre-pro school that ds attended only offered financial aid. The amount of aid changed with a change in school directors. Not in a positive way for us.

 

The first away pre-pro SI offered partial scholarships with work-study. I thought the work-study was very reasonable for the kids. I've heard that this school was pretty consistent with its awards being based on merit. There was no financial aid.

 

The current studio now offers automatic 1/2 tuition for all boys, also available are merit scholarships and/or financial aid (there has been some inconsistent work study associated--definitely not unreasonable). The policies have changed over the last three years, with scholarships and aid decreasing each year. Tuition has increased each year. We would attribute the changes to the board of directors and not the studio owners.

 

Last year ds's SI of choice (a very large school) offered varying scholarships--he was notified of a generous scholarship with acceptance letter and financial aid was available to apply for. We are ever so grateful for the scholarship he was awarded for the coming summer at the same school as last year. His many years of hard work have allowed him the opportunity to see his dream come closer.

 

Hope you find some good answers and it never hurts to ask politely!

 

 

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Some studios do discount boys' tuition, but it is not always advertised.

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Our full time studio offers the boys half price classes to every boy which is nice. Unfortunately, there is only my teenage boy and a darling 3 year old boy. Our previous studio also offered discounted classes to all of the boys. Because DS is one of the few older boys in the area who is decent at partnering, he was "loaned out" to the local professional company for a production and to another dance studio to help in their partnering class this year. In both situations he was not required to pay fees in exchange for his help. In the case of discount classes, this was always a stated rule of the studio for all boys. In the case of fees being waived, we were approached because they wanted to use him. Sometimes is pays to be one of the few! Since you just started with this studio, unless your DS is older and being heavily featured or used by your studio, I don't think I would ask. Maybe next year, depending on how he advances, you might inquire once he has established himself there.

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We are concluding our pre-pro/ballet school experience this year with high school graduation. We have found it wise to ask with an attitude of "gathering information" rather than expectation. We approached SIs and colleges in this manner as well as the prep-pro education. DS participated in one YAGP and while high scoring, did not receive any scholarships or extra attention. He is attending OU Dance in the fall with extensive academic financial support and some dance financial support. Respectful assertiveness has been effective for us.

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leaper - ITA. That's how we approached it too. We certainly weren't expecting any freebies, but we just wanted to ask for 'future information's sake' since our son's schedule in the coming years will get quite intense (and potentially costly). We can handle paying for 3 classes a week, but we needed reassurance that there was some available assistance in coming years if it started getting extremely costly.

 

Tuition at, for example, the National Ballet School costs $14k for tuition alone! Granted that is all day and has integrated academics, but it's just completely beyond our means. It's not even a matter of stretching our budget, we just can't fund tuition on that scale. But our prepro, like the NBS, has a policy that finances will never be a reason for a student with potential to be held back. I felt a lot better after talking to the prepro about it!

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ballerinomom

It does seem to vary! Our top and well-known local pre-pro has a sizeable boys program but does not offer any special incentives for boys - there is needs-based financial aid available equally to boys and girls. However, there is a new pre-pro school that has started offering a very generous 100% tuition scholarship to all boys accepted into the program. My DS takes ballet with an independent teacher in a small class setting - there are 2 boys and 5 girls and the boys pay the same as the girls. I wouldn't even consider asking for a special rate in this situation. I have never directly asked a studio about scholarships.

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We've been at a few studios. The first one approached me about scholarship because she wanted my boys. That changed over time similar to daisychain's experience. I have scrubbed many toilets along with my boys! :yucky: We are a large family with a low income and my boys would not be able to dance with out work study or scholarship.

 

The next studio had a boys scholarship program that applied to all boys above age 8. All ballet and modern free, had to attend all classes (no flaky ballet boys).

 

Our current studio I straight up asked before even stepping foot in the door. I did with other pre-pro studios as well. All told me boys were scholarshipped. I do think in our metropolitan area ballet boys are still hard to come by. The studios do get boys by offering a good boys program along with scholarship.

 

We recently went to another studio for an audition tour for a SI. They chatted us up and tried to "poach" the boys. It's like a boy magnet!

 

At the SI they've gone to scholarship has varied from none ( I did ask and received though) 50% off tuition, 100% off tuition, full tuition and room and board. Some of that is due to the boys getting older (and more useful) some is due to programs that offer it to boys as a matter of course. Some had a work study component.

 

Yes, you can ask respectfully just as you would ask about any part of their program. It may be a little awkward once you are at a studio, but as long as you aren't impolite or demanding the worst thing they can say is no.

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