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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Things to Look for in Quality Pre Pro Program

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Other than the class schedule and faculty experience and reputation, what kinds of things should I consider in selecting a Pre Pro Program?

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In addition to class schedule, variety. Is it ballet and ballet only? Or do they offer modern or jazz, etc also for supplementals.


The things you listed are the most important but don't forget how you and your dancer feel about the environment. Every child is different personality wise and some will flourish in a very strict, no-nonsense dance environment and others will crumble. We bypassed the bigger, more prestigious and very hands off environment for a smaller, one where the AD treated the children as if they were her own. Not because DD would have crumbled, but because we wanted to be sure she was in a safe environment and not one with a dance only mentality. The quality of the instruction though was the same as the bigger school and that was key.

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One thing I would consider is if the school is a competition school. Competition can be very expensive, entrance fees, tutu's, private lessons, and also, because if the school does competition, your child will most likely want to be part of the competition team. The school I chose for the last two years for my oldest DD for technique was great, but they started to do competition this year, and I do not like competitions and will probably not send my youngest DD back there next year. I do think the experience of YAGP can be good, but I have had my DK in competitions for too many years and do not want to do that anymore. You might like competitions, so that is very important to consider.

I am actively looking for another school for my youngest DD, and where I live it's not that easy to find a good ballet school, so I am looking at some driving, :)

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I would also look at performance opportunities and how many of the dancers in the top level(s) came up through the school itself....

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We switched to a pre pro with a company and studio company attached this year and should have further investigated the class sizes in the top 2 upper levels, which turned out to be extremely large - more than double the size of DDs summer intensive class there. I'm talking 40+ students. DD recently confessed she has actually lost some of her turning abilities due to not enough space to dance. She also receives very little in the way of personal corrections and at 14 would still like occasional direct feedback. Also, we didn't know that the "pre pro" levels - say age 16-19 or 20, select very few - only 2 last year - from their own school. They prefer to bring in international students, mainly from Asia, and some boys from other areas of the US, from what we have observed. I would definitely try to get answers to these questions beforehand if at all possible but realize that it can be very difficult to gather accurate information from school personnel and even families that are there - many have been there for their entire training and are very "loyal" to their school which is nice but doesn't always lead to unbiased information.

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I would also look at the alumni......have dancers gone on to better programs, company's or teaching. When we made the move from competitive school to pre-pro we were fortunate enough to have first hand information from other people who were already attending.

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