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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Weighing cost/benefits of Residential programs

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I was thinking about this and even assuming a 100% artistic scholarship I find the price prohibitive balancing factors such as location and other school amenities. Franklly, I hate the location of the school and after seeing it I couldn't imagine letting my DD live there year round during her prime teen years. Just seems depressing to me. Don't get me wrong the school has adequate facilities, but it's really an old building. Very convent-like. And I'm no diva I mean we live in a cramped, cluttered, urban two bedroom apt.

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I guess we have a different take on things. It made me sad to hear KAB described as depressing. We are "old house people" and we appreciate the grace of the well-maintained building with beautiful woodwork and soaring ceilings with beautiful chandeliers, and winding stairs. Positively inspirational. The two story practice halls are fabulous, with the observation windows overlooking the practice areas. During our visits, the sounds of students playing the grand pianos during free time and laughter in the halls never really struck me as depressing. I know that most of the dorm rooms are small, but some are not, and some have private bathrooms. Most of the living goes on in the common areas, though. It is hard to imagine what the place is like year round when you only experience the summer intensive.


Being a student in Washington DC is like having the world at your feet. We loved those trips to museums and Georgetown as we completed our education and lived in the greater DC area many years ago.


Spurred on by comments about the price of programs with ballet training and on site academics, I looked into the costs of other programs. Kirov seems to fall in the middle of most private boarding schools with ballet programs that do not use a "virtual classroom" or "on line high school" or rely on housing off campus or start accepting students in the 10th grade. Kirov, Walnut Hill, Interlochen, Idyllwild, and Bossov are all in the scary range of 44K to 52K this year, from what I can see, not much different than other private boarding schools without dance. Even with artistic scholarships, the room and board are not insignificant. The programs with state funding, like North Carolina School of the Arts are more reasonable, especially for instate students, and offer a bigger campus experience. South Carolina Governor's School is only open to South Carolina residents. Each has its pluses and minuses in terms of physical plant, locations, and ballet program. There really were very few schools I could find with onsite live high schools for grades 9 through 12. I'm sure I missed some schools though.

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Balletwatcher I agree with your analysis. It's depressing to me because we as a family will never, ever have the kind of income that it takes to do a place where live academics and ballet coincide. I agree that having the live academics and ballet training together are important.


I would say that SAB is actually cheaper if you get in and if you do the PPAS academic program. That also is lovely environment. But you have to like the Balanchine style and honestly right now we really can't get over those hands, stylistically it's not attractive IMO.


Harid is an option but the online schooling program is a deal breaker for us.


What I am coming to grips with is that our family will need to make some kind of calculated sacrifice that is line with our finances, educational values, ballet training values, and child rearing values. We can not take on 100K of debt for 4 years of ballet training and frankly these schools (and I included the others you mentioned) are simply not producing the kind of results that we would expect for such a massive financial sacrifice for our family. It's not the same for all families, I know. And I would do it if I could afford to, so I am not judging anyone who is.

We will also need some kind of merit scholarship because as a middle class family we will not qualify for a need based scholarship, although we really are breaking even with our current situation and selling our house would result in a loss and not come even close to making up the difference for a ballet school of the type of Kirov.

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I've learned to love the hands - they really do make it look like they are moving faster/more, to me anyway :)


We (me and my wife) also love the idea (promoted in SAB literature) that high-quality schooling is important and compatible with dance training.

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Adam12, was this post meant for the other thread? This one is discussing the costs and benefits of Residential programs.

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Very possibly. I think someone moved their post to this thread and now I'm responding to that post here in the context of the other thread. I won't be the least bit offended if it needs to be removed.

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My dd has just been invited to stay at a residential program that she is attending the SI right now. While very flattering, it is just too big of a financial stretch right now. She was also in a situation where she was asked to stay as well 2 years ago, and that was not a residential school, so it was much more financially feasible. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best fit.


I know shw can stay home maybe for onemore year, and honestly I don't know how we will do it. We could move with her, or refinance the house(not!) we do have saving for post secondary, but those can only be accessed post secondary.


Here in canada we have 3 schools that combine ballet, academics and housing. All are in the $30 k range, but I believe the success of the grads varies.

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Iceberg*lover, I know at least two of the three schools of which you speak, and they have both provincial and federal funding. My understanding is that their mandate is to ensure that any dancer that meets their stringent criteria is able to train, and not be held back for financial reasons. There is no funding available for the SIs, but I was under the impression that there is the potential for substantial needs based assistance for the year round program.


Is this your understanding as well?

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Although it's been a few years, my experience has been that the provincial funding you mention varies considerably by province. Ontario (where I happen to live) has next to nothing - whereas provinces like Alberta and Nova Scotia do have some good opportunities. Therefore, parents really do need to do homework.


RESPs are specifically for post-secondary, so if you have been contributing to those it is not an option to use the money for something else - at least without a penalty (assume this might be what iceberg*lover is referring to). They also require that the student be registered in a specific type of academic program (i.e. University/College). I am not sure about a dance program - we never checked that out.


All the best to those who are considering for the upcoming school year!



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Actually, I can speak personally to the use of RESP's for one of them. Our DD is at RWB - the program does fit the "other" category and the PD is listed on the master section of the Canada Student Loan list. We had quite a bit of research done and got a ruling last year from CRA that the withdrawals are allowed including the CESG monies which had accumulated in the plan. We can also claim her tuition fees, but not the post secondary tax credit, until she is 16. I documented everything, as it took quite a bit of back and forth to get it all straightened out.

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We did claim our dd's tuition and a portion of residence fees up until the age of 16. There were some, er, "discussions" with CRA about this but it did work out. There was a precedent for elite ahtletic training, and other families had done the battle before us. The amount however isn't huge, and if you need significant financial assistance the tax write-off by itself is not sufficient.


We didn't however explore the RESP option. Didn't actually think about it at the time - perhaps was focussed on post-secondary only.

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Balletwatcher you missed The HARID Conservatory. It is considerably less expensive with a reliably excellent track record for producing high level professional dancers. Take look at our website www.harid.edu .

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Thank you. I did look at the HARID Conservatory website before I made the list and I thought that I would be including this school also. I did not add them to the list because they did not meet the criteria I was looking for. According to their website, HARID Conservatory has a virtual classroom for high school and not a traditional boarding school with live academic teachers in the room together with the students. There are many more options in addition to HARID for parents/students who are OK with online or virtual classrooms or going to local area high schools for their education. Most of these conservatories are considerably cheaper than the traditional boarding school academic learning model. I agree that from a dance education perspective, HARID is a competitive and reasonably priced alternative with a proven track record.

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Actually there are Florida, Palm Beach County certified teachers in the rooms with the students at all times. They are called mentors and are there to help when needed.


I added HARID to your list because of the price issue being discussed. With full-tuition scholarships for all students, that leaves housing as the cost factor. Don't quote me on this but I believe our fees are around 12,000.00 this year. I know they are less than last year.

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