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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Weighing cost/benefits of Residential programs

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Yes, Mr. Pakri will be joining us in August for the 2014-2015 season.

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I cannot add Harid since it has no academic faculty. A mentor in a virtual classroom is a different experience. SAB was mentioned but it does not have an on campus option for high school either.

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I would put SAB in a separate category: schools that have special arrangements with multiple nearby private and public schools.


SAB's literature is quite specific about their high regard for academics and their high-achieving students.


Just my two cents


(I'm not suggesting that other approaches are not good, just that their approach seems unique and interesting to me)

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Pittsburgh Ballet and many others (including SAB) use area high schools for their academic education. A lot of ballet conservatories (almost all) speak of their high regard for academic education on their websites. When you compare prices, it becomes obvious that a true in house academic faculty costs a lot of money.

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Yes, you are right.


To be more specific, the SAB literature states that many of its students enter the Ivies, Stanford, and MIT and that these students often receive single and multi-year deferrals to dance. These are claims many top prep schools cannot make.


I think there is a difference between simply using an area high school and seeking out multiple compatible educational opportunities for students.


For some parents, this distinction might be valuable.


Btw - I am aware that SAB provokes strong opinions. I am not thinking about the dance aspect, only the position they claim to have taken on education.

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Schools such as PBT and SAB are not degree granting, State certified high schools. They are schools that have an academic relationship with various programs in their communities. Therefore, stating that there students go on to illustrious college programs is a marketing scheme. They are not actually responsible for the academics the students receive.

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Balletwatcher: SAB does have a Professional Children's School which is a one-block walk from the dorms. SAB is very involved and committed to helping ballet students achieve academically. They even host Honor's Award celebrations for students who qualify academically to support and celebrate student academic success. They also have tutors who come in on a regular basis to assist students who may struggle academically. They also offer assistance in completing college applications as well as on-site SAT preparation courses for students around their ballet schedules. Colleges look very favorably on students who attend SAB, or any rigorous residential program. And yes, many SAB students are accepted to Columbia, Harvard, NYU, etc. I think its more a reflection on the type of support SAB gives to academically inclined students. SAB is very responsible and respectful towards the academics the students receive. I am speaking from personal experience.

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Right, PCS cooperates with SAB but it's an extra 38K or so. SAB knows a good thing when it sees it. PCS is the academic entity that is responsible for the students getting into MIT etc. SAB is supporting PCS. SAB knows that it will likely take only about 10% or less of its top students into it's company and it is responsible enough to send the message to impressionable teens that education matters, more than I can say for many three letters ballet schools.

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While HARID can not claim MIT, we have had Harvard, Mt. Holyoke, Northwestern, Columbia, Stanford and Yale on our list of college acceptances. Some have entered these esteemed universities immediately following receiving their high school diplomas from HARID and others have gone following their careers in ballet. It is true, colleges do like high achieving ballet dancers. HARID does offer Honors and AP courses with the online schooling. Just an opinion, but if a ballet school is not offering a diploma at the end of the course of study, it is a residential program for the study for ballet. High schooling options may exist, however the ballet program in the end is not ultimately responsible for the academic successes of the ballet students. That lies with the students, high schools themselves and the families.

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I feel like I started an argument.


HARID is an excellent school - there is no doubt about it in my mind.

A previous poster suggested that some children may not be good fits for an on-line based education.


I merely wanted to point out that I see an additional category of school which has multiple academic options built in.


I used SAB as the poster child for that category simply because I know a little bit about what they are trying to do.


It could simply be that SAB is in NYC and so there are lots of interesting options, and my observation is unimportant, or there may be more dance programs with similar options.


I certainly didn't mean to imply anything negative about HARID or any other academy. I apologize if it seems like I drove the conversation in that direction.

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I always thought of residential programs as having 3 types of academic programs:


1. Accredited, diploma granting high school with in-house traditional classroom instruction (such as Walnut Hill)


2. Accredited, diploma granting high school with in-house computer-based instruction (such as Harid)


3. Students enroll in a separate diploma-granting high school (either online or local public/private school) & the ballet school provides oversight/mentoring (such as SAB)


The difference between #2 and #3 is that the ballet school is actually serving as the high school as well. For example, a student graduating from Harid would have "Harid" on their high school diploma, and the in-house arts instruction at Harid would count as electives in addition to the online academic courses because Harid is an accredited high school. That's different from SAB. When a student graduates from SAB, the high school name on their diploma is whatever high school they graduated from outside of SAB.


Here in Houston, we have a lot of private schools that use computer-based instruction rather than traditional classroom instruction. It's a selling point of their school that kids can work at their own pace.


Some kids love computer-based learning. Some can't stand it. It's good to have options.

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Ummm....I would like to wade in on the assumption some people have regarding SAB and academics. After 5 LONG years I can say without a shred of doubt you would extremely foolish to believe anything said in print or on their website regarding academics. ANY SAB student that does well academically has done so with their own drive or with parents pushing. Period. If you send a student there as a boarding student be prepared to parent from afar...academics are NOT a priority.

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Not an argument at all here, just a discussion.

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I am a teacher and my DD is a dancer and academics are of high concern for us. She has been in one of the residential programs you speak of and I can tell you that while the academics are good, they are not top notch. In addition to being a residential student at that school, she also commuted and did online learning. I must tell you, as a teacher, I was skeptical of the online learning, however it proved to be a great experience for my DD. She is smart and highly motivated to work on her own. If your child is highly motivated and will do the online assignments, online learning can be wonderful!

Edited by vaganovagirl
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I have found when trying to understand academics, finances, and the whole residential program package here is what has helped most: DD talking to other dancers. Summer intensives are a great opportunity to meet dancers who actually study at these programs. When DD has become friends with peers they usually talk about their programs and she has learned a lot along the way about what they think about academics, dorm living, the city they're in, and the quality of the dance instruction. Sure you get sour grapes along the way but by the time you meet multiple students in differing levels you can have a pretty good idea. As a parent, I am interested in financial aid, housing, is it safe, is it affordable, and quality of education/educational options. I have had some good success talking to parents of children that DD met during summers or at auditions. There is the "official" word and then there is the word on the street about what life is really like at the school. The best advertising is happy successful students :D Worth it for me is about financials, whether DD will receive a strong enough education to go to college if she gets an injury or decides she would like to pursue different options, as well as whether the environment is truly supportive of the whole student. I want her to have happy high school years and I also want her to receive good education, both dance and academic. There are many excellent places to get dance training, whether the program is the best fit for your particular child's overall needs is a different matter. My child enjoys traditional classroom education for the interaction but I could also see online with tutors as being an option. What I worry about is how colleges would view online instruction versus classroom education, which so far I have limited information about.

Edited by javamama
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