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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Weighing cost/benefits of Residential programs

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I am not in anyway involved in the academics at HARID, however our student acceptances into university programs has not declined since we changed to virtual schooling. An SAT is an SAT score. An AP score is an AP score. A grade is a grade. Thus far our students continue to compete well both academically and dancewise.

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@vrsfanatic- thank you, that is really helpful to know and I'm sure other parents will appreciate hearing that too. It's all unfamiliar waters and it's great to hear that first hand!

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Colleges look at more than SAT scores. Having been at SAB for the past four years, and an educator myself, my experience has been nothing but positive about SAB and its support of the whole child, as well as opportunities outside of ballet and academics (i.e, volunteering opportunities, teaching-assistance opportunities, leadership opportunities). SAB has given my child excellent support in all areas that colleges look for in considering the whole child. If we were at home attending a traditional school and still commuting one hour each way to ballet, she would not have had time for volunteering and teacher-assisting and participate in dorm leadership. So its important to look outside of ballet and academics as well when looking for a year-round residential school.

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napnap you are absolutely correct. Outside activities are a big plus in university acceptance.

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As a parent I think when you are choosing a Ballet residency program you should of course give the academics due consideration, but if academics are the top priority perhaps a Ballet Residency program isn't for your family. The reason to go to a residency program should be (in my opinion) first and foremost the dance training opportunities. Next you would need to assure yourself that your child will be well taken care of regarding food, housing, etc. - the basics you would require as a family. Then you dial in academics.


Don't get me wrong - I am NOT saying that academics are not important. I just think that if you are considering a ballet residency program then the dance decisions should be the first ones made.


As I mentioned before I have done this twice, two different daughters. The one no longer dancing is now an attorney. Didn't go to an Ivy League school, but I think she's done ok. :)

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Right so mom2, there are different ways to see it and I agree with your analysis but this is mine.


For me both ballet and academics have to be at a certain level before I can justify making the huge sacrifice for my family. The ballet needs to be far above what DD could get locally (both in terms of quantity and quality) and I need the academics to be at least equal to what DD could get locally. Our HS is a top 50 in state.


Then I want the ballet stuff and the academic stuff to coalesce so that the dance teachers appreciate and understand and respect the academics and I want the academic staff to appreciate and respect the effort that it takes to dance.



And I don't want to have to pull up roots 2 years in due to some traumatic situation or my kid getting cut. I want an environment that cares about my child as a person, beyond her dance ability. I want somewhere that DD can stay and grow. I want people whose values I agree with (mostly).

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And I don't want to have to pull up roots 2 years in due to some traumatic situation or my kid getting cut. I want an environment that cares about my child as a person, beyond her dance ability. I want somewhere that DD can stay and grow. I want people whose values I agree with (mostly).


That is really important in my opinion. I will probably never get my head around the idea that you can get disinvited from your school after 1-3 years for mysterious reasons.

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I am sure that there are circumstances in which it happens (and should happen) but I don't want a school that has a policy of doing that so as to guarantee it's own success.

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What an amazing statement. This idea has never entered my mind. It is actually shocking to read that this might be an issue in the eyes of some parents/families. If you do not mind, I will pass this idea along.

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I have been reading this thread with interest and feel that I have info about DDs experience that may be of interest to others. DD studied at pre-pro with residential status for 10 years. Living in the dorms with ballet and high school was not offered as part of the program until she was in high school- but she started taking ballet classes at this school in first grade.


We live about 30 minutes drive from the school so consequently spent a considerable number of hours driving back and forth to ballet. When DD approached high school age we also debated the residential vs not question.


Our high school age range is typically grade 9 through grade 12. Grade 9 we decided to keep DD in local public school. There were problems with this decision - mistake that we could not get her released early from a required gym class to make it to ballet on time without receiving a bad grade for gym. We decided that ballet was an appropriate substitute for gym and we would deal with her grade in gym.


In 10th grade she attended the residential program but commuted from home. Ie took the ballet and academic hs classes but did not live there. For us this did not work. Not because of living at home but because of the lack of academic support from the hs. Although they claimed to support the dance program, the only time the academic teachers were available for additional help was immediately after school -WHEN DD WAS SCHEDULED to be in ballet class. DD was serious about ballet and although her plan B is to be a pediatrician missing ballet was not an option. Her academic grades suffered.


Grade 11 DD went back to public academic school and continued at ballet school as an after school student. Again she flourished in public academic setting. Straight a's!!! And she was taking a hard schedule- 2 math classes and an AP science class in addition to a full load with no study halls. At this time her last class oif the day was an online class which allowed her to leave early to make it to ballet and complete high school class work at home after ballet.


During spring of junior year she was accepted to a highly competitive residential program overseas. Luckily because she was far enough ahead in her academic classes she was able to take the additional online classes and graduate high school a year early with a traditional hs diploma from our public school.


She attended an international ballet program as a trainee and is now in line for a trainee position here at major US company/school.


I know that our experience may not meet the criteria of the posted question- but felt that it may provide info regarding trying to navigate this crazy world using all of the approaches.


Hope this helps. Please delete post if not appropriate.

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I was addressing learningdance.

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It seems that one of the significant differences between programs that have academics as an integral part of the program and grant high school diplomas is that, presumably, all dancers are attending academic classes and have homework etc. In programs where there isn't an academic standard or program, kids who attend school are, in the short term, at a disadvantage compared to the kids in their ballet program who do not attend school. The disadvantage being primarily time constraints and conflicts.

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I agree with Coco. While overseas DD could focus on ballet because she already had her HS diploma. Her roommate was trying to complete HS online with poor internet service. Girls were ssme age and would normally have graduated hs at same time. DD was definitely at an advantage. I do have to mention that this school had hs type school as part of their program but other than Russian language classes most international students took traditional hs classes as required by their country of origin.

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I would encourage anyone researching things about Residency programs to take a couple of hours (quick method) or a couple of days (slow method) and take a title by title run of our Pre-Pro Schools Forum. By that I mean today, go to the Pre-pro School forum, start on page one and scroll down to see any titles that sound like they might be talking about residential schools. Then later start with page two. A search will also provide a few but sometimes the good ones were titled something that you would not think of to "search".


Not every thread in the Pre-Pro residencies will be about residencies but many, many will. Some changes in the educational process may have changed with more online school options. But when my child was beginning to enter high school and we were begininng to wonder about them, there was a strong set of parents here whose children were in residencies and they were very open about the positives, negatives, and things to look for. Many of their children are dancing and many have moved on. But they offered a wealth of information mostly because they were willing to discuss the good and bad, the questions to ask/consider and the things. You will easily pick up on those who were discussing the issues you might face as a dancer/parent and those who were discussing their own residency and only their own residency. Make your own judgement on that.


It may seem like a daunting task, but I assure you that I was looking for a couple of specific threads and looked through the entire forum that way in less than 30 minutes and that included clicking on some threads to see if that might help you. I decided there were too many to spend time linking you to, and it was best for you to link to them, bump up the ones that you'd like to start discussing now or start your own threads like you've done here to discuss and dig through. Some of those names are still here, posting regularly. I'm sure if asked on a thread they would give you their in time assessments now that their dancers have moved on to jobs or something else and also if there were things they should have considered and didn't what those might be.


Have fun!

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