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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Should she stay or should she go?

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Daughter is 14 and starts high school next year. She wants to stop juggling public school and ballet and train full-time at a pre-pro program with online schooling. She tried a course online over the summer while doing an intensive to test it out and free up some school time and did well. During intensive auditions, she got accepted to some pre-pro or trainee programs out of state and got excited. We don't want to lose her too young, are concerned that she may not be mature enough to go away and the costs are too high. Her dance school is tied to a company and started a pre- pro program recently where the kids train in the morning and are given a few hours to do online high school before joining the upper level class for evening classes. Since it is new, I am not sure what to ask about o r look for. I saw the threads on evaluating a pre-pro program and ballet school, but would appreciate comments on a new program. Also, daughter plans on auditioning for the year round program while away for the first time at an intensive this summer. One fulltime program we visited told her it was very hard to move away at 14 and she might want to wait a couple of years. Thoughts?

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My first question is how is her current training? Are you satisfied with the training and the current schedule? You mentioned she wanted to stop juggling public school and ballet...is that the primary interest in a residency program now?

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I hope I am answering the right way. I am new. Yes, I think her training and schedule are good. The juggling is a concern for daughter due to time constraints. I think a more important concern is she wants to dance professionally and wants the additional morning classes offered, additional training and performing opportunities.

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Taxi Dance,


It seems to be the wave for pre-pro schools to offer more and more hours with online classes as a means to do that. I'm fairly new to this ballet thing - but that's what I've noticed. Our son is also 14 and we are in the same boat. It just seems so young for them to go away...


I will say that I would give my eye teeth to have what sounds like a very good situation where you are. How would she feel about staying where she is and doing the new online/pre-pro option? It sounds like she is a good student and self-directed if she succeeded with online learning already. I guess an important question is whether or not she would like to go to college or go straight to a company, given the opportunity.


I think it's a hard decision - but sounds like your daughter is very driven and focused - which is great!


For us - we are open to our son going away but really would like him to be as close as possible, at least for his first few years. We don't have the same options that you have in our area, though - although his current instructor did float the idea of him doing online school and studying with him in the afternoon - which we considered but I think that would be a very lonely option for him. (he would be dancing alone in the afternoon).


How far away are the out of town options that she is considering - and do they offer more than you have at home - in terms of quality of instruction?

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Since she is so young, I would give the home program a shot for the next school year. If it is not what she hopes for and loves, then maybe think about a residence program for the following year. Personally, I really feel that they should stay at home if they are getting the same kind of training they would get in a residence school. If that is not available, then going away does become necessary at some point.

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How would she feel about staying where she is and doing the new online/pre-pro option? I guess an important question is whether or not she would like to go to college or go straight to a company, given the opportunity.



How far away are the out of town options that she is considering - and do they offer more than you have at home - in terms of quality of instruction?

I think she would be ok with staying home and doing the new program because she is still young but would prefer going away. The options are FAR away with one at least having other family close by. I think the others probably do offer more in terms of quality of instruction. They definitely have bigger names and a track record of getting students to become professionals out o f high school which is what she wants.

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If one parent was going to be with her full time at the new school, it might not be so bad. But being away from family and siblings at 14 is hard. My dd is 16 and away on her own. I visit often. I know she is homesick and actually misses her brothers. My dd went away for SI for three summers before we considered this.

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Taxi dance, my dd was 13 and was getting a lot of grief in 6-7 grade for leaving early from middle school, which runs till 8th grade. I thought that we wouldn't have to worry about homeschool for another two years because at that level early classes are the requirement at the advanced levels.


Residency at the school she was at required at least one year of homeschool already under your belt if you were to opt to do that over professional children's school or other alternative. So I decided to start in eighth grade to homeschool. It was a big change, but there have been no regrets whatsoever.


She subsequently switched ballet schools to one where the classes start later, but she dances nearly twice as much, and matriculated back into regular High School, which she be able to continue at least until her senior year. They arrange he schedule so she can leave at 1pm which is plenty of time to do homework and commute 90 mins to ballet.


So far this semester she has two consecutive quarters of making the principals honor roll, and routinely is getting A's and A+'s something she had never done prior. Straight B student in middle school. We new she was smart, but for whatever reason she just didn't engage. All that is gone now. She attributes it to homeschooling, and realizing that she is responsible for her own education, no one else is. It was a great experience for her.


I think keeping your dd close to home for as long as you can and in the current HS school if they can ease her schedule a bit is the best way forward. It's isolating being homeschooled and doing ballet and High School can be a great experience socially. However, if that can't be accomplished homeschooling is a fantastic option and shouldn't be shied away from at all. If her plan has her ending up in residency in the next year or two, I would opt to get her acclimated to homeschool sooner rather than later.


The school dd went too, had a storied residency program and graduates basically went to companies all around the world. Some went to PCS and got into Ivy League schools, at least one deferred because they got their dream job. Several were homeschooled and got into Ivy League school and several were homeschooled and were like a year behind in work etc. etc. and were a hot mess.


In my opinion, you don't want your dd to be in the position of sweating trying to get into a company role without a HS diploma and an educational track in parallel to pursue higher education.


To ensure you don't have a dd that is one of the latter, you have to really put the effort in now to instill that education is of paramount importance and you have to be able to excel at both to ensure success and I believe also confidence.

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  • 3 weeks later...

firedragon, which homeschooling program are you using? I'm considering homeschool as well but am not sure which to opt for to challenge myself academically.

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You might consider what your DD dance curriculum will be in the new program in your home school. At 14, in residential programs, partnering, ample pointe classes, repertoire, modern, character and pilates are offered. The course load expands as the student ages. While it might be ok to stay home for another year, as a teacher of the 1st year class, generally made up of 14 and 15 year olds, it has been my experience that often times students who delay attending our residency for one year, are a bit behind those who began a year earlier.

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Nataliedancer, after researching many homeschooling programs, discussing with several local groups and experienced homeschool parents, I learned the best practice was to cherry pick the curriculum from several different programs and providers. Each program has their strength or something they are known for, but they are not strong in every single subject and learning styles may require subject matter to be presented in different ways for max effect.


The best way was to get a list of 2-3 best programs per subject and think about how much time is required by yourself to support your child, learning style, cost and portability, secular (don't overlook an excellent program because it is religious several offer secular versions), self-teaching. E.g. Internet programs are useless if you have a long commute, etc.


You shouldn't reinvent the wheel, just join local forums and reach out to the moderators, best to get an approved list that your school district will already have vetted. We also did one major subject a day 8-12 or 4 hours straight through, which I fully recommend; math, science, language, history, Friday's and and afternoons were writing, vocabulary, grammar and testing or catching up. Here is the final list, we used in eighth grade.



Math - Chalk Dust - DVD Program / Math Professor / Ability to call or Email professor

History - History Odyssey - NARS - Full / Geography / History / Literature Credit - Pandia - Rainbow Resource / Kingfisher Encyclopedia / Ancients / Middle Ages / Early Modern / Modern Times (each subject is a year can be 8-12 grade) lots of classic literature so it is expensive to acquire books if library doesn't have access

Grammar - Growing with Grammar

Language - Rosetta Stone - French

Vocabulary - Verbal Advantage

Writing - Institute for Excellence in Writing

Science - Science Explorer - Prentice Text Book - / Keystone Biology / Ability to call or Email professor

Edited by firedragon0800
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As another insight, including a program like Keystone is good for other reasons particlarly as a good segue from going from traditional brick and mortar to home as it has lots of resources, approximates the look and feel of B&M and has good metrics, as does Rosetta Net Homeschool edition. Many of these programs are already inherently tightly integrated to incorporate art projects as labs, projects and research online which I felt was surprisingly effective in reinforcing the learning while satisfying art requirements etc.


Dd's high school is academically rigorous and is well into the top 250 High Schools in the US, I am mentioning this because HS is a more than viable option and considered as a way to move ahead even if implemented correctly.


The most important thing is to be able to keep track, not fall behind and have a curriculum plan.

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So as to not go too far :offtopic:, please take additional discussions of specific homeschooling questions/curriculum to a new thread, or re-visit some of the myriad existing threads. :thumbsup:

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