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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Residential Schools with Focus on Classical Ballet


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  • Momof3darlings

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Noodles--No need to remove your post. Just understand that a discussion means that people can see your perspective from what you read and offer corrections when needed. We know alot of members need the information and your desire to gather it is admirable. The discussion helps. It's just that when some of it is incorrect, it needs to be corrected. There will be someone 3 years from now who reads this thread and views each post as authoritativel. We value the validity of the information. As dancemaven stated, this is why you see us always encourage you to use and add to the existing threads and add to them instead of what is a quicker way but sometimes not as efficient a way. A double edged sword for sure. Continue to discuss, continue to share, but continue to be open to the sharing and correction of others. In reality, you would want that corrected information before you ruled out a program or spent money on a visit to find out something different.

 

In all things board:

  • Search first
  • Get the cup of coffee and read 2nd
  • Discuss after you've searched and read (or if you just can't find the answer and need some help, comfort, camaderie, etc. etc.
  • Remember that a discussion includes others views and information as well. It's not a post and stand sort of thing.

Carry on...............

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No worries, I clearly did not research as thoroughly as I had thought! I don't want to confuse others, so It is simpler to just delete.

 

I do appreciate all of the sharing and discussion though!

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I did not mean to be reactive. Noodles. Seeing them all in one place is helpful. I just was worried that there would be confusion.

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Just want to add that there have been years where most graduates from Nutmeg and other schools with similar profiles get dance jobs upon graduation and other years where most (often it's something like 4:3 since the graduating classes are small) go on to colleges, majoring in ballet. Some of those individuals later go on to ballet companies from college. Words like "most" don't tell a full story. A school like Harid may have a graduating class where yes, most go on to dance jobs, but it's a ratio of 5:4 whereas Nutmeg's might be 4:5.

 

I've actually turned my thinking around after being around the ballet world for so long. I used to tell everyone to check where the recent graduates have gone, but that's no longer the full picture. I've been involved with the same pre-pro school since 1989. There were glory years and they were the same for other high quality ballet schools because they were economical glory years for the general population here in the USA. Nearly every school - academic, conservatory, dance, music, sports., etc. - was thriving.

 

Then the crash came and schools of all kinds had to figure out how to survive. Ballet companies started schools and then started requiring dancers to attend their SI's to be considered for their companies. Where did that leave the non-affiliated schools? They still had talented students, but perhaps not as many as previously. I work in the private academic school setting and have seen the exact same thing occur in the highly competitive schools here in the Northeast. The most competitive schools are accepting students they wouldn't previously have taken in because the pool is smaller to begin with. So, not as many of their kids go on to the Ivies, which is where those schools used to focus all their attention on.

 

So now my thinking is NOT what or how many companies do the graduates of the ballet schools go on to, but how far was the ballet school able to bring each dancer training-wise? I look at it more in relative terms instead of absolutes: I measure a ballet school's training ability by how much they can accomplish with a raw dancer in a couple years time. Non company-affiliated schools may not have as many "phenoms" as they used to in the top tiers, but how well do they work with who they have? How far, relatively, can they bring each student from where that student was when s/he first entered through their doors? That's the mark of a true teacher and of a reputable academy. They still need to have a few "phenoms" to be competitive with each other (the dancers, I mean), but they don't need to have a school full of them to prove their value as a training center.

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Thank you vagansmom. Very wise words.

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Very nice indeed vagansmom.

 

I feel lost on a regular basis having no experience in the ballet world. My older son went away with disastrous results with unscrupulous people. It just seems impossible to find the right mix and my next son wants to go away for training now. I think this whole process is much worse than the college process (dramatically different from my era) but it is the only comparison. My non-ballet friends think we are crazy of course. But you are entrusting someone else to raise your child, educate and train them plus the expense. And you send your baby away to boot! It seems the schools all have their promises and motives.

 

I've told my kids I want them to go to HS as though they are going to get a fantastic scholarship to the best college, but at 18 it's their decision what to do. I'm very hesitant about online schooling.

 

Noodles I do appreciate your attempt!

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vagansmom, that is a really great perspective. I am sure that you are spot on! From a non dancing parent's perspective " how far was the ballet school able to bring each dancer training-wise?" is impossible to quantify. The only hard facts that we have are where the dancers go...and yet I am the first one to admit that DD's little studio is wonderful, but the great majority of their dancers are going off to college. It is a simple matter of numbers. Not many dance parents in my area consider their dancers dreams as an option....academics is always #1. (Yes academics are critical, but that is a different discussion!).

 

You do give us a valuable point to consider, thank you!

 

Moxie, it is hard! We know a dancer who went away with similar results as your older son. Her experience lingers in my mind as I ponder this whole residential possibility. All of my friends think I am nuts too, I am so happy to have a group here to talk to and learn from!

Best of luck as you make these difficult decisions!

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I have found this entire thread (along with DD's first experience boarding this summer) to be very helpful in solidifying what I believe my 14 year old will need in the future. I had found that until this time, I was not giving much focus to the nature of the housing and food and now I realize how important that really is.

 

So for us, I want an experienced, dedicated residential staff familiar with the issues the dance and academic challenges present to students. I want more, rather than less, oversight and supervision of the residency (e.g., enforced curfews, cleaning, etc.). I want the residential staff to have prompt, clear responses to how they will handle a range of issues (e.g., illness, homesickness, smoking, disordered eating, injury, violations of rules). I want a mechanism for clear weekly communication.

 

Food. I prefer a dedicate cafeteria with many options, along with an attentive manager.

 

Roommates-- DD has had a GREAT situation this summer but for me this can be a deal breaker. You have to have someone you can live with. For DD that means someone who will allow her to sleep when she wants to (early), someone who is neat, someone who is basically psychologically healthy (I don't want DD trying to support a clinically depressed student, or one who has an eating disorder) and someone who is a little more on the sensitive side. A bad roommate match = a bad living situation.

 

Academics--Either dedicated online schooling or better bricks and mortar. At least 4 hours per day.

 

Artistic Staff-- Consistency, results, passion, experience

 

Facility- Adequate/built for a residential boarding school, ideally a place with all services in one compound, kept up, and IN A GOOD area where DD can go grab a coffee with friends, bike, shop, go to the movies. Some of the areas in which these schools are, I would not want to be trapped at. It would be so depressing.

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