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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Logistics of applying for a residential program


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learningdance-exploring schools outside your budget is tricky. But that discussion should fall on you as a family first and foremost. Certainly it will not hurt to see what financial options might be available. But the safer bet will be to discuss (and make firm) with your DD that this school is out of budget and that the only way to attend is if there are options for scholarships or funding. The option to audition or not can be hers unless you know in advance that there are options. I would think of it in the same manner I would an SI. You can audition, but unless there is some sort of funding, we will not be able to magically make this one happen.

 

mamabear--if you are going to onsite visits, then you should be able to see with your own eyes what the training situation looks like. Certainly, I recognize that we, as parents, sometimes have blinders where our children are concerned and see only that they are the best thing since sliced bread. But this is one of those situations where I hope your mommy eye is not only "real" but has developed over time. I would certainly ask to see the incoming class and the current crop of Seniors if possible. This should give you a good idea if the students themselves look better trained than those in your home school.

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Re: asking your teenager if they can make that call -- would you trust them to recognize good coaching if it were an athletic sport? Good teaching in an academic situation? If the answer is yes, then I think it's safe to gauge their reaction to an audition class/visit and trust their judgement as much as you would in any other circumstance. This is their area of relative expertise, after all, at least if no one else in the family is a dancer.

 

This is a good point, thank you! I do think that my dd has good judgement now, and in year or two will have even better judgement along with clarity as to what she needs in order to reach her goals.

 

 

mamabear--if you are going to onsite visits, then you should be able to see with your own eyes what the training situation looks like. Certainly, I recognize that we, as parents, sometimes have blinders where our children are concerned and see only that they are the best thing since sliced bread. But this is one of those situations where I hope your mommy eye is not only "real" but has developed over time. I would certainly ask to see the incoming class and the current crop of Seniors if possible. This should give you a good idea if the students themselves look better trained than those in your home school.

 

Seeing your response also made me think of something else to try to sort out when I ask to see the senior students, and that is to determine how many of senior students have been there at least two or three years. That way I can hopefully better sort out whether it's the training that is really good, or whether the school has cherry picked talented students who were already well trained when they arrived.

 

Reading over my last post, I think my real fear is leaking out into my writing, and my main fear about residential school is that it will all be for nothing. I don't mean nothing as far as dd not dancing professionally - I'm not hung up on that outcome. What I mean by all for nothing is that I might give up a year, or two, or three with my dd only to discover at the end that she isn't dancing any better than if she had stayed at home - hence the hand wringing, and angst, and advance planning, and research, research, research!

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Mamabear - you have all the same questions that I have in looking at residential options. We just starting looking this year (our son will be a freshman in high school in the Fall). I did a lot of research on this board and with parents of various schools. Then, my son and I did a "road trip" a few weeks ago to three schools in the Northeast. (we had visited another one earlier in the Spring).

 

I wish I could say that my son and I agreed. :-) I loved the one we looked at earlier in the Spring (it was the closest school at 4.5 hours from us and had a traditional school attached). He didn't think it was serious enough (it wasn't a conservatory in his book). We went to visit twice and in the end, although it was a good option from my perspective, the financials didn't work out (we are out of State which limited the amount they could offer).

 

On the tour of 3 recently, he liked one (exceptional dancers) but I don't like that they don't have housing or any supervised schooling (even online). The one that I liked - he thought didn't have the same caliber of dancing. We both agree that another one wasn't a good fit so at least we agreed on that one.

 

I'm hoping that we can agree. I know that the level of instruction is important - but as a parent, I like the integrated options better, especially since he's only a freshman.

 

My point is that visiting a school can really help with your "short list". In addition to the quantitiatve attributes, there is a "qualitative" feel to the schools that really can only be assessed by visiting. I know that is difficult especially since you are on the West Coast.

 

We won't know if our son is ready to go away until this summer - and I'm hoping that if he is, that the decision reveals itself. This does seem a lot like a college decision - and I suppose in many ways, it is. Wanted to let you know that you aren't the only one facing this difficult decision - and keep asking those probing questions.

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Learningdance, I have loads of experience with applying to ballet and academic private schools that are outside our budget because pretty much, they all were!

 

Never be afraid to ask. DO tell your daughter that she can audition, but money will be the biggest deciding factor. Period. Tell her that some schools are able to assist in tuition for female dancers, but most aren't. However, it's worth the try. You never know until you do.

 

Half of the ballet summer programs my daughter applied to gave her some financial assistance, usually not much, but some. She was lucky to live near a residential pre-pro, so she could live at home and attend the school. But she did a post-high school year at a different residential school (that we definitely couldn't afford) and they gave her a large scholarship. We were thoroughly surprised.

 

The same happened with private academic schools and colleges. We found that quite often, the more expensive the school, the more money they had to give away in scholarships. Both my kids went to Ivies and both received a combination of academic scholarships, grants, and financial aid that allowed them to attend without paying very much. Except for one, none of the other schools could do the same.

 

Don't be swayed by the price tag. Do ask about scholarships, work scholarships, grants and financial aid, even with ballet residential programs. No one will think less of you for trying.

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Vagansmom

 

Thanks for the encouragement. The ballet world is so very prissy (sorry that's the best way to describe it in my book) and parents are supposed to know what's appropriate and inappropriate to ask, and yet the rules are never really stated anywhere. So I don't know if it's ok to ask.

 

I guess you can ask saying something like, "We were wondering if you might talk about levels of scholarship funding for girls ." Knowing for example, that 90% of the girls are paying the full cost and that 5% are receiving a 25% reduction and 5% are receiving a 50% reduction would be helpful. Also knowing how that money is assigned would be helpful--fully need based, fully merit based, a blend of both. And if the school has a system for determining need, what that system is (tax returns, a third party evaluator). Then, at least as a parent, you can say, "Is my kid in the top 10% typically?" It all comes down to the pool of dancers from which they are pulling, but still it's better information than just a vague description.

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HARID uses a standard financial aid form. Since all of our year round students are on full artistic tuition scholarship, financial aid is available on a need base. It is a simple percentage formula used by many universities in the US. For the summer course, the same form is used for financial aid, there are however some merit based scholarships, at the discretion of the Director.

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