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Tinydancer5678

Switch from local studio to professional dance school?

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Tinydancer5678

AB's Mom, you're right - people think that for sure. We will evaluate year by year. Regardless she will learn a lot. Thanks for your feedback.

 

Firedragon0800, I don't doubt what you're saying. I think there's concern at her current school about that. My daughter has the biggest heart, she's very artistic and flowy in her movement. Someone said they think she could lose that's here because of the rigid ness. She's also been called a great performer ... I hope that doesn't change for her. However, if she stays at some point she will have to make a choice bc by that pointe stage they want a bigger investment - a ton of time and hours. I don't know that she would give other dance classes up for all of this. And it's a ok if she doesn't. She needs it for the technical fine tuning. I don't know why some studios don't fine tune at an early age - maybe there's a philosophy to this style of teaching? Seems harder to me to fine tune down the road?

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Tinydancer5678

One of the hardest drawbacks for me is that I don't know who is going to be teaching my daughter's two classes at the company-affiliated school. It's odd to me that it's not provided, as well as the experience and background of the faculty. I'm sorry but while this school is world-renown, I still would like to educate myself in knowing a little about their experience, etc. Is this the case for most large company-affiliated schools?

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Guest Pas de Quoi

I hope it is OK to add my thoughts here. I have taught at two pre-pro schools and they both had advantages and some areas where improvement could be made.

 

At one school, the AD does a GREAT job of recruiting and training boys, in particular, although the school of course welcomes girls. These kids get a lot of attention and they have done very well going on to some pretty amazing job opportunities with major companies. The school doesn't have the most coordinated training program for the youngest students, but does use an excellent Russian method syllabus for dancers aged 10 and up. There are performing opportunities for all the students - Nutcracker, Spring Concert and annual school recital. These are lovely performances, and a delight for the audience as well as an opportunity for students to actually dance .... that is why we train to be a dancer, isn't it?

 

At the other school, the training is based on the ABT syllabus and the teachers on staff (including the AD) have taken the teacher training courses. The build up from the youngest students on up is very good. Again, the students have the opportunity to do some amazing things with school performances. There is the annual Nutcracker, one other story ballet (Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty) that is presented in the spring, and the annual school recital. This school can also boast that it has had students accepted into major companies.

 

I guess the point I am trying to make is that being at a pre-pro school doesn't have to mean that for a young dancer, the joy of dance and the love of performing will be discouraged in favor of "serious" training.

 

It is hard to evaluate what good training actually is, and just because a school is known for its "serious" training, that doesn't mean the training is as good as what may be offered in another school with a different philosophy. I have read of others' experiences with local, smaller studios providing great training while encouraging all students to perform in appropriate productions.

 

If you have concerns about the training and about the staff, most certainly you should be able to get the information you are seeking. It is your money and it is your child. I am glad so many here on BalletTalk are willing to share their thoughts and experiences!

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AB'sMom

Thank you for expressing that much better and more knowledgeably than I could. I put serious in quotes partly because of the points you made. I think the perception by some people, usually outside ballet, is that if you put your child in a program they may have heard of, that you are pushing your child to become a professional and that your child spends her time in a classroom with a stick-wielding teacher.

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Tinydancer5678

Thank you Pas de Quoi - I really do appreciate your insight.

 

My daughter's former school is like your first example. But for girls. They have several performance opps for the younger ones, but the more serious training is focused on a select number of girls and boys who audition after first year of pointe ... Many do not make it.

 

Unfortunately prior to that time,I would like my daughter to have the opp to train at the company-affiliated school to fine tune her basics. That I do believe the new school will do.

 

The new school is more like the last description - definitely more limited opps for nutcracker where they have to audition, and a very minimal amount of performance is given to the younger ones at a spring performance that highlights the older students. In fact, your description fits it perfect to the tee.

 

That being said, as AB's mom pointed out - I am by no means pushing my child to be a professional, rather SHE has voiced this to us over the years. And so after spending the summer at the company-affiliated SI, she feels she should train there year round. Even after she was singled out in front of the class on a few things she needs to work on.

 

I feel we owe it to her to give her this opp., she is aware of what she is going to miss out on this year, but I guess there is a pull for her to want to go and try.

 

Ironically, ballet has always been her least favorite class until now. She's definitely been put in an extremely basic technique class.

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Tinydancer5678

Dad first day yesterday she's the oldest but said already she is "correcting" basics. I'm still holding my breath and wondering. She said the other children have no musicality and she was often starting combos alone. Maybe this is a good opp for her.

 

Pas de Quoi, I messed up completely. Her old school had several performance opps plus recital. New only has possible Nutcracker,

I've also heard her level will barely perform on stage at the spring performance. The other school seems to move them fast but are more selective and invest more in the older kids who make it through to a particular advanced training program. I suppose new school is that way too, but more fine tuning younger ones.

 

I'm letting her lead. She's very wise for her age so I need to just trust her. As long as she's happy I guess that's all that matters. She says she's fixing a lot of things she didn't realize we're a little off.

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Tinydancer5678

So happy to report she is extremely happy with the training at the new school. She claims that she's really learning how to clean her technique. I think it's more of the super strict/rigid environment - the rules, and the high expectations. It's very professional and she senses that.

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Boydancermom

Tinydancer,

 

Not much to add except that I respect the fact that you let your daughter make her own decision. I know that I have made the mistake of over analyzing things and thinking that I, as an adult, know better. I think it's important to let our kids make choices and possibly make mistakes, rather than micromanaging them. After all, they are the ones in the classes day in and day out. We are merely driving them there :-)

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Tinydancer5678

Boydancer mom, isn't that the truth? It is hard to not want to interfere but yes they are the ones dancing. I'm merely the driver and supporter. ;)

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AdagioMom

Tinydancer . . . one of my daughters was invited to company affiliated school at age 8 (after attending short SI for young kids). We passed-- it was a trek and we were/are a large, busy family. The next summer she went back to the SI and at the end parents could watch class. While it was definitely simpler than what she had experienced, they clearly had a syllabus and all the students were serious (expectations for good behavior was high-no chatting, hanging on the bar, etc.). She was invited back again . . we decided to "try" the company school.

 

At first, I thought the classes looked boring (on one of her dance days she was in class in a studio we could look into)-- lots of skipping, tons of bar work, etc. But my daughter LOVED it. She thrived on the discipline and order of the class. Many of the other parents though my daughter was great because she could leap and turn, but she wasn't great . . . she could just do tricks . . . she had to work hard to make up the fact she didn't know how to use her turnout regularly or properly, and she needed to work on a lot of the "little details".

 

Thankfully, we did change schools when she was young enough . . . her technique caught up with her other skills within 1-1.5 yrs. It was a good move for us.

 

So, even if your daughter ends up back at the school with more performing opportunities, it can't be a bad thing to take some time and work on those little things that are so important in ballet. Glad to hear she's enjoying it!

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Tinydancer5678

Thanks lmrook for sharing your experience. It sounds like a similar place and fredback from my daughter as well. I'm curious - did your daughter eventually leave or continue dance elsewhere and why?

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AdagioMom

My daughter stayed at the company ballet school (this is her 7th year) and has thrived. She has moved up through the levels and is currently at their highest level and is still loving it and hopes to have a career. Although there are fewer performance opportunities overall, the chance to train with great teachers (some of whom are former principal dancers with the company) as well as sharing the same studios/hallways/building with the company, and performing on stage with the professionals for the few shows students are cast- well--she would't have it any other way.

 

For the record: she would have outgrown the training at our old studio within a few years. While it was decent training for competition dancers, and other forms of dance, their ballet program was fairly weak (given what I know about recommended hours for ballet from Ballet Talk). There was no going back if she wanted a shot at a professional career. I realize that is not the case with others . . . your previous school may have offered great ballet training-- but ours did not.

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Tinydancer5678

Thank you lmrook. I appreciate your insight. Ours offers great training at a higher level. I'm not sure my daughter is going to want to leave the pre-pro school. I suppose we will just take it year by year. She was cast in a part that no one in her class/level was cast in, so she's feeling excited at the opportunity. The ambience is the same as what you're describing, and my little one is very in tune to all that. However, she does still take other dance style classes at her former studio. Will see - I guess only time will tell.

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