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When did your DK go away to a residential program?


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Noodles, I suggested reading previous threads, in part, because the question does come up so often by parents 'having a moment' (hugs) and there are many parents of dancers farther along the journey who have shared experiences and insights who are not likely to write it all out (yet again). Their posts, however, are well worth the time it takes to search/research.


For what it is worth, I totally agree with Ms Leigh: If the DK is getting good training at home, there is really no reason to go away just to leave home. Grass is not always greener; if it's not broke, don't 'fix' it, etc. All that said, our DD did go away to residency at age 15, turning 16 because her school was no longer adequate.


And certainly, the first step would be to do some residential SI programs to see how she likes that environment before jumping into the deep end.

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I completely agree about the importance of going away to an SI. I was very uncomfortable with the idea of trying to push her from her first away SI into an away year-round.

I am very relieved to hear that it really is ok to step back and relax. We all need much more time!


Lucky for us we had the opportunity to have her 'evaluated' by someone with a deep ballet background (outside of DD's studio) who was able to confirm that DD is getting good training. It is very hard for a parent with no ballet experience to know. I have worried off and on whether I was drinking the koolaid!

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So to circle back to your question, Noodles. . .(Which kind of presumes that ALL kids go to residencies :)



When did your DK go to residency?


NEVER. . .that's the answer for a number of professional dancers. Never.

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learningdance, in my experience here on BT4D, it really does appear that most of those that go on to dance professionally do go away to a residence program.


I will take Dancemaven's advice and do some more research on the topic. I have loved reading everyone's thoughts on the topic.

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Oh, Noodles, I would agree with the statement that going away to residency is NOT a requirement for a professional career. Good solid training IS.


Definitely check the congratulations threads. Those were started not just to share the excitement, but to give the basic information regarding the pathways that led to the contracts----so that we could dispel urban myths that ALL roads to Rome led through residencies and/or competitions. Just not so.


What all roads to Rome DO lead through, however, is good training! :thumbsup:


(And these days, through traineeships and apprenticeships . . . . . which are a sort of residency, but generally post-high school graduation.)

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I think saying that most professionals went away to residence programs may be at issue with what you are defining as a residence program. There are very few true residence programs (a whole other topic also addressed elsewhere ad nauseam so let's not hop down that rabbit role here). Do many dancers go to at least a year or two or more of training elsewhere before getting a coveted paying contract? Yes, most do. But that is not always in the form of a residence program. More and more it's trainee, apprentice, studio, second company (all called different things at different places) training that may or may not start when the dancer is younger than post-high school age.


The studio where my DDs grew up would be considered a "going-away" program for others. For DDs it was their home studio and they were in the "conservatory" program at 15. For a few dancers every year who come while still in high school, I'm sure their parents considered it a "residential program" for them even though there is no defined housing or academic support (very few have all those elements of housing, cafeteria, academics). For those dancers who join the program post high school, it is what is often referred to as a "finishing program". It's all continuing training.

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Another one for whom the answer is never.


I will echo the importance of away SI programs. Dd's story illustrates that.


It was dd's summer training each year that told her when it was time to leave. Going away for the summer, she saw where she stood on a more national level which, oddly enough was often somewhat better than her perception of where she stood at home, but that also points to the importance of having different teachers over the years. There was one summer when she came home and wanted to change up her training. She had astutely looked around the the room and noticed that all those that she deemed better all came from training programs with more hours than she was getting at the time. She was dancing a "normal" schedule for a high school student with 6 technique classes each week and the extras. But these dancers were pretty much already in trainee programs at companies. They were mostly all a year or so older than she was at the time and she hoped to be at the same point in training within a year. She sat down with her school's director and came up with a plan for the year with ways should could increase her training hours (mainly cross training). After the following summer, it was crystal clear that she had gotten all that she was going to get from her home school and we found another program for her. (It was truly a group effort in finding a new program that fit her needs), Fortunately, by then, she was a senior and had very little to finish to graduate high school which gave a much needed level of flexibility. She ended up staying home but with a very long daily commute. We did look at programs that would have required her to live away from home, but did not find a good fit among those that she was accepted to. So, the answer could have been "senior year" but we found a way to make everything work.

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Making sure they have the correct type/number of classes is important, but making the school is turning out professional dancers is very important too.

For young teens (12-15), I'd want to see that the school's students are being readily accepted into well-known SI's, preferably with some scholarships.

For older teens (15-17), I'd want to see that students are graduating and being accepted directly into trainee/2nd company positions with professional companies.

For my son's local studio, the training was excellent and the kids were getting accepted into great SI's, often with full scholarships. But, as my son got older I realized it wasn't directly turning out professional dancers. Graduates tended to go on to college to major in dance (which is good, of course), but the kids who were actively pursuing professional ballet careers were leaving the school at age 14-15 to train elsewhere.

My son did similarly. When he went to an SI at age 13 and 14, his men's coach said he was doing well. At age 15, his SI's men's coach (same guy as previous year) said he was getting behind in technique compared to where he should be and told us it was time for my son to leave the local studio and go to a pre-professional program. So, at 15, my son left the local school and went to company-affiliated school. A few months ago, at age 16, my son took a one-week workshop with his previous men's coach. The coach said my had son improved tremendously and that he could tell my son was now getting pre-professional training.

I think we sometimes use the word "pre-professional school" loosely to mean any quality classical ballet school. But, really it means a school that turns out dancers that are company-ready to be professionals.

There are a LOT of quality ballet schools that are wonderful for teaching children and young teens. But, there are far fewer truly pre-professional schools, and I believe that's what older teens need if they want to become professional dancers.

(I'll admit, for our family, it wasn't too challenging to switch schools because we live just 40 minutes away from a large ballet company with an excellent training school; however, I would have sent him away to a pre-professional school at age 15 even if we hadn't the privilege of living near one).

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in my experience here on BT4D, it really does appear that most of those that go on to dance professionally do go away to a residence program.

I agree with mom2two. If this is what you believe from reading here, then it's your definition of a residence program that is at odds with defining the "when" and ending result of the "golden ticket" of a contract.


While it is true that in today's times, the vast majority of dancers regardless of where they trained will spend a year or two in a post grad program or Trainee program are very great. If this is what you are defining as a residence program, then yes, most dancers will do some time away from home in some sort of advanced training program before they get a contract with a company. But by definition here, that is really not a residence program.


But if you are defining residence program, as a residency school, meaning a high school away from home where you are immersed in ballet as well as education, then absolutely not should you have gotten that impression from reading here. These days, even the graduates of a residency school are spending time in some sort of "next level" program prior to entry into the actual company ranks.


I know many of you are not there yet in terms of being to the age/place of actually being in contention of a company contract, but if you are in the formative years of questioning the path of your dancers, it is important for you to sit down with a cup of tea and read ahead here. The Company Congrats threads go back as far as 2005, I believe. I'll have to check. As Dancemaven stated, we started those both to offer congratulations to those dancers who were getting contracts but also to dispel the notion that you had to get into one or two school and take one or two paths to be able to gain a ballet contract. If you will really take the time to go through some of our older threads, you will truly find some of the answers not because of what you've "heard" but because of what many, many of our members actually did. To make it easier, on the Company Congrats threads, you can sift through all the Congrats very quickly and look for posts where people talk about sharing their paths.

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MelissaGA, I love your story and the idea that when the time is right we will know.


slogan, DD's school does not typically turn out professional dancers, this has always been my concern, and partially why I thought she needs to go away. I do not believe the lack of dancers moving in to the pro arena is due to training but more that so few dancers go that route and we have a very small school. In the last two years and again this year, there is one graduating senior. They did send a dancer off to SF ballet school and she is now a trainee. And another who went to a regional ballet company. Most go on to dance in college and to be honest I don't know where they go from there.


As for SI's yes DD's friends are going to the Rock, Boston Ballet, Houston, SF, SAB...many with scholarships. However the school does discourage younger dancers from going away so this upcoming year with be my DD's (and her friends in her level) year to bust out!


Momof3 I do plan to sit down and read each and every post in the Company Congrats thread! For now I am going to rest easy in the comfort that I do not need to make the decision to send my DD away, the world of ballet will let us know! :)

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And everyone needs to keep in mind that there are relatively few ballet contracts available compared to the number of appropriately trained dancers available. Therefore, it is much more difficult to build that 'number of professional dancers produced' from any one individual local school.

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Just wanted to come back to add to my last post. Here is a sample of the type of loose data we used to keep up with in our Congrats thread. This one is from 2010, but I think we kept up with this type thing for all but the last two years. It really is worth your time to take a quick stroll through those threads from 2009 to present for these charts you can find usually in May posts for that year. In all of those cases, they are dancers whose parents were here on BTFD or dancers whose teachers are here. As dancemaven stated, at the time there were people saying that the only way to get a contract was to go to a residency or a handful of schools at a young age. We started these to show the many ways to Rome that our dancers here were finding. Certainly, things are a few things that have changed over time and that is up to you to begin tracking if you have a younger dancer. So there's at least 3-4 years of this for you to go through and make your own determinations.



2010 Congrats Stats

New and Renewed Contract Info. for Members updated 8/9/10

So far we are outlining 7 males and 37 females. (I think)

  • 1 female YAGP NYC audition-->2nd company in NYC
  • 1 female large prepro-->various SIs-->Apprentice
  • 1 female Balachine school-->large prepro-->ballet college-->Apprentice
  • 1 female from pre-pro residency-->Trainee
  • 1 female-->residency-->Trainee-->different company Trainee
  • 1 female-->residency-->2nd company
  • 1female-->company affiliated residency-->post secondary 2nd school also company affiliated-->apprentice with another company
  • 1 female-->local ballet school-->residency-->college-->Studo company-->Apprentice at a different company through SI.
  • 1 female -->residency, European post secondary or pre pro, Apprentice with affiliated company, second year corps with a different company
  • 1 male did residency-->2nd company-->a different Apprenticeship-->Corp
  • 1 male did US residency, major post secondary program -->to apprentice for one year-->corps at a European company
  • 1 female-->residency as Senior-->2 different traineeships-->Apprentice
  • 1 female SI, year round -->Trainee
  • 1 female-->well known pre-pro-->college (3 of 4 years)-->NYC cattle call-->2nd company
  • 2 females -->Trainee-->Apprentice-->Company, 1 of the females had a Company contract at another company prior to SI, etc at company2
    1 male went from SI-->Trainee-->Apprentice-->Company, 1 of the females had a Company contract at another company prior to SI, etc at company2
  • 1 female pre-pro to US second company-->apprentice at a european co -->corp of another european company
  • 1 female-->strong pre-pro-->large pre-pro-->Trainee at another school-->2nd company contract with a different company
  • 1 female-->strong, well known pre-pro-->2nd company
  • 1 female strong pre-pro school-->one year school attached to a company-->apprenticeship with same company-->corps contract.
  • 1 female small prepro--> US 2nd company, SI attendance mandatory but Trainee position guaranteed prior
  • 1 female small school-->Trainee (2)->2nd company (2)->2 different company contracts (1 small, 1 medium)-->company contract
  • 1 female small prepro-->post grad--> apprentice positions not at post grad but another company
  • 1 female small prepro--> Trainee-->Apprentice same company
  • 1 female-->small rural school with RDA affiliation-->Auditions at RDA-->Apprentice
  • 1 female-->competition dance school supplemented with pre-pro ballet training-->Trainee--resigned
  • 1 female-->BA (college) to apprentice (no trainees at this company)
  • 1 female-->college-->SI attendance-->Apprentice contract
  • 1 female-->pre-pro with RDA affiliation-->big name school-->SI attendance for 2 years-->Apprentice at different mid-sized company through AD audition
  • 1 female small pre-pro-->SI at large company 2 years in succession-->2nd company of the same company
  • 1 female small pre-pro-->larger well known company school-->Apprentice regional company-->2nd company
  • 1 female small pre-pro-->residency-->school professional division-->Trainee
  • 1 female small pre-pro-->BFA college-->apprentice (small company)-->Trainee (larger company)-->promoted to Apprentice
  • 1 female small pre-pro-->college Ballet Major-->Small company contract
  • 1 female-->small rec school with privates. -->professional academy-->EU apprentice
  • 1 female-->apprentice (no path listed)
  • 1 female international school-->Apprentice
  • 1 female-->post grad -->another Traineeship -->Company where there is no ranking
  • 1 female-->post grad training-->apprentice at smaller company-->2nd company at larger company
  • 1 male did post secondary program-->Apprentice-->Corp
  • 1 male International school-->Apprentice-->different Company 2nd year corp
  • 1 male renewed as corp-->European company
  • Of this so far 37 are US contracts and 7 are contracts outside of the US (I think)
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