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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Year round programs with "brick and mortar" schools.

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:offtopic: A friendly public service announcement:


We do ask that members share their first-hand experiences on the open Board rather than via PMing so that ALL the membership that are researching programs benefit from our shared experiences. Without the open sharing, the threads really are pointless and we are all wasting our time. This is a basic BT4D tenant and principle of the Board's philosophy and existence. Whispering behind the Board really doesn't give full pictures or permit the type of exchange that is really beneficial and helpful to our community.


Please DO share individual first-hand experiences on the dedicated threads for these programs. We do encourage the sharing of both good and bad experiences. Facts are what these threads are based upon and different folks have different perceptions, but in the end the sum total of these perceptions and experiences is what is so very helpful to our members.


Now back to the discussion residencies with bricks and mortar academic programs.

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  • vrsfanatic


  • swanchat


  • mln


  • Boydancermom




Thank you for so clearly defining HARID's dedication to academics. Throughout my time on BTFD, it has always been clear that HARID supports and strictly requires academics. As I typed my experience, I wasn't sure if I should name the school I was speaking about or not. It can be a tricky thing to do and I'm sorry that I didn't to begin with because I unwittingly cast doubt on every program. I have edited my post to address this because it seems more in keeping with the running discussion.


I understand and agree that PM'ing information doesn't serve the purpose of the board. I also understand the sensitivity of sharing honest (and maybe not so flattering) opinions about different programs. I think there was a thread about this a few years ago in regards to summer intensives. My recall and lesson learned from that discussion is that honest discourse helps all the members here and also could also be used constructively by schools if they were interested in the feedback shared on the board.

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I cannot encourage the parents of DC who have an interest to pursue residential training more to visit the schools. Observe classes, speak with the faculty, visit the residence halls, speak with the students. Are the students smiling in the hallways, even perhaps a few smiles in the classroom. How does your child compare to what you see around you. Objectivity is key. Really open your eyes and see. If you do the visitation route to various schools, which students look more like professional level students. What is the discipline required in the classroom, in the hallways? Is the residence hall clean and friendly? Is it "home" to the students or an institution? How do the students interact with the faculty and staff?





:clapping: Doesn't this really sound like questions that we all ask about our child's school from kindergarten to college?

Ballet schools should be held to the same standard that is appropriate for your child in academic school. It's only a bit different because of the residential component and the scheduling differences. Do ask questions, lots of them. Ask what happens if/when your child hits a bump in the road. Who is there to support them? How does that happen? Who's watching for their general well-being, not just their ballet progress. This is important! You aren't going to be there at the end of the day with a meal and a hug (and a school book). VRS has given parents a great start at writing questions before visiting or interviewing the school. Write questions down. Take them with you. Fill out the answers at the end of the day. Do this to help you remember all the things that are important to your family. It will help you objectively compare programs.


Schedules are also very important. Great schools understand the need for time to rest, study, reflect and recharge. If rehearsals and class don't give enough time for this, it's a recipe for disappointment and injury. Our daughter's residential school (The Royal Ballet School) was in ballet class by 8:30 warming up. After ballet class, there were academics followed by repertoire with the men, variations, character dance, contemporary class, strengthening and rehearsals (not all on the same day). It was a very dense schedule but there was always time for lunch and they were out of the school by 5:30- 6:00 M-F. Saturday had class and sometimes rehearsal and the afternoon off. Just like HARID, end of year performance and occasionally a special performance required longer hours but that was rare, predictable and factored into the year's plan. I don't want to turn this into a school specific program but intend rather to add support to the idea that the schedule should be comprehensive and reflect a commitment to academics and the overall well-being of the child.

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I'm really enjoying this discussion, and it's given me a lot to think about. The academic options available to residential students in competitive ballet programs seem to be evolving very quickly, and this, no doubt, is why so many of us have questions about who is really offering what!


I realize that the programs themselves are the best source of information, but I have to ask, is it really that easy to ask competitive residential programs the hard questions? I would be very nervous about revealing that my ds has competing interests before he has even been admitted to a program Perhaps the questions should be asked after an offer is on the table--that's when I would prefer to ask them. In the mean time, like many other parents, I am combing this forum trying to assess if and where the reality of the school/dance day matches the advertised schedules in the residential school brochures and handbooks.


One reason brick-and-mortar schools are attractive to us is that they offer certain academic and artistic opportunities that you cannot get virtually, such as the chance to participate in a music ensemble, take lab sciences in a lab, take advanced languages with an in-class fluent teacher. I also like the fact that my ds will be accountable to these face-to-face teachers for his academic work.


Now, back to the hard questions---one reason I am so nervous about asking a residential program about academic opportunities is that I've already received some flak from mentors about my ds's academic and musical interests. The advice from them has been that, if he's really serious about ballet, he will sacrifice his interests in science and music for dance. Now, I don't actually think that this advice is correct, but it is what we have heard, nevertheless. So, who wants to go into a meeting at a competitive ballet training program and make them think your ds or dd is "less serious" about ballet by asking if the dancer can take AP Physics?


Someone above mentioned "mastering" a school subject and not just memorizing the material. That kind of mastery takes an interest and engagement that could be perceived by some as competing with ballet. It is easy to insist, in the abstract, that academics matter. But it's harder to insist that your ds or dd needs four years of honors French and not just two, that AP science classes are important, and that musical ensembles are worth the time. I see brick-and-mortar schools as helping us to justify our family's particular academic expectations, because these upper-level and arts classes are the norm there.


So, I do hope we'll continue to identify and discuss more traditional academic options associated with year-round programs. I know there are some quality virtual programs, too, but I'm particularly interested in hearing how brick-and-mortar options really work for ballet students.

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Thank you for getting us back on topic, min. This thread has gotten off-topic a bit by the discussion of on-line/cyber academics. There is a bit of a difference and different issues and concerns arise. We have quite a few threads dedicated to on-line/cyber academics. Specifics of specific residential programs are best discussed on the program's individual dedicated thread. :thumbsup:

THIS thread was started to specifically identify that disappearing beast: a residential school with bricks and mortar academics. Please, can we return to the topic at hand. :wink:

Once the schools are identified, it would be best to then do the further exploration of the individual programs on their dedicated threads.

I believe we have threads discussing how best to approach residential schools and great questions to ask, but it always helps to re-visit those. Both vrsfanatic and swanchat have given us great ideas of the type questions to ask and information to look for. Typically, (at least when we were searching), the schools do provide ways to connect with current/past parents and/or students to ask for their experiences. Residencies, like any other school, do believe in their product, but also are quite aware that 'one size does not fit all'. Asking the questions that are important to you should not be seen to be something that will exclude your dancer, but rather an aid in finding that good fit---both on the part of the dancer and the school. The schools have had experience in learning what type dancer with what type interests typically do well at in their environments. So, its evaluation of a dancer's fit should be seen as an additional aid, not as something truly negative.

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You raise some really good points. Options for education have been evolving quickly, so it is difficult to always be current with everything. That said, a number of the "bricks and mortar" schools have been operating in a similar fashion for a number of years.


I would not suggest you shy away from asking a school questions that you as a family need answers to. This doesn't mean that you need to disclose that your dancer is also looking at another school, unless you feel this is appropriate to the conversation. More often than not a school will understand that a very talented dancer does have more than one option.


My own dd attended a residential program, and students attended a "bricks and mortar" academic school that the ballet program had a relationship with. Students were transported to academics each day. Their academic day was a bit shorter than other students.


One thing that you might find with these programs is that there are less options for academic courses in the high school years than there would be if your child attended a regular high school program. That is to say that all required courses would be accounted for, but something that has a smaller enrolment such as that Advanced Physics or Functions and Relations might be more difficult to arrange. (one also sees this in smaller high schools - there are just less courses to choose from at the advanced level. At least that is how it works where I live.)


I remember in my dd's graduating year of the school she was still in high school, whereas a number of other dancers had graduated the year before. These dancers had the opportunity to take additional ballet classes during the day, or to add a rehearsal, while of course my dd did not. I remember this being a bit frustrating, particularly leading up to the final exams and performances, but not much you can do about it.


All the best!

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Sorry to have gotten off topic; do make sure that when searching for brick and mortar schools-not to make the same mistake of getting off topic and winding up in what is basically cyber school if you are looking for classroom taught academics.


I can add The Royal Ballet School to the list as long as it's understood that the courses offered are taught by teachers hired by the school who teach to a national curriculum and that it's the UK educational system. So, not traditional "brick and mortar," but not cyber school either. The students graduate with 3 A-level qualifications. 1 is an A level in a Literature, Mathematics, or a Language, the other two are Level 3 National B-tech qualifications (One in dance performance and the other in Arts Management). They also graduate with a vocational diploma. For those unfamiliar with the UK system, A level qualifications are frequently accepted by US universities as credits and a vocational diploma is like a high school diploma here in the states (sort of). Some students opted out of the academic program due to language barriers or different needs due to their nationality.

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Great points, everyone.


My husband and I plan to ask a lot of questions about the local high school if my ds's summer experience results in a year-round offer, but probably not before. I still am not comfortable pushing for the particulars before he has an offer.


This year, we did not do a comprehensive search for a residential program, because my son is still very ambivalent about leaving his local high school. He has come up with an excellent plan for enhancing his ballet training locally next year (locally meaning within a 80 mile radius), and so we have been weighing residence programs against this decent local option. His si auditions in January were focused on programs that seem to have the kind of academic component that we're looking for in a year-round program (including one with cyber schooling), but, given my son's ambivalence, we did not visit schools. We just weighed s.i. offers and did our own research.


Next year will be a different story, however. My ds is much more likely to consider a residential program for his senior year. I know it seems a little late for a move, but it seems right for him. In his senior year, he will be better able to take courses he wants in a shortened day, because he'll be done with a few core subjects already. A ballet program with a brick-and-mortar high school might allow him to continue with his music and languages and take an AP class or two.


Brick-and-mortar high schools are going to vary a lot in what they offer and when they offer it, as Mom2 pointed out. But some of the brick-and-mortars that I've been researching are either large comprehensive high schools with a lot of options or magnet/private schools with IB programs and advanced curricula. It may be that one particular course isn't available at the right time in a shortened day, but a comparable course will be offered.


I know that, when both cyber and brick-and-mortar options are available at the same program, that the students attending the local high school sometimes miss dance opportunities that the cyber-school students have. This is a concern and something we are researching and thinking about.


So, I'll be following this thread to see if any new options appear on the horizon in the next year!

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We recently did the residential tours and to be honest, I didn't pay much attention to the academic portion of the tours. I was convinced that our son would do online school to just "pass" (either as part of the school or on his own). Oh boy - that didn't work out for various reasons so I wish that I had paid more attention to the schooling options. It sounds like you really need to pay attention to the dance schedule as some have talked about. For whatever reason, some top schools of late, have decided that dancers need to wear themselves out in order to produce top dancers. Our son is exhausted!! His schedule is brutal. I don't know a lot about ballet except to know that he's not the only one that is beyond tired. In this type of environment, your son wouldn't thrive if he wants to have other interests.

[sk8jdgca's description of the National Ballet School of Canada's academic program that integrates ballet with academics sounds amazing.]. What they are learning in ballet dovetails with what they are learning in English, Science, etc. Wow! That sounds like an environment where the dancer can have the best of both worlds. Learn about a the physics of a pirouette, or to study Romeo and Juliet on stage and in English class. What a neat concept!! I wish all schools did this.

Our son just moved from online to a brick and mortar school next to his ballet school (CPYB). Although it's been an improvement - he isn't being challenged (which he thought he wanted :-)) - and although he is excelling (beyond 100% in each class) it is too easy so he'll move up next year to the next notch. It feels like Goldilocks - this one was too big, this one too small - hoping that the "just right" is around the corner. I think he enjoys being around non-dancers during school. (and I don't have the stress of trying to supervise online school from afar - not for the faint of heart). He will get out at noon next year - giving plenty of time for ballet and some downtime. The only thing that he is missing is Crossfit twice a week which the ballet school only offers during the school day.

I hope you find what you are looking for. I can tell you that we toured UNCSA and although the academics were a bit too difficult for our son, I was impressed with the faculty - our son didn't like that there were serious dancers next to non-serious dancers - but for some, that would be a positive.

Good luck with your tours - this summer and beyond. As VRS commented, tours (with shadowing) - ideally more than a day, are the best way to find the best fit for your son.

Edited by Boydancermom
Edited to reflect the source and to remain within the bounds of first-hand experience.
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Once again, I believe we are getting :offtopic:


We may need to split this thread into two threads, one for the original intent/question and one for more experiences. Or perhaps it just needs to have the experiences moved to the appropriate residencies' dedicated thread.


Boydancermom, in keeping with the original focus of the thread, would you be so kind as to share which residency your son attends that does have the option of attending a brick and mortar academic program?

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May I remind you that another difference from some of these residential ballet programs, not NCSA, is that HARID is a high school degree granting institution. HARID & NCSA are recognized high schools, therefore there is a responsibility on the part of the school that the DC succeed at school. If a child goes to a dance program that has a relationship with a high school program, the Dance school has no responsibility for the DC academic schooling.

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I agree with Boydancermom-the balance between academics and ballet training can require re-assessment/adjustment from time to time to find a "fit" that still works. And, I agree with vrsfanatic-the combination programs are the most able to help the dancers with these adjustments since they have a responsibility to BOTH academics and ballet training! But, honestly, there are not that many programs with that type of coordinated oversight other than the few already mentioned in this thread (Harid, Royal Ballet, NCSA, ?others). I know we had to be willing (not easy) to readjust both this year to make sure DD would be in a better place at the "high school decision point". One of our issues was that the rigor of the academics would not have worked for all 4 years of HS with the demands of the ballet training.


But we felt it was necessary to make re-adjustments along the way because we watched some of DD's peers have difficulty navigating the "post-high school" decision phase because either the academic or the ballet training was not competitive enough with other applicants to place them where they were hoping to be. It is not likely to bring success if one assumes that there is a ballet "plan A" if the high school ballet program does not have a history of producing "plan A" dancers or an academic "plan B" if a high school education will fall short of the desired college program admission standards. That is why this forum is so helpful-each DK needs to do the research, find the best fit for them (does the student study well on their own? Do they need the challenge of multiple AP courses/oversight of a brick and mortar school? What after-high school path would they be satisfied with if "plan A" falls short-community college, college with moderately or very competitive admission standards? Which ballet program is a fit for them according to their training needs-more technique? finishing? need experience with a bigger or company program?) and trying/readjusting as time goes on and the dancer's needs/future goals change...and, unfortunately, the needs of the DK DO change and finding that "fit" that will work for all the training/education time is not easy to find the first time around!!

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The name of the school in Boca Raton, FL is The HARID Conservatory, commonly refered to as HARID.

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Really, please and with respect to all. Sometimes there are threads where normal conversation offshoots are appropriate to the conversation. Other times, the drifting off affects the original topic and it's history here more than others. As moderators, we have to make those decisions all the time. Sometimes we leave the conversation alone and let the merge continue and other times we try very hard to get everyone to stay on topic. Years of knowing how people find information here is in our corner when making those decisions and knowing our membership and that some will read a whole thread and others will skim. Then if the majority of the thread isn't about the topic move on. We don't do it arbitrarily and we do put thought and get a consensus before doing so. In other words, sometimes you simply have to trust us and get back on topic when asked. :flowers::innocent::wub: And also why we say the moderation is not up for discussion.


In this case, we need to get back and stay on topic of a list of Brick and Mortar schools because the original post requested it and it is a good list to have here. Clarify when necessary a school that might have been named that is either no longer affiliated with a brick and mortar or if new ones have added those options.


Now if we would like to discuss online versus Brick and Mortar or some of the things that took us off topic, then please do open another thread to do so. They would be good discussions to start and you can. We want to keep this thread open for it's original purpose. But that my comrades is up to you.

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I started a new thread for discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of brick-and-mortar h.s. options.


I still hope we'll find more schools to list here! I was thinking that, if we are including CPYB and Next Generation here, which don't actually have housing, do we want to include other well known pre-professional programs that have agreements with brick-and-mortar high schools for early dismissal or high school credit, but that aren't residential?

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