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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Chicago---Studio Company

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Rebirth feel free to DM me.  That way no personal info will be public. 

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  • 7 months later...
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  • Monet


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Monet, I can't PM you but my son just found out he received a full scholarship to train with BC during the 2020-2021 year.  Obviously, he is honored and intrigued - but we don't live in the Chicago area and would need to figure out his living and schooling situation.  Do you know if any students end up living with a host family?  Do most BC dancers do online school, or do some of them attend classes before their afternoon dance schedule begins?  He will be 16 this fall.  Thank you in advance for any insights/information!

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Seattleballet - I just emailed BC the same question about host families. She responded that in the past there have been families that have opened up their homes for year-round students, but it varies from year to year. Also, some of the older students will find apartments together or reside at the University Center (where they house SI students).

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Most students that come from out of state rent apartments or condos.  We  bought a condo only a few blocks from the ballet and she and another dancer lived in it.  Some students get apartments a little further out and train in.  That is less expensive but we felt it was safer for her to be very close to the ballet.  Also most students that come from out of town do online school.  The students that live in or near the city either do online school or attend one of the private schools.  My dd started there at 15 and it was a great experience and amazing training.  The training really can't be beat.  If you have any other questions feel free to ask.  My dd was there from 15 until right before she turned 18 and received a company contract.  Many dancers stay longer.

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Monet - I am NOT judging at all!! Feel free to PM me, but that really seems like an expensive set up to me.  Buying a second piece of property in downtown Chicago, private schools? I guess I feel a bit disheartened that year-round training there might be out of our reach. 

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No judgment felt!  We did buy a condo, no it was not cheap. But it was something our family enjoyed and we only recently sold it because we enjoyed using it even after she left BC.  Our dd did not attend a private school, she did a free online program.  However I will say 95% of the BC students that live downtown Chicago do attend private schools.  They students that live on the outskirts of Chicago and train in ro ballet do attend public schools as well as private.  All students that came from out of state when my DD was there did online school.  Also most do not buy condos, that is just what worked for us.  Most rent apartments with 1 or 2 other dancers.  Many rent apartments a bit out of the city where the rent is cheaper.  There are many options and many price ranges.  It would be possible to have an apartment with 2 other dancers and have quite reasonable rent, and do free online school meaning the entire set up  would be reasonable for many.  But honestly moving a child out of state to train is never super cheap.  I will also add my DD trained on merit scholarship so we did not pay any tuition and that helped.

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Wow - thank you so much for the quick and detailed response!  Lots to think about here.

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  • 10 months later...

I thought BC offered post grad training, but can't seem to find info on this on their website. We're considering trainee programs for my dd (graduates high school this year) and I thought they had something comparable, but can't find that they do on their site. Can anyone speak to this?  

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Hi 2busy - they offer training up to age 22, I believe. I know last year they had a couple of dancers in their early 20s. They are not tied to a separate professional company, but they operate their Professional Division and Studio Company with the same expectations a dancer might find in a Company setting--including with rehearsals, casting, etc. Some of the older (post-HS aged) students may be called to rehearsals mid-day. All dancers in the PD and BCSC put in a LOT of dancing hours, even remotely right now, but it's quality training. Everything is different this year, though, with COVID19, dancers are working from home, teachers are working from home, but they do still have a live pianist who joins the Zoom class, too - but they are still doing virtual performance opportunities and have had rehearsal time. They seem to have a good track record of turning out Company-ready and university-ready dancers. Brittany or Hannah would be the best to reach out to with specific questions - they are usually very quick to reply. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

2busy-My daughter attended the SI virtually last summer and when offered a place in the SC, switched. We do not live remotely near Chicago, so this would not have been possible without virtual. The studio company has three levels and students from early teens to early twenties. They have class/rehearsals six days a week from 3-6 hours a day. Right now, only the top level has class during the day, but not until early afternoon.  Besides the usual technique and pointe classes, they also have weekly Pilates and have added back in weekly modern (this is part of their summer intensive curriculum). In addition, they have multiple repertoire classes and rehearsals. The SC also puts on three shows a year, including Nutcracker. They put on a one piece digital show last spring, a full digital show this fall with seven different pieces, and are putting on a digital show this spring. Because they are free-standing, all roles are danced by students. They have a few weeks of programming right now that have past shows, including a master class beforehand.  If your daughter would like to attend a master class and watch shows, it will give a good idea of what the BCSC is like! 

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RebeccaBee, does your DD feel that switching to BCSC was worth it despite the program being virtual? I was offered a place in their Studio Company that I'm very seriously considering taking, but am concerned about what next fall may look like. Their program, when in person, sounds incredible, but I'm apprehensive in committing since there is always a good chance that next year may be entirely virtual as well.

Also, does your DD feel that she's assimilated well into BC? Does she feel that the teachers have been invested in her training despite being a newer student?

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Would you recommend this program for someone whose training has been strictly Vaganova? Is it difficult to switch to Balanchine?

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Like RebeccaBee, my DD (14) attended the virtual SI last year and started the BC year round program in the Fall, even though we do not live in Chicago. It's a wonderful program and I highly recommend it. BC is planning to reopen in person soon, and I'll be taking DD to Chicago in a few weeks so she can start attending classes in the studio, finally. Her academic program is online, which gives us that flexibility. We're both very excited! 

Assuming infection rates permit, BC plans to hold an in-person SI, although they will not be organizing housing at University Center this year. I assume they will continue to meet in-person in the fall with a plan to pivot to online instruction, if necessary. 

juliekim, my DD's previous training was mostly Vaganova and she did fine switching to Balanchine. She absolutely loves it. The instructors are very patient and seem used to working with students who are not trained in the Balanchine style. I wouldn't worry about making switch. 

emiface, all of DD's teachers (Ms. Blair, Mr. Duell, Mr. Seymour, Ms. Hurst, Mr. Ishmon, Ms. Hutt) seem invested in their students' progress, even the new, non-Chicagoans. Obviously, they know the Chicago kids better, but I haven't noticed any favoritism. 

The teachers at BC are very detailed, thorough, and supportive. DD receives consistent corrections and has really made a lot of progress this year. I would not have believed that online instruction could be so effective, so this has been an enormously positive development. 

If you're interested in seeing the results of BC's training and the quality of their live performances, check out their ongoing Digital Season, which will be broadcast every weekend through April 2nd. It's free (although they do suggest a donation). This weekend, they're showing Concerto Barocco and Divertimento No. 15.  You can read more about that here: https://www.balletchicago.org/spring

I really can't say enough about this program. It's been a real bright spot in our lives during this challenging year. 


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