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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Forrest Academy of Ballet

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I see Erin Forrest is advertising that she is back in NY and is opening up her own school.  I know she has taught at both Ellison and Kirov, but I was wondering if anyone had experience training with her? Thank you.

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DD took her classes when she was in the city in 2013 and that attracted her to the Ellison intensive the following summer.  DD really liked her.  She is thorough and precise but supportive and kind.  She has trained a number of professional dancers.  If we didn't already have a situation, we would seriously consider her.

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  • 6 months later...

Does anyone have any experience with this school for year around training.  If so, what are your opinions of it and do you have any idea what the Advanced schedule looks like?    I am curious if it is one of the schools that have all day training or if classes are in the afternoon and fit into a traditional school schedule.  Thanks so much. 

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The school is very new, so it may be hard to find all of the information you're looking for on here, especially if FABNY doesn't already have its own thread in the pre-prof schools forum. All I know is that there is an intermediate level (ages 12-14) taught by Eva Janiszewski, and Erin Forrest teaches the advanced class (ages 15-19). It seems to be a very small school with just the 2 classes. I'm sure you can call or email them to ask about specific days/times of classes. If their schedule doesn't work for you, but your dk is interested in studying with Ms. Forrest, you may also be able to arrange private lessons. 

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Erin is AMAZING. . . I would suggest a private lesson. She is great! We will probably takes some privates when we go up there. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

anyaaaa, Currently, the school doesn’t offer housing, but I do believe they may give apartment recommendations to their students.

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  • 1 year later...

Hello! I see that this thread is old, but I'm glad to share my impressions on FABNY, based on personal experience, in case anyone is looking for information.

My daughter joined FABNY's intermediate level last school year (2018-19, which was the 2nd year of FABNY's existence) and will return this fall as an intermediate student once more. 

Our family landed at FABNY basically by happenstance. Due to complicated family and commuting logistics, we were at the time unable to find a way to send our daughter to a big 3-letter name school where she had been accepted, and where she had desperately wanted to go. We did, however, then hear about FABNY from an aquaintance, and were then able to find a creative way to make the commuting logistics possible through a connection.

Everything happens for a reason -- my daughter had a fabulous experience at FABNY! She met kind and like-minded serious ballet students who soon became her friends, and she also made enormous technical progress under Ms. Janizewski and Ms. Forrest.

Some advantages to training at FABNY include:

Lots of personalized attention, squeaky clean Vagavona-style technique, a truly supportive/drama-free environment, and the opportunity to meet/train under well-known Russian masters and even the possibility to travel to St Petersburg over the summer in the upper level. There are 2 formal performance opportunities a year, and many students dance featured parts or a solo in at least one piece.

Some drawbacks may include:

FABNY doesn't offer formal housing at the moment (although they do have a network of host families), the intermediate level doesn't yet have a dedicated studio space (they rent various studios in different locations in Manhattan), and they don't yet have a men's level.  I've heard that resolving all three of these issues are eventual goals.

Up for your interpretation:

FABNY focuses part of their training time on character dance as well on classical ballet. They only participate in competitions, such as YAGP, when they deem it necessary -- such as when they would like an advanced student to be seen by companies. The intermediate level trains after school, upper level trains during the daytime.

In summary, I would recommend FABNY for the dedicated aspiring professional who wants to study Vagavona-style technique under truly excellent teachers, who seeks a respectful and supportive and more intimate training environment, and who is comfortable waiting for the wrinkles that are likely part of attending a new (but highly promising) school to iron themselves out.

Hope this information is helpful!

Edited by ManicOrganic79
accuracy of content
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Hello ManicOrganic79,

Thank you for the review! I have been hoping to get some information about this school. I was wondering if the intermediate level still did the bulk of their training at the Pearl Street Studios? When I looked a few years ago when this program opened, I checked out the area and was not fond of it at all. I researched the area and found it to be exceptionally unsafe. Hopefully, they have secured a safer space since then. Also, I was wondering if you could speak to how much character is done at FABNY? I went to the winter performance and was very disappointed to see the intermediate girls do mostly character. It was way too much in my opinion. Lastly, I was wondering how often Ms. Forrest taught the intermediate level? Thanks again for posting your review! 

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The intermediate level does still train 3x weekly at Pearl Studios. Some of the nearby streets on 8th Ave are on the grungier side, but are also bustling during the hours that my daughter arrives and leaves, and so I like to think that the respectable-looking commuters in the mix create balance and safety.  Plus, in the evening, the girls mostly jump on the subway together as a group from the station that is right by the exit of Pearl.  That said, I will also be glad to see FABNY find a dedicated studio.

With regards to so much character dance, the intermediate level did a lot less of it in the spring performance. They also performed more classical ballet pieces.

Ms. Forrest aims to instruct the intermediate level for at least the second part of the class (pointe/rep) once a week, I believe.  It would be great if she could instruct the immediate level more often, and stay for longer. My daughter loves when she instructs their class. That said, Ms. Janizewski is beyond fabulous, both as a teacher and as a human being. She is strict yet supportive -- so enthusiastic about what she does and about her students -- and was herself trained by Ms. Forrest as a student.

Edited by ManicOrganic79
Improved accuracy
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Hello ManicOrganic79,

Thank you for your thoughtful answers. We have had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Janiszewski, and she seemed like a gem!  Best of luck to you and your DD in the upcoming school year!

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Great details! 

And, well, I've been with DD to Pearl St studios several times and don't find that area "unsafe."  It is very heavily traveled and has a bunch of nice coffee shops, resturants, major hotel chains (Hampton Inn). It's not Tribeca or Lincoln Square but it's safe. . . .Maybe there is some sort of activity going on lately that I don't know of. . .Just my opinion. 

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Wanted to share the news that FABNY's intermediate level now has a dedicated studio space in a lovely part of downtown Manhattan this year.  (That is, they are no longer using Pearl Studios etc.)


Edited by ManicOrganic79
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ManicOrganic79, this is really good news!  

Learningdance, check out the crime map put out by nyc.gov.  I would include the link, but I know they aren't allowed. This is a good resource for determining what areas experience higher volumes of crimes.  

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