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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Graceful711

How do you know if it is time to take a different path

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ballet1310

learningdance, I totally understand.    Online is not easy, first year was kind of crazy but she is almost done !!! Yay !!!

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mmballet

We are in our first year of online and so far there have been ups and downs. She is in a self-paced program, so she has flexibility. However, as LearningDance stated, sometimes flexibility means LONG hours of school on her rare days off. It can be a little overwhelming at times, but was the only way for her to make the pre-pro hours at her new studio work.

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sscrosby

Online learning, like everything else in life, will be a different experience for everyone.  My own dd  (now 17) is in her 3rd year of  online and I can honestly say that we do not share many of the struggles some here have addressed.   Perhaps it depends on the particular program.  Perhaps it depends on the particular student.  Perhaps it depends on the  choices each individual student makes as they work through their particular program.  Most probably?  A combination of all three.  Ultimately though, the experience will be exactly what we choose to make of it.   And fortunately,  with online learning, if we find that it's not working as we had hoped, the beauty is that we can make adjustments.  We can take control.  Unlike with public/private school.  Which is the very reason so many dancers make the choice to begin with. 

        

Edited by sscrosby

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Balletpop

The big advantage to online learning is that you can go at your own pace.  In many situations you can even back up and reread a lesson.  This is really helpful to dancers with busy rehearsal schedules or dancers who have trouble paying attention. In a classroom there is no going back and listening again.   It is also terrific for students who learn better at night or early morning.  Pretty much everything can be adjusted to optimize learning.  There are no distractions from other students and no popularity contests.  There are no other students to make you feel stupid or no need to impress anyone.  All in all I think it works well for many students.  People might argue but what about discussions and interactions with teachers.  From the experiences of my three grown children, discussions were rare and often teachers were not that receptive anyway.  SO unless you are in a terrific school, there really are not that many downsides to online schooling.  It might be different at the college level but for high school I think it works really well and eases the stress making life much more manageable.

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learningdance

So I will be more specific about my DD's experience so as to inform others better. 

My Dd was identified "gifted" based on a IQ/Achievement tests in the middle school.  She is a strong and competent student. 

She is taking Laurel Springs and the following 6 academic courses

Honors English

Honors World History

Algebra II

French 3

Creative Writing

Chemistry.

She finds the work load very high.  In terms of flexibility, were we able to create more hours in the day , we would indeed have "flexibility," but alas that is not the case.  And actually, in terms of control, like every situation you cannot control everything. The work load is what it is. Every assignment must be done and with a 70% score.  Anything that does not have that score must be done.  Yes, we could extend the time she is allowed to take the courses but the work is not flexible. 

For us the advantage is a strong academic program in which we know she is really learning which was not happening last year in another school setting. 

And my son, who is finishing up his senior year in HS regularly has many discussions with his teachers.  In fact, I went into the school when he was struggling through Algebra II and asked if I should hire a tutor and the teacher told me that to send him to her after school.  All of the teachers at the school are available to the kids after school. So it has not been my experience at all that bricks and mortar schools do not offer chances for students to interact with teachers. Quite the opposite, in fact, it is encouraged. 

NOT REALLY RELATED but an issue that I see in the ballet world with online program for some students: Yes, you can go at your own pace but she currently knows several ballet students who are actually of the 10th grade age still "finishing" 9th grade course work.  A number of kids just kind of slog along until they get jobs, having never finished high school-- Many kids do not even have GEDs.  It is true.  I really wish that companies INSIST that kids have high school degrees but I know of kids (especially boys) who have gotten jobs with Colorado, NYCB, and ABT without high school diplomas.  AGMA should insist that kids have HS degrees, and I don't know that they do. 

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ballet1310

To reiterate what learningdance has said, it is important to stay on track which is the hardest thing when online schooling - we also know dancers that are behind in their work and it is very stressful and frustrating for everyone.  My daughter will be done, all college applications are done ( already academic acceptances to those schools that require it first and was offered a very nice merit scholarship for academics ( not telling to brag but to ease fears of a "less than" education- so those that are worried about the quality  of online schooling , it just depends on programs, courses etc.)  , she will now audition for dance departments  although a company position is the goal .

I think for any parent thinking of online schooling and the next steps of training this is a great forum to get feedback and get pieces of information from so many different people at different stages.   The one thing I would say, which I think I haven't said before - I would not have done online if my dd wasn't training to be a professional.   But that's just us, and I understand everyone has different agendas so take with grain of salt :)

 

 

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Eligus

The importance of HS diploma -- I would agree with Learningdance that the HS diploma BEFORE moving away from home (if at all possible) is vital.  Although, I don't agree with Learningdance that the HS diploma should be a pre-hiring requirement by the company -- in my view, that's not the company's job, that's mine, as the parent.  Don't get me wrong, I think it would be extremely smart of the companies to only hire dancers who have already graduated HS, but that's just my personal opinion on business decisions. 

Since we are on an advice board filled with parents of dancers, I will reiterate the importance of getting your child as far along on the education spectrum as you can before allowing them to move from home.  Ballet tends to be all consuming, and once they move out of the range of parental support and have to "adult" on their own, the amount of time and pressure on them just to complete "life" jobs is enormous.  School becomes secondary in their minds. 

Of course, each situation is different.  If the "company/school" is a residential environment that houses them, feeds them all their meals, helps them with their laundry, and has medical services (mental and physical) easily accessible, that's a much more desirable "away" situation because it eases the transition into the adult decisions your child will need to handle (like a college environment would).  Or, if your child is going away to a place that is relatively easy for you to access in about an hour or 2 of travel time (and you have the time and luxury to do so), that is also a better situation for easing the transition to adult living.  Obviously, the logistics of each situation must be weighed and measured, but my personal advice is to insist on a HS diploma before they leave home. 

In our situation, my DD knew she wanted to "go away no later than" 17.  I said that was fine, but she needed a HS diploma in hand before that happened.  She did it, but it was difficult and required a huge amount of work and pressure to accomplish it.  However, looking back, both she and I agree that the extra work and pressure (and tears) was worth the effort in the long run. 

At 17 (and with HS diploma in hand), my DD was offered a place to live and an opportunity to train with her "dream" company, but has to handle everything else about being a human being out in the world on her own.  Before she left home (and when I was insisting on the HS diploma before she left), I don't think she truly appreciated the time it takes to grocery shop, cook all meals, do laundry, travel to/from the ballet studio, prepare for rehearsals and performances, and just generally do all the stuff that, as a parent, I generally handled on behalf of the family and for her, in particular.  We are both very happy that the additional pressure of school on top of all her current living requirements is not required right now.  In a year or two, when all these additional responsibilities are not new, and instead become second nature, college can be added in.  But -- as a parent of a dancer -- do NOT underestimate the amount of time, energy and effort YOU put into making the dance schedule work, and realize that without that support system in place, your dancer will have to do it ALL.  And survival takes precedence over school.  Heck, at that age, just about anything takes precedence over school/academics, so do everything you can, as a parent, to make school/academics a top priority while they are under your roof, and get your dancer as far as you can (preferably with a HS diploma) before they leave.

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learningdance

Good advice Eligus!

Our residency is pretty strong, so it works and has worked for DD (age 15).  In our area truly pre pro training was simply not possible (and not really driveable at 3+hour one-way).

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Jennsnoopy

I really appreciate this thread. We are currently thinking about a part time in school and part time online program for our daughter. It’s an accelerated program that can get her into college early. It also allows addition time at the studio. I never thought we would be doing this but here we are contemplating that decision. I appreciate everyone sharing their experiences. 

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fcmsmom

In case anyone lives in California, look into the CHSPE exam, which allows sixteen year olds to obtain the legal equivalent of a high school diploma. It's popular with young actors, because it allows them to avoid hiring tutors on sets. My DD just turned 16 and passed the exam and will be going away to a residential program in the fall. She wants to take classes online from our local community college to make up some of the courses she missed in the last two years of high school and to get a start on college general education requirements. 

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MKBmom

My DD started running start this year.  In WA state HS jrs and srs can take classes at the local Community College that will satisfy HS requirements.  With good planning my daughter will be able to graduate next year with her HS diploma in hand as well as her Associate degree from a Community College.  We are hoping that this will give her time to be able to double major in pre PT and ballet at university.  The state covers most of the cost of tuition and we pay fees and books.  She has been able to take online classes and in person classes that fit her schedule while leaving her time for dance.  While she does really miss her friends at HS she found over the last few years that because she was trying to maintain her 3.8 GPA she didn't have time to socialize.  She was also frustrated with the immaturity of many of her classmates and the amount of time she felt was wasted sitting in classes.  Now this has not been easy.  At 16 she has had to up her game to the level of these college courses and learn how to advocate for herself but I am very please how so far she is doing.  Since all of the schools that she is considering are out of state those colleges won't necessarily recognize the AA degree so she has to make sure that the classes that she is taking has a equivalent class at these different 4 year schools.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it all works out. 

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