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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Need Help on Finding Balanchine Schools

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Hi all, 

We are moving back to US this year after living somewhere else for almost 20 years. My youngest daughter is 14. We are currently in CA visiting the area and schools. While we are here, she did some auditions for the summer program. After couple, her only request on ballet school is that it has to be Balanchine style. She has been training privately (small, doesn't have a real ballet school) with one of the Balanchine dancers, so it's understandable. We are still in search of new home; my husband doesn't want to live in New England area, so that rules out all schools in NYC and Boston. I have been doing some researches intensively. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but I read almost every post about each school and different regions, and very few directly indicate the style of the school. 

My list currently have: 

Ballet Chicago 
City Ballet of San Diego - we visited the school last week 
PNB - they couldn't place my DD
Westside - we also visited the school 
Oregon Ballet Theater - DD auditioned for it, but we heard AD is leaving soon. 
LAB - we visited the school 
Miami - DD auditioned and didn't get accepted 
*Ballet Met and Charlotte seem like a mix style. 

We will have another trip in March and possible during the summer to visit more schools and looking for houses. DD's education is our top priority, so we have to know which school(s) that she will attend before we start settling our moving plan. I read the Balanchine style summer program which is very helpful, but I'm wondering if there are some smaller or more local schools that have great Balanchine style teachers since DD has only been dancing for 2.5 years; big name school might not at her reach any time soon. Any information will be helpful! Thank you! 


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There is a fantastic Balanchine studio in Charleston, SC called Dance Conservatory of Charleston.  (run by two former NYCB ballet dancers, Lindy and Deanna).

There is a nearby school that is in the top 10 in the U.S. for academics:  Charleston Academic Magnet. 

Charleston is a beautiful area (we lived there for 5 years).  Our son studied with Lindy and is now at SAB in NYC.

Good luck in your search.

BTW - this past summer our Balanchine ballet boy did a class at City Ballet in San Diego and really liked it (a good academic school near there is Torrey Pines or Cathedral) and he went to CPYB for 1.5 years.  He also strongly considered Next Generation in Tampa, FL.  You are going down the right track.   It really just depends on where you want to live in the U.S. 

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In Dallas Fort Worth Texas there is a studio that is pure Balanchine. In fact the owners are husband and wife you both danced for NYCB and of course went go SAB. The husband actually danced for Balanchine and is the ex husband of Suzanne Farrell (Balanchine’s muse ). This school is very very pure to the style and has hardcore training . The girls and boys in the school have gotten into SAB, Miami City, PNB and Boston year round and summers . There son is now in NYCB as a Corp member and is the youngest male to move up to trainee to Corp. My dancer attends this school year round and dancing in the daytime and evening program . The studio is called Mejia Ballet in Arlington TX. 

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BalletMet seems to have moved back into a more Balanchine direction with the newest director of the school and the newer teachers hired (such as Brooke Moore formerly of PA Ballet). 

In California, Colburn in LA is small audition based program run by former NYCB principal dancers. It looks like a wonderful program. 

As far as OBT's AD leaving soon, if it is the company AD, that may or may not change the school. Usually, in our experience, it does not. 

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The school AD from Oregon Ballet Theatre is going to Ballet Arizona to take over the school there. The AD of Ballet Arizona (the company) is Ib Anderson, who is a former NYCB dancer, and BAZ definitely tends toward a Balanchine style; they perform an all-Balanchine program annually.

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Thank you all so much for the wonderful information! I think we will try to visit couple more cities that are mentioned above in the spring first. That way, we will have couple options in hand. 

I did talk to Next Generation a few weeks ago since they were having an audition in CA earlier this month. I was told not to audition since my daughter can't be on pointe right now due to an accident happened in school's ski trip. It will take her about half year to come back. We won't be able to stay for BalletMet (in Feb) and Ballet Arizona (in March)'s audition, but I have also contacted the school and see if we can squeeze in a visit/placement class in our next trip to US. It is still quite difficult to decide where to live; we are currently in a small inland country with lots of snow, so the kids are wishing to be close to sea and not have to deal with snow anymore. No place is perfect; we will just have to see what the future brings us. : ) 

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In the San Diego area, there is San Elijo Dance and Music Academy. Teachers are Lauri-Michelle and Ben Houk. This is a local community school, but it has wonderful Balanchine training.

There is also Colburn Academy in Los Angeles. It is run by Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette. The are holding auditions for the 2018-2019 school year in LA on February 4th.

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Bilimi - given your desire to be near the ocean (me, too!) - I would say go check out:

-  Colburn in LA (our son loved it there - and our daughter studies music there now - top rate, hidden gem run by a husband and wife ballet couple with a vision). 

-  Charleston, SC and the ballet studio and the academic school I mentioned above.  Best beaches in the U.S.!

-  San Diego, CA - two Balanchine studios mentioned - and great beaches.

-  Next Gen in Tampa, FL.  Run by Philip Neal, former NYCB dancer. 

You will get your fill of Balanchine, beach and the sun at these.   These are the 4 that I would focus on. We have toured and lived in the first 3 - and toured the last one.

Good luck with your tours and your decision. 

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