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Funfetti

PrePro School-is it now or never?

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Funfetti

Hello!

DD (15yo, 16 in Nov.) was offered a spot in a professional training division with a regional ballet company. My question is how seriously do we need to consider this opportunity? Do we need to seize it while we have it? Would it be a mistake to delay by a year or two? Many thanks for any insight you can provide...

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Noodles

Welcome Mrs. R. I think more information might be helpful. As in can you detail the type of training that your DD is currently getting? Including what type of school, number of hours (have you compared this to the potential new program?) are the dancers from your current studio going into trainee/apprentice/company positions? 

 

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Funfetti

Thank you! I had a feeling I wasn't giving enough detail, just wasn't sure what would be helpful. My daughter currently dances about 20 hours a week...more if you include rehearsals during show season. She is training in cecchetti method, but also takes modern, jazz, hip hop, as well as non syllabus cecchetti work. The potential program offers the same number hours of class time, plus performance opportunities. The program is in a different state than we currently reside. We have had dancers offered positions in yearround programs. Our current studio is small and young, so this is new for many of us.

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Noodles

I have very limited base for knowledge on this topic, but my DD has been invited away to train, so I will share the story of how that played out.

At the time that we were considering allowing her to move ( she was 14) we discussed it with her most trusted teacher, who felt that she was not ready. This teacher had a professional career with a top tier US company and we completely trust her opinion. She emphasized to my DD that she wants her to move away and get the best training she can possibly get but there is little value in that when one is not quite ready. What this teacher said resonated with me because in my gut I knew she was not ready, on a dance level and certainly not on an emotional/independence level. 

My dancer switched studios to follow this teacher and she has grown by leaps and bounds. This teacher is a trusted mentor who is helping my dancer to prepare for life out in the world when the time is right, I think we will know it when the time comes.  

As with any big decision there are a variety of factors to consider. The fact that my dancer is in a small program, gets a lot of personal attention and has a strong mentor in her teacher, are all things that we have to take into consideration. It will be hard to beat the training that she is getting, so there is really no rush for her. The longer that she stays local, soaking up as much as she can, the stronger she will be, both technically and emotionally. She is developing a sense of who she is as a dancer, in a nurturing yet rigorous environment. 

I think that the place to start is to have a conversation with your dancer's primary teacher/AD etc. And also really evaluate your kid, is she really ready emotionally? Would the training be better than where she currently is? Also is this something new and unexpected or something you all have been working towards...I find that it is easy for us (me!), as parents, to get caught up in the hype of it all and think exactly what you have written...Is it now or never? In my opinion the best course of action is to pause, breathe, and really weigh out the pros and cons, while getting some advice from a trusted teacher who knows your dancer. 

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ballet1310
1 hour ago, Noodles said:

Would the training be better than where she currently is?

I think this is the tricky part because what school/ method / teacher works for one student may not work well for another - just like when looking at college programs or trainee programs look at where the dancers go after their training ... to me that’s one of the biggest indicators that a program is good ... but like Noodles said, there are many teachers/places that may not be on the radar that are excellent and their students are in companies ...so dig into the regional company alumni and see if that’s a stepping stone or not

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Funfetti

Thank you both, Noodles and ballet1310 for your input. I ask "now or never" because my daughter is at a disadvantage...she is taller than the average dancer. Her teachers have said that that will be a challenge, but she has the talent, skill, work ethic, passion. The majority of her teachers (one having danced at a top tier ballet, and the other with regional ballets) believe that she needs to seriously consider this opportunity. Her primary teacher (who never danced professionally) is not supportive-she tends to discourage going to SIs and training anywhere else. 

Dancers from the regional company have gone on to dance at bigger companies. And others have stayed. Truly, my daughter would be very content to stay on with this company. She has had her eye on them awhile.

 

 

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ballet1310
1 hour ago, Mrs.R said:

Her primary teacher (who never danced professionally) is not supportive-she tends to discourage going to SIs and training anywhere else. 

It's funny because for some reason I've been thinking about this thread and your question... I'm not a fan of studios or teachers that have this way of thinking - if DD had stayed at her home studio she wouldn't be on the track she is now...

it sounds like a good opportunity and if your dd can handle school, living away from home etc, than it may be just what she needs.  Change is always scary but in my DD's journey , every change has been a good and necessary one.

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Noodles

Mrs. R...if most of her teachers support the idea, then it really comes down to the family, finances, and how your dancer feels about it

Best of luck in your decision! 

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learningdance
7 hours ago, Mrs.R said:

Dancers from the regional company have gone on to dance at bigger companies. And others have stayed. Truly, my daughter would be very content to stay on with this company. She has had her eye on them awhile.

Isn't this really the answer? She'd rather stay?

 

In terms of now or never. . . It is "now or never," and it is not "now or never."  What I mean by that is that the offer is being extended at this moment in time with this set of teacher as they look at your DD within this set of dancers. Things can or might change in a different year.  So, this offer is for now and you cannot assume that it will come around again. Does this mean that the opportunity to train elsewhere is "now or never " for you DD?  No.  There could be other opportunities to move away or she could seek those.  But moving away holds no real power if the training is not better or if it does not lead to what she wants. An opportunity that others are pining for, may not be what your DD is pining for. 

We like to say, when a door opens walk through it, if you like what's on the other side.  

I am guessing that it might be 

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ballet1310

Oh ! Maybe I misunderstood - does she want to stay at her current school ?

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Funfetti

I'm so sorry for the confusion! I should have used the quote function! Novice over here. Ballet1310 you didn't misunderstand. Learningdance, when I said she would want to stay on - I meant with the regional ballet company that has invited her to study with them (not her current, local dance studio.) If she wanted to stay home, we wouldn't even be talking about it, haha! Sorry about that. 

Noodles, thank you. I am outside of my comfort zone. Appreciate the time you all have taken in responding to my post.

Edited by Mrs.R

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ballet1310

Ahhhh ... ok :)

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Noodles
1 hour ago, Mrs.R said:

I am outside of my comfort zone.

Common feeling around here :)

I am assuming that this occurred while your dancer was away at SI? A few things to look at, aside for housing and academics, are what does your dancer need (skills) in short order to go away...will she be in a dorm with a cafeteria or will she have to cook for herself and live fairly independently? If she is not up to speed in any of these areas focus now on getting her ready to leave the nest.

Use the search bar above and try a few searches....relating to the topic:  going away to a residency program or moving away from home etc. Sorry my mind is blank but I am sure if you search in various ways you will find some informative threads to help answer some of your questions, calm your fears and give you a plan of action (I hope!).

Best of luck!

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Fraildove

Mrs R,

As you are considering this opportunity, also think about environment of the company school. She will be around other like-minded dancers, seeing professional dancers up close and personal, with teachers whose goal it is to help the dancers train at a very high level. If her home studio is an environment more likely to focus on dancing through high school, or with an eye toward college instead of professional contracts, it might be a good idea for her to go away. But if she is emotionally or functionally not ready, think Long and hard. It is easy to see programs through rose colored glasses, and after the honeymoon period, when things get a little rough, not being able to go home to parents and a home cooked meal can be very hard on a young dancer. They have to learn coping skills very fast if they are not already in place. I’ve seen beautifully talented dancers crash and burn when not emotionally prepared to handle things truly on their own. A phone call is very different than a physical hug.

 

On another note, remind her that the Summer Intensive is likely very different that the school year. That could be for the better. I would ask to see schedules and a list of faculty that teaches regularly at the school year round and see how she liked these specific teachers. Is this an all day program or an afternoon/evening one? Being in a professional environment at 16 is a major positive, and seeing dancers who are more advanced and more familiar with the company’s style is a huge influence if she has her eye on dancing with the company. I would also ask how many from the school have been hired into the company, or does the company hire primarily from outside. That would probably be one of the biggest considerations if everything else is in place.

 

I know how hard these decisions can be, and wish you and your family wisdom when making them. This board has really good advice from parents, dancers, and teachers who have helped others by their own experiences. If there is a thread about the company or school on this board I would advise you to read the thread in its entirety and to possibly ask specific advice there if you have not already done so. This board is a wealth of information. I’m so glad you found it as many parents don’t. At least you will not be shooting blind. Best wishes!

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learningdance

I really echo Fraildove's thoughts.  

My DD went away at 14 to a residential program.  She wanted to and had been thinking/talking about it for 2 years. 

It changed her life. She simply would not be at the place she is now at 16 without it. It is putting her on a clear path to professional dance (we PRAY).  Without it she would have just withered in our home town with the same teachers and the same environment (and a miserable social life.) Being at a residential program has VASTLY improved her social life because she is with students who understand her and want the same things.  They support each other and are really very close.  They have all had a bunch of ups and downs.

 

Think about how you will handle injury--as in an injury that could take your DD out for a month. 

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