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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Anyone taking the residence plunge this fall?


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11 hours ago, Ballet6706 said:

Our home studio doesn't know yet but will be sending our graceful exit email - DD has loved her home studio and we hope this doesn't kill her relationship with the school.

As a studio owner that invests time and energy into each and every student, this sentence sent a dagger into my heart. An email about your dancer leaving is a sure way to 'burn a bridge'. Their training and expertise got your child to the place they are now and if you appreciate that you need to give them the respect of talking with them. Please consider meeting face-to-face with the director/instructor/school about your decision to train elsewhere. They may be dismayed or show disappointment especially if they didn't have any idea you had been planning on leaving so early but you will have a much better chance in keeping the door open.

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On ‎7‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 8:49 PM, learningdance said:

Derin'smom and MoDance

My best advice is on page 2 :) 

Thank you. My DD is only 14 and it will be a hard time for all of us, she will in a new country with a new language. She will have to adapt to French academic education as well. But luckily, the conservatoire sends them to a school nearby and they create a different environment for the international students to get adapted.

And by reading the other notes, we are not worried about what ifs cause this is a new path that will lead her to different directions. I hope she will be happy but if not we are always supporting her to create new options elsewhere.

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Temps de cuisse

What are your thoughts about talking to them in person and still being told that the bridge is burned? I've been told my DD is too young to go off now, but I feel differently.

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Temps de cuisse I sent an email to my DD former studio letting them know that she would be training at a different  school.  We both had a good relationship (still do) with the director.  Ballet is a small community and as a parent express to those who have trained her how exceptional they were, and that her growth has been a combination of teachers' expertise and care, and DD work ethic.  People come and go--in and out of ones life be it ballet, job, or friendships.  A studio does not own a dancer; it is still a business.  In Bekah21's case, where was the respect for a parent who would know whether or not her young adult were ready to train way from home?  The parent needs to be the one in conjunction with the child and family members concerning leaving home to live life when they are a minor.  As far as Ballet6706, without details, perhaps their studio sent an email asking if they were returning.  And maybe their policy is to communicate by email for space availability for new dancers.  It could also be they had a pre SI conversation (like I did) about the possibility of training elsewhere so it would come as no surprise.  

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Just some thoughts. . .

Many times studio owners (or parents) talk about a student being "ready" or "not ready" to go to a residential program and they mean different things.  Often the ballet teacher is thinking strictly about dance training. As, in this student is not strong enough or has not mastered the foundations that would be expected of an intermediate dancer.  Sometimes, but not always, parents are thinking about "life skills."  If you child is going to a residency there are so many things that they must do:

- Get up daily and be on time 

-Feed one's self from a cafeteria with an array of new/strange foods--or even unhealthy options. And feed one's self within the pressure of a ballet world with pre professional dancers at a vulnerable age. 

-Sleep properly and have the discipline to forgo giggling until 2:00 am.  SLeep is the NUMBER ONE way to avoid injury.

- Negotiate with a roommate

-Do laundry

-Keep up with school work--If it's an online school this is 4X as hard. 

-FInd supportive, caring friends. . people who are kind and will help. 

- Follow rules and except consequences when you make a mistake

- Deal with injury.  HUGE.  Not hiding an injury.  Knowing how to rehab and injury. 

-Cross training, stretching, and pilates. 

Here's what I have seen. The student who goes off to residency, gets a confidence shake and begins to engage in disordered eating that progresses to a full blown ED necessitating withdrawal.  The student who goes off and is doing online schooling but doesn't really have the discipline to do that and then ends up hopelessly behind doing unfinished freshman classes into the sophomore year etc. The student who does not have the discipline to per herself to bed on time--then runs herself down and gets mono. The student who enters an international program and does not know the language and becomes seriously culture shocked, depressed, and anxious. The student who faces people much more talented and skilled and who then kind of gives up and shrivels and stops trying and is then asked to leave. 

I guess I am just suggesting that your dancer will have to be exceedingly mature and be able to grow up very quickly. 


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thanks for your input. Our director simply said DD is to young. She says she's a beautiful dancer, lots of potential, hard worker, motivated, listens, is respectful I could go on. Her "reason" was simply age. I would like to point out that we have had kids her age go off before and stay off, and we have at least one girl going off this summer who is the same age as DD. I know "age" is simply a number, but my DD is mature and has been getting herself up, cooking, etc since she was 12. I do worry a little about the online school as she's been in brick and mortar but hasn't needed any help with homework or motivation to do school work for most of her school life.

I wish I could better understand "she's too young"

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These are very good points. My DD is 14 and she will be on her own. Her uncle will support her on the weekends but overall, she will manage all these herself.

The support of adults becomes more crucial even though we are away.

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Bekah21, if you wish to understand exactly what the “she’s too young” means to the teacher, I would simply ask her, listen to her comments, probe her answers, and have an actual conversation back and forth about it.   Tell her you are really interested in her insight and strive to figure out what the basis for her insights and thoughts are and  how those apply to your DD specifically.

Perhaps she sees something in your DD’s approach to class, other students, challenges, etc that you haven’t seen.  Perhaps based upon her experiences with previous students over the years, personalities, growing bodies, etc, she has seen how things play out that give her pause.

When I chose to move our daughters from one primary school to another, I remember younger daughter’s teacher advising me that she thought it might not be a good idea for this one daughter because of how important her social life among her classmates was.  I remember being puzzled and even after she explained her concern, I was still puzzled as what she described was not something I felt accurately reflected this daughter’s personality.  I moved both girls.  Lo and behold, the teacher’s assessment of that one daughter was exactly right!  That daughter had a much more difficult time settling into her new school/class and really, really mourned and missed her other school.  She was angry with me, sad, and even though she was still social and enjoyed new friends, there was something she had really, really lost.  After that first year, it took allowing her the opportunity to go back to her old school and letting her make the choice before she really returned to her natural personality and regained at the new school what she had lost when I moved her from the original one.  And this was a first-grader!  What I learned from that experience was that teachers can most definitely have insights into our kids that we may miss, nuanced, age-developmentally, or otherwise.

Older daughter did go off to residency when she was 15 turning 16.  It was a BIG decision and one made relatively rapidly.  I won’t go into details (they have been shared numerous times over the years in various threads).  However, I will say that this daughter was very focused, academically and otherwise, an easy student with top grades, emotionally secure and strong, independent and “mature” beyond her years for her whole growing up, etc, etc.  But she and her sister had always had their own rooms and did not even share a bathroom.  DD had to learn to navigate a roommate who hogged the room, was sloppy and messy, could be jealous, but was mostly fine.  DD was quite timid and allowed the roommate to dominate the room scene.

 DD learned to navigate living in a dorm, challenging herself academically by adding on-line class to her AP-heavy bricks-and-mortar early release school, friends, social challenges among her dancing peers, temptations among her dancing peers, regular teen-age rebellious actions by peers, sickness, dance drama, social outings,  . . .the list goes on.  And this was at an established program with small town local support, a bricks-and-mortar high school with dedicated guidance counsellor support, dance RAs, dedicated student director who looked after the emotional, educational, parens needs of the students, plus the dance faculty with back up by the academic faculty.  It was a very integrated machine.

Years later, DD and I have often talked of her year there.  She told me early on that “she had to grow up fast” that year.  It took a lot to navigate all there was to navigate with parents several states away.  She did it, but I understand now that there was a lot more “growing up fast” to it than I had ever understood at the time.  She’s never regretted her time there, but I do understand now that that experience was much more challenging than we could ever have imagined in terms of her “growing up fast”.

 Dance parents all note their DKs are “mature”, often “more mature” than their non-dance peers—including me.  I have learned over the years that there are different areas that comprise “maturity”.  Yes, our dancers are most often more “mature” in terms of knowing what they want in terms of future goals, in terms of discipline, in terms of focus, in terms of self-direction, e.g.   But, I have also learned that in many ways our dancers are less mature in terms of negotiating some social settings, advocating for themselves, speaking up, standing up, resisting peer pressure, recognizing the importance of academics, and working through social challenges, e.g.  

I think sending a child to a residency is always a giant leap of faith.  One makes the best decision one can at any given time.  However, the most important thing to know—and hold on to—is that no decision in ballet training is a final, no turning back decision.  The road is long and winding and there are many ways to get there.  So, if one decision turns out not to be the right one for that moment in the journey, no worries.  Choose another and carry on.

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Thank you!!!! I did try to talk to the teacher in person and was basically yelled at, told no I can't do this, she won't support me and if we do it we aren't welcomed back. So unfortunately I don't feel like I am "allowed" to ask more. I was unable to get many words in during my scolding of even considering a residency program for DD. Our school is a local school with no clear path after high school graduation. We aren't attached to a company school. She personally said those amazing things about my daughter I mentioned above, that wasn't coming from me. She said she is not ready because of her age. She did mention that DD needs to learn to drive first which leads me to believe she feels age wise kids need to be 16+. I wish I could ask more, but unfortunately I'm not going to put myself into a situation to be yelled at again for trying to gather more information.

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Bekah21, yes, that is an unfortunate response by your DD’s teacher—but not uncommon, it seems.  We were lucky in that DD’s teachers were all supportive and encouraging about our decision for residency when I talked to them.  They were always eager for news of her progress and journey—even to this day—and speak fondly and lovingly of her as their student.  The AD of the school . . .well, not so much.  He was cool bordering on cold and remained so for years.  The one time we explored returning to the home school, he was cool and placed inexplicable barriers and restrictions that she had not had previously.  She ultimately did not return, but continued with her journey.  It was only after she entered a BFA college dance program that he warmed up again.  Whatever.  We just “wanted her to play baseball” and supported the home school whenever possible.



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You are in a tight spot. I am not sure how pressed for time you are. We are approaching the end of summer. 

What else can you do as due diligence that you haven’t done yet? Have you toured the residence? Have you interacted with other parents in the program? Have you observed the year round students? Do they seem reasonably adjusted, physically healthy? Do staff and faculty foster an atmosphere of camaraderie, or cut throat competition? 

Can DD defer attendance for another year? What does she stand to lose if she stays  another year at the current dance school? 

Do you have another option if the residential program does not pan out, and the home studio is no longer welcoming?

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Bekah21, dancemaven has excellent points to consider.  It looks like you are in a tough spot right now with your current director.  It seems to me that if an adult is going to scream at a parent for sharing news and seeking guidance on going away to train,  that the response is emotionally driven.  When feelings simmer down, perhaps you can have a conversation to gain an understanding of her perspective and the extremity of yelling at you.  Sleep on it a few days.  Meditate.  Reflect.  The answer will come to you in time

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For us, once the idea of leaving was discussed (at length and in person) with the AD and teachers and I listened to their reasons, it became clear that we were finished at the school whether we went the proposed path or not. It felt like we were stepping over a chasm. It was in those discussions that I got to know the staff in a way I hadnt before. Luckily our move went very well but if it hadnt, there was no way we were going back to that studio. The doors shut on us as we walked out. Defering a year would not have been an option as we were no longer welcome.  I dont personally understand this mind set. I understand the grief, disappointment, fear etc that ADs can feel when a successful student moves against their advice but I dont understand the shunning. We have moved on from other studios with much love and best wishes. The shunning is beyond my comprehension.

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dancemaven, yes it's very unfortunate and upsets DD dearly.

labrador, I have toured the facility, I know the host family DD could stay with, my family is a two hour drive away, DD knows some of the year round kids and knows some who are staying from summer. She says they are all nice and supportive as well as the teachers. I have spoke to a few of the parents of kids who are staying, and one year round parent who is staying on and would be in the same level as DD. I have not been able to personally observe year round kids.

I am sure that I could defer her attendance for another year or two, but obviously that would require an audition again. I know that once they are interested they are interested, but we all know nothing is ever guaranteed. 

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Bavalay, great point and I hadn't thought about that. Maybe some of this came "in the heat of the moment" reaction.

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