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TinydancersNJ

SI worth the money for 10/11 year olds?

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TinydancersNJ

A couple of years ago I noticed that some of the Philadelphia & NYC ballet training programs also offered Summer intensives starting around 8 & 9 years old.  I thought SI's were mostly for high school aged girls since that's who mostly went from my daughter's ballet school and that a young dancer program would be for a 12-14 year old. I talked to our director about them and she said that I could certainly take her (they don't ban the girls from outside training or anything like that) but that in her experience programs for students that young tend to take most applicants and offer big classes with little correction for a lot of money.  She recommended saving up for when my daughter was 12 and older when she felt these programs were really beneficial to dancers.  I took that advice and have just had her take our studio's SI's and any side opportunities that come up like master classes and things.

Now she is 10 and will be 11 in June and I've notice programs from ABT and SAB are 10-12 yo young dancer programs for a week or two.  This makes me wonder if these are more like traditional SI's just shorter (and cheaper).  In my mind this would be a good opportunity for her to get experience auditioning outside of her studio when the stakes weren't quite so high as they will be later, and that I would be basically paying for a masterclass like experience.  And sort of a mini taste of a SI to get her used to the type of experience she will have for real ones later. (this is all of course moot if she can't even get into one)

If she got in though I would have to seriously think about whether it is worth the money or not.  If it is really as exclusive as a real SI's and she will be challenged and developed similarly than it would be.  If its just classes in NYC and the 'audition' is just to weed out kids with no training at all and they aren't placed and challenged at their ability level than it isn't worth it financially or logistically.  I have read the SI reviews threads but they all seem to be the 8-12 year old young dancer programs where the reviewers say it was babyish or about the real 12-18 year old programs that she isn't old enough for.

I'm sorry this is rambling but what I'm looking for is recent experience with young dancer programs in general (not specific to any one program or comparisons, I know that's not allowed here) and whether you thought they were worth it; financially, developmentally for your dancer's skills, or for them pre-professionally.

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

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Ballerinamom2girls

No, I didn't find the SAB young dancer SI to be worth it.  But that's only because my DD is advanced for her age, and they place based on age, not ability.

Your experience may be entirely different.  I don't think anyone's personal experience is going to help you decide, honestly.  Every dancer is so different. 

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TinydancersNJ

Was your daughter 11 when she went?

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ParentalPerson

The experience of doing the auditions itself can be really beneficial. Experiencing the 'yes' and the 'no' early on, when the stakes are low, isn't a bad thing -- and even ultimately saying 'no' for your own reasons, even when it was a 'yes' from a school builds such a feeling of confidence within a family.

You don't have to make decisions all at once -- just one piece at a time!

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TinydancersNJ

Investigating further I just realized SAB and ABT auditions for 10 year olds are at the same day & time. 🤦‍♀️

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Ballerinamom2girls
1 hour ago, TinydancersNJ said:

Was your daughter 11 when she went?

Yes

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lakemom

Ballet Arizona had a quality SI for ages 11+ - we would recommend it. 

Not sure where in the country you are focused on.  

Edited by dancemaven
Removed second-hand information per BT4D Rules and Policies.

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TinydancersNJ

I'm in NJ so Philadelphia or NYC would be as far as we want to go. 

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dancemaven

Please keep this to a general discussion of the cost benefits (or not) of SIs for dancers age 10/11.  :thumbsup:

There are already threads with lists of young dancer programs, along with reviews in the SI General Discussion Forum.

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MoDance

TinydancersNJ - does your daughter have any interest in attending SAB/joining NYCB?  If so, in my opinion, that's the reason to specifically audition (as a taste) and possibly attend (an appetizer) the 1 week SAB NYC YD Session.  If she (or you) don't want SAB/NYCB/Balanchine, then I don't think it would be the right investment for your time and money.

To your question about class size and competitiveness, last year their audition results letter said more than 600 auditioned.  I think about 130 attended.  So, still quite competitive and the Level D class was roughly 25 (again from imperfect memory).  When I observed the one class they opened to parents, the studio was not cramped and the teacher seemed to give the right number of corrections.

Again, if my memory is correct, tuition was $870 last year.  A lot for one week of classes?  Yes, but a much lower price point than the full Summer Course ($6500) so my dd could get a sense of is this (SAB/NYCB) what she really wants -- and for me as the parent to see am I comfortable with SAB too.

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ballet1310

For our dd the benefit of attending an SI at 11 was that she was able to start to se what was “ missing” from her home studio and was able to experience different teachers - 

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Taxi dance

When my DD was 10, she did a 2 week summer intensive at Miami City Ballet. It exposed her to other teachers who thought she was ready for pointe and challenged her. It was a turning point for her in that she ended up leaving her home studio for a more challenging studio that put her on pointe and exposed her to professional performances. That’s when the driving started but it was well worth it. 

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learningdance

No. .  . It's not worth it training wise.  It can do other things. 

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dancemaven

And your reasoning, learningdance?

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Mdballetmom

I agree with LearningDance. I don't think it is worth it training-wise for a young dancer.  If you have the money and the time and are willing to sacrifice your summer, then go for it. But be conservative about what your dancer will gain.... 

My dancer's first year away ( she was 13) was more about building confidence, affirming that her home studio was on-track with training and the maturity that comes with living away from home for 5 weeks. The fact she had only previously attended her home studio's summer sessions was not a negative. :) 

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