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TinydancersNJ

SI worth the money for 10/11 year olds?

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ballet1310

Going back over this thread I will add this : if money is a big consideration then staying at a home studio for the summer is fine ! If you can spend the money, it’s a good experience akin to anything else a child may do in the summer ie camp - for the first 2 Years of dd ‘s SIs we were able to go with her - I would not have let her go away at 11 & 12 on her own - at 13 she was. at SAB and stayed there , but my husband works in the city and we are close ..... it really depends on your interests and your dds interest - we gave dd option of camp as she got older but she was only interested in ballet so ... it’s really not a right or wrong decision - it’s just a personal one

as side note - dd still knows girls and boys ( now young women and men) that she met at 11,12 .... most have stopped dancing but the ones who stayed know eachother 

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meatball77

Young dancer programs can be a good way for dancers to identify that they are in the wrong program and should move to a program with better teaching.  They're also good in all the same way that summer camps are useful, teaching independence.  It's also a nice test before jumping into a five week program (if the young dancer program has housing) to be able to spend a week or two and see if they like spending all that time away and dancing all day.

Technically there's no benefit (and it may be a disadvantage because you have teachers who don't know you) compared to what most studios offer in the summer.  It can be a nice addition to an existing program and a replacement for summer camp if your child wants to go away.

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Spencedance

Regarding the topic of whether the cost of attending an SI as a 10/11 year old is "worth it," my experience would be...it depends on what the goals are in attending. If the goal is a broader exposure and diverse experience, then I believe a benefit exists. I allowed my younger dancer to attend away programs, but the goal was to experience the audition process, get a taste of different styles of ballet than her home school provided, and provide some level of outside benchmarking (this last goal being probably the least valuable). I structured the intensives around family vacations, so that the overall focus was not only my DD's training. I also wanted to sort of evaluate my DD's potential to one day handle an intensive on her own in a boarding environment (she never boarded as a young dancer). 

The result was a broader world view (for lack of better term) of ballet for both my DD and myself. Now that she is 12, she is able to research and target programs based on what they may offer her in training enhancement, and I can better target programs that offer support in areas I believe my DD needs (life management sort of areas). She will be 13 this summer, and has experience with audition classes, diverse teaching styles, program considerations, and more. All things that were gained as she took a sort of "softer," learning curve approach to intensives as a young dancer. And helped her prepare for last summer's non junior intensive experience. The differences between the young dancer programs, and her first "true" intensive were significant.

Were the young dancer programs crucial for her current technical level? No. She most likely could have achieved the same progress by staying home. But her view of, and approach to summer training is now focused on what it can bring her. For her own growth. And I believe her experiences in a couple young dancer programs created that mindset. 

I alternated summers with letting her go, then having her stay. And always limited the duration and scope of the financial and logistical commitment. But the bit she was allowed to experience as a young dancer broadened her world. And we had some great family time in fun locations. Now that my DD is seriously considering programs, and I am considering the possibility of her training at an away SI on her own, I am glad we all had a couple softer experiences with the world of intensives. It helped to get our feet wet slowly. Because ballet can get very real, very quickly...once they approach 13/14. In my experience with my daughter, at least.

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DanceDaddy
12 hours ago, Spencedance said:

broader exposure and diverse experience,

Is a good point. But, couldn't you also get that by attending a camp/workshop at another studio in your area? I'm personally insisting that my DD dances a week at another studio this summer. Part of it is diverse experience and the other part is I just don't trust that our current studio will be open by the time she finishes high school.

I will say that we might consider Steps on Broadway. But, we would video tape audition and can stay with a family member.

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Spencedance

DanceDaddy,  yes. Depending on the quality and availability of programs in your area. My DD is fortunate to attend an outstanding year round school. In my opinion, the level and quality of training at other local studios or schools nearby is not comparable to her school. And frankly, the reason for attending any away SI has never been to receive "better" training than she receives year round. It is to experience new places, different ballet styles or focus, different teachers, etc. And to provide growth opportunities in terms of life management skills. Something my DD may need in this world at a younger age than my non dancing child. 

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DanceMumNYC

I agree with the above posts. It’s really a personal decision that depends on your goals & expectations from a program. I think SIs for younger dancers have several benefits, including preparing kids for more advanced SIs in the future—from the audition process to managing being away from home. Many dancers who attend SIs, young or older, are given the opportunity to train with world-renowned teachers & facilities. Lifelong connections & friendships are built. They are also fun & even sometimes expose kids to other dance forms (dd attended 2 summer dance programs that offered jazz & modern in addition to daily ballet classes). It’s a great life experience. 

Summer is also a good time for kids to try out a school they may be interested in potentially attending to see if it’s the right fit. I know many great schools who also scout kids (not just teens) from their SIs & invite them into the year-round program.

In terms of training, it honestly depends on the program. In our experience, summer programs are great. My dd (10 soon to be 11) received corrections & learned in each program she’s attended, which also gave her a jump start into her year-round program (she was “ahead” in some areas). At such a young age, I don’t think it’s necessary to attend summer-long programs (5+ weeks), but training for just a few weeks in the summer can definitely have technical benefits. Whether your year-round school offers a better/more beneficial summer program than these young dancer programs in question personally depends on where your child currently dances.

I’m sure there are many SIs that exist as money-makers to fund the school or scholarships for select dancers. Dd attended a large summer program, but it was a large school. There were about 7 levels to place children in, so the classes wound up being about the same size as her year-round class. Another program dd attended had less than 10 kids in her class. They were very selective & some of their year-round students didn’t make it into the SI. However, I believe most summer programs generally accept more students than year-round programs to look for talent. It doesn’t mean the classes are overcrowded though. In making your decision, you can call the schools & ask what the average class size is for the SI. I found that there is usually a cap. 

In regards to finances, many programs cost thousands, but we’ve found more reasonably priced programs for a couple hundred dollars. To our surprise, dd was also given a partial scholarship one summer, so please note that they’re not exclusive to older dancers. I also know some schools offer need-based aid. 

My advice is to just take it one step at a time by letting your dd audition for programs, wait for results, & go from there. 

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cchow

I think training is most important.  I’m not very willing to spend thousands for an ‘experience’ that includes training that isn’t any better than at home - and in some cases, inferior.  SI that costs only hundreds isn’t likely unless there is a fairly large scholarship and it’s within driving distance.

Being in a competitive environment/using SI as a gauge to where a dancer is in comparison to others - isn’t necessarily that relevant at age 10-11.  A lot can change into the teen years - progress, physique, etc.

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DanceMumNYC

I forgot to add that there are a handful of schools in the NY area that allow you to select which week(s) you’d like to attend their program. Choosing to go 1-3 weeks instead of the whole summer can save you a lot of money! 

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DanceDaddy

Spencedance,

 I understand now. Personally, I've been questioning the training and organization at our current studio for awhile.

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BalletmomMN

We are mulling over this too.  We live in an area without many ballet studios, so it’s very hard to gauge quality of training, but we also don’t really have other options. My DD10 wants to go away for an SI, and her teachers are encouraging it.  I am mostly only allowing her to consider programs where we have family to keep the finances reasonable and I’m looking at it as an opportunity for her to learn how to audition.  I find myself a bit worried that she will discover that the world out there is big and her opportunities are sorely limited by our location.

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nynydancer

I have a 13 year old so please remove if not interesting. She did abtyd nyc at 11 and it was life changing. It was an eye opener for her and for the other children there too. I also learned from other parents. It was good instruction and we both came away from it with a lot of knowledge, affirmation, and reality check. She also had some familiar corrections heard from a new teacher. Best of all, she was with kids who were as serious as she was and her own age.  We did not get that at home.  She is still friendly with some of those kids.

We went with her year round teacher’s blessing. I would not recommend going to an SI when a dancer is newly on pointe because the regular school will probably want to watch closely.  Dd had been on for a year so she was ok.

To justify it expense wise, we made it a family vacation. It was a blast for the family, and for the dancer, she came back to her regular training  in a much stronger mindset.

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Leigh28

My now 13 year old attended a larger regional SI when she was 10.   While she was placed in the lowest level, it was a small class and she received a decent amount of personal attention.   There were some other issues that year and we left the program after 3 weeks with mixed feelings.  However, the following year, DD was adamant about auditioning for the program again along with some other options. She has since attended the same program for 3 years straight with very generous scholarships.  She has leveled up nicely, the instructors are very good with her, very hands on and she gets a lot of personal attention.  They have since recognized where her technical ability is and she is typically the youngest in the level.  

So, for the first year, I left feeling that maybe we had wasted 3 weeks and a decent amount of money. However, I now realize that she was able to forge a relationship with this program and they have rewarded her generously.  If she returns this summer, it will be her 4th year in a row.  

I must say that I am VERY thankful that we chose a regional program over a big 3 letter.  I believe (and have been told) that my DD has the talent and ability to dance professionally if she so wishes, but she's not going to be the next 3 letter  superstar.  I'm perfectly ok that. While she has auditioned for an gotten in at much bigger, more well know SI's, it doesn't seem to make sense to us, at this time, to invest our time and money there when we can do the same at a large regional program that has recognized her and has a professional company attached. 

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