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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Residential school at 14 in hindsight

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Both of my daughters went away to a residency program at a young age.  Different programs - different kids.  One daughter left dance after high school, went on to a career that isn't dance related at all but I don't know that she would have done things differently.  Was it easy?  Not at all.  However, the choices she made back then helped inform her decision regarding University location, etc. and so on.  Her life today would be very different I believe if she hadn't gone away, and she is a happy and successful young adult.  Looking back, this is the daughter who had less potential for a professional dance career.  I just didn't realize that for a while.  Luckily her program wasn't too far from home, so we could visit a fair bit.

The other daughter did continue with dance after high school.  This one went further away from home and it was not an easy decision for our family.  I visited in the fall and the winter, and we tried to go out for end of year shows in May/June. She was home briefly before the SI and after - so we didn't see her much and she has never been one to call or Facetime home much.  I was thankful that I could track the flights online- otherwise I would have been left guessing if she ever actually arrived many times.  I worried probably more than I should have each year at the spring assessment - would she be invited to continue next year?  In hindsight I didn't need to worry so much.  If the school had a big concern they would have let us know, and if she hadn't been re-accepted we could have dealt with that also.  Not the end of the world.  It was difficult helping from afar with anything academic, and she was never overly enthusiastic about school, so I will admit that this is something I wonder about.  

Both daughters now have friends all over the world as a result of their residency experience, and both have taken advantage of these connections as they travel.

At the end of the day, as others have mentioned, this is a very personal family decision and what works for one family isn't necessarily right for another family.  So, do what feels right for you and your dancer.  As Eligus mentioned, there will be opinions from others and probably these will be critical opinions.  Do your best to just focus on what works for your dancer and family.



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