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Onkidonk

Abandoned by Studio, now What?

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Onkidonk

Here is what happened to us: Last year we moved to a new town, since our daughter was accepted to the full time program of her dream school. After several years of searching for a good school, we thought we finally found what we were looking for. Everything went well, so we thought, and she was happy, working hard, as always, and made huge progress, so she was told by her previous teachers, who we kept in touch with.

In January, we contacted the school asking if there will be some kind of progress report, and we were told that there would be evaluation meetings in Spring, along with the acceptance letter. Fine! Because she was so certain about this program, she only auditioned for the SI for her school, and was promoted to the next level. That was in March. A week later the school was closed due to the Corona Virus, and another week later we were informed by email that she was not accepted to the full year program starting in Fall 2020. We were crushed!

It took a few days for us to be able to show the letter to her. In the meantime we tried everything to get to speak with the administration to at least get a reason, why they would not take her. No response. No reason. Nothing! I have never in my life experienced anything like that. So unprofessional, indecent, and inhumane, to present a 13 year old with this kind of news, this way!

Yet, she is strong and will prevail, but this was a traumatizing event, and she still is hoping to turn things around during the SI, which most likely is not even going to happen. Now we do not have the opportunity to audition or anything. We begged for at least provide us with a reason, why they did this to her, so that she can do better next time, but silence is the answer.

I guess it is a good time to convey these kind of news, when you can hide in your home and do not have to face your students or their parents directly. Yes, it's a private school, but we read the handbook over and over again. If there was some kind of behavioral issue, they should have given her and us some warning, but there was never a red flag or anything at all said to us.

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Thyme

That sounds terrible onkidonk. Seriously difficult and now you have COVID which has stopped all of us in our tracks. My DS too has nothing right now. No job, no audition, no training program... nada. And there seems to be nothing we can do to change that due to COVID.

So I guess we all got to the same spot in different ways but ultimately for the same reason.

If I was in your position, I guess I would just wait and see what programs are still in business in 12 months. You have a strong advantage though which you may not see right now. She is 13 and that means you have several years of training to go. I know this is the age when people get serious but in her cohort, no one is going to be training seriously right now. No one (I dont care what people say about managing to work their way through this) is going to be dancing and training properly right now. It is hard to get our heads around that our DK wont be left behind.  The goal posts have just shifted for us all.

It sounds like you and your husband have made significant changes for your daughter (dont we all?) so perhaps now is a time to focus on other things? Enjoy her (if she is serious she will be gone before you know it) and help her keep fit (not dance fit, just fit). This too shall pass and perhaps it will be the current 13 year olds who will land on the other side? You may have the perfect circumstances but not know it for a few years.

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dancemaven

Onkidonk, I am so sorry you and your DD are going through this.  Others, I am sure will be along to sympathize and help you through this.  In the meantime, you might do a Search (or just scroll through the topics) as, thankfully not plentiful, there have been previous threads as others have occasionally found themselves the recipient of such summary treatment as well.  Certain schools do have some hard to decipher annual cuts. (Not knowing which particular school you are dealing with, we can’t say whether this is what happened).  But parents who have dealt with those schools may well have good advice and insight for you.

(As an aside, I note that your profile indicates you have a dancing granddaughter, but your posts reference your DD.  It would help us if you would reconcile your profile. 😊)

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Oreo

Try and remember...this is just one school's opinion. Another school may be a better fit for her. You want to her to be somewhere that they really challenge, inspire her, and take an interest in her. Use this time to research different schools. Certain huge schools are well known to be "revolving doors" meaning they kick students out at the drop of a hat. I have overheard parents talk in studios that their kid," was not asked back to such and such school". A couple times when I have asked which kid is theirs and they tell me, after looking at them, my jaw drops and I literally tell them..., "It means nothing. Your child definitely is talented." Continue to let them pursue it if their heart is there". Slow and steady wins the race. Not everyone will end up dancing for a top tier company. It is by no means the end of the world. There are so many companies with amazing reps, your just have to seek them out and find the right fit for you.

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balletfan

Onkidonk, I am so sorry this happened to your family.  

The school is not what you thought it was.  They are not running a professional training organisation.  You found this out just in time.

In our private ballet school (in Australia) the full time students have a parent group for each level.  This is just one parent acting as class mum or dad, as you would see at any academic school.  That person sends out an email to all the parents and they can contact them or the whole group if they have any issues/questions they want to discuss with other parents.  Especially important as a good number of our students are living away from home e.g. in home stays. 

Our school initiates this every year by asking for a class parent to step up and providing the contact details of the families wanting to participate. It means that the parents can support each other and issues are sorted out earlier rather than later.  Even without this type of communication, families in the ballet world do eventually hear about poor treatment of students at any school and take note (if they are wise). 

Meanwhile your DD  now has time to evaluate other schools and how they show themselves in adversity.  For example, how responsive are they to your enquiries.  Also a good opportunity to try them out through their online classes without having to leave your own home.

All the best!

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Eligus

I agree with Balletfan.  Whatever the "outside" reputation of your current school, they are not running a professional training organization.  I know it is difficult to see and understand right now, because you and your DK are in the midst of the pain, but I firmly believe this crisis will turn out to be a secret blessing for you and yours.  You do not want your DK training in such an unprofessional environment.  Despite your current confusion, you are better off without them.  As others have said, use the time now to evaluate other schools, you have time on your side.

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Noodles

Hugs to you and your dancer, what a devastating thing to go through at her age. I understand that ballet is tough, there are brutal realities that go along with a life in ballet. I am very sorry that you are getting no response to your question as to why she was cut. It does seem very unprofessional.

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Onkidonk

I really appreciate all of your kind responses. It means a lot! Thank you! We have started looking into other schools, and I am considering reaching out, to see how and if the admission process for the Fall works. The problem is that we moved from NY to PA, so the options are way more limited than they were in NYC. Moving back is not an option. That is something we would not be able to afford. So fingers crossed that we'll find something good. We have strong support in her previous school's teachers, who she is been taking online classes with, so that she can keep in shape. Thank you again, everyone! Sometimes you get the feeling that the ballet world is cruel and merciless, and that is what the kids have to keep up with, but there is a limit and these girls (and boys of course) are in their most vulnerable time of their development, and it should be taken into account. In this case, one could compare it to a  business, where they produce really classy cars, but on the way, the factory worker means nothing and is expandable. 

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nynydancer

Please let me chime in-- I have seen way too many families absolutely crapped on by the big 3 letter in our former backyard.  By this I mean, things look okay and then you get a letter with a tick box saying your kid is not accepted to next level with no explanation.  I am not surprised honestly by this treatment you describe and it could be same school, but it doesn't matter.  You don't want your kid in a place like that either.  Just because the school is well known doesn't mean it is the best school-- the school I speak of takes in trainees and upper students from smaller boutique schools as well as competitions with very few homegrown kids making it the entire way through and into the company.  I think there is a nicer way to handle things for SURE, but I think some schools maybe think they are so famous and amazing and have so many new kids clamoring to get in it doesn't matter how they behave.

Your beautiful DD will have better training elsewhere by people who appreciate her.

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Mom de deux

Depending on where you are in PA, there are many very good schools that may not have the big national reputation, but which turn out well-trained dancers. Make sure you look at the smaller ones as well.

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Onkidonk

Thank you for all your comments! We live in Philadelphia, and I did some research - online of course - and I saw that there are smaller schools that look very good. They mainly teach Vaganova, which would be perfect! Unfortunately we did not make a video, and cannot audition either at the moment. It's not a great situation. Right now she is having private online classes with her teachers from her previous NYC schools, where we would have stayed, had they not closed 😞 . 

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Onkidonk

nynydancer,

Yes, I think that many NYC schools are like this. They use the kids in the lower levels as money makers. Often training is poor, insufficient, not geared towards the individual, and consequently it would be absolutely impossible to achieve what their companies represent. If one looks at the company artists resumes, 99% are from different schools, and joined the company after their training someplace else. The trick is to find a small school with very good teachers who would like to become successful and well known. They still have an invested interest in their students. Once they ARE successful, it probably all changes once again. The school my DD went to, did not have a company attached, but they act as if they already are one. Performances are very professional, and high caliber. They have many performances throughout the year, but only the superstars are invited to perform. The others have two opportunities. That's it. They forgot that they are a school. Many kids are already well known, and you see their pictures and videos over and over and over again. That is normal of course, but the way they treated us, and my DD, is NOT normal. I should call them out for what they did. I know we were not the first to experience this, but because the ballet world is small, and they have a lot of power, especially in a 'small' town like Philadelphia, nobody dares to speak up out of fear that we might get blacklisted someplace else. I understand their tactic better now. They need people like my DD to keep their school running, but they don't need her so desperately that she is not easily exchangeable. Probably they did not like her personality. She does not fit into their perfect world. That is my guess. That is why they are not willing to tell us the reason for her dismissal. Because they would not be able to justify it. The ballet world is tough. We have seen a lot. If there is one thing that you cannot say my DD has not, and that is stamina. That she has proven. And it will help her in life, no matter whether she succeeds as a dancer or not. 

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