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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Struggling to find a school--Pensacola or Richmond


Caffeinequeen

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Caffeinequeen

We live in Pensacola, FL and have been searching for training for my 15DD who really wants to improve and pursue a career in ballet specifically. It is hard to find a classical minded ballet studio locally and while we've looked at driving over to Mobile daily, that means I don't have any time in the evenings with any of my other 3 children either. We've been offered to let her live in Richmond, VA with grandparents and go to school at either Richmond Ballet or I've also looked at Stvana Ballet. They are newer, but their program looks strong online at least. Does anyone have any experience near Pensacola or Richmond to offer school suggestions or experience with schools in those areas?

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Noodles

I can not offer advice as to those specific area but I would like to suggest a couple of things. 

First, call the school in Mobile and see if they have any other dancers in your area. Perhaps a carpool could solve the commute problem.

Secondly with the VA schools make sure that your dancer goes there to take a trial class to see how she feels about the instruction. Are the holding live in studio classes? Can she dance from home via Zoom for the time being?

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springflower

I lurk a bit here but my kids are no longer dancing, but they danced at the Richmond Ballet. They had a wonderfully positive experience, but is there anything specific you want to know?

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Caffeinequeen

That is great to hear that they had a positive experience there. I've seen good reviews on their SI and that they have a pre-professional program, but hadn't heard from anyone who had been there recently to know if it is really strong and will prepare her well to dance as a career one day. It is a big move, but we want her to have the chance if it is the right move. 

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workmail

Richmond Ballet is fantastic - as an organization, their community outreach and collaboration, excellent dedicated teachers, beautiful performances. We have a DVD of one of the school performances because my daughter was a trainee there and it is so good and she liked watching the kids that were younger than her. My 16 year old did 3 weeks of online 1/2 day summer intensive this past summer. During that time they had a limited group of students in studio with masks, social distancing and all the other possible safety protocols. 

If that is really a viable option for you to have her stay with grandparents and train and she would be happy and healthy,  RB is great. We often wished our girls could have had that type of training at a younger age but I would not want them to move away or necessarily leave public school - it depends on the individual. 

That being said, if there is any option to not have your daughter move away and grow up too fast and you could find a way to train in town and then do summer intensives to get outside training that would be ideal. Could she do some classes at local studio and some online since zoom classes are the norm during the pandemic? 

I agree with others that say a trial class or visit is necessary before making any commitment. Maybe she could train at home this year and try to do the RB summer intensive next summer. 

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springflower

One of the high school graduates just joined RBII. You’d have to call or email the school to find out how many of their dancers go on to dance in college or pro. (And then maybe you can share more info here! Not much about Richmond on here)

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AngelaK

My daughter is attending RB summer intensive right now. This is the last of 5 weeks. She has absolutely loved it! She seems to be thriving there even with all the COVID restrictions. She loves it so much that she has decided to stay for the year round program. She has been waitlisted for their trainee program and was told that because they allowed some trainees to stay for a third year this year (due to having to end their year early because of COVID) their trainee program is completely full. 
They have not made definite decisions about their schedule for next year yet. We were told to expect information after August 10th. 

She has spent the last 3 years in a school/pre-pro program attached to a major company with excellent training and she tells me that she feels that the training she has received this summer has been at just as high of a caliber and even stronger in some areas. 
 

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Ecourtney

Caffeinequeen, my DD trained at Mobile Ballet and I can attest that it is excellent training and the AD/school director is absolutely wonderful.  I don’t know if there are any students coming from Pensacola currently, but there is a teacher who comes from Pensacola most days. 
 

 

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Caffeinequeen

Ecourtney, that is really helpful to hear. We saw they are offering a daytime Academy program as well so are looking more into Mobile ballet. I have 3 other children so making the drive 6 days a week feels impossible right now, but we are going to see if 3 days in person, and then doing some online on other days would work. I know every day in person is ideal, but thankfully the access to zoom classes is huge right now so we may need to make that work one more year and then go from there. I really love that Mobile Ballet has added a lot of covid precautions and that makes me feel much safer in this pandemic mess too!

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