Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Mom and dad need advice please!


Recommended Posts

Crazzzielady

Our dancer is trained in Vaganova and would like to continue in that specialty- she was invited to attend year round school at Kirov in DC- ( invited- not offered scholarship) she is 17 and the expense as well as her living across the country has us looking for advice from those who have "been there done that".  Is the name Kirov on her resume justification for the money and living away? We live in Colorado and have never entertained the idea of her finishing HS elsewhere while attending a year round program...looking at University of North Carolina School of Arts year round ballet too- but again- we aren't sure if going to any of these prepares you that much better than somewhere local?

Please help us in this decision

THANK YOU

Link to post

First, congratulations to your daughter!  My daughter is a senior in the high school ballet program at uncsa this year. We’re from the NW so I totally can relate to your reluctance to send your daughter across the country. My daughter only spent this one school year there and we have no regrets. I don’t know anything about the Kirov program or the value of the name on a dancer’s resume.  However, I can tell you that, even with all the covid-related restrictions in place at uncsa, it was the right place for her to be this year. It really made her explore what her goals are and what she wants going forward. She really thought she would be trying to pursue a position with a classical ballet company and/or be part of a conservatory this year. In the end, she shifted gears a bit and will pursue a BFA at a college where she can double major in a non-art field. Had she not spent her senior year at a conservatory, it may have taken her a bit longer to realize what she really wanted (or didn’t want.) Just our experience!  Good luck!

Link to post

Hi there- I have all but graduated past being the 'mother of a dancer' as DS is 22yo and making his own way. I know nothing of Kirov or NCSA but I would like to comment upon one part of your question 'Is the name Kirov on her resume justification for the money and living away'. Our experience is NO. What I mean by that it simply having the name of a school on a curriculum in our experience, means very little. The important part is what she can learn there, how her dancing will change and grow and whether that is a place that will move her along her journey. These things you need to consider with people who mentor and teach her- people who do not benefit financially from her decision. DS went to LINES and it changed his life. It has opened doors and showed him a world he needed to join. He made important connections with people who (at that time) served as important mentors for him. Having the name LINES on his resume (I suspect) has made no difference in the doors that opened and shut for him. Nobody he has auditioned for or worked with since he graduated (2 years ago?) have ever discussed LINES with him or showed any interest. It is how he dances that matters and he has LINES written all over him. I imagine that is fading also with time but initially it was true. So bottom line is do not send your DD somewhere for the name of the school. Send her because that is a place that she needs to be. Not an easy decision but please remember there are probably several places where she can learn and grow- not just one.

Link to post
balletfan

I have no answers on this one but since you're interested in the Russian style...

You might enjoy the blog of an Australian student at the Bolshoi Academy in Russia several years ago (link below).

She went to private coach as well, as many students did even though prohibited. He advised:  ‘you should not choose a school, you should choose a teacher’.   The most important thing is to have a great teacher who cares about the student's development.  I keep this in mind throughout our journey.  Does my DD have a teacher/coach who is personally invested in her success and wellbeing?

https://balletschooldropout.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/why-i-didnt-stay-in-moscow

Link to post
Crazzzielady
On 4/24/2021 at 12:50 PM, Mconti said:

First, congratulations to your daughter!  My daughter is a senior in the high school ballet program at uncsa this year. We’re from the NW so I totally can relate to your reluctance to send your daughter across the country. My daughter only spent this one school year there and we have no regrets. I don’t know anything about the Kirov program or the value of the name on a dancer’s resume.  However, I can tell you that, even with all the covid-related restrictions in place at uncsa, it was the right place for her to be this year. It really made her explore what her goals are and what she wants going forward. She really thought she would be trying to pursue a position with a classical ballet company and/or be part of a conservatory this year. In the end, she shifted gears a bit and will pursue a BFA at a college where she can double major in a non-art field. Had she not spent her senior year at a conservatory, it may have taken her a bit longer to realize what she really wanted (or didn’t want.) Just our experience!  Good luck!

THANK YOU!!! We are considering University of Utah for that reason- double major THANKS

 

On 4/25/2021 at 7:03 AM, Thyme said:

Hi there- I have all but graduated past being the 'mother of a dancer' as DS is 22yo and making his own way. I know nothing of Kirov or NCSA but I would like to comment upon one part of your question 'Is the name Kirov on her resume justification for the money and living away'. Our experience is NO. What I mean by that it simply having the name of a school on a curriculum in our experience, means very little. The important part is what she can learn there, how her dancing will change and grow and whether that is a place that will move her along her journey. These things you need to consider with people who mentor and teach her- people who do not benefit financially from her decision. DS went to LINES and it changed his life. It has opened doors and showed him a world he needed to join. He made important connections with people who (at that time) served as important mentors for him. Having the name LINES on his resume (I suspect) has made no difference in the doors that opened and shut for him. Nobody he has auditioned for or worked with since he graduated (2 years ago?) have ever discussed LINES with him or showed any interest. It is how he dances that matters and he has LINES written all over him. I imagine that is fading also with time but initially it was true. So bottom line is do not send your DD somewhere for the name of the school. Send her because that is a place that she needs to be. Not an easy decision but please remember there are probably several places where she can learn and grow- not just one.

THANK YOU!

 

On 4/25/2021 at 9:43 AM, balletfan said:

I have no answers on this one but since you're interested in the Russian style...

You might enjoy the blog of an Australian student at the Bolshoi Academy in Russia several years ago (link below).

She went to private coach as well, as many students did even though prohibited. He advised:  ‘you should not choose a school, you should choose a teacher’.   The most important thing is to have a great teacher who cares about the student's development.  I keep this in mind throughout our journey.  Does my DD have a teacher/coach who is personally invested in her success and wellbeing?

https://balletschooldropout.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/why-i-didnt-stay-in-moscow

thanks

Link to post
balletgem

If she is Vagonava trained, have you considered the Harid Conservatory?

I would suggest looking at the thread on this Ballet Blog. Although difficult to get in as a Senior,  it is possible.  My DD only did her Senior year there, but the training was well worth it. 

Link to post
CODanceMom

My daughter (we are from Colorado too) has also been accepted to Kirov year-round school for the next school year. At this point, she is not planning to go but she is definitely interested. She is attending their summer intensive this year and wants to take that time to decide if it will be the right place for her. The training seems excellent and she loved the audition class with Mr. Du. 

Link to post
dancemom02

My daughter was accepted to both several years back but we decided neither would work for her because it would have required her to take several steps back academically.  UNCSA academics were stronger, but still quite limited for first and second year students.

We do know students who went to both schools: two who graduated from Kirov, one who attended UNCSA and one who graduated from UNCSA.  Their post-graduate experiences seem to be on par with all of the other dancers we've known through the years.  Both Kirov graduates are pursuing dance elsewhere at a trainee level and both UNCSA dancers are attending college. Similar outcomes as for those students we know who attend(ed) other pre-professional programs.  

Link to post
Robicheaux

hi- some things to consider is how is your dancer's current studio fitting her needs? does your dancer feel like she can continue to grow there? Where have previous dancers from her studio gone on to? If she is interested in dancing as a professional straight out of high school or would she want a college route?   If you all decide it's time to consider leaving then research specific places to see what fits the entire family? A good fit for one dancer may not be a good fit for another. Best to you and your daughter in the process.

Link to post
Mdballetmom

In my experience, the name on the resume will not help (other than confirm that it offers solid training), but the relationships and connections made at well-known schools may open doors. 

Link to post
Nalese

Gosh, this is a complex topic... and can't be answered with just a yes or no.  Hopefully, many people will respond and you will get information from all positions.  Like @Thyme said above, having certain names on a resume does not help someone get a job (or even into a university dance program).  To get a job with a company (at various levels - even trainee), your dancer needs to fit the characteristics the artistic director is looking for, has to be good enough to meet the rigor and style of that company.  That being said, connections can be helpful - they can provide exposure and might be able open a door to get an audition.

From a family position, you have to really look at the ROI.  If the goal of the "next step" is to grow the dancer such that they will get a job, you need to have some hard conversations with your dancer and people who will help you understand if the potential is really there.  If the goal is to grow the person by providing a life experience, it's a totally different discussion.  We had to weigh the dollar figures of attending University of North Carolina School of Arts with the end goal.  We ended up deciding that her path was going well at our home studio and that her academic studies were important.  We did talk to numerous current instructors, and past teachers from summer intensives and competitions.  I also had some serious discussions with a bunch of dance mom's who had dancers that were now in a company.  I asked them to be very frank about what it takes and how difficult the process was for their dancer.  I asked about how those dancers had placed at YAGP, and what feedback they received from summer intensives.  I tried to compare that to what we had seen and heard.  Our DD was set on getting a job in a classical company, and chose not to attend university (and gave up big academic scholarships).  Making that decision was an arduous process (ugh, parenting is hard).  We decided to let her take the leap for a year and see if the trajectory as a trainee still pointed towards a career.  It worked for us, but we know a number of dancers who tried that path and then chose to do something that they thought would be a better fit.  

I frequently compare the dance career to baseball - hundreds of thousands of kids start out playing baseball and the number becomes very small as time progresses towards the big leagues.   Very few make it, but most will say that experience enriched their lives to an extent that it set them up for success.  At the age of 17 it's probably time to have some real life conversations about how much money is involved, the real potential, and what it will mean to make pursuing dance a viable choice.  If a career is the goal, you have to figure out how your dancer is going to get seen by enough companies to get a foot in the door.  Our decision was to stay the course (home studio and finish high school), and use the money we would have spent on a year round program (Ellison or UNCSA) to focus on exposure - travelling to auditions and focus on competitions with big companies in attendance.  She ended up a trainee for a couple years and now has a professional contract in Europe.

Hope this helps a smidge :)

 

Link to post

Nalese thank you for your comments,  it's new insight to me with looking at the trade-off between spending money to focus on exposure (auditions and solid competitions) vs year round school training.  Did your DD's teachers help with the focus on exposure, or did you seek outside help?  If outside help, how did you find it?  Thanks!

Link to post
Liz2019

We are just finishing a year at Kirov and DK has grown immensely as a dancer...feels the teachers are excellent and I have been really pleased with the care they have taken to continue dancing in person for the whole year.  That said, it was a small group this year so there was lots of individual attention.  It will be a much larger group next year so attention and performance opportunities will be different.

Link to post
vrsfanatic

Hopefully you will be receptive to a long time residential ballet school faculty member who has an interest in this topic. I disagree with the comments of the parents saying information regarding the name of a school or a teacher on a resumé does not have an impact on job placement. I receive calls every year regarding usage of my name or our school on resumés on audition forms. Generally speaking, the professional schools and faculty members have international connections and are contacted regarding the reliability of a person, work ethic and honesty. The training of a school can only speak for itself if a student has bitten the apple, so to speak. However, certain schools do carry weight in terms of their graduates. In the case of our school, the HARID Conservatory, we graduate so few annually, it is known that our students are not only trained as dancers but also in the life skills it takes to survive in the ballet world that requires young people to make decisions at a very young age that most young people do not make until they are at least 21 or older. The majority of our graduates thrive outside of our environment and the artistic staff of ballet companies know and respect our product. It is a certain seal of approval. Ballet companies also know this about certain teachers in the world. We professionals do know who is producing. We do know each other and we do talk.

I imagine this is the same in most businesses, but we ballet people have been connected somehow since we were very young. The bond is very strong. I am not sure why parents are saying we do not have these behind the scenes alliances, but we do. 

As for Kirov Academy, I cannot comment, as it is a new artistic staff and I do not know the faculty. They are rebuilding after years of turmoil. Their marketing has been fabulous. I wish them the best as they are known as a Vaganova program, a program I believe in strongly. Just a heads up, one should research the background of all schools who claim to be teaching the Vaganova program of study. Each teacher should be aligned with a certification from a recognized school of methodology recognized by The Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. I assure you, there is a difference.

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...