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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Leaving SAB?!?

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Hello Everyone,

My daughter is attending SAB upper children’s division and we are considering leaving the school. I would like to hear from parents who might have had similar experience or perhaps heard of anyone who left SAB at Children’s level but have returned (or should I say asked to stay for winter term through summer program) at Advanced level.  Or is it that once the student leaves the school there’re is no chance of returning? 

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Thank you TinyDancer_! That is the reason we have stayed in the school so far but I have been questioning if that is enough.  For this reason I wanted to know if there is a chance to be in advanced level after she leaves the school to study ballet elsewhere.   

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Moderator hat on: Can we remind members that we ask that you post first-hand information, rather than "I know someone who ..." We seek to offer dancers and parents of dancers authentic shared experiences, not hearsay, in order to help people navigate the ballet world.

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If your daughter stays at the school, her chances of making it into the advanced division out of the children’s program are slim to none. With the exception of one or two girls, all SAB children’s division survivors are cut after B1. We have learned the hard way that the point of the children division is to provide bodies for NYC Ballet productions (and, hence, this year’s Nutcracker casting fiasco: with the company requiring dancers 12 and above, SAB doesn’t have enough students to fill one cast let alone two). We have also learned that the SAB children’s curriculum is not sufficient to meet SAB’s own standards in the higher levels. Most if not all students supplement their training at a second school (or with private teachers). 

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I don't think this is hearsay, since it is published in a professional company roster bio.  One of the Boston Ballet II dancers was in the children's program at SAB and later returned to finish there.


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I know people who together with their preteen/young teen children decided to leave SAB, but seemed to go with a "door open" to returning. That said I do not personally know anyone who actually auditioned and came back (but I think that is mostly because once they left, they found they were happier with different training, different balance in their lives etc). I do know students who left to do professional work elsewhere (on Broadway, to touring productions) and came back, but I have no idea whether they had to audition again. 

It is true that most students who start out in the children's division do not stay for the advanced division, but certainly some of them do. Its never seemed that odd to me, if you think about it. Most of the dancers who audition for the school as teenagers also don't get in, and the majority of students who come to the summer program don't get asked to stay. (Most students in the advanced division do not get hired by NYCB.) So, no, attending the school as a child doesn't seem like its a special ticket into the upper or division or the company. But its also not true that there are no company members who started as children-- for example company members Amar Ramasar, Harrison Coll, Christopher Grant, Nieve Corrigan and Christina Clark all trained at the school from a young age, and Sasonah Huttenbach's bio describes her starting at SAB, then living in Japan, and then returning. Two of the newly announced apprentices came up through the children's division. Are these typical stories? Of course not, but you can read the biographies online of all the company dancers and you can see that there is no one path that leads from children's ballet training to a professional career! (like mln, I don't think this this counts as heresay since I am referencing publicly available biographical information). 

OP I am not sure how old your child is, but if they are not happy at SAB, or you feel they are not getting the training that they need, it is completely reasonable to leave! There are many places to study ballet, and even more different places to dance and have opportunities to perform. Will a door at SAB close for your child? Maybe, but maybe not. But other doors might open. Good luck making a decision with your child. 


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