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joriebelle

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My ballet friends!  Do any of you have an opinion on KC Ballet, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Bossov?  Which would you choose if you had a choice?  

DD12 had auditions for KC and Cincinnati this weekend.  She already did Pittsburgh and I sent in the video audition to Bossov yesterday.  


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heidi459

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I suspect most people haven't even heard of Bossov  lol

As I think you know my dd went to Bossov last year. She loved it so much she is returning... isn't even auditioning for any thing else.  I'm probably repeating myself but it's a new thread so I'll just say it again... small program with small classes allowing for lots of individual attention, intense training with lots of hours of actual dance, and a full production complete with costumes and sets.  The latter of which was huge for dd since there was a lot of focus on the acting/performance aspects... something you don't get at a lot of places.  And the price can't be beat.

Good luck with your decision.
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joriebelle

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Thanks Heidi.  [smile]  My DD19 went there in 2013 and absolutely loved it.  It is at the top of DD12's list and I like that it's a small program but still has great teachers and I love that small town.  I also liked that they sent a van to meet DD19 at the airport.  Because there is no way I'm sending a 12 year old on a plane by herself.  And you're right about the price; it's just about half of most other programs.
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dave9988

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DD's friend went to Cincy last year and had a great experience.
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meatball77

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I'd go on BTFD and read the reviews for those intensives.  I'd make sure to check out how leveling is done.  None of those intensives are particularly competitive (I'm betting they take everyone who is your daughter's age who has a reasonable amount of experience) and if they level by age I think there would be a good chance that your daughter would not be challenged.  She should be in classes with other girls who are taking the same amount of ballet that your daughter is taking weekly.
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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
I'd go on BTFD and read the reviews for those intensives.  I'd make sure to check out how leveling is done.  None of those intensives are particularly competitive (I'm betting they take everyone who is your daughter's age who has a reasonable amount of experience) and if they level by age I think there would be a good chance that your daughter would not be challenged.  She should be in classes with other girls who are taking the same amount of ballet that your daughter is taking weekly.


IDK I wouldn't be so quick to suggest that a program accepts "everyone" unless I knew it for a fact.  Can't speak for the others obviously but Bossov limits enrollment to 40 dancers & auditions are very challenging from what we've heard.  Last yr dd went to Maine to participate in classes w/their yr round students for her audition in order to get a good feel for the atmosphere/instruction. The AD is very intense (witnessed it firsthand) & offered quite a lengthy & detailed evaluation before dd left.  

For the sake of comparison, I know, Meatball, that you're a fan of Walnut Hill.  WH has managed a rather solid reputation.  It's very well promoted.  Yet dd & 5 of her 13 yo comp studio friends were accepted into WH when not one of them had had solid serious ballet training... none... & most were placed in the top levels.  I'll be brutally honest here... dd would tell you that her experience at Bossov blew WH away in every possible way.  But you'll be lucky to find info on Bossov anywhere.  BTFD has nothing.

IDK... I just think the automatic assumption that a program must somehow be less cuz it's not hugely known & promoted does our dancers a disservice.  Everyone thinks BB, ABT, PBT, SAB or... well, one of those other programs the masses talk about.  When those programs..  the 3 letters included... don't always live up to their reputations.  Not being defensive... honestly.  I just think it's good to be willing to think outside of the box a little.  And I guess the first step in doing that is to not make assumptions about programs we don't know a lot about just because, well... just because we don't know a lot about them.


eta:  and reading this over I want to say that I don't mean to disparage WH.  I know many dancers go & come away very satisfied w/the program.  
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meatball77

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The programs may be amazing.  However, if they do placement by age then there's a good chance your child won't be placed appropriately if you've got a super talented kid and it's an intensive that isn't competitive at the younger ages there's a good chance that they will be held back.  That's what I'd check.

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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
The programs may be amazing.  However, if they do placement by age then there's a good chance your child won't be placed appropriately if you've got a super talented kid and it's an intensive that isn't competitive at the younger ages there's a good chance that they will be held back.  That's what I'd check.



Oh absolutely, I agree that it's important to make sure that a program won't hold your dancer back.  I was just addressing the assumption because it's not an uncommon one.  All you have to do is listen to people talk about audition season... it's the same programs over & over again. So many convinced that those are the only ones worth attending. Reminds me of the obsession w/certain colleges & this widely held opinion that you must go to to one of "these" schools because the others are... well... second rate.  It's too bad imo. Sometimes the hidden gems can do things for you those big names could never do.
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #9 
Totally and there are some great hidden gems out there. 
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tendumom

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So many convinced that those are the only ones worth attending. 


So true! Some of those programs are so large and impersonal too. Really, most of those programs you hear mentioned over and over again are that way. After dd went away for a 5 program for the first time, she decided to only audition for shorter programs the next summer so she could combine one with the local 5 week program. She quickly realized that the grass is not always greener. She had a nice time, being with other dancers and other teachers and going on excursions, but she knew that she made far more progress at her home school's program. It was a small program with only 3 levels, small enough that there was no need for name tags. The teachers learned everyone's name in the first day or two. While it is important to learn to take group corrections, in some of these programs group corrections may be mainly what your dancer gets. 

When a dancer is younger, I don't think there is even a need to go to a company affiliated school. I do think some of this is more about the prestige than it is about the training (well, for some parents).  Of course, something I've probably said so often that some know it is coming next.. LOL... I also think that if there is strong training available at home in the summer, there is no need to spend the money on an away program at a younger age. 
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dave9988

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OK, now you have me curious.  I frequently hear names such as (in no particular order): Cincinnati, Houston, San Fran, ABT, Rock (Philadelphia), KC.  I've also heard more Walnut Hill mentions this year than in the past. 

Heidi is obviously a big fan of Bossov, but I'm wondering what some of the other "hidden" gems might be?
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heidi459

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I can actually offer another "hidden gem".  It's not a typical SI.  The word small would be an understatement.  They refer to it as a summer coaching program... designed for older dancers (15+) but last yr there was a 14 yo in attendance.  Four one wk sessions (throughout August) that can be taken in any combination. No audition tour but you must either send in a video or take a class to be accepted.  It's called Integrate & it's located in Boston.  No housing so of course that could be issue but they will do what they can to help direct a search if need be.  The teachers are Carlos Molina & Erica Cornejo.. .both previous principal soloists w/ABT & BB. Actually Erica is finishing out her last season w/BB right now.  Erica's brother Herman is currently a principal soloist w/ ABT.

Anyhow... we found them last year.  DD took an open class in June, they invited her to the SI,  dd had been looking for some August program and so we said yes. They are now her personal private coaches & I can't praise them highly enough. Anyone who has any questions, please feel free to ask.
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tendumom

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I do have a question... 

Dd is scheduled to be in the Boston area in June and part of July. I realize the intensive is in August, but you did mention the open class in June. Do you know if they have open classes especially in the summer months? 
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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tendumom
I do have a question... 

Dd is scheduled to be in the Boston area in June and part of July. I realize the intensive is in August, but you did mention the open class in June. Do you know if they have open classes especially in the summer months? 


The short answer is yes.  

The long answer? Integrarte is a very interesting little place.  It's only in it's 2nd yr & was started as a community program, more w/adults in mind.  They have lots of yoga & floor barre classes & workshops in things like Baroque dancing.  They just added a morning toddler/ps class (they have a little boy of their own).  And then they have daily ballet classes... Beg, Int & Int/Adv (morning & evening).  All classes are open... you don't sign up for a predetermined number of mos or wks. And the classes are mostly attended by adults... some whom were dancers in their youth & others who've picked it up later in life. That said, the classes are not dumbed down in the slightest. How much is expected of each dancer is really dependent on who they are & why they're there.  So, i.e., the corrections & expectations placed on a 40 yo woman are very different than those placed on dd.  Sounds like it couldn't possibly be effective/challenging enough for a serious young dancer, I know, but it is.  Erica will very often take class when Carlos is teaching. Professional dancers from Boston Ballet have come over to take class.  Professional dancers from other companies home to see family have taken class.  Dd comes out of there sweating like a pig.

Right now Int/Adv classes are in the morning but dd has done the Int evening classes also & feels there's not much of a difference... maybe just not quite as complicated in center work.  Afternoons are reserved for private coaching.  I assume that schedule will remain in effect until August.                


eta:  and I think this is another example of a program (in this case studio) that many would immediately dismiss because it doesn't have the "reputation", doesn't fit the standard mold...   and yet, for the right dancer, it probably has as much, if not more, to offer than many of the local pre pros.  And that includes BB. 

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joriebelle

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Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459

IDK... I just think the automatic assumption that a program must somehow be less cuz it's not hugely known & promoted does our dancers a disservice.  Everyone thinks BB, ABT, PBT, SAB or... well, one of those other programs the masses talk about.  When those programs..  the 3 letters included... don't always live up to their reputations.  Not being defensive... honestly.  I just think it's good to be willing to think outside of the box a little.  And I guess the first step in doing that is to not make assumptions about programs we don't know a lot about just because, well... just because we don't know a lot about them.



I agree with this and it's one of the reasons we're considering this program.  My 19yo went in 2013 - it was the last year that Andrei was there, I think.  Plus the year that Chris (I think that was his name?  The older guy who was in charge; he was from the marines or something and partnered with Andrei?) was let go.  Anyway, I digress.  DD loved the program and thought it was very challenging.  She was also very shy and credits that program with bringing her out of her shell.  Sending her there was the best decision we ever made.  Like Heidi said, you won't find much about it on BTFD.  Someone has  suggested I check there and I have.  Lots of great info!  But they don't let you make comparisons between programs and that's really what I'm looking for.  I am purposely not sending DD12 to a 3-letter school this year.  There's plenty of time for that.  This is the first time and I want a program that is closer to us so I can take her there and pick her up when it's over.  I honestly don't think I'm going to go wrong with any of these programs she's auditioning for.  

The comment about seeing how the levels are done is something I have thought about; thank you for that!  I didn't see any information on that in the reviews on BTFD.  I realize that DD12 looks very young and she IS only 12 so there is the possibility of being put in a level with other dancers her age that may not be at her technical level.  But I think that is okay too; the teachers will see pretty quickly where everyone is at and sometimes move kids around the first week.  Even if they don't, there is always something to be learned at every level.  Sometimes DD12 will take level 2 technique just for a refresher.  It's not uncommon for her to go into different level technique classes all the time.

Lastly, we are new at this!  [smile]  This is her first summer intensive.  She's only 12 so I honestly don't think it matters much at all where she ends up, I just thought if any of you had advice I'd love to hear it.  Obviously I want her to go to a good program because these things aren't cheap but I feel she'll be learning at any one of these that we send her to.    If she doesn't get offered a scholarship from Cincinnati or KC then she will be deciding between Bossov and Pittsburgh.   Heidi, will you be up in Maine at all?  What a hoot it would be to actually meet you in person!  After all of our "spirited" discussions it would be kinda cool to bury the hatchet and maybe get a glass of wine (or coffee) together!
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #16 
No hatchet over here to bury, joriebelle [smile]  I'm pretty sure I've always told you my comments/questions/whatever weren't intended as some sort of personal attack... and I really did mean it when I said it.  So, sure... it would be great to meet you in person.  Not patting myself on the back but something tells me you'd be in for a big surprise  lol
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #17 
Thanks so much for the long answer! It sounds exactly like the sort of place dd would love! BB have their SI in session while she is in town. She's taken a class or two at Jose Mateo in the past, but it looks like they have an SI too, so they might not have open classes that will fit her schedule. 

I agree that little hidden gems like this are far more valuable than attending a large program where you need to wear a name tag! 
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5678StarMom

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We are friends with a dancer who attended KC ballet last year, and the classes were huge (30+). They have for the last several years allowed more students then they should have or said they were going allow to register. I wouldn't be happy to pay for that, personally. If you are thinking about KC, I'd ask questions about class size and if they are cutting off registration at a certain number.
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Becca

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Something I don't think parents consider enough is the environment. This is especially true for those housing and even more so for young dancers. My daughter's first intensive was at 10 for three weeks at Bolshoi CT. That couldn't have been a better first intensive for her. The training was solid (especially for the young age) but the RA's and the activities really put it over the top IMO. It had a dance camp feel with hard Russian training (which my DD was used to). The RA's were more like camp counselors than at any other program my DD has been to. 

At 11 she went to Kirov for six weeks and adored it but by 12 after experiencing a ton of freedom earlier in the summer at Chautauqua she felt stifled under how under lock and key they were.

At 14 she is looking for excellent training but also an environment with more freedom. She is midway through her second year of living away from home and she values being independent. She did Houston last year and while she did enjoy it would not do a program with anymore restrictions than that.

Other than environment- look long and hard at class size. The rumored 40-50 kids in a class at Miami last year has taken that one off my DD's list. Hopefully that was a fluke but my DD is not willing to risk it.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
No hatchet over here to bury, joriebelle [smile]  I'm pretty sure I've always told you my comments/questions/whatever weren't intended as some sort of personal attack... and I really did mean it when I said it.  So, sure... it would be great to meet you in person.  Not patting myself on the back but something tells me you'd be in for a big surprise  lol


I would so look forward to it!  [smile]  


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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom
We are friends with a dancer who attended KC ballet last year, and the classes were huge (30+). They have for the last several years allowed more students then they should have or said they were going allow to register. I wouldn't be happy to pay for that, personally. If you are thinking about KC, I'd ask questions about class size and if they are cutting off registration at a certain number.


Very good to know this.  I've already paid for the audition so she'll go but we'll put this at the bottom of the list.  Or if still considering I'll definitely ask some questions about class size.
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joriebelle

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becca
Something I don't think parents consider enough is the environment. This is especially true for those housing and even more so for young dancers. My daughter's first intensive was at 10 for three weeks at Bolshoi CT. That couldn't have been a better first intensive for her. The training was solid (especially for the young age) but the RA's and the activities really put it over the top IMO. It had a dance camp feel with hard Russian training (which my DD was used to). The RA's were more like camp counselors than at any other program my DD has been to. 

At 11 she went to Kirov for six weeks and adored it but by 12 after experiencing a ton of freedom earlier in the summer at Chautauqua she felt stifled under how under lock and key they were.

At 14 she is looking for excellent training but also an environment with more freedom. She is midway through her second year of living away from home and she values being independent. She did Houston last year and while she did enjoy it would not do a program with anymore restrictions than that.

Other than environment- look long and hard at class size. The rumored 40-50 kids in a class at Miami last year has taken that one off my DD's list. Hopefully that was a fluke but my DD is not willing to risk it.


This is also very good to know. . . I really do want her to go somewhere stricter while she is this young.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #23 
joriebelle - I do think you should read the comments on BTFD (if you haven't already), especially about the bigger SI's.  People here comment on places they've never been.  Since there is a great deal of personal knowledge in the BTFD threads, I'd give that information a lot more weight than the info here.  Not saying that people here don't have good second hand information by knowing someone who went, but I think BTFD has more first hand info.  Many of the bigger SI's do limit class sizes, but some don't.  I agree, that could be an important factor.   

Also, I really think it depends on goals and your child.  What style do they want at this point?  Do they want more personal attention at this point? Do they want to compare themselves with the "best" and I put that in quotes because getting into a "best" SI at 12 is very different than being accepted at 14/15.  There are SI's that no one's heard of that may be amazing for one child and not for another.  You know your child best.  The more info you can gather, the better decision you can make by weighing factors you know about her.  I never took accepting SI's lightly - they are too expensive to not pick the best possible place for a child at that particular time.  Do as much research as you have time to do and she will be fine. You know her.  Keep us posted.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oatmella
I think most of the intensives at ballet schools that are affiliated with ballet companies (especially large companies) are mostly for generating money - thus the large class sizes. I have heard of class sizes as big as 50 - yikes! For example, I think SAB has quite big classes and the school's main goal for their summer course (they actually don't call it an intensive and it is supposedly not super intense) is to find students that would be a good fit for their school year program. So the summer program is used for recruiting purposes as well as to make money. Only a small percentage of the students will be accepted for the year round program though. From reading reviews on BTFD, a lot of the large programs have negative reviews. It is definitely worth seeking out the smaller programs that will really help our kids improve!


Actually SAB has some of the smaller classes, since they limit the entire summer acceptance to just around 200 kids (for the NYC program - I have no knowlege about the CA program).  There are almost always less than 30 kids in each class. DD's classes were 24 the first year and 25 the next.
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camercad

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Reply with quote  #25 
DD attended PBT two summers ago. If you want partnering experience out of intensive, she will definitely get that at PBT. They are very aggressive in recruiting boys. When DD attended, there were ~50 boys out of 120 attendees. In fact, for DD's level, a few boys had to double up with a girl. She had partnering at least twice a week.
I believe there were about 25 kids in her level. While leveling seemed mostly by age, there was a mix.
I've heard the style referred to as neoclassical. They do learn Balanchine variations during the intensive. but the technique is definitely not Balanchine.
The girls in her level were very friendly and the girls loved their RAs. I felt the administration was well-run. 
 
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