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breezygirltx

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Reply with quote  #1 
Well after 12 year and three girls, this is it. Once we get back from Nationals, I'm done.

The amount of money we have spent over the 12 years is ridiculous. Competition studios should be ashamed of themselves.

Onto pre-pro for 1/4 of what we have been spending AND better quality instruction.

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Noel

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Reply with quote  #2 
Good for you for making the decision !

Care to guide a younger and less experienced dance mom? How does pre pro wind up costing less than competition studio? How do they compare as far as what your girls will be doing in a year (training, days in studio, nature of classes)
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #3 

Congratulations!

It was actually a competition school teacher who pushed us off that train, telling me to take my kid to a ballet school. Dd thanks her for that every time we see her. She credits her with the first step in getting her to where she is today. [biggrin] 

In the early years, the ballet school cost us far less. Tuition was a tad higher, but the hours were less. The costume fees were almost non-existent. No competition fees. No competition travel. Later on, we added pointe shoes to the mix and summer intensive programs, so it might have been a wash... though maybe not when I hear from some folks here. 

When dd danced locally, we paid about 6K a year in tuition from about age 14 on. That included all the ballet (5-6 days a week), the extra ballet classes like character, partnering, variations, Pilates and stretch, jazz, modern/contemporary, and hip hop (optional). That was 18+ hours per week depending on the year.  Participating in the full length ballets (costumes and things like T-shirts and DVDs included) added up to $500 more a year (less in the beginning) (and added more hours on weekends). Then, there were summer intensive expenses around $300-$500 a week when she was local. About double when she went away (not including airfare). 

 

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Noel

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you for the education, Tendumom ! All good to know. I have to say this first summer NOT paying the comp. studio payments and knowing how much we're not already in for before the year starts is a breath of fresh air. I've already paid registration and paid this summer's intensive. BreezygirlTX praying for you to have a breath of fresh air soon, too.
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Angel2228

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Reply with quote  #5 
I only wish the pre pro cost less! It would be $30,000/year to send her there as she would need to board. If it was less, I wouldn't even hesitate.
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debitigger

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Reply with quote  #6 
We had to quit due to an injury in December. I was shocked at how much money we have had leftover every month since. Dd is in a better place mentally as well. If she goes back it will be a ballet school.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #7 
There really is a need for strong quality dance schools that do not compete. We had one in our region for a while. It was primarily a hip hop school but they also had 3-4 days a week of ballet, plus tap, different styles of jazz, contemporary, etc. They went to a few conventions, all within driving distance. In my fantasy world, similar schools would exist in every area!
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tendumom
There really is a need for strong quality dance schools that do not compete. We had one in our region for a while. It was primarily a hip hop school but they also had 3-4 days a week of ballet, plus tap, different styles of jazz, contemporary, etc. They went to a few conventions, all within driving distance. In my fantasy world, similar schools would exist in every area!


Agree 100%

We go to conventions (optional), and compete maybe 1 or 2 times per year, always within 75 min drive. Costume fees all but non-existent, we have a "costume closet" and generally rent.  Tuition may be more, but some of the other expenses - and time drags - disappear.  Pointe shoes and out of town SIs do eventually hike the tab back up, but still I sleep better when money goes towards tuition, not bling.

How many schools operate this way?  With other genres mixed in with strong ballet?  I'm not sure.
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SLPmama

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Reply with quote  #9 
There is a local school that taught quality ballet with other genres mixed in. Their clientele eventually demanded and got a comp team. They are doing well so far, but I worry long term.
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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tendumom
There really is a need for strong quality dance schools that do not compete. We had one in our region for a while. It was primarily a hip hop school but they also had 3-4 days a week of ballet, plus tap, different styles of jazz, contemporary, etc. They went to a few conventions, all within driving distance. In my fantasy world, similar schools would exist in every area!



I agree with Tendumom 100%  How many (potentially talented) kids are missing out on the love of dance or getting real training because there families will never be able to afford competition dance? Why did studios forgo creating local performance opportunities because competitions exist now? Our comp studio used to have school shows that educated grade school kids about dance and they used to have several performance opportunities other than recitals around Christmas and spring. They don't do that now, for the last 5 years. How many teachers are compromising solid technique for tricks to win now? Competition at this point is fully changing the face of dance. It seems like it's either serious ballet, very recreational programs, or comp dance no matter where you look. People who aren't involved don't even think anything but comp style dance exists.
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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLPmama
There is a local school that taught quality ballet with other genres mixed in. Their clientele eventually demanded and got a comp team. They are doing well so far, but I worry long term.


DD14's new studio is like this. Ballet is still the focus but the studio owner had to give in to team demands. They still put their foot down and don't allow solos, and only go to convention competitions. And everyone age 8 or over is allowed to join team as an enrichment to classes. As of right now, DD getting the role of Clara in Nutcracker is a much bigger deal at the studio than anything comp team related, and DD has never competed for them. She was at a different studio for comp dance that was far more focused on winning.
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gracenote30

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Reply with quote  #12 
Reading this whole thread with much interest! We are at a small studio that has both a competition team and a performance team that does community outreach. What types of community events have your performance teams been involved with? We visit around 7-8 nursing homes each year, plus recital, fundraisers, and other outreach as requested. We are looking for some different performing opportunities and just wondered what you all do!
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5678StarMom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gracenote30
Reading this whole thread with much interest! We are at a small studio that has both a competition team and a performance team that does community outreach. What types of community events have your performance teams been involved with? We visit around 7-8 nursing homes each year, plus recital, fundraisers, and other outreach as requested. We are looking for some different performing opportunities and just wondered what you all do!


We have done community festivals. One is kids themed and has a stage but in the past we have also had a small portable floor for demonstration at the booth for the studio, there are other random ones, and a big one is living window displays for Christmas. Plus parades. We also have done nursing homes and private clubs (red hat society meetings, a few other local based ones), fundraisers for relay for life, the county fair. My favorite thing that we have done in the past was school shows. The studio owner puts together a themed show (the year my DD now 14 did it was the last year...she was 7. The theme was the history of Disney) and writes a script. The kids narrate the theme and the script introduces the dances. It included all of the competition dances plus the narration was done in a different costume by the older girls. It was during the day, one day a week, several weeks in a row and multiple grade schools in town. The SO would contact all the area schools and offer this hour show first come first serve to about 9 schools. She'd offer the days/times available and fill in slots by order of request. They would alternate years between having 2 competitions and no school shows, with having school shows and 1 competition. We do live 2 hours from the nearest place to compete, so it made it more affordable and they didn't have to miss as much school. But I also think that DD got involved in comp dance right before it started really blowing up...right before dance moms. The comp videos and programs I have from her first year are nothing like now. They were barely 2 days...and not nearly as elaborate and prepared for. So partially that's why our comp studio doesn't do this stuff as much.  

I feel like the school shows gave more legitimacy to what the kids were doing in the community. The year my DD participated they went to her school and everyone was so impressed with her and the group. Now no one sees them dance from the competition studio locally really.
All they really do now is a simple recital with costumes provided at Christmastime and an elaborate full recital in the spring.

I know some parents who are annoyed by all of this extra stuff and really only want to compete. After a full 8 years competing, I don't feel this way anymore.


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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #14 
Another thing that I am positive would go over well is an informative show at the local library. Also the studio DD14 is now at has done Nutcracker excerpts at the state capitol for Christmas.
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Dancinandlovinit

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Reply with quote  #15 
Honestly, once you add in out-of-state summer intensives as they get older, it's going to be a wash. Those can be incredibly expensive. 

My dd attended Maple Conservatory of Dance for 5 summers (local for us), and ABT Austin and then ABT Irvine, both of which she roomed at. Irvine was local so we didn't have travel expenses but Austin we did. And ABT, in my opinion, is a way better value for your dollar than some other intensives, like Joffrey for instance.

My dd considered moving to a ballet school after both of her ABT experiences but ultimately decided that she loved competing. Community performances, etc, just simply bore her. And she estimated that a good 50% of the kids at ABT, at all levels, and both locations she attended, were competition kids. With the right training they can most definitely hold their own in ballet. People in the ballet world would disagree but that is simply an incorrect preconceived notion. 
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancinandlovinit
Honestly, once you add in out-of-state summer intensives as they get older, it's going to be a wash. Those can be incredibly expensive. 

My dd attended Maple Conservatory of Dance for 5 summers (local for us), and ABT Austin and then ABT Irvine, both of which she roomed at. Irvine was local so we didn't have travel expenses but Austin we did. And ABT, in my opinion, is a way better value for your dollar than some other intensives, like Joffrey for instance.

My dd considered moving to a ballet school after both of her ABT experiences but ultimately decided that she loved competing. Community performances, etc, just simply bore her. And she estimated that a good 50% of the kids at ABT, at all levels, and both locations she attended, were competition kids. With the right training they can most definitely hold their own in ballet. People in the ballet world would disagree but that is simply an incorrect preconceived notion. 


Well...to be fair... "hold their own" may mean different things to different people.  But perhaps more importantly, the operative phrase there is "with the right training".  Unfortunately, most comp dancers don't receive the type of ballet training that will place them on par with those whose focus is intense, high quality, serious ballet training.  It's not an insult, it just is what it is. And no disrespect intended (my kid was a comp kid auditioning for and being accepted to ballet SIs once too) but these SIs have become huge business.  No longer can any real conclusions be drawn based on acceptance alone (with a handful of exceptions, of course).
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


Well... to be fair... "hold their own" may mean different things to different people.  But perhaps more importantly, the operative phrase there is "with the right training".  Unfortunately, most comp dancers don't receive the type of ballet training that will place them on par with those whose focus is intense, high quality, serious ballet training.  It's not an insult... it just is what it is. And no disrespect intended...my kid was a comp kid auditioning for and being accepted to ballet SIs once too.... but these SIs have become huge business.  No longer can any real conclusions be drawn based on acceptance alone (with a handful of exceptions, of course).


I was going to ask what "hold their own" means, exactly.  It could mean they take class and don't flat out embarrass themselves.  It could mean they take class and are indistinguishable, with some at the top of the class.  

And, of course, even within an age group, I believe ABT NYC has a wide range of "levels," so "holding your own" could be different at the top two levels vs. the middle or bottom.

I wouldn't classify either as a reason to not go, of course, but that difference could mean all the world to someone aspiring for a career.

To be clear, I have no doubt that there are some comp schools with excellent training.  Others, not so much.  The same is true of ballet schools.  We're brushing with some very broad strokes here.  

I would also tend to believe that things can change with the ages of the dancers.  The older they are, the wider the gap between dancers who have had excellent training vs. those with "OK" or lesser training.


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JustAnotherDanceMom7

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Reply with quote  #18 
Good for you!  I am also getting off the crazy train.  Leaving for our last nationals in a few hours and will continue to work with the ballet teacher that DD has been working with privately all year.  I finally had that a-ha moment when I realized that I should not have to be paying for private ballet instruction on top of tuition at the comp studio because they aren't getting enough technique.  I am also tired of the financial and time commitment.  We had a lot of changes occur this year and I am no longer willing to throw my money at something that is giving us little return in terms of instruction.  My DD is also over the dance team clique(s) and is ready to move on from that, as well.  It's definitely all good!  The ballet teacher she'll continue to work with said she would be happy to choreo a solo and enter her in a few comps next season if that's what we wish - comps that we want to go to, on weekends of our choosing, no group costumes to buy and stone, etc.  DD will participate in the ballet winter and spring galas and there are other performance opportunities for her there. We are excited to be done with comp!  Best of luck to you and your girls in this new chapter.  I am sure it will be wonderful for you all!
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancinandlovinit
Honestly, once you add in out-of-state summer intensives as they get older, it's going to be a wash. Those can be incredibly expensive. 

My dd attended Maple Conservatory of Dance for 5 summers (local for us), and ABT Austin and then ABT Irvine, both of which she roomed at. Irvine was local so we didn't have travel expenses but Austin we did. And ABT, in my opinion, is a way better value for your dollar than some other intensives, like Joffrey for instance.

My dd considered moving to a ballet school after both of her ABT experiences but ultimately decided that she loved competing. Community performances, etc, just simply bore her. And she estimated that a good 50% of the kids at ABT, at all levels, and both locations she attended, were competition kids. With the right training they can most definitely hold their own in ballet. People in the ballet world would disagree but that is simply an incorrect preconceived notion. 


Not trying to be a downer here, but ABT Austin and ABT Irvine are not anything like ABT NY.  The ballet world is one of the most competitive you will ever see.  There is a reason ABT has multiple locations.  I am DEFINITELY  disagreeing with this statement.  

DD started dancing at 2 and a half, did competitions until she was 12 and then switched to ballet.  Unless you are actually in the ballet world, you can not know what the competition is really like when you get to the higher levels and better schools.  ABT is amazing, but Irvine and Austin are not the top of the food chain.  Not being mean, just stating a hard and cold fact.

I would also add that SI acceptance will change with age.  At 13 and under, people are accepted on "potential" and body type, feet, etc.  As kids get older, acceptance is based on actual ability, so it gets harder and harder to be accepted to the top tier SI's.  
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerinamom13


Unless you are actually in the ballet world, you can not know what the competition is really like when you get to the higher levels and better schools.  ABT is amazing, but Irvine and Austin are not the top of the food chain.  Not being mean, just stating a hard and cold fact.


Thanks for sharing this!  I will add that the dancers I know who were accepted to Irvine declined.  Those accepted to NYC couldn't get there fast enough!!!!
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #21 
Our studio lists ABT NYC on their list of approved intensives, the other locations are not recommended.  They flat out say that some of their locations are for intermediate dancers.  That doesn't mean the instruction isn't excellent, it's just not the same "prestige" as other intensives.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
Our studio lists ABT NYC on their list of approved intensives, the other locations are not recommended.  They flat out say that some of their locations are for intermediate dancers.  That doesn't mean the instruction isn't excellent, it's just not the same "prestige" as other intensives.


Yep - this...
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karenc

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Reply with quote  #23 
My own thoughts have already been expressed here.  I will add that ABT is very transparent on their website about who gets chosen for each SI that they hold and those not chosen for NYC are dancers that need more work on the fundamentals.  That doesn't make it a bad program..most dancers need to work on their technique at some level.  BUT, it does put the other locations on more or less the same level with other less well known SIs and may actually be a disadvantage given how many dancers there are per class in some of these locations.  

As for the $$.  My daughter's studio performs one full-length ballet every fall.  She will go through about 4 pairs of pointe shoes during performance week.  At least, it's just once a year & not every other weekend!  
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #24 
Good for you! DD still competes but we got of the serious crazy train 2 years ago.  She now dances at a tiny studio that is focused on performance.  They treat the competitions more as performance opportunities than "gotta win opportunities".  It has been a breathe of fresh air.
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lilkeebler1

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Reply with quote  #25 
Wow congrats on making the leap! 
I am honestly teetering on the fence too. We have our nationals in about a week and we are faced with either joining a new team or stopping comp altogether. 
My daughters are 10 and 5. We are considering a new team that offers far more ballet training (with a stable ballet staff...no high turnover of teachers), but will cost slightly more in terms of tuition. They also have very low costume fees (for our area) and they only do 3 competitions and focus mainly on optional conventions and community performances.
My husband is thinking maybe to just do ballet for the girls and stop all this crazy comp spending. 
My main hesitation with stopping is that my 10 year loves ballet, but she also loves tap, hip hop, and musical theater. If we stop comp...having her take those classes a la carte at different places plus ballet would be just as expensive in the long run. Almost all the studios in our area are comp focused :-(

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