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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #26 
My dd's studios are close to an hour to 90 minutes away depending on traffic BUT she's almost 17 and does online high school. And I don't work.  So it's very doable.  At 10 there would be no way I would've considered that.  In fact, I would've had her choose a different activity if we had had to drive that far for something that would've satisfied her.  From 8 to 14 we were driving 35 minutes and I thought that was a lot after having been used to 5-10.  So I guess I wouldn't recommend it.... but that's just me. Just seems to be too much time and effort invested for something that I wouldn't find necessary.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #27 
I think part of why I am considering it is out of sheer frustration over time already spent and recognizing that we really weren't in the right environment. What is that saying? Don't spend good money after bad? I feel that way about time.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #28 
Maybe I missed if this is actually something that works for you and your family's schedule? 

I could definitely not arrange that with our family life/situation, but if it was something that we would be able to commit to and not with great sacrifice then I think we would consider. 
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Suzit42

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Reply with quote  #29 
It depends on what your goals are and what other obligations you have. There are a few other comp studios in our town. None of them, including ours, are the place to be if you want training to take you to the next level. Since we are on "expensive hobby" level, we are fine where we are at. I would have to drive approx 46-60 minutes to one of the top ranked studios. No offense, but DD can hold her own but she probably doesn't have the natural talent to go farther. Since I work, have a son with autism and like my marriage, I am not willing to make the extra effort. But, if you think your kiddo has what it takes and your family can swing it, I say go for it. No regrets right?
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #30 
Not that far. My DD16 did gymnastics in the next city over for many years (she now does it closer to home).it was a 45 minute drive, and it worked because DH worked out there and there was a bus that took her straight to and from school from the gym (her school was near the gym).
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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #31 
This is not an easy question to answer without additional information. What are your daughters long term goals? Can she get solid training closer to home for now? My daughter attended a pre-professional ballet school for 10 years. This is a school that attracts students from around the world and they board at the school. We were lucky to live 7 blocks away, so we did not face your issue, however, quite a few students traveled from 60-90 minutes away. Also, most of the dancers in the upper levels came to the school at 15/16/17 to finish their training. They received solid training at home and added SI until they came to board and train full time. Is that a possibility for you? Can you cobble together decent training until she is a bit older? Supplement with SI and privates and master classes until she is older and you have a better handle on her path?

Edited to add:

My junior dd is now training with a contemporary company in our hometown of Philadelphia (in addition to being a dance major at our Performing Arts High School). 8/10 dancers in their Youth Ensemble travel between 60-90 minutes to get to their training. Again, we are lucky and our daughter can walk to the studio from high school.
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #32 
DD's studio, growing up, was 5 minutes from our house.  It was wonderful and extremely convenient.  When she realized she wanted to do this as her career, however, we knew we were going to have to look at something more... which meant something farther away.  She ended up at a studio 40 minutes away (with traffic... and there is ALWAYS traffic... keeping in mind that that's like a day trip in RI standards!  LOL).  I would have been ok with an hour to an hour and a half drive for her if we could make it work school and work schedule wise... but it's a huge commitment.  And, at 10, that's a commitment that will continue for several years.  So it definitely depends on what your DD's intentions are in dance and what you're willing and able to to do with your scheduling.  
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #33 
Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I'm going to try to answer all of the inquiries. DD has a very good deal of natural talent, and a serious work ethic. She is highly driven. She has exhausted private lesson options at her current studio. That is part of what started this journey; recognizing that there really was nowhere new to go with their ballet mistress. She's quite alright for what the studio is, a competition heavy team oriented studio. She does not have the skills necessary at a studio that would consider itself a serious ballet preparatory academy.

Locally there is literally only one dance conservatory and we try them tomorrow. The issue is that in order to be in the level classes that DD would need you really need to commit to their company and that locks up many days of your week. If the ballet is not sufficient it leaves little time to study elsewhere.

There was another stellar ballet academy that just folded, and one of the instructors is going to attempt to re-open "soon".

As a mom I know that DD is too young to know exactly what career path she wants; she will tell you that she wants to put her talent to best use and she does not want to study where she is not being challenged. She is correct to state that there are a lot of teachers here who do a lovely job of running small, happy, recital based studios that are heavy on the costumes and the performance and light on the actual technique.

I do have a son who plays soccer. For the last 2 years we have simply divided and conquered. Her studio was already 35 minutes away, 5 to 6 days a week. My son's soccer schedule is equally as packed, and for us as a family, that's OK with us, our time is spent supporting the kids and being together.

I guess I would say that DD is naturally talented, has demonstrated a serious work ethic and maintained a good balance of dance, academics, and recreation as best as she can, and in every way has shown that desire to take this as far as she possibly can.

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EJIDance

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Reply with quote  #34 
In that case I would either try the serious local ballet school for a year. It will lock up days but better have those days spent training than driving to the training. If it doesn't work out then try the far away school. If your daughter's goal is to be a professional dancer, those days will get locked up either way. Also, I will say that at least in our area most with really high aspirations and high hours end up homeschooling.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #35 
Thank you, EJIDance. That perspective is helpful to consider. We are trying to do everything possible to avoid homeschooling. DD's academic performance is very important to her. We know she'll go far academically, and we know that we can't possibly do as good a  job as her current school.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EJIDance
Also, I will say that at least in our area most with really high aspirations and high hours end up homeschooling.


I see that here as well.  Too much "dead time" at school when so many hours are demanded at the studio.  At the highest level, pretty sure all are now home-schooled, with most of their work done online.
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beachgirl

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Reply with quote  #37 
We are luckily only 7 minutes away but we have a few dancers who drive 1 1/2 hours one way 5 days per week and a lot of other dancers that are 45 minutes to an hour away. If you have a dancer with natural talent and this is what she wants to do with her life, driving that distance to the best studio for her might not be too bad. But you do have to see if it fits your family.
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tinydancers

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Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel
Her studio was already 35 minutes away, 5 to 6 days a week.



If you were already driving this far, this often, for a 7 or 8 year old then I don't see the difference. I drive my dd10 one hour, once a week and she supplements at a studio that's 10 minutes away. That's definitely my max but I'm also not interested in the insane race to the top that a lot of moms of juniors and minis participate in.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #39 
Hi Noel, How did the local dance conservatory seem for your DD?  I hope its a decent fit.  If she is able to get quality training there, she would be able to build on that in the future.  Good luck!
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #40 
Hello Prancer. Not a good fit at all. [frown]
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #41 
Noel, I'm sorry to hear it wasn't a fit.  I wish you the best of luck finding a good solution for your dancer.

I can offer two comments, but they are conflicting.  One, my dancer (13) wishes she had found good training before this year.  She feels like she wasted a lot of time (and I know I spent a lot of money) for middle of the road training.  But two, in only 9 months of quality training, the improvements she has made in her dance are amazing, so you don't necessarily have to go all-in yet to maximize your dancer's opportunities. My daughter is not an exception either.  We have two other dancers who left our old studio two years ago for better training (at about age 12) - one is getting scholarships to top ballet SIs and the other is winning at national competitions. Improvement can come quickly, but doesn't necessarily have begin at age 10.

I don't know what sized city/town you are in, but I did find some hidden gems that weren't on the heavy competition circuit nor were they ballet schools that were worth exploring, and if you had one might buy you some time.  If you could find a studio with even one ballet teacher with an excellent resume, perhaps your dancer's training would improve without breaking into 3 hour total commutes (yet).  Good luck!
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #42 
Prancer, I really appreciate your perspective. There is a smaller studio that seems to be in a state of transition (read I really pray she is in it for the long haul... she's been in it for a long time, but lots of little red flags that could suggest just changes in personal life that owner will roll with or owner could very well decide to shutter, no way to know) but  has a very good ballet teacher and offers what I like to see, strength and conditioning classes, ballet classes DD feels are worth her time and effort, and a bigger emphasis on learning and growth than on competitions. However... Ballet is 90 minutes, just twice a week. Our only other reasonable option is the long haul drive 3 times per week, but she'd be so very heavily focused on ballet with minimal time to explore other genre.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #43 
Prancer, I agree with much of what you said.  I see dancers transferring to our studio for better training, and when they come in at 13 they might be a little behind, especially for the first year.  But with effort, perseverance, and humility (willingness to dance with younger dancers and at more basic levels than perhaps they are used to) - they can make rapid progress. 

Which maybe is worth it, if it saves you hours per week in the car.  And/or can find an appropriate summer intensive in the meantime.

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Noel

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Reply with quote  #44 
Thank you, Dave. I'm honestly just having a tough time finding a local alternative that I truly respect. It feels as though they are doing a wonderful job of seriously recreational recital focused dance that is very light on skills and growth, or the "conservatory" seems spot on my initial assessment 2 years ago when we first considered it... a machine focused on taking in students and placing them in a class level that best suited their financial openings, not necessarily the student's needs... I wish someone here had ties in the metro Orlando area to talk to me about the smaller studios there.
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1tinydancer

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Reply with quote  #45 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel
Thank you, Dave. I'm honestly just having a tough time finding a local alternative that I truly respect. It feels as though they are doing a wonderful job of seriously recreational recital focused dance that is very light on skills and growth, or the "conservatory" seems spot on my initial assessment 2 years ago when we first considered it... a machine focused on taking in students and placing them in a class level that best suited their financial openings, not necessarily the student's needs... I wish someone here had ties in the metro Orlando area to talk to me about the smaller studios there.


Orlando, Florida?
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #46 
Yes
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1tinydancer

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Reply with quote  #47 
I've heard of Orlando Ballet and Central Florida Ballet which I think is actually a little north of Orlando.

I went back and read some of your other posts and you said you are in Brevard. It would be a hike to Orlando. And with traffic??? You will be spending a lot more time in the car than you were probably counting on! I really haven't heard of anything in Brevard. I'll keep my ears open for you though.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #48 
1tinydancer, yes, CFB is our choice if we decide to drive. Excellent reputation, DD extremely happy with both the SI audition experience and the placement class experience, and no doubt it would be an excellent foundation... and it is about 70 minutes with no traffic. DD hadn't planned on focusing exclusively on ballet so soon, but the alternative is a local studio that offers only 90 minutes twice a week ballet, also an excellent teacher, but I see what may be a few red flags that make me hesitate to commit there. As in, if life changes significantly enough for the SO I wouldn't be shocked if she just up and moved on... although someone I trust believes that she's not going anywhere.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #49 
Here's another thought. I wouldn't worry about the future of the local studio too much - people change studios all the time. Your post said she can only take 2 90 minute ballet classes locally with an excellent teacher. Is that 2 classes at her level? Or only 2 ballet classes at all levels? If other levels are available, she could probably take another class or two beneath her current level or do a modified version of a more advanced class. My dd took two ballet at her level and two beneath her level and benefited from all of them this year.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #50 
2 at her level... but you make a really good suggestion about adding a third at the next lower level. I like that idea. Thank you.
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