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Ballet Moms- Summer Intensives


jg_puppy
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Do any ballet moms want to chat about summer intensives? Either on the forum or through PM. My daughter is 12 (almost 13) and is wanting to start auditioning for summer intensives. She went to one audition mainly just to see what the auditions are like and we found out this week that she was accepted. This is a very new thing for us and would love any first hand information about ballet summer intensives. I have read online that sometimes the smaller ones give more individual attention to the dancers, but I don't have any idea which ones are considered small.

 

Janet

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My son and daughter attended them last summer, and my daughter and a different son are attending this coming summer. I imagine the "best" ones sort of depend on what's available reasonably near you. Although last summer at Walnut Hill, I met a woman who had flown up from SC...and I know someone from Maine who went down to PA for one...

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They usually give ages for the intensives; I would say that might be a starting point. 11 is young for a lot of them, and a lot of 11 year olds wouldn't want to live away from home for 5 weeks anyway. (Although my dd did last year at Bossov, which accepts kids as young as 10). The auditions themselves are like classes, so there's no harm in going. I don't know what you mean by new to ballet, and it would be hard to say a level, but if she's really elementary there's probably no real point in auditioning.

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My daughter switched dance studios this year. The studio she is at currently recommends girls attend their first summer intensive sometime between 10 and 14.

 

Unity - How did you choose which one to send your kids? My daughter got accepted into one that seems like a good program, but it is very far from us. She can audition for others closer to home, but we won't know if she will be accepted there before the deadline of the one she got into. This part of dance is very new to us. The studio we were at previously was more of a competition studio and now we are at a pre-pro studio.

 

Janet

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Thanks for the info. We definitely won't be looking into any for this summer. She'll still be 11 and would definitely NOT want to live away from home for that long. She's been doing ballet for a year, and just started pointe this month (she was allowed to start pointe because she has a very good foundation from years in competitive gymnastics; good body awareness, form, and control, flexibility and strength, etc.). It's good to know that she still has a few years before she needs to even decide if she wants to do the intensives. Even if she waits until she's 13, that will give her two years of pointe before auditioning as well as the extra time to decide if this is truly the route she wants to go.

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My dd is a professional ballerina, and we've done more SIs than I care to remember. Some advice...audition early and often. My dd did auditions with every company that came to town and she was fortunate enough to get scholarships to almost all of them. By the time she was 14, she was attending two SIs per summer. Really look into the SI and talk to girls who have been there before. Some only offer a few classes per day. We preferred the ones where she was actually dancing between 6-8 hours per day. Note that your expenses are more than just tuition. My dd needed LOTS of leos, tights and 5-6 pair of pointe shoes, as well as jazz, ballroom and character shoes. She also needed a yoga mat and some other stuff I can't recall at the moment. Most require that your dd have her own cell phone. You will also need to cover transportation costs. Feel free to ask questions...I'm on my PC with my STUPID Windows 8 which won't allow me to paragraph :cursing: , so I'll spare your eyes from a giant page of wall to wall text. Grrrr.

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Honestly, we're not super serious/competitive about ballet. My daughter chose her SBI because her friend was going to that one, we had several personal recommendations for it, and it wasn't too far. My son chose his 2 SBIs because he also went to MathPath, and those 2 sandwiched around MathPath so he could do math and ballet. My daughter loved her SBI (Bossov) and is going back because she wouldn't want to be anywhere else. My other son is also attending Bossov this year because he has taken some classes there over the school year (driving up with a friend) and he thinks the teaching is incredible. Also, his good friend is going. My son who went last year is not doing any SBIs this year, but hoping to do a 5 or 6 week long math camp.

 

I think something to keep in mind when choosing one is definitely how much they will be dancing. At the Walnut Hill intensive last summer, my son danced basically from first thing in the morning until 9 at night, I think 6 days a week. He found it exhausting. At Bossov they dance from morning until 4pm, and not really on the weekends unless there's a homework assignment or special thing due. Many families in our area rent a cabin or house near Bossov, and then spend the late afternoons and weekends hiking and exploring Maine when their dancer is out of class. My daughter stayed with her friend last year and did this, and both she and my son are doing the same thing this summer. I remember at one SBI audition (Burklyn) they commented that they treat dancers like kids, too, and not professionals, so they take breaks and do things like campfires and hide-and-seek, etc. That may or may not appeal to you.

 

I totally agree about the hidden costs. True! I had to buy many of those things, too. Also a character skirt, yoga blocks, and probably other stuff.

 

As an aside, I *hate* how many pointe shoes she goes through. I have yet to find a pair that lasts more than 3 weeks. At close to $70 a pop, that's a huge hidden expense. I'm hoping to find a double-shank variety that maybe will last a while!

 

And--my daughter came to ballet from gymnastics, too. She had some bad habits to overcome, but teachers love the strength and body control she had developed. Helped her get to pointe early too.

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My daughter got accepted into one that seems like a good program, but it is very far from us. She can audition for others closer to home, but we won't know if she will be accepted there before the deadline of the one she got into.

 

 

Janet-- If it were me, I'd hold out for one closer to home. I would figure if she got into one, she could get into another. But YMMV.

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OT, but why does your DD go through so many pointe shoes? Boo has just started and is only doing about 30 minutes of pointe each week right now. Is it just that the shoes wear out once they're dancing more or something?

 

Again, I'm a newbie to all this, but I've been told it's because she has exceptionally strong feet. First they gave her "beginner" pointe shoes (with a softer shank), then regular, then strong, but apparently she needs something even stronger than that. I'm hoping that once she gets the right pair they will last a while. My dd's pointe work varies but at least 1 h a week, and sometimes 2+ hrs.

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Janet-- If it were me, I'd hold out for one closer to home. I would figure if she got into one, she could get into another. But YMMV.

 

 

That is what we are wondering about at our house. If we wait could she get into one closer to home. That would be much better for us financially, but it is hard for her to give up a guarantee for a possibility. I would like the local one for a first summer intensive so that she could live at home, but the intensive starts the day of recital at her home studio. I don't know how that would work. There are a few others that are 4-5 hours away. Still far, but at least in the same state.

 

I have found some programs that are 2-3 weeks. I have been reading a lot on the ballet talk for dancers forum. After I became a member, I found a list of all the summer intensives that are auditioning in my state.

 

Janet

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Are there are any you have found that are two weeks long? I am not prepared to send my dd off for 5 weeks and yet 1 week does not seem enough.

 

I've seen a bunch that are 2 weeks long, or 3. Ballet Talk is a good forum, or you can also just Google it. NH isn't a hotspot of ballet, but even for me within easy driving distance there is a good selection.

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OT, but why does your DD go through so many pointe shoes? Boo has just started and is only doing about 30 minutes of pointe each week right now. Is it just that the shoes wear out once they're dancing more or something?

 

Yes- a pointe shoe can wear out in just a few *hours* if dancing. A professiona; can go through two pairs in one performance! So since a summer intensive can involve 3-10 hours of pointework/week- they can go through at least a pair/week.

 

For SI- buy extra shoes, but DON'T sew all the ribbons/elastics on ahead of time. She may only use 4 of the 6 pairs- you can return the others (usually, LOL- check with your supplier) if they are 100% unused. The intense training may even change how she dances- and she could need to switch shoes/brands. DIamond has changed brands/styles 6 or 7 times.

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OT, but why does your DD go through so many pointe shoes? Boo has just started and is only doing about 30 minutes of pointe each week right now. Is it just that the shoes wear out once they're dancing more or something?

 

My dd is also just starting pointe, but from what we've learned from the older girls in the studio is that once a dancer advances and starts dancing more per week, it's not unusual to have each pair of pointe shoes last from 8-10 hours or so of dancing (so that might correlate to a few weeks' time, depending on the dancer's class schedule and level of dancing). Some of the most advanced dancers go through one pair per performance/show!

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OT, but why does your DD go through so many pointe shoes? Boo has just started and is only doing about 30 minutes of pointe each week right now. Is it just that the shoes wear out once they're dancing more or something?

They wear out fast when you dance seriously. My dd's company gives them a pointe shoe allowance for 10 pair per month. If they're performing, they can have more. Sometimes they'll go through one pair per performance. My dd actually likes dancing in "dead" pointe shoes, but other girls don't. It also depends on the brand of shoe. Some wear better than others. My dd is required to wear Freed pointe shoes...they are the preferred brand for most companies. They are generally not a shoe for beginners, however.

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Wow. Thanks for the info! With her being a beginner and only doing 30 minutes per week (until the recital week, anyway), I'm hoping she won't need another pair anytime soon. However, I think she is moving to senior company in the fall, and they do an hour a week (again, I think). Guess I need to start saving now! LOL Oh, and right now she wears Bloch, though I know nothing about one brand versus another. Her teacher also says she has an "over-arch" and that's a good thing? I am so clueless! Sorry to hijack, OP!

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Also, as your dancer gains more skills in pointe work, she can adjust her shoes much better. My dd takes a box cutter to hers. She pulls out half the shank (her foot doesn't need the support of a shank to keep her on her toes), scores the bottom of the box, and bangs the crap out of them on concrete to break them in. Pointe shoes are a very individual thing, so expect your dd to need and want different brands and styles as she matures in ballet. It is very common for young, inexperienced dancers to need an extra strong box, and an extra strong shank. Both of those are to help support feet that are not developed enough to dance en pointe without the support of the shoe. After a few years of pointe work, your dd's feet should be strong enough to not need either of those, and you should switch to an all around softer shoe or her dance work and flexibility in pointe will be hampered. But for the first couple of years, strong boxes and extra hard shanks are fine.

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My daughter did a three-week SI at NCDT (which is probably mediocre as far as SIs go) when she was 12. The purpose was to help her decide between ballet and gymnastics. She loved ballet, andy she enjoyed the intensive, but she went with gymnastics a year later, so my information is both limited and old. We made a decision based on which intensives she was able to audition for, input from her ballet teacher and the vibe she got from the audition. The forums on Ballet Talk, if they're still around, have a SI-specific forum that has reviews on nearly any intensive you are considering. They were of limited usefulness, however, as the BT moderators are so crazily-intense, so no one really dishes on the forums. You can try to read between the lines, though, and glean some tidbits.

 

A close-by intensive is useful in that the dancers usually have a day or half-day off, and you could run up and visit. At NCDT, I was also permitted to watch a class one day, and that was far more interesting than watching the silly final show the kids did on pick-up day.

 

I do think that if you can swing it, a three-week intensive will give her a good idea of what a serious course of pre-professional ballet life would be like.

 

Terri

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re pointe shoes: jet glue is our friend. we take dead point shoes, and custom glue them, and they are good to go for another while. one thing we discovered is that before dd was able to "pull up" in her pointe shoes, she went thru them like crazy. now that she consistently "pulls up" the point shoes last much, much longer..... she has a super strong foot, which is blessing and curse.

 

ann

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Just a heads up. Before my dd became a professional ballet dancer, my pointe shoe budget was $400 per month. When she told me her company paid for her pointe shoes, I wept for joy.

 

 

Oh my!!!! :w00t: I have been following this thread, as my little ballerina is only 5 but boy does she have a passion for dance. I was excited as I followed along until I read this. $400 per month!!! Yikes!

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My daughter just got her first pointe shoes recently and would *love* to go to a SI one day. But her own studio does a summer program and they don't like students to go away for the summer. I'm concerned that casting and promotion might be influenced if she did do a SI. It all seems a bit off, but it's a great studio otherwise and truly the only serious option within a few hours drive. Do you think that not going to a SI will matter in the long run?

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Oh my!!!! :w00t: I have been following this thread, as my little ballerina is only 5 but boy does she have a passion for dance. I was excited as I followed along until I read this. $400 per month!!! Yikes!

 

 

LOL Well, my dd attended a pre-professional ballet boarding school (she didn't board, since it's in our city). She danced from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., M-F. That equals a lot of pointe shoes, simply because of the hours she spent in them. Also, her shoes were around $90 per pair. She used primarily Suffolks and Freeds. Blochs, Grishkos, and Capezios are cheaper. She was never allowed to wear Gaynor Mindens...those were referred to as "cheater shoes" because of how much the shank arches and holds up the dancer's foot. So...there is a ton of variation in cost as far as pointe shoes go. Thank heavens she had a scholarship, because shoes plus tuition would have sent me over my own personal fiscal cliff. :D

 

My daughter just got her first pointe shoes recently and would *love* to go to a SI one day. But her own studio does a summer program and they don't like students to go away for the summer. I'm concerned that casting and promotion might be influenced if she did do a SI. It all seems a bit off, but it's a great studio otherwise and truly the only serious option within a few hours drive. Do you think that not going to a SI will matter in the long run?

 

 

Any studio that discouraged its dancers from going away to an SI is a studio to be avoided. They are not helping your dd. if she doesn't want to become a professional dancer, then it doesn't really matter, but if she does, she needs to get out there to the larger SIs where she can be seen. The dance world is very small and summer programs count for a lot.

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re pointe shoes: jet glue is our friend. we take dead point shoes, and custom glue them, and they are good to go for another while. one thing we discovered is that before dd was able to "pull up" in her pointe shoes, she went thru them like crazy. now that she consistently "pulls up" the point shoes last much, much longer..... she has a super strong foot, which is blessing and curse.

 

ann

 

And as a bonus, accidentally inhaling the Jet Glue fumes can make you quite giggly. LOL That stuff is soooo nasty.

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Any studio that discouraged its dancers from going away to an SI is a studio to be avoided. They are not helping your dd. if she doesn't want to become a professional dancer, then it doesn't really matter, but if she does, she needs to get out there to the larger SIs where she can be seen. The dance world is very small and summer programs count for a lot.

 

:iagree: My dd is 18 and been dancing for 14 years. One of her earlier schools discouraged it's students from going away to summer intensives. It was totally a money thing-they wanted to keep their own students for the summer. The two pre-professional schools she has been at encourage their older students to go to summer intensives. The teachers or artistic directors advise students individually which intensive would be good for them if the student asks. As a pp mentioned Ballet Talk for Dancers is a fantastic place for all sorts of dance information. You have to register to see the SI info, but it is broken down alphabetically so you can look up programs by name. Dancers who have attended the programs or their parents provide reviews. My dd has attended SIs from 2 weeks (her first) to 5 weeks long. They have been a fantastic growing experience for her, both in dance improvement and independence. Whether or not your dd wants to be a professional, it can still be a wonderful experience. Talking to your dd's artistic director would be a good place to start if she(AD) is open to it.

 

Have fun on your ballet journey! My dd will be going to college in the fall majoring in dance and minoring in sports medicine. I will miss being involved daily in her dance journey. It has been a great adventure. :001_smile:

 

Blessings,

Mary

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Are SIs necessary? Will one never be able to do anything dance wise without them? I am not sure that we can swing the costs I am seeing. My dh would have a cow!

 

 

It would be unusual to get a job as a professional dancer in a major ballet company- having never attended a summer intensive.

 

With excellent training and especially a focus on a different dance style it could happen.

 

SI isn;t necessary for entrance to all college dance programs.

 

A career in dance is possible without ever having gone to a summer intensive- but it probbly won't be with a major clasical company.

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I would say they're essential, because they get you noticed. Your dd may be offered more scholarships, the chance to attend the company school year round, or an opportunity to audition for the "second company" if she's 16 or older. I would also say to give YAGP a try once or twice. That competition will give you invaluable feedback as well as the opportunity for many more scholarships. My dd always received two or three scholarship offers from participating in YAGP. One of my dd's teachers is a judge for that competition, and all of the judges can pull a lot of strings for you if you impress them. Like I said...the ballet world is very small, and the right people will notice you if you are talented and in the right places. They'll never know who your dd is if she only dances in a local company and never broadens her horizons. Here's a couple YAGP videos. My dd's teacher is teaching the class. LOL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9sWGsHxahQ

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Thanks for all the information! My dd really likes modern dance. She doesn't have enough hours in ballet to get into SI. Are there any summer programs that are intensive for someone who wants to get to the next level. She will just start pointe in February. But she is in the pre-pro modern class. She wants to improve her ballet just so she can improve her modern - I hope I am making sense. I know nothing about this.

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Whenever you all start to talk toe shoes I am so grateful I have only boy dancers.

 

And I am not sending my older boy to an intensive. He says he wants summer 'to be a kid'. He is at the school for 5+ hours a week so he is pretty happy when June break rolls around. I think he should go this year, but he is difficult to convince. There are so few boys at these things.

 

I am considering sending him to a gymnastics summer class, if only to improve his strength.

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Whenever you all start to talk toe shoes I am so grateful I have only boy dancers.

 

And I am not sending my older boy to an intensive. He says he wants summer 'to be a kid'. He is at the school for 5+ hours a week so he is pretty happy when June break rolls around. I think he should go this year, but he is difficult to convince. There are so few boys at these things.

 

I am considering sending him to a gymnastics summer class, if only to improve his strength.

Boys can write their ticket to whatever they want in ballet. If he does decide to do an SI, he will receive a full scholarship for wherever he chooses to go. And yeah....he can pretty much choose wherever he wants.

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Since we are talking ballet... My dd is 6 and has been dancing since shew as 2. Everyone tells me she is born to dance. I know she loves the stage and memorizes the steps well and can do well when she focuses. She has done one professional proformance this Christmas with the Nutcracker but was asked to audition a year a a go I just couldnt see her being ok with being away from us for that many hours and just hanging out back stage due to some health issues.

Long story short is she is in a more recreational type studio. I LOVE the studio. She wants to be a ballernia like most little girls. We could sign her up at a professional studio however she loves the tap and jazz which they dont offer and right now I cant swing both (she does take ballet thru our co-op with a professionally trained ballerina but is not connected any more)

Since she is so young should I keep her where she is or move her to the professional studio?

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The costs are a problem- my niece got a partial scholarship to a year round ballet boarding school....but no way they could come up with the other 20,000. She has auditioned for different SIs, and gotten tuition scholarships- but getting her there, and board, are just too much. And the ballet world is full of people who can pay, and pay lots, so even a gifted dancer (which my niece is) is not as attractive as the nearly as talented, full paying dancer.

 

Hopefully someday she will get to go.

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It is true that we can get a deal. Right now we are on a generous partial scholarship for his school. He is the only boy in his year, so they want him to stay. There are boys ahead and behind him though. He's not the only boy in the school.

 

He won't get a scholarship for the summer though. His school offers one and people come from all around to attend. I can't ask the director to give him a slot for free, when she can get paying dancers in there.

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Whenever you all start to talk toe shoes I am so grateful I have only boy dancers.

 

And I am not sending my older boy to an intensive. He says he wants summer 'to be a kid'. He is at the school for 5+ hours a week so he is pretty happy when June break rolls around. I think he should go this year, but he is difficult to convince. There are so few boys at these things.

 

I am considering sending him to a gymnastics summer class, if only to improve his strength.

Same here!

 

Ds13 attended his first SI last summer, about two hours away from home. He wanted a bit of an adventure, and loved every minute of it. We're pretty sure that he'll be going back this year.

 

Ds9 (10 in a few weeks) will be in cheerleading and gymnastics camps this summer, and we'll talk about SIs when he's 12 or so.

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Since we are talking ballet... My dd is 6 and has been dancing since shew as 2. Everyone tells me she is born to dance. I know she loves the stage and memorizes the steps well and can do well when she focuses. She has done one professional proformance this Christmas with the Nutcracker but was asked to audition a year a a go I just couldnt see her being ok with being away from us for that many hours and just hanging out back stage due to some health issues.

Long story short is she is in a more recreational type studio. I LOVE the studio. She wants to be a ballernia like most little girls. We could sign her up at a professional studio however she loves the tap and jazz which they dont offer and right now I cant swing both (she does take ballet thru our co-op with a professionally trained ballerina but is not connected any more)

Since she is so young should I keep her where she is or move her to the professional studio?

 

 

Well, serious ballet training should not begin until age 8. Any younger than that, and the dancers develop bad habits that often cannot be undone. Little bodies can't take the rigor and don't have the strength to hold their body and execute the positions correctly. This leads to compensation by other muscle groups to either maintain turnout or extension, and those girls are the ones with serious injuries by the time they're in their teens. Music and movement classes, play dance or rhythmic classes where the child under the age of 8 is not required to do serious ballet is fine. Otherwise you're looking at a future filled with bad hips and bad knees. I would not allow her to take a "real" ballet class until she's older. Then move her to a serious studio. You can't underestimate the importance of expert training.

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Whenever you all start to talk toe shoes I am so grateful I have only boy dancers.

 

 

I was thinking that earlier, too!

 

Of course, talk to me when my son outgrows or wears out his current pair of ballet slippers (the ones I had to special order, because his giant, man-sized feet will no longer squeeze into the only readily available off-the-shelf vegan shoes made in this country), and I may not be so cheerful about it.

 

After several years at the pre-pro school, my son took a break from ballet. He continued to dance, mostly tap (which is what he loves most), but at smaller recreational studios. He had such a good experience last year, though, that he felt ready to get more involved again this year. He was awarded a scholarship for an additional class and started this year taking one tap and one ballet class each week. He auditioned onto the studio's competition team for tap, also.

 

And something clicked, apparently. He still has no intention of aiming for a career as a professional ballet dancer, but he is taking dance in general much more seriously and has a whole bunch more patience for and interest in ballet than he did a few years ago. As of the last few months, he's started desperately trying to find any way possible to spend more time at the studio, dancing. He started telling anyone who would listen that, "Any day at the dance school is a good day." In addition to the formal scholarship, he managed to get himself invited to stay "for part of" the ballet class that happens after the one in which he is technically enrolled. Each week, that "part" got longer, and he now frequently stays the whole time, giving him a block of 3.5 hours of ballet that day. He just talked us into enrolling him in a 30-minute strength and conditioning class, too.

 

And, to his delight, the studio owner/director has just offered to take him on as an assistant/trainee and scheduled him to help her in two classes a week.

 

We're not even considering an out-of-town intensive this year. Ballet still isn't his primary interest or strength, and I just don't think he's at a point at which it's necessary for him. We do plan to have him do his studio's two-week intensive, and he's planning to audition for a four-week non-residential program run by a local community college. I have no clue how competitive entrance there is, though, or how realistic a goal it is for him. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

 

Since the financial stuff is a limiting factor for us, I am extremely grateful that boys seem to need so much less stuff in the dance world!

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