Here are some questions often asked about dance, and Paris Ballet and Dance. We answer them honestly with no “sugar coating.”
Why is taking a variety of dance styles so important?
Ballet is the base for most dance disciplines. However, good training demands that a student learns how to work their body in different ways. Though there are strictly modern and contemporary dance companies, all ballet companies now present modern and contemporary works as part of their repertoire. A good dancer must know how to adapt for every style. It is also very obvious dancers in the best internationally known contemporary dance companies have impecable classical ballet training.
How does Paris Ballet and Dance select teachers?
In all honesty there are hundreds of people who claim to be teachers. Paris Ballet and Dance selects teachers who have both proven and extensive classroom and performance experience. While gaining a "certification" or a college degree is great, there is nothing that beats the hard "real-time" experience of having actually worked, and performed as a professional dancer! There are a lot of dance teachers "out there" with degrees, no real professional experience, who can't teach, at all!
We have teachers who have been trained, educated, and/or have credits, and have also performed in international venues, from the Paris Opera Ballet, The Paris Conservatory, The National Ballet School of Cuba, Edinboro University, The Boston Conservatory, Long Island University, Ballet Florida, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Indian River State College, AND Paris Ballet and Dance. Please, rest assured, Paris Ballet and Dance looks very closely at one’s credentials, knowledge and vast experience before hiring them!
What makes your school different from most?
Like fast food restaurants or chain store pharmacies, it seems like there is now a dance school on every corner. It's hard to choose. We will only deal with our school.
If you want your child to experience competitions and conventions, Paris Ballet and Dance might not be the right for you. At Paris Ballet and Dance, we stress strong, technical ballet-based training. Ballet is the base of most dance styles, as well.
We treat and train each student as if they want to become professional dancers. With this kind of training any student can take their experience of training, discipline and performing and use it in any field they choose to work.
What makes your school director so different from most?
First, Director Jean-Hugues Feray trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School at the Paris Opera Ballet and the Paris Conservatory which is the mother of all ballet. He worked and performed with some of the greatest companies and artists in the world. He also has over 15 years of classroom experience.
Before coming to the United States, Mr. Feray applied for, and acquired his Employment Based Green Card: EB-1 Priority Worker: Extraordinary Ability Status. To get this status to enter the country one must have “...extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation.” One must be “at that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor to qualify for this classification.” ...Read More about Mr. Feray
Is it likely my child will become a professional dancer?
Besides talent, becoming a dancer takes desire, dedication, lots of hard work, 200% commitment, and lots of sacrifice. When young, a serious student would rather train than go to parties, dances, athletic events, etc. Students absolutely must attend every class assigned to them PLUS take many one-on-one private lessons and coaching.
Frankly, a lot of children do not have this kind of commitment nor do they want to make the necessary sacrifices. That's perfectly okay! Dance gives a student so much they can carry over into other walks of life. Any child must learn that if they make a commitment, they must keep it. Ballet helps instill this very important ethic.
Is it likely my child will participate in Youth America Grand Prix, Universal Dance Competition, The American Dance Competition or Florida Dance Youth Gala?
To start off, Paris Ballet and Dance is NOT a competition school! If this is what you are looking for, Paris Ballet and Dance is not be the right for you. At Paris Ballet and Dance, we prepare students to dance professionally -- not to compete.
Understandably, you love your child. You want the very best for him or her. You want them to have it all. You give them extra private classes and coaching. However, sometimes parents tend to get blinded by the love, devotion, and desires for their children. Sadly, many times for the student, a child's ability often does not meet their parent's personal expectations.
Again, it takes talent, desire, dedication, lots of hard work, 200% commitment and lots of sacrifice. While all these may be present, in all frankness and honesty, not all students are competition savvy, ready or ever capable. In reality, only a very small number of students, any where, will go to a prestigious dance competition such as Youth America Grand Prix, Universal Dance Competition or The American Dance Competition.
All Paris Ballet and Dance students have the opportunity to perform in two major quality, professional-style productions (and sometimes more). However, if you want your child to participate in competitions, there are many other schools that can fulfill that need.
It is extremely important to understand, thousands and thousands of wonderful professional dancers have never competed nor had the desire to compete. Know that Director Mr. Feray with is knowledge and vast experience, has a very keen eye as to if and/or when a student is ready, or even qualified for competition. Also understand, he would never let a student look bad just for the sake of going to compete in something. It can be embarrassing, and completely unfair (if not detrimental) for that student.
It is also a great idea to attend competitions like Youth America Grand Prix, Universal Dance Competition or The American Dance Competition as a observer to actually see first-hand who is out there! Sometimes it can be a huge "self-reality check."
Concerning "competition schools:" Please beware of the extra fees that are charged way and beyond tuition, and school production fees. Competitions are big business for these schools They sell students their costumes (at a huge profit for the school). Students my be required to purchase with special shoes, leotards, tights, and accessories (many times at a profit for the school). Parents and students must pay for competition registration and other fees. There are traveling expenses, as well. Also, some schools use valuable class time, and will actually charge extra fees for required rehearsals time.
As far as Florida Dance Youth Gala, if Paris Ballet and Dance participates, Mr. Feray does not have the final decision as to who performs, and what is performed. The director of the Gala makes very specific and certain requests from many of the participating schools!
Will you tell me if my child won't become a professional ballet dancer?
Dance is EXACTLY like training to be an athlete. Like a child participating in sports, becoming a professional can be difficult. There are many factors.
In dance, most children actually are very capable of eventually figuring out their own limitations for themselves. A lot of times it is unrealistic goals their parents have set for them that makes them struggle toward an unreachable goal and dream. As they grow older, many students develop interests in other types of theatre – for instance, musical theatre. Dance is very important for anyone in this aspect of theatre. If a student is interested in musical theatre, enroll them in voice lessons, as well.
Taking ballet, and the disciplines acquired including the true meaning of commitment are thing and ideals a person remembers their entire life. Being in class is great exercise and good for the soul, anyway.
Why are you so strict about being on time?
Being late is rude and disrespectful to both the teacher, and fellow students who manage to follow the rules, and make it to class or rehearsal -- ON TIME. When a student walks in late, it is a complete distraction to the rest of the class. Tardy students miss parts of the very important warm-up portion at the beginning of a class or vital part of rehearsal.
At Paris Ballet and Dance, we realize that a student’s reasons for being late are usually NOT their fault, but can be that of their parents. However, it should never be a shock to a parent or student when they are told not to enter the room and if they are older, they must warm up on their own. Often if a student is very late, they may not take the class at all. In this case, no make-up class will be offered!
On-time means ready to go at the time class or rehearsal begins. A scheduled time does not mean walk into the building, put on shoes and get your hair up at the posted time.The start time is when the schedule states!
If you are going to be late -- call ahead! If your child will be absent -- call ahead!
Remember, a student’s tardiness in class AND rehearsals are always considered when casting a production.
Are there special exercises my child can do when they are not in class and/or during the summer?
Stretching is the most importing thing a student can do when not in class. A student should remain active, as well. Hours of sitting in front or a TV, computer, and/or video game is never good for anyone. It is also important to remain in-shape during long periods of off-time.
Paris Ballet and Dance offers extensive classes during the Summer. It is a good idea to take advantage of them!
I took ballet when I was younger. Does this make me better with my child concerning their dance class?
You understand the rigors and commitment of dance. However, a little knowledge can be dangerous. Please, be careful about the advice you give to your child and to other parents. Please remember, because you took a few years of dance classes and read a few blogs, it does not mean you are totally knowledgeable, experienced, and ready to teach and/or give any type of advice.
Is my child in the wrong class?
NO! Paris Ballet and Dance is very good at class placement AND casting for performances. The Director and teachers constantly review a student’s progress. There are a few cases when a student starts a level and if their progression is unusually quick, they may be asked to take extra classes in an more advanced level. In the same respect, if a student isn’t progressing as well, it may be recommended that the student take classes in a lower lever to catch up.
Other children in my child’s class are moving forward. Why is my child being held back?
First and most importantly, going to a dance school is not like going to an academic school where a child is automatically moved from one grade to another. In dance, they must be ready. Coming to and being on time for ALL classes and rehearsals are important. Children who constantly miss class are seldom ready to advance.
When can my child go on pointe?
Children start on pointe when they are physically ready. Though the age is around 10 to 12, some can start earlier, some later. It’s different for each individual child. NEVER compare your child with another.
What should I expect when in comes to auditions, and casting for productions?
Paris Ballet and Dance is a school based on highly professional and strict guidelines. It is a privilege, and an honor to be on stage. Not, nor ever -- an entitlement. We have an excellent reputation, and is known for high quality, and well-cast productions.
We audition all students for very important reasons. Auditions allows your child to possibly “show off” their capabilities while pushing themselves to a higher level. This is very important. More than often, your child may step up and “knock it out of the field.” Many times the judges, and the director may see something in your child that may be perfect for a role and with a little help, lots of rehearsals, and coaching -- these qualities may be brought out, and be artistically beneficial for his or her future.
These are possibly the most pleasant and rewarding observations for a teacher, and great self-realization for your child. Often he or she learns they aren't quite ready for a particular role but actually, may possibly be considered the next time.
Our auditions as well as casting, are extremely fair and open. We make sure because they are adjudicated by highly respected professionals in the dance field. Plus, Mr. Feray is more than capable and experienced.
Our auditions also prepares your child for the process when they may audition for summer intensives, a position in a college dance program or a quite possibly, a professional dance company. Long term, it also teaches your child, he or she doesn't don't always get what they wants, feels they deserve or entitled, or believe they may have “earned.” Also, in real life, no one gets a trophy for simply participating.
You or child should never, ever assume, expect, feel entitled to, or even make demands for roles in productions. As a quality dance school, we are by no means required to give a role to your child based on the length of time they he or she has attended, and/or how many volunteer hours you may put in, or any demands you may make. Also, we do not necessarily give graduating students lead roles, as well.
All decisions on auditions and casting are absolutely final. Mr. Feray or the staff will not or ever discuss the out come/results with parents. Mr. Feray or the staff will never, ever discuss or compare other people's children with your are anyone else's!
In the case of The Nutcracker, there are many roles including leading and soloists. While your child may be a Party Guest in the first act she may be a the Bon Bon Soloist in Act II, and quite possibly have to make a quick change to be in the corps de ballet in Waltz of the Flowers. (This by the way, happens in most every professional company.) Sometimes your may only be in Spanish.
Few students (just as professionals) are “right” for every role. However, there are lots of roles to go around. Everyone has a chance for the privilege to perform. Also remember, being Clara is not the only role in the production. The reality is, after the show, you are just another dancer in class. (Welcome to the world of ballet!)
The important thing is did he or she learn to be dedicated, work hard, and work well with others? Did he or she learn that making a commitment actually does mean something? Did they learn that being on-time and prepared are not only important in the dance world but for any career choice? Did he or she learn that mommy and daddy will not always be there, and will always “fix” things? Did he or she learn that they themselves are responsible for their own actions and lives? Did he or she learn life can be difficult, and often disappointing, and how they absolutely must, both mentally and emotionally, make it better? No matter how "bad" it may seem to them at the time, did he or she learn to make experiences positive? Did he or she learn that simply being a part of something big can be its own reward?
If they did, then dance lessons more than paid for themselves.
So, when the cast list goes up, there will be joy. There may also be tears. The most important thing is how you as a parent, will help your child (and yourself) properly, honestly and responsibly handle things
What do you consider when casting for a production?
When casting for specific roles in certain shows MANY things must be considered. While talent and ability is important, make no mistake: students who miss classes, are consistently late, and/or who are difficult -- will be the last to be considered for any special roles.
Students who participate in master classes or in the Paris Ballet and Dance Summer Programs (or ones approved by Paris Ballet and Dance) are also at the top of the list for consideration. He or she has proven that dance, and the hard work, commitment and desire involved goes a long way for their own successes.
Do you weight students before classes?
No, absolutely not!
Why is weight an important factor for a dancer?
There are several reasons why weight is very important for a dancer. Excess weight is not good for the joints and back, especially if a girl is on pointe. Excess weight also may cause a student to work improperly.
A good school will not allow a boy to lift an overweight girl because of possible injuries to the boy’s back or arms.
Proper nutrition is very important. Frankly, eating junk food can cause many things other than obesity, like youth hypertension and diabetes. It definitely poisons your children! Processed foods that are “enriched” and/or loaded with sugars, corn syrup, salt, artificial sweeteners and coloring, or other chemicals are not good for anyone, much less a growing child.
If your child is overweight, by simply changing a few eating habits, and removing certain items from his or her daily food intake can make a huge difference. Also, keep your child off the couch! Cut their video game/social media time/computer time/phone time/TV time back. Send them outside to ride a bike, play in the park, run around, and get some exercise. It will be beneficial to everyone in the house! It's a great commitment and wonderful for the entire family to be healthier. That can not hurt anyone, can it?
Also, children do not to eat constantly. An occasional small and healthy snack in between regular meal can be okay.
We at Paris Ballet and Dance recommend eating fresh and whole foods. While a snack between school and dance is great, processed chips, packaged cakes, candy, sugar-filled drinks, and fast foods are not
…Especially on a regular basis!
Can dance cause an eating disorder?
NO! Decades of solid research has proven an eating disorder as a disease, is actually a symptom, or condition of another problem.
Do I have to wait in the lobby for my child why they are in class?
No, and why would you? As a parent, you have a few hours a month to be totally free -- on your own. Go shopping. Get a well-deserved quiet cup of coffee. Go to a park and read. Go outside and enjoy some fresh air. Collect and renew yourself. Some parents don't have such a "luxury." Take advantage of it!
it helps a child to become self-sufficient, and more secure with themselves knowing that you are not there but you always return for them. Just be on time when you come back.
If my child is not doing well in school, is it a good idea for me to stop their ballet classes until they improve their grades?
In an academic school, when your child is loving and doing well in history but struggling in math, do you take him or her out of history class? NO!
Dance classes are a true education in an art form. Just because they like it, doesn’t mean they have to stop if they aren’t doing well in something else.
You must figure out how to help a student become better rather than “taking away” other very important aspects of their total education.
Please note: Taking a child out of a show also affects other people, and teaches a child that making a commitment means nothing.
How can I not become a "Stage-mother?"
This is a great question!
The proverbial stage-moms (dads) -- also helicopter moms (dads)
…Every school has them. They simply consider themselves simply as involved and caring parents. They do everything for their child, but can more than likely be living vicariously through them. More than often, they care only about their child and not the well-being of other children.
Somewhere and somehow they have magically acquired all knowledge about everything concerning dance. They are also very generous about sharing that so-called knowledge, and giving out their sage advice (usually unsolicited.) They always feel they have the inside track and sometimes tell people they are personal friends with the director or teachers. This is one red-flag!
For some reason, their child is never in the correct class or has been miscast in a show. However, your child is exactly where he or she needs to be. They also blindly compare their child to others. This in not a healthy practice, and Paris Ballet and Dance will never discuss another child with other parents.
A lot of stage/helicopter moms may be the first to volunteer, especially during rehearsals or show time. This can keep them in the studio or backstage for hours while allowing them to "expertly oversee" their child's dance education or if their child is being treated "properly." Again, more than often, they care only about their child and not the well-being of other children.
When they can’t face the real facts about their child’s ability or talents, they say no one has really “seen” them yet. If there’s a problem, and they or their child is involved, it is always someone else’s fault. They are always great at blowing incidents way out of proportion especially when it involves their own child. While having no real experience in teaching or in administration, they constantly question a school owner’s, or director’s, or a teacher’s competence, but only when it concern their child.
They are usually start of a good and nasty gossip session or are in the middle one. They can say some horrible things. Certain rules don’t apply to them. They and their child are extra special.
Stage/helicopter moms are usually in the lobby glued to the studio monitors. When their child is turns 13 or 14, the mother is still sewing their pointe shows. doing their hair and packing their dance bags.
The list is endless!
Let your child grow into a self-sufficient and independent young person. Support them but let them breathe. Also hold your child accountable for his or her actions. Yes it is hard but you will help create a better, ethical and well-balanced adult!
OTHER RELATED ARTICLES
Experts Warn Against Helicopter Parents on WPTV5
Five Traits of a Stage Mom on iMom
When Your Child's Abilities Don't Meet Your Expectations
If my child gets accepted into a summer program or participates in a competition, should I call them for a meeting if I think he or she is in the wrong level or their competition scores where not what I thought they should be?
Absolutely NOT! People who adjudicate auditions for renowned schools and/or prestigious competitions are at the highest in their profession, have decades of experience, and are extremely respected. Please do not ever think you know more then them. Plus, it reflects very badly on you and eventually -- on your child.
The dance world is very small. It is one of the best examples of "six degrees of separation." So you know, a summer intensive school director may also communicate with us directly when such "infractions" occur.
If auditioning for a professional company, that director may also call us for more personal information.
Also, it is very important to let a child learn about life while helping them through challenges, and disappointments. Such interference can also hinder a child in other social situations, as well. Please refer to the above question about "How can I not become a Stage-mother?"
Do you rehearse during class time?
No. You pay for classes, and for your child to learn how to dance properly.
However in some cases, if all or the majority of students are in a piece, the teacher may take just a few minutes at the end of class to run though a piece the students will be performing.
My child is sick and has to miss class or a rehearsal. What do I do?
It is very important for you to call ahead of time to inform the school your child will be absent or tardy! If absent, set up a make-up class.
If absent for a rehearsal, it is up to the your child to learn what he or she missed BEFORE they return to a rehearsal. This means they are absolutely required to get together with fellow cast mates to learn it from them. It is unfair and totally illogical for an entire cast to wait, so one or two people are taught what they have missed.
Why does my child have to wear a complete cover-up when coming and going to class, rehearsal or the theatre?
Quite simply, it is not professional looking or acting.
Are private classes important?
Private classes and coaching are always great way for a student to excel, especially if the student express the desire to become a professional. They receive one-on-one attention with a teacher that simply can’t happen in a full class. Private classes and coaching are an absolute necessity when a student is getting ready to, compete, and if seeking a professional career.
However while very important, private classes can not replace the valuable experience a student has when sharing a class with other students.
Why should I not use my cell phone in the lobby?
It’s a school policy. Though a telephone call may be interesting or very important to you, in all honesty, it is not for the surrounding people who share the same space. No one wants or needs to hear a loud, one-sided conversation about your private “business.”
…IT’S SIMPLY -- THE POLITE THING TO DO!
I am transferring my child from another dance school. For performances, I had to buy their costumes and sometimes buy special shoes. It was very expensive! What do you charge for costumes and performances?
True. Many schools make a large sum of money from actually selling show costumes to their students. They are also charged costly “hidden” fees, as well. Depending on the student level, one could spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year.
At Paris Ballet and Dance, we only charge a single performance fee per production. It includes the use of costumes. Students are required to supply their own tights and shoes, as required. There are no hidden or extra fees.
Do you have long-term contracts?
No we don't, and there are no hidden fees.
Please note however, there are extra fees if a student is chosen to compete in Youth America Grand Prix, etc., These fees are known ahead of time. There may also be fees for extra private coaching times, as well. This is by the way, is standard practice in the business.
Why do you discourage gossip in the lobby?
To answer this real question, we honestly try!
Gossip is always negative, misinformation and malicious. What’s worse, many parents don’t seem to care if their own or other children hear it.
If anyone has played “gossip game” as a child, they would have learned by the time they hear something, it is so blown out of proportion, it is totally incorrect or simply not true.
Children learn by an elder’s behavior. They may not know exactly what is being said but they most definitely pick up on the “tone.” PLUS, gossip is a waste of time.
If anyone has a question about the School, classes, rehearsals, etc., simply go directly, and ask either the front desk or make an appointment with the director. Don't assume another parent knows an answer. Usually that don't. Sometimes, they are actually the original source of the gossip!
Is my child or I required to clean up our mess a the lobby?
Yes, this question has actually been asked!
During a normal class day, dozens and dozens of students use the building. During rehearsal time, throughout the day, well over a hundred children and teens use the classrooms, dressing rooms and restrooms -- all day long. While the studio is cleaned everyday, without parent's and student's constant awareness of the mess, debris and left-over food, the building would look terrible, become unsanitary, and smell like a dumpster. This is certainly not conducive to producing great art, is it?
Students also need to be aware of leaving trash behind in a classroom is also unacceptable. Leaving a mess shows a complete disrespect for your surroundings, and the people with whom you share it.
FACT: During a rehearsals, over 12 big bags of trash are thrown out throughout the day.
The bottom line: Do you require your children to clean up their messes at home? Of course you do. Please, do not expect someone else to take care of your basic parenting requirements, when out and about. So, make sure you leave no mess behind.
Why can’t I take photos during performances?
Simply, because we asked to not do so. It’s school policy.
For those who feel entitled to an explanation:
You are experiencing a live production. Enjoy it. Enjoy the energy and performance in real-time. You will never be able to feel that experience with your child again.
Flash photography or extra unnecessary commotion in the audience can be unsafe for dancers who are turning or jumping.
It is a distraction to performers, especially young ones who have worked so hard to do a great job.
It is distracting, AND annoying for everyone around blinded by flashes or by mobile phone screens.
…And even screens from larger tablets.
Please, don’t be selfish. Think of others!
What will happen if I am late paying my tuition?
Common sense dictates any business cannot stay open and run properly if their bills are not paid. Power and utilities, staff and teacher salaries, and other financial responsibilities must be met. To meet these demands, a student’s tuition must be paid, and paid on-time.
Just like you, if our electricity bill is not paid, FPL shuts it off. If our water bill is not paid, the city shuts it off. If our rent isn’t paid, the landlord serves an eviction notice. PLUS, all late fees which have accrued to us must be paid, as well.
Paris Ballet and Dance truly waits until the last minute while sparing a child the embarrassment of being told they can’t take class because their parents didn’t pay tuition. Because we believe in a child’s dance education, we will do everything to work with any parent who is behind on payments. By not paying, and not contacting us to help work out a solution, it simply shows us you don’t care about your financial responsibilities.
School Policies – “Tuition” explains this very clearly. To be clearer, after a certain amount of time passes, a past-due account will be turned over to a collection agency.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to call us or contact us by email!
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