The SAB Summer Intensive is over. It feels like it just started, and I’m already in NY.
Julian loved the SAB Summer Intensive, which ended on Saturday. I arrived in New York City on Wednesday night and at Lincoln Center and the Juilliard Dorm, which is also where all the studios are for SAB, the next morning to watch class. I got to see Julian take a technique class and then I had lunch with him in the cafeteria, where the food really was not bad. The class was excellent, and he got great corrections. Boy, was the Balanchine fast! They are required to move so much faster than Vaganova, which is sloooooow!
I left after lunch, because Julian had a rehearsal for his evening performances for the Choreographic Institute; only two apprentices had choreographed pieces, and Julian was in one of them. I returned to watch the performance later. I was quite impressed with the pieces, and loved seeing Julian perform. Of course, I thought he looked great! The piece he was in was contemporary, not Balanchine.
Julian was feeling quite frustrated because most of the boys he knew had been asked to attend SAB during the school year, but he had not. On our way down to lunch that day the teacher in charge of the advanced male division, Jock Soto, asked him what his plans were for next year. Julian replied that he had not yet been asked to stay, and Jock said he would be. Jock came to find me during lunch and asked me to go see the registrar, who, as it turned out, had called me while I was watching class.
Here was what she told me: The teachers had asked more kids than usual to attend the school next year, and more than usual (almost all) had accepted. Therefore, they had waited until the last minute to ask the older boys (16+) to attend, assuming, I suppose, that their parents would be more likely to allow them to attend anyway and find them some sort of (possibly unchaperoned) housing in the city.
Right. I entertained that thought briefly. What were they thinking? I guess parents in the past had let their sons stay unchaperoned. Again…right. Not mine.
The next day I watched a technique class and a partnering class. Julian was corrected quite a bit by Jock, who reiterated to me that he would really like to see Julian attend SAB next year. (Julian says Jock was trying to impress me with all those corrections…) Jock mentioned that all the major ballet companies in the states and Europe come to the final SAB performance of the year and make offers to the kids. (Hmmm. That would negate the need for all the money we would spend on RDA and YAGP next year.)
Oh, by the way, while staying in the dorm (Juilliard’s dorm) during the school year meant Julian would be chaperoned just like during the summer and SAB would take custody of him and the academic advisor watch over his grades, etc., it is enormously expensive. The whole deal — SAB and room and board, comes to more than $21,000. They only offer financial aid — no scholarships. (ABT offers scholarships, but no housing.) Who knows if we would have received any aid. (So far, no forms have showed up for aid for the SAB portion — just the ballet program; maybe none is offered?)
We were planning to do Regional Dance America (RDA) again and a YAGP (Youth American Grand Prix) solo (contemporary and classical) as well as possibly a pax this year. This might also mean going to NYC. Plus all the training expense. Then there were trips for college auditions, and maybe even the need to go to Europe to audition or to companies around the country….all to decide what he might do: college or a company. This could have amounted to a fair amount of cash.
If he attends SAB, we would still have to do some of the college auditions. We would not need to do the auditions for companies or RDA or YAGP, though. The latter two would not even be allowed.
Julian informed me he really wanted to attend SAB, even though it will be his senior year. He hates his current school, where he still gets called gay. His only good friends are from BBYO, his Jewish youth organization. he’s never had a long-term girlfriend. He’d only miss going to prom. (Maybe he could go back for prom?) He told me three days later that he guessed he had a big decision to make over the next four weeks; I guess he hasn’t totally made up his mind.
Should we, my husband and I, make this happen for our son? Why should we? My son has never danced with a group of boys for more than six weeks and then only during each of the last three summers. He has missed out on having consistent male friends–and girl friends. He has never gone to a school where he was totally accepted. He could put this on his resume. He might get to dance for NYC Ballet one day.
So, how to make this happen? After a conversation with my sister, I decided to look into chaperoning a few of the boys. (Julian picked 5…too many!) Maybe this could be affordable — cheaper than the dorm. We’ll also look into house swapping. Could I live in NYC for 10 or 11 months? Would I want to? Do I have a choice? (I guess so, but not really.) We have one boy on board already (and a grateful parent).
In the meantime, I’m trying to work while Julian goes to Complexions, where he has discovered that Dwight Rhoden wants him doing six hours rather than four of class. We still plan to take him up to Steps to take Willy Burmann’s ballet class many mornings. Long day… He may skips two hours of Complexions on some of the days. I’ll also have to start apartment hunting in my “spare” time. Blech.
And we have asked Dwight (and Desmond Richardson) to tell us what they think about Julian attending SAB this year. Dwight’s first reaction: SAB is a great finishing school. Ah. One more reason to say “Yes” to attending.
We will also ask Willy Burmann’s opinion…and maybe David Howard, another famous ballet teacher.
These are people with no investment in Julian’s future other than a sincere desire to help him succeed. They will make no money on him attending or not attending SAB. They all (with the exception of David Howard) have said they want to help him get where he is going. We can trust them.
That’s all you can do in a situation like this–seek out people you can trust and who know the industry better than you do. People who have no reason to mislead you, no ulterior motives.
We can’t ask at City Ballet, although I already did three or four weeks ago. Their response was that he needed to come back and do another year of straight classical (Vaganova). I don’t disagree. But they also have something to lose if he doesn’t come back. I don’t think Julian would be hurt by returning there. I think another year of Russian training would be good. But I think he might gain more by going to SAB…
Decisions. Always decisions to make when it comes to my son, the dancin’ boy. Hard decisions. And he must make them, too.
At least this year he was asked to attend year ’round. Last year at the end of ABT, he was not asked to attend the JKO School. That’s a step in the right direction.