When we last left our hero a week ago, he was beginning the decision process between spending a month studying ballet in Boston, Austin, or New York.
Cameron was offered a scholarship to the Boston Ballet program, where he had a terrific experience in every respect last summer. The dance instruction was first rate, the weekend activities were Fun (with a capital "F"!), and he made lots of friends from around the country and even some from other countries. The only potential downsides for this program are: 1) He would be one of the oldest kids there (the other Boston Ballet program, which is in Boston proper, is for 15-year-olds and up, so he misses that cutoff by about a month), and we all know how annoying 11-year-olds seem when you're almost 15; and 2) It will likely be mostly the same as last summer (i.e., why not try something different?). Then again, that scholarship....
The ABT program in Austin is rumored to be very good, except for the fact that it's in, well, Austin. Yes, I know, Austin is a fun college town, the nicest city in Texas, blah, blah, blah. But from the perspective of a teenager, it's not that interesting (at least, not when compared to Boston and New York). Maybe if the dance instruction was an order of magnitude better than other programs, it might be a different story, but it appears that it's "only" very solid. So that leaves the non-dance aspects of the program, which, to Cameron, aren't that exciting. Several kids who wrote on-line "reviews" of the program after last summer were extremely happy with the weekend activities, which were centered around shopping. For Cameron, shopping in Austin doesn't really compare favorably with going to a Red Sox or Yankees game, swimming in the Atlantic, or visiting the Natural History Museum near Central Park.
Word has it that the Joffrey Ballet School's summer program is solid on the dance front, and Cameron was accepted into the part of the program that does a performance at the end, the "Performance Track." This is often perceived as an honor of sorts, compared to "only" getting into their basic program that is focused on technique only. There is some question as to whether it takes a "better" dancer to make it into the Performance track, but, regardless, the opportunity to perform is certainly an attraction: "I'm going to be performing in New York City with the Joffrey Ballet School!" The non-dance parts of the program are unique, too, with fewer activities that aren't related to dance or theater (e.g., visiting a water park, swimming in the ocean, etc.). On the other hand, it's freakin' New York City! Anyone who has visited New York knows there is an energy there unlike any other place in the country, or maybe even in the world.
So The Decision was made this week: Joffrey it is! At least two of his friends from his home studio will be there at the same time, including one in the Performance track. We're already talking with the other parents to see how we can coordinate travel, etc. - one mom had already planned to be in New York visiting family during the third week of the program, so has offered to take care packages to the kids. We will likely go there a few days before the program ends to do some touristy things, then be available to have any of the kids fly back with us.
So what's next? The Payment. Yes, these summer programs are costly, but, in our next episode, we will temporarily depart from the ballet-oriented theme of my blog entries to find out how all those silly Lego toys someone got for birthday and Christmas presents years ago can be a gold mine when sold to the neighbors' kids or on eBay....
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