GSB Student and Parent Handbook

Profile

Gulfshore Ballet is Southwest Florida’s premier not for profit school of Classical Ballet. The school has an internationally acclaimed teaching faculty and offers area students the unique opportunity to study with professional instructors of the highest caliber. The training at Gulfshore Ballet combines Cuban, American, and Russian technique and brings a quality of excellence not normally found outside major metropolitan cities.

Philosophy

Classical Ballet is one of the most beautiful yet arduous art forms. Time and commitment from both student and instructor are prerequisite to the realization of the true benefits of classical ballet. Correct instruction begun at the appropriate age is critical to the development of ballet dancers.

The developmental transformation of a young child into a self-confident artist is the most rewarding part of ballet training.  As the novice dancer pursues control over mind and body, the child discovers the true beauty of the art form.  Our philosophy is to develop and support each dancer’s personal goals as they develop throughout their programs of study.

Vision

The Gulfshore Ballet aims to continually expand the school of dancers through the inclusion of additional students, regardless of gender, ethnicity or personal circumstances.

Mission

The Gulfshore Ballet prepares students for professional dancing careers and promotes academic, athletic, cultural, and social growth.

Organizational Values

•             The qualities gained from the disciplined study of classical ballet are advantageous throughout life.

•             Beyond receiving ballet training of the highest caliber, Gulfshore Ballet students learn self-discipline, concentration, focus and creative expression—all of which serve to build character, confidence and a positive self-image.

•             Gulfshore Ballet strives to increase accessibility to classical ballet and to develop a stronger appreciation of classical ballet throughout the greater community. 

Outreach

At Gulfshore Ballet, we are dedicated to bringing high quality, professional performances to the community at an affordable price. Our annual performances include the holiday favorite The Nutcracker and a Spring performance featuring both original and classical works.

Special Events

Nutcracker

Collaboration with the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, December 2, 2017 | 2pm & 7pm

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

13350 FSW Parkway | Fort Myers

ArtFest — Downtown Fort Myers, FL

Sunday, February 4, 2018

La Fille Mal Gardee

Friday, May 11, 2018 | Time TBD

Location TBD

Scholarships

Boys

Gulfshore Ballet is pleased to offer all male students who participate full-time a full tuition scholarship for their program of study in classical ballet. Male students who are placed in levels 1 through 8 are eligible for full scholarship. Male students who are recommended for a level placement below Level 1 are welcome to attend Gulfshore Ballet at the regular tuition schedule.

Girls

Gulfshore Ballet is pleased to offer need based classical ballet tuition assistance to students who demonstrate financial need, artistic merit and commitment in their program of study. Gulfshore Ballet students in levels 3 and higher are eligible to apply for a scholarship.

For more information about scholarships please visit Gulfshore Ballet’s website at: www.gsballet.org/content/scholarships

Expectations

Parents are responsible for keeping informed about schedules and obligations throughout the season. While we do our best to provide consistency in our communication, as with any large scale endeavor, changes occur. We rely heavily on email to communicate with the entire school, therefore, it is essential to have an e-mail account that is checked daily. Please be flexible in your understanding of what it takes to make this work. Make a phone call, check in to the studio once in a while, and join the many volunteers who help to put our productions together.

Emails

We will periodically send out email. Please make sure that our Office Manager has your correct contact information. In an effort to go green, we will be sending the majority of our information via email and/or posting on our website. If you do not own a computer, please alert our Office Manager, and check in with us periodically to stay updated.

Refund/Withdraw Policy

Tuition and registration fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.

Make-Up Classes

If a student must miss a class, the student may attend another class within the same quarter. The level will be determined by the class instructor.

Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco

Use or possession of any alcohol, drug or tobacco products in the classroom or in the facility restrooms or public areas will result in immediate termination from the school. Tuition will not be refunded.

Dress Code by Level

Personal appearance, appropriate dancewear, properly prepared dance bag and classroom conduct are all important elements of Classical Ballet training. Each element must positively reflect the program’s traditional and disciplined approach. Therefore we request that students comply with the policies listed below at all times when attending classes in these studios. Failure to respect these policies may result in dismissal from the school.

Hair

Hair should be worn neatly off the face and fastened securely in a bun. Hair too short for a bun should be pulled back away from the face. This allows for unrestricted movement and enables the teacher to see the shape and placement of the head and the total line of the body. Leg warmers and other accessories may be worn during the cold season and are at the discretion of the teacher.

Please refrain from wearing jewelry of any type in class (non-dangling earrings are acceptable). Pre-Ballet Division (PB1, PB2, PB3)

Girls: Black leotard, pink tights, pink ballet slippers. Black leotard with attached skirt is acceptable. Boys: Black gym pants or shorts, white socks, white or black ballet slippers

Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced, and Pre-professional Divisions (Levels 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Pre-Pro) Girls: Black leotard, pink tights (full length, tucked into ballet slippers), pink ballet slippers

Boys: Black gym pants or shorts, white socks, white or black ballet slippers

Levels 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Pre-Pro: May wear solid color of their personal choice for Saturday classes and rehearsals.

Leg Warmers/Skirts

Leg warmers and close fitting sweaters are permitted for injured students and if the weather is extremely cool. Ballet skirts, sweaters, and other dance accessories are permissible only at the discretion of the teacher.  Attached skirts on leotards are permitted for the Pre-Ballet Division only.

Contemporary, Lyrical, and Jazz

Black dance shorts or black dance Capri pants and any color leotard or fitted dance top that completely covers the midriff. Black or tan slip on Jazz shoes is required for all levels. Dance Paws or Foot Undeez are required for Lyrical and Contemporary.

Adult Students (Male & Female)

There is no dress code for adult students. Comfortable, fitted clothing, such as yoga or exercise clothing is suggested for all adult students.

Right to Refuse Admission or Service

Gulfshore Ballet reserves the right to deny service, enrollment, and/or revoke previously awarded privileges at the discretion of the Executive Director.

Sick Policy/Class Absences

Please notify the office in writing via email at gulfshoreballet@gmail.com, or by telephone at 239-590- 6191, when a student will miss a class. Last minute illnesses should be phoned in to the school before class begins. Attendance at each class is important to your child’s progress and development. It also demonstrates a student’s commitment to their class and supports the teacher in planning rehearsals for upcoming performances and showcases. A missed class may be made up during the same quarter. If your child is experiencing an illness (fever, flu-like symptoms, etc.), please keep them home from class in order to reduce the chance of spreading an illness. If a child is injured they are encouraged to attend their class to observe.

Classroom Conduct and Performance Venues

Students are expected to show respect for their instructors and fellow dancers. Hanging from barres, talking out of turn, gum chewing, touching mirrors, frequent use of the rest room during instruction (unless a medical issue exists), and similar off-task behaviors will not be tolerated. Students are expected to participate in all class activities and to follow rules to maintain safety in the classroom.

It is imperative that all young students (Pre ballet, Levels 1, 2 and 3) use the rest room both at home and prior to the start of class. Many young students require chaperoning when using the rest room and this poses a challenge for the instructor during class. In order to minimize distractions in class, students will be allowed to use the rest room in between barre and center or when the instructor gives permission.

For safety and security, students are not permitted to play in the studios before, during or after

classes and rehearsals. Students are not permitted in the studios unattended, without an adult staff

member. During rehearsals, students must sit in their waiting area or in the rehearsal studio until their class or rehearsal is called.

Parents are required to supervise their children while in the waiting room and while classes are in session. The Gulfshore Ballet staff is not responsible for children left unattended in the waiting areas.

Aluminum or tumbler style water bottles are allowed in the studios. Colored drinks, disposable water bottles (Gatorade, soda, fruit punch, smoothies, iced tea, etc.) and food items are not permitted in the studios. Food items are permissible in the lobby only. Please use waste bins in the main lobby to store trash.

In order to keep the studios and common areas clean and tidy, please be advised that our cleaning company will dispose of any bottles and personal items that are left behind. Please keep track of your personal belongings, as Gulfshore Ballet will not store items that are left behind. Gulfshore Ballet staff is not responsible for personal belongings that are left behind.

Cell phones are not permitted in the studios. There is a cell phone storage area in the lobby. Students in possession of cell phones or other electronics may use these devices in the main lobby during breaks between classes and rehearsals, or as directed by the instructor. Students are not permitted to use phones and electronic devices while class and/or rehearsal is in session.

Gulfshore Ballet’s Harassment and Bullying Policy

It is important that all members of the Gulfshore Ballet community (faculty, staff, students, and families) recognize that behavior, either verbal or physical, which disregards or demeans the self-esteem of others is unacceptable. Such behaviors are unacceptable regardless of how they are communicated. Gulfshore Ballet reserves the right to refuse service to any individuals engaging in such behaviors. Other examples of misconduct include cyber bullying, smoking on the premises, physical or verbal aggression, possession, distribution, or use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs in Gulfshore Ballet’s facility or at any Gulfshore Ballet sponsored event.

Gulfshore Ballet is enriched by the diversity of its members. It recognizes and respects individual differences in culture, race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, and sexual orientation, and provides a welcoming environment of respect and sensitivity.

With the goal of creating a safe, welcoming, and positive experience for all students, Gulfshore Ballet holds students, families, faculty, and staff to a high standard of personal decorum and expects individuals, at all times, to demonstrate respect for others, the facilities and school property, as well as to promote a safe, positive environment that is welcoming for our diverse population.

Gulfshore Ballet will not tolerate bullying. Bullying is a serious societal issue that can have long-lasting effects on both the victim and the bully. Recognizing and knowing how to address bullying is the first step to prevention. Bullying entails the following behaviors and is distinguished from other typical childhood “growing pains” in the following ways:

Bullying is any kind of physical or verbal abuse that:

                              happens more than once

                              involves an imbalance of power (the victim is unable to, or afraid to, defend

                              him/herself)

                              is done on purpose, with an intent to cause harm

Bullying can take many different forms, including:

                              physical attacks (for example, shoving into lockers, punching or kicking)

                              verbal attacks (calling names, making cruel remarks about someone, teasing, making

                              threats)

                              social attacks (spreading rumors, sabotaging friendships or deliberately excluding others)

                              online attacks, or cyberbullying (texting, emailing or posting on social media anything

                              that is cruel, untrue or otherwise harmful about a person)

Props & Sets

Many productions involve the use of props & sets. Props are assigned to students by the instructor, and are meant to be used in the context of the production, not as toys for students to play with. Sets, such as a couch or sleigh, are part of the production and are not meant to be touched, sat in, or moved by students. Mishandling of props or sets will not be tolerated.

Backstage Area

Students who are waiting backstage for their cue must do so quietly and at the direction of Gulfshore Ballet staff. Students are not permitted to be backstage too early, before their entrance, as this may cause a distraction to the performers, the audience and the stage crew. Excessive talking and off task behavior will not be tolerated.

Kitchen Area

Some theaters are equipped with a separate kitchen where food and drink are allowed. Parents may bring food into the kitchen are responsible for disposing of their empty bottles, food items and trash into the receptacles provided.  Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at any GSB facility or venue kitchens.

Dressing Rooms

Water bottles only are permitted in the dressing rooms. Students may not bring colored drinks (Gatorade, soda, fruit punch, smoothies, iced tea, etc.) into the dressing rooms. Students are asked to clean their counter space and dispose of their band aid wrappers, hair accessories, Kleenex and baby wipes in the receptacles provided. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at any GSB facility or venue dressing rooms.

Costumes

Most, if not all, of Gulfshore Ballet’s costumes are created by our volunteer parents and grandparents, who dedicate hours of work into their designs to customize each costume for each dancer. Students are not permitted to eat in their costumes, no exceptions. Younger children are encouraged to use the rest room before putting on their costume.

Parent Conduct

Parents are expected to be a positive role model for their child as well as in front of other parents and students. While in our studios and performing venues, negative behavior and/or inappropriate language will not be tolerated and may result in dismissal of both the parent and/or student from Gulfshore Ballet.

We encourage parents to voice their concerns to the Gulfshore Ballet staff and not to other parents and students.

Instructors are not to be interrupted for conference matters during classes or rehearsals. Please schedule an appointment with the Office Manager or email us at gulfshoreballet@gmail.com. Every effort will be made to address your concerns in a timely manner.

Parent Drop-off & Pick-up

Please be prompt when dropping off and picking up your child. A parent or guardian must accompany all students under the age of 12 into and out of the Gulfshore Ballet studios. For safety and security, students are not permitted to wait for their ride outside of the building. Gulfshore Ballet is not responsible for monitoring the arrival and departure of students. Parents are required to supervise their children at all times while in the waiting room and while classes are in session. The Gulfshore Ballet staff is not responsible for children left unattended in the waiting areas.

During rehearsals at the studio and the theater, we recommend that parents of the younger levels (Pre-Ballet, Level 1, 2, 3) wait during their child’s rehearsal. In many cases, when a rehearsal is running smoothly, we will dismiss the younger children earlier than the advertised rehearsal time.

Parents who bring siblings of dancers to the studio must control their children at all times. If a sibling is being disruptive and/or not under parental supervision, the parent will be asked to leave.

Gulfshore Ballet staff will charge a $25.00 supervision fee for any student who is not picked up from classes, rehearsals and/or performances on time.

Parent Observation

It is important for the student to develop a sense of independence in their classroom. Students achieve the most success when guests do not observe on a regular basis. Parents may only observe a class or rehearsals on scheduled open classroom dates as advertised in the Gulfshore Ballet season calendar.

During classes, rehearsals, events and performances we ask that parents do not interrupt a session, engage in communication with their own or another student, give corrections pertaining to ballet technique, line order, spacing or similar technical instructions to their own or another student.

Parent & Student Use of Social Media

The use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging and other social media outlets is commonplace. This policy is intended to provide Gulfshore Ballet parents and students general guidelines when using social media:

•             Avoid posting and revealing any information that may compromise Gulfshore Ballet or any of its staff members. The sharing of personal information about instructors, directors, staff, students and/or their families is strictly prohibited.

•             Students and parents should neither claim nor imply that they are speaking on behalf of Gulfshore Ballet.

•             Avoid posting anything that might compromise the self-esteem of students who attend Gulfshore Ballet.

•             Be respectful of the law, including those laws that govern defamation, discrimination, harassment, copyright and fair use. Avoid posting negative comments about Gulfshore Ballet, other ballet schools, teachers, events, rehearsals and/or performances.

Studio Liability

Gulfshore Ballet and its staff are not liable for personal injuries occurring during class time, rehearsals and performances on or off our premises.

Level Placement

Parents play an important role in supporting their child’s education in dance. Encourage your child to be the best that he or she can be regardless of what other students may achieve. Dance is an individual art form and no two children will progress at the same rate.

Placement decisions are derived from our artistic staff’s many years of teaching experience. Our goal is to place each child in a level where he or she will feel most confident and successful in order to promote the development of skill mastery and self-esteem. Some students who are placed in too high a level become discouraged with the skill level, while others respond to the challenge of working with older students in a more technically demanding environment; therefore parents are encouraged to avoid making comparisons of their child’s progress to another child’s, and to encourage their child to focus on their individual accomplishments.

Private Lessons

Gulfshore ballet offers private lessons for all interested students. Private classes are for students who are seeking a positive and personalized ballet experience at a level that is appropriate for them.

1.            To schedule a private lesson log into your GSB online account at www.dancestudio-pro.com/online/gulfshoreballet

2.            Click on the “More” tab and select “Private Lessons & Appointments” from the drop down menu.

3.            Please schedule private lessons 24 hours in advance.

4.            Once you schedule and pay for your private lesson online you and the instructor will receive a confirmation email.

5.            If a student cancels without providing 24 hour notice, or if a student is not in attendance for their scheduled private, there will be no refund for that session.

Private lesson rate: $90.00 per hour

Supporting GSB

Word of mouth is our best advertisement. It has played a large role in helping us to build enrollment at each level. Ticket sales are the biggest portion of our income. Please help us fill up performances by inviting friends and family. GSB offers discounted group tickets.  Please email gulfshoreballet@gmail.com for more information.  Tax-deductible corporate and private donations can play a large role in making future performances possible. Please help us continue to grow by spreading the word about our beautiful performances; your guests will not be disappointed. We promise!

Rehearsal Requirements

  All students are eligible to participate in two performances per year. While participation in these

  performances is not mandatory, we strongly urge you to take advantage of participating in each

  production. The teachers and students at Gulfshore Ballet work very hard throughout the year,

  developing and practicing skills that are applied to the choreography in each production. Those

  students wishing to perform will be required to be present at classes and scheduled rehearsals prior

  to the performance. A rehearsal schedule requiring parental signature will be presented prior to each

  performance.

1.            Attendance in all classes and rehearsals is essential to improving classroom skills and to

          successfully prepare for a performance.

2.            Excessive absences (3 or more) from classes or rehearsals may affect a student’s readiness for a

          performance.

3.            Excessive absences from classes or rehearsals will result in a determination made by the

          instructor and Artistic Director as to the student’s readiness to perform on stage.

4.            We strongly encourage students who have excessive absences to either (1) attend a make- up

class at a level lower than current level (no extra fees apply); or (2) schedule a private lesson (additional fees apply).

5.            Once the rehearsal process has begun, new or returning students are welcome to join Gulfshore Ballet but are ineligible for participating in the performance.

Rehearsal Week

It is expected that students ages 12 and up be completely responsible for their own needs. Volunteer mothers will be backstage for the younger students. If your child has special needs, please notify your instructor. It gets very chaotic backstage so we want to be prepared ahead of time for any circumstances that may arise.

Parents are not allowed backstage unless they have been signed up and have been confirmed for a volunteer shift as “backstage parent”, no matter how young or small your child. This is to help maintain a calm and productive atmosphere backstage.

Rehearsal week is a tremendously busy and arduous task for all involved. Please know what you are about to embark on. If this is your first performance please speak with other parents and students to get a clear picture of the rehearsal process.

Parents, it is important to understand the nature of technical rehearsals. If rehearsals are from 5-8 pm, we expect students to stay the whole time. We do our best to stay as close to the schedule as possible, but there are always unforeseen circumstances. The dancing is only a portion of the whole production. Please be patient with the rehearsal process.

Students must remain at all rehearsals until they are excused by the Artistic Director. It is highly recommended that the students get their homework for rehearsal week in advance. Time management with these performances and school is crucial. Students should use Friday and Sunday to get ahead academically each week. GSB will not be responsible for failed academics. Pack enough food for an after school snack and dinner.

Parents we appreciate all of your concerns. If you have any questions or concerns regarding GSB’s

rehearsal and/or performance process, please do not hesitate to address these concerns with your

child’s instructor.  Together, we will make this experience truly rewarding for you and your child.

Casting and Performance Preparation

At Gulfshore Ballet, we believe that performing is a vital part of each dancer’s education.  For this reason, we attempt to provide a successful performance experience for our students in Pre-Ballet 2 through Pre-Professional.

Our fall production is Tchaikovsky’s family favorite classic, The Nutcracker. In the spring, we draw from other well-known classical works and add new works to our students’ range and depth of experience. Both productions are enormous undertakings and require many hours of rehearsal for dancers, staff and volunteers.

Casting

All students involved in production will be cast in roles appropriate to their age and skill level. Roles are given according to each level at the school and not at the parent’s request or discretion. The artistic staff at Gulfshore Ballet will cast the production as a team. Roles will not be up for discussion with the Artistic or Executive Directors.  Attendance in class, energy level and effort, ability to receive and apply corrections toward improvement, and general attitude and behavior are all considerations when casting students for particular roles. 

Parents and/or students may be less than thrilled with the part(s) for which they have been assigned. Each student needs to find within themselves a way to make their role(s) interesting and exciting. Then it will be so for the audience. Having a negative or inattentive attitude adversely affects not only the individual but the entire group performing the dance. We seek to educate our parents and students to understand that there are no small roles in a production. Each role is integral to the entire performance and contributes toward its success in both story-telling and dancing. We ask all of our parents and students to embrace their roles with enthusiasm and dedication.

Performance Fees

Participation in each GSB performance has an associated performance fee. All performances and community collaborations are subject to a performance fee. Performance fees range from $150 to $200, depending on the venue and the performance. Performance fees are subject to change. Performance fees are non-refundable.

The Nutcracker performance fee is to be paid by July 15, 2017. The Spring Performance fee is to be paid by November 15, 2017. This fee covers only a small percentage of the costs incurred for these performances. We rely on fundraising and contributions to offset the balance of performance costs. Classes and/or performance fees cover additional rehearsal time, theater rehearsal time, costume orders, preparation and design, costume repairs/alterations, costume cleaning, and storage preparation.

Costumes

All costumes are the property of GSB. Costumes are very costly and labor intensive.

There is no eating or drinking while wearing any of the costumes. Please do not sit on the floor in your costume and try not to excessively touch the costumes.

If you need an alteration or have a problem with your costume please notify your instructor right away. No costumes may be taken home unless permission is granted by a Gulfshore Ballet staff.  All parts of your costume must be returned at the end of each rehearsal and performance. Students who are missing parts of their costume will be charged the cost of the lost article.

The expectation is that each student is responsible for their own costumes. Each student is responsible

to provide their tights and shoes. Tights must be clean and without any holes or runs.

Shoes must also be clean and neatly sewn.  

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