For Parents
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Q: After attending a summer program at a prestigious ballet school, my daughter has been invited to stay for the year-round program. She is interested, of course, but I'm not so sure. How can I be objective about this?
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Jhung leading a class at his Ailey Intensive in February. Photo by Stephen von der Lanitz, courtesy of Jhung

Finis Jhung's career as a professional dancer began in 1960 in the Broadway and national companies of Flower Drum Song. The Korean-Scottish-English Hawaii native then went on to dance with San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet, found his own company, Chamber Ballet USA, and teach his unique classical ballet style to professionals and amateurs all over the world. Now, at age 80, his teaching has gone full circle back to the basics, primarily focusing on what he calls his "adult babies"—absolute and advanced adult beginners—at The Ailey Extension in New York City.

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Jennie Somogyi teaching student Anna Jacobs. Photo by Love and Luck Photo, courtesy of Somogyi

When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.

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