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My review of Peter Sklar's NY Beginnings Workshop en>fr fr>en
By HappyDad Comments: 1, member since Tue Jul 30, 2013
On Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:32 AM

I know there have been several posts on here about Peter Sklar and his Beginnings Workshop. Well, My daughter just finished her first experience at the workshop and I thought it might be helpful to those interested for me to provide information about the workshop and my daughter's experience.

First, an explanation about the Beginnings Workshop. The workshop is not a "Dance Camp" but rather a week long informative workshop with classes related to the performing arts. While there are some classes related to Ballet, Hip-hop, and Modern technique, the majority of the classes dealt with things pertaining to the performing arts as a whole. Some of the classes worked on things like improv and using your voice on stage, while other classes were given on how to use disciplines to improve your energy (yoga, T'ai Chi, Martial Arts, etc...) and some classes pertained more toward actual work in the performing arts industry. They had some currently working industry professionals come in to give lectures/seminars on some of their experiences to help give the students some inside perspective on auditions, interviews, and the casting processes they've been through. So to sum it up, if you're looking for a summer dance camp to improve your technique, this may not be the camp for you. On the other hand, if you plan to work in broadway or theatre, this could be a very beneficial workshop where you could gain some insight on the industry which can only help your chances of getting selected.

To get into the workshop is by invitation only. To get an invitation, you would first attend one the lectures Peter gives where he talks about the industry and what it takes to make it. After that he offers to any of the students interested, a change to interview with him. Each child's interview literally only takes one or two minutes and based solely on the interview, he determines which students he feels would best benefit at his workshop (he never watches the students dance so it's based purely on their health and their character). After the interviews are all complete he then gets everyone together and calls out the names of those that he has some interest in and has everyone else leave. Then with only the chosen students (and their parents) in the room, he describes his workshops and gives them the invite.

Ok, so that's a basic description of the workshop and how you get an invite to it. Now for my daughter's (and my) experience there. My daughter is 10 years old and has been dancing since she was 3. She's somewhat shy in person but on stage and performing, she's very open. When completing the paperwork for the workshop, she indicated that most of her interests were in acting rather than dance, even though she filled out her experience in dance on the form. She chose a monologue to perform at the end of workshop performance. The week before she left for the workshop kind of regretted not submitting a dance audition piece but hey, that's part of her learning experience.

Now, my daughter is an only child. Her mom is a stay at home mom so we never use a babysitter, and she has never spent more than 1 night away from the house so with that, we were already concerned that she might not be able to do a whole week away from home. Add to that, the fact that she has IBS, is lactose intolerant, and is an extremely picky eater, we really were worried we would get that call saying we would have to come pick her up from the workshop after the first night. Did I mention she's only 10 years old?

Well, my daughter had a great time. She enjoyed the food. Granted, initially, she felt like they wanted her to eat an awful lot, her stomach quickly adapted to the amount of food and she didn't have any problems eating what was expected of her to eat. To my surprise, just like in the reviews that Peter had provided to us to read through, my daughter actually said that most of the food was good. She learned a lot about the industry, met some great new friends from all over the country, and most important of all, she had a great time. A nice bonus was the fact that when she performed her monologue on stage, I could tell that her monologue coach worked with her because the performance she gave was so much better than I had expected.

Ok, I understand that some people may have met Peter and some may have not, and either way, some may have already have fromed an opinion about him. Here's my opinion. I think Peter is very knowledgeable about the performing arts industry, about personal health, and about Child Psychology. I also think he has a very dry sense of humor that to some people can come off as "He's mean and impersonable." but the fact of the matter is that he knows children, he knows the performing arts industry, and he has a very proven way of helping to teach young performers about the industry and to help them get their feet wet.

I'm very happy I sent my 10 year old daughter to this workshop and I may send her again next year if we get an invite.

2 Replies to My review of Peter Sklar's NY Beginnings Workshop

re: My review of Peter Sklar's NY Beginnings Workshop (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By imadanseurPremium member Comments: 16602, member since Thu Dec 04, 2003
On Tue Jul 30, 2013 03:29 PM
I think its a little odd that your very first post on ddn is to praise this workshop. Out of all dance websites, what made you decide to post this here (unless someone asked you to do so?) It's nice you had other good reviews that Peter provided you, but when businesses do this to me, my first thought is, "OF COURSE THEY ARE GOING TO ONLY SHOW ME GOOD REVIEWS! THEY WANT MY MONEY." Testimonials are good, but they aren't the only research people should trust. I think it is great you had a good experience. Many people have, and a few people haven't. That is how it is with ANY workshop. You'll never please everyone. So, this review is great for people to give perspective, and so are negative reviews. It helps people make an informed decision.

Each child's interview literally only takes one or two minutes and based solely on the interview, he determines which students he feels would best benefit at his workshop (he never watches the students dance so it's based purely on their health and their character).


How can anyone evaluate health and character in 1-2 minutes? By the time you ask the question and the time the kid answers it is easily 1 minute. I think that to brag about this selection process is not the best, and other kids have no idea what they could have done differently to be selected. Unless it is based on looks. Kind of sad that Peter never watches them dance because if it is really geared towards kids that might have potential to work in the business...one question probably isn't the way to do that, but that is just my opinion based on what you wrote (and being a dance judge, and teacher).

What happens if the kids don't eat what is "expected" of them. Force feeding kids is probably not where I would send my child. Yes you want the kids to eat, but my son was always a small meal eater until he turned 13 (and hasn't slowed down yet.) I wouldn't want someone pushing food on him. If he's not hungry to finish his plate then he's not hungry. Simple as that.

Again, it's great that you enjoyed this workshop, I'm quite certain it has benefits, but there are other ways to Broadway other than Peter Sklar and just because you had a great experience and your daughter thrived doesn't discount other people's less than stellar reviews. That was their experience, and that's okay too.
re: My review of Peter Sklar's NY Beginnings Workshop en>fr fr>en
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34681, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Tue Jul 30, 2013 03:45 PM

What happens if the kids don't eat what is "expected" of them. Force feeding kids is probably not where I would send my child. Yes you want the kids to eat, but my son was always a small meal eater until he turned 13 (and hasn't slowed down yet.) I wouldn't want someone pushing food on him. If he's not hungry to finish his plate then he's not hungry. Simple as that.


Agree, with this in particular. I have a son that will be 7 in a few weeks, who has struggled his entire life with eating and body image (and I don't mean in that fussy eater way. I mean in the "it's so bad that they're already talking body dismorphic disorder" sort of way) and I'd never send him to a Peter Sklar event. Whenever you hear Peter's name mentioned, eating compulsive amounts of food is never far behind, and I could never do that to my son - it'd absolutely destroy him. Keeping him a)alive and b)sane is worth far more to me than the dubious prestige of attending this sort of event.

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