There are a wide variety of aerial arts places in Portland and most are friendly with each other. Many even share teachers and performers. This place is not in that camp. In fact, when one signs up for classes here, one must sign an agreement not to take classes from any other aerial arts places in Oregon while taking classes there.
We looked at their camp two years ago and were all ready to sign Davan up. I was emailing with their director and things were looking great right up until I said that Davan was a Zig Zag over at Do Jump. Amazingly, within the span of a couple of hours, the camp had filled. The tone of the emails from the other side became aggressive. I was asked, "Doesn't Do Jump have their own camps?" and when I replied, "Yes, of course, they do, but Davan wants to get all the training she can get," was told, "Well, not this year."
We ended up not looking at them at all last year, but this year, Davan was, once again, really looking to expand her training. At the audition in Vancouver, I spoke with a mom who's daughter was auditioning for the college and trained at this school. After Davan and I talked over what was said there and what we knew, she decided she wanted to try to go to this camp.
I entered into the process fully prepared to make it seem like Davan was considering jumping ship. It worked and she got registered. We discussed that, unless she did decide to move over (which could be a good career move, if not necessarily good for the soul), this would probably be the only time she could go to the camp.
It's a two week camp, but it's the one that Davan didn't do week one on due to it being Lena's last week here. Thus, she started on Monday. It turns out that one other girl also started on Monday.
It's been a mixed bag. Davan has made a friend in her group, which is great. She has enjoyed some of the differences in tricks and apparatus. Most of the teachers are nice. The director is not one of the teachers.
The not so great - she's not really being challenged. There's a lot of sitting around with groups of 6-10 working on one apparatus. One of the teachers is very difficult to work with. Just in Davan's group in the two days she's been there, he's made two girls cry and one girl whom he made do a skill over and over again because she wasn't doing it right, got tired and fell. She's okay, but that doesn't sound like a good story to me.
Davan came home the first day saying it was fun and the second day, when she had to do two rotations with the "mean teacher" not so enthusiastic, but not dreading going back, either.
Not going for the first week probably means that she wasn't put in the rotation that's best for her skill level. After day one, she said that she thought she was in a group that was unknowns (some of them) or strong in some places, but not in others (the rest). She thought some in her group were pretty good and others not so much. She knew that there was one group that was definitely the elite, which she's pretty sure that she'd be able to hang with other than the fact that they're working a routine on fabric that they obviously worked all last week, as well, which might be hard to catch up with.
After day two, she realized that her group was actually third out of four. That's a real surprise to me - that they didn't move her after the first day if that was so because there is a group above without having to put her in the elite group.
Also, there is a group that gets extra flexibly training, made up of the more flexible among all the groups, but Davan didn't get assigned to that group even though she has over splits and some of them don't even have complete splits. That seems odd.
I haven't stayed to watch at all, though, so maybe I'm not getting the full picture. Still...I'll be interested to hear the report from today and tomorrow. They have class on Friday because they didn't have it on the 4th and there is a show at the end. I'll be interested to see that, as well, and see what my impression of the groups is.