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Old 06-12-2013, 08:12 PM
 
7 posts, read 15,440 times
Reputation: 15

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Well... where to begin! My husband just got offered a position in Irvine, California. We used to live near there (he's from Cali) for a couple of years together (I'm from the Northeast originally) and his job transferred us to Charlotte, NC where we've lived for the past 12 years.

I love California. We go back to visit family every so often, but I have some concerns about leaving NC. We have a 12 year old daughter who is in a great school system, dances with a fantastic dance studio (their recitals are actually held at an uptown theater, not some school auditorium - they are show stoppers, and her dance teachers are amazing! She's also in competition dance - her first year, something she's begged for for the last 2 years and I finally relented - she's been dancing for 8 years). She is really my concern in all of this possible transition. So many things - after school care, summer camp, friends... etc...

What I'd like to know is are the following (and I sincerely appreciate honest answers to which I am extremely grateful!):

What are the best areas for pre-teen kids to be raised in Irvine, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita? Those are the only places I will even consider to live. I do like parts of Corona, but too far of a commute. I sure don't miss those! I currently have a 20 minute ride to and from work. I guess if we move, those days will be gone.

Are there any good public schools in those areas or would private school be better?
What are the best public schools? What are some good private schools?

What are the names of some good dance studios for tap / jazz / ballet that have competition teams?

What are the going housing prices in the areas I mention - low to high?

What do people do for after school care / summer camp for their kids? My daughter is 12 and latch key is NOT an option! Nope! Absolutely not!

Also, I would have to find a job. Ugh! Looking for a job is work in itself and I have a good job now that I really love (I do graphic design), and I'm scared to give up my job and end up unemployed indefinitely. I guess as much as I really do love California, I don't want to make any mistakes that could effect my daughter's lifestyle. She is the numero uno concern as I said. Although, she sure does love California herself (she was born there, but we moved to NC when she was just a baby). I spoke to her about a possible move and let her know she would have to make new friends (and middle school is tough enough as far as clicks and whatnot), she wouldn't be able to dance with her current studio she's been with for 8 years, and we'd have to find a new studio with new teachers, we may not be able to live in a house, but an apartment, etc... but she would be excited to make the move and be near her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Boy! I know I sure do miss family myself! I, personally, have been miserable in NC, although where we live is super pretty, the people are nice and everything for my girl here is great! But I don't have close friends here - not enough time for me really - always working and my husband travels a lot. So it's been kind of a lonely ride for me all these years. Still - there ARE things I absolutely LOVE here!

I only found out about my husband's job offer and he gave me until 8:00am tomorrow (EST) to let him know if I'd be willing to move or not. The thing is, if he refuses this offer, his concern is he would never be offered another position of advancement. There's so many things to consider. So city data friends from Orange County - I need your help! Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:38 PM
 
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I can give an opinion on a couple of your questions about areas and schools. The schools in all the mentioned cities are good. If I had to put them in order from best to least I would say Irvine, Mission Viejo/Ranch Santa Margarita and then Lake Forest. Probably not a huge difference except for maybe Irvine. Irvine is very highly rated academically. I have heard good and not so good about the social aspect of being in Irvine schools. It has a very high asian population (not good or bad, it just is) which value education sometimes more than socialization. Not to say kids in Irvine don't play sports etc. but it is probably much more competitive in the other cities you mentioned. A word I hear over and over again to describe Irvine is sterile. I live in Mooresville, NC in the summers so I am a little familiar of where you are coming from and what you may be looking for.

Summer camps: I've noticed when we are in NC that there are many overnight camps or all day camps, I haven't noticed that in CA, although we are not here in the summer so I could be wrong. Most of ours friends that attend camps in the summer are usually about 3 hours per day. I'm sure there are some all day camps but they are not as common as they are in NC. There are also many church camps in this area but they are usually for only 1 week.

I can't comment on dance schools/studios because my daughter has never been involved in dance but I'm sure there must be some good ones in the area. There is a high school in Santa Ana, Orange County High School of the Arts, that many kids attend if they are really serious about the arts (music, drama and I'm guessing dance would be included too).
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:20 PM
 
389 posts, read 857,579 times
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I can comment on a couple of dance studios in the area. I believe Mission Viejo Dance has competition teams, but I know they offer all the different varieties of dance classes (tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, etc). Another good dance company is Pacific Ballet Company in Aliso Viejo, but I do not believe they have competition teams. Great teachers. I know it would be a few years, but several of the high schools in the area have dance teams which require audition and do compete.

By the way, you did not have Aliso Viejo or Laguna Niguel on your list, but another good family area with good schools and would not be too far of a commute for your husband's company in Irvine.
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:16 PM
 
5,381 posts, read 7,936,223 times
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Quote:

Summer camps: I've noticed when we are in NC that there are many overnight
camps or all day camps, I haven't noticed that in CA, although we are not here
in the summer so I could be wrong. Most of ours friends that attend camps in
the summer are usually about 3 hours per day. I'm sure there are some all day
camps but they are not as common as they are in NC. There are also many church
camps in this area but they are usually for only 1 week.
South County is really big on activities for kids, so I doubt you will have a problem finding what you want wherever you decide to live.

Aliso Viejo is just introducing all day summer camp for kids at the Aliso Viejo Ranch:
City of Aliso Viejo > Parks & Recreation > Summer Camp

FWIW, Soka University in Aliso offers a full day sports day camp:
Soka University's All-Sports Day Camps - News and Events - Soka University of America
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:30 PM
 
5,381 posts, read 7,936,223 times
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I have no idea how good they are, so maybe someone else could chime in, but Center Stage Studio in Aliso offers dancing, acting and singing classes:
The Center Stage Studio, Musical Theater Kids Camp Orange County, CA
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:51 PM
 
Location: SoCal
31 posts, read 79,144 times
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For ballet -- Check out maple conservatory of ballet-- they are a serious preprofessional dance studio. They start with little kids and turn out high school grads who now dance with San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theater, as well as finalists/ semi finalists in the Prix de Lausanne. Charles Maple was a soloist at ABT and now he runs a terrific studio in Irvine.

For jazz, modern, lyrical, tap, hip hop, as well as ballet, check out Jimmy DeFore dance studio in Costa Mesa. They have an extensive program for teens and adults. Beginners to quite advanced. A lot of UCI kids go there. I think they might have their own dance teams and performance groups too. Plenty of parking here too.

I work in Irvine Business District near the the airport, and these studios are about 2.5 and 3.5 miles from my work.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:56 PM
 
Location: SoCal
31 posts, read 79,144 times
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Just wanted to add that both dance studios have a presence on YouTube.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:11 AM
 
7 posts, read 15,440 times
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Thank you all for your input. I was looking up housing last night. - Holy moly! I see it's gone back up. Even the apartments are outrageous! Maybe the move is not a possibility. Even with a six figure income, it is so scary. I really have a lot to think about. So many pros and cons ti staying in NC or going back to Cali. I sincerely appreciate all of you on here! I did find The Pacific Dance Company inline last night - got a good vibe. My husband comes home today - there is si much we'll have to consider. Ugh! Why can't decisions be easy!
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:12 AM
 
7 posts, read 15,440 times
Reputation: 15
Forgive my typos! I can't stand typing on my phone!
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:46 AM
 
Location: 'Bout a mile off Old Mill Road
591 posts, read 755,503 times
Reputation: 476
Go for it.
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