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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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  2. Ballet and Level =)

    I'm 28. I started ballet when I was 3-4 years old and stopped at 11-12. I've restarted it (and started contemporary, modern, contact and anything else) at 25. In the meantime, I've finished school, completed a 5 year degree in architecture, lived a crazy life, put on a lot of extra weight etc. And then, at 25, I've rediscovered ballet and dance in general. I've re-entered this world without a drop of humility, starting at intermediate level because "I had done this before". And, in this first class, I lived the frustration of knowing where your members are supposed to be but being anywhere else. That class came with a great deal of frustration, but it made me clench my teeth and stubbornly decide that I'm going to get good at this. Right now, I'm having 6 1,5 hour ballet classes a week (two of them Vaganova syllabus) with 5 teachers, all very different but complementary to my ballet education, plus 3 hours contemporary etc. And I'm an active choreographer, participating in festivals in Greece, because I've realized that you don't actually need a degree to be able to be one. I've even seen and met amazing professional dancers (but, rarely ballet dancers) without a formal educational background. Truth is, my pirouettes are still dreadful and my petit allegro horrible (I won't talk about my pointework), but, as I've realized, there are some things your body needs more time to digest than others. And, when you're a dancer, you never stop learning. As for the level, I hide comfortably behind pre-pro (and laugh while reading it)
  3. SI Round Up

    My 13 y/o dad will be at her home intensive for June and then to PNB for the second time.
  4. Today
  5. Slow and steady wins the race?

    Probably -- like most things -- a bit of both, and maybe with a bit of "dancer personality" thrown in (they ARE different psychologically IMO). I've never been through cancer survivorship, but I can tell you I've been through at least one 13 yo DD, and she had the same feelings of comparison and worry that your DD is exploring right now. But the fact of having survived ONE 13 yo doesn't give me much authority on the matter.... I'm discovering that every single kid seems to be unique... there may be some universal themes, but each one seems to handle the theme differently... at least that's my latest parenting lesson that I've learned as my middle one (non DD) approaches 14 yo.... Parenting is hard, it's a good thing kids are resilient and forgiving.
  6. Yesterday
  7. Slow and steady wins the race?

    Learningdance and Eligus- great thoughts! You guys are not insensitive. Sometimes I wonder how much of her stuff is teenage feelings and how much is cancer survivorship. She is my oldest so never been through this before.
  8. Slow and steady wins the race?

    Jennsnoopy -- I too, do not mean to be intrusive. Clearly, I do not have any clear idea of what you and she and your family have endured. But you've raised an interesting thought in your posts (and the responses thereto). I believe that there is a constant (somewhat dangerous) comparison of the "mythological perfect" version of yourself in EVERY dancer, and maybe every person, and that tendency to compare seems particularly strong in the pre-teen/teen years. I am sure the illness exacerbates the issue for your DD, but this idea of "what I could have done with (or without) XYZ" haunted my DD at that age too, although her thoughts had more to do with more mundane matters like perfect feet, etc., rather than a battle with a deadly disease and the very real effects of treatment. I'm not trying to disparage or discredit your daughter's struggle at all... I'm just trying to point out that maybe SOME of her worries are "normal", everyday pre-teen/teen adjustments to the big, mature ideas of "who I am" and "what can I do" in this world. I just think these kinds of thoughts are a very universal concern as our kids mature. I think DancerDancer had an excellent post about those thoughts of comparison of self to others and comparison of self to mythological perfect self as being very common, but not particularly useful in the grand scheme of life. I also think you're doing a great job trying to help her through these thoughts, but I would only warn you to "help" her, not "assume" those worries as your own. In other words, there is nothing at all wrong with thinking these things through and helping her to think through them on her own, but be careful not to assign TOO much weight to the concerns. I'm not saying you are doing that, I'm just saying it's easy to do so. Remember that there is value (and maybe even hidden joy) in the struggles of life. So often as parents we want to remove all those struggles FOR our kids, or at least rush them through those thoughts and struggles, because they are uncomfortable for everyone. But some deep insights and growth come after the struggle, and one of those insights might be that you are where you are supposed to be for RIGHT NOW (not forever). I think your idea of your DD writing a letter to herself (or journaling) is an excellent idea, and I wish you and her some peace as you learn to manage this big life issue.
  9. Slow and steady wins the race?

    Sorry for being insensitive. I hope that I did not make the situation more upsetting.
  10. Slow and steady wins the race?

    Hi learningdance. There is documented evidence that the chemotherapy used to treat DD's cancer does in fact degrade bone as well as inhibit muscle growth down the road post treatment in the majority of patients. DD was lucky, we've gotten her X-rays and there has been no degradation to her bones over the years, which means chemo did not seem to affect this. We know of at least five other dancers who post treatment have either not been able to go on pointe or not been able to return to pointwork post chemo due to bone disintegration. We are seeing limited muscle growth however and at this point don't know if it's simply due to the pre-pubescent state of her body or due to long term chemo effects. Time will tell. She does not want to become a professional dancer due to her higher desire to become a medical professional. But she wants to see how far she can go before she starts college some day. I appreciate your comments and know you are truly being sincere. Her AD and I both agree it would be good for her to push past this mindset of "what if" and this my goal to help her through this. This is discussion has been so great and I thank all of you for contributing.
  11. Slow and steady wins the race?

    What a wonderful mom you are and well, a tough, tough story. Please don't interpret this question as insensitive but well, it might help. How can you be sure that cancer completely rules out a dance career for her? (Is that your interpretation of facts? Have you had a doctor who works regularly with ballet dancers tell you this? ) I only say this because there are scads of professional dancers who had scoliosis, broken their backs, had a horse step on their feet,and many other issues and made it. I just wonder if you are not being defeatist and over protective as a parent. She's 13. Why not? And well, if there is very clear medical evidence that there is no way/no how for her to be a pro ballet dancer, and dancing is her passion, why not channel her into another form? I guess if she's going to be thinking about "what could have been" for her entire dance class career and feel like the door will always be closed, that's kind of tough position to stay in. Again, please, please know that I am only saying this suggest another way of thinking about it.
  12. Delurking!

    Thanks everyone! I'm actually not quite on pointe yet. I'm still in pre-pointe. I just need a few more weeks of consistency with everything, but I'm close! And yep, not rare at all not to be believed. I still experience it even with a proper genetic diagnosis.
  13. Have you heard from the dance dept regarding acceptance? My dd was accepted to the university but I don't think she's heard from the dance dept yet.
  14. Delurking!

    Welcome. I always love seeing other dancers with disabilities. And I wish I could say it was rare to have doctors who think someone is faking... Congrats on starting pointe and on dancing dancing dancing. :-)
  15. SI Round Up

    DD17 is going to Fort Wayne Ballet for 4 weeks.
  16. Devonna, we ask that you edit your profile to indicate your status as a parent. It will make it easier for you to post in the Parent forums and it will help folks know with whom we are conversing.
  17. Feeling heartbroken for dd

    Hang in there !
  18. Congrats Devonna ! DD did receive some scholarship money with her acceptance. She has decided not to attend but knows someone there who loves it . Good luck to everyone !
  19. Delurking!

    Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, Miraclegiraffe, and to the adult ballet student world. Isn't it great to learn such a beautiful and demanding art - so glad you found your way to it. and what a story!
  20. Horray! my DD got accepted from the 2/9 auditions. Anyone receive any scholarships?
  21. To help future DKs interested in UCI... DDs audition experience: Registration started early 7:30 am. We arrived at 7:35 and there was a line. Numbers were given out in order of who is in line; first person got number 1, second person got number 2. There were about 130 people in DDs audition, split in three groups and warmed up with short but thorough ballet barre. Recombined and then split into 2 groups afterward based on the number (1-65 and 66-130). DD was in first group of about 60+ dancers. The group of 60 or so was taught 3 ballet combos (adagio, petit allegro, grand allegro). The group was split further into 3 medium groups of about 20+. They had time to practice the combos and then one group at a time were called into another studio with a panel of judges. These groups were split further into about 7 or so for center work and about 4 or so for across the floor. They did the combos once. Then they were taught 2 modern combos (one across the floor, one center), they got practice, and were judged. Repeat for 1 long jazz combo. They had an hour lunch somewhere in there too. Schedule time to finish was around 4/4:30, but they were running early. The teachers were trying to really get done, so DD's large group did not get much practice time for the jazz combo. She was done at 2:30 Parents were told during the parent meeting that the judges circled a number 1-4 during each genre of dance and the scores were totaled. The judges were looking for a certain number (which they didn't tell us) for acceptance. Also they would make exceptions if a dancer got all 4s in one genre but didn't do well in the others, the dancer would still be accepted based on their strength in the one genre. DD's number was in the upper 50s and she said this was an advantage for her. She was in the first large group of 60+, but the third group within this one. This gave her extra time to practice before being judged which was especially useful for the jazz portion. Since she was among the first 60 or so dancers, she was done earlier too. However, it might be difficult to time getting just the right number, especially if you don't know exactly how many dancers are auditioning and how they are being separated. But DD recommends not being one of the first 25. UCI program (what I remember from the parent meeting): This is a three pronged program in ballet, jazz, and modern. All students are expected to be proficient in all three forms, but do not need to take all three every trimester. The BFA is either performance or choreography, but students said it is easy to major in both. About a quarter to a third of the students were also majoring in another field (political science, French, psychology were some mentioned) Must be accepted to both the dance department and the university. They aim for about 30-35 dancers in each year. Performance opportunities in undergrad shows and with grad student choreography. Merit scholarships are NOT given until the dancer is in the program. The staff says they want to see how the students are at the university before deciding who gets a scholarship. They are usually given for dedication, determination, etc. Campus observations - my self tour: Large, beautiful, safe, bike friendly. Pedestrian/bike bridges connect various parts of the campus that are separated by busy streets. There is a large theater on campus, several libraries, and small eateries scattered around (many closed on weekends). Arts complex is slightly separated from other academic area. There were dorms right next to the arts complex. The other academics are about a 10 minute walk away. There is a new outdoor mall with lots of food choices, mini Target, and other stores. This is open to the public too. Main portion of campus had a very large circular park in the middle, with paths connecting opposite sides. Campus was mostly quiet on the Saturday we were there, with the exception of the mall area, which was moderately busy. There were a few students walking and biking around or sitting in random outdoor seating areas around campus. One small group of students was playing drums in the park area. Also many of the smaller cafés were closed. The weather was beautiful, sunny and low 60s in January (okay maybe it was a bit cold for Californians walking around with winter jackets .) I expected to see more students for such a large campus, not sure where they all were. DD has decided not to go to UCI, but this is mostly due to the out of state tuition and lack of scholarship availability. She thought the program itself was excellent, and enjoyed the audition.
  22. Slow and steady wins the race?

    I will try to briefly paraphrase something that I was told at a parent seminar by a wellness coach who works with dancers. She said-- the different between goals and dreams or wishes are that goals are things you have some control over. It is really important for the kids to understand that they ultimately can't control casting, level placement, acceptance and scholarship decisions, etc. And she encourages them to focus on the things that they can do-- to keep it specific, short term, measurable, and actionable. Its also important to have dreams and wishes! But that in the day to day, the kids should focus on what they can do to become better/stronger/etc. I hope that helps, it was good for me to hear (my son is 13) and I think he found the classes with her helpful too.
  23. I'm excited to find out where your dk's are all headed! My dd wanted to get it figured out while there were still housing options. I think she met her roomate this weekend. Not a dancer but a local girl who is also going to OU. They hit it off pretty well. I'm kind of stressing about the $$. 😕
  24. Honestly, it's difficult to get a company spot regardless of if you're 18 or 22. I was fortunate enough to have a professional ballet career after a university BFA and I have many friends who did as well. Getting a job is truly all about being the right person in the right place at the right time. Absolutely the "big name" companies out there aren't looking for 22 year old dancers with no prior experience, but the dancers getting into the San Francisco Ballets and Pacific Northwest Ballets of the world likely are already in the affiliated training programs and "on-track" for that. For a job in a regional company, in my experience, it doesn't matter. In some companies, the directors enjoy having more mature dancers. The difference with trying to get a job straight out of high school is that younger dancers are often more likely to be content with being in trainee or apprentice programs for longer. But absolutely what MelissaGA said...see what the track record is for SUNY or any other university you're interested in. Not all college programs are equal.
  25. MicheleThompson, I would ask where the dancers who recently graduated are. Then, look closely at where they actually are and what they are doing. Are they in actual paid positions? Are they in tuition based or unpaid positions? (Keeping in mind that trainee, second company and apprentice can mean very different things at different companies)
  26. We are really having a hard time deciding as to Purchase BFA program or to a trainee program. Some have said that after 4 years it’s harder for a dancer to get a company spot. How much truth in this?
  27. Last week
  28. Congratulations! Sounds like a wonderful choice!
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