balletbooster

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  1. I think you have received great advice here! The advice about deferrment and representation is spot-on. I wanted to address your original question about the choice of a dance program and add my daughter's experience, as she wrestled with the college/company decision several years ago. After attending a ballet boarding school her soph and junior years and spending her senior year as a pro company trainee, she decided to attend college at an out of state university, not known for their dance program, but with a faculty that included a chair that was a former Joffrey principal, another teacher who was a Joffrey principal and another teacher who was a former Juilliard instructor and professional dancer. The program offered daily classes in ballet and a rehearsal schedule that put her in the studio 4-6 nights a week throughout each semester. The guest choreographers were wide-ranging and included many contemporary notables, such as Twyla Tharp and Jose Limon company faculty. Her company trainee schedule during her senior year was very rigorous, with both company and second company commitments that prevented her from attending auditions to any of the colleges known for their dance programs. The only way she was able to audition for the school she ended up attending was a fluke; but I'll save that story for another thread... My daughter started college with a solid classical background, but came to really enjoy contemporary ballet and modern as a result of this exposure. As a result of the guest residencies I've mentioned, my daughter received a couple of professional offers while in college. Midway through college, one guest choreo was kind enough to have her come to NYC and made intros/arranged auditions for her. She decided to stay in college and finish her degree and this season began dancing with a classical ballet company. She received a generous dance scholarship for the full four years of college, which made it affordable. Her experience taught me that the important thing is not the dance reputation of the school, but the quality of the faculty and the opportunities for networking that are provided. There were many naysayers when she decided to take this route. I encourage you to listen to what others tell you, but to weigh it against the opportunities that the schools you are considering can provide to your daughter. Throughout college I kept reminding my daughter that there was much more being taught by the college experience than just the classes in her major. So, look also for the total experience that the colleges can provide. Take a look at where dance grads have ended up. That's always the best indicator of the school's efficacy. For my daughter's university, the vast number of students do not end up dancing professionally. But, for those who do, they are dancing at well-known and respected classical, contemporary and modern companies. So, we knew going in that the instruction was going to be broad-based. It's a big decision and there is no right/wrong answer. What works for one dancer will not work for the next one and vice versa. Regardless of the school's reputation, the dancer will have to remain very focused on their professional goals, because there is much in college that can distract and take time away from what has been a very singular pursuit for many serious dancers prior to college. Many who go to college discover the larger world out there and choose not to dance upon graduation. That doesn't necessarily mean that the school didn't prepare them to dance professionally. It can also mean that the student discovered another passion while in college and decided to do something else with their life. Ultimately, what a student does after college is going to be their decision. Finding ways to stay competitive in the professional arena and looking for networking opportunities in every situation that presents itself is really key - regardless of the school's dance reputation. Just a note about missing college dance classes: at my daughter's school if you missed more than 3 classes a semester in a given course, it automatically dropped your grade one letter grade. There were make up opportunities offered, so dancers could do some auditioning while in college, but they have to be very organized and plan carefully. As others have mentioned, full-time, traditional college student isn't the only route open. In my daughter's current company there are several company members who are taking classes at night at a local university. My daughter is taking post-grad classes online to prepare for application to dental hygiene programs. So, there are many ways to dance and attend college. Try not to rule anything out, be creative and be willing to change the plan if things are not as advertised or expected!
  2. Elena's brother Sam, was the Boston Ballet dancer who was hit by a stray bullet from a fight across the street while walking to his Boston apartment late one night that was also reported on this board (as momof3 mentioned). My heart and my prayers goes out to this family. This is such a senseless tragedy. Elena was a kind and sensitive young woman and a talented dancer. May she rest in peace. Additional news story
  3. Fantastic news from so many in our cyber community! Congrats one and all! Having been in contact with lovemydancers for many years, I'm so very, very happy that your daughter got her desired position. I'm thrilled for you both and wish her much success!
  4. Yes, these situations do apply outside the dance world. However, it is more common in dance than in the larger population for underage students to be living on their own in a new city, in a situation where there is no collegiate structure in place should they need counseling or advice. There are no RAs, no Freshmen Success Office, no dorm full of other scared and immature 18 year olds, etc. They are often completely on their own when it comes to their daily living. Lots of our BT members have had dancers living unsupervised while still in HS in order to attend a pre-pro or participate in a trainee/apprentice program. This group, along with those HS age kids who are in residency, are the most vulnerable to the scenarios we are discussing here. Certainly part of the college experience is to learn to circumvent these more adult situations, but most college freshmen have a pretty large safety net that has been woven by the school to protect and support incoming students. Even if a dance program builds in some support mechanism to help students cope (and this is rare), the anonimity that colleges can offer due to their size and segregation of services is simply not possible in a dance program and so dancers are reluctant to seek out those who might help them for fear that they will be labeled as 'guilty by association' as has been mentioned or unstable or weak or immature. Most dancers are all too aware of the small world in which they must live and ultimately find a job. So, they often don't feel free to go to an adult on staff to help. It is very hard for a dancer to know whom they can trust to keep their problems private and they know too many stories like the one mentioned above where everyone knew someone else's trouble before they were even home from the SI! So, there are complexities to this situation for young dancers, that don't necessarily apply to the larger population. If only it was as simple as all the good advice that is being given here, we wouldn't need this thread!
  5. This thread sort of started down a different path and since I was one of the culprits going down that other road, I've moved the posts about how to prepare your dancer for choices they must make at residency (and college/companies) to a new thread on the Residency General Discussion forum.
  6. And to throw another twist into the pretzel, there is also the issue of young dancers who are hired into a pro company at the age of 17-20 who find themselves suddenly thrust into company life where most of the dancers are over 21. There is lots of 'partying' in all of its forms that may present itself and it is a very difficult position for young dancers (some still in high school) who want desperately to fit in and not to be seen as just the little trainee or apprentice. Being left out of the company's socializing is no fun and leads to lots of isolation in and out of the studio, which further complicates the issue for young dancers who are far from home, perhaps living alone and trying to find their place in a company where they want to succeed. So, once they move out of residency and into company life, the problems do not go away, they just become more complex... Many dancers graduate at 17 and others take company positions their senior year, putting many at age 17 when they must face very adult situations. In a company there will not be as many dancers in their age group as there are in a residency, where they might find other kindred souls. Company life presents vastly different challenges for underage dancers than they will experience in college too, where the place is full of young people who are their same age. (My daughter experienced all three: residency, company and college between the ages of 15-20.) So, it is wise to talk about these eventualities before they occur and help them sort through how they will handle these situations. They WILL present themselves!
  7. Yes, that is the name! I can see why it might discourage some. As I said, it didn't sugar coat the experience at all. I'm going to correct the name of this thread and maybe others will join the discussion. That's funny about the wrong spelling in the title!
  8. Congratulations erin! We are happy to have you here on BT. Please join in the discussion on other threads and share your daughter's experiences on this journey with us.
  9. My PBS channel just ran this three part documentary. I think it came out about a year ago. It was about the graduating class of 2006, I think. I thought it did a great job of showing the tremendous challenges that dance students face, on a personal level, when they are involved in a serious pre-pro training experience. It certainly didn't sugar coat it or make it seem glamorous. Looked like hard, hard work, mixed in with all the young adult fun and angst that both lightens the load and makes training for professional dance more difficult at various junctures. Anyone else see this, perhaps when it first came out?
  10. There are two wonderful ballet sequences in 'Oklahoma.' Lots of great dancing in anything with Cyd Charise. American in Paris has that fantastic (and long by movie standards) dream sequence. And let's not forget West Side Story, that featured several dancers who were currently under contract to pro ballet companies. And then there is All That Jazz. Lots of 'real dancers' in that one!
  11. Sadly, the list is a lot longer of dance movies made with NON-dancers!
  12. To this day my daughter (age 20) isn't much interested in watching dance on TV/dvd, unless as danceintheblood mentioned, she is using it to learn a new part. She has always enjoyed watching live performances of dance, but she doesn't seek them out. When she goes, she much prefers to watch a performance from the wings, rather than from a seat in the audience and anytime she can manage to get backstage, (via someone she knows in the company), she does so, even if she has a seat paid for. For her, sitting still and passively watching others do what she loves to do herself, is not that comfortable. If she isn't dancing, she likes to be in the wings, absorbing all of the energy and the drama that occurs on that side of the stage. She likes to watch other dancers work, because she realizes that there is lots that can be learned from observing, but she also loves to move and be active. So, perhaps your dancer is simply responding to the lack of activity that goes along with sitting and watching others dance.
  13. l2daisy - I'm thrilled for you and your lovely dancer! I know you both and all the ups and downs that the journey entailed and I couldn't be happier about today's great news. Please give her a hug when you see her and please, please keep us posted as the journey continues. Long-time members such as yourself are an invaluable addition to our community. Thank you for your willingness to share your experiences with this group over the years. It's what Ballet Talk is all about!
  14. balletbroke, I think that the faculty at WL are very good at determining potential in dancers who have not had 'hot house' training. This age group is still young enough that they are more interested in body type and facility and a natural musicality than they are about strong technique, (which is going to be much more important going into the Upper School). The process for applying for year round is a very deliberate one at White Lodge, beginning in the fall for dancers in the UK. The summer school gives the faculty a chance to know something about the dancers before they go through the formal auditions and many who audition, but are placed on a wait list, are asked to summer school the next summer, so that they can watch them some more and encourage them to try again the next fall, if a position does not open up for them in that year. (When my daughter attended, there were a number of girls there who fell into this category from the UK.) Simply being invited to attend the WL Summer School is considered by many to be a form of 'hot housing' for select dancers. There is also the associate program that you might look into. I'm not familiar with all the details, as we are from the US, but I believe that you can still get much of this information on the website and it was also sent in our info packet when my daughter attended, although that was several years ago. I hope your daughter will enjoy the opportunity she has been given and make the most of it. It is a wonderful experience! 12345, when my daughter was there, the top level girls wore anklets for class each day and only wore tights for the performance. Could be different now, so maybe others will respond.
  15. Dancemaven's suggestion is one that works well - call their bluff! Give them 'permission' to stop dancing and then the decision is totally theirs. For those who have a real passion for dance, they will not stop dancing. For those who are waffling because their interests, abilities, personalities, goals, etc. are leaning toward more suitable pursuits, they will take the opportunity and start easing themselves out of the dance world. Dance is a very tough pursuit, both physically and emotionally. As has been suggested, every dancer is going to handle those pressures differently. The key is to give your dancer the room that they need to vent, seriously consider other options and imagine themselves doing something totally different with their time and their future, in order to help them figure out if dance is where they should be. That is a lot easier said than done, when parents' money, time and dreams have all become as wrapped up in dance as the child! Another thing to listen for is when you start hearing the murmurings of discontent when everything is going well in the ballet world for your dancer. It is to be expected to hear such grumblings when they are upset over casting, competition and jealousy with other dancers, problems with a teacher or director, when they are tired, hurt, unhappy with their progress, etc. But, when they are dancing the lead, the director loves them, they are getting all the attention they want in class, lots of encouragement about their abilities, they have many friends at the studio AND you start hearing them talk about leaving their residency or summer program, then it is time to really perk up your ears and start listening to what they are NOT saying. This is when Mom, The Investigator, has to go into overdrive trying to discover what they are thinking and feeling. It's sure not easy or fun! My best to all who must grapple with this predicament. It comes along for just about everyone who parents a dancer, at some point in the journey!