Career Planning: Maximizing student chances
Posted 30 November 2001 - 06:33 PM
When a dedicated dancer, 16, dancing in a well-known pre-pro school for around 30 hours per week asks whether she should stay at the school for the technique or go to a company-affiliated school (should she be asked to stay after the summer program) in order that they may choose her to apprentice, what would you say?
Many of the students in the school go on to companies after their training at her present school, and there are even some 20 to 25 year olds in the school. But I think the question is not the training at her present school. It is excellent. It is the management of a career in a field that is highly competitive. So the question at some point for every dancer has to become, "How do I do this for a living? What can I do to increase my chances?" My daughter is doing well, getting first cast parts, and being highly motivated after a summer of reconsidering dance as a career. Now that she is blazing her trail, where does the trail need to go? I know that some of you have said that college will definitely come first. I say, she should apply to college then defer if she gets accepted to a company. Her academics are good. But afer spending this much blood sweat and tears over something so dear to her heart, how does a parent advise? The school doesn't get involved in that decision, as far as I know.
Posted 30 November 2001 - 07:02 PM
There are pros and cons to both.
There is more visibility at a company affiliated school (many other companies will come to look at students, too)and you can usually count on first rate training, but there are also many more students and less individual attention. Sometimes students can get lost in the shuffle. Some students do not do well living away from the support of their families. It is a big financial commitment as well.
As always, it depends on the dancer.
Posted 30 November 2001 - 07:26 PM
I'm still a mother of a young dancer so any advice I have to give would all be based on hearsay...which of course we all know is inadmissable. [img]biggrin.gif[/img]
You did ask "The" question that all eventually have to try to answer. This should generate some cyber conversation. Good luck!
Posted 30 November 2001 - 08:59 PM
My daughter's school actively works to place dancers when they're ready. They have connections to a number of major and regional companies, including ABT, Boston, Joffrey etc. They've arranged for some of their dancers to audition by taking company class rather than doing a standard audition. These connections have paid off because they have graduates in a variety of companies.
In the past my husband and I wondered about how the school handled such things. We didn't want to be presumptuous and we didn't know if it was up t to us to make an overture to the director. We had decided that we'd ask when our daughter reached junior year in high school. But we didn't have to because the AD brought it up herself last spring, letting us know the general plan. And more recently, the teacher who's really active in helping dancers get placed has let us know he's thinking about our daughter now.
Actually, after years of listening to the teachers during conference time talk about the future in vague general terms, we're suddenly shocked to find that it's here, now, in the present. The teachers are looking seriously at our daughter and making their plans to guide her.
So, in answer to your question, if your daughter's present school doesn't have a system in place to help their dancers find jobs, or if their system doesn't include your daughter (which, unfortunately, is also part of the bigger picture sometimes), then I'd say, yes, by all means she should attend that other school if you're certain THEY'LL guide her. It would be important to know what they do if she doesn't fit into their plans for THEIR company.
LMCTech spoke about other companies coming to see the pool of dancers. Does that already happen at your daughter's school? If not, that would be another reason to look at a different place.
These are the years we've been both dreading and longing for, aren't they? My daughter's also decided to apply to colleges but defer. I think it's the only wise decision. The latest wrinkle is that there are ballet companies teetering right now, esp. after Sept. 11 and there may very well be a much larger pool of dancers looking for jobs come the next couple of years.
"Step we gaily, on we go
Heel for heel and toe for toe
Arm in arm and row on row
All for Mairi's wedding."
~ Scottish folk song
Posted 30 November 2001 - 09:04 PM
This is enough to make us moms totally crazy and we aren't even the ones putting their tender young lives on the line.
Posted 01 December 2001 - 12:05 AM
As to schools trying to place students in professional companies, that is very difficult, and they all have to go through an audition process, no matter how the audition is arranged. A teacher does not send a student to a director of a major company unless they are very sure that the student is ready and definite potential for that company.
We have had dancers who are well suited for our own company, and have discussions with the director who has watched them in their last couple of years. Some he takes, some he doesn't. Some have worked out and some have not. A lot depends on the dancer, and not necessarily on their technique. One who was in the school for a year, then an apprentice with the company for a year, is now a principal and first cast in every lead role. Another, who was very strong technically, let things go and just kind of lost it and did not last with this company. In recent years we have graduated dancers who have gone into ABT II and then Joffrey (doing principal roles), PNB (apprentice and now company), Houston Ballet, and The National Ballet of Finland. Every dancer has to be dealt with individually, in terms of what he/she is best suited for, including the educational aspect. Many dancers who go through the program and become very good dancers are just not physically suited to major professional companies. When there is a major talent in the school, then that talent will be evident to all, and it will be a lot easier for that dancer to find a job. The percentage of dancers in any program who are major talents is very limited. Some of them may still work, but if you are thinking that just because they graduate from a good school with good technique that they will get a job handed to them, dream on. Would we like to place every student? Of course! But that is not realistic.
[ December 02, 2001: Message edited by: Victoria Leigh ]
LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS...
...IT'S LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN! [Unknown]
Posted 02 December 2001 - 01:42 AM
Posted 02 December 2001 - 10:20 AM
This whole subject has obviously generated quite a bit of thought. I just want to thank everyone for their valuable insights here.
In my opinion, this site offers a tremendous amount to ballet parents and the thoughtfulness and genuine concern of the moderators, as well as the other posters, is remarkable. [img]smile.gif[/img]
Posted 02 December 2001 - 11:21 AM
Ballet Talk for Dancers Ballet Master.
Posted 03 December 2001 - 12:51 AM
Posted 03 December 2001 - 01:05 AM
PS. Omigawd! I just broke 4000 posts! [img]smile.gif[/img]
[ December 02, 2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]
Ballet Talk for Dancers Ballet Master.
Posted 03 December 2001 - 03:07 PM
The perfect nomme de plume (or should I say nomme de guerre)for a critic.
Posted 28 September 2003 - 10:14 PM
Again, please forgive if this one has been hashed to death, also.
Remember - you get out of life what you settle for.
Posted 28 September 2003 - 10:31 PM
Ballet Talk for Dancers Ballet Master.
Posted 28 September 2003 - 11:49 PM
I realized that sending your dd to a "pre-prof" school isn't always prudent. As I posted in one of your other topics, my dd was taught improperly.
Just because teachers dance well, such as the case where my dd attended, doesn't make them good/great teachers. For example, ABT would rather give a young dancer a scholarship to take back to her home school for training, rather than pull them away from home. From what I understand, ABT figures that if a child is getting good training at home, why should they leave the facility they're at.
Also understand, many schools which are attached to large companies, use the money to facilitate the company. Ultimately, buyer beware.
I hope I haven't offended anybody. I am not saying all "pre-prof" schools are as undesirable as ours has been, but mistakes in training can happen just about any where.