Decision for 16-year-old
Posted 15 May 2012 - 03:26 PM
The school director is wonderful and she said dd could restart the structured modern and ballet program in September. So, what is the problem? Well, dd is considering continuing in the "Open" program rather than rejoin the set ballet program for several reasons. First, she'd get to choose all of her classes and teachers, and right now it is only for body conditioning classes, but she can see the potential for how next year after surgery she could choose only classes/instructors that she most wanted rather than following the set program that was given to her. She is considering the option of taking full-time open adult classes- 6 ballet, 5 modern, 5 contemporary, pilates, floor barre, and limited pointe after she's healed fully (or something close to this schedule) with all of her favorite teachers in the most challenging classes. The other reason that she is considering continuing with the open program, is that she also is a dancer in a completely different style and she gets offered many jobs and opportunities to work in this unrelated field. If she stays in the structured program, there is no flexibility to do these other dance jobs- she can only participate in them if they happen when she is not involved with her program. This severely limits her ability to take these jobs, which she also enjoys very much, and she hopes to work in this other field for a portion of her career.
The problem with her piecing together her own schedule is twofold. First, she will have no performances in modern, contemporary, and ballet if she is not enrolled in a structured dance program. The classes in the adult program are all drop-in, with no mid/end-of-year shows. Secondly, although my dd will be taking at least 2 classes each week with each of the instructors that she chooses (so she will get to know them), she will not be offered repertory, and the classes will all be individual with no continuity from week to week, as you's find in a set program.
Can a student progress sufficiently under these circumstances? Or is it necessary to be involved in a structured program where she will be nurtured, observed, graded and where she will have performance opportunities?
What do you all think of a 16-year-old becoming independent in this way (she's highly motivated and will not skip classes if she is not accountable to a certain program) and just "taking classes" as a path to a college modern dance program?
I know this is complicated, but we are attempting to try to serve two completely different "dance" masters, and we do not know if it is possible.
Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:45 PM
I think your DD knows what she's doing by putting a high priority on the tap gigs and building a schedule out of open classes - which I gather must be pretty good, given the volume of classes offered. In fact, I think her alternative pathway could prove to be an advantage, just as it was for my DD. But given the need for your DD to properly heal after surgery, I would strongly urge her to keep the long view and not rush too quickly back into those tap gigs.
Check out the University of Arizona's Jazz Dance Showcase and consider it as an opportunity to visit the school. I know your DD is thinking of modern-based schools around NYC, but UofA has professional ties with River North Dance, which I believe you made note of in another thread.
Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:31 AM
Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:55 AM
Does anyone else have opinions on this? I really do listen to your answers and weigh what you've all said, because many of you have so much experience with making dance decisions. Also, I am still wondering how important performance experience is to the college-bound (or even a modern-training-program bound) dancer.
Posted 16 May 2012 - 10:34 AM
For one, your daughter is aiming to be a contemporary dancer, which is why a structured and traditional program may not be the best fit for her. I've seen many young ballet students who are drawn more to the perfectionistic qualities of ballet than to the artistic qualities. Once they graduate high school and the illusion of control over something fades away when they can't find more advanced positions in the ballet world, they simply move on from dance and find something else to do. But your daughter seems to have a more artistic calling and the ability to take what she is seeking from different teachers and learn from all of them is to be respected. An artist needs to find their own voice, and no single program or teacher can offer that because then a student is merely copying and not synthesizing something new.
This is why I think a good modern-focused college program would actually delight in seeing a non-traditional resume because, after all, modern dancers pride themselves in being artists, first and foremost. Then I also think that learning from different, high-quality, teachers will give your daughter the opportunity to make those vital learning connections that cannot be made in isolation. It's this "je ne sais quoi" knowledge that cannot be taught - as hard as teachers try to convey it. This is part of what I was trying to get at in my "Going professional" posts about the need for adaptability and defining for oneself what art is. A diversely trained, contemporary dance student can benefit greatly from performance opportunities, but they can be in any style. The lesson is the performance, not the specific repertoire.
Of course, "the proof is in the pudding," so everything will be resting on your DD's college audition. At that point, she'll be very experienced in how to respond and take corrections from new teachers, so the audition should be a lot like attending another open class. She'll also have experience in "reading the room" and learning from her fellow students.
Hope that helps.
Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:50 AM