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Ballet Talk for Dancers
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Scholarship Offers

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werlkj

Thanks mouse, tsavoie, and dancemomCA for chipping in, and helping to make the point. Boys struggle and work and sweat just as hard as girls, and as memo and cheetah have pointed out, they are asked to do more and put up with more than most people realize. Yes, it costs parents to get their boys training, and no, scholarships are not just handed out willy-nilly. It's the lucky and talented hardworking boy who's training in a place that can afford it who gets help to ease his way...definitely not all boys.

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mouse

Hi!

So sorry! I used the word "paid" several times in my first sentence for effect. I didn't, however, want to be entirely redundant and changed my original second sentence to one that I should have re-read more carefully. I originally wrote:

 

"Some of the parents of these super-talented boys also paid and paid and paid and paid before the word "scholarship" was introduced into their vocabularies. Some of these parents paid and paid and paid until, years later, the phrase "full scholarship" was introduced."

 

I have freely admitted that I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT BALLET. I don't. I am, however, totally aware that my husband and I had nothing whatsoever to do with any and all scholarships, awards, medals, training decisions, choreography, and just about everything else (room assignments, menus, curfews, etc., etc., etc...) We didn't. I am terribly sorry if I implied/stated that we received anything from anyone at anytime.

Of course, my son EARNED everything he's ever received. I am very proud of his accomplishment. I am proud FOR HIM. I'm sorry if I made my post sound as give I deserve any credit for any of it. I don't. I just paid and allowed him to leave at age twelve. I am well aware of how insignificant these actions are. Please forgive me, Mel (and anyone else that took offense to my poor choice of words). It was just a lapse in my editing.

 

I only post on this board for two main reasons. First, I'm trying to learn a little about ballet. I would like to better understand reviews that are written so as to feel some small connection with my child's career that begins in August in another country. Telephone calling will become much less frequent due to costs and time-zone differences. So I read (especially the daily "links" on BT) and I post. Second, I thought sharing some of my experiences from the past ten years might be helpful to others at the beginning of this journey. Since I really know nothing about ballet, I freely admit I could be very, very wrong about this too.

 

I posted a reply to this thread because, years ago, I thought only the super-talented boys got scholarships. My child wasn't receiving any financial assistance. When he was eleven years old, we were paying $1000 a month in class, private lesson, and rehearsal fees. My neighbor's son (a couple years older and in another school) never paid for anything. I knew just enough, even then, that this future gold medalist was special. He is. The other boy at my son's school was also on a full scholarship. He's now in ABT Studio Company and headed to Jackson. I knew he was special. On the enrollment day of my son's first SI, we learned that other boys received full scholarships to the program. (We paid full price.) Even in our ballet stupidity, we could figure out that all these boys were special too. They were and still are. We assumed that the lack of such scholarship offers meant that our son was NOT special and NOT suited to a professional career and NOT going to be one of the super-talented or even moderately talent or even talented dancers of the future. This was NOT the case.

 

I am thrilled beyond words for the parents and the dancers that enjoy scholarships, girls and boys alike. I had hoped that by posting my thoughts, I might give a moment of comfort to another parent that is still paying for lessons and worried about the lack of a scholarship, wondering what this "lack" means (especially after reading that some people think boys get scholarships just because they are male! This does actually happen!) It is confusing and conflicting. It can cause a quite deal of worry.

 

One poster's very young son is enjoying a full scholarship. Hurrah! He merits it, I'm sure. There are others with boys that are older that do not have a scholarship. Some don't have a full scholarship. I had hoped that by posting I was helping them and their parents. I meant to be helpful. I thought I was sharing. I did not mean to state anything incorrectly. I am deeply sorry.

 

mouse

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werlkj

Hey mouse, I got it the first time. We all did. Mel's just kidding you. Don't worry about it. And you know what, you and your son's experience with paying for classes, etc. is the common one...other than your son quite obviously worked his tail off and apparently had a huge talent that took awhile for others to see. Congrats on your son, by the way. Mine met your younger son (while attending a concurrent program in MA a couple years ago) and yours was awfully proud of his older brother. My son looked him up and has been impressed ever since.

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werlkj

Mouse, you inadvertently described something that I've tried to explain to people for years... In the third paragraph from the end of your post, two out of the three boys you mentioned as having scholarships are now at top-notch companies. Did I get that right? And yours is now going to a great company too.

 

Three out of three boys--- interesting. Sounds like the percentage of talented boys in the pool of all boys studying ballet is perhaps significantly higher, indicating that boys self-select for ballet. I've long believed that the pool of all boys has different characteristics than the pool of all girls...meaning that their influences, behaviors, (whatever the words are I'm looking for...my pathetic science/math background is decades old) is significantly different. The groups really can't be compared.

 

Help me out, somebody.

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mouse

Hi!

Before responding to Werlkj's request for input, I'd like to say that my entire family will be thinking about yours, Werlkj, as you face the choices ahead. My younger son does remember your dancer fondly and has often wondered how his ballet studies were progressing. When a dancer leaves home for a residency program, the dynamics of a family's relationships change. It is particularly difficult for a younger sibling. The challenges to deal with a too early "empty nest" syndrome are compounded when watching one son miss the other so badly.

 

Now, in my recent post I referred to several boys. ALL of them had full scholarships. ALL of them are currently employeed at very prestigious companies. I absolutely agree that: "the percentage of talented boys in the pool of all boys studying ballet is perhaps significantly higher, indicating that boys self-select for ballet". I cannot think of a better way of putting it. Over the past ten years in Columbia, SC more than half the young male dancers I've seen that seriously studied ballet have or are about to start professional careers. In fact, I can think of none that quit after about sixth or seventh grade. All that continued into high school dance now or will shortly begin professional careers. Each dancer KNEW (body, mind, soul, and every waking thought) that he WAS a dancer. There were no doubts on the dancers' parts. (Lots of doubts, worries, and tears on the parts of their parents!)

 

One more thing, how does one know when Mel is kidding? I figured I'd done something wrong, as usual. I figured that his post was meant to make me feel my significant ballet ignorance (which it did!) I was surprised, however, that he didn't post on the thread about "boys and privacy" something about male dancers appearing fully grown from the head of Zeus. If I remember correctly (which could be faulty!), Athena, godDESS of wisdom and war and patronESS of Athens, was the only one to be born in such a manner, hardly a man or male at all. To me, that would have been funny; suggesting that I thought I'd earned some sort of scholarship was embarrasing. Again, I apologize.

 

mouse

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Mel Johnson

Mouse, in my case, when in doubt, assume benevolent intent.

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AsleepATheWheel

Mouse, I think that you should have more confidence in the amount of knowledge that you have. You always say that you know nothing about ballet, but really, your years of experience with your son have taught you alot and now is your time to share.

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tsavoie

werlkj--I know the long drive to get decent class. Luckily, in decent traffic, ours is only an hour, but those hours sure add up. My son's first couple of months away were hard on him and hard on us, but....he told me that the highlight of residency was being able to roll out of bed and walk across the street to get to class. You are right about needing to look at this option for your older son. Other than SI's I was not able to find another option for the classes that my son needed to take. ITs hard, but seems to have worked out for us. GOod Luck, Terri

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mouse

Hi!

All I really have to do in order to know I'm "ballet-stupid" is to click on the topic listing fractured ballet terminology. I don't get most of it. For me, "fondu" IS a melted cheese dish. Once, when my son was about ten, I picked him up from ballet (he went six days a week and did homework until past 10 at night) and he was really angry. He threw his bookbag and ballet bag into the back of my utility van and announced, "My attitude sucks!". I thought this was quite strange but causally suggested getting more sleep. If looks could kill, there would have been a violent crash. Instead, in complete disgust, he responded, "No, Mom, it's a ballet position." Until last spring, I couldn't remember which had a straight leg, arabesque or attitude. I thought "straight and narrow" equals "attitude" and lovely Moorish architecture, with all their unique curves, equals "arabesque". WRONG! So, I've tried to think "just the opposite" but now I'm starting to reverse the opposite. I'm back to knowing NOTHING again. I seems to me that most of the ballet world works in ways totally foreign to my more orderly business life. That's actually saying something; what, I'm not sure. (My business IS in the arts, and I am a visual artist myself! I really thought there would be more similiarities.) Scholarships are just part of the confusion. There are talented male dancers at very young ages enjoying full scholarships and talented male dancers winning competition medals whose parents are paying for lessons. To an "outsider" or just a another "ballet-stupid" mother like me (or at least what I was ten years ago), this is completely strange. There are many "lurkers" on this board and reading these threads. Many are worried and trying to gauge how their sons are doing comparatively. They will read here about the responsiblities that come with scholarships, the types of scholarships, and scholarship-envy. They will read about the statistically higher amount of talent in the pool of boys dancing. All of this can be overwhelming. Despite our efforts otherwise, it would still be quite easy for one to think that there ought to be more of a correlation between scholarships and talent. Sure, the ones with scholarships EARNED them; they are talented; they deserve them; others ought not say cruel comments assuming that such an award was given just because the dancer is male; and scholarships often require more work than others are aware. What is equally important though, is the fact that each talented male dancer did NOT start off with a scholarship. Some "full" scholarships come little by little with the first installment made several years into the process. Boys with scholarships are talented but not all talented boys have scholarship, especially younger ones! I may know nothing about ballet, but I know quite a bit about worry and fear. This would have dispelled much of the anxiety years ago. I hope it helps those looking for assurance.

mouse

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Mel Johnson

But an arabesque IS a spiral. Superimpose the figure of a spiral over the arabesque line with the center at the head and see how the spiral tails out through the body and out the line of the leg. The "attitude" is THE position of Mercury in the famous sculpture by Giovanni di Bologna. Carlo Blasis (1803-1878) called it "the most noble of all artistic attitudes."

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