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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Pasdetrois

Deferring College Dance Acceptance

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Guest balletandsynchro

pasdetois, balletbooster has posted some very good points above! I think that you also need to consider what is better for your child: an unpaid traineeship, a you-yourself pay tuition traineeship, or a University ballet program. This is definitely something to consider, and something that my DD and we as a family had to discuss together. Not to mention the size of many trainee programs and how many dancers end up with paying work after completing the 1-2 year traineeship program. For everyone on the board, believe me, I am NOT dissing the unpaid, or you-yourself pay trainee programs! I am simply stating that it is just one more factor to consider.

 

I myself and my daughter herself have spoken to and/or emailed people who are graduates of Butler and IU. The ladies have all graduated within the last three years and all are now dancing professionally, or did for a couple of years. know that there are several parents who post on this board who have daughters that were extended pro-offers and chose to attend University instead. Additionally, both Universities mentioned above do allow students to continue to audition in the spring, so by no means is a student precluded if ready to audition.

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joyellen

I would just add that my DD, who has opted to take the college route, had similar concerns to those you expressed Pasdetrois. In particular, she was somewhat surprised (and disappointed) by the range of dancers in the auditions. When we actually visited the school, however, she was delighted to see that the quality of the students who were actually accepted and attended the school was excellent. In fact, she even felt a bit intimidated, not unlike that first day at a top SI. And I echo the impression expressed above, from my very limited perspective, it does seem as though things are moving away from deferring college and a lot of very talented dancers, even those who seek a professional career, are going into the college programs.

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Pasdetrois

One thing I learnt about my DD this year is that she is beyond sensitive. She started the audition circuit and saw herself as in with a good chance but as the weeks went by what she experienced was that her body type was getting in the way. As she put it she could diet herself to death but she could never diet bones away. This started a downward spiral and she is now in a very negative place. I really think that accepting the university spot would give her time to heal and the opportunity to keep dancing and in her eyes, not waste time. Let's face it, without a college degree the world is no longer your oyster. Dead end jobs are just that, dead end and she sees what so many do not pay as well as not bring to your life..

 

As I write I know she feeling bruised and battered and I don't want to see her walk away from something she loves so much because of the negatives of recent weeks. I actually, came to this awareness because of a couple of you who PM'd me and you got me thinking. The bottom line is that so few dancer get company jobs and she maybe reading writing on the wall that may not there be there. There is a negative attitude in our school about university programs for the serious, company bound dancer. She's been told she has all it takes for a career. Professional dancers have told her that a company is going to love her not only for her beauty, strength and reliability as a dancer but because of her incredible brain and her sponge like ability to get choreograpy and keep it.

 

She's strong willed and won't be bullied or pushed. This trend in hiring older dancers I understand and it maybe good for companies but the wages offered the II company kids, even in well paying companies are rarely living wage. It's hard to still be living off Mom and Dad at 22!

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balletbooster

pasdetrois, I think we all understand the bias that exists among some in the dance profession regarding college dance. What I and others above are suggesting is that you can be the catalyst for changing the perspective your daughter has about college dance. I well understand how potent the comments of faculty at the home studio can be for a teen trying to make decisions. But, you can come to the table well armed with good information, real life experiences of those who have gone the college route and are now dancing professionally and the other knowledge you can gain from those here who have dancers who have been in college dance programs. As has been noted by joyellen, the audition class is not always the best way to guage the level of dance at a college program. Watch several classes, at several levels. Attend a performance or two. And most importantly, find out what grads of the program are doing and if/how dance is a part of their life.

 

As to the issue of making a living wage as a dancer, it is an ongoing problem. What I've seen at my daughter's current pro company is that most of the pros are juggling another job to make ends meet. All of the pros here are over age 21, as are all of the apprentices. There are several with college degrees and I know of at least one who is using her college degree (which was a double major in dance at one of the top ballet programs, along with another subject) to do consulting work to help pay her bills. It is very possible that your 21/22 year old will end up in a low or non-paying job the first year, if she pursues dance after college. She will however, have four years of maturity on her side, that can assist her in juggling another job (and give her the tools to do so) while pursuing her love of dance. If she dances for several years before going to college, she will likely not be in a position to support herself through college on her own either and will still be in the same boat of needing your assistance to pay her tuition and apt. or juggling an extra job to make ends meet. So, I'm not sure that there is a clear road to self sufficiency by the age of 21/22, if dance is part of the equation. :P

 

I do empathize with your daughter's ambivalence and uncertainty right now. It is very disheartening to work so hard for a goal, be told by those who should know that you have a clear shot and then find that you are not successful. But, college shouldn't be seen as something she settles for. It can be viewed as an active and positive choice to continue training, while broadening her choices. How she perceives her choices will depend in some measure on external input, like her peers and teachers, but your impact can be very powerful!

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Taradriver

I am reminded of what some very astute BT'ers wrote me when dd was half out of her mind making her college decision. The next 4 years are not set in stone. If your dd really doesn't like the college ballet experience after a year, she can explore other options.

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AsleepATheWheel

I hope that parents of dk's who are several years from graduation are reading this thread as well as those who are about to make that big decision this year. Dk's should be considering college acceptances and attendance as very real and positive options, not as a sudden fork or dead end in the road. Considering how many people post on this board and the even greater number who read but don't post...there cannot possibly be jobs for all of our kids. There has been at least one thread about numbers of kids training funneling into the 3 or 4 actual jobs that are open at the end of each year and numerous mentions of the tight job market in this field, not to mention the pay scale.

 

There will be the segment of dk's who choose to either defer college, or who have not applied and intend to spend a year or two, supported by parents, as they spend a finishing year at a school connected with a company, or perhaps continue on at their own school. That is their choice. There will be others, whose desire to dance and learn has led them to audition and apply at colleges where they can continue their ballet training as well as accumulate credits toward a degree.

 

I think it's smart for those of us whose kids aren't quite at this juncture yet to take notes and prepare for this rapidly approaching time in our kids lives. Since the career of ballet dancer is not one that is guaranteed upon completion of a program, it's really appropriate for our kids to consider options that help them to become independent and self-sufficient adults.

 

It's also important for all of us to note that no matter how well trained our dancers are, this is not going to automatically get them gainful employment with a company. Curvy, not curvy, tall, short, whatever, it's up to the AD's of these various companies to choose the dancers that reflect their taste at that moment. As the kids have grown up dancing, all of us, including our kids, should have figured this out by now. AD's don't give a hoot what we happen to think about the body types they are selecting for their companies and it would behoove our kids (and us) to pay attention to this type of thing so it does not come as a big surprise when they are not selected from the hundreds of dancers at each audition.

 

Merde to those who are now about to graduate from high school and go on to college as well as those who are working toward company positions and a special merde to those who are trying to do both.

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Robin G

Pasdetrois, I suppose it's getting very close to decision time for your daughter. It's great when a dancer gets a Company position, especially right out of high school, but you must know the statistics vs. spots available. I think a quick change of attitude is needed. If you feel the dance department you looked at is not up to snuff with her past training, you are most likely at the wrong dance program. I SO agree with balletbooster (the ever-wise) that you cannot look at a university program as a failure to get that dance job. In the right program it's not unusual to have been top cookie at your pre pro program only to find others better than you! You don't want a dead end and college dance shouldn't be that. You should expect to keep training at the highest quality. It's likely your curvy dancer will network much more in college and maybe even find that Company where her curves fit. Today's top choreographers hit the college dance departments to spread their work to all those fine college dancers! As Taradriver (also the wise) says if college doesn't work out it's easy enough to transfer out (easier than breaking a contract)! It might be possible to check into other university programs and start college in January-best to carefully find the right place. I strongly feel a college degree is an honor and a great achievement. These are changing times where dance is still a strong possibility along with college. I believe college is the finest place for new doors of opportunity.

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bobbypinfinder

I can tell you, as a parent of a 10th grader, I am reading every word of this thread and the related others. The problem we are having is leaving both options open. How does one train at such a high level AND educate at a level that will hopefully lead to scholorships to a good college? All during those last two important years. I am scared for my dd, if she did not love it so much, I would be tempted to stop it all right now. What's the point? Maybe the time and money could be better spent on her education. Then I feel bad for not believing in her and her dreams. :) I am pretty sure though, if a college scholorship offer was on the table...we would be pushing, pulling, dragging her in that direction.

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joyellen

I can't speak for everyone, but I know others have mentioned this before, the discipline of ballet has made my DD a better student. I have to confess that I have been so focused on supporting her in dance, that I was surprised when I realized at the beginning of her senior year that she was ranked very high in her graduating class. Moreover, because her focus continued to be on dance, my DD wasn't applying to Harvard and Yale. Yet, the schools she applied to found her a very desirable student academically and artistically. She had to interview for one of the scholarships, and I have no doubt that the poise from years of dancing served her well there! Anyway, I guess the one thing I did learn from all of this is that the most important thing that you can do as a parent is investigate and help your DD see what all of the options are. If we had simply listened to those around us, DD's choices would have been much more limited. This board was invaluable!

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dance1soccer1

Yes, parents of high schoolers, start your discussions with your children NOW! As academically oriented parents, we really expected our DD to go on to college. We (and she) did what you are "supposed" to do academically, and she is at the top of her school. She did all the applications, won college places and scholarships (plus, of course, her share of rejections - dance and academic), and then, turned EVERY ONE down. Without discussing it with us. Without consulting her academic teachers. Without regard to anyone but herself. Wrote letters, deferred two programs, rejected all the others. Informed us of her decision, gave us copies of the letters, and cruised out the door to dance class. Talk about shocked! We had "heard" her say that she was not going to college now, but as the fat envelopes rolled in, we didn't take that seriously. We should have HEARD her. We should have been prepared. We assumed she'd eventually cave in and go to one of the lovely programs offered. Nope! So pay attention to your child, and think about what you will do when that dancer makes his or her decision.

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jmh4

I too, am reading this thread with great interest. I know we will soon have to make some very difficult decisions. It is so helpful to read of everyone's opinions & experiences

 

Dd is feeling so stressed right now by the immense pressures of school & ballet. You are correct bobbypinfinder - it is very difficult to both dance & study at equally high levels. Dd is finding it so difficult to maintain one without neglecting the other!

 

I truly sympathize with PasdeTrois & others who are at this juncture. We are following closely behind. This is such a meaningful topic. I hope you will all continue to share your experiences, decisions & outcomes.

 

Best of Luck to all travelling down this difficult path!

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balletbooster

dance1, what does your daughter plan to do next year? Has she received a company offer? Will she continue to train locally or go to a post grad program? Clearly, she has some plan in mind, even if she did not share it with you first!

 

Sounds like you have raised a very independent young woman! It is nice that she has kept her college options open until next year. She is very young for college, so maybe her very decisive actions, without your consent, are her way of telling you that she is simply not ready for this step at her age, in spite of her ability to compete academically and dance-wise at the college level.

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dance1soccer1

Balletbooster: My DD has a few, not quite solid, ballet job offers that she is contemplating and working on over the summer. If that doesn't work out, then she has a fairly nearby trainee/training opportunity, complete with older roommates and a tentative apartment. She says she is tired of school, tired of being around "kids" all day at school, and wants to dance full time. It has definitely been very hard for her to balance intensive dance training with extensive and challenging academics. Yes, indeed, we have raised an independent person! Sometimes it is hard for us to believe she's just 16.

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2marzipans

I also have a head-strong, "I know what I want" daughter. She graduated at 17, and also turned down college acceptances and scholarships in her senior year. She did not choose to defer. She has spent the last two years training at CPYB, and she has managed to fit in a few college courses during that time. No job yet this year, her first year auditioning for companies, although she did pretty well at auditions. She received two invitations to be evaluated for positions that required attendance at company SI's. The expenses were more than we could handle, so she had to turn them down. She only managed to do a few company auditions, mostly due to rehearsals. She will be at CPYB again next year, but the college applications will probably be going out next fall. She also will be doing many more company auditions next year. Hopefully something will fall into place. She received all acceptances to SI's this year, including two scholarships, so that was positive. After the third year (next year), we feel she needs to be in college full-time. With her AP credits and the credits she received part-time, she at least will not be starting from scratch. I don't know if she will apply as a dance major or just fit dance around her academics.

 

I just wanted to tell you my daughter's experiences to show another path your dk's can take. Congratulations to everyone on their acceptances.

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4everyoung

With the limited number of ballet positions each year, there does seem to be a growing consensus among ballet students that college coupled with continued ballet training is advisable. I'm hoping that ADs who trained in a totally different environment do not view college attendance as somehow closing the door on ballet, since they are the ones doing the hiring. These posts have been about college and university dance programs where students may continue their training while pursuing a second major or may graduate with a BFA in dance with liberal arts credits. I'm wondering what is the view toward enrolling in a liberal arts university and continuing to train outside the university . Do you think four days per week of ballet training in addition to a full time college schedule (4 courses or 12 credits) would be feasible?

 

PK, since you are affiliated with Princeton University, I was wondering: do you personally feel that the students there who have had pre-pro training through high school are able to continue training at a pre-pro level at Princeton ? Princeton has a certificate program with a focus on modern, but the website also promotes daily ballet class and a nearby pro school. Another BTD thread discusses that Harvard's student ballet company has former pros as members. Would you think the dance opportunities at ivy leagues, generally, or specifically limited to your experiences at Princeton, would be of a calibre to permit classically trained students to audition professionally after college? Are the academic demands too rigorous to devote the necessary time to dance? I imagine a commitment to continued professional training would require limiting some extra-curricular involvement on campus, as was the case in high school. Assuming you are willing to do that , is 4 or 5 days per week of outside training feasible at an ivy? Anyone????

 

I've got a tough choice to make by Monday !!! :sweating:

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