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SarahenPointe

A and B Plans: College & Company together

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Pasdetrois   
Pasdetrois

I have a few thoughts! First, of all, a day off is essential, emotionally, physically and mentally. Swim, take a yoga class, something else on a designated day off if the need to keep in shape is seen as a seven day a week necessity. It is essential!

 

Next, having the goal of a major company is that of every dancer out there who is dancing seriously at 16. However, the reality is, the 'major' part of the equation is not realistic, not even for the kids in the big school. The truth is that many smaller companies have brilliant, talented, beautiful dancers. If your daughter really wants a company job, she needs to be willing to dance somewhere other than those we all know are the 'major' companies. I have read on this site that those who truly want to dance professionally are willing to take contracts when and where they are offered. Two years from now, your DD will be on the audition circuit. Many, many exceptional dancers do not get jobs. This year former trainee's and II company members took other trainee and II company spots in order to keep dancing. These are dancers from top schools. The reality is that ballet is not a fair profession and it's a hard one. Most definitely subjective rather than objective. I may sound negative but it is my reality.

 

Regarding university along with the realities of company life. I know, many, many dancers leave companies with bachelors degrees. I've seen a couple head straight to med school. However, it's a slow process. Taking one class at a time over many, many years. The reality is, that an entry level dancer is facing a work load they really can not imagine. Exhaustion is the name of the game and getting used to the demands of a company will take time. I really believe that trying any academics immediately is foolhardy. Both school work and dancing will suffer. The only dancer I saw do this lost his contract because he was trying to work for two masters. There is a time when school is possible, but, it's after becoming well established in a company when the work load is adjusted to.

 

All this said, applying for universities in the senior year is essential. All dancers in this age group need a plan 'B'. I know many it's been a God send to.

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Pointe1432   
Pointe1432
The reality is, that an entry level dancer is facing a work load they really can not imagine. Exhaustion is the name of the game and getting used to the demands of a company will take time. I really believe that trying any academics immediately is foolhardy. Both school work and dancing will suffer. The only dancer I saw do this lost his contract because he was trying to work for two masters. There is a time when school is possible, but, it's after becoming well established in a company when the work load is adjusted to.

 

For me personally the opposite has been true. I did take one semester off when I took my traineeship. But the times I was a trainee or an apprentice were the times when I was able to do more school than I can now. Perhaps it was youthful energy :bouncing:

 

I think everyone's situation is different of course, but for me, now that I have established my career my work load is harder than it was in my early years. When we're in season, generally I dance a lot, which is great. But as a result I am more exhausted and of course now that I'm a few years older my body simply requires more maintenance, which takes time. I'm glad I did the coursework I did earlier on in my career.

 

I think at times it can be smart to not enroll your first semester in a new program until you can assess your work load. And sometimes you have to be willing to adjust your workload semester by semester and try to honestly gauge what you can handle and still maintain your sanity. :3dnod:

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Momof3darlings   
Momof3darlings

Pointe1432, we really appreciate your contributions to this discussion! Hearing from a dancer who is "there" is important.

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Pasdetrois   
Pasdetrois

Pointe 1432 I think you bring up a very good point, each person and situation is different. No one can make this judgement call but the individual dancer. No company can make the requirement that a dancer can't do academics, unless of course it is in their contract and I have not heard of that being a fact. But, I have heard of dancers being asked not to take academics initially.

 

I also believe each company is different. All programs are not created equal. How they work and the expectation level for/of an entry level dancer. Some are worked hard and long for long hours and physical exhaustion is a reality. This year I know of trainee's, II company members as well as first year corp dancers all in different companies and I know of only one who is doing academics and is already feeling it is a bad mistake. I'm talking an academic high achiever who is a bit of a work-a-holic. Next semester will be different for him.

 

For pointe1432 academics were a plus and maybe this whole scenario is one with a moot answer, there really isn't one. For the dancer who is at the studio for potentially 10 hours a day, including breaks, lets not forget union requirements, where do you fit academic classes. Pre dawn or after dark with understanding professors for performance weeks. I know dancers make this work, too many go onto grad school the day after they leave ballet. My concern is jeopardizing two such important elements of a dancers life.

 

As with all things in life you can not have it all, at least not all at once. The idea pointe1432 made of waiting at least one semster or term is an excellent one.

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spazcyn   
spazcyn

MY OH MY OH MY! You guys are the best. This is yet another reason BT4D is such an invaluable resource. Thank you all SOOO much for your responses. A whole lot to think about and I'm sure many many MANY "reality checks" with DD forthcoming. My one initial impression from everything I'd read over so far (well, "glanced over" is more accurate since I need some time to really read/absorb it all):

 

:bouncing:

 

 

I have such respect and outright awe for all of you who have navigated through these treacherous waters with mental capacity and sense of humor intact. (Now excuse me while I cheerfully go into the darkest corner I can find and :3dnod:)

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Momof3darlings   
Momof3darlings

Here's some older threads in the same general area of discussion for your reading pleasure but please do continue the discussion here.

 

part time study vs. company

 

plan A or B, mum's the word

 

Brutal dose of reality

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swanchat   
swanchat

Our dd is also convinced she can dance professionally and work towards a college degree. We've been looking in to "external" college programs. Courses on-line or with limited class time and more self-study that lead to a college degree. The approach is like the executive programs designed for working professionals. Of course, if her company works with a college that would be wonderful!

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Pointe1432   
Pointe1432

I completely forgot about online courses and correspondence work!

 

This is not something I am particularly good at, I really function better in an actual classroom setting. But I know a number of dancers who have done this and done this quite well.

 

However, my still out standing science class is quickly becoming a thorn in my side. I am maxed out in credits I can transfer from a CC, so any remaining coursework has to be done through a university. Since my current program is through a private university which can be rather expensive, my adviser has been helpful in making other suggestions, particularly schools with some sort of correspondence program.

 

Some that he recommended were Louisiana State University, Texas State University, University of Florida, University of North Dakota, and University of Nebraska. (PS No affiliation! Just information! :) ) I think these were ones that he had personal experience with and had no trouble with transferring of credits. I think he was also keeping in mind some of my personal course requirements because I know there are a great deal more programs like these out there.

 

When I did my initial thumb through of these programs I was really surprised at how different they were. One of them gave the student something like 9 months to complete coursework (maybe longer, I don't remember specifically off-hand). During Nutcracker season I know we could all use flexibility like that :thumbsup:

 

This is something I almost wish I had done sooner. Part of why I still don't have that science class is because of scheduling difficulty. When I moved to a new state and a new CC, I lost my registration priority that I had been gaining. And since the science classes I was looking into filled a common Gen. Ed. requirement they always filled up quickly and I was out of luck. :dry:

 

And now that I'm a little bit older, I am less interested in an authentic "college experience" and sitting in a classroom of 18-21 year old students. I think most dancers carry their discipline from dancing into their academics (and other aspects of their life). But this discipline is not always the case with the "normal" just out of high school young adult. As a young dancer with a long list of goals (as every single one of your DKs seem to have!) I started feeling "old" in some classes (particularly Gen. Ed.) rather quickly. And now that I'm in my late 20s, married, and thinking about having children of my own it has become even more true. Now I want the education, not the experience.

 

Anyway, sorry to babble on again! It just seems that school is always on my brain these days and this has given me an opportunity to procrastinate :) But now back to American Literature!

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swanchat   
swanchat
And now that I'm a little bit older, I am less interested in an authentic "college experience" and sitting in a classroom of 18-21 year old students. I think most dancers carry their discipline from dancing into their academics (and other aspects of their life). But this discipline is not always the case with the "normal" just out of high school young adult. As a young dancer with a long list of goals (as every single one of your DKs seem to have!) I started feeling "old" in some classes (particularly Gen. Ed.) rather quickly. And now that I'm in my late 20s, married, and thinking about having children of my own it has become even more true. Now I want the education, not the experience.

 

DD's brother is a typical college student.... loves all the extra-curricular fun and nonsense. He has had a very hard time understanding why dd doesn't want to have the same experience. She's just different; even if she were to go straight to college and forgo dance altogether, she wouldn't fit that mold. I think the discipline just makes her different than most college students I have known (including myself). She has already found success with on-line courses for high school although she says math and science are harder to grasp online than in a classroom. I think she should be fine for on-line college if that's what she needs to do to gain her college degree. She is MOST adamant that she have a college degree-not just for a back up plan but also for "something to do when my body and brain just can't take anymore ballet." She thinks she'll be 40 when that happens. :) Of course, as Mother Theresa said, " Wanna make God laugh? Tell him you have plans!" :)

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gimpydancer   
gimpydancer

Pointe1432 - I believe Indiana University's online and independent study courses are well regarded (OK, I am a bit biased as an alumnus!). I took all my undergrad accouting classes (my BS is in business but not accounting) through IU's independent study program when my dd was little and had no problem transferring the credits to the University of Hawaii for my Masters in Accounting. I believe I was allowed 12 months to finish each course (18 months when we were stationed overseas). Took me seven years to finish six classes but it got done!

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gogators   
gogators

When considering online college courses vs in-class instruction, I think one needs to consider what major or type of courses he/she is going to concentrate on. If the dk is interested in majoring in something like literature or writing, a science like chemistry or biology, or a math-based major such as engineering or architecture (or a combination of any of the above), I think it's best to choose learning primarily in a classroom setting v.s. online courses.

 

Class discussions and literary critiques of one's work with fellow students & professors, one-on-one discussions & conferences with professors, and classes in a laboratory setting, I think, cannot be duplicated in an online learning environment.

 

There are other factors to consider which are offered on a college campus other than just "fluff" like football games and the associated social scene.

 

But this is not to say that online learning should be discounted. It can certainly help a dk get started on a college degree, esp. since it's more flexible when a dk's dance schedule will be limited.

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Tiffany   
Tiffany

One more thought about online learning-out of state tuition is not charged for online classes at some colleges/universities. For example, I'm getting my masters through the Univ of South AL and they don't charge out of state tuition for their online classes.

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jmh4   
jmh4

Of course, as Mother Theresa said, " Wanna make God laugh? Tell him you have plans!"

 

Sorry about being off topic - sort of.

 

Swanchat that is a fantastically appropriate quote. Thanks for making my day!

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spazcyn   
spazcyn
Of course, as Mother Theresa said, " Wanna make God laugh? Tell him you have plans!"

 

Boy, is that ever true.

 

I've had some time to read over everyone's well-considered posts, and there is just so much to consider and like so many of you have said, this is such an individual path for everyone. There are definitely more options available now to DKs contemplating trying to do both than before (community college undergrad coursework, online courses, part-time college). Thankfully as DD just started her sophomore year, she has some time to consider a Plan A, B, and C and then just see where things stand with her at certain points along the way. For now the plan is tentatively to continue her college prep-level coursework, maintain that 4.0 GPA if she can, and probably have a Plan A-ballet future and a Plan B-college future (with appropriate college applications/visits as needed), and then as the time approaches, see which path looks most promising at that time. I'm sure neither she nor my husband or me really comprehend what she (or we) are in for with all this (although again if all of us knew exactly all that would be required even to this point, how many of us would have followed the same path versus "run screaming into the night?") So far this process has its share of difficult moments already, and I fully expect that as the stakes rise, so will the level/quantity of "difficult moments," but so far the way to support it for her has sort of "presented itself" as we've gone along. I guess the answer in our case at least is to keep planning for both and then try and have some faith and just help her evaluate/recognize the path that presents itself.

 

Again thanks to all of you for your responses. I am sure I will referring back to these posts many, many times as the next couple of years unfold.

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Momof3darlings   
Momof3darlings

Since she's just started her sophomore year, take this summer and visit a couple of non-dance colleges on the long list just because. While you may have to go again if she chooses one of them, she can at least get a feel for whether she ever likes them or not. And that certainly helps cut down on the number Junior year when she still has a performance schedule to work around.

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