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Ballet Talk for Dancers
jwolfenden

What Do You Do? and How Do You Know?

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Mdballetmom   
Mdballetmom

9-12 APs is insane. The vast majority of colleges and universities do not require that. If the Ivy League is the only thing your dancer is aiming for, then sure, they need a very robust transcript along with a lot more. But come on! That is just feeding the frenzy and seems irresponsible of that counselor.

I agree! That many AP classes is not required. And unless your child takes the AP test, they do not receive college credit.

 

I have two non-dancing children currently in college. I've also worked in higher education for more than two decades. Colleges look at weighted (with AP courses) and unweighted GPAs. They would rather see an "A" in an honors course than a "B" in an AP.

 

Child #1 took AP courses and scored sufficiently on the AP tests to receive college credit. He was a recruited athlete who decided NOT to play in college. But due to AP exams he entered college with more than a full semester of gen-ed credit. Child #2 took NO AP courses, but his gpa was above a 3.95 unweighted. Child #2 received significant academic scholarships to every college he applied to. Child #1 received a STEM scholarship due to his major. Both are thriving.

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learningdance   
learningdance

Thanks for sharing Dancemaven. What a very impressive child and family you have!

 

Different kids/different capacities.

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MBdancers   
MBdancers

It is clear that there are many amazing children who can excel in many areas! I don't think that it can be overstated enough that the child must be the one managing all aspects of academic, ballet, and social life. We parents must let them find the balance that they can thrive on. Each child is unique in what they can handle. My only job is to support her as she reaches for her dreams. I am not involved in decisions about when she does homework and how many dance classes she takes. I just ask what support is needed each day.

 

Also, as someone who has direct experience in Ivy League admissions, the amount of AP courses taken (if any at all) is not what makes or breaks an application.

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lizzyhults1   
lizzyhults1

This is a completely overwhelming conversation. My DD is a junior. She works hard but certain courses are not her strong suite. She has a good GPA but finally came to terms last year she is not a straight A student. She struggles but pushes so gets into difficult classes. We are looking at options for colleges with good dance programs where she can work towards a PT degree as well, Conservatories which she would do PT later, and a thought of a Company. She is not sure what Companies are the right fit for her quite yet but we are working on that.

 

I feel we should be doing more but so much of it is done senior year. Fortunately she is in a place where she will not have many classes required her senior year.

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learningdance   
learningdance

lizzy. . I agree and that really wasn't how it started.

 

Somehow it spun into wimpy parents who underestimate their children's true capacities. While, of course this could be the case, the opposite can happen as well and I fear that.

 

So, you are not alone.

 

I like to quote my mother who, when confronted with overbearing opinions about child rearing would say,

 

"Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. As DD's parents I am sure that we are making mistakes. In fact, I know that we are. But as her parents we feel that we are best qualified to help her make decisions."

 

 

You.know.your.kid.

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jwolfenden   
jwolfenden

My daughter is a Sophomore and I have been thinking about these issues from the very beginning because, kids grow up so fast! I also see a lot of parents and kids are caught in their senior year without a clear path one way or another. That's what makes non recreational ballet so difficult. I mean it's hard enough to consider the vast variety of college programs and majors, let alone the high school preparation to make those choices viable. On top of it all is the nurturing of talent and an ever changing landscape of what exactly is required to make a dance dream a reality. I especially feel for parents who do not have a first hand experience with ballet. It is a world all it's own with so many variables and paths often it comes down to a parent's ability to support financially, rather than knowing the career/emotional support that is most beneficial to a child. Therefore...Perhaps the best plan is to not just have one plan, but multiple paths both academically and artistically. This might just be the surest bet if things should suddenly turn sideways in either pursuits.

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lizzyhults1   
lizzyhults1

learningdance, I love your mothers quote. It is so true. My DD is very much a ballerina but loves other genres of dance as well and is as good at them as ballet. This year we have gotten away from ballet only program auditions so she can hopefully experience something a bit different. This is driven 100 percent by her. As sad as she is not to be auditioning for the prestigious programs she has been in the last couple summers, she is excited at the new prospects. We have always just supported her. We do get pushback from others, you know the strong opinions on what she should do, so we tend to keep our plans quieter. But all this is prep for what after high school will hold for her. She will continue down each path i am sure until she figures out the best one for her.

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threegirlpileup   
threegirlpileup

It's interesting how everyone reads things differently--I didn't hear judgement so much as encouragement that kids can find a balance and pursue both dance and life outside of it.

 

My dd is 15 and certainly struggles with that balance (I actually started a whole thread about it myself a few months back!), but I also think some of the most important work of her adolescence is figuring that stuff out. Learning to live a balance life now will help her live a balanced life as she grows into an adult. I would not say that she is able to do it all--and certainly she can't do it all at once--but we've found ways that she can have enough dance and enough academics and enough of a social life. We do homeschool, which gives us more flexibility--but that is what we would be doing with or without dance in the picture.

 

I do find that a really important strategy for me is not to spend too much time listening to the worries/plans/advice of others, but to focus on what I see in my own kid, and trust that together we can craft a path and a plan that will work for her.

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dancemaven   
dancemaven

lizzy. . I agree and that really wasn't how it started.

 

Somehow it spun into wimpy parents who underestimate their children's true capacities. While, of course this could be the case, the opposite can happen as well and I fear that.

I am sorry you misconstrued my intent, and others', in sharing, learningdance.

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Secret   
Secret

Sometimes, I think we parents spend a bit too much time worrying about what our kids can/cannot do. I'm just saying, despite it taking some focus and discipline, it IS possible for these types of kids to do it all and do it well. It may depend on first giving them the chance to find their balance and see that they can succeed in doing it. Obviously, it may be too much for some and adjustments will need to be made as appropriate.


I can only urge other parents to think very carefully about what your child can handle.

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learningdance   
learningdance

I agree Secret.

 

I guess it is not possible for my DD to do it all and do it all well. She needs 8 hours of sleep. She's an introvert who needs time to unwind. She handles all of her homework, etc.

 

And yes Dancemaven for some adjustments do need to made, that's a good point.

 

Trying to legitimize concerns of too much, balancing pressure, and watching/listening to your kids.

 

I think that it's important to remember that different people have different psychological thresholds. Depression and anxiety begin in adolescence and kids can be put at risk in certain ways. A schedule that is perfect for one kid would be grinding and overwhelming for another. Swimming is indeed very demanding.

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Momof3darlings   
Momof3darlings
It's interesting how everyone reads things differently--I didn't hear judgement so much as encouragement that kids can find a balance and pursue both dance and life outside of it.

 

 

Thank you for saying this. I was beginning to believe there were deleted posts or something I was missing. I haven't seen any judgement of parenting. What I have seen is a pretty vibrant discussion (give and take) of things brought up in this thread concerning what to do. Simply because someone does not agree in totality of what one says, does not mean they are being judgemental. Let's remember that. I think in this case, what was "heard" is not what was "written" here.

 

Yes, everyone knows their own child (do we really?), but everyone here also sometimes latches on to an outsider's view of what our child should be doing and believes that to be so. Not being able to have it all is one such thing brought up as a fact in this thread. You'll see parent after parent over the years saying things like that while in the process. Then you'll see parent after parent who has been through or is currently in the ending stages of the journey saying: "If only I had listened". Wisdom and judgement are two very different things.

 

Certainly, having three children there are reasons not all three took the same immersion sort of routes to their goal. And yes, we need to know our children and give them a route that works for them. Choose the child first in all choices. And that might mean a different ballet related choice. It is the most important goal of us to raise a happy, healthy adult who happens to dance. Not raise a dancer.

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Lady Elle   
Lady Elle

Momof3darlings - yes yes and yes!!! Thank you for that reminder. I so needed that and will probably need to hear that over and over for the next few years.

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LovesLabor   
LovesLabor

I'm definitely no expert on college admissions, but my observation is that for the highly selective colleges, they are already awash with near perfect test scores, GPAs, and transcripts bursting with AP courses and their equivalent. My youngest child - the dancer of the family - was not academically 'perfect' for want of a better term. I also strongly believe that her profile as a student dancer was a strong asset in her applications. While I can't get inside the minds of the college admissions people who offered her a place in their prestigious institutions, I think attention to presenting a killer application made up the gap. That is, very careful attention to essays, and thinking like a PR pro when it came to self presentation. She actually did some very early practice applications to less selective colleges and got wait listed for those - her application was definitely much sloppier at that time. She did what she could throughout high school, tried not to stress when she hit a brick wall, and occasionally took mental health breaks when she needed to. Her attitude was always, 'let's see how far I can take this, and where it will lead me' (both for dance and academics) rather than being set on a particular outcome, or goal.

 

I'd also say, be careful what you wish for. To my mind, the biggest challenge to attending college in the US is figuring out how to pay for it. Other than that, I'm less convinced that attending a selective college is some sort of golden lottery ticket that absolutely needs to be secured for the best and brightest. A fine mind can thrive and succeed in many different environments if it so chooses, I believe. On the other hand, if your DK does receive an offer they can barely refuse to attend their dream college, ask yourself how that might impact their post-grad decisions in regard to dance? For DD, taking a gap year from said college meant that she was not free to enroll in courses elsewhere while a trainee. Dd was extremely fortunate to obtain a 2 year deferral - don't assume that will be available just because you'd like it to be. If your DK has a dream college offer that has to be decided upon in a year or even two, will that put pressure on them to abandon their dancing dream before they have had enough time to secure it? I do ask myself if anything would be different if Dd had simply applied to a college with an 87% acceptance rate - whether she would extend her experiment to become a dancer for a little while longer.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say in terms of the academics is, let your own child take the lead in terms of how much pressure to take on and what kind of path to follow. If you see that they have possibly made poor decisions, or are unsure about what choices to make, be there with your input as an adult, experienced guide for them. But also give them some space to try something, fail, and find a new way to move forward. Know that all that brilliance they possess will be okay, won't be wasted, regardless of which college they attend, or which path they take. Your biggest responsibility is to help secure for them as much opportunity as you can - whether that's dance training or academics. Personally, I'm not convinced that academics at the high school level need to be sacrificed in order to accomplish professional dance goals, since I've known dancers who have managed to succeed at both, and just about all of DD's high school classmates did well in both areas. But I accept that I'm not an expert in that department.

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dancemaven   
dancemaven

Very nicely said, LovesLabor.

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