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Meeting with department head

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I don't know where to post this so I figured that I'd get a broader range of answers here. O.K. as you probably know my daughter was rejected when she auditioned the dance program where she attends college. She has already met with a couple of her teachers who tell her to keep dancing even though she can't major in dance at this college. Do you think that it might be wise for her to meet with the dance department head? At least she might find out to find out exactly why she was rejected and where to go from here or even if she should continue to pursue dance at all. And if she has this meeting how should she present herself? She wants to be prepared and mature about the whole situation. She knows that this dance department is out of the picture for her but she wants closure. Do you think doing this is crazy? I'd appreciate any ideas that I could pass along to her. She plans to work on this presentation this weekend, eat a bowl of courage and make an appointment to see this woman next week. I am proud of her that she even approached her teachers on her own since she is a very shy girl and that alone took some courage.

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  • Administrators

I would certainly want to know WHY they have not accepted her, yet tell her to keep dancing. Was she a late starter, or did she not have good training, or does she not have the phyical facility for ballet, or what? What is their criteria, and what does she need to do to meet it?

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It's a modern based program but they must take an equal amount of ballet. My daughter has heard from several sources that they don't like ballerinas. She is more than willing to work at the modern to be able to take the classes for a degree. She would like to teach. She has taken beginning modern both semesters and her modern teacher didn't tell her not to audition. She is a late starter in modern because modern isn't offered at most studios. She has been taking ballet for years and has gone to one intensive. From what she could tell from those she knew who were chosen from the audition is that they seem like people who don't have any dance history but make exceptions for the super talented. My daughter has already been allowed to take an upper division ballet class this semester yet she can't get into the department. Go figure? It probably won't hurt to talk to this lady if only for peace of mind. There are other college dance programs in our area but most are too costly for our family's budget. My daughter has figured the closest option is majoring in fittness but it won't get her into the anatomy for dancers class or the other dance related subjects she was hoping to take.

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Sounds to me like the wrong program for her, tu2mama. She should be in a ballet program, not a modern program. Has she auditioned for other programs?

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She doesn't have the confidence to audition for a college ballet program. This year at her age, auditioning for SI's was mainly a combination company and SI audition, so she was very intimidated. She didn't audition for many since she thought that she would get into this particular college program and focus on that. There is one nearby college that given time and frustration with modern she might consider. If accepted as a family we would bite the bullet and somehow come up with the money for her to go. In the meantime she will be working on getting her general education requirements and taking ballet where ever and when ever she can. Surprisingly the ballet classes at her college are fine, taught by teachers with professional backgrounds and she is "allowed" to take them. I never knew that there was such a riff between modern and ballet.

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Guest lurry



I hope I don't offend you, but didn't your DD attend the University of Utah SI and you said "My daughter is 17 and will be going to college next fall which makes her feel so much older and so far behind with 13 year olds up in the advanced level" ?Jul 2 2003, 02:56 PM :ermm: If she is this far behind, maybe she should consider other avenues. Like I said before, maybe a regional company would suit her while going to college. :thumbsup:


Unfortunately, ballet is a very competative art form and we all understand where your coming from. :)

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I feel badly for your daughter. I haven't had time to go back through all your posts, but it does sound as though there must be something that is holding your daughter back - preventing her from being either accepted by ballet programs, SIs (?) and/or receiving attention from various ballet programs (Ballet West SI she attended you mentioned she was not paid attention to)... This doesn't bode well for her future in ballet since she is 18 now it sounds as though it's time for her to adjust her goals.


You say that she does not want to dance professionally but wants to teach. I'd be interested to hear from Victoria Leigh, Mel, vrsfanatic, Cabriole and other teachers about the realistic possibility of this for someone who will not dance professionally. What kind of teaching job can someone get if they don't have any professional experience? One would think it is quite difficult to get a secure, good, well paid ballet teaching job without a fairly notable professional background or an extremely impressive training background...or perhaps I'm wrong? :)


With the cost of living that we have today in the USA it's important to think about the financial side of the equation.


I think it's great that your daughter is going to meet with the head of the department. Do you know this person's background? I hope it will be a productive meeting and give your daughter a lot of credit for "taking the bull by the horns."


Hang in there tu2mama, there may be a turning point soon.

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Tu2mama, your posts have really struck a chord. As parents, we all worry about our passionate dancers hitting that impenetrable wall. At least concerning one particular college, your daughter is butting up against that wall right now.


I'd like to offer you hope. It IS just one college, albeit the affordable one. There are so many others. There are also other ways to find money for a college education these days even without having the big bucks to pay for it all. Some kids have to work a year while living at home in order to save money before going to college for a year or two before taking another year off to earn income. MANY kids nowadays take a year or two off in between semesters so that wouldn't be an unusual occurrence. Also, financial aid packages from colleges can be very generous; both my kids have had that experience.


A word about scholarships obtained separately from what's offered by the college itself: There are lots of books available about how to go about finding such resources. But in our experience and that of many other kids we know, we found that the college just deducts that amt. from their own proposed offer. In some cases the student would be better off to NOT spend the time trying to find those monies. If the college decides to give the student $10,000 in grants and loans, that's the net amt. whether or not there's money found elsewhere. You have to declare those scholarships to the college before the financial aid package is offered. If you received $1,000 from a civic group, that's $1,000 less that the college will give you.


I know that about a year ago some of the Ivies acknowledged this publicly and then said that they would no longer deduct those scholarships from their own financial aid packages. And usually the other schools end up following the Ivies' decisions eventually but it can take some years for it to filter out to all the schools. Also, it can work out OK if the college were giving the student all loans because that's $1,000 less the student has to later pay back.


Anyway, on to the issue of whether or not a person without professional dance experience can teach ballet. Yes, in many cases, they can! They may not be able to teach upper levels but even at some pre-professional ballet schools there are ballet teachers without professional dance experience at the lower levels: pre-ballet, creative movement, the first few years of technique classes. By the time a student is about 10, they often move on to the professionally credentialed teachers.


I've seen a handful of these teachers who grew up taking ballet for many years at my daughter's former ballet school or a neighboring one. They then went on to college dance depts. and directly into teaching. Their pre-professional training gave them a syllabus to follow and their dance classes in college provided them with everything else that rounds out a good teacher and business person. They'll most likely never teach the top levels of dancers but they will get their students ready to pass on to the other teachers.


You and your daughter are in my thoughts.

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Thanks everyone! I don't believe that my daughter aspires to teach professional level, most likely below that in public school or arts program. The degree would help her get further than Dolly Dinkle, if you know what I mean. She would like to share her love of dance as her teachers before her have. She had one teacher who has taught a special program in the public schools for a long time and now also coaches a high school drill team. With a degree and teaching credential she could teach high school dance with a more regular income that teaching here and there. All of this is pending on a degree in dance.


Where should she begin in her interview with the department head? Should she point blank ask why she was rejected? Should she ask if she should give up her pursuit, not that she will give up because of only one opinion. Should she start by telling this woman about her dreams and goals? There has to be a constructive way of finding some answers without becoming defensive. Any ideas? This is going to be very hard for her so she wants to come prepared. She knows that it probably won't change a thing but she feels it must be done.

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I think perhaps the useful question for her to ask is not so much "Why didn't you accept me?", but "Where do I go from here?" She can describe her goals -- insofar as she understands them at this tender age -- and ask for frank advice about how to achieve them.


If she is considering teaching as a career, this is an excellent time for her to gain some experience working with kids. Most teachers have one age group that they feel most comfortable working with; sometimes it takes some trial-and-error to find out whether you adore nurturing the tiny-tinies, or you enjoy the burgeoning intellectuality of an older group.


In general, college can be a wonderful time of exploration. From all your posts, your daughter sounds as thought she is a cautious type. I'd encourage her to branch out and explore different types of courses and different areas of learning. She might discover a new love that she has never had time to pursue before.

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