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Ballet Talk for Dancers

2002-2005 Parental Transition Support Group


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Guest BalletAuthor

Congratulations on 1'st choice school even if financial aid is a bit disappointing!


Well, as I recall the loans are low interest (now especially) and payment is not due until college is completed!


Also, take a look for scholarships (there are books out there which detail all sorts of awards for all sorts of things, i.e., $1000 scholarship to milkmaid studying ballet in honor of our mother the dancing milkmaid :) )


There is a lot of sort of obscure $ floating about, you just need to put on your diggers and start ferreting.


Also, after the first year, there is often more scholarship money available from within departments and depending upon the university they may be able to help her find work-study that integrates really well into her major and which will fit in with her schedule!


Best of luck and congratulations again

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There is also Federal financial aid that does not have to be paid back, Pell grants, if you fall below a certain income. If you are above that income don't claim her as a dependent next year then it will be based on her low income. She must be off your tax returns for 1 year and have some income. This is the link that has all the fed grants. http://www.studentaid.ed.gov/students/publ...glish/types.htm


Used to work in the admissions office at the University of Florida. BalletAuthor is right, we had hundreds of weird scholarships that went unclaimed each year. Just ask the college for a list of all scholarships. Many just require an essay and letters of recommendation.

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My youngest daughter is doing company auditions this year. Some companies come here but she has to fly to some that she is very interested in. As a single mom, I have to be very careful with money, so this is a tough process. Having been through this twice before, it is a little easier than as a novice, but there are different circumstances with each one. So far the auditioning experience has been pretty positive for her. No job yet, still waiting to hear back from some that she made the final cut on and waiting to do other auditions. It is hard to balance doing auditions, rehearsals and money. She is putting all of her eggs in the "I'll get a job" basket and has not applied to any colleges. She feels ready , so fingers are crossed and lots of prayers said. Forward we go.

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Wow, Watermill, your phrase about the swings of the scythe, quoted so aptly by BalletAuthor, is both concise and brilliant. Brilliant, scary and true. This is a horrible process for a parent to watch. Does it get easier?

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Guest Watermill

mcrm55: Be sure not to unhitch that paragraph from the one that follows it.


Of course it's scary. The so called "body cut" is the unkindest of all. Being a professional is very different from being a student. Add on layers of politics, favoritism and nepotism and you have a situation not for the faint hearted. It takes a durable character to eat large bowls of rejection for breakfast each morning then boldly march off to the next audition with a positive attitude.


As a theatre director who's done a fair share of casting, I can tell you that when all other factors of talent and appearance are relatively equal, the process of choosing becomes maddeningly subjective and sometimes ridiculously quixotic. One inch of height, a friend of a friend saw her in a similialr role, etc. If you've made the final cut. Take that as a trophy and put it on your mantle. By the time there's no more room on your mantle you'll either be hired or ready to move on to another path. That's where the endurance comes in as the final element of pursuing a professional career. Other elements? Technique (excellent training), presence (either born with it or learn to project it), luck (but remember: the harder you work the luckier you get). But all of this is for naught if you don't have the endurance to hang on over the bumps and pot holes.


The math is scary too: let's say 20 pro schools produce 200 prospective pro dancers a year. if they attempt careers for five years, thats 1000 candidates trying out for maybe 100 openings a year. And many of these slots are filled from apprentice programs, reducing the number of actual openings available by audition.


And remember: you have to back up a brilliant audition with a brilliant resume showing training and experience, Sure, the audition gets you noticed, but few AD's gamble on someone who might be just be having a good class. Believe me, they pick up the phone and call other AD's, choreographers, teachers, senior dancers, even knowledgeable audience members. I swear the phrase "it's a small world" was fiirst used by performing artists. Probably due to the gypsy-like nature of our world, we have all trained. auditioned, watched and performed with each other. As a result, an AD can confirm a resume quickly. So don't burn any bridges: it might be the bridge someone who wants to hire you needs to cross some day.


This is scary for the fledgling newly shoved out of the safe nest where Mom & Dad have been bringing the worms of love and support (Boy, that's the worst analogy I've come up with in a long time) So there you are on the forest floor with your stubby little wings. And a bobcat just alighted on the ground nearby. What are you going to do?


Start flappin'!



Wishing you many worms,



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Thanks, Watermill, concisely put. I come from a theater family and after my student dancing days eventually ended up acting professionally for ten years before deciding my mantel was crowded enough by acting audition "trophies", so I know well what you are talking about. I didn't like the life, although I did fairly well at it, and decided to change course. Hearing about the dance perspective and stats on it is very sobering. But, in my family, where many of us have managed to make a living in the arts, we have a saying: "Somebody's gotta get the job! Maybe it's you! " (nothing ventured, nothing gained.) So even with the bobcat, I 'm for flappin', not standing around wishing you were a lion instead of a bird.

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Guest BalletAuthor

Watermill, you are so funny and you aren't kidding about it being a small world.


When ds went to take an audition class at the European company which hired him, it was taught by his favorite ballet master from his first company! (He noted that this was a perfect reason NEVER to lie on a resume!!!!)



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What a fantastic thread! Here is another scenereo to think on. Having a son at the Royal Ballet School in London the audition process for most students there seems to be easier compared to the situations I've been reading about on BA. When we sent him away we really knew little about what he would experience there (including getting a first job). Come December the anxieties began creeping up and we started to wonder how he was to audition for any U.S. company if he was stationed in London with quite a heavy schedule of classes and rehearsals (the extra airfare alone on top of all his trips back home would be a problem) :D


Well it turned out that several heads of some top U.S. companies come to them to view potential company members. This was a very nice surprise. Ofcourse if you're interested in another company at that point (Jan. to Mar.) the students are allowed to fly to auditions they are interested in. The auditions at the school are just a 'class', no one gets cut and since there are few seniors to begin with to consider, all get some kind of feedback afterwards. I suppose this could be the same situation at other large schools such as RW, San Fran, NCSA and so on. Ofcourse once they're out of the school they're on their own to experience what normal auditions are like...but this was quite a nice aspect of the Royal experience!


Fortunately my son was hired by the company of the last SI he attended so he didn't have to fly anywhere to audition...last summer was his audition! That finally behind us we know his future ones will be alot tougher...but by then hopefully so will he! :thumbsup: Success to all going through this difficult process of that first audition!

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Congratulations to your son, Tango, and his contract! Please keep us posted on how things go for him at his new company. I know he has a bright future and you are very excited at the prospect of having him back on this side of the Atlantic again! :D


It is really nice that the companies come to the students at the Royal. Does anyone know if this is commonplace at the major N. American schools? I have heard of choreographers coming to set pieces on students at NCSA or SAB, but I have not heard of ADs coming with the specific intention of auditioning the graduating students. I do understand that many companies send reps to the SAB spring workshop. Anyone know if Harid, National Ballet, NCSA, Royal Winnipeg, etc. have similar programs set up?

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Balletbooster...Thanks for your kind words and yes we are thrilled as the year is slowly coming to a close and he'll be back in the U.S.A. in a few months time! I am curious as well about those other schools and how they help with auditions for their graduates. I know at the Royal there were atleast 3 people from major companies who came to watch class for the purpose of hiring a dancer for their company. There were also others who came to set pieces for the graduates as you stated but this was separate from the auditions. If only I had known this before as it would have relieved us of much anxiety. Since the cost of airfare would have been a problem he would have most likely had to consider one of the other companies that came to visit there!


I haven't heard of any dancers who have been accepted through video auditions only but several at the school have sent out videos...especially for U.S. companies. I can't imagine being hired by video audition only ...unless ofcourse you already have quite a name for yourself! From what I hear many have yet to get jobs and are still waiting to hear from the AD's they've contacted. So nervewracking for them all as they have many responsibilities at the Royal and certainly can't take off many months to fly to 3 or 4 audition sites halfway around the world!

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So glad to hear about your ds's contract. I so know who he and you are. We met once briefly many years ago.


Your son is amazing. In fact my son came home one day saying the crazy thing was that it would be so easy to hate him he was just so good but he was so nice that it made it impossible.


Is he going into the main company?


I've seen him since he was 8 and he was amazing then, through the years and it was so much fun to see him grow. Congratulations!

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cmtaka...Thanks so much for your most kind words! I do remember meeting you briefly years ago and have met your son a few more times at performances over the years as well. Mine has always talked highly of him as a dancer and a person and I hope they get to spend some time together in April at OB!


He is going into Studio Co. not the main company but to him it might as well be the main company! I know so many moms and dads have expressed to me how happy they are for him and I can't tell you how good that makes me feel. I so appreciate your words cumka!


We will be sitting in row KK orchestra left on Friday...I think i remember what you look like so if you're near please don't hesitate to stop and say hello... our seats are 11 and 13. My son will be home in April 7th and I know he will head straight to OB for some classes on Saturday. I do hope we get a chance to meet again and much success to your son as he certainly has a heavy load with dance and school. Obviously he has a great mom and dad to support him and I think that's half the battle, don't you? Tango


Great to see you're up to 20 posts already...10 more to go! :rolleyes:

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Harid does invite various artistic director throughout January-March to teach the highest level class, however many of our seniors are auditioning personally in a company class of various companies. Also since many auditions are held at Harid they are seen for many years by various auditioners. My advice to all students wishing to obtain a company contract...go (run, fly, train it, bus it) personally to any company to audition. Arrange personally, not a parent or teacher, any auditon you can. Generally company class is open year round for those who are wishing to audition. It just takes a phone call by the student wishing to arrange the audition.

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I assume this is fairly common. PNB's staff schedules visits each year from a number of AD's who want to see our Professional Division students. The faculty and staff also work with our students to help them plan auditions at other companies.

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