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DD is worried


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DD has figured out that next year she will be one of the older kids in the studio. After graduation and a few dropping out of the youth company and possibly dance altogether, she has figured out that she will be one of the oldest and advanced kids in the studio at the age of 15. There is a girl who is 16 in the youth company, but this girl has no desire to dance professionally. DD has done very well this last audition season so we know that the training that she is receiving is very good. She is just not confident that the studio situation will be good for keeping her momentum with other girls around the nation especially when she wants to be transferring to a preprofessional residence program in the near future. Any thoughts, any suggestions?

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Short of changing to a stronger studio, which may not be feasible unless you're in the Inland Northwest of Manhattan Island, this is the time for "knuckle down, buckle down". At 15, you start running out of wiggle room and being selected on potential and have to start delivering THE GOODS! Your dd will have to start really working toward mastery of the things she has so far learned. If the school isn't rigorous enough, then the student must become more so!

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Thank you, Mel, for your answer. DD is thinking that maybe private lessons might need to be added next year. Would this be advisable and if so, how often? Other than the yearly SI audition season, is there any other way that DD can check on how she is comparing with others "out there"?

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An occasional "field trip" to take open class in Portland or Seattle or other center with a larger company might just do the trick of providing a reference against which she can judge her achievements against others in the wider world of ballet.

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Guest Arak

Sounds like me. I went to one of those not-so-well-known studios that really didn't focus on turning out professional dancers, and when I was about that age, I suddenly found myself as one of the oldest and most advanced. Being in a small town that isn't close to anything, I didn't have a lot of options, so I had to make do with what I had. I was very close to my teachers, and they helped me out. They were always looking for master classes and workshops. They pushed me just a little bit farther than the rest, and in doing so, taught me to push myself.


A great advantage to being one of the older students is how much the younger ones will look up to her, especially if she's talented. There are some girls at my studio in their early teens who practically idolize me for all that I stand for. They see me come back on my breaks and take class with them, tell them about dance in college, teach them new combinations and stretches, and they see what's out there and what they also have the potential to become. And I am so honored to be their role model - and their friend. There's no better perk to being "top dog" than that.

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There's no better perk to being "top dog" than that.


You are so wise, Arak. It is wonderful that you are sharing your knowledge with others...ever thought about maybe being a ballet teacher someday? :thumbsup:


Clara :)

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Thank you, Mel. I was afraid you were going to suggest "field trips", but it is the only thing that makes sense. Being a visual learner, she's worried primarily about not having onyone else to watch.


Arak, you are right! On the positive side of this particular problem, it's great being "top dog", but if you ever met my dd, you would think more along the lines of "min-pin". :)


(If she sees this, I'm in big trouble!) :thumbsup:

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Guest Clare

When my daughter was 15 she was in a very similar situation at her local dance school, but was lucky enough to be able to go up to London at weekends to do classes with other students of a similar standard.


A lot depends on personality in this situation, I think. Without the extra classes my daughter would not have progressed much. It probably isn't very commendable, but she is driven by a need to be as good as or, preferably, better than those around her. If she had only been doing class with younger and less serious students she would not have worked anywhere near as hard. Many other DKs seem to be more self-sufficient and probably would still be able to make good progress on their own.



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Wow, we've been faced with just this situation this spring. My dd at the age of 14, while not the oldest is the most advanced dancer in our small school. For various reasons the other kids at her level and higher have left the school. She made some very good SI's such as ABT, Boston, and Joffrey. She just danced the lead in our Spring Ballet, partnering with a male professional which was thrilling for her. She also seems to be the type of person who likes a little competition to spur her to acheive. She is very good with the younger dancers and assists the teachers in several classes. We are at the best school in our area, but we can't help but wonder if dd will continue to grow in this situation. Is making these good SI's the best way to judge?

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Dance for me- sounds like your daughter is doing well where she is. Arak has great advice. Perhaps she could take private lessons at the studio. If she is getting into SI's then that is a great sign. If her current studio is offering her such wonderful opportunities I wouldn't change it!

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A lot depends on personality in this situation, I think.
Clare's words are very wise. Some kids benefit enormously from being top dog, while others lose their edge to push themselves hard.


My daughter has always loved taking class with better dancers because it gave her a competitive streak (in a good sense). I've seen that with both my kids, in fact. Neither would've liked being the only top dog in a class; a better situation would be to have at least one or two others around. The kids really do feed off each other's energy and motivation.


But there are some cases where it works just fine and in those instances, I think it has everything to do with the teacher/student relationship.

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Vagansmom, you've hit it right on the head. The reason why my dd is worried is because she is competitive. Not in a bad way, she would never be disrespectful of those who were better than she. Quite the opposite. She actually greatly respects those who are better than she is, even when they are not that much older.


We don't doubt the training. I think she is wondering if she can keep up the intensity and the momentum without someone to emulate. I also suspect that she will be lonely without someone to share her ambitions with.


You are right. We will be trusting a lot to the teachers. She highly respects them so as long as they keep their standards high, she will strive to meet them.

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  • 1 year later...

bumping up because some will return this summer and be in this situation.

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Thanks for bumping this up... it's exactly what I'm concerned about for this academic year...how important is it to have stronger dancers to work with and look up to? DD is thriving at SI with many dancers at her level. Coming home may be a bit of a shock as her closest peers at dance, although older, will be off to residency programs this fall.


DD (14) will be in the same situation as mylildancer's was last year. (Would love to hear how it worked out.)


Teacher is wonderful, best around, so prefer not to move. Probably will just need to make the best of it.

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