Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Realistic Future


Recommended Posts

I've been thinking for a while about my future careers, dancing or otherwise. I'm 14 right now, and starting high school in August, so I still have a while yet before it's really, really pressing upon me, but I'm trying to be as realistic as I can be here.


I am getting a lot better in ballet. I've been taking classes as some pre-pro schools for an admittedly relatively short period of time, but one of the teachers told me that he honestly thinks I have talent, but that I need to clean up some alignment issues, as I have the most incredible talent for balancing, even en pointe, in positions which defy gravity. (All right, it wasn't THAT sarcastic a comment - he merely said that I have taught myself in certain positions to balance sturdily, but incorrectly, and that he doesn't see how I can do it.) I'm working and I'm getting better, supposedly I'm fairly good for my age, but I need to gain more strength, and my pointework isn't quite up to standard yet, although usually I get bonus points back for my arms and for the fact that I'm usually able to land from mistakes with some degree of poise.


I have the right body for ballet - long legs, small head, good bones structure-wise, flexibility, etc., so that actually isn't a problem. I'd need to lose some weight, realistically, but I'm fairly lucky as far as all of that goes.


However, if ballet does not work out for me (and realistically, as it doesn't for most people, there's a good chance that it won't work out for me) I would really enjoy being able to dance professionally, in some form, before beginning a job. (I'm currently thinking science of some sort, but I really have no clue. Could be anything.) I'm actually better at modern than I am at ballet, although I like ballet better - (now finally to my question!)


What does the current situation like for dancing in modern, or even on Broadway, say? If it was to turn out that I don't have enough ability in ballet by the time I need it, would it be possible with a few years of other training to switch to another discipline? What precisely would I need?


I realise I've asked about 50 zillion questions in this post (sorry!) but I do have one more, and then I'll stop asking, I swear. My final question is: when is the point in which you can tell whether you should stop? Are there any signs that should be noticed in the difference between not having enough talent, and needing a few years more training? (I'm referring to the fact that I know some dancers who have totally quit dancing after high school, saying that they have no talent, and others who were less able in high school, and then spent approx. two years more training after they graduated, and are currently dancing with several regional companies.) Is it just the luck of the draw, or is there anything you should take as a warning sign for either idea?


Thank you so much, I'm really sorry that this post is so long.



Link to comment
  • Administrators

You are asking some tough questions, Amanda :)


Let me start with the last one. There is no time you should stop except if you really do not love doing it anymore. If you come to a decision somewhere along the line that you don't have what it takes to follow through with this as a career, you still don't have to stop, unless you want to. This is something you can do all of your life as long as you stay strong and healthy. How much priority you want to give it would be the question. Do you want to stay with a full time pre-professional program, or just take classes a few times a week. This would depend on how much you want to do this, and how important it is in your life even though you know it's not where you will end up. Do you want to stay with it in college, even though you are majoring in something else? That is possible if you continue.


One thing about the dancers you mention above who seemed to have less ability but stayed with it and got jobs might just be that they are the ones who worked the hardest and had the passion to dance. That passion must be there, although that alone will not make it possible to get a job. One still must have a good facility and strong technique and an even stronger work ethic.


As to modern dance or Broadway, certainly those are viable alternatives. Most modern dancers go to college and the modern companies are not like ballet in that they want the more mature and educated dancers as opposed to those just out of high school. For Broadway you really need to have a lot of jazz as well as ballet and modern, and it is pretty important to be able to sing too. Dancers who sing at least decently have a much better chance at a job than one who can only dance. So, studying jazz and voice would be a very good idea.


As for "precisely" what you need for these jobs, aside from a lot of talent, and training, and being in the right place at the right time, and a lot of luck, :yawn:, I would say that you need to continue ballet at a very strong level, but add more modern and jazz, and voice training in college.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

I have been struggling with these ideas for the past few years now. After the meeting I had with my teacher, I was completely heartbroken and didn't think life would ever go on. She told me I can't be a ballet dancer, in a very straightforward way. I know I shouldn't have been so shocked, because in the back of my mind I knew it all along. But I continued to dance and dance and think "I can do this!" Well, I was a fool, because I failed. My dream shattered and those shards can never be put back together. It is so devestating, and seems so unfair, to be born with an overflowing passion for dance, to dance, and to not have the body and such for it. Then there are those that have the perfect ballet body, like this one girl in my class. She has 180 rotation, hyperextended legs, beautiful feet, great flexibility, her legs are long, her torso short; and she never ever tries. She has no passion for this art, but she was given all this natural ability! All I want to do is dance, yet I cannot! I told my teacher it was devestating and her reply was "Well, you aren't the only one. Most of the girls in the professional division won't make it. They may have achieved a high level of technical ability for ballet, but they'll have to go in to modern." As I clenched my teeth so I wouldn't bawl there in front of her, I didn't really know what to say. I felt like screaming "But I worked so hard! I came so far!" But basically she told me I should stop hoping to make it.... and I don't know if I can ever recover. I love ballet so so so so so much, and there is no way I'd be happy as a modern dancer. I want to continue to dance, because life without it would probably be worse than having this passion I can never use. I always imagined myself on stage in front of a huge audience, dancing the lead role, showing my passion for dance and the character and captivating the people watching. How can I possibly find another career? :wink:

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Balletstar, while I understand your devastation, I would just like to point out that there are a number of other ways to still be onstage and to still fulfill your dream of dancing. Do not rule out other dance forms at this age. Many wonderful modern and Broadway dancers started as ballet dancers, and discovered the wonders of performing for a living as a dancer in things other than classical ballet. There are also a LOT of working actresses out there who started as classical dancers! The focus and discipline they learn, along with the ability to move and to take direction and learn lines and blocking all came from their studies of ballet, or at least were highly enhanced by these studies. :wink:

Link to comment

Thank you, Ms. Leigh. I agree. I would not mind Broadway, but how does one go about getting a job in that field? Do you need a college degree in acting or singing? I have been singing all of my life as well as dancing. I also love to act. But do you get hired with absolutely no credentials?

Link to comment
Guest serenade389

Balletstar, I know exactly how you feel. I want to be a ballet dancer more than anything, I cannot imagine doing anything else and being just as happy. Sometimes, I just lie in my room crying because they say I can't do it. Well, at least my mom doesn't think I can. I know lots of girls who have these beautiful ballet bodies who don't really care about dancing (ballet) and I would give anything to trade with them. I really started getting into ballet at age 7 (I took baby classes a few years before then, but nothing serious really) and then when I hit about 10, I wanted to be on Broadway. From then on, it switched between Ballet and Broadway. I eventually started slacking off in my ballet classes, and then when I was 12 and I saw Centerstage (yeah yeah, I know!) I just knew that I wanted to be a ballet dancer more than anything. I have lost years of training and technique, and I think that even if I didn't slack off, I still would have been behind. I guess I am considered a good dancer, but I am not one of the elite, and being 15, that sort of pushes it if you really want to be a ballerina. I work so hard and no matter what, I feel like it isn't going to happen because of stupid factors that just shouldn't matter like my body structure, which I in no way can control. I sympathize with you so much.

Link to comment

I do have to add that modern isn't something people settle for just because they don't have the ability to do modern.


Anyways, there are many modern companies, such as Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Momix, Pilobolus.... There are different techniques in modern, such as Graham, Horton, Limon.........If you really want to be a modern dancer, take classes in the different techniques, see which ones you love and fit well on your body. Some modern look wonderful on one person and horrible on another, feels great to one person, yet is really painful to another (like Graham REALLY hurts one of my friends and feels really really good when I do it). Research different modern companies, what their focus and goals are, what they expect of their dancers. Go see a few of their shows, read up on their repertory, and then see about getting an audition.



If your passion is ballet, try to get as many evaluations as possible as to where your future could go.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

For Broadway there are open auditions for chorus singers and dancers. Once you get in a show, if you have a lot of talent and ability, you should try to find an agent who would send you to special auditions for roles. But getting your foot in the door is usually done by just auditioning for anything and everything!

Link to comment

Isn't that true for most performing arts, though? That unless you are incredibly, incredibly lucky and someone just wanders on to you, that you have to self-promote, get yourself out there?


Thank you, Ms. Leigh - I've been really worried about all of this, and I think I have a backup plan or three now. Thank you.

Link to comment

Yes, thank you Ms. Leigh. I guess we all shouldn't rule out other careers that will use all the great ballet training we have received. Sometimes I wonder, too, if the life of a ballerina is gilded and glorified. It's probably really difficult and demanding, but I still wish I could do it. Oh well.... thanks again, you're the best. It's a shame I cannot meet you and speak with you in person.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Ah, but you could, balletstar811! Or at least you could have, when I was there in February holding our auditions for WSB :lol: However, I don't know if we will be doing NY again next year or not. If not, I will do somewhere close by, like New Jersey. I also did Princeton this year, and that was much bigger than my NY auditions.

Link to comment

Knock Knock (a mom here who feels your frustration- my 13 year old daughter is going thru the same pain)


Balletstar811, I notice you are in New York. Maybe you would like to take at look at a modern workshop that is being offered at Peridance and also at Steps.


This workshop is being given by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden of Complexions. It is modern but with a really, really stong ballet emphasis. I am not sure what the style is, Horton or Graham or what, :shrug: I just know that it is beautiful.

My daughter, aged 13, also wants to be a ballerina, but the realization is coming that she just doesn't have the feet or the turnout for it. I am taking her to the workshop at Peridance to get a look at what else there is out there.

She has also been taking jazz with a women who was in the "Red Shoes" on Broadway (as well as some other Bway musicals), and her jazz is very ballet based. My daughter is very comfortable with her style as well.

So, while we are still very focused on ballet and continuing to build that ballet technique, we are also looking into other forms of dance that fit with her strengths.


Maybe we will see you at Peridance or Steps!!!! :)

Edited by rljdance
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...