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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Non-Dance Majors transitioning to less classes

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My older DD is a junior in high school who will be be heading off to college all too soon. :wub: I can only imagine that she won't have the time, opportunity, money, or -- conceivably -- desire to attend classes as regularly and devotedly as she has throughout her entire childhood. Does anyone have experience with this transition? What is it like, physically AND emotionally?

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We've been on this emotional roller coaster for two years now. My daughter graduated from high school and knew that she wasn't suited for professional ballet but still wanted to dance. She has been interested in ballet since she was small but knew the only way she could dance in the college of her choice would to be try modern. She took modern at college, auditioned for the program at her college and didn't get in. It broke her heart because all that she wanted to do was dance. We let her continue at her studio her first year of college, With college costs and her dad feeling that she wasn't going anywhere in dance the financial plug was pulled this year. She then got a job to fund her dancing and it is a struggle but she's doing it and taking a full load at college. So that's our story. If your daughter loves to dance she'll find a way. Mine was lucky that she goes to a small studio where there are a lot of older dancers. They have a company that travels once a year to Europe to do a competition and does some invitationals during the year. We could never afford to send her to Europe but somehow she's saved the money herself and is going with them this year. So where there's a will there's a way:P , but there has to be a will. Many kids find that they don't have the time in college to do dance but they can always come back to it later because there are places out there for the adult dancer. If my daughter wasn't so upset about her rejection from the dance program at her college she could take many dance classes there offered for non-majors. They even have a small performance each year for the non-majors.

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I know that here in SLC there are open adult classes at the professional company that are excellent. I understand from friends in other cities that this is also an option that has helped "dance addicts" get class and not break the bank.



The hardest part for my daughter's friends has been not identifying themselves as "dancers" anymore. I think the emotional part you talk about is how you define yourself...if it is by your activities or by your passion.


No answers really....still a process I am observing in others

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A lot will depend on where she goes to college--whether they have a dance dept with classes or arrangements that work for her, or whether there are adult classes available relatively nearby. She can have her eye out for answers to these questions as she considers colleges.


As for the physical adjustment--well, less exercise + dorm food can lead to a rather rapid loss of condition, but perhaps now is a good time to work on healthy eating habits in cafeteria-type settings.


You don't say anything about what type of colleges your dd is considering, so it's hard to get more specific.

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It all depends on the individual's attachment to ballet and feelings about "not continuing" ballet (either at all or in the same diehard, if that was the case, fashion). If a student never harbored dreams or goals of dancing professionally, one would think that this transition would be much easier and quite different from those who were "in it to win" or to dance professionally and were "forced" to leave their dreams behind or switch their focus when they didn't want to.


Whether it's a tragic "break up" or a moving on - with new and exciting interests and social outlets life takes on a much greater breadth and there's so much to do that it's very likely the variety of college life will far out shine the "missing" of the full ballet schedule. Although my own daughter is not yet in college, this is how this last year without ballet has evolved for her... She now has the time to investigate and experience all sorts of new things that she never had any time for before - from music, to the arts to friends and community events... Just a glimpse into one person's story, here.


I will say that the change from such extreme physical activity can take its toll on some if they do not have any other physical outlet - fortunately this hasn't been a real issue for my own but I can certainly see that it could be. (I see koshka was posting at the same time and has made this point as well.)

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Sorry, Koshka -- it's early in the game yet, but she has her eyes on liberal arts colleges. I posted about this on another thread in the "Higher Ed" forum, and got lots of great ideas there.

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Your question reminded me of the formerly dancing daughter of a friend of mine. She trained at an advance level although she always knew she would not seek a professional ballet career.


She attended an Ivy League college after high school as a pre-med student. But her body CRAVED dance; after all those years it didn't feel healthy to not take classes regularly. She even went through a period of "physical withdrawal" that first year without ballet - knee problems although she'd never had them before, joint achiness, etc.


So she found a ballet studio nearby and she took two or three classes a week. She also began frequent folk-dancing, a campus activity. Her body started feeling better. She says it took her a full year to accustom herself to this new life.


But that was about 5 years ago. Nowadays, I think that there are other physical activities more readily available. Yoga, for example. Hot yoga, power yoga, etc. are all great forms of relaxation and stretching for people who have trained in dance. They're great stress-busting activities and your body feels terrific afterwards. At that advanced level, the years spent in ballet training are a great boon. The dancer still gets to challenge herself physically and this style of yoga moves quickly in almost dance-like fashion. I would imagine that it would be easy to find yoga classes on campus or nearby. It would probably also be an easy activity to start on campus because many students would be interested. It might be a great compromise for a person who has newly left the regular dance world.

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I went through this myself. I'm a freshman in college this year.

My college is a small, private, liberal-arts college, but it does not offer dance. There are mythical tap and jazz classes, but they're offered very rarely. I'm dancing at a studio about thirty minutes away, two to three times a week.. I'm not pre-pro, so this is enough for me. I'm not entirely ballet-centered, either, which also helps a little... I wasn't looking for something so specific.

It's difficult, and there are sacrifices, obviously, having to commute so much.. but I don't mind, really, and I love being able to dance. My school has a dance team which I'm going to try out for pretty soon. Like it's been said - Where there's a will, there's a way!

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I went to a state university which has a small dance department. Even though it wasn't going to be my major, the availability of decent ballet lessons and performance opportunity was a necessary factor in my choice of college. I even visited during high school to check out the classes. Funny, I never toured the art department (which was my major!) Goes to show what my priorities were , even if I didn't realize at the time. Still dancing now and will do so until my legs fall off.


I have a funny feeling about your daughter, Treefrog, even though I never met her. Quitting dancing altogether may leave a big hole in her heart. When I didn't dance in grad school, I feel like I lost a big part of my identity and personality. It was wierd... It just wasn't me. I wasn't unhappy per se. Ballet adds all kinds of stress and tears to my life. But it makes me feel more like me. Arghh, that sounded horrible. I hope you get what I mean.

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Like Lampwick, when I visited my university I took the dance classes but didn't even go inside my future college/department...


I have a funny feeling about your daughter, Treefrog, even though I never met her. Quitting dancing altogether may leave a big hole in her heart. When I didn't dance in grad school, I feel like I lost a big part of my identity and personality. It was wierd... It just wasn't me. I wasn't unhappy per se. Ballet adds all kinds of stress and tears to my life. But it makes me feel more like me. Arghh, that sounded horrible. I hope you get what I mean.


Actually, you said this quite well. And I've tried substituting ballet with other things - other types of dance, physical activity, social activity.... but nope, I need the ballet to be me....

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Somewhat :lol: but --


vagansmom's post reminded me of a comment made by the head of the Paris Opera Ballet School. This interview was included in the documentary, "Etoiles, Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet."


The woman was talking about retiring from the POB at age 40 (I think). Up to that point, she had taken a ballet class most days since she was a student in the school. Then, on retirement, she just stopped taking class.


Physcially, it was very bad for her. As I recall, she even shrank over an inch during the next year.


Needless to say, she said if she were to do it over again, she would gradually reduce her class time.

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