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Career Planning: Maximizing student chances

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Thanks for the great advice. Being new to the board, I enjoy reading everyones comments. Not being a dancer myself...I'm learning alot.


My dd does want to have a career in dance. I know there's no "crystal ball" to predict what will happen. But she works hard and is focused. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is anxious for their daughters.

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  • 5 years later...
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  • marigold


I know that this thread is pretty old & I apologize if there is a better place to pose this question, but the early discussion on this thread seems to address what I am worrying about now.

My daughter (15) has been dancing since she was little, but became serious about ballet two years ago & switched to a pre-pro ballet school. She has advanced rapidly from the intermediate level where they initially placed her, I think mainly because she has a ton of natural ability (feet, flexibility, turnout) & she has a great work ethic. This fall will be her second year in their high school early release program(this studio's highest level). This school has had a very good reputation for turning out ballerinas, but it seems like most of them finish somewhere else (usually SAB). Also, it has been a couple of years since someone got a contract with a major company.

My concern is this... although there are one or two other dancers in her level with similar commitment, most of the girls are studying recreationally. Because of this, often time is wasted in class because of chatting, & there is often poor attendance for classes & rehearsals which makes it necessary for class or rehearsal time spent reteaching things for the ones that missed. I think that this school used to have more of a separate professional track & a recreational track, but i guess because of reduced enrollment or whatever there is only one class option for girls at this level. On the positive side though, the AD has taken a personal interest in her, really seems to believe in her & goes out of her way to put her in front of well known teachers or directors when possible.

One of her teachers (her favorite) recently expressed concern for her that because she has skipped through so much of the basics, she may get injured, because although her well suited body & her athleticism allow her to achieve more advanced skills, she has never really been taught the basics of doing these skills.

I am wondering what would be the best course to take for this fall. Her studio really has been good for her & I don't want to seem disloyal. It's just that my ulitimate loyalty is to my daughter & what is best for her. Should she stay put, or maybe move to a company affiliated school in our city which has a more committed student body? Should we try to squeeze a private lesson into our already tight budget to address the issues her teacher brought up? It seems like this is a critical time for her (she will turn 16 in October) & although we are happy with her teachers & the attention she receives where she is, I can't help but wonder if it would be better for her future if she moved to that company school.





p.s. Some additional information - she was accepted to all SI's she auditioned for this summer except SAB. She was invited to the Joffrey Trainee Program this fall, but we don't think she's ready to live in an apartment setting yet... dorms might be different.

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I guess my question would be why the current school didn't address her lack of training in the basics previously??? That sends up a big red flag for me....

Yes, it is very difficult to tell a student who has been "doing" fouettés for several years, that she cannot do them until she builds the technique, but if a school is to maintain its reputation, they will do just that.


Personally, I would check out the other options in your area, and if a move is determined to be the best thing, then a beautifully hand-written Thank You note along with a bouquet of flowers would be all that should keep a good relationship with the current school. If it doesn't for some reason, then that is their issue- not yours or your dd's, and you are absolutely right that your first loyalty is to your child and what is best for her.

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  • 2 years later...

Sorry if this question has probably been asked and answered in many other threads. Is it considered a gamble to decline an invitation to a school with a company attached that has offered a scholarship to its summer program for a student who is currently a high school junior, when the offer is for the summer before her senior year? If so, when is it considered more of a gamble and when less? How does one use the information available to make a decision? What types of questions should be asked when deciding? What factors should be considered?

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Hi Marigold,


I think you need to look at a lot of factors. When you say its a gamble to turn it down, it would be helpful to know why you think it is a gamble-- like what are the other options you are weighing it against? I think at that age they need to balance trying new places with stability and being known somewhere. Which of the options does she see herself more like the company? But even with that said, the reality of truly making the whole path from student to trainee to second company to core seems to be 1-2 per year. So maybe it would be best to think where the best training is for the summer---some things to ponder.... and I probably just confused the issue even more!!

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I guess I am not sure why it would be considered a gamble to turn it down? Usually SI auditions are run by a school, and I think that may be why there could be some confusion regarding parents placing import on SI offers.


Even though there may be some crossover of academy faculty to company, like an upper level academy teacher may also teach company class, or a second company director may also teach in the academy, SI auditions are for the school programs- not the company.


Declining a place in the summer school program will not affect a dancer getting hired into the company at some future date. Having said that, if a dancer is truly interested in the company, then attending the SI is a good thing because they will have a chance to learn that company's rep over the course of the summer; be seen by people connected to the company; be able to begin making relationships with those who are decision-makers; begin to be noticed and begin to create an impression of who she is as a person.

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Marigold, honestly, I think it always is a bit of a question mark---however, at my own DD's summer intensive last year (a program with a company, apprentices, and a second trainee company) there was a VERY talented girl with her in the highest level who was also quite young---I believe also between a junior and senior in high school). The program really wanted her for trainee but didn't want to take her before graduating from high school. I believe that they told her as much, but how much of a guarantee this was, I do not know. I also know that this particular program held a spot for another dancer who wanted to finish college and was between her junior and senior year in college---but that was a few years ago.


Also, my own DD went to this program (she was between junior and senior year in college) thinking that it might be a good place for her for a job when she graduated. DD found out while there that it wasn't a good fit for her, and she was VERY happy that she found out before going to this SI after college graduation with only the possibility of having a position afterwards. So finding out early about a potential place for employment---not only for being seen by the faculty and making connections, but also figuring out whether you love it there (the training, the rep, etc), isn't a bad idea.

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Yes, golconda, and to evaluate whether the company might be a good fit for her too!

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Thank you - all of this has been helpful to think about. "Gamble" really isn't the word I meant, I realize, but at this later stage in training, there are so few years when they can make summer decisions, that each one seems like it will have some effect on the final where, when or what! LOL Just since posting we were given some good scholarship news that reinforces the sense of one of our options, so the decision might be looking less hard to make again. I am getting the sense from what I read that there is still time to explore and meet companies during the summer in the years to come when a dancer is this young.

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Is it considered a gamble to decline an invitation to a school with a company attached that has offered a scholarship to its summer program for a student who is currently a high school junior, when the offer is for the summer before her senior year?


I may be reading this wrong, but I'm seeing an invite to year round and a scholarship for summer, is this correct? Can you not split the two offers or were they a package deal? By that I mean, if she doesn't accept year round does the scholarship for SI then go away? Can you call and accept one but not the other at this time? Looks like you may have solved things already, but I just didn't see anyone else picking up on this option or missed it.

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One thing I wanted to add is something we have learned over the past couple of years is a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! Not sure what your situation is, (but Im guessing by the way you are worried about this offer) that if you have a pretty good situation going somewhere either at a full year place or at a summer you already have made an impression at, best to stay put! We have seen many thinking oh lets investigate and then the original place is no longer interested. Its definitely a risk to lose security of a place especially as competitive as it is out there. :unsure:

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sparky, DD is a junior and a new student at a company affiliated school, where she is very happy. We were looking at a scholarship offered for the summer at another company affiliated school to give her a feeling for it and familiarize herself with it, as Clara76 mentions in the earlier post. Then she received a full scholarship offer to her existing school's program. If she could split the summer, she would. But the dates conflict. Each program is different and there would be benefits of training in both. But we are thinking along the lines of your comment, sparky. It's just always hard to say "no thank you" and if we could split the programs we would, but I doubt this is possible, as dates conflict. Thanks, Momof3 for trying untangle my sentence and comment! :)

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Wow congratulations Marigold! She must be very talented! I agree, the no thank you's are very difficult, but I am sure they understand, especially if the reason you are declining is for a full scholarship to her existing school's program. They must have a great interest in her! :clapping: Good luck with your decision!

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