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Is there a real chance to make it, starting at 15?

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So my general question is outlined by the title - is there a real chance to become a professional dancer if I start pre-professional training at the age of 15? I have taken ballet for about 7 years, but never professionally. I have always loved it and it has been a passion of mine, but right now, I want to be realistic. Currently I am fourteen years old (I'll be turning 15 in approx. 2 months). I want to get on the professional track, but is there even a good chance I'll be accepted to any pre-professional schools when there are so many out there who are much better than me in their technique and who have received better and more intensive training? I want to give this a shot but, at the same time, I want to know if it's worth it. I know that by the age of 15, many young "ballerinas" are extremely good and talented in their art. I am just asking for your opinion (and the facts, too) - I would like to know, even if the truth stings. And if there is a chance, is there any advice you would be able to offer me in pursuing this goal of mine? Anything would be appreciated very much. Thank you. :sweating:




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  • windsongs


  • Mel Johnson


  • lampwick


  • Victoria Leigh


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Windsongs, I wish we could tell you that, but the fact is that it is impossible without seeing you. We have no way of assessing your talent and physical facility, nor your previous training. I think the only thing that you can to try and get a better idea of your chances is to audition for a professional school and see if you get accepted. If so, then one might assume there is some ability there, and that they see the potential for development even at this age.

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windsongs...you're in New York City? There's so many opportunities and wonderful teachers there. I started "serious" ballet training at the very Very VERY old age of 27 in New York. I had danced through college and stopped for about 6 years. I was never too serious as a teen/college student.


I worked very hard for the past three years and have actually made it into a small professional company as an apprentice. I'm not the greatest dancer in the world and won't be able to get into the big name companies because of my age. But I'm pretty good, fortunate to have a very good ballet body, and continue to improve all the time. Whenever someone approaches me with a random compliment, it makes me remember that I'm really not so bad....there are some people out there who enjoy watching me.


Keep at it and find the absolute best teachers you can find. It should never feel like work. Even when I'm down and seem depressed or angry, I know inside that I love what I'm doing and that I can be good at it.

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Same goes for me actually, I took 7 yrs of ballet (and others types of dancing) but now I really love ballet. All profs from the academy started at age 8 or something.

I think with extra and much and hard training maybe I can do it.

... I think the only thing that you can to try and get a better idea of your chances is to audition for a professional school and see if you get accepted. If so, then one might assume there is some ability there, and that they see the potential for development even at this age.

Here is just one problem. The professional ballet schools wouldn't even let me audition, because they don't believe you can be as good as when you started professional ballet training at 8. So you can't even try....

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There are some very good ballet schools that are not associated with a particular company. You've some catching up to do, so private lessons are probably needed. But Ms. Leigh is absolutely right - someone "in the know" should evaluate you first. Good luck!

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And there are even schools associated with a company which will take students above a certain age. The Joffrey School in the West Village (434 6th Ave) is famous for the inclusiveness of their classes as long as the student can do the work.

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hey windsong,


A year ago I went through the exact same thing, I really wanted to be a danser, but did not think that I had what it took. {I was from a small school in AL} I went out there and auditioned, and got a wait list letter first, then a SI letter then I somehow got accepted into Harid. Hey if I can do it you can just go out there and try it never ever hurts to try.

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Mel Johnson made a good point. There are many excellent schools that are open to everyone.


The company I'm with right now is attached to a good, solid school. Many students have gone onto professional careers. Auditions are for level placement only. Anyone is welcome to study there. I really like this philosophy.


Occasionally I will run into someone in an open class whom I haven't seen for years. People who stick with it long enough usually end up pretty good! Most of the people still dancing and/or teaching from when I was young weren't the ones who were the "stars" in my school. Just a few weeeks ago I ran into someone from FOREVER ago. She's a beautiful dancer now, and owns a school. I don't remember her ever getting solos in Nutcracker or school performances, but now she's totally made it her career. It is great to see this.


Some flowers bloom later than others. I think Balanchine used to say stuff like that :wink:

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Thank you for all of your responses. They were very helpful. Yes, I do have a lot of catching up to do, but I am glad that there is still some hope for me. And Ms. Leigh - I will definitely audition (maybe for just a summer intensive first) to have someone evaluate me.


Keep the responses coming. I appreciate them very much. ^_^



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I think from reading an article in Dance Magazine that Misty Copeland started ballet classes at age 13 and she is now in the corps at American Ballet Theatre. She is an extreme case, but an inspiration none the less.

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The Joffrey School in the West Village (310 6th Ave)


knock, knock ...


Just wanted to correct Mr. Johnson - Joffrey is at 434 6th Avenue and their phone number is (212)254-8520.

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One of my close friends started at 15 as well (she is almost 16 now) and she is currently getting great parts alongside girls who have been accepted at Rock School and Abt for SI's. WHile she has not yet had the opportunity to audition for SI's the fact that she is dancing alongisde these talented girls shows that she has major potential. Never give up hope!

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My Fault, my Great Fault, my Greatest Fault.


310 was the street number of another part of the organization on another street while I was with the company.


(I fixed it. Must be Halftimer's Disease, and Ms. Leigh isn't here to catch me; she usually does when I blunder like that. Thanks for the correction!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I want to at least auditon for a summer intensive to see if I can make it, but I feel scared to death. :D Suddenly, I feel like my technique is lacking. Also, I know that pre-professional programs are for serious young dancers who want to training to help them achieve their goals, refine their technique, and improve but in order to get into the programs or even the summer programs, you have to be brilliant! It seems like a never-ending loop - you keep trying to get good quality training but you have to have to be of "good quality" already? Eeeek....


Thank you for your advice and inspiration, though! This proves that there is hope for people like me out there!! :blushing:




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one of my teachers friends started ballet at seventeen (never having had a lesson before) got accepted into royal ballet's upper school at eighteen and made the chor at twenty two. that was really inspirational to me. she obviously workedher butt off and royal ballet is tough to get into schoolwise, the company must be murder! :devil:

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