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Ballet Talk for Dancers

College/Company: Any other options?


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I am a highschool senior this year, and as such am faced with the difficult decision of college vs. company. In my opinion there are pros and cons to both paths. I still haven't quite decided what to do, so I am scheduled to audition for several companies as well as several reputable college dance programs. I guess I'll see what I get into, and what is the best offer/option. My biggest problem though is my age....I'm only 16....so there is the added concern of where I would live if I were to dance with a company (being a minor doesn't make things easy) and going to college would provide it's own set of problems for a sixteen year old. Are there other options? :D

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After researching companies ( daughter will be auditioning in the spring), I've found that many of the trainee/apprentice positions state that dancers must be 17 years of age and up. I'm sure you'll find exceptions out there. I agree that a company school, a residency, or a pre-professional program are all good options for training at your age.

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Dancing and going to college are not mutually exclusive. My daughter is attending a company connected residence school and is also taking two courses at a university. It is a good way to work toward the future, whatever it may hold. Dedicated dance students are appreciated as students, both for their focus and discipline, and the variety they bring to the student mix. Most universities have a program for "non-traditional students", with classes offered days, evenings and weekends. When my daughter was in high school, she danced from 4-9PM and all day Saturday and attended school every day with the full high school work load. Her current schedule probably matches that previous one as far as work load and fatique level, but this is not beyond her ability. Dancers are such great time managers, they seem to enjoy a high level of organization and involvement. Keep an open mind for this possibility.

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Will you be 17 next year? I know of 3 girls who were faced with the same situation. 1 entered a ballet school in Europe and then upon graduation was taken into the company. The other is just starting at a school in Europe and hopes to do the same or come back to the states. The third girl is in a trainee program here in the states. I think there are several possibilities for you. It will depend on what your ultimate goal is. Where do you want to dance ultimately? Once you have an idea, then you need to take the path that will lead you in the right direction, or seemingly right direction!

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My daughter was in your shoes last year! She NEVER dreamed of going to college to major in dance. She wanted to "dance" after school, and then go back to college later for a degree in psychology or french or something! She had a miserable senior year. She didn't audition for summer programs that she really wanted to attend, but opted for programs where she thought she could stay post highschool. She received scholarships to 3 very good programs, but she didn't really have an interest in them (which I thought was totally bizarre)...


Ultimately her dad and I talked with her and encouraged her to try the college route, as WE didn't think she was ready to live on her own in a "big city"... we didn't feel that she had the "street smarts" to be aware. We asked her to give herself a year, in college, to grow up a little and get used to being on her own (she turned 17 a month before she graduated last year). It was a huge relief for her!!


She is at a conservatory program (SUNY Purchase)... pretty much with dancers 24/7. She feels that it's like a 15 week summer intensive (per semester).


There are many options for you out there! Sit down with your parents and teachers... you'll come up with the right one!!

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