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Not Auditioning Blues!


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For the past 3 years my DD has gone away to a summer program, but this year due to a recent health crisis she just isn't strong enough to audition. At first she seemed to accept it, but today she had a melt down. She feels like she will never get back what she lost and that all her chances are pretty much over. She finally started back to classes a few weeks ago and pointe just today, and while she has lost some strength her teachers were surprised and happy to see just how well she did after such a long absence. I know she will work hard but with her illness it's not going to be an easy road. I want to be encouraging but realistic at the same time. I've always heard that it takes a long time to recover from any absence in dance. Any advice?

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I am so sorry for you both. What a difficult position to be in - but thank goodness her health is improving! Perhaps you could consider (with health provider agreement) to take some day/week trips to various larger cities with interesting master classes offered to permit her to take new types of dance or a class or two from a new teacher. In that manner, she can experience some of the travel and novelty of a summer intensive, while still getting enough rest and care. NYC would be the easiest to find such programs (Broadway Dance Center and the numerous smaller studios that offer classes), but most cities have something similar. You also might treat it as a sort of "college tour" of various ballet schools/companies, and email some programs asking whether, since you'll be in the city anyway, they would permit her to take a class or a day of classes. She might discover some "gems" that way. I know, if my husband or I had to travel for work over the last few years, we would contact all the dance companies in that area and find a few places that would let my daughter take a class, company or school. Also, if she has friends attending various summer intensives, she might be able to take some short visits to them to observe classes and meet their new acquaintances. I think that a big part of the SI experience is just the fun of meeting new people and seeing the sights in a new area. She could even have this as the summer to learn a new dance-related skill - take photographs for publicity for the youngest students in a local dance school, learn to bead a tutu, learn how pointe shoes are made, etc. if she's interested in something like that. And, of course, makeup, hair styling, costume repair and acting are all essential dance skills that require somewhat less physical exertion than the actual ballet class. Maybe she would like to deepen her understanding and ability with classes in one of those areas.

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A period of long hiatus for illness is often accompanied by a moderate period of depression. It often goes away after a few weeks or even days of return to class. The teachers have obviously seen this before, and are trying first aid for the depression. The good news is that they are almost certainly telling the truth that she isn't as compromised as she may have thought. You can't make that stuff up in class!

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First of all, I wish your daughter all the best for a quick recovery. I just want to mention that there are SI's which do not require auditions. If she feels up to going to one by the summer, even for a week or two, there will be options for her.

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