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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Choices: College/Company Decision making


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I don't know if I'm allowed to ask this - sorry, I'm kind of new to bt.....I was accepted to a dance university in February, and I also received apprentice positions from three small companies. Does anyone have any advice as to what I should do? My main goal is to dance professionally and to perform a lot, but I don't know wchich route to take.



GG :devil:

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Grishko Girl--Congratulations on your offers! You are blessed to have choices. As members, we really don't know what is best for you. You will have to come up with that by soul searching. Nor do we compare companies since there are so many variables including not knowing you and your dancing. However, I moved your post here so that others could post their perspective of the decision making processes they have used in a similar situation and what specific things helped them.


In terms of the question in general, and since you have many options. What is your first choice to do, dance in a company or go to college first? What are your long term goals for your dancing? In terms of the offers from the companies, is there anything that came in the offer that would indicate that one AD over the other was more interested at this time? Are they all paid positions? Is one company stronger than the others? Are the living expenses different for each area and how does that affect your decision? Also, the term "apprentice" means different things at different companies. Are there any distinctions there that make a difference you should look at?

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My suggestion would be to explore your options and see if you can take advantage of more than one of these opportunities. Can you defer your college scholarship and dance for a year? That will give you some time to decide after you have experienced company life and make a more informed decision in a year.


With multiple good offers on the table, it would seem that you are a marketable dancer. Are their companies near the college you are considering? Have you explored any options with nearby companies?


Have you looked into college opportunities near the companies where you do have offers? Could you take a few classes and still do one of the apprentice jobs? Have you looked into online college courses to start getting the basics out of the way?


Have you compared the track record of the three companies to see what happens to their apprentices after a year? How often do their apprentices perform? What kind of roles are they given? Are you paid by some, but not by others? Do some offer better benefits, such as health care, PT, massage, shoes? Do some critical comparisons of your own, based upon the offers you have in hand and deciding amongst your offers may become easier. Sometimes apprentice positions vary widely!


There are lots of ways to go with all the offers you have in hand. Congratulations on your successes thus far. All the best in trying to sort them out and maximize the opportunities as best you can! :lol:

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Have you looked into online college courses to start getting the basics out of the way?


When looking into this option, keep in mind that the best scholarship opportunities are given to freshmen. So, be aware of how many classes/credits you could accumulate without affecting your standing in that regard. If it doesn't matter to your finances, that's fine. Just 'one more thing' to be considered.

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Also to consider and to ask - at each company - how many past apprentices have been hired into the main company in years past? Is there a future there - or are the odds not in your favor? How many apprentices are there? As was said previously, what is the cost of living in the city where the company is located, and will you be able to find roomates who might share the burden?

With regard to the college acceptance - how large is the program and given the size, how likely are you to be cast well and to receive attention and assistance with your career goals? What is the focus of the program and how does it relate to your ultimate goals? What kind of financial aid is being offered and is it likely to be offered again if you defer?

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I give seminars and workshops to young dancers making decisions like this all the time, (I was a Worksource specialist for a state gov't once upon a time.) so I'd be happy to give you some input to help you can insight into where you are now and foresight into where you want to go. (Insight and outlook from yourself, combined with input and foresight from others, are "must haves" for decision makers.)


College? :) Company?


I agree with many of the responses you've gotten. Long story short: no one can make this decision for you. Three apprenticeship offers and acceptance to college! What a wonderful problem to have...which, ehem, doesn't make it any easier to solve, does it! :blink:


- Here are some questions to consider answering in making your decision:


- If you don't have a scholarship to college now, and are paying full tuition, is it possible to go later, especially when you will likely have professional experience under your belt and may be eligible for scholarship?


- Is the university/college you have been accepted to have a reputable dance department - enough so, that you can get hired as a new professional upon graduation? (which I assume, would be when you are in your early twenties) If not, will you be able to continue study or perform outside of the university? (This can help if you wish to be hired later in life.)


- Are these companies worth it? Will you be paid? If not, how often are apprentices or trainees taken into the company. If often, are the dancers well paid (AGMA based company?)


- Do any of these companies have an affiliation with a college or university as an option for their dancers?


- Do these companies only hire from within their school? Or, do they only accept entry level dancers?

(meaning, fresh out of ballet school at age 17 to 19 or so)


- In your heart, can you defer college until you are ready to quit, or (if you have a long career in dance) retire?


- Is there another secondary career goal you have for post career dance that would require higher education, or concurrent with a dance career?


- In your heart, can you defer a ballet career, risking the possibility that you may not get hired, due to being an entry level dancer in your 20s?


Now the classic questions. Answer each one in order:


Where do you want to be one year from now? 2 years from now? Four years from now? Five years from now? 10 years from now?



The questions get more complicated and personally difficult to answer from here, but for this open forum, this should be sufficient.


Please let us know what your choice is, and how you arrived and the decision.


M*rde, Philip

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Wow! You guys are all amazing! Thank you so much for helping me with these decisions - you have all helped me a huge deal..... to answer some of your questions - yes, my teachers have been helping me a lot with all of these decisions, but ultimately, I get to make the final decision. As of now, after reading all of your comments and listening to my teachers and parents, I feel that at this point I need to go somewhere where I am 100% taken care of, rather than a place where I won't have medical coverage and won't be performing and dancing as much as I want to. Thank you so much for helping me!


I have just one final question - sorry that this is getting so off topic.....


I was accepted to a dance university on scholarship, and that is what I'm leaning toward - I'm just worried if going to college is going to put me "behind" all of the dancers that didn't attend colleges. Does anyone have any views about this topic?


Thanks again for all your help! :lol:



Edited by Grishko Girl
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GG--the answer to that question will depend on the college you were accepted to and received the scholarship to and how good that dance program is.


There are many dancers in the Trainee/Apprentice and upward ranks that have college degrees when they begin to dance. Just as there are similiar numbers of people who dance first and then go to college. It is a personal choice which way you go and which way is right for you. And it depends alot of what offers you receive and if you feel they are worth bypassing college for a while to take them.

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And don't forget that there is no law that says if you go to college that you can't leave after a year or two, if you get a performing contract. If you are in a good program, and can be company ready in a year or two, then you could try auditioning for stronger companies. If you get a contract, you don't lose those first years, and can finish college later.

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