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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Becoming a Professional dancer


cwalden

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I want to become a professional dancer, but I am 20 years old. Is that too old to try to follow that career path? What are some ways to get my foot in the door?

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Hello cwalden, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :)

 

I think we need a good bit more information about you before we can even think about answering that question! Please tell us about your training, what kind of a school you are in, how much you study, what SI programs you have been to, etc., etc.

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I have been taking dance for 17 years. I was a member of Louisiana Delta Ballet and Twin City Ballet in Monroe, Louisiana until I moved to Baton Rouge to attend school at Louisiana State University. I have attended the Rock School, ABT and International Ballet School in Jackson, MS summer intensives. I am taking classes at the Dancer's Workshop in Baton Rouge, LA next fall. I did not have time last school year to take as many dance classes as I would have liked because I did a dance team at LSU, and my schedule did not allow for any other activities except for studying and dance team practice. I am also auditioning this winter so I can attend a summer intensive next year.

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Ah, now that gives us something to work with! :)

 

With a CV like that, you might best be thinking of seeking out auditions for employment now instead of more schooling. I'd ditch the school dance team, as that is seldom aimed toward producing a career dancer.

 

Have you received encouragement from your teachers toward seeking a career in dance? If so, what kind of dance?

 

In classical ballet, where do you place yourself on a scale of all dancers? What class levels do you presently take?

 

Do you study any other forms of dance? If so, how do you think you size up against other dancers? Don't be too under- or over-critical.

 

Let us know some more. :D

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My dance teacher of 16 years from Monroe encouraged me to pursue a career in dance, but I decided to go to college instead. Now I have a renewed interest in finding a career in dance because that is the career I feel like I would be the happiest. I am always placed in the highest levels at the studios I take at. I was younger when I went to the Rock, ABT, and IBC summer intensives so I wasn't placed in the highest level. I went to Regional Dance America Southwest Festival and was placed in the highest level. I have taken modern at some summer intensives I went to, and I took a modern class at LSU that was a credit for my dance minor. My modern teacher is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory, so it wasn't just a fluff modern class. I think I would want to lean more towards a career in classical ballet or modern.

 

When I went to ABT summer intensive I my evaluation letter said that I did not have the right body type for classical ballet because I am short and petite; I am not tall with long legs. I think I am good enough to be comparable to other dancers at auditions; my only problem is I'm short (5'3").

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Just because one program doesn't prefer your body type doesn't speak for the whole profession. If you're going to go career, audition for as many different kinds of dancing jobs as you can. Don't just stop at ballet; try for modern companies or musical theater as well. It's important to get your foot in the door.

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You know what, I've struggled between the philosophy of you can do whatever you set your mind to versus it's too late, find something else. But I feel like if you KNOW dance is what you need to do, then go for it. Audition for any opportunity; get yourself out there. If ballet is your thing and you are very, very talented in it, then you will find a company that will overlook your height (no pun intended :D ). I danced with a girl who is 5'1" and is now a soloist at ABT. And I also chose to go to college and then pursue dance. So I think if you want to be a dancer, you can be, you can find somewhere in the dance world where you fit. Good luck!!

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When height is your (main) problem you may also look out in other countries and find companies who prefer shorter dancers. Most companies have got some sort of avarage size for dancers. In Europer there are also some companies which have mixed bodytypes but they do more contemporary stuff.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Does anyone know of companies who prefer shorter dancers? I am 1.60 meters I don't know what that is in feet (if any one could tell me I'd really appreciate it). Here that is considered quite short. I have noticed something perculiar, at the South African Ballet theatre the entire corps de ballet is, in my opinion anyway, very tall, but there are quite a few soloists who are more average height. there is one senior soloist who is shorte than me, and a principal who is more or less my height. I find it interesting to see this, and some times wonder if the shorter ones just lasted longer, or if there has been a shift in height trend from when the soloists and principles first auditioned to when the members of the corps auditioned.

 

I apologize if I have gone completely off the topic, please feel free to move this post if this is the case.

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Cygne, I'm sorry, but things you have heard, which is called hearsay, is not allowed here. This kind of information about a specific company needs to be factual. I have edited your post and left just the second sentence.

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I want to be a professional dancer too (my current concentration is contemporary dance) so I am trying extremely hard to brush up my ballet techniques currently.

 

And I think I'm getting too old too :D (I'm short too! 5'1'')

Edited by twinklingdance1990
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No fear allowed! You have a long background in several disciplines, so you have an advantage. Ballet won't be EASY - it never is, but you should pick it up more readily than someone starting from the beginning. And height? There are always guys like me, 5'7", who need partners!

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thank you Mr. Johnson!

 

i know this is probably off topic but i am just too happy - i have been pretty down moving to new york alone and not adapting well to all the ballet classes. but my country's men gymnastics team just won the olympic gold medal and it really matters a lot because we were all very upset when they lost it in athens 2004. so cheerios to them and they make me feel like giving my best in everything i am doing right now and regaining confidence again :wub::unsure:

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