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Training: realistic chances?


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just a question.. hopefully someone can give me advice.


im 22 and just graduated from a school for ballet... i auditioned in the spring, but didnt get any offers. i havn't been training in serious ballet for very long, but i have accomplished a lot in a short period of time.


i havnt danced much since may, maybe 4 or 5 classes, but i really miss it.


i want to go back to school for ballet, but my parents dont support me. i have a pretty good job now, that couold possibly lead to a great job, but sometimes money isnt what makes you happy. i understand that a dance career doesnt make much money, and that most of the time dancers need a second job. but im willing to do that. my parents think that since i have this (what they think is great) job i should stick with it. money is tight and ballet is very expensive... i understand that... but i personally believe i should do what makes me happy.. is that wrong??


does anyone have any advice on how i can explain to them what i want to do... and not what they think i should do??? what would you do in this situation??


id love advice from parents!!



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Hello tendu05, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :)


Not a parent, but a teacher here. Unfortunately, without seeing you, it is really impossible to asses your potential for a career in ballet. Giving you advice to give up a good job and to continue training at a pre-professional level, without knowing what kind of possibility there is for you to find work in ballet, would not be a good thing for us to do. It is so very difficult to find a contract with a professional company, and unless you are really a very exceptional dancer, it would probably not happen for you. Of course it could, but we don't even have a way to give you any odds, without seeing you dance.


I wish I could be more positive and optimistic for you, and maybe I could if I saw you in class, but with the way the job market is today, the odds are just not terrific for anyone. :wink:


I'm sure you will get some response here from parents, too. But, whatever anyone says, and whatever you decide to do, you can always keep dancing! Ballet is something you can do throughout your life, as long as you stay healthy. Check out the Adult Ballet Student forum here and I think you will find an amazing number of very dedicated adult students who work at other jobs but continue to take classes very regularly. :)

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I'm not a teacher (anymore) or a parent, but have been more or less in your position.


I went back to university at the age of 22, studied teaching with my minor in the performing arts, am teaching regular school (and it's many, many years later) and don't regret a minute of it, now. I dance about 6 hours a week.


Originally, I went to college to get my teaching degree in order to have a job so that I could do performing arts as a career, eventually. Found I loved teaching as much as I loved performing (they appear almost to be the same thing, at times!).


You might want to see what college offers. Sometimes, it can be the start you need to get into, if not ballet, some other avenue of performance. As well, at college, you could study all the arts you wish, plus something that would help you in non-performing arts, as well. You'd be surprised how quickly you would pick up on other areas of interest that way.


Just my tuppence!



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I really think that at 22 if you want to do ballet you should fund it yourself. Sorry, probably not what you want to hear - if your parents were willing to support you then brilliant but if not, I think you're a bit old to be expecting them to. Good luck with whatever you do. :)

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i dont mean support me financially... i mean just general support... they dont have the money to help me out and i know that. and i dont mind having a job.. ive had a full time job since i turned 16... but i just want their support. i want them to be happy with what im doing because im happy, not because they think i could make good money... does that make any sence?? i dunno...

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I'm afraid that family moral support is a little out of our league. You'd need family counseling to shore that up. But what's the matter? Do you feel that your parents are NOT supportive of your continuing dance studies at all, or just not in favor of leaving a job to pursue dance (reservations about this latter course of action are highly prudent).

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It sounds like your parents are just being realistic. You are in your early 20s and say you have a good job outside of the dance world. Further, you mention that this could lead to an even better job.


What parent would not encourage you to keep up with a good paying position that could lead to a better one? To be honest, sounds like you are being a little hard on your folks (you DID say you wanted a parent's point of view!). I don't know that you could expect your parents to happily agree to the notion of you abandoning a nicely paying job at the age of 22.


As others have noted, we have not seen you dance so cannot comment on your potential. That said, if dance is what makes you happy you should continue with some classes outside of work hours and utilize that time to its utmost. You could also consider further auditions, or perhaps you'd want to invest in an evaluation from a professional teacher who isn't someone you currently take class from.


I'm sorry if this hasn't helped. Bottom line: if dance is REALLY what you want to do, then it's up to you to carve out a path. Once you have a path and some distinct goals along the way you may find your parents more receptive.



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For the record, my parents NEVER supported my dancing, except as a hobby. They actually only paid for one lesson a week, and that was it. I worked for the studio to pay for the rest of my classes, and at 16, got a job to pay for even more. That said, if I applied for and got into an intensive, as long as they didn't have to pay for my room and board, they would pay for that. However, I would save up and pay for a lot of it myself, so they didn't have to pay for much, even when they did decide to.


I also paid my own way through college, when I eventually went, even though I was going into a "sensible" profession through university.


Choose what you wish to do and go after it. There are financial means out there if you get creative in looking. There's a book around that you can get at the local bookstore - usually it's published yearly - that spells out unusual grants and scholarships you can apply for. I KNOW they have scholarships for dance and other arts.

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Ditto to everything that everyone else said. You are at an age when dancers are company ready, not ready for more training. Even a college dance major (traditionally an "older" auditioner) is auditioning at 22! It is very, very hard to find a paying dance job-- even one that doesn't pay all your bills, believe it or not. And don't fall into the trap of thinking that ballet is what makes you happy so you should do it for a living. Of course you should dance if it makes you happy! But it may very well make you happier if you do it recreationally than if you try to pursue it professionally. And if you do make it into a company, don't expect everything to be beautiful and rosy. It isn't. It's hard, hard competitive work (I'm speaking here about larger companies that do pay a living wage). It's possible that you can find some smaller, regional companies that are gentler perhaps....but they are unlikely to pay a living wage and then you have to figure out a way to make up the difference. It's a hard life no matter which path you go down. Just loving to dance isn't enough, you have to figure out if the lifestyle is worth it to you.

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