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Career as dancer


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Hi everyone! I am really striving to become a professional ballet dancer. Here's a little background: I'm 20 years old (I look 15 though) I began dance at 4 and stopped at 12. I started again at 18; and I first began pointe about 3 months ago. Now, I dance about 14-15 hours a week, including the times I practice on my own.


I am struggling to find a sufficient studio that will properly train me to become a professional dancer. I am very determined and I work hard, and I constantly find ways to push myself further. I'm just a little bit sad now, because I know my technique is lacking and I can find so many mistakes. Like my pas de chats are hardly ever clean, my pirouettes never improve, my saut de chats aren't big enough, etc. All this gets me down. I know I'm working towards my goal and I know I can make it, so this leads me to my question:


What do you do to gain confidence as a dancer? I feel like my "depression" is holding me back from progressing. Could that happen?

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Hi, balletislove20, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :D


First, something you already know. Time is not on your side.


That said, don't beat yourself up about technique issues, you've got enough to contend with without being your own enemy. That's not to say "don't be self-critical", but learn to be more analytical and constructive in your criticism. Find out why those pas de chats aren't clean, and work on those flaws.


On the upside, being in Florida is a plus for you, because there are quite a few places there which offer really excellent training, and have their own regional professional companies attached. Seek these out. It sounds as if you are prepared to relocate. That's a good thing. Since your training regimen hours include self-practice, what is your class schedule like?

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It's a little complicated. I'm at a university that is eliminating the dance program, so I never got a chance to become a dance major...but I'm auditioning for New world, University of Florida and Florida State this and next month, my goal is to attain a BFA. Now I go to dance classes Mon-Fri at night, but the I'm looking for better studios whose focus is to train aspiring ballet professionals. I am looking around, but I don't know what to do exactly. I was hoping on after recieiving a BFA or during my completion of it I can join a theatre company. So for now I'm just hanging in there, making the best I can out of what I got. I plan to take open classes at MCB once I finish my school classes in Dec., and from there find a good studio as well.

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You asked, "What do you do to gain confidence as a dancer? I feel like my "depression" is holding me back from progressing. Could that happen?"


I will start by addressing the first question, "What do you do to gain confidence as a dancer?"

I think that confidence comes from training, experience, practice, and time. However, there is a difference between confidence in yourself, and confidence in your dance ability, and I guess I am wondering which one we are talking about here.


Are we talking about your inability to believe that you will get better? Or are we talking your concern (very real) that it may be difficult to find a job as a professional ballet dancer? It takes 8-10 years of 6 days a week training, to train a professional dancer. The competition is fierce and the jobs, rare. So if you lack confidence in ballet as a career, that may be quite prudent.


You say you believe that you can do the work better, yet you are feeling a lack of confidence. Could the lack of confidence be your inner voice stating the realities of a life as a professional dancer to you?


I don't know. But certainly, your state of mind can have everything to do with your physical being.


Maybe it's time to talk to a trusted clergy, teacher, or psychologist who can help you sort out what's really going on.


I think we as dancers, always face times where we re-evaluate why we do what we do, and the level of achievement may vary from time to time, but for myself, no matter what else was going on, I have never wavered from wanting to be involved with ballet. Not once. It is my passion and even though my involvement has evolved to now helping others to achieve their dance goals, the knowledge that I am doing what I was meant to do has always been there. I am so thankful for my ability to dance, and I wish that for you too. :)

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You couldn't have said it better. "Or are we talking your concern (very real) that it may be difficult to find a job as a professional ballet dancer? "


That's what worries me. I love ballet and dancing makes me happy, and it's all I think about. But when I'm faced with reality, I begin to feel down. I think because I compare myself to those that do dance 6 days a week for 8-10 hours. I have to accept that I'll never be that good, but I DO have hope for myself that I will make it somewhere, becaues despite my doubts and worries, this will of mine for ballet is so strong, no one can break me away from it. maybe someone out there will see that in me and I can have a shot at a dance career. Just having the future as a complete unknown makes me doubt and worry.

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The future is a complete unknown for everyone! Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you really want to dance, then dance. But you do have to realize that making a living at it might be a whole different ball game. The first reality is the amount and the quality of training. The second reality is your talent and physical facility for ballet. If these things exist, then go for it. If they don't, accept it continue to do it because you love to do it, and it is fun and healthy and has many benefits. But you might need to take out the vocational aspect and put it into your life as something you do and love, in addition to what you do to support yourself.

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Sorry, dancingaway...this is a YD forum.

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I have the ideal body for ballet, and I know my physical ability is improving and I do see a dancer when I dance. My quality of training now is not so great. I have to wait until after the middle of December to go somewhere else to train for real because one of my studios is having a show and we have to rehearse for it 3 times a week. But I know I do have the heart and strength for it, and I'm going to make it happen. I can't see myself doing anything else... I just have to dance!

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"I just HAVE to dance!" There you go. That's your mantra, and now you can focus on that goal, stop comparing yourself to others, and leave the piddly stuff behind. :)

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