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Ballet Talk for Dancers
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Choices Young Dancers Face at Residency, College, Company

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Yes, these situations do apply outside the dance world. However, it is more common in dance than in the larger population for underage students to be living on their own in a new city, in a situation where there is no collegiate structure in place should they need counseling or advice. There are no RAs, no Freshmen Success Office, no dorm full of other scared and immature 18 year olds, etc. They are often completely on their own when it comes to their daily living.


Lots of our BT members have had dancers living unsupervised while still in HS in order to attend a pre-pro or participate in a trainee/apprentice program. This group, along with those HS age kids who are in residency, are the most vulnerable to the scenarios we are discussing here.


Certainly part of the college experience is to learn to circumvent these more adult situations, but most college freshmen have a pretty large safety net that has been woven by the school to protect and support incoming students. Even if a dance program builds in some support mechanism to help students cope (and this is rare), the anonimity that colleges can offer due to their size and segregation of services is simply not possible in a dance program and so dancers are reluctant to seek out those who might help them for fear that they will be labeled as 'guilty by association' as has been mentioned or unstable or weak or immature. Most dancers are all too aware of the small world in which they must live and ultimately find a job. So, they often don't feel free to go to an adult on staff to help. It is very hard for a dancer to know whom they can trust to keep their problems private and they know too many stories like the one mentioned above where everyone knew someone else's trouble before they were even home from the SI!


So, there are complexities to this situation for young dancers, that don't necessarily apply to the larger population. If only it was as simple as all the good advice that is being given here, we wouldn't need this thread! :grinning:

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I had an eye-opening conversation recently with the mom of an older dancer. Her daughter had made some bad choices (just once!) at a party and ended up in the ER with serious alcohol poisoning -- very scary.


This mom said she had always talked to her kids about refusing drinks but the incident made her realize that she had never educated them about what was a reasonable amount to drink, should they eventually decide to experiment. For most kids that is an inevitable decision, hopefully made when they are of age. But especially when they come from a family where alcohol consumption is not the norm, they may not know what constitutes social drinking, what is an appropriate amount to drink in an hour's time, etc. Her daughter had no clue that alcohol could not be consumed like soda pop.


It's great to tell them no, but we also have to educate them about how to handle it... even if the information isn't needed for your child, it may help them be more aware and able to urge a friend to slow down their consumption.

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Bumping this topic up as 'food for thought' and awareness.  Please feel free to add to and continue the discussion.

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