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Ballet Talk for Dancers

2009-10 Parental Transition Support Group


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It is 4:25am in Alberta and here I am checking my DD's email to see if she has any more replies. Her internet is playing up at the worst possible time, so I check the email then text or call her with an update.


Replies are coming in at a fairly steady pace. She has a few that ask her to recheck the website in December and January and resubmit as they dont have any openings currently. One was a flat out no - you are not suitable for our company, and three invitations to audition. Of her top four, she has two invites, one still pending and one we are not hiring this season and possibly next.


I had forgotten how sleep depriving the waiting can be. I can only imagine how it will be when she is actually over in Europe in January & February. Anyone else feeling the same?

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  • Momof3darlings


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  • calamitous


Dd has her "plan B" in place but this won't be defined until spring. Still sifting through all the mounds of info on auditions and training programs and trying to figure out how much it's going to cost me in flights/accommodation.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am looking for some moral support and perspective on life as the parent of a senior dancer. I really thought we had it under control but some how things now seem to be spiraling out of control. I am not sure how DD sleeps at night with all that is going on.

Here's the scene - we have some academic college acceptances, but DD has yet to do an audition for dance programs since she had conflicts for ALL the fall ones.

So we are scheduling auditions for winter/spring quarter but why do they all choose the same days and WHY are they on Fridays. The kids are still in school and have to be in classes, and there is a limit to how many can be missed. DD is taking courses at college and doing OK, but she needs to be in class to do well.

We are in our last Nutcracker and with ups and downs of all the years in her program, why do they still drool over the little up and comers (pre-puberty) and just chuck out the kids who have put in the years.


And on and on - I am amazed that DD remains sane let alone her mostly happy and confident self, but I am spending too many nights awake and worried.

Oh did I mention needing to get that @**# ACT composits up 2 points to get into the scholarhsips to let us afford the schools she wants to go to.


I thought this year was supposed to be something she enjoyed.

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Oh, you are truly in the thick of it! DD and I went through this last year and I remember the chaos vividly. Hang in there and know that things will fall into place eventually. Really. Do what you can and figure out the rest as you go along. There is no avoiding the stress but getting too caught up in it does no good. Easier said, than done, I know.


As the year went on, we realized that she had to make some compromises. She had to break some "rules." Finding the right place for her ongoing training/education became the priority and to fit in those auditions she had to miss some classes and rehearsals that we would never have considered missing in earlier years. There simply is no good time to be gone. She took some heat from teachers for missing things but knew she was looking toward a new goal. As a perfectionist, she had to accept her first B! We found that the more information we gave to her teachers, the more invested they became in her future options, although not all of them got on board unfortunately.


About audition timing... now that I'm on the other side of this, I see that professors want to do the auditions on days when potential students can tour campus, observe class, necessarily a weekday— and they probably don't want to give up their weekends either! Some studios are also used for club dance classes, etc. on weekends.


DD was in a similar position with ACT test scores and had to do extra studying. She got very little sleep last year and I worried like crazy. She got sick more often. But she toughed it out and is dealing better with college as a result of that experience so the intensity paid off. Do whatever little things you can to help, whether making favorite treats, taking on a few of her chores, etc. Remember that she won't be around next year for you to dote on so spoil her when you can. It gives you a way to channel your nervous energy and will help her out.


Enjoy the process, even though there are days when you just want to scream! I found journaling and long walks a help. I had to learn not to keep going back to the worries and discussing them repeatedly in my conversations with her. It would just have stressed her more. We had kitchen table summits with the calendar and lists but tried not to make the future the subject of all our conversations. It was a very hard year. Eventually, you'll look back and remember mostly the good times though— so make sure you do some fun things on those audition trips, make the most of your time together, laugh as much as you can, and keep an open mind as to the future.


If your daughter is feeling confident and happy despite all the senior year trauma, you are doing more right than you may be giving yourself credit for! Wishing you and your DD all the best.

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Oh Calamitous, been there! Her senior year, DD had to relax her "rules" about always attending every class and rehearsal and had to focus, for a time, on the academic side. She told her dance teachers in advance and thus was able to ensure the grades/ACT/etc. and fill out all the college applications and take a lesser role in Nut, and then, once Feb. came, focus more fully on dance again. It was hard for her, since she's a "do it all perfectly" person, but that was the only way to survive!


Hang in there. My part time college advisor tips: When studying for an ACT/SAT retake, study ONLY that portion on which you did the most poorly or have a realistic belief that you can really raise scores in. That way the study time will have the best effect. Also, make sure she takes one of the (short) "how to test" courses, that just teach you how to make educated guesses and to interpret simple graphs rather than the long and challenging course that teaches actual information. They are usually about a 4 hour class and it makes a huge difference in confidence and can often give you those needed two points. There is probably an online version. Buy a prep course on CD, pop it into the laptop and tell her to run a few practice questions whenever she has downtime.


Also, if she's more a facts person/math person, try the other major test (SAT for those who usually take ACTs). Though the test folks say the scores correlate closely, that's not true for every child. My math-y son consistently scored higher on the SAT.


Most of all, remember that the "right" college is out there for everyone and try not to get too hung up on getting into that one perfect place.


It will all be okay, and this year will pass. Senior year is rugged, but very, very worth it!

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I remember as well calamitious and feel your pain. I agree with both dance1 and studioj, she and you have to focus on her new horizons while she finishes up her old. Therefore, it is okay to miss even if that means loss of role or alternating roles. She cannot be all things to all people, so she has to be all things to herself right now.


As far as colleges are concerned, you need to go during the week so you get a feel for the place. The weekends on a college campus don't show you much except for the social aspects of the program and they'd never get all the dancers to come in for a class for you to see what the classes were like there. They do what they have to, it's just that people before us abused the "college visit privilege" for Seniors so badly that schools had to put restrictions on them that are pretty much unreasonable now especially for a dancer. We found that most teachers were accomodating when they were informed that it was not just a college visit but an audition for the program that was required. That however, was done on an individual basis.


While I know it is hurtful that it appears the teachers are just casting aside the Seniors. In reality, that serves a dual purpose. It allows them to force remaining school students to step up and take the place of those they have counted on for a long time. The teachers themselves are making way with purpose and need. But also, it allows the dancer themselves to start removing themselves and their emotions from the home situation so that they can concentrate on themselves. Now this is not really done with that kind of advance thought and purpose, but I do feel it's a natural transition that happens and after you are out of the situation, you can appreciate it for what it was. If you think back to the year prior to any big event, you'll see the same sort of transition happening even if it was just your mom saying "remember when you get married, these bills are yours and your husbands, not mine anymore."

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We are also in senior year and trying to line everything up, but I don't think any of us are feeling stressed. More just curious as to what the next 12 months will bring. DD has her college applications in, but did not apply for any schools with dance programs. She is hoping to defer her acceptances and spend next year fully pursuing ballet to see if she can make it work. She has set some bare minimum parameters for herself and goals for what the next opportunity needs to offer her. I suppose it may be available to her or not. We don't know.

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Thank you all (and thank you to whomever moved my thread to this one, which I could not find last night). Things are looking a little less frantic on a sunny Sat morning when everyone could sleep a little later. I am ready to make the plane bookings and adjust life for Jan and Feb, then I guess we can deal with all the fallout of missed school and work later.


Dd danced beautifully last night, I truely have never seen her dance better, and SHE was very happy with her performance, so I guess it really doesn't matter who got what part and the whys and what nots. Momof3 you are right there is a natural transition and I should be happy for the school and program that they actually have 4 young men who can do the partnering in snow and Cavalier as long as they use the younger/smaller girls. It's been a lot of years since they have been able to have their own boys do these parts. DH and I are now trying to figure out what token to get DD for her last nutcracker - Dd is looking at modern and contemporary programs so we don't see more nuts in the future. I suppose this is something we should have planned ahead on, but the reality was slow in hitting.


dance1- we have taken the only study the science section for the ACT since that is what is killing her scores. This is especially painful to me as a science educator, but reflective of the teaching in her school.


Studioj you are so right about wanting kids to be on the campus and in classes with students for auditions. I need to remember that DD needs to see this as this is where she will be living for the next 4 years. It's just that the pragmatic now and possible future live in different sides of my head. I just wish we could all be in two places at one time. DD is taking math at the local university which is not an easy class for her (her strategy is to get rid of all the math any place could require of a dance major so she never has to have a mathematical thought again) and that is the one she/we are most worried about her missing. But she will be OK, so thanks for the boost in my confidence that it can be a good year afterall.

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Although our schooling systems seem totally different ( combination of continuous internal assessment plus external final exams, plus school year finishes in December here in Australia), we seem to have had similar situations. DD was juggling school, dancing, and auditioning for both university programs and full time training programs. She also had to make similar compromises and break similar "rules" with both dancing and schoolwork in order to survive. As we are transitioning out of the final school year ( results due Dec 16) , I can say it does get better.


One thing DD found helpful was to find a "study buddy" in each of her subjects that took notes and did work to a similar standard to hers. Then, when she had to miss class for whatever reason, a photocopy of what was missed was inserted into the folder as soon as possible to ensure continuity. If the "buddy" lived not too far away, we often popped over even on a Sunday evening, quickly photocopied the notes, and then returned them that evening or the next morning.


And as they seem to get sick oftener and also other senior students also may have to miss classes for various reasons, resentment did not build up as the "buddy"was able to borrow DD's notes in the same manner.


Also, the teachers seemed more understanding or tolerant of DD's absences if she at least had a working knowledge of what had been missed, even if it was just a skim readthrough of the phtocopied notes over breakfast, on the bus or before school.

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Thanks for a great idea. DD did this a little this quarter with her University class as she found a dancer friend in it and it worked well.

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No matter how we managed to juggle 4 years of HS, nothing compares to this time of senior year! C R A Z Y!!!!!!!! And while we all have our own personal take on how we made it through... it's still CRAZY!!!!!!


I think everything you said on the first paragraph of your post today is perfect. Make the plane reservations and go for it!


Wonderful that you will have such a lovely memory of how she danced in her last HS ballet performance :)




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Thanks hushinfazen. By the way DD just put in her application to PointPark. It seems like her views on what and where she want to go shift all the time. A few programs have dropped off the list completely to be replaced with places that she initially rejected. But I am sure she will find a place.

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Glad to hear it calamitous,


PP could be a good choice since opportunities to audition for all areas of theater are open to everyone. Academic & Talent awards are available so a good package might work for her as well.





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My pleasure, calamitous. It certainly is a crazy time. And it always seems to be busiest and most stressful when the weather is yuckiest, which doesn't help.


And although they don't always realise, I think we feel just as stressed as they do, but try to hid it under a calm "front".


I think my motto from this year would be " expect the unexpected! "

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