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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How Important is Age 13?


scballetmom

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scballetmom

Thank you, EFD2, for sharing the advice that you have received from others. This affirms the logic that a solid technical base is crucial, and, if I'm going to err, let it be on the side of caution. I find comfort in both your and Ms. Leigh's use of the word "young" in your responses. After all, in gymnastics, 13 is practically "over the hill"! When I read on the board about what others are doing and the offers that they have received at even younger ages, I feel anxious. I've been wondering if, since dd will be in the older age groups in auditions next spring (and therefore have much more expected of her), that she really needed to get more exposure and "take a step up" at an intense summer program this year. All of your responses have given me peace that it would be ok, perhaps even preferable, to forgo this another year. Thank you all.

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Another thing to consider: if she sticks with ballet, you are looking at probably 5 summers of SI's - and realistically speaking, most female dancers do not get scholarships - including very talented ones. At an average of $4000 a program (including travel, week-ends, etc) you will possibly be spending $20,000 on SI's. :)

 

Since it more crucial to be at choice SI's as the student is at the 15 - 17 age range, you might want to choose a less expensive SI now as long as the training is good training.

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Do your best to research the school to ensure it offers what your DD needs. One of the moderators very smartly said something to the effect of read all the posts, but be sure to read between the lines. Many people in forums will tend to post positive reviews more so than negative reviews. Don't become too impressed by the big name schools. Attending a big name school does not necessarily give your DD the key to the city. A wise parent on this forum noted that even a dancer who lists big name schools on their resume still needs to actually dance at the audition to make the cut. Our kids dreams are important, but we should be mindful that we don't overextend ourselves, to everyone's detriment, in trying to make them happen.

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sophiabuddy

and realistically speaking, most female dancers do not get scholarships - including very talented ones. At an average of $4000 a program (including travel, week-ends, etc) you will possibly be spending $20,000 on SI's. :wacko:

 

I wonder about the poor prospects of a female dancer getting scholarhships to SI's. :yucky: How do you know this? In reading the postings here, one gets the sense that a good number get something. Or am I going into this trip with my DD with rose-colored glasses?

 

Sophiabuddy

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Keep in mind the phenomenon called "selection bias". We hear on this site about lots of successful dancers because it is a site dedicated to the most serious students of ballet. On top of that, the people who get acceptances and scholarships are more likely to post than those who don't. (I can tell you for sure that we never trumpeted the many rejections my two dancers received.)

 

Across the whole population of dancers -- or even those who aspire to go to SIs -- the scholarship rate is likely far lower than it is at this site.

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Treefrog is absolutely correct regarding the fact that people on this forum will generally trumpet their DK's successes than perceived failures. Case in point, several of the posts found right here in this topic.

 

There may not be statistical evidence regarding the number of scholarships made available to students, mainly because most schools/companies don't want to disclose such information, but be assured the number is few and far between. Further, these schools/companies realize the demand far outweighs the supply and that they can reduce the number of scholarships, offering them to a select few. That brings us back to those posters who proudly trumpet their DKs success.

Edited by EFD2
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Momof3darlings

Let's make sure that we acknowledge that for the most part people share their DKs successes rather than continuing to focus on trumpeting. While it is a case of semantics, "Trumpeting" carries a more negative meaning. Sharing successes on this board is important. Whether scholarships are given out at given SIs is important information just as a fact that none were on a particular year from an SI. Sometimes individual posters may go overboard, but for the most part our members share that information because it has been asked for, because we do share in the success, but we also discuss and educate about the differences in scholarship in the 12-14 set and in the 15-18 set.

 

Now, with that said, it's also important to have a little fear recognized when reading this site and to keep it in perspective. Far too many parents come here first time believing that their child is the next Pavlova and have no clue that there are 10,000 Pavlova's same age as theirs training nationwide also. Those from smaller schools where a dancer may have been groomed to think they are the best thing out there have no clue that nationally things may be very different than they are in the walls of the home studio. Many a dancer has been a scholarship student at 13 and doesn't get acceptances anymore at 16. It's a weird world this ballet one. Best to share in the successes when they come but recognize the possibility that tomorrow it may be another's success to celebrate.

 

So yes, come to this board not to be afraid of what you read but to soak in what you read, read between those lines, ask questions, determine that possibly the home program can't do it all to get dancer from point A to B but don't lose your parental mind because of it. First and foremost, use good parenting sense and read, read, read. As Treefrog stated, not so many people share the negatives on acceptances but we certainly do share many negatives here about the journey. But as all of the Parent Moderators have stated from time to time, you are raising a child, not a dancer. The teachers are the ones raising the dancer.

 

If you consider that in most instances, the top 1% of an age group might get a scholarship, with the number of dancers auditioning that is not in fact a lot of scholarships. Larger programs may or may not have more than smaller ones. Some smaller programs are well financed as well. However, given that we are, as Treefrog stated on a board about serious ballet ( a badge we wear with honor I might add) you will find more of a percentage of dancers getting scholarships here than you will if you poll the same percentage in your home studio. While the announcement of them may be troubling if your child doesn't get one, or doesn't get alot, one should also consider (and that information is here to read positively and negatively) what scholarships are based on at many SIs and how that changes all along the way.

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Momof3darlings:

 

Incredibly well-stated.

 

The 3 Darlings must be terrific kids having a Mom as intelligent, knowledgeable, and wise as you.

 

Thank you.

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chicaballet

Momof3darlings:

 

Thank you for your incredibly wise comments. Considering I just came back from a studio where a parent was seriously discussing an award given to a three year old (another Pavlova of course) in the under five division(!), your words are truly appreciated.

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Momof3darlings

Thank you for your kind words. Balance in everything ballet is important!

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Momof3 I also want to thank-you for your incredibly wise comments. I posted above but felt the need to delete my post because I felt that others thought I was trumpeting DDs success. My post was in no way meant as trumpeting. I guess I am poor at expressing myself in cyperspeak- but hoped to offer what must be a contrary view regarding scholarships to SIs. DD has been very successful in her SI auditions and has repeatedly been offered scholarships. At age 12 we looked at the auditions as validation for her year round training. Audition success helped us realize that her training was well on track. Continued success with scholarships to very competitive SIs has made us believe in the year round training even more. Now that she's attended more competitive SIs for several years, we've realized that many other girls are also receiving scholarships to this type of SI. Maybe our viewpoint is now skewed because DD has met many other dancers that have "IT"- maybe it's just that the SI DD has had the priveldge to attend is very well funded- that I don't know and would be the topic for others more in the know to discuss. I guess what we have realized is that girls can get scholarships. Granted DD has been told many times that the only way we could afford for her to attend certain SIs is to get a scholarship. Maybe that makes me a bad parent for putting additional stress on her during an audition- but I'm trying to put a dose of reality on this whole SI mania. Maybe the additional stress I'm putting on her is helping her to figure out what future companies might be looking for when hiring dancers. I don't know about that- I just know that because she has been successful receiving scholarships to SIs she wants to attend she has been able to attend them.

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scballetmom

ondine88 and EFD2--My dd had a performance this weekend, so I apologize for my delay in replying. Thank you for your input into our decision making process. Money is always a huge consideration for our middle class family. In fact, I'm not sure how long we can "stay in the game", if you know what I mean.... The closer SI has excellent ballet training and I know that dd will improve there. In fact, most of their students do not leave to go to other places for the summer because they (the students) feel they get all they need there. I know that this will be a good thing. Thanks again to all of you for your time, advice, and encouragement.

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scballetmom

wannabe--Thank you for sharing about your dd's journey. She is obviously a very accomplished dancer for so many great places to be willing to invest in her future. Congrats! Your post illustrates to all of us that rewards for hard work are possible, even for girls! Thank you.

Edited by scballetmom
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scballetmom

Treefrog and Momof3darlings--Thanks so much for your seasoned advice and "reality check". It reminds me of the thread about what conclusions to draw from audition results. None of us know where this journey will lead us, so we need to enjoy the journey along the way.

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