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Ballet Talk for Dancers

going back to ballet senior year


freespirit

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After stopping ballet last year to concentrate on her academics, my daughter recently told me she would like to start taking classes again with the goal being to dance in college. She said she was surprised by how much she missed dance, and she can't imagine not having ballet in her life. With that in mind, I found her a good local studio with open classes during the summer so she could try the studio out for the fall, and so far she loves it! Somehow the break from dance has cured her from her need to compete with others; she says she's dancing for herself. She knows she's behind, but she smiles her way into and out of each class.

 

While I'm thrilled she's so happy, I know have a few concerns, and I'd love any advice you have:

 

1. My husband is less than thrilled by this choice. He's concerned it will take away from her academics, cost money that could be used for college, and he doesn't see the benefit. Now, he's not being mean--he loves her dearly; he's just very practical and very concerned about her future. His concerns make me concerned--should I be encouraging her to dance at this crucial time in her life? I've always been one for pursuing dreams, and I think that she's young and should go for it! But...I worry he's right. She's an IB Diploma Candidate (if you don't know the program it basically equals taking all AP classes) and therefore has a rigorous school schedule. Can she do both?

 

2. I'm also worried because I don't know if she can get in shape fast enough to be accepted into a university program. She has her heart set on the University of Utah because they encourage double majors and have both a strong ballet and biology program. We just visited there, and she loved the school.

 

While we were in Utah, she took adult classes at Ballet West. While there, she was given encouragement and positive feedback from Peter Christie (Ballet West Academy's Director), the other teachers, and even a couple professionals taking the class. She has beautiful extensions, legs, and feet. She's extremely flexible, and when in shape, has beautiful jumps. Turns are the bane of her existence, and she's weak and slow to regain strength. She's horribly out-of-shape, and we are both worried she won't be ready for auditions in November or February.

 

If she attends the school she's trying this summer, her class schedule for the fall will be:

 

Mondays 4:45 - 6:15pm Ballet

Mondays 6:15 - 7:45pm Pointe

Mondays 7:45-8:45pm Repitoire & Variations

Tuesdays 6:15 - 7:45pm Ballet

Tuesdays 7:45 - 8:45pm Pointe/Varitation

Wednesdays 5:30 - 7:00pm Ensemble Class

Thursdays 6:15 - 7:45pm Ballet

Thursdays 7:45 - 8:45pm Jazz

Fridays 4:45 - 7:00pm Ballet & Repertory

Saturdays 9:00 - 10:30am Ballet

Saturdays 10:30am - 12:00pm Modern

 

It seems like a solid schedule to me, and the studio principal is encouraging us to have her take the August intensive they have to help her get ready for this schedule. She's gotten positive feedback from her teachers this summer as well. Prior to stopping dance, she was on track for a pre-professional student. In the past, she was accepted to the Royal Winnepeg Ballet, Kirov Academy, and Harid on nice scholarships--for the year in a couple cases. She's been accepted to and received scholarships to various other "big" intensives as well. However, she didn't attend the last couple years as her interest in dance waned. Is this enough? Should I encourage her to go for it despite how impractical it seems to be?

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It doesn't hurt for her to try, now does it? She will need to audition for the dance programs for college, so that will provide good feedback.

 

If you don't let her try, she'll always have that regret and wonder 'what if?'. At some point, she may even become a little bitter believing that 'if only my parents had let me, I could've been professional.' It really should be her decision to try or not to try.

 

I understand where your husband is coming from. If truth be told, DD's papa would have preferred that she go the straight academic route. For one brief few months period, she almost did. However, the reason for her thought process at that time was not something that came from her heart, so as much as he would have preferred a straight academic route, he wanted her to chose that route for herself and not because of some outside pressure. He generously and lovingly gave her the support she needed to see if she got her passion for dance back, and she did. It didn't change his preference for her, but he acknowledged that he would have been very sorry if she'd gone through life with those 'what ifs'.

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If your daughter is an IB candidate, she's already taken a lot of those challenging classes and knows how it is to handle them and excel. She knows that she can do it as well as ballet, and she's at an age where she's almost an adult and can make informed decisions. Scary thought, I know! Maybe you could sell it as enhancing her academic profile for colleges, so schools know she isn't just a drudge and a brain. For dad, maybe you can push the "she needs exercise and a chance to do something different each day than simply staring at the books." Ballet will provide a study break of sorts! My DD did a rigorous academic schedule and a dance schedule similar to your daughter's proposed fall. She was tired, she never got enough sleep and there were some issues over days she had to miss for dress rehearsals and performances of Nut, but she swears (two years later) that it was totally worth it. I sympathize with her Papa though - if I could go back and undo that first day of ballet class at four, I would do it in a second! It's a truly rugged life.

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Thank you Dancemaven and Dance1Soccer1!

 

Your advice helps me feel better about her decision. It's such a confusing time having a nearly grown child and adding dance back into the mix just exacerbates things; I feel like each decision is "life changing" and worry the wrong choice will ruin her life (yes, a tad melodramatic, but I'm sure you know how I feel).

 

I'll try talking to her dad using your advice as talking points. After talking yesterday, he was convinced to let her take ballet this summer by using it as motivation to study for the things he's worried about academically (saying you can attend ballet if you study for your ACTs etc...). Perhaps a similar idea will work for the year.

 

Until I got to this point, I couldn't imagine how exciting, scary, and confusing it would be to prepare her to go off into the world! And every time I think we've started to figure things out, and she knows what she wants to do, something throws a wrench into it!

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Take a deep breathe and relax. :thumbsup: Remind yourself that there are very, very few decisions in life that can't be changed. Sometimes it requires a little more effort and some catch-up time to return, but it is very, very seldom that you can't get back to at least where you started. (Unless, of course, you are driving in Boston . . . . . :wub:)

 

She won't ruin her academic life if she takes a little time to see where her dance will take her-----just like it appears she hasn't lost much dance opportunities by taking a little time to find out she really misses it. Unlike dance, her academic career will wait for her. She just needs to make sure she keeps the foundation for that aspect of her life in place.

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  • 1 year later...

Our dd is in a similar situation in that she had to give up solid prepro training at 15 when my husband had a liver transplant. She went to local studios on a scholarship, but the training was just not the same. Now a prepro has come to our town, and she has begun classes there. The AD has stated that she's behind but that she has the potential to catch up. She did not audition for two years, and this year at 17 the results were not that encouraging. More no than yes, but waitlisted at one three letter SI and accepted to one BFA program. It was a comedown from acceptances years ago to Houston, MCB, and Boston. She has decided to attend a community college for her general education and devote most of her hours to working her tushie off in dance at the prepro studio. She is in the highest level class by the skin of her teeth, but she has a big role in the upcoming performance and is putting in close to 7 hours a day in dance.

 

She put it this way: I'll have a chance to find out if I can earn back the missed time, and I'll get my general ed courses out of the way. If I'm not employable as a dancer or don't get a scholarship transferring in as a junior, I'll go in another direction, but at least I won't be spending a fortune to find out.

 

So we're just hanging in there with her for another two years to see what's what.

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