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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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kobbymom

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Victoria Leigh

Joffrey School, Jackie Kennedy Onassis School (ABT), Steps, Ballet Academy East, SAB. There are others, but those are the ones that I can think of at the moment.

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Hi Sienacrazy,If it helps, I have two children who went through Ballet Academy East. We commuted over 50 miles daily for 9 years. I have only the strongest positive recommendation of the school. Both of my children went on to dance professionally. Both Julia Dubno, Director, and Darla Hoover, Associate Artistic Director and Coordinator of Graded Level Ballet Syllabus are honest and direct. I would highly recommend you take your niece there for an evaluation. The entire graded level faculty is caring and warm. The instruction at this program is second to none! She will get wonderful training and amazing performing opportunities. The school offers a pre-professional atmosphere that is warm, caring and friendly and can carry into a professional career at any company.

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Hi SCchck

 

Thank you so much for your suggestion. We are going to look into this. Unfortunately, we are very frustrated with her teacher right now and we would like to get an honest and clear evaluation. I am finding reading the forum has been very educational. My niece really wants to pursue a career in dance, but it is difficult to know where to begin. Did your daughters study ballet at the college level? what is your opinion on pursuing a degree in dance? Does that help to get into a company?

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Victoria Leigh

Sienacrazy, you might want to take a look at the Career and Higher Education Forum. There are general discussion topics there about taking the college route versus the career right out of high school route. You will find that there are a lot of different roads that lead to Rome, and lots of differering opinions on what is best. The concensus is that what works for one dancer may not work as well for another. A great deal depends on the dancers' readiness for professional work by the time they graduate. Many need a few finishing years, and they can do that via a professional training program/company trainee/apprentice route, or through the college dance degree route, assuming that the chosen college has a very solid dance department.

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Hello again Sienacrazy, I think Victoria Leigh's advice is very good. Always do all YOUR homework to make sure you are doing what is best for your dancer and your family. In my humble opinion, it has been our experience that following a degree first does not help landing a job in a ballet company. Perhaps it would in contemporary dance. The larger ballet companies still tend to hire trainees and/or apprentices around 18/19 years old. The intense focus it takes to begin a career so young is a full time job. Even the companies out there that are hiring "older" dancers only hire the ones with loads of experience....not the ones fresh out of school. If you go the school route first, most companies have filled their ranks...of course there are always exceptions to the rule. Our daughter did her final year of training at the SFB School and then apprenticed at OBT. An injury took her out of professional dance, but she continues to teach. She did go to school after her dancing career, but pursued art. Our other dancer, a son, is currently a corps de ballet member in a company and hopes to begin taking college classes slowly as he gets all the rep under his belt. Hope that helps~

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Hi SCchch,

 

Yes, your response really does help. And I agree, we need to do our own homework, but it is very educational to learn about other people's experiences. It is not planning a career as an accountant or dentist. My niece is currently in 10th grade and we are planning to take her to Purchase college to check it out, but we are still unsure what will be best for her. I have passed your recommendations for evaluation on to her Mom and I think some auditions for SIs will be the next step. It is so hard to take the path that abandon's a college education, but I guess sometimes you just have to follow your passion. My family doesn't really have a history of artistic talent, so this is very different for us. It is so hard to know what is the right decision or path. Thanks again for your. I hope your daughter is ok and your son continues his dancing success!!!

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And where is it written that just because one becomes a professional dancer, one must abandon a college degree? I know many dancers who continued to pursue a degree while they were dancing, or after a professional career, so the 2 things are not mutually exclusive. :shrug:

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What about going to a community college to stay local at home and then going into NYC for auditions, while keeping up with your dance training. Does this seem possible?

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In that case Purchase is a better choice - she will already be practically in NYC and can audition while working on a degree. And with it being a conservatory program, she will be taking more classes than she probably would staying home and doing a community college track.

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Thanks! This is really great to be able to get all the feedback. I think we are starting to realize that we might need to reconsider the traditional college track.

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  • 4 months later...
watching in awe

Hi! I was wondering if someone could let me know what you think about my daughter's dance schedule! She is almost 16 - tall (5'10") and thin - very pretty lines. She is with a pre-pro company that does at least 3 major productions and has gotten many lead roles. Many performance opportunities! Which is what she loves!!

 

It is just hard to determine if she is getting the number of classes she needs to make it in the ballet world. (She truly wants to be in a professional company one day!)

 

Monday - ballet (1.5 hours)

Tuesday - ballet (1.5 hours) on pointe

Wednesday - ballet (1.5 hours) and Modern (1 hour)

Thursday - occasional rehearsal (1.5 hours)

Friday - ballet (1.5 hours) on pointe

Saturday - ballet (1.5 hours) then rehearsal for productions (around 5 hours)

 

She has attended 2 previous SI's and received scholarship money for one of them. This year she was offered scholarship money to another and we are chosing that one. This program also has a year round program. I never thought about asking the teachers from there about evaluations. She has never received one. I will do this in the future. I am like the other mom - I hate to intrude and feel like I am being a pushy dance mom!! :gossip:

 

I know many dancers in our region (not at our studio) that do the homeschoool route and have a lot more classes than my DD. There are other classes offered at our studio (they are with the younger dancers but open to all). Soooooo, let me know what you think! Thanks!

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Victoria Leigh

NEAB, I'm not crazy about the fact that there are no dedicated pointe classes. It's not a bad schedule, but it would be better if the technique classes were followed by a pointe class a few times a week.

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watching in awe

From what I was reading on here, I was thinking the same thing! I think the only way she can do that is if she stays and takes a younger age groups class but could do it on pointe. Would that be the same thing? Thanks so much!

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Victoria Leigh

No, unfortunately, it's not the same thing. I have found that very often dancers who just do technique classes on pointe, while they do tend to become stronger on pointe, they tend to have less articulation of the feet and really correct usage of the feet in pointe shoes. They are not learning how to, they are just doing. If there was a younger level dedicated pointe, which follows a technique class for her, that would be okay.

 

Her schedule is not bad, it's just not as good as it could be, in my opinion of course. :gossip:

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