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I need advice

Busy dreaming

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I have been studying ballet at a large ballet school (that is attached to a company) for 9 years. I was in this school's pre-ballet class prior to being in the student division. I attended my 4th SI this summer, and it was a very positive experience for me. All of my SIs have been very positive. I was placed in a higher level this summer than expected, level 4 of 5 at the school, and had an opportunity to take classes with some very good teachers and guest teachers, including the director of the school (which is also attached to a company.) I felt that I improved over the summer and strengthened my pointe work. I concentrated on working on articulating my feet during my SI, which is the area I was told I needed to focus on during my last conference at my home ballet school that was held a year ago. My strengths are that I have solid teachnique, and am very good at turns and I am quick to pick up combinations.


When I returned from the SI, I found out that I am not progressing to the top level at my home ballet school this year. When I asked why I was told that I need to continue to work on articulating my feet, and also improve my port de bras. I'm not comparing myself to others except to say that a few girls are being promoted from my class who are not more technically advanced than me, and who have their own limitations. A couple of these students did not attend a SI this summer or any summer in the past, and only because they weren't interested in investing the time and money in attending a SI. Another student who was promoted missed classes regularly last year to attend high school cheerleading practice and games, and who had to sit out several months due to foot and back injuries. In years past, the top level was for the most focused, talented, and serious dancers, and all of the students had a good work ethic and attitude.


If I return to classes at this school this fall, I will be in a large class with many students who were just promoted to this level. I have been at this dance school long enough to know that it will be difficult to progress, especially in the first semester, when the class is large and students are at different levels technically coming off the summer. Plus, the first semester at this school pretty much revolves around Nutcracker. Also, I was treated like the class dunce by other students in my class when I had to repeat another level in the past. I am really depressed and discouraged.


I was invited to stay year-round at the school where I attended my summer SI, but it is on the opposite coast and we cannot afford for me to move there. Also, when the teachers at my current school are so negative, I think my parents are confused about my ability and confused about what advice and support to give me. There is a small studio near my home where the teacher is good and really likes me, but there are a limited number of classes per week, especially pointe classes. So, I would not get enough ballet classes for serious study if I would switch to this studio. Also, the floor is not sprung, which really scares me. Other than some small more recreational studios like this one, the ballet school I attend is the only one in the city where you can get a certain number of ballet and pointe classes and which has good studios and floors.


But, maybe this is what the teachers at my present school are encouraging me to do by not promoting me. I can't help but feel that they have an opinion of me that won't change. Do I continue to work and make the most of a bad situation, or do I quit studying ballet seriously? How can I maintain a healthy and positive attitude if I stay where I am?


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Start by having a meeting with the teachers. Approach it positively, and say that you really would like to know exactly why you have not moved up, and what you have to do in order to do that. Do not be defensive and do not use comparisons. State your case as positively as possible, and make sure they know that you really need to understand their reasons and also what they feel your potential is for a career in ballet.


It is best for you to do this, not a parent, and you sound like you are mature enough to do it. :)

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I will follow your advice and ask for a meeting and approach it this way. Thank you for responding so quickly since I am having a hard time thinking about anything else right now.

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