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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Question for Mr. Johnson and Hans


BalletMac

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I have a dilemma on my hands. My teacher wants me to perform in YAGP, and I am not sure what to do. I didn't really show any interest in YAGP, but because my sister is performing I guess that he assumed that I wanted to do it too. Nonetheless, the problem is how to tell him that I don't want to do it. I really don't see any benefit to it for me being that I am a 17 year old senior and a late starter (I only really truly started serious training about 1.5 years ago). I know that I am a competent dancer being that I received a full scholarship to the Rock SI for the summer as well as having garnered much attention whenever I have attended other teachers' ballet classes. The dilemma is just how to say it so he knows that I am no less serious about ballet, but that I don't have any inclination to perform in YAGP. I am just so worried about coming across that I am not serious about ballet and therefore having him treat me as such.

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If you are not comfortable with exposure at a YAGP level, don't go! After all, it's voluntary, and the investment in both time and money is not small. Your teacher ought to be aware that it's your decision, and not just a tag-along after your sister. It sounds as if you need some sit-down time with your teacher, to talk your identity as a dancer out.

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I get the impression that my teacher assumed that because I take a private lesson once a week, and my sister is doing the same for YAGP, he assumed I wanted to perform in YAGP. The overwhelming majority of kids at my studio who take private lessons take them with an aim for YAGP (including my sister). I personally was taking private lessons to get back up to speed from my injury over the summer so I was ready for Nut and SI auditions. While it never occurred to me to spell out my intentions, I felt on the spot when he started giving possibilities for YAGP variations.

 

While I don't have anything against YAGP, I feel intimidated being that most of the kids my age come from the large studios and have been dancing significantly longer than me. I just don't know if there is much point to trying to compete against them in that venue. I also have enough performance opportunities at my studio so besides just being another performance opportunity I am not sure what taking part in YAGP would give me. I viewed the private lessons as valuable in and of themselves for getting back up to speed as well as working on mens' technique (I am the only older boy at my school), it just didn't occur to me to make YAGP a goal.

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It's certainly not necessary to compete at YAGP (or anywhere else). My view is that there is enough competition in the ballet world already! I would imagine that your teacher would understand that you are serious about ballet without wanting to do YAGP.

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