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Ballet Talk for Dancers

To Compete or not to Compete

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Holy Smokes that is a lot of money! :jawdrop:


This has brought to mind a question I've had about the awarding of scholarships at YAGP. This year I noticed that one of my DD friends placed in the top 12 (gorgeous, gorgeous dancer) in NY and did not receive a scholarship. Another girl she knows did not make the final round yet received one.


Is it just the subjective nature of competitions or does one sign up to audition for specific scholarships? So if a dancer selects only one scholarship to audition for, his/her chances are much lower of getting one than the dancer who selects 10 scholarships to audition for.


Does anyone know how it works?

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  • Momof3darlings


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The nature of the beast requires a different approach vs a sight-seeing or even audition few days. You might be required to stay 7-8 days total from coming in before the comp starts and staying through till the end.

Lovemyjob is pretty right on with the exception of flights (west coast to east coast).



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But still, hushinfazen, they don't REQUIRE you to stay in specific ($200/night) hotels, or take taxis everywhere, or eat all three meals out each day, right? There are ways to save money even at YAGP. Sure it is much easier and convenient (as is everything ballet) for the wealthy, but corners CAN be cut for those who must watch their budgets more closely, or am I delusional, haha!?

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Even rounding down expenses by staying a cheaper hotel, taking the subway rather than taxis, etc., it looks like estimated expenses for competing in a YAGP regional (including privates, choreography, costumes) and NY finals runs somewhere from $6000 to $12000. And this is in hopes of winning an SI tuition scholarship worth $2000 to $4000?

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It's more than just SI scholarships at stake, though. The year my DS decided to compete, it was with the hopes of getting a year-round offer from an international school that would then give him exposure to European countries and companies. (It's cheaper to travel to European auditions if you are already overseas!) We calculated costs and it was much less expensive to do YAGP then to travel to the various school sites in Europe, which would've meant multiple round-trip airfares.

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Between $6,000 - 7,000 for us and dd went to NY without me. Almost $1000 of that are YAGP fees for solos and ensembles (and DD was under a lot of pressure to do a lot of ensembles, and that pressure would have carried over to going to NY regardless of whether she went there as a soloist or not). DD got breaks on costumes (borrowed), coaching (work exchange) and NY hotel sharing. The stress, randomness of the competition decisions, and the exhaustion she experienced this past year has made her want to find a new school.

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Lovemyjob, are the expenses above for 1 dancer or 2? This must be very disheartening for the parents who are struggling just to pay their regular tuition.

Cheetah, it is possible to submit video auditions to Europe.

LovesLabor, I hope your daughter can find a place to train where she can continue on her journey of becoming the best dancer that she can be.


Some quotes from a famous dancer whom I spent several years dancing with:


I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to to dance better than myself.”


I really reject that kind of comparison that says, Oh, he is the best. This is the second best. There is no such thing.


It doesn't matter how high you lift your leg. The technique is about transparency, simplicity, making an earnest attempt.


Some food for thought......

Edited by thebaron
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In answer to the post about how a gorgeous dancer who placed in Top 12 did not get a scholarship at YAGP, while a dancer who did not place did, I think it is because the places are determined from actual variations performed in the competition, while scholarships are given from the classes that are held, as well. So, maybe a dancer who did not perform as well during 2 minutes on stage did very well in a one-or-two-hour class? The participants do fill out a sort of wish list of which schools from which they would like to receive scholarships. It could also be that the wishes of the participant ended up not being so good a match in the eyes of the school they desired. It seems to me that the stars would really have to align, because everyone there is already so talented. However, we have known some dancers who have had wonderful outcomes through YAGP. It can and does happen.

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cecee- No you are not delusional! but if you have never experienced the YAGP NY experience you don't know what you don't know.


There is no requirement to stay anywhere... but you might be the first contestant at 8am which means 7am- after being there till 11pm the previous night after traveling across the country the day before. You get my drift. Also my dd was always part of her studio attending. Perhaps they were only 5 one year 4 another and up to 20 (large ensemble groups) so they all needed to stay together. Our chosen place was close to the action and always had suites with kitchens which did make life easier.


As far as scholarships - of course the prospect of that end result is important but for us it was the entire amazing process that made it one of her most precious memories from being asked to participate, choosing the variation, creating a companion contemporary piece, designing costumes, privates and most important learning how to perform on stage! She also learned a side which is really just a part of life when your being judged and the politics that go along with these ballet competitions.


Our dd appreciated every single moment and dollar we spent (which we sacrificed other things for) and really helped shape her she is today. That being said it is not mandatory that all kids who take dance seriously must compete. Many roads lead to Rome ... and it was a very joyous ride for us.


It's a great ride but very costly no matter how you cut it.






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Thank you Pointeprovider! That helps me to understand...having never attended a YAGP competition.



I am still amazed at how much a competition can cost.


IF this is the wave of the future, it will put ballet even further out of reach for many.

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I can second the $6000 figure for NY and that was without flights and included all breakfasts in the hotel room with groceries brought with us. Ceecee, many competitors who make it to NY make it as soloists and often times other studio members are not there to share expenses with. We travelled as a family and did not take part in any NYC tourist activities while there. That cost was YAGP specific with only necessary, basic living expenses for our 8 days there. Our regional expense was slightly less that Lovesmyjob because we did not require hotel accomodations, but not by much. YAGP is a very expensive undertaking, no question about it. In our case, it has always been "worth it" in one way or another for us to continue.

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Let's please not make judgement passing type comments about the expenses someone has incurred. What the member asked for was "real life" expenses, if yours are different please do share them so that there can be comparisions. But there's no need for us to go down a road of sounding as if we are saying shame on you with our comments. One's experience are their own to share and inform from. Each of can look at one's projection and determine where we might spend more or less without being judgemental. Thanks!


As an example of this, our home studio never charged for choreography. This is what the teacher did out of the goodness of her heart. There was a charge for private time to clean and rehearse but not for the choreography itself. Our end figures would be different because of that and I might look at someone who paid for choreography wondering why but that is not my place. The sharing of people's experiences do help prepare others.

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I apologize if I was passing judgment. It's the first time that I've seen a price tag put to a competition so I guess I'm suffering from sticker shock. I know it's well worth it for many...and maybe my DD will do it in the future.

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Lovemyjob, are the expenses above for 1 dancer or 2? This must be very disheartening for the parents who are struggling just to pay their regular tuition.


The expenses above are for 1 dancer. Tack on another $6000 per dancer. Sure you can get some economies of scale by travelling together but you can't share choreography between students for a contemporary, or have a 9 year old share a costume with a 14 year old or any number of other things. It is an expensive proposition no matter how you slice it. It has also been a great learning experience. I would do it again under the right circumstances and if I could find a way to whittle down the cost, and I love New York even though it is expensive so a trip there is always fun. My daughter has made friends with dancers all over the world and I have become a much more educated ballet mom.


As far as saving money on food...I thought I was being thrifty when I took my dd and 3 of her friends to Subway. They each got a $5 footlong so they could eat the half later, 4 got sodas and chips to share. The cost $47.06!!!! Pretty much no matter where we went we spent $30 on food each meal.


Also, that $100 on transportation in the city. $58 for two weeklong unlimited use passes and 3 cab rides. I was not doing a 10 minute walk with my daughter at 8:00 am when she had a performance at 9:30. I figured if she was exhausted before she ever got on stage was shortsighted, also, we took a cab on Saturday night rather than walk and take the subway at 11:00 at night. Lastly, we took a cab from City Center back to the hotel after the gala. I was in high heels and it was raining. Other than that, we walked and took the subway every time.

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