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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Clara 76

Television: "Dancemoms" on Lifetime

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Momof3darlings

I agree with dance1, there is really no need to believe that all competition dancer can do is music videos or cheerleading, although those are options if they so choose. There are many viable dance careers that while a ballet background will help certainly is not required for one. And because of the availability of a successful dance based talent agency in my area, many of the professional ballet dancers here are supplementing their income by dancing in (ahem) music videos and as faces/bodies in commercials of all types.

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Curandera
One thing that confuses me about competition studios is: where does it all lead to? Athletics are intended to lead to Olympics or professional teams, ballet (which yes, is also full of expensive costumes, classes, competitions, and training) also has the end goal of becoming a professional dancer for a well known company. What does this lead to? I mean.. outside of cheerleading (which is an even shorter and less viable career path than gymnastics and ballet), I'm not sure where it goes. I suppose back-up dancer for music videos?

 

I'm kinda curious about what these families feel like they're investing in when they 'graduate' from the dolly dinkle competition circuits.

I don't think all parents who support their kids in athletics are all trying to get their kids in to the Olympics or professional teams. As with dolly dinkle competitions, there are a lot of benefits to competing in something you love to do that will not necessarily mean it will lead to a career.

 

I think children participating and competing in sports, science, dance, what have you, provides them with feelings of support from their families, provides experience with losing and winning gracefully, working in teams, juggling responsibilities of school and extracurricular activities. Dance competitions in particular helps with stage presence and how to use judges' remarks as constructive criticism and as bench marks for improvement. Dance girls, even in dinkle competitions, stand straighter, walk more gracefully, aren't shy about asking questions and are experienced dealing with pressure.

 

Personally, my dd was given constant rewards for her dance participation. She loved the costumes, the make-up, the rhinestones, the plastic trophies, the colorful ribbons and the team warm-up suits. She loved the variety of tap, hip-hop, jazz and ballet. Granted, her ballet technique suffered but her enthusiasm has grown exponentially. Her cousin who went to a traditional, strict ballet school lost interest after being a mouse in the Nutcracker year after year. My dd's desire to dance professionally became her obsession. She learned of her weakness in ballet technique from these "dolly dinkle competition" judges that told her so in their comments. It is through these competitions and seeing her competition that she realized she needs to dedicate herself to the serious study of ballet to continue her dreams.

 

I think that was well worth the investment and it was time well spent on developing strong DREAMS. I believe strong dreams are equally as important as strong technique.

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Curandera

I'm sorry. I realize I didn't answer the question about what one gets from "graduating" from the dolly dinkle schools. We are leaving after 6 absolutely fantastic, fun years and my dd is 13. So she is not technically graduating.

 

For those girls who attend these studios until age 18, there is a lot to gain. First of all, they get to dance. I really can't think of any other place you get as much concentrated effort toward dancing as a dance studio - maybe even more so in a dolly dinkle than a serious ballet school. It is just plain fun.

 

I already talked about self-confidence, friends, etc. in my prior post.

 

Career wise, dance1soccer1 already mentioned college scholarships, musical theatre, dance teams for professional sports teams, Broadway, cruise ships, teaching. I think a good chunk of SYTYCD dancers are from dolly dinkle schools.

 

Traditional, classic, ballet training and ballet career are magnificent things - but they are not the only things.

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Momof3darlings
I think a good chunk of SYTYCD dancers are from dolly dinkle schools.

 

It should also not be assumed that all competition schools are Dolly Dinkle schools and all ballet schools are not. I can think of quite a few strong competition schools AND quite a few Dolly Dinkleish ballet based schools, since there are good and bad ones all around. I can also think of a few pre-pro ballet schools for whom their Jazz classes are pretty Dinkleish. Generalizations in either direction aren't good.

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LauraR
It should also not be assumed that all competition schools are Dolly Dinkle schools and all ballet schools are not. I can think of quite a few strong competition schools AND quite a few Dolly Dinkleish ballet based schools, since there are good and bad ones all around. I can also think of a few pre-pro ballet schools for whom their Jazz classes are pretty Dinkleish. Generalizations in either direction aren't good.

 

You took the words right out of my mouth! In my general area, there are what I call Dolly Dinkle...girls who compete everywhere, no turnout, bent knees, no technique or artistry. I saw a photo of a class en pointe and 3/4 had really bent knees and a few were sickled in. It was the weirdest thing (and saddest) I have ever seen. The worse part is that I was lead to it because the director of the school posted on a company's Facebook page that she had a diva that was ready to audition. Intrigued by the comment, I followed her link.

 

Then there are really good competition schools. We have a few of those in the area, too. They may or may not focus on ballet. A few girls regularly place well in YAGP, they win scholarships to SI, one girl did so with consideration to Tulsa Ballet II. They work for the Rockettes and Broadway or touring groups. Or they work commercially in film, tv, back up dancers for other artists. It depends on how good their training was.

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Curandera

I agree with what you are saying Momof3darlings, but I was responding directly to LaFilleSylphide's post. From her post, I believe she divides schools between ballet and dolly dinkle/competition studios. She says:

One thing that confuses me about competition studios is ... I'm kinda curious about what these families feel like they're investing in when they 'graduate' from the dolly dinkle competition circuits.

I know the exact meaning of dolly dinkle is more nuanced as you describe, but I also think that for the vast majority of people the dividing line is ballet and everything else or for others, if tap and hip hop are taught or rhinestones are involved, that's a dolly dinkle.

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Curandera
In my general area, there are what I call Dolly Dinkle...girls who compete everywhere, no turnout, bent knees, no technique or artistry. I saw a photo of a class en pointe and 3/4 had really bent knees and a few were sickled in.

 

I think this is interesting. Maybe this may be added as a distinction between non-dolly dinkle and dolly dinkle school. I guess non-dolly dinkle school only let girls with good turnout, straight knees, technique and artistry compete while dolly dinkle schools put them on stage.

 

My dd did compete with no turn out, bent knees, little technique and sketchy artistry, falling out of double pirouettes and... had the time of her life. The girls did the best they could given the once a week class with some extra time with the dance team working on routines for competition. Some girls on the team were more serious than others but everyone was agreed they wanted to perform on stage. They did and they had a great time. They got plastic trophies, ribbons, stage, lights and an audience of family and friends. Fun!

 

They also got videos of their performances with judges' comments repeating what the SO had been telling them - the needed to work on turn out, timing, musicality, straighten their knees, show emotion on their faces, point their feet, works the "lats", don't look at the floor. So the SOs comments were reinforced. They also saw other schools with dancers that did get higher scores and again the SOs comments were reinforced. They saw some beautiful, technically wonderful, artistic dancing. Some of the dancers learned, others didn't. They didn't get top score, but they learned what they needed to do to get there.

 

Again, I think that is a good investment, even in a dolly-dinkle school if we are defining a dolly-dinkle school that lets their decidedly not ready to win a competition dancers, compete anyway for the fun and experience of it.

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Momof3darlings

And the "vast majority of people" could stand to be corrected if that is what they believe. Key to Dolly Dinkle is that in an effort to offer lots of different types of training, they do none well. I'm not discounting that there are a WHOLE lot of Dinkle-ish competition schools, there certainly are and more likely to be some than none. But having tried diligently to find good jazz and tap in a ballet focused environment in a metropolitan area, as well as in SIs over the years, that isn't an easy task to complete.

 

I personally don't care for competitions in any form of dance, but can't discount that they are a way of life in the dance world or becoming so but let's get back to the original premise of talking about the show so that we don't take over this thread defining Dinkles :).

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btownmom

Some go to NY, continue training, network, start auditioning and hope they have the talent and stamina it takes to get hired. That's what DD at 19 is doing for her second year. She used her college fund for the first and now mom and dad plus her working here at home over the summer will fund the second. She will look for a job in the city to help. She just got an apt with 3 other dancers all with the same passion. One off to Tisch, the other 3 training.

 

She competed for 7 years in a somewhat Dolly Dinkle school, trophies but strong technique based, and attended 2 ballet SI's at 11 and 12. Once the studio began competing SI's became too costly and interfered with summer Nationals. She could have been a beautiful ballet dancer but she fell in love with jazz. Her smile lights up the stage. So now she is living out a dream in the city. She plans to go to college some day but will figure it out as she goes.

 

We did not pay the amount of money stated in the show but each year before we signed the company competition contract I kept asking myself where all this money we were paying would take her. And then I'd see her on stage and people I didn't know would comment about what a beautiful dancer she was, made for the stage, and I just signed on the dotted line for one more year. She is what she is because a small town studio exposed her to a world she would never have known without it. Competition also taught her to appreciate the many talented dancers that are out there. There's always someone better than you even if you're at the top of the so called "pyramid" in your own school..I died when I saw that!

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learningdance

Are you we off--topic? It seems that this thread is supposed to be about the Dancemoms show?

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Momof3darlings

Yep, see post #53 which includes self-redirection. :)

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greyhound

Just watched the first episode on line. Looks just a little set up to me. My fear is that it will give the non dance public the view that all "dance moms", dance teachers and schools are like that.

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Hillary1

The show is scary. Abby Lee was scary, and some of the moms were even more scary. There are not 1, but at least 2 dance schools just like that in my area.

The idea that the little girls love it is because it is all they know. I would never, repeat NEVER, knowing let DD be subjected to such an abusive environment. I'm not raising a dancer. I'm raising a young lady who happens to dance.

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sonny72
Oops! Sorry! Lifetime. I shall change the title!

 

Well I just jumped to the conclusion that this ridiculous show was on TLC, because it looks to me like something that would be on their network also.

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dkd

I watched this show yesterday and my DD saw part of it. From what she saw, she said she was glad that she did not go to a competition school.

 

I think a lot of it is dramatized for tv, but I have to wonder how it's going to affect her business when the show is over. One of the moms did say that she pays the salary of the instructor. So, she needs the moms to keep her business afloat.

 

There are a couple of girls at DDs dance school that dance elsewhere on comp teams and I have heard stories of one girl having to dance at a competition out of state while having strep throat, and another mom complaining about revealing costumes and she was told that when her name (the mom's) was on the front of the studio, then she could decide what the costumes looked like. Not the kind of environment that I want to be involved in. But, some people thrive on that.

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