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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Documentaries: First Position

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I am very interested in seeing this as well (as are the kids at my studio!). I think it will be very interesting to see the different training/ coaching methodoligies- I wonder how much of the training the will actually show!

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Even though I've never had any involvement with the competition world, I'm really looking forward to this. In particular, I'm glad that Michaela DePrince is featured. I read an article about her awhile ago — her life story is really interesting, and she's quite talented.

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Just saw it for free today- really enjoyed it!

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I am getting excited to see this documentary. As the opening approaches, the dancers from the movie are getting more and more attention.


I searched for Miko Fogarty and found a youtube video of her at age 10 doing the bluebird variation en pointe. Its wonderful that she is so successful and driven. But here again we see a dancer achieving success and advancement and she was put on pointe at a very early age. It just seems to reinforce the idea that to be good when you are young, you need to get started as soon as possible.


Michaela was on DWTS last week too, and she was wonderful.


I will be talking my young dancing daughters to see this movie over memorial weekend.

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Wait. Whoa. Many of these dancers are just 13 or 14. True, they are getting attention, but success? Hmmmmmmm..........


My definition of sucess must be different.

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No doubt these dancers are talented and getting plenty of attention, it's also great publicity for YAGP. As a mom who was never interested in having my DD compete it scares me a bit that competitions may become seen as a necessary component to a dancer's training.

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When I see these wonderfully talented young girls dancing on pointe at such a young age, all I can think is "my 10 y.o. DD can't do that yet!" and it makes me wonder if my DD really has any shot at all at being a professional dancer. All I can hope is slow and steady really does win the race? Sigh.

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"...it scares me a bit that competitions may become seen as a necessary component to a dancer's training."


I agree. I am concerned that after watching this documentary, interested parents and potential students may get the wrong impression that in order to succeed in the ballet world, it requires spending lots of $$ to compete in dance competitions such as YAGP, when the vast majority of company members have not relied on competitions as part of their dance training.

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cbearsmom, take a look at the thread on "Company Contracts". It will ease your mind. Most of the dancers who are gaining entry into ballet companies are posting that their participation in competitions did NOT get them where they are.


The film certainly sounds like it will bring loads of attention to this particular group of dancers, and to YAGP!

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I have to say, as much as I appreciate the work of the dancer's featured in this film I find this article disheartening in it's indication that one's accomplishment at YAGP can "make or break a career". I believe we all understand things differently on this board, but giving the public such a false impression makes me very uncomfortable and leads me to wonder if this will help the public understanding and acceptance of the art form or harm it.


ABC News

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Most of the dancers who are gaining entry into ballet companies are posting that their participation in competitions did NOT get them where they are.


Clara 76, I was looking at these entries the other day and wondering if the question ought to be rephrased somewhat to see the extent of involvement with competitions for the dancers receiving contracts? I know that sounds horribly picky of me, but it is in response to current YAGP marketing strategies that list all their professional alumni. The point being, someone might have won gold at the "Most Amazing Ballet Competition in the World" (or even tried to), but feel that this wasn't hugely instrumental in getting their first contract (so marks 'no' on the form, even though the competing organization sees that differently and the school might have viewed participation as an important element in the student's training). I guess I have a curiosity to see the statistics of competition involvement to get the fullest picture of how competitions impact the minds of today's ballet training world and its parents.


By the way, I really, really hope my mentioning this isn't construed as a desire to reopen past controversial discussions about competition involvement (my personal approach is completely 'live and let live' with regards to competition participation) . I'm simply looking for statistical clarity, not statistical interpretation. Feel free to remove as you see fit.



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I was also annoyed by this characterization that YAGP success could make or break careers. There are plenty of careers made with no YAGP involvement at all. There are certain companies & schools, though, who invest a huge amount of time and money in YAGP events. ABT, for example, is very involved. So a dancer whose dream is ABT or the JKO school would do well to enter.


I think that most of the offers coming from YAGP are for training and not actual contracts, so we will have to see how that pans out as far as employment in the next few years.


When DD was at ABTNY, one of the dancers was there on full scholarship which she won at YAGP. DD was not particularly impressed with the work habits or technique of this dancer, but she got lots of attention, regardless. I think this is maybe the downside of using YAGP to make decisions about dancers. It is such a tiny sliver of information, but then again... so is an audition class.

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I have not seen the documentary yet, but I do plan to go. I am just posting my thoughts on feelings here. After watching all the trailers and seeing much of the press, in my opinion this documentary may create a brief public idea, false or not, of the way the ballet world operates. However, the public is not the one doing the hiring! Let's not forget it's the directors that pick the company dancers and I can't imagine they will ever offer a contract to anyone who they do not feel is worthy. I doubt seriously that any one competition or impression will ever be a factor in their decision of who they want to hire. Maybe there are some companies that operate that way, but we are also talking about a very small list of medalists here. I am also very happy that ballet is getting some press showing all the hard work that goes into a career even from the very beginning. This also will help to change how the public sees it from when Natalie Portman was in 'Black Swan'(and the notion that she could learn to be a ballerina in a short time). I simply am glad to have something around that reinforces the amount of hard, unending work that goes into learning the craft. I will say I probably will amend my opinion a bit if it really leaves me feeling that YAGP would make or break a career. But hopefully I will still feel this way after seeing the movie. Remember, this is just my opinion! :giveup:

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I totally agree with you, Mobadt. Wanted to clarify that I have not seen the documentary yet, either. I was refering to the characterizations in the press and on the trailer.


Also wanted to make clear that I was not saying that dancers are getting contract offers from YAGP, but scholarship offers. This gives the dancer a wonderful opportunity to be seen by an interested company. What I was trying to say is that we will have to see how things pan out for these students. Will the dancer climb the ladder from school to second company to corps?

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Yes, you know it will give us a chance to see how they do after all of the attention dies down. I wonder if the documentary will serve these kids well.

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