Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Career Troubles


thermac

Recommended Posts

I'm currently 23 years old (soon to be 24) and have been dancing for 17 years. I graduated from a small professional ballet school in July 2011. After graduation, I began dancing with the professional company associated with the school. The company is very small, only 5 female dancers; and there aren't any company level classes, the company takes classes with the highest level of the school (advanced beginner/intermediate). For the past year and a half I have been taking classes with the school and feel as though my technique has suffered. Although I have been able to fine tune finer points while taking the less advanced classes, I haven't done grand allegros, fouette turns, etc. for a year and a half. Since the company is so small, there hasn't been many opportunities to perform.

 

I have auditioned for other companies with no luck. Now, I have mostly auditioned for summer intensives, trainee programs, and apprentice programs (since I'm no longer at the technical level I once was). Yet I'm still not getting accepted into any of these programs.

 

I feel like giving up. I love ballet. My dream has always been to dance professionally. I work hard; and although I may not have perfect turnout or super high extension, I know I am not a bad dancer. I just don't know what to do. Should I just stay at the company I'm in and rarely get to preform? I know that I'm a lot older than most dancers companies are considering.

 

Is there still hope for me?

Link to comment
The company is very small, only 5 female dancers; and there aren't any company level classes, the company takes classes with the highest level of the school (advanced beginner/intermediate). For the past year and a half I have been taking classes with the school and feel as though my technique has suffered. Although I have been able to fine tune finer points while taking the less advanced classes, I haven't done grand allegros, fouette turns, etc. for a year and a half. Since the company is so small, there hasn't been many opportunities to perform.

 

Now, I have mostly auditioned for summer intensives..........Yet I'm still not getting accepted into any of these programs.

 

We have not seen you dance, so it is impossible for us to give you a read on in you are still in the quality technical shape to be in the search. Or if you truly were outside your own home studio company. I will assume so!!!!!! However, I believe if you read the quotes of your post above as if someone else was writing them, I think you have a firm grasp already on knowing that in order to move forward you must do something.

 

My questions to you are: who is stopping you from working on what you know you need to work on after class? Who is stopping you from acquiring additional classes that meet your needs and expectations even if that is coaching? Given the lack of acceptances, what can you do differently this year to get you back into the technical shape you feel you need to be in? To me, the question of "whether there is hope" depends on what you choose to do and what you choose to change to make different things happen for you. If you can change nothing, then you may simply be stuck at a crossroads. But, the rest is and has always been up to you.

Link to comment

You are in a city with quite a few good training options. At age 23 to 24, you will have maxed out of the age groups for most classical ballet SIs, so you must get more creative in finding good training in which to regain your technique level and continue to improve.

 

As Momof3darlings said, it is up to you to choose to make something different happen for you. It takes a lot of work to find the jobs, prepare for them and maintain the appropriate skill level while in the auditioning stage. And all of that starts with research: Determine WHERE you want to go (be, dance)---it doesn't have to be a specific company, but a group of like companies. Just as in college searches look for 'safeties', e.g., your current company; 'matches', one where you fit in body type, skill level, choreographically; and 'reaches', your wish for if I had my druthers (but keep it realistic in terms of training, skill, body type, etc.) Then, read everything you can find on the company, scour the current members' bios, find out the audition schedule, network with anyone that may know someone who knows someone who can tell you anything about the company's culture. Then, contact the company and try to set up an audition.

 

Basically, you must develop a plan to get from HERE to THERE and then start working your way through that plan step by step. And there's nothing easy about doing that.

 

But, YOU have to choose to make a change and YOU have to get cracking on making that change happen. Best Wishes.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, Thermac. :)

 

I have a couple of concerns from your post. You stated that the highest class in the company school is advanced beginner/Int. Did I misread that??? You also said that you graduated from a small professional ballet school. Is this the same school? I'm confused I think! And, since you graduated at 23, does that mean that you were in college since high school graduation? Were you in a college dance program?

Link to comment

To answer your questions Victoria Leigh, unfortunately you did not misread that the highest level in the company's school is advanced beginner/intermediate. The levels go higher, but the highest level class right now is only at that level. This is the ballet school I graduated from.

I was in college since high school graduation. I went to a university in the same city as my ballet school so that I could finish the program there. Unfortunately, I didn't really look at Universities with dance programs at the time because I really wanted to finish my training there.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

How did they ever get dancers to the professional level without daily advanced ballet and pointe training? There is no way dancers can achieve or maintain professional standards without daily classes for their level. Have you ever danced anywhere outside of this small school/company? Have you attended SI programs before? Have you taken any high level classes at any other schools?

 

I'm sorry to ask so many questions, but it does seem to me that your training has been highly limited, which would mean a very long journey to the level you would need for a professional company. If you use Contact Us, you could email me directly and give me a link to the school/company, and any photos of you that might be there. This would come only to me and remain private information, not posted here or anywhere on the board.

Link to comment

Momof3darlings and dancemaven Thanks for the advice! I know that these are the things I need to do. I should have been doing them for the past year. It was nice to hear someone else say them. Dancing is hard, and it when you feel like you're not getting anywhere it can get you down.

Link to comment

Victoria Leigh, they have advanced pointe and ballet classes. As the students progress so does the level of difficulty of the classes they are taking. Right now the highest level is only at the intermediate level. Since it's a small school, there aren't enough students to have every level full. When I graduated, my class was the highest level, and we did have pointe almost every day.

I have attended the summer intensives, and taken classes in the open adult divisions at other schools in the area.

From attending these classes, some aspects of my training have been limited. I have never studied pas de deux for example.

Edited by thermac
Link to comment

Sometimes in a small school environment, you have to be creative to have your training needs met. Dancemaven states that you are in a city with good training options. My own daughter studies at a small pre-pro school near a city with many good training options. One creative thing that they do is actually hire boys from a nearby university dance program to come each saturday & partner with the advanced girls. I am not sure how much they are paid, but college kids are always looking for opportunities to make a little extra cash. Each week about 4/5 boys come & spend about 1 1/2 hours. These boys are often paid to participate in male roles in performances as well.

See if you can have a conversation with the school director about your concerns. Maybe he/she will be open to new ideas, especially if you are able to offer your help to get things going in the right direction.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...