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Guest NatDancer

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Guest NatDancer

Hi! I'm going to be a junior in high school, so naturally the question of college is coming up in my life. I was just wandering what the pros and cons of going to college and majoring in dance are as opposed to trying to get an aprenticeship in a company. I would think that going to college would "eat up" some of your best dancing years, but also a college education is important. Thank you soooo much, and I'm sorry for posting so many questions, but I have a lot of them.





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Natalie, my response to this question relates to the response on your other thread about unsupportive parents, therefore I suggest that you read that one first.


There are many decisions to make in terms of majoring in dance in college, deferring college and seeking a career, and majoring in something else in college and continuing to dance but not on a full time basis. These decisions depend a great deal on your realistic potential as a dancer and also on your academic abilities and other interests.


They also depend on where you are in terms of readiness and ability for that career in dance at the time you graduate from high school. If you have both the talent and the intensive professional quality training to be "company ready" by that time, then the decision might be one of deferring college. However, one should still do all of the college preparation, auditions, applications, etc. and then decide which school you want to attend and request a year of deferral. IF, however, one is not ready at the time of graduation, then some time spent in college might be the way to go. There are some very good dance programs in lots of different schools. Some dancers attend college for a year or two, then dance for a while, and often go back and finish their education later. Some even continue to pursue the education, on a more limited basis of course, through their performing years.


Related to your situation in terms of the lack of support from your parents, if this continues I doubt that you will have a choice about a company unless you are an amazing talent with incredible potential, and can achieve a professional level of technique and performance with less than adequate intensity in your training. So, again I suggest that you have a meeting with your teacher in terms of your potential, and if that is positive, then ask for the teacher to meet with your parents.


There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and no one else's experience will be the same as yours even though there will be a lot of people in the same position in terms of the decision. It must be looked at on a very individual basis, and advice from anyone here is not really relevant since we cannot see you to know your potential as a dancer.


I will give you a couple of examples from our school. A few years ago we had two young dancers who were very, very good, and had the option of both top college programs and company apprenticeships. One chose college but continued to dance throughout her 4 years and is now dancing professionally. The other deferred, danced for a couple of years, and is now in college. This year we have two top graduates who are also tops academically and were accepted to Harvard and Juilliard. Juilliard cannot be deferred, so that was a rough decision, but she is going for the career. The other one deferred Harvard for a year and is also going for the career. They both have realistic potential in the profession in terms of talent and training. But, they also have exceptional academic ability and could do just about anything they choose to do. So, it will be interesting to see where this leads. They also have very supportive parents, which is a huge plus here.

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