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Ballet Talk for Dancers

should 6 yo boy audition for SAB


ezhinsky

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For all who kindly helped us through this period and 5000 people who looked into this topic: we declined. Many things went into account : the great new teacher who moved into our area, still far but not that far, possibility of moving abroad, but ultimately the stress on the family and the needs of other child who is in the very vulnerable age and wilts without a lot of attention. Also last but not least : I returned to work, and it gives me a great happiness but also less flexibility to be fully committed. I freelance. and job is still scarce, but if I need to travel I won't be able to provide steady 2 times a week travel to SAB. We discussed it with our (already!) 7 yo, finally telling him that he got in , as he did not know. We provided him with options , including both going to SAB and giving up altogether and doing fencing, as he was invited to join the competitive level in his tender age. I do have to say I was holding my breath when I suggested to give it up, but I wanted to see if he is really into this, or it is just my ambition. He sprouted tears and said that he " never ever ever " wants to give it up. However 2 times locally is all he wants now, and a Nutcracker is a must. So that is that. We will start next year doing one time in our local school, and one time "far but not that far", possibly moving on to 2 times there, I will play by the ear and the dynamic in the studio. Thank you all. Will keep you posted, but probably already with some boring technical staff.

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hi ezhinsky- your story is a testament to all the factors that go into a family decision. It sounds really well thought out and I appreciate how you have taken everyone's needs into account. I hope you don't feel you need to justify it to the ballet world 'you turned down the SAB???? <shock horror>. Dance is only part of life, a great part but our job is to manage the family, not just one member. Thank you for sharing it so honestly. :flowers:

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I can appreciate what a tough decision it was to make, but it seems like for your family it was the right one. Seven is still very young and if he can dance "locally" in the meantime in good schools I think that sounds fine. Maybe when he's older and still keen, you will be able to make the transfer. I don't think he will suffer from staying with a more normal life style a few years more - on the contrary. Anyway, good luck to you and your talented son.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I am brand new here and also have a 6 year old son who lives for ballet. I can't thank everyone enough for posting their candid experiences; it has been immeasurably helpful.

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  • 4 months later...

It has been a year since we posted. Here is an update. Once (sometimes twice) a week we drive 50 min to the new school with an incredible new teacher were my 7 yo is challenged big time. Once a week we are at local school (25 min drive) were he has smallest class and loves his teacher who was with him since he was 5. We saw already 4 ballets this year in NYC (ABT, NYCB and San Fransisco Ballet, and Royal Ballet's "Alice" in the movies), and he loves it. He is growing and improving. While I have a slight tingle every time we are in Lincoln Center area, he is striving were he is now. I don't think we could have managed with two times drive to the city and even more next year. What was I thinking?!! Next year we will switch full time to the new studio, which is already turned out huge commitment of time. We are not doing Nutcracker this year, even though he has been offered very juicy parts in the new studio's performance with professional company (he was one of three youngest students from his class who got invited). It was a challenging fall semester for the older boy, who just started new school and was having adjustment problems. So we could not invest several Saturdays without falling behind in their studies.My little boy is working hard, his technique improved dramatically thanks to the new school, toes pointed, muscles shaped, calves tight, first and fifth perfected etc, even though nobody ever pets him on the back, teachers are very strict. He gets a lot of corrections, assistants working hands on on his body, quite a few students (girls mostly) better then him, so he gets challenged a lot. He also was invited (first on the trial basis and now full time) to the fencing class my older kid is in, (little one is sitting there anyway) and is enjoying it too. So we have fairly rounded schedule which is also easier on the family. I am not ready for big sacrifices, at least not now. But he is moving steadily, and at this point wants to be a professional ballet dancer. Thank you again for all your help and advice.

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love reading your update ezhinsky! I think the lesson you are showing all of us (or at least me!) is to make good use of the resources at hand that fit in with the family, to exhaust them before turning a world upside down. I can only imagine how tempting it must have been to grab the brass ring (SAB). Sounds like your son will find his way there or somewhere else eventually. Thanks for sharing all that- I am glad your family is feeling balanced. That is after all more important than anything.

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  • 4 months later...

Short update: end of the year, my now 7 y.o. is attending 2 back to back classes in his old school (by the necessity of carpooling) which he finds "fun", and one class in the far away school, which is "fun but difficult". His technique and the use of his body improved dramatically. He still loves his ballet. What makes me wander is when he sometimes takes "boys only" class (the new school offers it on the different day) he is really tired after. Although I think it is great and challenging class. He actually does not want to take "boys only" class and strive in the setting where there are only 2-3 boys among girls. And he is not ready to be pushed, he just want to have fun, and I am fine with it. Watching him is such a pleasure. But on his example I see that he has to be mentally ready to commit to a more rigorous schedule and has to be able to control his body. (All of a sudden his jumping become great, not because he has been working on it, but because he grew). So I am happy where we are.

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thank you exhinsky! such an honest account and invaluable for everyone else facing these decisions. Our experience has also been that taking a big step up in hours and intensity (while very exciting) does take a toll. DS has had sore knees which have improved but were clearly a by product of becoming 6'2" and dancing many hours each week. As my dad would say 'it ain't all beer and skittles!" You and I are on the same page when it comes to weighing things up- we recently refused a spot at Pacific North West SI because it didn't make sense for our family given everything else going on at that time. That decision raised a few eyebrows but hey! going for the prize isn't always the right decision. My opinion is that we need to take the long view of our dancers and that if they really have prospects, they will still have those prospects in 12 months.

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  • 6 years later...

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