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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Transitioning out of the "Potential" Stage


LovesLabor

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flyingpersimmon

This thread has been a very helpful read. Thank you Swanchat and everyone else that has contributed to this thread. I bounce from thread to thread trying to piece together answers for my own questions and insecurities about dd's progress. Being a part of BT4D has really helped me in making some important decisions about dd and it has opened my eyes for so many other aspects of life for my non dancers. I think in the long run, we as parents want to know that we are guiding our children in the right direction. Often, I have learned, it is our children that are guiding us.

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I am so glad this thread was resurrected.

 

The common denominator for a very successful professional dancer is that no matter what obstacle or adversity came their way, their need to dance, to perform was more pressing... more necessary.

 

It has been a bumpy month. An expected SI acceptance did not occur. Just as mentioned earlier in this thread, one should carefully create a desired SI audition list. After the expected and hoped for acceptance did not occur, I think there was some scrambling here. Going to auditions because they were local. Looking back at the list of auditions with negative results, most were programs that would not have appeared on dd's list had she taken the time to make a list as she had other years. Some of them are programs that despite the name, she would not have attended even if she had been accepted. Nearly all were programs not in the style of her home program (yet another thread). Not to say that there haven't been some acceptances, just not THE acceptance she had hoped for.

Dd's reaction to all of this? She is regrouping and determined to work even harder. She's working privately to correct some previous technical issues that cropped up again despite making improvements in other areas.

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Last year when I asked this question it was as an "armchair quarterback" as they say (my dd wasn't actively participating in the audition experience at the time). This year, we are starting to get some answers as they relate to my dd specifically through direct experience. I'm starting to see what some of the imaginary check-lists contain, and which parts remain unchecked for my daughter. The only question remaining is the extent to which that will limit and direct her future hopes and choices.

 

MelissaGA,

 

You bring up some interesting points. I can relate to the "Going to auditions because they were local" scenario even though even those didn't feel in the least 'local'! I have to say that probably none of these programs that appeared 'locally' were good ones for dd to attend. Yet attending them has at least confirmed this, which was one of our objectives this winter. No stone left unturned, etc.

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firedragon0800

Yes great post! I love all of the time I have spent with my dd pursuing her love of Ballet and discovering that I also have that love, and that through my daughters pursuit and tenacity many within our sphere of influence are also inspired and are endeavoring to learn more.

 

I too have felt that my dd was talented enough where she could give something to the world greater than the sum of her parts, for that we will see, but that is just the cherry on top.

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It's been interesting to watch the ebb and flow over the years of dd and her dancemates. There does seem to be a sort of "re-aligning" that happens at different ages. It seems like at 13, and then again at 15/16 there are changes and shifts within the dancers as a group. Luckily, our dds at this age have a few more years to cook.

 

At 12, dd had a great audition season, at 15 not so much. Some of that was due to her being behind her age group technically and expressively, and some of that was due to poor choices of auditions. You think with all the research we do, we would have a sense of what would be a good fit, but then we realize that what is a good fit at 13, may not be a good fit at 15. This year, dd is having a more successful season so far, but she doesn't know if it's just because she has gotten better at the audition process or is a comparatively better dancer, or if she's just gotten the bit of luck that goes with the an adjudicator happening to see her at a good moment.

 

The seasons that are less heartening seem to be an opportunity for the dancer to step back and reconsider. Some may step back and some may step it up. And some just seem to shake it all off. I only wish that there was real audition feedback so the dancers would know how much to weigh the rejections.

 

Thanks again swanchat for your thoughtful post.

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learning.a.lot

This is a great thread sharing the ups and downs and the whole experience, what a "ride"! Quite an adventure raising a dancer!

 

Just a note of encouragement to those with young teens, and teens in general: dd is 18 and dancing with a company, yet her ballet master still uses the term "potential" when speaking to her. She has worked hard through middle school and high school, but truthfully is now working harder than ever. I once had the naive impression that once you were in a company you were "polished and finished". Silly me.

 

In other words, I don't know if a dancer ever truly transitions through the "potential" stage until they retire!

 

Hard hard work through many ups and downs, many reassessments and redirection is necessary. If the dancer has the passion, drive and love for the art, he or she will go far. Bumps in the road are to be expected and worked through. As my dd has gotten older, I am her cheerleader and encourager as I watch with awe her passion and desire bloom along with her dancing. It is a demanding art form that can always be improved.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Passion, drive and love for the art are not sufficient in helping a dancer to "go far." Swanchat laid down three foundational factors a dancer needs as a baseline before she moved on to stress the importance of "determination and resilience." They are:

1) If a dancer is focused

2) is being taught and learning the technique,

AND 3) their body hasn't changed dramatically due to puberty.

 

The need for having the proper "facility" for dance (if one wishes to "go far") cannot be ignored or swept aside, as much as some may try. In fact, it should be one of the first things for a parent to consider - privately, in their own mind - if faced with the situation that LovesLabor first presented: "what kinds of things can be forgiven in a 14 year old that might not be as acceptable in a 15+, 16+, 17+ student?" Puberty, after all, is not the child's fault. Therefore, to disregard body type totally and just focus on whether or not the dancer is being passionate enough or has that "It factor" may subject the dancer to more distress if they're doing everything they possibly can do and have been called a "beautiful dancer" in the past. I fully recognize that body type is a touchy subject, but gradual recognition of physical changes may be more of a kindness in discussing these things with one's child than feeding them false hope combined with their self-torture in the face of dishonesty.

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Yes, you are correct, Pierette. Some dancers, no matter how focused and technically proficient, have too many physical strikes against them to face the kind of competition that exists in today's auditions. That is not to say, however, that they must have EVERY component. Everyone has their "Achille's heel". Dancers who will successfully transition to professionals will figure out where their shortcomings lie & will learn to do what they can to minimize them. It is also valuable to know how much good luck comes into play. Being in the right place at the right time is so important! Maintaining contact with people he/she has connected with along the way can help a dancer to increase their good luck.

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