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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Wants to dance but not as a professional? Where to go from here? Are


Whitenights

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I am not sure how to word this question but here goes. My daughter is almost 16. She has been dancing since the age of 3. We didn't seek out ballet but ballet found her. The short story. She was at a regular dance school from age 3 to 8. The school was bought out by someone that had a completely different vision for the school, real ballet training. She stayed, thrived, and enjoyed the next few years, going from one to five days a week over the years, not really thinking about the future, just enjoying the classes, recitals and Nutcracker performances. By age 10, she was on Pointe. By the age of 12, she was dancing with the most advanced level at the school and was the youngest one in the level. By 13 or 14, both her and I realized that there is much more to the ballet world. Seriously, we didn't know what a SI was until she was 13 years old. Now we are at a crossroads and I can't help heror give real advice because I am confused myself. She doesn't know what to do with her ballet training but knows she loves to dance. She also takes jazz and contemporary. She states that she equally loves ballet, jazz and contemporary but doesn't want a career as a professional dancer. My questions, where do you go from here? What do you do with "the training"? Is it okay to just keep dancing with no goal in mind but simply for enjoyment?

Also, she auditioned for and was accepted into 3 SI's and we are still waiting to hear from a 4th. She really wants to attend The Rock but doesn't even care if it is The Rock Jazz/Contemporary or the The Rock for ballet. She just wants to dance because she loves to dance. For me, it is hard to justify paying to attend an SI for fun but maybe I am wrong. She is very passionate and works extremely hard. She loves trying new things. What are the other benefits of an SI for those that don't want a career in dance? Any thoughts on all of this? The more I think about it, the more confused I become.

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I am all ears to the comments you receive to your question Whitenights! As a parent without a dance background I have been at times astounded by the career aspirations of dancing children. I have no experience of 'elite' sport or dance so it comes as a surprise to me. My 14yo DS has no idea if he wants to try to dance professionally so I am also interested in the path our teenages have in front of them who dont aspire to professional careers. Great question! I am confident that you will be told that dance is just wonderful on its own without a paycheck to back you up. It seems that many people go to class just to dance while they pursue their other paid jobs and studies. Surely it is the process that matters here not just the outcome! :cool2:

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Is it okay to just keep dancing with no goal in mind but simply for enjoyment?

Short answer: Yes! Why not?? It is a wonderful way for her to relieve stress, stay conditioned, and participate in an art form.

 

For me, it is hard to justify paying to attend an SI for fun but maybe I am wrong. . . . What are the other benefits of an SI for those that don't want a career in dance?

 

We have many threads about what the collateral benefits of attending an SI (and studying dance avocationally). The short answer would be experiencing different areas of the country, the benefits of having roommates, making new friends in new environments, the experience of studying with like-minded dance students, a foray into independence in a controlled, safe environment, studying with different teachers, experiencing different teaching methods, continuing in-depth study of something your DD clearly loves and enjoys.

 

There is the attendant focus, discipline, grace, art appreciation, movement appreciation, physical activity, delayed gratification, patience, work ethic, etc. that comes with the continuing study of ballet and dance forms.

 

Not everyone can, will, or wants to be a professional dancer. It is a hard, mostly low paying job, BUT for the right person, it can be rewarding. Likewise, just because someone doesn't want to be a professional dancer doesn't mean they can't reap many intangible and tangible benefits from continuing to study it. If your DD loves it as an avocation, then she will get great personal reward and satisfaction from it. Why not??

 

I used to tell people it was fine with me that my DD spent so much time at the dance studio because it would keep her off the streets when she was a teenager. It worked! :) We have talked numerous times about whether she 'gave' up too much as a child and young teen. Regardless of what came her way, she has never once regretted the time spent in dance. She (now a young college graduate) would name a whole list of attributes she credits dance with instilling in her and helping to form the person she is today.

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While dancemaven has given the short answer of yes, the long answer is yes also.

 

If you were talking about a son, and that son played high school and community soccer. And he told you he didn't want to be a soccer player but just wanted to play for fun like he was doing now. Playing for fun also included playing that the level he deserved to which included travelling on weekends to play. Would you consider taking that away because he wanted to be a doctor?

 

If your daughter was a cellist and played in the local high school symphony, the metro youth symphony, but in the end wanted to be a scientist would you take away the summer opportunities that are offered in the music world for additional training because she didn't want to be a professional cellist?

 

Before you look at the lump sum of money that SIs cost, take a ledger and determine how much your grocery bill might go down during the summer because a son is not home all day. Couple that with the amount of money you might still spend on a family vacation, movies, mall trips, swimming pool membership, etc. etc. and see if you really will save money. You might, depending on your lifestyle, but you may just shift that money to things that are not one lump sum amount.

 

Each family and each child has to determine how this all works (or doesn't work) for them. There is no right or wrong answer.

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DD sounds similair, she enjoys dance but is pretty sure she does not want to dance professionally. Will be attending college for another major but will continue to dance as a dance minor next year, loves dance and misses it when not dancing. She has attended SI's and is often picked and asked to participate in others choreography and has actually been paid to dance. I think as long as she wants to continue it's great for her. She feels dancing gives her balance, an outlet for her frustrations( she says if she has a bad day she feels much better after dance) and has taught her discipline. Not to mention it keeps her in great shape. With all those benefits I dont see a down side

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Great answer momofthree, and I was thinking many of the same things myself. We know so many young people who are very active in something through high school - even college - yet take a completely different career path.

 

With respect to dance, not only does the young person reap the benefits dancemaven and momofthree have mentioned, but the person will likely become a patron of the art form in the future - and future audience members, Board members and other volunteers will always be needed!

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Definitely continue her training at home during the school year. The benefits are obvious even if a career is not a long-term goal. I am unclear on if she has attended an SI previously.

 

Personally, if my DD did not have professional aspirations, I would not invest in an SI, even though the experience would be still be beneficial. I would choose to use the money for a lovely vacation for the whole family, for travel, to make more upgrades to our house, to put it toward education, or to simply bank it in savings.

 

We live comfortably, but we are not wealthy. Based on your family's finances, you will have to determine if it is worth it to give her the other benefits of an SI experience, or if your family would rather use that money in another way.

 

If my DD were 16 and not striving for a career (and I had not already invested in previous years of SIs), I would send her to local programs so that we could spend most of the summer together, as she will grow up quickly and then be gone.

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Whitenights, This topic makes me think of a Big Ten commercial where it says "There are over 400,000 NCAA student athletes and just about all of them will be going pro in something other than sports". My oldest daughter is a college soccer player. She loves to play soccer and we sent away for summer to soccer camps for several years. Although she knew she would not become a professional player, she enjoyed the game and now uses her skils to help pay her way through college to become what she wants to be later in life. The same thing can happen with dancing. I know several girls who are dancing their way through college with the intent of beginning a career in something else once they graduate. As long as she's enjoying it, you never know what might happen. Maybe she'll change her mind at some point.

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Wow, thanks for all of the insights. They are very helpful. I welcome more of them!

 

Cupid - no, she has never attended a SI other than the summer workshops at her regular dance studio, which were 5 weeks long, everyday, very rigourous but with the same two teachers and students she danced with all year long. It is her dream to attend one, even if for just one summer. To her, they sound like so much fun. She was very impressed with Bo and Stephanie at The Rock audition and the way they explained things about the program. Unfortunately, we do not have any local programs worth attending. I have researched all options close by and sadly, they don't exist.

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I am reading "with the same two teachers," "with the same students she danced with all year long," and most importantly, "her dream to attend one, even if for just one summer." In your original post you also said that she is passionate, works hard, and loves to dance. These are all the right reasons to attend an SI--not just because peers are going or to get practice for leaving home for college (although that's a plus). She must be receiving satisfactory classical training to be offered positions to at least 3 SIs. Her interest in many forms of dance also makes her versitile and well-rounded. Who knows, she might even reconsider dance as a career. She might even want to use her dance knowledge to go into a field such as sports medicine, physical therapy, nutritionist, costume designer...Perhaps this is the perfect year for her to go have this experience--it will keep the door open to all possibilities and you both will not have to live with "would've, could've, should've!"

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Thanks Cupid. Very good insights! It is funny you mention physical therapy and nutritionist because those are two careers she has mentioned several times about wanting to pursue. She has talked about being a personal trainer also. All of the careers she mentions can be benefit from knowledge she would gain from dancing, (except for a vet. She is an animal lover!).

Yes, she is receiving very good classical training from a teacher that is absolutely passionate about ballet but that also believes in exposure to other dance forms. We switched schools in the fall and know we made the right choice.

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My DD dances professionally and got a lot of dance skills and training at her SI's each summer, but the most important part of any SI was meeting new friends from around the world, getting to try yoga, pilates and types of dance she didn't get at her home studio, seeing new cities, and learning how to be on her own and more grown up in a safe and structured environment away from home. If you can afford an SI, the non-dance benefits are huge and well worth it. If my DD didn't want to dance professionally, I would recommend either an arts school SI, so she could experience other types of arts and artists, or an SI with a lot of freedom in a really interesting city, so she could be a tourist as well as dancing. We raise artists, not just dancers, and each arts opportunity they have enriches the person they are growing up to be.

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Thanks dance1soccer1! These are the kind of insights I was hoping for. We have decided it is well worth it. We have it narrowed down and my daughter thinks she has made a decision on "the one".

Any other thoughts are welcome! I appreciate everyone's insights.

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