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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Serious, Intermediate, Age 18...


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Hello Everyone,

I am 18 years old, and a pretty solidly intermediate student. I've been dancing for about 4 years; I can do double pirouettes; I've been on pointe for two years; I've performed in my school's Nutcracker (waltz of the flowers, etc) and a few other shows on pointe. I am also a college student in a small, pretty rural town, but I am anticipating transferring before next year (that is a separate issue, though).

More than anything, I want to get to be the best dancer I can be. I know that a professional career is more or less completely out of the question, but that does not seem to affect my attitude. I am taking 6 ballet classes and two modern classes a week here between the college program and a local studio, but it's hard to get anyone to take me very seriously when I am so clearly of a age/level combination that says "recreational."

So, my question for you all: what do I do?? Getting into a summer intensive would be a dream, but I think a) it's too late for this year, and B) I would not be able to get in anywhere. I've seen the Sun Dance Camps posts/ads, etc, but I'm not sure if that would fit the bill.

Any and all advice would be incredible! Thanks!

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Well, if you really want to be the best dancer you can be all you have to do is to persist in things like taking class and participating in the dance activities that come your way. It's really that simple. You have to "smell" your way around, following opportunities that you have.


Of course I can't tell you what to do. You are responsible for you. But if I were in your situation, knowing what I know now, I'd broaden my scope of dance. It is much much more difficult to be a ballet dancer than a dancer, an individual who can dance in several different styles. Dancing in several different styles increases the opportunities you have to do things like perform. That's been my history in dance, widen my scope of experience and training and just follow what comes. It does help to live in the right place, an area where you find dance, which usually means a reasonably large city.


As an adult you have the rest of your life to develop. I wouldn't try to hurry it.

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And there are Summer Intensives for adults! We have a list at the top of the forum.

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I'd also suggest asking around schools in your area to see if they offer any opportunities for (serious!) adult students to take classes with their youth program students.


My local school has several adults who do this, both at the intermediate and advanced levels; we are expected to follow all of the youth program rules (e.g dress code, attendance, etc.), but we are also held to the same dance/technical standards as the youth students. I've been doing this for about a year now and I LOVE it; the youth program classes are a lot more rigorous than adult/open classes tend to be, and I've improved a lot.


Anyway, your opportunities for doing something like this might depend a lot on the local schools, but if you can find a good school willing to do it, I highly recommend giving it a try. At first I thought it was going to be weird taking class with students 10+ years younger than I am, but they've all been super friendly & welcoming, and it's turned out really well.

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Athena, that is such an encouraging thought! Depending on where I end up next year, I will look around. Given that I started so late, I am VERY used to being the oldest student, and completely fine with it.


Does anyone else have experience with this? I would be interested to hear what sort of arrangements others are in.

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There are some no-audition programs that might be of interest to you, for this summer?


Also, one of my instructors is at the top age cut-off (mid-20s) for SIs, and just got into one - so it is possible, you just have to do your homework!

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At our studio, we definitely welcome adult students into our advanced youth classes once they are pre-screened by the teacher and try a class. In our case, we are usually looking at formerly serious dance students who are returning to dance or want to dance in a more serious recreational way, but we would absolutely welcome someone your age into our youth program.


(FYI, I would describe us as a serious recreational studio.)

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I would also highly recommend taking youth program classes as an adult, if you can arrange it. There is no doubt the intensity level and expectations are higher than for an open class, and if that's what you want you'll benefit greatly from the environment. I've been doing that for ~6 years, and I'm in my early 30's now. I'm usually the only adult, but the girls don't seem to mind. I'm very conscious of my behavior and appearance, I follow the dress code, listen to the teacher, and am mindful of classroom etiquette. If you act like a serious student you'll be treated like one. Yes there are days where I'd give anything to at least wear a skirt when standing next to 13 year olds in pink tights, and sometimes I wish there was at least one other student with the same aches and pains as me, but I wouldn't trade it and feel lucky I'm able to study intensely.

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Welcome to BT4D, Chloe. I'm glad you've found us, and found this discussion helpful and inspirational.


I think that dancing as an adult is often way more than a 'hobby.' And you never know where it will lead you! In my view, it helps to keep a very open mind about dance: think about it as more than ballet, and try out whatever you can. It's all art of a dance education, and also you never know where anything will lead you.

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