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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Career: Strategizing for Junior Year


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Firstly, hope I'm not overlapping with any existing topics out there, but I'd love to swap notes with parents of juniors (past and present) who have mapped out plans for their DK's junior year. I'm trying to maximize school break times etc. so that DD can explore as many program options as possible prior to her final year of high school. Apart from attending as many auditions for summer programs as we can get her to (and sending out a few video auditions also for those we can't), like any junior, we will probably be researching and observing college programs - both purely academic as well as dance related. However, I was wondering if we should/can do even more than that in terms of connecting with/observing different companies and trainee programs, other than attending as many performances as DD's school schedule/our budget will permit? Would love to hear from others about their plans for this year, and happy to share our findings as we progress through the year.

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  • Momof3darlings


  • dancingjet


  • LovesLabor


  • Lady Elle


It sounds from your description that you intend to use Senior year to have a dual path until such time as a decision is made. Meaning, your dancer will audition for college programs, SIs and company auditions and also trainee auditions. You are very smart to plan ahead. And yes, as much time and money that you can dedicate to clearing the air Junior year you should. When the budget begins to limit, do as much online research as possible. The more companies you can see in person or online and the more college programs you can see perform and see the campus itself ahead of time helps. Not everyone is able to accomplish the two-three visit scenarios but it is worth it if you can to help rule out as many as you can. Key is the more you know now, the easier your scheduling will be Senior year because you'll be able to prioritize visits and schedules.


There is an old thread that I'll bump up and link to for you. I"ll substitute it for these two sentences in a bit.

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Ditto, LovesLabor. Thanks for opening this thread! And, thanks, Momof3darlings for re-surfacing some old threads. There are so many decisions and so much to wade through to help our DDs chart their course.

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Ok, here are some links. While all of them are not specific to Junior year only. Many of them have wisdom of what was learned during and after Junior year, during Senior year and during the audition/application processw which might help you not make the same mistakes others have made and to make educated decisions now with information gained from the amazing parents who came before you. Happy reading! Feel free to add questions or comments to those threads to bump them up. But then come back to this thread to keep the discussion going about what you (and other Junior parents) are doing this year to get your DKs ready over the course of the next two years. I'll put a date on the title of this thread so you might gain a group of folks in the same bucket.



Path curveballs and re-grouping


What's next?


2010 Senior Parent Support Group


Hindsight in College vs. Company decisions


2009 Parental Transition Support


Deferring College Dance Acceptance


Training decisions at 15/16


When to start the college decision process


Career counseling for dance students: Does it exist?

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Thanks for the links. I appreciate the thread as well as dd is a junior this year. Dd does not want to dance professionally (at last not out of HS) and would like to look into double majoring (STEM and Dance). We are going to be looking at the schools that can allow her to do both and offer the most amount of money to complete her education. We are already configuring her class schedules to allow her to complete college level basic courses at our local community college so she can do a dual major when she starts college. Since we have spent our life savings so far on Ballet I would love to hear more about scholarships that dd could apply for that combine both Arts and STEM degrees.

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Good to "meet" you. DD would like to dance professionally out of high school, but that might not be an option that opens up for her. I think by the end of her junior year, she will have a much better feel for how that question will be answered in her particular case. So like you, we are currently looking at double majors, also.


Not sure if this declares a glaring ignorance on my part, but had to Google the term STEM and glance at a few of the results before replying to this. I'm assuming by STEM degrees you simply mean more science/math/tech oriented degrees than a reference to a specific program? Like your DD, mine has a strong science bent, so you pose similar questions to ours. Please do share your findings in some form or other, and I'm happy to do likewise. While DD has made two non-dance college visits as a freshman and sophomore, we are heading out to IU tomorrow on their first day back (not an ideal day, but the only one we could arrange before next June when we hope to sign up with their week long summer program, which I'm told will now be extended to 3 weeks to help those kids at school on the East Coast who have a later end to the academic year than the mid-westerners ). We have planned to observe class and discuss possibilities with the faculty and admissions. It would be great if we could compile information on these kinds of questions in a similar way to the audition circuit documents that other parents have created and shared annually on these Boards. Let's put our heads together and see how best to accomplish this.

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Just letting any of the moms interested know that some universities have a Dance Science program. this would include things like kinesiology, biomechanics, fitness coaching... Seems to be an interesting combination!

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I am sorry. Yes STEM is science, technology, engineering and math. We are hoping to leverage her ballet experience into scholarships. But she does not have any major STEM projects that will put her on top. Her grades are top notch and I detest AP classes so she is doing dual enrollment at local community college to get college course credit. We have Oklahoma on our list and dd was approached about a scholarship opportunity to their summer program this past spring at an RDA event. I think that may have been the Summerwinds program Unfortunately she had already committed to another SI and could not accept. However she got a packet of information from OU and we are mapping out what per -reqs she can get through in next year and 1/2 so she can do a double major. Getting English out of the way this year in dual enrollment. She only needs one class to graduate her senior year so she is going to get some more college basics out of the way next year while trying to apply to school and audition for programs. I want to take as much stress out of the process as possible.

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  • 2 weeks later...

DD is a junior (hard to believe). This is what we've been discussing:


1. Audition for as many SI's as possible in order to a) get a feel for the program, B) see where the chips fall, and c) to get more experience auditioning and getting "out there".

2. Sit down with our AD before auditions to discuss DD's plans and potential, and to get her advice.

3. Consider and plan for four paths: A) Audition for smaller companies and Ballet II programs. B) Audition for year round post high school training programs. C) Audition and apply for top college ballet / dance programs. D) Continue training at the home studio, dancing with the company, and attending local community college.


One of my biggest questions (and concerns) is whether DD is ready (or will be ready) to audition for companies next year. She is getting excellent pre pro training now, but she came in far behind and had to work her tail off to get caught up. In many ways, I feel that she is still behind the curve. This year will make a huge difference, so it's hard to tell what she'll be ready for next year. I suspect she may need a couple more years of training before she will be truly company ready. We still need to research residential post grad training programs to see what the possibilities hold.

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Your plan sounds very similar to ours. However, we have decided that this junior year, as much as possible, we would like to focus on the college aspect of things. I'm just not sure how anyone can take the time out to audition for everything in that one final year, and remain sane and within the quota of days the school will permit students to be absent. Suffice it to say, we might as well be situated at the North Pole in terms of our accessibility to where these auditions will take place. It will cost us a lot financially and time-wise to get there.


For that reason, I narrowed down a potential college list to about 7 places (We started with a fairly narrow base of 20+ colleges, so will continue to work our way down the list - but we needed to work quickly in order to organize some of our travel plans for the year) . Of those, 4 made it on to my wish list to visit over the next academic year, but realistically, only about 3 will be visited. That will make for a total of 4 college visits this year. Some of those have early bird audition possibilities. The more we can get that out of the way now, the better. I feel that at least dd will have a better sense of how the college programs work, and some of the differences between them. If we can swing going to the YAGP Dance in Higher Education program this year that would be a great way to audition for multiple programs in one place. Apparently, the YAGP event will be held not only in NYC in 2014, but also in Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.


Like you, the other priority for us this year is just taking a reality check - heart to heart with teachers, and as many SI auditions as we can accomplish. If anyone else has any brilliant strategies for getting objective feedback on that, please don't hesitate to share.


I have to say, that DD is actually not very keen on the college BFA route. Which is why I feel it is important for her to experience as many different programs as possible. In her senior year, she will definitely be applying to some non-dance college programs, also. I guess next on the to-do list is to research post-high school training situations that would permit her to take concurrent college classes - something that appeals to her much more right now.


This weekend was the one where I finally sat my husband down and wouldn't let him get up until I'd fully explained the financial consequences of having a dancer in the house! He did ask if any of this would involve a trip to Europe, and groaned occasionally. No idea about the Europe thing yet. I can only imagine that happening in some kind of gap year, perhaps? But that's a whole 'nother thread!

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It's all a bit overwhelming. We are going to focus on the SI's this year because her experience is limited (late start). She is interested in a college about an hour and a half from home that has a strong dance program, but I'm not sure the focus on ballet is strong enough. We need to dig deeper. We really need to look at the post grad training programs.

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My DD is also a junior this year. She attends a public high school part-time (primarily for her AP courses in science and math) and does her remaining courses online due to her training schedule. Because she has to be in school everyday, it makes it difficult to visit colleges and trainee programs during the school year. Through online research, we narrowed her list of schools down to 9 or 10. We did visit two schools in New York City this summer while she was there for an intensive, and we will hopefully visit several more NYC schools over spring break. In October, we will visit two more schools that are a little bit closer to home, and also attend the University of Arizona Jazz Showcase and tour their campus.


I think DD will probably head the university route. She would like to double major in dance and psychology with the goal of heading to medical school after hopefully having a dance career!! We will also look at two trainee programs that have a seem to have a fairly heavy contemporary/modern component, but as time goes on I think she is leaning more and more towards going to college. When we looked at contemporary companies, we noticed that almost all of the dancers have college degrees. Although she trains in classical ballet 6 days per week and her technique is very strong, her body leans more towards contemporary work.


Hopefully, if all goes as planned, we will be able to visit most of the schools she's interested in this year. So much planning to do!!

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Mackie - my dd's favorite ballet teacher also did a dance/psych double major. she attended SMU and speaks very highly of the program there! We will also be looking into U of A dance program. State Street Ballet (Santa Barbara) has an interesting program where you have the opportunity to train with the company, do some performing and attend the community college there to work on your general ed stuff. I think its a 2 year program and when its done, you can either pursue auditioning for companies, or transfering to a university.

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