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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Career: Strategizing for Junior Year


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  • dancingjet


  • Lady Elle


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I can add my own thoughts. DD is working on a list of schools where she can keep dancing but also, hopefully, take classes outside of a ballet major. I think her first choice would be a trainee position at a school/company that felt like a good fit, deferring college for at least that first year. Second choice is a strong ballet program in college with room to minor or double major. Thinking about paying for and traveling to all of the auditions, college applications, etc., along with the time required for videos, photos, essays and everything else is overwhelming. She'll start her college apps this summer, for sure.

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  • 1 month later...

following request to bump up this thread, please add to it if your child is currently a Junior or was a Juniore in the last year or so to help others.

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DD is a junior recently on Spring Break and we just did a college tour of 5 schools. Like dancingjet's DD, she is still researching schools, looking closely at conservatory programs, liberal arts colleges and research universities, as well as trainee programs. Given the potential cuts facing the NEA (hope that's not too political), we will be encouraging her to continue pursuit of the college route. She will complete test prep this Spring and take ACTs and subject matter tests this summer and the fall. I'm encouraging her to make a grid of all the schools' requirements-audition dates, variations/solos, videos, etc as well as the application deadlines, essays, etc. I feel fortunate to have had a non-DD already go through the college process so I do know a bit about the application process/testing/essays. The dance process is new to us. I think the most important thing to remember is that our kids will get in and go somewhere, whether it's college, trainee, whatever. Good luck to everyone-we are all in it together!

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julisha, DD has a grid going as well, to try and keep track of early deadlines, scholarship deadlines, audition dates, application procedures, etc. Part of that is my need to control something that can get complicated quickly! DD took the SAT and will take the ACT as well. So far none of the schools on her list require Subject Tests, so if she can avoid those, she will. Her school requires summer college homework for rising seniors, so I know she'll be getting essays written over the summer (or at least decent drafts). I'm encouraging her to get as much done as she can, as soon as she can, so that when last minute surprises come up (as I'm sure they will) she will hopefully have the time and energy to cope with them.

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  • 3 months later...

Checking in...

DD's college list is becoming more well-defined, with 3 schools with well-regarded ballet majors she definitely wants to audition for, and a few back-up programs (schools with dance programs that don't require an audition, but she thinks she might still be happy at). The plan is to do auditions in the fall whenever possible and to get applications in by priority deadlines. She's been doing some review on her own for the SAT and ACT and will take them again (last time!) in August and September. She's also working on essay drafts for Common App and 1 other school that isn't Common App. The dream is still to be asked to stay on as a trainee somewhere next year (which we're ready to support), but she's being pragmatic about it all. Maybe by this time next year, we'll know what her future holds, though traineeships that hinge on SI attendance really push those notification dates way back in summer. We're assuming she'll get into at least one college program that she likes, that she'll accept a place there and then defer (or reapply down the road, if deferring isn't allowed) if need be.

In the meantime, her SI starts soon and she's antsy to get to it and get started! 

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Thanks for the update, dancingjet!  Our DDs sound like they are both in the same place, narrowing down schools, working on essays, test review, etc.  She is in week 1 of her SI so much of that is on hold, but she did make some significant progress on her personal essay just before school let out in early June.  The Junior English Teachers worked on personal essays with the students as a part of a class assignment, which made it easy for the kids to begin writing and have the teachers as well as their college counselors review before they left for summer.  She will be back at the end of July (just in time for the August 1 application drop dates) and we will get rolling.  We are also of the same mind to get as many applications done EARLY so that she can hopefully have some early decisions and we can avoid a crunch during Nut season and the January/February auditions.  Good luck to your DD, dancingjet!

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My DD 17, just finished her junior year.  She lives away from home and does online school and has a tutor for test prep and ACT/SAT, also just an actual human to touch base with has been nice.  She was set on trying to get into a company after graduation, her father and I wanted to make sure she didn't put all her eggs in one basket so we have always made sure her academics were a priority, to ensure she has options and is a well rounded person.  We all know so much can change.  She has taken the ACT and SAT, has essays prepared and a few colleges picked out.  In December/ January she auditioned for summer programs and as many of you have stated got in with scholarships and told she would be considered for trainee/ second company position.  Obviously she could not attend all so we just went with the one that offered the best scholarship.  Then in March, on her own she decide to contact some companies and send her resume and such to them, with the hopes of getting some feedback.  To her surprise and mine she was invited to 4 in company auditions and offered a contract after her first audition.  I think we are all still in a bit of shock but she will now finish her senior year in a new state while dancing with a company.  She is thrilled and I an nervous.  I really want her to get a college education.  Her plan is to work on school all summer and hopefully finish her senior year by December and then enroll in some online college classes ( maybe even just one).  She has it all planned out but as her mother I still worry.  Is this the best dcision, is she too young for all of this?  And honestly, I just miss her!  She left home at 15, and not doing life on a daily basis with her has been beyond difficult.  I do have to say having company job all set for the fall has made her summer intensive so far the most relaxed, non stressed experience she has had in years.☺️  If anyone has any questions I am happy to be of any assistance.  My DD has had many ups and downs and I am happy to share all we have learned along the way!!  Best wishes to everyone and their dancers!

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Monet, huge congrats to your DD! She must be pretty fantastic! :) Good for her for putting herself out there. 

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Dancingjet, thank you!  She is actually just a hard worker and willing to take risks.  I can tell you she has never been the "star" and I believe this was a blessing.  I have also learned that what schools and summer intensives look for and favor is not always what companies look for.  

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Even more encouraging, then! Again, congrats to her. That is very exciting!

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Congratulations to you and your DD Monet!  Dancingjet and Julisha looks like we are all at similar places in the college process.  My DD is now down to 6 colleges with auditions. ( I am hoping to get that number a little lower, but it is much better than the 15 we started with this year.)  Over the years, she has slowly moved toward the modern side of dance.  And, though she still takes daily ballet classes as well as pointe and variations during the week, her heart is in modern.  So, for college, she would love a well rounded program with a bit more emphasis on modern.  That helped us eliminate some colleges.  She has one acceptance already to a local college with dance program, but she would really prefer to leave the area and spread her wings a bit.  ACT and SAT have been taken with good results.  But she wants to retake the SAT in August to up her math score. (Sigh, typical high achieving dancer.)  DD would like to finish as much of the Common App as she can before summer ends. She also wrote an essay in English class this year, but she was not satisfied with it.  However, she has become inspired by her SI and has planned a whole new essay in her head.  Her 4 week SI ends in a little over a week.  When she returns, she will finish the 2nd half of her home studio SI and work on that Common App.  To add to her work load, she has decided to do an independent study health class.  This will enable her to leave school early her senior year and (of course) dance more.  DD might do a couple of modern/contemporary auditions but she has expressed that she doesn't feel quite ready for company life yet, so right now her main focus is college and a double major in dance and maybe math.  She seems to be handling all of the college search stress reasonably well.  Much better than me!


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  • 2 weeks later...

One thing I've learned this summer is that each school seems to have its own approach to scheduling an audition. One has an online form and requires a short essay and photos; one asks for just an email with some pertinent information; one requires that you apply academically before you can reserve an audition space; one requires a video for pre-screening and then you need to be invited to audition; two don't even offer auditions until spring semester. My advice to future parents of juniors and rising seniors is to do your research in advance so that you're not hit with any surprises at the last minute, particularly if expensive travel is involved! I thought that June/July seemed early but am now glad that DD didn't wait until late August or September to figure out what each school required. I've been in touch with reps from various schools and they have been very friendly and helpful, so when in doubt, reach out to them directly for good, solid answers to your questions.

DD's away at her SI and tired but happy. She knows she needs to hit her applications hard when she gets home, and I think it's nice for her to have this time away to just focus on dancing and making new friends. Sometimes it seems surreal that I really do have a rising senior who will be off on some new adventure around this time next year!

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I agree dancingjet!  Time has flown by.  My dd will be hussling when she gets back as well.  She already has one college audition under her belt so it's now all about those videos!  Best to all!



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I don't know about the rest of you out there but I'd rather potty train a 2 year old than try to assemble another audition video with my DD.  Somehow, she always ended up in tears no matter how beautiful she looks.  I helped her with this last year's video for audition season but she is on her on for the future. 

As for advice for the junior/senior dancer heading into auditions, my DD used an accordion file to keep all the info for different programs separate, each one with complete with required photos, fees, audition forms, etc, because as you know every program wants something different.  Then when the audition was finished, she made a few notes about her general impressions of the class and adjudicator and tucked them into the appropriate slot. Even had a few treasured business cards from directors!   It really allowed her to keep all of the clutter and confusion to a minimum. 

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