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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Career: Strategizing for Junior Year


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cperkins, great idea about the accordion folder. I'll pass that tip on to my DD in case it appeals to her. Believe it or not, she has yet to make an audition video for any program, summer, college or otherwise. I am dreading it, as just taking summer intensive audition photos has been stressful enough. She is also quite hard on herself, and the tension starts to show in her face and upper body as the photo shoot wears on. We've learned to try and keep those short, and plan on doing it more than once if need be. But shooting and editing videos will be a whole new arena for her (and for me). 


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I guess we're technically strategizing for senior year now, but I thought I'd post an update. I'm really glad that DD had a start on her applications and essays at the beginning of summer, as it's made it easier for her to get back into them as summer winds down and school gets going. Not having to face a blank screen for her essays in particular was a huge help. She's taking the SAT again this morning, for the second and last time. She's taking the ACT in two weeks, and then she'll send off whichever set of score she feels better about. None of her schools required subject tests, so those are off the table for her. Only one school required SAT with essay, and she almost took that school off her list just to avoid having to do the essay portion. ;) It isn't high on her list, but it's still on it. As far as January/February, she's hoping to do as many auditions as is reasonable and then send videos to places that don't come to our area that might be a good fit for her. I honestly don't see how she can realistically hope for a trainee offer in time to defer college without incurring all of the other expenses (airfare, etc) unless she gets an offer with her SI audition and not at the end of summer. And I just don't see that happening for her, unfortunately. In fact, I'm at a point where I'm not feeling too optimistic about her college chances either, but maybe that is a conversation for another thread.

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Is there any reason not to send both SAT AND ACT?  Also, I have a chart that shows comparable scores between the two if any are intested.

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You will get much better advice for those type questions on College Confidential---that is the focus of that network --all things college--while BT4D focus is ballet training.  👍

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dancingjet and Lady Elle, I'm with you on this!  We are all in this together!  My update:  DD has completed applications for several schools and is waiting for other applications to drop on September 1st.  She will retake the ACT in September (took it in June and wanted to up scores) but some of the schools she applied to have dropped SAT and ACT scores as a requirement and made them optional as part of their "holistic application review approach".  We are relieved because DD is an outstanding student, but just not a great standardized test taker.  She has auditions in October and November for two schools and the rest will be in January and February 2018, with dates still TBA. I wanted to make sure that she completed applications early so that she could get early audition dates and would not have all her auditions at once.  DD was very fortunate at her high school to work on her personal essay in English class and have it reviewed by her college guidance counselor before school ended in May and during the summer break, so by August 1, she was ready to upload and click send.  DD decided not to apply to schools that require videos and prescreening, but she will have to work on solo preparation with her dance teachers.  Because certain schools have their own applications with no application fee, DD was able to forgo the Common Application. 

Overall, this process has been really positive for DD.  She has not ruled out auditioning for trainee programs, but is leaning HEAVILY towards a college dance program.  She feels she can be more marketable and versatile in trainee program auditions as a dancer with a college dance background.  Plus the college experience is very appealing to her after being immersed in the ballet world for the last 10-12 years.  Hubby and I have been proud of the initiative she has shown in making decisions about her future.  Good luck to everyone in the process!


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julisha, it sounds like your DD is really on top of things! That is terrific. I'm hoping that by the end of Labor Day weekend, DD will be at the point to submit at least some of her applications. 

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dancingjet, I'm sure your DD will be ready to submit by Labor Day!  Once they get started, they get on a roll with the essay writing and filling out the apps.  Good luck!

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julisha, you were right. :) DD is essentially ready to hit "submit" though she's nervous to make it all so real! 

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The Conversations on Dance podcast recently interviewed Margaret Tracey, Director of Boston Ballet School.  About 2/3 of the way through the interview, she discusses a group of ballet schools (including Boston Ballet School) that have been working with ballet companies to get a standard form for audition videos.  She says that the standard should go public soon.  Like the Common Application for colleges, it will enable students to create one video to submit to many ballet companies, rather than the expense of creating a separate video for each company.

Moderators please move if this is not the appropriate forum - I was not sure where to share this but found it very interesting!

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I too found it interesting however, I do not agree with "the Common Application" as not all directors are looking for the same thing. I have filled out the Common Application for students entering college. It leaves much to be desired. Ms. Tracey is well spoken, bright and amicable. It was an interesting interview to me. I am sorry she did not provide more insight on the current state of ballet training in the US.

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It was our daughters’ experiencs that the difference between a generic, bare bones Common Application and a school’s individual application was enormous.  Yes, the individual applications took extra time—- and serious thought—but, once finished, those provided a much more complete and layered insight into our individual applicants. 

I would imagine, that as vrsfanatic noted, the various artistic departments have their own nuanced and layered view of what they are looking for in their student’s in order for them (both student and faculty) to bring the best out in everyone. 

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Interesting.  This would be an absolutely wonderful support to the parent budget and to allow dancers to be seen places they may not have been able to travel.  But I wonder if ADs would actually prefer this over seeing a dancer in person.    For sure this may be an easier way to have an audition day at a school with invites going out or even invites to company class.  But so many schools and their own companies (including Boston) don't always meet up in terms of what the school likes and what the AD likes that I wonder if two applications and sets of guidelines need to be addressed until such time as the two meet.  

I will note that my college daughters (2), high school counselors only recommended Common App for certain schools and not for schools that the student had on their Top 5 list for reasons based around the simplicity of the application.  


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If Margaret can actually persuade a large number of ballet companies to accept a standard form of audition video, my hat will truly be off to her.  My DD is a bit past this stage (for the moment, anyway), but it was maddening when she was on the audition circuit that so many companies had inconsistent video requirements - especially when the video is most often just a screening device to secure an invitation for a company class audition.  I must say, I remain skeptical that a wide assortment of ADs, with all of their personal and stylistic idiosyncrasies, will sign on to any sort of standardized format. 

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