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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Rejections and Frustration


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Oh dear, TwelfthNight. That's a horrifying story. I'm so sorry you and your DD had to go through that! Just when you think you've heard it all... .


DD does not feel comfortable speaking to the AD right now, and classes make the meeting schedule impossible. She's decided to write a short note addressing her surprise and hurt, and asserting that she is a kind person who does not treat people badly. Then she'll let it go. Perhaps the biggest offense in this, in her eyes, is that the AD never even gave them a chance to speak for themselves--not that they would have known what to say, because they were completely baffled by the whole thing.

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  • AJWMom


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Has anyone dealt with the crying dancer who gets her way? Did not affect my DD but not a good sign in my mind, when the AD gives in to a crying 15yr old who didn't get a certain part. My DD as originally stated in this thread didn't get the part she wanted but held her head high and auditioned the next day.


Also question on AD, who when asked by a dancer why she was not cast in all four shows was told that her technique was (and has continued to get better) but she doesn't have a "ballet" dancers body so will mostly likely not be cast for leads / multiple parts. I know that in the professional ranks this is expected but for Jr High and High school in a pre-pro school that accepted her is this appropriate?

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I agree that it is not a good sign in the AD gives a part to a dancer because she crying-ly asks for it. However, I would be hesitant to draw conclusions because it is often that those type stories are misconstrued. There is no way of knowing exactly what happened and it is easy to judge afterward.


Also, I don't like the idea tht a dancer is told flat out that she won't get a lead because she doesn't have a ballet body. But again, I think you have to be careful when judging. The AD could have said, "you know that you don't have the natural turnout for ballet so you may never get part x".


I think in both these situations, unless you have the full complete story it is unwise to make judgements about the AD or the school itself since it's all hearsay. If it's happening to your own child, it may be easier to get closer to the truth of the story and would be far more worrisome.

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I agree with the above, I was privy to both instances, which is the only reason I ask. It was not pertaining to my daughter, but one was done in front of the whole dance company. The other, semi-privately.

I think in both these situations, unless you have the full complete story it is unwise to make judgements about the AD or the school itself since it's all hearsay. If it's happening to your own child, it may be easier to get closer to the truth of the story and would be far more worrisome.

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Unless it concerns me personally, I feel my talking about something like that to others (and I don't mean asking about it here necessarily) is gossip even if it is true

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  • 3 months later...

It truly is a hard lesson to learn but sooo a part of the dance world! They so need to keep their chins up!!

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  • 3 months later...

I am a new member and very relieved to find you all here. I can't believe I've made it this far without the support of a group like this. Professional ballet training is a doozy to navigate, and it's getting harder for me as my daughter just experienced her first major rejection.


I am the mother of a 17 y/o DD who was just told she will not be advanced to the highest level, and therefore asked to leave the program. This is a big name school in a major city attached to a world class company. She trained there for 2 years with very good evaluations (balanced with strengths and areas to improve), until the one they handed her in the eval meeting stating that she didn't take corrections and did not progress since December. I know that she is a very hard worker (many teachers comment on this) and takes all corrections. I think part of it is that she lost confidence as she watched new girls come in and get promoted quickly, and there's always the fear of being dismissed hanging over all their heads. There was no indication to us that there were problems other than the teacher began ignoring her which was new. In fact, she was 1 of 3 invited to audition for a lead role for the spring concert. She didn't get the part but took that very well understanding that it was an honor just to be asked.


She is handling "getting kicked out" (as she calls it) pretty well as there are several of her friends in the same boat and they commiserate together. We are now scrambling for a new school which feels too rushed and frantic. My DD had trouble sleeping last night because she is filled with worry about her future. I have become somewhat obsessed with trying to figure this next step out. It feels like she's put in so many years of work with such positive responses, and now this one rejection is tearing that down. I am just really upset about the way this rejection was delivered. There were no positive words given to her, no encouragement to dance elsewhere except for an indirect mention that contemporary might be better for her. I completely understand that this school cannot promote everyone but can't they be sensitive to the fact that they are speaking with a human being, much less a vulnerable teenager? And, I don't understand how a school could dismiss a student for plateauing for 4 month when all her other work has progressed well and been recognized. I want to contact the school for a better explanation but I'm not sure about doing that. I did pay them thousands of dollars... but I know they could say even worse things that would be hard to deal with. I really don't trust what they say.


I think I need to accept that there could be reasons why students don't advance that are not completely about them and their level of work or commitment. School have their own agendas. I think it's too bad they can't be more honest about that because it left us feeling as though she was the one solely responsible.


I appreciate all the words here, especially about learning that these things can turn out to be the best thing in retrospect, and that dancers progress at different paces in their training. We are now looking for a school that can be committed to her growth as an artist and provide the right combination of nurturing and challenge to develop on her path. Next step will be to figure out if what we can afford!

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Felicity I am so sorry to hear this but know exactly what you are going through. Ready your post I think we are lucky this happened to my DD in grade 8 after two years in a big name school. This is our first year away from it. If you look at my post on the under 13 board you will see more of the back ground and how we handled it at the time. I have to DD one that is 12 and one that is 14 so I particpate on both boards.


It must be so tough at this critical age. If this is something you just found out I would suggest that you ask for a meeting to try and help you understand the exact reasons. I know in most situations this information is hard to get as it comes down to just not the right fit for their program at that time. This doesn't make the process any easier. They should be able to give you some guidance. Please know if this is her passion and goals there is a better program out there for her. Today it seems like the bottom has fallen out but I can assure you this will pass and she will find a fit where they appreciate her wonderful talents and work ethic. I would believe your school has many connections and I would push for them to give you names to contact. Probably the best thing is to get her into a Summer Program where she can be evaluated for full-time. My DD auditioned for several programs this summer as she / I wanted to understand is this the end of the road or does other schools see something in her. I happy to say she was successful in many and it was a hard choice. It also was a great confidence booster.


Big hugs during this time. Speaking to other moms at the school that are in the same boat could help. It did me. We all had different levels of sadness, anger and grief but in the end was going through and guiding a child through the same thing. What got me through the was the support of these moms and also moms that were still at the school. It is a tough rode for all as each year it could be any of them.

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Felicity, I can also commiserate with your current situation. It has also happened to my dd, last week. Same experience, and while she is only thirteen she was at this school for 7 years so it's all she knew, except for an SI last year. Who knows perhaps our dd's are at the same institution. Being there as long as we have been we have seen this played out over and over again, in fact there are so many more bad moments than positive moments you get kind of desensitized.


This is was how I was able to put it into perspective.


A few years ago i did research on how big Venture Capitalists (VC's) make investments in upstart companies, many who have enjoyed many years of success and demonstrate wonderful potential. VC's generally consider themselves the smartest guys in the room, certainly being smart got them into the position of being able to have made the money and success which provides the opportunity to suss out new "talent" and provide the "capital" with the end goal being a more successful, bigger and more profitable company. To this end before they commit the millions of dollars required to invest, there is this elaborate courtship where each is sizing each other up and checking each others story and the VC of course doing an excruciating effort of due diligence to make certain nothing has been misrepresented about the size of the opportunity, the management or the business. In fact the level of due diligence performed goes to the lengths of private investigators, forensic accounting assessment of operations etc. etc.


I'm not trying to bore you with business details, I just want to say that the smartest guys in the room get it right about 1 out of 20 times, which is to say that 19 of their other investments either went bankrupt, was sold for less than the size of the investment or just a modest payout. This was a shock to me, but I learned that it is more about luck than it is about anything else. If you look around though that hit rate is pretty consistent and about the best anyone can do.


Everywhere you look in life someone is always offering a guarantee for success, or a demonstrated knack for talent or what have you. This is how i looked at ballet, the smartest guys in the room have no more a track record than anyone else and that the opportunity is that they attract a greater share of possible opportunities with the right stuff, but even then their track record is atrocious.


Which is why I think you should write down this phrase "that everything happens for a reason", this was not the right path at this moment in time and that this is also the time to keep your eyes open because the new opportunity is about to present itself.


As for the argument for a gentler more civil approach to separating dk's from prestigious ballet schools...


Dan Arielz the author of Predictably Irrational write about his experience of being a burn victim, and whether it was better to rip off the bandages and get the pain over with or to take them off slowly. He proved the latter, I am all for the band aid being gently removed, and hopefully that part gets fixed soon cause I agree it is definitely broken.

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I am a bit confused. Our dd's school does not notify students about their status for the fall until after classes have ended, which I had assumed is the norm. What is the logic behind telling a student this information before the end of the semester? On the other hand, one downside to notifying in summer is that students do not necessarily have a chance to say good bye. Maybe notifying before the end allows the student have closure.

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Notifying in spring also allows students to audition and find another school and begin it on time.

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That is true; students who find out in summer are often scrambling to find something else, if they choose to continue.

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Thank you for the support! It's a great help. Kernotmi, yes, I realize that this experience does have a sense of grieving which took a little while to accept. We are, however, getting past it and starting to feel better. And, Firedragon, I appreciate your thoughts on the business model as this has crossed my mind in the past. I view the school as selecting who they think is the 'best' because it will further their purposes and even create the paper trail they need to justify their decision. It's interesting to think about how often talent can be missed as you describe. That is a good way to gain perspective.


So! We are going forward with the attitude that there is a place that is better for her and that we will find it in the coming months. I think this experience will help her to become clearer about her goals and to broaden her horizons as she had an attitude that this one place was the end all/be all. We have auditions coming up and I am remembering to stay in the moment -- each audition is practice for the next step whether or not she is accepted. This is a process, a journey, and like most things in life, one just makes decisions based on what is happening now, trusting that we are being led a good direction for her. :)

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Felicity - all the best on the upcoming auditions. It is exciting to see what is out there and I know she will have many successes. I am glad she has some time to do this. Sounds like you have a great outlook and she is lucky to have a mom like you to guide her through. I remember saying to myself that I needed to get over my own emotions quickly so I could be the right support to my DD. Now that we are on the other side I couldn't be more proud on how she navigate her and my way through this. I liked Firedragon's business model as there is so much truth to it.


Keep us updated. I look forward to hearing the good news in the brag section.

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