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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Should I be a ballerina?


Chloper

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So I've been doing ballet since 3 or 4 but only as a hobby now I'm 13 and a half and still not studying it professionally. I'd love to be a dancer but I don't know if it's the right thing for me. I absolutely adore ballet and when I see ballerinas on stage I just wanna be like them. But I don't know if it's right for me. I don't know if I have the discipline and mental strength needed for this art. What should I do to find out if it's a good idea to be a ballerina? Currently I'm studying grade 5 and grade 7 rad. I do both because I find grade 5 too easy.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, Chloper. :)

 

No one can tell you what you should or should not want to be! But keep in mind that some kinds of professions are not just a matter of wanting. Becoming a professional and making a living in the arts is a very, very difficult thing to do, and requires a great deal of special talent. For ballet it also requires a certain physical facility, along with a very high level of training, commitment, dedication, focus, work ethic, and knowing that you would rather be dancing than doing anything else, no matter what! There are many more highly trained and very talented dancers than there are jobs. :(

 

You are right that one must have the discipline and mental strength, but there must also be the kind of training that can take you to the professional level. This training is very expensive and also requires a great deal of support from your family. You might even need to go away from home very young in order to get the kind of training needed, depending on where you live and whether there are professional schools there.

 

Studying ballet because you love to dance is great, and has many benefits that can help you throughout your life, whether you are trying to be a professional or not. Before you try making that decision you need to experience professional level training, and you also need to learn whether you have all the "tools" needed to become a dancer. Does your teacher encourage you? Has she/he told you that you have the talent and the physical qualities one needs to do that? Are your parents supportive?

 

Spend some time reading topics here on the board, and that will help you get a better sense of what it takes. Talk to your teacher, if you have not done that. Study videos of professional ballet dancers and ballets. Have you read many books about ballet and about dancers? Studied any of the history of the art form?

 

There is a lot to think about, but it's also not necessary to make absolute decisions at 13. But, in ballet one needs the right training sooner rather than later, so the more knowledge you have now about the art itself, the life of dancers, the training needed, and of course your own ability, will help you greatly in any decisions. :)

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At what age should I make my final decision? I adore dance especially ballet. If I do all the rad grades including solo seal, would that be enough training?

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Tell me about your schedule, Chloper. How many ballet classes and pointe classes per week and how long is each class.

 

There is no particular age one makes that kind of decision, if they actually make it at all. I never felt there was any decision to be made, because I just knew I had to dance. It was the most important thing in my life from a very young age. Sometimes things choose you, rather than you choosing them! :)

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On Tuesdays, I have 1 hour and 40 mins of modern, followed by 1 hour and 30 mins of grade 5 rad followed by 1 hour and 40 mins of grade 7 ballet on Wednesdays I have 1 hour and 15 mins of grade 7 on Thursdays, I have an hour of tap, followed by 1 hour and 15 mins of hip hop follows by 1 hour and 15 mind of grade 5 and on Fridays I have an Hour of pointe but I'm doing intermediate next year so I'll do much more pointe then. I'd also like to ask you if it's possible to give both exams of grade 5 and 7 in the same year.

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Your schedule is not exactly ideal in terms of ballet and pointe. I notice also that your ballet classes are all syllabus classes. While studying a syllabus is fine, it should not be the only ballet technique you do, as it is exam focused, which makes the classes very repetitive. One also needs classes that are "open", or non-syllabus, in order to progress to a professional level. Ideally, you would have have at least 5 ballet technique classes of 1.5 hours, followed at least 3 days by a pointe technique class of at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

 

I'm sorry, but I am not an RAD teacher, so I do not know if it is possible to do grade 5 and 7 in the same year.

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Yes, at some point you probably would. But please read carefully, in my first response to you, all the other things involved. Are there pre-professional schools, like maybe a school connected to a professional ballet company, in your city? If so, then the sooner you go, the better. If you will need to go away from home, then your parents will need to do some research (which can be done here in our Career and Higher Education category of forums), and they would need to be willing to take you to audition for the school and then allow you to be living away from home if you were accepted. That is a big step for a family, and for you, and it is very expensive. You might start by doing some more reading in the forum about Pre-Professional and Residential Schools.

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Ok, no there are no pre professional schools at my city ( I think) but what I'm really wandering is what should I do to find out if ballet is really my thing? What should I do to find out if ballet is the right thing for me? I'm 5'5 (maybe a bit more) and my legs are super long (which is really annoying) bug is that a problem? What should I do to see if I have the right attitude to do ballet?

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Is the rad ballet school, a pre professional? I've been doing rad all my life so I would have to audition for a school with English ballet right? What I mean is would it be possible to switch to Russian ballet for example after so many years of rad?

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Chloper, I have no way of knowing if your RAD school is a pre-pro school or not. Has the school produced professional dancers in the past? Are there very serious ballet dancers there in the most advanced level, who have ballet and pointe every day and are definitely planning to become professional?

 

In terms of your knowing what you want to do with your life, we can't help you with that beyond pointing out the things that are necessary to do that, which I have done. You need to know first of all if you have the potential, in terms of talent and physical ability, to become a dancer. But even more importantly, you have to know that this is what you want to spend your life doing. Either you are passionate about dance, or not. With the amount of questioning you are doing, I have a feeling that this is not something you "have" to do, just something you like to do. Which is fine. Ballet is a great thing to do, and not everyone is aiming to be a professional, they do it because they love to do it. :)

 

As for RAD, it is just a method of training, and all of the well known and established methods are capable of producing dancers. However, in the long run, it is the teaching, not the method. Really good teachers can produce really good dancers with a basis in RAD, Cecchetti, Vaganova, etc. The syllabi are guidelines, the teaching, in terms of both quality and quantity, and of course the ability and commitment of the student are the major factors.

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