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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Audition Age Brackets


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Hi. I hope I'm posting in the correct place. My daughter won't be 14 till Spring. A lot of the age brackets are 11-13 and some 14-15, etc. I know some places like Houston and SFB said to audition at actual age during audition. But then SFB website also said If you turn 14 by June 2014 you "may" audition in the 14-16 age bracket. I'm curious if anyone has input on this. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being the oldest in your age bracket or bumping up and being youngest of the next age bracket for auditioning purposes? My daughter dances with a level of 14 to 16 year olds at her current school. She wouldn't feel out of place auditioning in the higher age bracket. In fact, that would be the group her dance peers are auditioning in. I'm just not sure if she should. I have a feeling the adjudicators are not looking at the exact age of the dancers in a room full of dancers, but are paying closer attention to criteria based on technical abilities or artistic expression.Feedback appreciated.

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If possible, I would think it would be preferable to audition with the younger group, especially with SFB. The audition for SFB for the older group is all en pointe, whereas the younger group only has a little pointe at the end. If your daughter is not used to taking an entire class in her pointe shoes, it could be a very difficult audition for her.


The disadvantage of auditioning with the older group, to me, is that the classes would be more difficult and more advanced, even if she usually dances with girls in the 14-16 age group. There can still be a huge difference in the ability of a 14 year old versus a 16 year old. Your dancer would be auditioning with 16 year old dancers from other studios, who could be advanced for their age, which would broaden the gap.


One advantage of auditioning in the younger group would be that your daughter would be more comfortable with what she was being asked to do and she might find the class easier. If it were easier, she could focus on her technique and/or artistry during the audition instead of needing to place her focus on learning a new combination that was advanced.

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I am also in agreement. DD (14) has an August birthday and always feels it's an advantage to be the oldest in the younger group rather than the youngest in the older group for all the reasons stated above.

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I agree as well. My dd is 2 years younger than most of the students in her current ballet school level. She is used to that and matches their technical abilities. However, she is very tiny. Whenever she goes to an audition, I always try to put her where she is one of the older ones in the group. Girls her own age are also bigger than her, but she blends in very well. She'd definitly look odd with the older group. I also like her to feel comfortable at an audition, since she usually doesn't know anyone there. Good luck!

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Thank you. My daughter will audition at her age of the audition then. We'll see how it all works out. So far she has had two auditions. Whether she gets accepted or not, she felt good about them. She did not feel too mature. She did say the combinations were simple for 1 and a little more complicated for the other. But, she focused on technique.

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My daughter is 13 and will be 14 this spring. She auditioned in the 11-13 age bracket and did not get in. 2 years ago she auditioned in the 12-13 age bracket at age 11 almost 12 and DID get in. I was worried about her looking too mature for this age bracket, She's not large, but is a slender, 5'5". She told me it was a pretty simple audition so she focused on technique. Possibly she should have auditioned in the older age bracket. Her other audition she was with 14-year-olds and she was accepted to a very reputable SI. If not based on technique, do the adjudicators base on body type preference as well?

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Meaning...If you're auditioning with 11-12 year-olds do they expect you to look sprite like and pre adolescent?

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Danza2 - I just think it is too hard to determine why a dancer did not get accepted. Our dd has often been at either end of an age bracket, and while it seems that she may have a preference, we have not noticed any correlation between where she falls in a bracket and whether she was accepted. That said, someone who is intimidated by being the youngest in a group could, I suppose, psyche themselves out so to speak. I suppose the opposite could be true as well.

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This is just my personal opinion, but I do not believe auditioners, with the exception of maybe one school, look at body type at this age. They do look at ability for their age in that at 14, they should be at "X" point in their training. Auditioners look for potential in the 11-12 age range. They still do to some extent at 14, but at 14, they are expected to have a little more in the way of technique, etc. Did your daughter have the same instructors view the audition this year as when she was a little younger? Is it possible that this year, the 11-12 year olds were more advanced than they had been previously? Each audition and each year is different, even with the same intensive. There are so many factors that come into play. Maybe the intensive needed more in the younger group and not so many at 14. It is really hard to say. If she had auditioned with the older group, it is still possible the outcome would have been the same.


I'm sorry she didn't get the results she was looking for, but it is just one year and there are so many other intensives, she shouldn't feel discouraged. Next year might have a totally different result.

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She got into Houston Ballet. and the age bracket she auditioned in was older (14-15). So I am not overly concerned. But of course, she is.


Regarding the SI she was not accepted in to. Her technique and abilities have gotten so much stronger over the past 2 years. So when she still fell into that lower age bracket in the (11-13) range it had me wondering, as I previously posted about which age bracket to audition in. As it was, they had so many auditioning that they had to split each age division into groups of 2 and instead of having a 1.5 hour audition class for each age group they had a 1 hour audition, took pointe out of the audition, and ran behind all day long.


Thanks for your feedback and kind words of encouragement. I can't believe the support here. It is incredible. :)

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