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Ballet Talk for Dancers

SI Acceptance & Rejection


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I so appreciate all the responses! I think there are a couple of important things to take away from this. First, don't listen to others who claim that boys all get into programs and receive scholarships just because they are boys. That's nonsense. The dance world is competitive and at a given audition, the auditioner is looking for facility, proper technique and potential from the boys they audition. The more elite the school, the more competitive it is for those slots. And not all SI's have the ability to offer the types of scholarships that those three letter schools have. Second, your dancer may have an off day. My son was feeling sick (and subsequently came down with the flu) the day he tried out (and was rejected) by two big name schools this year. On another day, at his best, DS might well have gotten in. Or not. Third, just because your DS does not get into an SI this year, does not mean he won't be accepted in the future. So much happens as our boys mature. My son is a late bloomer. While other 14 year olds may be tall enough to partner, my son still was still around 5'2". This year, however, he has started to shoot up and now stands at 5'9". Based on his older brother, DS will likely grow three or more inches yet. Those growth years must be such a huge adjustment for our boys. Imagine having your whole center of balance change in just a few months! With puberty also comes muscles. The tall skinny kid transforms into the young man with the musculature of a dancer. Pair this with good strong, technique and suddenly you might find that those SI acceptances are coming - and WITH scholarships! But lastly, the important thing is to continue giving your DS support and the best training possible. After all, he's a dancer - and it's our job to help him navigate this crazy world.

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My son's experience this year has been aaaall over the map. He was coming off of an injury (out of dance almost completely for two months) when audition season started. He auditioned for 5 pretty major programs. He was rejected from the first audition -- for a bigthreeletter school that he attended each of the last two summers. That one hurt. He was rejected from another SI he'd love to attend but which had rejected him in previous years. He was accepted to the third SI (one that he has always considered a sort of back-up option). The fourth gave him a partial scholarship. And the fifth offered him a full scholarship.


We got a bit of a laugh about the whole thing after it was over, just the range of responses he received! Ultimately, he'll be attending the one that offered a partial scholarship. It was actually his second choice going in to the whole process, and I think it'll be a great fit for him. The full scholarship was tempting, but maybe not quite the best option this year.


Anyway, it may well be *easier* for boys -- they just don't face the competition *numbers* that the girls do -- but it doesn't mean they're always going to be accepted and/or given scholarships.

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How do you find out how selective programs are? My son auditioned with four SIs, got into two, got offered scholarship for one of them. I'm not sure what to do next, though. He's 15 and I'm a little bit nervous about sending him away for a chunk of the summer without knowing if it's a good program for him or if everybody gets the same offer and we should be more discriminating. This is all new to me. I never danced - I played soccer :)

Edited by smarshall00
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Hi, Smarshall00,


Have you looked at the designated Ballet Talk thread for the program where he received the scholarship? And have you searched to see if the program is mentioned in this forum, perhaps in the thread on s.i.s boys have loved?


I understand your concern with the quality of the program, but the scholarship is by no means a sign that the program is disreputable. There are programs that are relatively easy to get into that offer very good training, and some programs that are generous with scholarships also offer very good training, so I would not judge a program on those terms. You just have to do some research and decide if your ds would improve and thrive at the program.

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Hi, again, Smarshall00,


Since you named the s.i.s where your son was accepted in your introduction post, I just thought I'd chime in again here to say that Washington Ballet and Ballet Austin are both programs boys have enjoyed . Austin is known for being very generous with the boys; I don't know about Washington. But I would consider a scholarship from either one to be a great opportunity. You'll find a lot of information about both programs in the program threads. Good luck with your decision.

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When we look at an SI, we consider many factors. Some medium size SI programs have a generous donor who endows a scholarship fund specifically for male dancers. This allows them to develop a men's program and be generous with students. Our experience has been very positive at these programs. I have spoken by phone and asked key questions. When my DS was 15 he still looked to older males as role models--I asked that question--will there likely be older male SI students? Daily men's classes give you an idea of their commitment to the men's side of the SI focus.


Here is my SI philosophy for our DS:

SI's are building blocks when the training is good.

At some point in the dancer's journey, SIs are experiments to see if you like a company or want to be a trainee/apprentice.

SI's are formative experiences to learn if you want to dance that many hours a day in the future.

SI's expose a dancer to different genres and styles as well as new rep.

SIs are social opportunities and networking classrooms for a dancer's world.

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Well, DS got waitlisted for the one and only summer program that he auditioned for. After the audition experience, I don't think he disagrees with this decision at all and is anxious to work extra hard next year and try again!

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I wouldn't rule out the possibility that your ds will be called off the wait list. I would guess that even the best programs don't get all of the boys they accept in the first round, and they probably turn to their wait lists quite frequently. Other parents can correct me if I'm wrong about this!


My ds's one waitlist experience, Boston Newton when he was 12, yielded an acceptance in March.


So, I will keep my fingers crossed for your ds.

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It also doesn't hurt to call the place and tell them that this is THE one and only place that your son auditioned for because x,y,z. I think that SI's are used to dancers auditioning at numerous places - some even doing it for the experience and not necessarily because they want to go there.


I think you might be surprised with their response. :-) It's worth a try!


I'm curious why your son auditioned at just one SI?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Boydancermom, he only tried out for the one because he is such a beginner that we were testing the waters. He also struggles with a tibial torsion in one leg, which affects his turnout. The audition was a major wake-up call for him, and as a result, he's been ultra-dedicated in his exercises and classes and I can't believe the improvement he's managed to make in such a short time. He's sure determined to go away somewhere next year!

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Would you mind telling me how the audition at SAB was? I'm taking my son to audition for the year round program. Where do you park at personally?

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I find this thread refreshing - thanks everyone for sharing both sides of the coin!


My 17-year-old is in that position of wanting to go where people are showing some interest in him, since he'll potentially be looking for trainee positions next summer. So this summer he's attending a non-big-name program where he got a lot of attention at the audition and a nice offer. Rejected outright by the big name he attended last summer, and as someone else mentioned, he considers the lack of any scholarship offer the same as a no. He also has stopped auditioning for programs that have not offered scholarships for a couple of years in a row (including ones he's attended in the past). This year ended up with 2 yes and 2 no.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm bumping this up because it's good to hear about the negatives as well as the positives during audition season. Two years ago, my DS (15) bombed his auditions and was rejected by the 3 programs he auditioned for. Last year, he was 16 and auditioned for 3. The first, a big name SI, he was accepted with no scholarship. The 2nd, a mid-level company associated SI, he got with full tuition scholarship, and the last was a well-known conservatory and received full tuition/room/board scholarship. He elected to attend the latter two back to back, and also his home studio in August. He loved the new conservatory, NGB - because it had such a great men's program and they really challenged him. So we decided to make the move to that school for the new year. At 17, he's still at least 1-2 years away from being ready for a 2nd company, because he was a late bloomer, and because he didn't have good training until he entered high school.


This year, he's done five auditions. SAB said no. Boston said yes, but no scholarship, and we're still waiting to hear from the other three. I'll keep you posted on those results.


It's important to realize that sometimes the boys are competing against kids their own age - and their technique, size and strength, may not be good enough at that point in time. Don't let that discourage your DS. Encourage him to keep working hard. At some point, the age won't matter so much. When they're ready for a trainee or second company position, it won't matter if they are 17 or 19, as long as they have the strong technique and artistry that the company is looking for. It can be frustrating for DS to see younger dancers with more skills and getting better roles, but that doesn't mean your DS won't eventually get there. He'll never know if he doesn't keep trying.

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