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Ballet Talk for Dancers

SI Acceptance & Rejection


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Great advice, DobbinsND!


My ds anticipated a really strong audition season this year, then an unexpected growth spurt (the kid is already tall enough) waylaid his best laid plans. Now he is slowly rebuilding, again. He was able to complete six rather unsteady auditions very early in the season, but then he had to stop because of a tight muscle. His results this year look much worse than last year. He's kind of down about it.


He has great opportunities for the summer; it's just that he got some pretty clear rejections along with a couple of very encouraging offers. Instead of a spectrum of offers, his offers seem split down the middle, yeses on one side, nos on the other.


Interestingly, the programs that gave him the benefit of the doubt are associated with taller or more athletic companies. Also, the programs that encouraged him all brought male adjudicators to the auditions or had a male teacher reviewing videos after the audition. I'm not reading too much into this. But I could not help but wonder if the personal experiences of the male adjudicators helped them to recognize more precisely where my ds is physically. He tends to look a couple of years older than he is because of his height and build, and it's an advantage to him when someone understands this and is able to compare him to his age group.


Thanks for reviving this topic!

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Just to update you on my previous post, of his last three auditions, he received great scholarships to PNB and Washington Ballet and was rejected by Miami. We weren't too disappointed about Miami because apparently they don't appear to be accepting hardly any older dancers this year. Anyway, my son (17) was a late bloomer, has improved so much, and is really coming into his own this year. He finally landed a lead role in the spring performance, he's growing stronger and now stands at 6 ft. We're feeling really good about his future. My point is everything can change from one year to the next. Two years ago he was rejected by PNB. This year he was awarded a full scholarship. If your son has a disappointing audition season, tell him to keep working hard and not to lose heart.

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  • 9 months later...

Glad to find this thread! My DS 14 is starting off with a somewhat disappointing audition season after suffering a major injury at the end of May (shattered a bone in his foot while BMX'ing that required an almost 9 hour surgery and three month of no weight!). He attended PNB summer program in '16 and attended their full year program last year. Because of the injury, he did not attend a summer program in '17 and watching his auditions has been so painful (for both of us). He's developed some bad habits this year mainly, not holding his hands properly, and is still a bit apprehensive to push himself during auditions where they are asking for combinations that are more complicated. We're a bit at a loss. He can attend his current school summer program but because of the injury he's at a school that is not as rigorous as PNB. He still wants to work hard and recognizes that he needs to fix the bad habits but I'd like to find a program that will push him in the right direction...any suggestions on SIs that aren't as difficult to get into but still offer a well disciplined program?

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Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet has a great male program. They offer a five-week program, and their focus is on technique through and through. That could be a program for your family to consider.  They do not do cattle call auditions, all you have to do is submit three photos to them and fill out the online application. That's one that I can think of off the top of my head. I"m sure others will have suggestions too. Good luck to you guys!

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Is your DS interested in contemporary dance? We have found that our DS has been better able to participate and learn in a contemporary program when he is nursing an injury. The emphasis is often not on hours of jumping for instance. Other members will start to think I am on a retainer here for LINES (not) but a program like this could be useful for your DS (if he is interested). Our experience has been that injured dancers don't sit out as much at contemporary classes and can adjust the choreography more easily. Perhaps I am off base here but in my opinion, being able to work on other aspects of being a dancer while injured is a great boost to someone who is also recovering their confidence.

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My DS attended a couple of summer intensives last year, including one of the "big name" schools but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of teaching at the Sarasota Ballet Intensive. Their teachers have strong ties to the Royal Ballet and the curriculum seemed to be based at least in part on the RAD syllabus. My DS felt that it's methodical approach really helped him improve on some foundational things better than his other summer intensive and he felt he really learned more there. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the summer showcase, which included the opportunity for the students to learn and perform excerpts from Matthew Bourne's Les Sylphides (it was quite a treat to watch too!).

Anyway, I mention it because it might be a good option for your DS to consider and one that might not be obvious since it's known more as a regional-sized intensive.

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Thanks for the recommendations all! DS had two good auditions this last Saturday, one for Nutmeg and the other Walnut Hill. He was the only boy to audition for both and the classes themselves were much more his speed and he walked out feeling much more confident, which was great! Now its just the waiting game to hear back. We might try for CPYB, but he is also doing Ellison (which I have heard is incredibly difficult!) and BAE for the latter part of summer. He looked at Lines and Sarasota but gave me a big sigh about adding more auditions to the mix. So we may stick with these ones for now. 

I will say he had met quite a few boys who, at the age of 15, started alternative style education programs so they can dance 20-30 hours a week. Is that pretty common or is that an NY thing?

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I'm glad to hear that your DS's more recent auditions went well!

Edited by dancingninja
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On 1/23/2018 at 12:20 PM, JoeyBaby said:

I will say he had met quite a few boys who, at the age of 15, started alternative style education programs so they can dance 20-30 hours a week. Is that pretty common or is that an NY thing?

For boys serious about pursuing a professional ballet career, most boys attend a pre-professional program (often away from home) and as a result, must do on-line school if the pre-pro doesn't offer an alternative.  My son went away at 14, but many boys do this at 15 or 16.

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Dancing Children leaving home at 14, and younger, to pursue more hours of training and a higher level of training in an environment surrounded by students of like ambitions and levels of talent, is becoming more common although young dancers have been doing this for many, many years. Having been in the ballet world for over half a century ( a bit scary to say that), there are former dancers of my age group who went away to study ballet for their high school years. SAB, NCSA in North Carolina and the training program at Canada's National Ballet have been around since I was a child. HARID Conservatory is now celebrating its 3Oth anniversary.These schools have produced high quality students consistently all of these years. They have kept their doors open because there is a need and the dormitories have been filled which means the bills are getting paid. The European system of ballet schooling used to until recently required students live in the dormitory. These school have been around for centuries.

All the best to you and your DS.

Edited by vrsfanatic
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It is definitely not a NY thing, and NYC is actually somewhat unusual in that we have two brick and mortar schools here that will work with dancers to allow them to remain in school and pursue conservatory ballet training-- PPAS (public) and PCS (private). It doesn't work for all of the dance students, but it is an option that is not available in many other places in the US. 

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  • 5 months later...

I'm based in Central PA and at my son's ballet school, by year 4 of pre-professional division he will be taking about  20-25 hours of dance a week.  They pack it into after school and weekend hours so in theory it is possible to be a traditional full time student and full time pre-pro student but I have a feeling that if we make it that far, we'll be cyber schooling.  I think the 20-25 hours for a teen is relatively common for teens committed to dance for their career.

Edited by BoyDanceMom111
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  • 1 year later...

I thought that I would bump up this thread.  I hope that the audition season is going well for all of you!

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Thank you for bumping this thread, it was a great read.    It was so interesting to see the difference from year to year.  That is something to keep in mind.  This is only my son's second year doing auditions for SIs.   The first he did 2 and was accepted to both with scholarships.  

We are adding more this year to see what his options are.  No idea what to expect.   Also, I think it will be a learning curve for him to figure out what places offer what he needs.   Even for him to figure out what he needs.  He is only 11 so I think that will be something that develops over time. 

Good luck to everyone. 

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