Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

2015: The Journey begins to unfold


Recommended Posts

In the end I decided to just post this here, since it is a 2015 thread, and if anyone wants to move it elsewhere, edit, or even delete, please feel free. I post only in case our experience thus far can help others coming down the line, facing similar decisions and circumstances. (moved to start a new thread by moderator)



So, DD has figured out what she wants to do next year. She was accepted into 3 very good non-BFA colleges (two were very high profile/ crazy selective etc.). She decided to accept one of the college offers and defer attending for a year in order to become a trainee at a small regional company.


She is happy since this gap year will allow her to pursue the things she loves to do, some of which she can engage in on her own terms (reading, art, music, auditing a college class etc.) in whatever time, and with whatever energy she can spare after ballet. She is also very pleased with the company she is heading to – there seems to be a very positive mood surrounding it this year, with senior dancers whom she hugely respects and an overall feeling of friendliness and optimism all round. She will be relatively close to home, so a day visit won't be out of the question, if needed. Her plan B is also hugely appealing to her.


I am happy that she has this choice, and an opportunity to experience a bit of the professional world – wasn't sure she'd make it even this far. I'm happy to support her in a gap year, since I know how painfully hard she has worked this year, and how perilously thin she spread herself at times. Even though it is going to be hard work and take a lot of adjustment, I hope it will also be a time for her to regroup, however counterintuitive that sounds! I don't feel we've actually arrived at any kind of moment of 'arrival' or decision, however – just postponed things for another year as she tries to figure her life out. Next year, we'll just have to see how things work out, all over again.


*Just wanted to take this opportunity to put in a plug for the smaller, less well branded schools that may have very talented teachers who give a lot of the right sort of attention to all their students. We took a risk in not sending dd out to too many outside SI's during high school, which obviously limited the networking relationships she could forge or to provide a broader sense of perspective about where she stood in the wider ballet world. Did I mention how many thousands of dollars we saved? And yes, that did factor somewhat into our decisions. She did go elsewhere for junior year, but that didn't yield much useful fruit for her. With 20/20 hindsight, I'm not sure, given her particular set of variables, she would have been all that further along had she decided to go elsewhere for the prior two years, and that either option carried its own risks. However, for dd, our choice paid out in other ways. The huge improvement we saw after her at-home summer experiences (compared to the modest improvements we'd noticed from other SI attendance) seemed to be making her a far stronger dancer, and performer, I believe. Even though she didn't have a huge amount of exposure to different styles and teachers, her training allowed her to emerge as a fairly versatile dancer who learns to adapt quickly. I witnessed first hand how she picked up a Balanchine variation (she has very limited experience with Balanchine and no experience whatsoever with this particular piece) and execute it to much praise from a fairly well-known teacher in NY in less than 35 minutes, simply from watching others). This versatility was a central tenet to her Vaganova teacher, who understands how important this quality is to a dance student who wants to live and work in America.


All this was picked up by chance when she casually contacted someone at a college without an advanced classical program to see how she'd fit in there. It turned out that the individual she contacted has extensive contacts in the ballet world and was so impressed by dd's training that she received a surprise invite (she hadn't approached them) to attend a class (2nd company equivalent) at one of the 'top' 3 (/most prized?) companies in the US. Very cool early Christmas present. We didn't hold our breathe on the outcome of that (it wasn't exactly on dd's list to try to approach), and we weren't wrong in our expectation. However, she did get some great introductions and feedback from other companies and ADs around the country, due to this same individual.


Anyway, my point in all this, is that dd was totally off the grid. She falls low on the ideal ballet aesthetic scale. Yet the quality of her training got attention, even though in an admittedly unusual, serendipitous way, and somewhat redeemed this potentially negative situation for her (the 'ideal ballet aesthetic' part is a whole other story). Even outside of the recommendations, by her own efforts dd got plenty of invites to take company classes, positive feedback, or calls from an AD etc., at very decent regional companies, and based largely on the strength of her (performance) video footage. So, as has been stated many times before on this board, in my dd's experience, the quality of the training came first; networking was also critical. However, where this latter was lacking, good training could still fill in a few of the blanks and still cut her some lucky breaks. To my mind, there's little point to good networking first and training second. Bottom line, good training can be noticed. Good training wrapped in the perfect package can lead to very good opportunities.


Again, this is all our personal anecdotal experience, and not a claim to know the perfect path for everyone out there. Just how it worked out for us (much to our surprise) in this particular instance. I have no idea how much further dd can take this, but I admire her courage to go for this, even when it isn't entirely obvious that she should, and the courage of all your dk who do likewise. Wishing them lots and lots of good fortune and great opportunities, also! Thanks to all here who helped dd on this path thus far. Okay, going to quit since this is starting to sound like the Oscars. ;-).

Edited by Momof3darlings
removed charting needed on Congrats thread but wanted to allow the rest to stand since it's great conversation
Link to comment

Thanks for sharing loveslabor. Hearing how her journey unfolds will help many others. I hope other parents will share how their journey has unfolded as well.

Link to comment

narthaki--that is really an inappropriate question for our forum. We allow members the ability to share as much or as little as they would like about their journey and ask that other members not ask specific questions about their location, school, or any other targeted information that they don't wish to share. In case you have not read it, you may want to read over our: Posting Expectations, Member Expectations, Anonymity. All guidelines that should be followed here.

Link to comment

LovesLabor, congratulations to you and your DD! Thank you so much for sharing your information regarding the decision making behind your DD's choice. It is so helpful for those DK's at this same point. :clapping:

Link to comment

This thread is really for sharing the various considerations that go into choosing various paths and how one gets from "here" to "there". We have specific 'Congratulations' thread for the various paths (post-grad training, college, bridge program, company contract). This thread was started to generate actual discussion about the choices those general paths may present --something the actual 'Congratulations threads are not set up to cover. :wink:

LovesLabor has started us off with a great jumping off point. May the discussion begin! :yes:

Link to comment

LovesLabor, Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am so excited for your DD! I hope this is a wonderful launching point for her and I can not wait to follow along :-)


Best of luck to you both!

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

LovesLabor, it's great to hear your update. It sounds like you and your daughter did an excellent job of making the best use of your options as they presented themselves and have mapped out some great possibilities for her future. Your plug for "smaller, less well branded schools" is certainly a good one, especially when one combines it with the knowledge drawn from this forum that helps us learn to recognize good training just by seeing it and evaluating it on our own. For those of us with DD's who diverge significantly enough from the ideal ballet aesthetic, I can certainly attest that it's hard to know what to do when your kid seems to have such talent and drive, yet has a body that the name-branded schools tend to pass over. With that combination (great talent/ non-ideal body), I think it's also important that such dancers get the versatility in their training, which you also mentioned. The ability to quickly pick up different styles of dance has served my daughter well in her dance career.


My own update is that my daughter, now 28 years old, is happily shifting her career away from dance after an injury forced her in that direction. She still gets the occasional dance gig, but she's also been studying and working as an actor on-camera (and supplemented with a bunch of side gigs). From this new, post-dance perspective, she says there's a lot that she wished she knew about the dance world when she was younger. But as her mom, I'm not sure it would have made much of a difference. Despite my attempts to steer her in an academic direction, she needed to perform and dance satisfied her desire to truly master a performing art. And, given the kind of expressive dancer that she was, the transition to acting has been pretty seamless. Also, auditioning was always one of her favorite parts of the dance biz. Learning how to juggle the commercial, gig-to-gig dance biz and how to market herself has, in turn, given her other transferable skills that are serving her well. She's still glad that she went the college route and earned her BFA. But she might have added a minor in Spanish if she had to do it again.


Anyway, I'm mostly affirming that our DD's are unique and it's a major responsibility for a Dance Parent to guide them through their pre-pro training with all the necessary Plan A's, B's, C's, D's................

Link to comment



Thanks so much for the update on your DD. I have been busy with my own dd's graduation recently so I'm only just checking back in to the site today or I would have responded sooner. It is very helpful to hear the paths other DK's take through life at later stages of the journey. I think the hardest part of parenting is stepping back and finding the peace to allow our children to make their own decisions, trials and errors in their lives.


I wish your DD much success in the next phase of her career.

Link to comment
  • 6 years later...

Hi MoniBinis!

This topic is over 6 years old, and I believe many of its contributers have since moved on.  It seems that your preferred style of dance is hip-hop, from reading your post.  The path of a hip-hop dancer and a professional ballet dancer differ quite a lot, and I don’t think you would be able to find the help you are looking for here.

I suggest you check out the colleges/universities with dance programs section where you may well find something that interests you, or at least a jumping-off point. :)

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...