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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Auditioning in late summer for year round programs

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I'm curious to know what you all think about the late summer auditions for year long programs? My DD15 is very interested in a couple programs, and we are in a position where if she were accepted, moving for a year would not be an issue. Finding a high school similar in caliber to the one she currently attends might be a challenge, but one that doesn't concern me too much.


Do any of you have experience doing such a thing? How did it work out for your DD or DS? Do the ballet schools frown up this?

If she auditioned but wasn't accepted would this help/hurt her during SI auditions next year? Would auditioning for the sake of auditioning be of any value for 2016 SI Auditions?

Thank you so much. I'm not sure I posted this in the correct forum, so please move to proper location if necessary.



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Welcome Happyfeet15!


I don't think that auditioning late in summer is a problem, as long as the school still has openings for the year. You will need to call or write them for an appointment. If not accepted I really do not think it would hurt summer auditions for next year, although I would not recommend doing it just for the sake of auditioning.

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As Ms. Leigh has said, if the program has openings, I am sure they will be interested to at least see a photo or a video which could lead to an audition.

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Yes. Dd began auditioning in late August last year. She did not audition for the program she ended up attending until September. None of these auditions were for the sake of auditioning. It was a matter of finding a new program that was a good fit. I suspect it is not all that unusual. Two of the school auditions she attended were scheduled open auditions. She had also sent some video auditions. That was much harder because it was not clear at all if the school would be the right place for her.

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Thank you for you replies. MelissaGA-how did you go about deciding which programs to audition for? Were they out of your area? If DD was selected for an out of state program, how did you handle her schooling issue?


Other than auditioning at a particular school, how does everyone determine which programs are best for their child? I've read so many posts on this site I feel the programs are ALL fantastic, how does one begin to whittle down the options?


We have had little experience with SI auditions but what I did see was a very chaotic atmosphere during the entire season.. I'm wondering if the late summer auditions are less chaotic (still stressful, I'm sure) due to the fact the kids are there to audition for a year-long commitment to a particular program.

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Happyfeet15, the only way to determine which program is best for YOUR child is to figure out what your dancer wants to get out of such a program, what your dancer's needs, wants, and wishes are for such a program, what your family's needs, wants, and wishes are, what you as a parent are willing to accept in terms of academics, what your dancer's academic personality, needs, and discipline are, etc. Then you have to evaluate each program under consideration in terms of your Wish List/Must Have List and weigh the pros and cons---just like any other major decision---to determine which program fits closest with your lists.


The good thing is: These decisions are not permanent and can be re-visited and revised as needed in terms of the dancer's and family's needs, wishes, and wants.

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HappyFeet - finding the right residential program is not an easy task. I equate it to finding the right college. There are so many factors. We looked at programs for our 14 year old son during the last 6 months and it was stressful.


The first thing that we did is whittle the list down on the basis of distance (I wanted to be able to see our son every month or two) and quality of dance instruction (based on where the graduates ended up and the instructor/AD bios). We initially thought that we wanted classroom (vs. online) school but after researching schools we realized that these were few and far between. We then went on a tour "roadtrip" and visited 4 schools. At our top choice, our son shadowed a student for a day. In the end, I liked one school (with integrated school/dorms) and our son liked another one. The one that we thought we would like - we didn't when we visited it. You really get a "feel" for the school from touring and from your dancer taking classes there. I would highly recommend that if you can do it.


In many ways, I think it's an even bigger decision than college since at this age, you are looking for a school that you can trust with your young dancer - through thick and thin (e.g. injuries, social issues, etc.) It's an important decision. I have seen many dancers go to the place that their instructor recommends but drop out because it wasn't the right fit. I think they might have thrived at a different school.


In the end, our son decided that he wanted to wait a year so he has more time to decide - if he still has the inclination next year. What I did find is that some of the schools are pushing dancers to go away younger and younger (for "muscle memory") - but I'm not sure that this is necessarily the right thing for all dancers emotionally or socially. It's a tough call as the best instruction is important and not all dancers have that opportunity at home.


We did find one thing that was interesting: one school who said that he was admitted with a generous scholarship at the beginning of the summer (on the basis of a video and in person audition), wasn't so sure at the end of the summer (they had many interested at their SI). It is a good idea to try to go to the SI of your top 1 or 2 choices. There is nothing like being there for a few weeks to get a sense of the school - their personality and focus.


Good luck with your end of the summer decision!!! Probably best to call around and see what places still have spots available before visiting.

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Dd was 17 and had been homeschooled for several years. She was a rising senior, but had accelerated early on so she was nearly done with high school. I was prepared to have her graduate if need be as she had met the state's minimum requirements long before and had several college courses that could count as dual credit. We did look in various locations around the country. Two of the out of state programs were able to assist with or provide housing, for another, my husband was going to live with her. She also looked at several programs within commuting distance as we live between 2 major cities, each with several strong, well known programs. As it turned out, she ended up at a program in a nearby city that is within commuting distance. It is not an easy commute by any means, but it is doable.


As far as options, she started off looking at programs that simply had more hours than she was getting at home. She did not limit herself to known residency and trainee programs. She looked at smaller schools as well. But as the process continued, it was clear that she was looking for a specific style of ballet and that became more important than hours. (I'll add that she was getting sufficient hours at home and every program had sufficient hours for a 17 yr old advanced dancer). That narrowed down the choices. She went to at least 2 open call auditions. Neither of these were anything like the madness of SI auditions! The other auditions were mainly conducted in classes. She was not accepted at one competitive year round program and did get waitlisted for their SI this summer. She removed herself from the waitlist after a scholarship elsewhere, so it is theoretically possible she might have been accepted later. So, I am not sure that one has much of an influence on the other. They certainly do take more students for the SIs at most places.


I'll echo the importance of visiting these schools. For my dd, it was very important to see what at least a class was like.

So, yes, the individual auditions were much less chaotic, but the process was very stressful. So many ups and downs! We kept working on a plan B in the meantime. Acceptances came, but they were not a right fit for one reason or another. A waitlist and rejections came as well. And then, she finally had an audition class at the place that had been number 1 on her list the whole time, but couldn't get in for an audition in August. She walked out and said "I really hope they liked me. This is what I am looking for." The email acceptance came on the way home and she started 2 days later.

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Boydancermom and MelissaGA--Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!- This is exactly the kind of input I was hoping to get when I posted my questions. Thank you for taking the time to provide such thorough and thoughtful descriptions of your process and experiences. There is a lot to consider, and your insights are very very helpful. Plus, you've both reinforced my initial thought in that we can read and read and read about a program and all its attributes but nothing is like actually being there in person to get a taste for that particular program. Your thoughts about schooling are also very helpful. Finding the best fit for my DD will take time and lots of research. Thanks to your feedback, I do feel as if we are on the right track.

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