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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How in the heck do you do it all?


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My son is busy enough with AP classes, performing at school, going to a pre-pro ballet school 6 days a week, going to rehearsals for multiple principal and soloist roles in Nutcracker not to mention studying for college entrance exams. What is your advice for visiting and auditioning for college programs? There seem to be no breaks in the schedule to go visit. I've read through a lot of BT4D threads and I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it!

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Me too!! My dd is getting all her hardest classes done in her junior year. I don't know how we'll fit the auditions in next year. There is the So Danca sponsered College Dance Fair in Boca Raton. I'm looking more into that right now. It is a place that you can learn about several college programs and take classes with teachers and directors from different colleges. So maybe we could go there in leiu of doing campus tours? I don't know but I'm trying to navigate this whole thing out right now.

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I wondered the same thing when I was not sure what direction dd would go in. I watched what others did. They made the time by choosing to find the time. Something has to give. That might mean missing a few days of school here and there or rehearsals. For ex, I saw dancers who went to visit colleges during their junior year spring break, even though they had to miss ballet school classes to do so (most were actually able to take or observe a class at the college anyway).


There's just no way to do it all so that is convenient to all their commitments. Come senior year, if they are going to be doing auditions at these schools, you will have to go then anyway and you may not have many choices for dates. Some postpone looking at some schools until that time.

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It is extremely overwhelming. My DD had hoped to audition for many more dance programs than she did. For some, she was not able to complete the pre-audition application process in time (uploading videos of variations, etc to YouTube), others could not be fit into the travel schedule due to conflicting audition dates with other programs, and some just fell to the wayside because, as you said, something had to give. I don't know why the colleges don't have large, regional combined auditions as they do for musical theater programs. It's extremely difficult, especially with everything they have going on at the same time.

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Here is my thought on this...You have to see the forest through the trees and focus on the future. Be slightly selfish and take the time for a couple of visits. We did our first visit spring break sophomore year. It is so easy to let school and ballet school dictate your free time, but at the end of the day are they going to be helping you post high school when you have no where to go. My DD is auditioning for 3-4 schools. I laid out the absences up front before fall classes started very point blank, we will be gone on these dates. I did book a lot of red eye flights to minimize the impact. Lord help me! All college apps were in by Sept 11th, so that is off the plate now. We already have two results for the university end of things. Take SAT and ACT junior year and senior year if possible. Its never too early to start planning!

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Wow! We are going through this right now and I find it extremely overwhelming ... You are right - it is hard to fit in visits with rehearsals etc. We did not do any visits junior year and only two this summer. I will say that the problem with the visits is that you have to go back to audition anyways which doubles the visits, expenses, time off, etc. At this point we are going to wait to see the schools until the audition. I started a very similar post in August - to kind of survey how many college auditions each dancer typically attends.


My dd says she is interested in a college program as opposed to trainee but when I mention schools my ideas are met with little enthusiasm!

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Is there any kind of a general primer or is it so college specific that that wouldn't work? Do you have to pre-send videos to all colleges? Honestly we were surprised my 16 yr old son is dancing at a higher level than some colleges with 6 levels of ballet. One even told us he could stay in the highest level all 4 years which of course he could but should he? I doubt we would have known those things had we not pre-visited. I swear I want him to take a year after high school just to do all this!

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@Moxie - It seems to me that it is college specific...and some do have you pre-send videos as a screening tool!


I am guessing your son observed classes when he visited. Did you meet with someone in the dance department? This is definitely time consuming but would help you weed out places for sure! My dd has very few places she's interested in to begin with!

Edited by balletenthusiast
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Yes, observed classes and met with dance dept. He's interested in other forms of dance too and knows he'll be in the performing arts in some way or another. Theatre, voice, music...something.


My older son went off to college and wasn't focused on the dance aspect and now seriously regrets he can't dance where he is. Misses it terribly and I think it really impacts his mental and physical health not having it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

We are attending a performing and visual arts college fair in Portland Oregon on October 23rd. Hoping to get information about some colleges there. Never done this before so we have no idea when to start auditioning etc. My DD's counselor at school told us about it and suggested this for her. There will be many conservatory's and universities there.

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My DD never wants to say no to any opportunity to dance so her senior year was loaded, she felt that she wanted to take part in everything that would be her " last' HS experience. It made it so stressful for her and for me as I tried to eliminate some of the stress. Although overwhelming, the earlier you start and the more organized you are the better

Looking at the application process for each school, knowing the requirements and deadlines ahead of time helps to keep it manageable

Know that you are not going to be able to do everything, a few days missed from school, rehearsals and classes are time well spent in planning for the future

We knew trying to apply for more than 5 schools was not going to happen, DD had friends applying for up to 10 schools but without having to manage the audition experience,

The more you know about the schools the easier it is to whittle them down to a manageable number

Good luck

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Yeah, it's the audition process on top of it that makes it even more of a challenge! My older son applied to 8 colleges but no auditions to contend with. We have another layer of trying to find colleges that have high enough ballet but the option to take musical theatre classes in voice, etc.

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