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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Summer Intensives, Companies, Colleges... Oh My!!

Lady Elle

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Ahhhh!! As I map out the SI audition season I'm feeling anxious this year - what to do? Do we go for college dance summer programs or stick with company summer intensives? Do we dare ask the pops if she can possibly attend 2 intensives this summer?? If she's in a company intensive, does she say she's interested in residential program and possibly spend her senior year doing that? But then, she won't have time for college auditions - and if she did get into a residential program, what about the cost? So if she convinces pops to invest in residential and then ends up doing college - it will be like paying for a 5th year of college!! And is it true that unless an academy offers a scholarship, they aren't really interested in your child as anything more than a paying customer? And what schools even look at my dd's special body type??


And then, there's the elections! Oh dear, I need a massage and a piece of dark chocolate!

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As far as students spending their senior year at a company program of some sort, I have seen dd's colleagues in such programs audition for both colleges and other company based programs while in residence.

The road will lead to the place where she should be, whatever that happens to be. :) Deep breaths. I'd love to say it gets easier....

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1. Do we go for college dance summer programs or stick with company summer intensives? 2. If she's in a company intensive, does she say she's interested in residential program and possibly spend her senior year doing that? 3. But then, she won't have time for college auditions -

I. If you know that the decision makers for a specific college that your dd might want to attend teach in the Summer, then it might put her on the radar. Likewise for the company SI. There is no guarantee that attending SIs will get a job or even put her on the right people's radar. Since that's the case, choose the SI where she feels she will make the most progress. As a rising senior, the training is paramount.

2. If you are willing and able for your dd to move to a residential program then audition for the program and go visit before making other decisions. IMO, there is too much hype put on the "hoping to be invited into the residential school from SI thing". Changing schools is a far more serious decision than where to spend 6 weeks in the summer. Read about the residential schools, contact them and ask how to audition and go visit while the school year is still going on. That will give you the most accurate view of how the school operates.

3. When you interview residential schools, let them know that your dd wants to prepare for both company auditions and college as her backup and ask how they help prepare a student for both. Do they film videos to send, do the personally contact companies, colleges? How do they work with the audition schedule needs of their students. Do they help the student get to the airport/bus/train station? And make sure that they understand that time will need to be scheduled for studies, SAT, SATIIs, ACT's, etc. Senior year is a very busy time for aspiring dancers; you want to make sure that the school will work with your dd as she does all that and that they will support you as you help her stay on target from afar.


Finally, the expense- draw up a budget that fits your family's needs. Include your daughter in the planning of the budget and ask her to help prioritize and stick to the budget! Oh.. and include chocolate and a massage for mom in that budget!

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Great advice! I don't know how you all do it with auditions for training programs too. We are in middle of my DD senior year and I am already so exhausted for her from this year: traveling around country for college auditions, applications to colleges, hard essays, with most having a separate dance application and some even asking a dance essay. Then the training and materials needed, whether sending videos ahead of auditions, photos, preparing solos, etc. The hardest part has been the time missing from school, not only since she has some hard AP science classes, but also missing some activities at school. She has missed most of school activities from ballet over the years, but this senior year, I think it hit her and she feels bad missing some of the senior special activities.


It is really overwhelming. My DD is mostly looking to go to a good academic university, where she can double major in dance and science. She has auditions this fall at her priority schools and if one of them works out, she is not doing any of the Jan-March auditions, which would be great! Some of these dance auditions have been really great experiences, even though very tough competition. So different than the summer intensive audition experiences, which are not as stressful and only couple hours. A couple that stand out are SMU and Ohio State, great facilities and such caring faculty with wonderful programs.. Remember that these auditions can last couple days, then add in the travel/flight times. IT is so much to handle on top of school work, SATs, then training at home.

I am sure she will be at a place that is a good fit and has all she is looking for.


One word of advice for those looking to the college route, summer before senior year, only do a 3 week intensive, She did 6 weeks of Ballet West this summer, which in addition to her home studio's intensive, did not leave enough time for this summer. Summer includes getting on top of the college applications, writing essays, doing photos, videos to send to some programs, and dance audition prep. It made it so stressful, and would have been much better to have a few extra weeks as opposed to being away most of summer.


Good luck to all whatever path you choose!

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Swanchat's post is spot on, IMO! Senior year is full of deadlines-unless a residential school helps with the college process, many deadlines may not be the focus as dance classes and performance rehearsals can take priority while juggling schoolwork. Writing essays and finishing credits is time intense and difficult to help with as a parent from a distance. It takes a focused student to get themselves to SAT's, ACT's, etc on their own and get the excused absences from ballet class/rehearsals. Watch out for programs that say that the student will need to "make up" hours from missed classes/rehearsals to audition for SI's or college programs senior year. They will miss many hours if they are doing both types of auditions (?company auditions as well) and the "make up" can be difficult to balance, time wise as well as the toll it can take on the body to add the extra hours of dance.

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I love this thread! I often wonder how we will juggle the years ahead, thank you for sharing all of your wisdom!

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