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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Does anyone else go a little insane over SI decisions?


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I looked around to see if there was a post on this because I have definitely been pretty stressed out this year, and I'm having flashbacks to a similar experience last year. It seems that DD (14) and I work out a sensible plan for auditions and preferred summer programs, and within no time all sense is out the window and I am stressing over the choices as if it's life or death. Also, we're obviously looking for clues in the acceptances/rejections, but the answers come back as clear as mud.


I described the summer audition process to a friend recently as being sort of like the college application process, with the concept of reach schools and safe schools, etc...except imagine if you didn't know what your SAT scores or GPA were, or whether you'd completed all the prerequisites...


This year DD got into two wonderful, but very different, small and selective programs (among others) that she didn't expect to, and didn't get into the large program that is her dream. She's thrilled with her choices and I find myself being the one who has "fear of missing out" if we make the "wrong" choice for which program to go to. The choice is rather stark, between a program that will focus on fundamentals and one that works on refinement and artistry. We've decided on fundamentals as it is a different method than her (small) year round program and will possibly fill in some gaps in her training. Then hopefully she's better equipped to compete for top programs, or possibly even go to the other small program in the future if she's lucky enough to get in again. Sounds logical, right? Any yet I just can't seem to send off the paperwork.


Part of it is that we are relatively new to it, last summer was her first one away. I'm sure those of you who've been through this four or five times have a more reasonable approach. In fact, it's funny thinking of how much I anguished last year over the choice -- looking back it really was the obvious choice and worked out very well.


Does anyone else go crazy or is it just me?

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  • RaisingBallerina


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hi there RaisingBallerina- by no means are you the only one who 'gets crazy' over SIs. This page is full of the shared angst.


My main suggestion to you is to not 'over think' all of this. You will get much more sage advice from other members but my experience so far (DS18) is that they learn something at every SI. My son had an SI experience which he DID NOT enjoy but boy, did he learn from it. They learn more than just technique and performance. They learn about themselves and who they are. They learn about who they are not. They learn about what they want and dont want in life and in dance.


Yes of course we try to make sense of their journey and look for a good path but honestly, our dancers have so much to learn they cant go wrong.

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Ah, I long for the days of making the decisions for a 14 year old! I told a friend with a 12 year old just last night, there is no decision you make this year that will make or break anything down the road. So just go with your gut because it sounds like you have two good choices.


I'm freaking out over here with two 18 year olds who must be off to a post-grad type program next year. There are no options at home for next year. So this does feel like make it or break it and the all eggs in one basket for the summer in hopes of a yearround spot has me quite stressed. So we've stepped back and they will pick the most logical approach for the summer, attend some company / second company auditions, send a few videos, and attend a competition "expo" class in the spring. All in the hopes of having a backup if plan A doesn't come through. Or maybe even finding something that is better than plan A.

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Thanks Thyme. You are right about the learning experience. In fact, DD knows at least two people whose SI experiences led them to decide this life was not for them! So we take the leap...

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Not sure it gets easier. Every year, it was always something. Didn't get into the program that was supposed to be the sure thing. Got into a nice program unexpectedly at the first audition but with a very short time to commit. The desired program didn't come to the area until most of the other deadlines passed. It was always something!


Just wait. If you think this is bad, if your dancer continues, company audition season is far worse. I suppose the only plus is that dd has managed to get SI acceptances from her first few so she won't be chasing the normal SI auditions this year. Unfortunately, these acceptances are on the theme of "come to our SI so we can look at you closer for (insert apprentice, second compamy, trainee here).

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Yes, lots of stress with these decisions. This is our 5th year and we can look back with hindsight to question on our decisions. Did we do this the right way? But then I have to remind myself that our SI decision when she was 14 was being made from a different goal, outlook, and situation than she is making now at 17. Each year there were specific reasons why she chose her SI. And at 14 or even 15, she wasn't even sure if she was totally going the professional route. Often our choice came down to scholarship $$, location, or where she was emotionally ready for. We had reasons each year, and I told myself, no regrets. I still second guess our decisions, but I saw positive growth after each SI. Good luck and don't beat yourself up to make the "right" choice.

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Sending cyber hugs to all of the moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other support people as we navigate this crazy journey. I am like a split personality during SI season. Rational me is very matter-of-fact about training vs employment, the reality and limitations of auditions, and the hit-or-miss results they can produce.


Emotional me is a yoyo, up or down based on results and DD's reaction to them, worrying, trying to read tea leaves in spite of rational me's "knowledge" that there are no tea leaves to read. Crazy, crazy, crazy. :bash:


And on top of that, we are waiting for my oldest (non-dancing) son's acceptance decisions to colleges. So this year I am extra-loony. So ready for spring, when all the decisions will be made and I can fixate on other things.

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I actually was coming here to post something similar. My DD sent her decline letter this morning for the program I really thought she'd go to if she was admitted. She decided to go to a different program. The one she declined is much more well known, but she decided the other would be a better fit for what she wants to work on. The whole thing is a mystery to me, which doesn't help my anxiety!

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I can make myself crazy if I overthink it, but I try really hard to let DD direct things. She knows better than me what feels right and where she wants to go. Acceptances, declines, waitlists and scholarship offers all give us some kind of nebulous feedback, but even then I really can't read all that much into it. So I try really hard to just go with the flow and let DD be more and more in charge. It isn't easy.

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DD wasn't able to audition for the place that we thought was a "perfect fit" and instead got into a kind 'on the radar' place with some support. So that's where she goes.


I have started to learn to embrace that this world is unpredictable in every sense of the word and that you must go with those who want and celebrate you and be immensely glad for the opportunity.


I like that song. "Something unpredictable that in the end is right. I hope you have the time of your life!"


My biggest fear now is that I have committed to a program that I do not have the money to pay for. .. so talk about a leap of faith.

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Thanks for starting this thread. Yes, this is a very stressful process. And like some others - my dd is also looking for a place to train next year - trainee, college, who knows!


I have read somewhere about dancers auditioning at 15 places. I don't know how they manage that. Usually my dd doesn't do many auditions - if/when she gets in a place she's really excited about she stops auditioning. Last year was toughest for her b/c she did more auditions, had more options, was an alternate for her top choice, and was extremely stressed about everything. Second guessing her final choice, crying, texting me from school! I'm hoping for a smoother ride this year. Seems to have gotten off to bumpy start, though!


I will say she has enjoyed each summer intensive experience and learned a lot! They were good decisions for her (but one that she was highly considering last year, she was just rejected from today - so maybe she would have done things differently last year).


The whole process is definitely difficulty to understand. She even attended an audition where the adjudicator said that. He mentioned how his own son had been accepted at one top tier school, but not another.


Good luck to all our dancers!

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I have started to learn to embrace that this world is unpredictable in every sense of the word and that you must go with those who want and celebrate you and be immensely glad for the opportunity.


Yes! I'm getting there too.

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Thanks everyone for sharing. I'm laughing at how naive I was to think that those a few years ahead of me would have a more nonchalant attitude, when of course trainee auditions and decisions have so much more at stake! I wish DD had a mentor ten years older or so. Her teachers came up in a different landscape and know little to nothing about some of the programs she got into. It would be so helpful if someone who knew her personally could say "program x will take you from a to b..."


Thank goodness we have BT4D! Merde and good luck to all your DKs on SIs, trainee positions, college acceptance, etc!

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LOL. The OP literally made me laugh out loud. In my mind (at least) EVERYONE goes looney at this time. This time is stressful no matter where you are on your journey because the only thing that relieves stress over decisions is knowledge... and you only obtain knowledge by choosing one path over another. Hindsight is 20/20 for a reason - of course last year's choice was clear. But that was last year, and this is a whole new kettle of fish, just like next year will be another whole new kettle. I, too, have adopted learningdance's approach to try to go with "those who want and celebrate you" because although that method of choice doesn't guarantee happiness, anything else guarantees more difficulty and possible heartbreak. As you have found, if you try to predict and second-guess and analyze too much, you wind up frozen and unable to make a decision. After careful, deliberate analysis, go with your gut and trust that things will work out the way they were meant to work out -- even if it is not what you anticipated or planned.

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I can identify with so many comments on this thread! What a stressful time this is. DD was fortunate to get 2 great offers this week. She won't audition anymore and is going to choose between the two, but what a hard choice it is! Ugh! They are both such great options and she is worried that whichever one she rejects won't accept her again if she decides to pursue them again in the future. Also, once she makes her choice I worry that she is going to keep second-guessing it. Ugh! Hang in there, everyone!

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