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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Are these good reasons to try YAGP?


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I'm wondering how many folks go to yagp for the experience and get something out of it even though they know they are probably not top 12 material.


Some Background: My daughter started dancing at age 9. She is currently 11.5. Why not dance earlier? From age 5-8 when other girls were doing ballet, my kiddo was battling cancer and her daily movement consisted of either going to the hospital or walking to and from her class when she was well enough to go. After treatment was complete it took a year for her body to gain enough stamina to engage like a normal kid. When she turned 9 she wanted to try ballet and started her dance journey.


For the two years that she has been dancing she's taken off and loves it. Her strength is precise technique and artistry. Unfortunately Chemo has made extreme flexibility hard, though each day she gets better. For instance she has a solid 90 degree arabesque with a lovely little wing but cannot do one of the high ones at this point. She is behind a lot of her peers online, for instance she can do a double pirouette but is still perfecting it cleanly. Her singles are fine.


Her AD said even though she isn't the most flexible or a super spinner, she says my daughter has an incredible stage presence and musicality. We are going to watch her older studiomates at yagp this year as we are 40 min from the location. AD suggested we think about yagp next year. At our studio, yagp is not pushed, they do no other competitions. They are Focused on technique and not tricks.


While she has come amazingly far in two years, I'll be honest in that she is not like the amazing 10-12 year olds I see on videos for yagp. However she is interested in doing it next year. She will be 12 by the time yagp 2018 comes around.


Here are my daughter's reasoning for wanting to attempt yagp 2018:

1. She wants to get her baseline score so she has a personal goal to work to better her score the following year. She likes to compete against herself.

2. She loves critiques from experienced people. AD says she is very good at listening to a correction and fixing it in class. She wants to see what the judges have to say to become a better dancer.

3. She wants to take a yagp class they offer at competition for the experience.

4. Because she has other occupational aspirations, she wants to be able to perform a solo on a nice stage at this stage in her life and where they do yagp is a lovely venue. She loves performing.

5. She wants to dance a variation not often used to break up the monotony of some of the more familiar and popular variations for those in the audience. (And she wants to make sure even if her variation is much easier than others in her group she wants to be able to execute it successfully and precisely.)

6. Performing a variation allows her a year long goal to work towards and let's her dance something she loves weekly. She is extremely goal oriented.

7. And as silly as it sounds she wants her variation to touch someone in the audience


Ok, I've heard of the costs. For us, there would be no expensive travel as we live 40 minutes away. Our studio offers a yagp class once a week where the girls practice and perfect their variations. They try to keep privates to a minimum (although some dancer take advantage of them). So probably not tons of privates. My mom is an amazing seamstress and she's offered to make my daughter's costume for free.


So I know entry fees and going through shoes will be some bigger costs.


I guess I'm just wondering if it's ok to do yagp if you know you won't place. If you know you are a solid dancer and just want the experience and feedback.


Or is this just a competition for the super special. My girl is not afraid of hard work. Being a cancer survivor tends to put a different spin on your perspective. She wants to soak up as much as she can.


Thanks for your honest feedback.

Edited by Jennsnoopy
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Take a look at the YAGP schedules and notice how many numbers are in her age group alone. While I think many hope to place or get a top 10/12/24 spot, the vast majority do not and are probably not even particularly close to placing.


Keep in mind that most dancers are not like the amazing 10-12 year olds we see on social media. :)

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Thanks so much. She has no illusions about placing, she just want the experience and critiques. and thanks for saying they all aren't YouTube amazing dancers because that is a very high standard.

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If you can, make some time to watch her age group for the sake of comparison. I think you will see a wider array of abilities than you expect. I know we did the first time we went to watch a regional competition.

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My daughter has never done YAGP, but the reasons you listed all seem like wonderful reasons to me. It's great that you can observe this year to get a better sense of what the regional competition is like. Good luck to your daughter!

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My daughter competed last year when she was 12 and enjoyed it very much. She did not place but would gladly participate again if our situation (mostly financial) permitted. Your daughter's reasons sound like great ones to me, and are many of the same benefits my girl listed! Be aware, though, that the judges offer very little feedback. The score sheet has some attributes listed for which you might get a check mark (good) or an x (needs work) and perhaps a few words at the bottom, along with a numerical score. Out of the many dancers who compete at YAGP, only a few post their videos. We also have seen a great range of skill levels in the couple years we've watched dancers at our "local" regional competition. I hope you and your daughter enjoy the performances this year, and that you will come back and update us as the year progresses.

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The performing opportunities are good reasons and what an amazing child you have!!!!


The scores are not really precise. I would not work toward a "score" so much as placing Top 12, Top 24, or 1st-3rd or qualifying to NY.


FYI most of the top scorers are going to be rehearsing a great deal. 2-3 weeks prior it would be daily and 2-3 months out it might be 3 times per week?


It sounds like your agenda is in line with your studios.

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I love the reasoning behind your daughter wanting to do YAGP. My daughter has done it for the past 3 years and has really enjoyed it. The talent at YAGP runs the gamut. She has gone to NYC each time, but more importantly, she has had the opportunity to meet so many people and take classes with wonderful professionals from all over. sure... it is nerve wracking for us parents but the kids seem to love it. the judges are not looking for tricks and many, many turns, they are looking for cleanliness, turnout, straight knees and pointed feet... you say that your daughter is a beautiful artist... I say go for it!!!!


Your daughter has survived and made it through cancer, and now she gets the chance to dance and possibly do YAGP! I love her resiliency! good luck to you and her and hopefully we'll see her on the YAGP stage! :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

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  • 3 months later...
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Sorry, taytayballet, but this is a Parents Forum.

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