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AmyMary

So now what? Competition vs SI

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AmyMary

As I'm sure you all know there are many different opinions on where to focus energy as a dancer prepares for a potential career. I'm aware (and grateful) that my 12 yo has plenty of time, not to mention the possibility of changing her mind down the road...BUT we do have decisions to start making if she wants to move in that direction.

We live in a small town where we already commute an hour one way to class four plus times a week for the best option. We homeschool and moving isn't a possibility right now. I tend to feel that her best option is getting into a full time residential program when she is old enough with limited options here. However, we have modest income so she would need a scholarship to go.

I guess what I'm wondering is the best track to get her there. We did YAGP one year and may do it again but decided to focus on summer intensives this year. I'm not a fan of competitions but I've also been told that without being seen by industry people at these competitions she will never have a chance. Yet I know we have students who never placed at YAGP but were offered generous artistic merit scholarships from attending summer programs.

I guess what I'm asking is if the goal is a residential program with a scholarship where would my limited income best serve her in that direction.

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DanceMumNYC

Hi AmyMary! Welcome to  BT4D. This topic comes up a lot, and if you do a search, you may find a lot of advice on here. I'm learning that no two dancers have the same path, and several paths can lead to a professional dance career. As you mentioned, competitions are not the only way to be seen, and many dancers are noticed at summer programs. Residential programs often look at dancers attending their SI to invite year-round. I think now is the time for your DD to attend several SIs to see which schools she likes the best. Since she's 12, she may also be eligible for some young dancer programs/junior intensives, which are usually shorter and more affordable.

Here is another thread on the topic: https://dancers.invisionzone.com/topic/65670-competitions-vs-conservative-approach/ 

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AmyMary

Thanks for your reply. I actually did read that article before from RBS. I had kind of decided to not do competitions at all but then I was told by some local ballet industry people that I was hindering her if I don't do these competitions to know the right people. Ugh.

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DanceMumNYC

Did you already decide at what age you'd like your DD to go away for a residential program? I don't have much experience with competitions, but I must say that I don't know of any 12-13 year olds who attend competitions and receive invitations/scholarships to train year round at popular schools. I have always thought that was more for dancers in their mid-late teen years. At this age, building her technique is what matters most. Why don't you see how the SIs go this summer? It'll give you more insight on which is more beneficial right now. If you decide that competitions are indeed necessary, she still has time to enter them again during her teen years. 

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Fraildove

DanceMumNYC,

There have been many young dancers given full time training scholarships for year round from YAGP in the 12-14 year old category. Many. But, see below...

 

AmyMary,

I think you are very wise to have her focus on summer intensive study as opposed to competition at this time, especially with limited training hours due to your travel situation. It is absolutely not true that you have to do competitions in order to succeed in ballet. Many very successful dancers have also competed, but those dancers were successful, first and foremost because of their training and their talent. Remember, correlation does not equal causation. 

 

About scholarships given at YAGP... most of the young dancers that are given scholarships at YAGP would have been offered those scholarships in an audition as well. They are offered them because they have tremendous potential and are exactly the type that a school is looking for (not necessarily all schools. Each school has their preference). I will say this, getting a scholarship through YAGP is incredibly hard. The talent at Finals is enormous, and you are already grouping some of the most elite, most gifted, and most talented dancers all together. From that group a dancer has to stand out. It is much easier and much less expensive to take the audition class on the summer intensive audition tours. For example, I have one young dancer, she is 13. She is incredibly gifted, perfect facility etc. She does not perform well at YAGP due to nerves and has never been offered a scholarship throughout YAGP. Every single audition she did last year she received a full tuition scholarship, with a few including room and board. These were to the most competitive schools in the country. After attending her selected intensive they also offered her a full ride scholarship for the academic year. 

 

We have had several of our dancers offered full scholarships from YAGP as well. Last year our son was technical too young to audition for most summer programs and was offered full scholarships to schools that would have never seen him except through YAGP. So there is also a flip side.

 

I think you must follow your heart on what is in the best interest of your dancer. Every dancer will have a different path and what works for one will not necessarily work for the other. The only hard and fast rule in what is required for a dancer to be successful is great training. This may or may not include competition. I think your plan is spot on and you can reevaluate as her needs change. Trying to weed out all of the distraction is the hard part!

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AmyMary

This was very helpful and encouraging, thank you! Doing YAGP was very stressful for me as I already have anxiety although DD did enjoy it. I think we will keep it in our back pocket for another time and focus on summer programs right now, particularly because I am not close to a big city with abundant resources.

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DanceMumNYC

Thank you for clarifying. I have to remember what happens in our 3 letter school doesn’t happen at them all 😅. We attended YAGP last year (DD doesn’t compete, the school invites some students as guests). I know some 12 year old girls who placed in the top 12, earning financial scholarships, but I didn’t see that they were also offered year-round invitations—though many kids 14+ were offered SI invitations. I will double check the website for last year’s results. Perhaps we didn’t pay  close enough attention. We’re attending again in April, so I’ll be on the look out for this!

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Fraildove

DanceMumNYC, 

Also remember a lot of things at YAGP goes on behind the scenes and are not announced publically for whatever reason. Also, when dancers are offered an ‘official’ scholarship through YAGP there is a certain amount of commitment that must be made on the spot. Often times those year round offers are not accepted by families on the spot because they need time to consult as a family. That is why those offers are not always announced. Doesn’t mean they were not made. There are also multiple offers made to the same child and they don’t always accept any. If you haven’t actually been in the scholarship conferences and haven’t been ‘courted’ by a school, it’s hard to gauge. So even attending in April, you may only get a small glimpse 😉

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