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Ballet Talk for Dancers

2020-2021 Second Company, Apprentice, Trainee Congrats thread


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Gender: Female
Main/Most recent training:Trainee at same company

Level of school completed: high school grad
Audition method: Video audition with an in class audition follow up to originally become trainee
Position granted: Second company with pay per performance 
Position process/progress: Promoted after a year as a bridge Trainee

Location of company: US
Was this contract offered at a competition or because of competition attendance? No

What words of wisdom would you offer those coming behind you about your journey or what you've learned being in the journey?  As parents and dancers we are often too close to see the big picture.  Take a step back. Listen to advice from older dancers, people in the dance industry and parents. What seems big is often really small. What seems like a problem may not even be an issue. There is always another perspectives than yours. Your perspective may be way off.  Get good training and keep it up. Competitions aren’t necessary.  Privates aren’t necessary.  College isn’t necessary, unless you just need more training. What matters is how you dance AND your attitude. Be humble.it is cliche but true: the dance world is very small.  All casting is good casting even the smallest parts. Even if you are good, everyone won’t always love your dancing. It’s OK. Most of all: Go where you are celebrated! It makes all the difference in the world! 

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🎉Congratulations!! Celebrate the moment and thanks for sharing the news as well as what you have learned on the journey.

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Congratulations to your DD.  Thank you so much for sharing (it is so good to hear) both your excellent news and your advice/journey.

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Gender: Female DD (parent posting)

Main/Most recent training:

Over a decade at large-ish non company affiliated pre-pro school (living at home and commuting) in Northeast America, studying a mixed curriculum based largely on whatever you consider NYCB dancing to resemble (“Balanchine”).

SIs throughout training included very small (12 students) at 13yo (first “away” SI) to very large 3 letter SIs on both coasts (in later teen years), and a mix of styles (Balanchine, Vaganova, and “classical”).

She moved out of the house at 17 yo.  Her SI that summer was a dream acceptance to the SI leading to a “trainee” position at same dream school away from home, but after a year’s training, not the longed-for dream job.  What followed was a very rough, very long 2 year period where she questioned whether or not she should continue to dance.  At 18 yo, she danced at another large (AGMA-affiliated) SI in their top level, but was not offered anything at the end of the summer, and was not offered a position to return to train at her “dream” school.  She struggled with her confidence. 

That fall, through a personal mentor/dance teacher, she was offered the chance to audition for a trainee position (top level of the school) of small, regional company affiliated school.  She auditioned and was accepted with a scholarship. She has trained at the school and performed with the company for two seasons before she was offered this second company position.

Level of school completed: high school grad (early – 17yo – with summer academic courses classes every year of high school and intentional push to graduate BEFORE she went away).  A mix of public school and home schooling before high school, which was cyber-school for four years.

Audition method: Former dance teacher recommendation/open audition to trainee, trainee to second company (no actual audition for second company position).

Position granted: Second Company (one of 😎 for the 2020-21 season, a paid position with company and also health benefits and shoes (but not an AGMA contract or company)

Position process/progress: promoted from Trainee (2 years)

Location of company: southeastern US

Was this contract offered at a competition or because of competition attendance? No

What words of wisdom would you offer those coming behind you about your journey or what you've learned being in the journey?

I considered just leaving this area blank. 

Honestly, this position does not feel like any sort of milestone or accomplishment from which you could possibly offer any words of wisdom.  I was surprised by this.  I thought this position would feel much different than it does, and I would relax, or at least feel as if I had gained some knowledge in the journey.  I am, after all, what I consider a “future thinker.”  I plan, research, and think about the future possibilities constantly and what I could learn and have learned from the past.  I search for patterns, for ways to control and/or reduce risk for myself and for my family.  Being the lesson-seeker I am, I’ve read many of these posts myself, looking for the path or the potential path or possible ideas of a path for my DD.

My DD (in contrast) is much more presently centered than I am, and just lives the journey.  And I’ve certainly learned much from that attitude, particularly during the Covid19 pandemic.  Because while I sought and worried and thought, she just danced.

I remember, however, wishing for some advice on the parental journey.  So, despite my reservations about my “wisdom,” I figure there are others like me, and leaving this area blank would be depressing, so I took some time searching for any universal truths to share.  What follows may or may not be that.  Caveat emptor.

First, and related to the above, no one has the answers.  This is very much an individual journey for your dancer (and for you, by the way).  People who claim to “know” the way are lying or seeking your money.  That’s not to say those people cannot teach you and your dancer valuable lessons.  They can, just be careful to sift through and suss out the “true” lesson.

Second, I firmly believe a professional dance job comes down to 3 essential things: luck, love and longevity.  Luck – being in the right place at the right time; Love – of dance, of the work, of the art, and of yourself as a dancer and beyond; Longevity – in the sense of staying as injury free (in body and mind) as possible by caring for yourself, listening to your body, and also remaining persistent and remembering why you dance through times of difficulty (see also, “love,” above).

Third, it helped me tremendously to understand this process of raising a child (who also dances) is a journey of growth for me, just as much as it is for her.  As a parent, even a highly motivated, risk-reducing lesson seeker, you still won’t have any answers, no matter how much you research and plan.  In fact, you might learn more if you listen, enjoy more and stay present, if you possibly can.  If you can’t, you’ll most likely get in the way more than you help.  But, if you’re lucky, and you love them, and you have longevity by staying committed to your job to raise them first and foremost as human beings who also dance, you’ll find yourself eventually at a worthy milestone.  When you reach it, you may or may not feel you have advice to share. 

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Congratulations, Eligus - to you and your daughter! I have read many of your posts and have learned a lot from you. You have a wonderful ability to put the complexity of this journey into words and I am very appreciative of how much you have shared with this board - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Best wishes to you and your daughter. Cheers to moving forward! Thank you for the happy news :)


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Congratulations Eligus and motherhem, to you and your daughters! 

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Thanks you guys!  She is living her best life right now!  :)

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