Jump to content
anondancer_15

Advice on what to do with my dance life please :)

Recommended Posts

Hi all, long time no speak! 

 

I'm finishing my Level 3 course at college in July, and was hoping to move onto Level 4 at the same place but haven't been offered a place to do so. I already did a year at DMU (Dance) and it wasn't intense training enough so I moved onto the course I'm doing right now, which is ballet, jazz, contemporary, commercial, modern and tap, heavily focusing on jazz but doing ballet every day. 

 

I was relying on the third year to help me decide which area of dance I wanted to go into, and didn't really have a back up. Part of the reason why I was relying on that third year and also the supposed reason I'm not allowed to stay for it, is because I spent a lot of my first year with severe shin splints, so am only in the last term or so starting to make real progress. 

 

I have been told to maybe think about going into teaching or dance management, but I really want a performance career first. 

 

I have been told by my previous teacher that I should just get a showreel and headshots done and start sending it out for work. 

 

To summarise, I'm basically stuck and don't know what to do with my life now haha. Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Added: I personally think I could do with a bit more training to back me up but I'm not sure of what the options are, since I can't afford to pay outright and don't think I can get any more funding. It's also now very late to think about applications. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me get this straight

 

You spent a year at university (presumably after A levels) but realised it wsn;t what you wanted so you went back to college to do a Level 3 course (presumably Btec or similar?

 

So you are 21?

 

You could apply for a Level 6 course.  Your year on the degree should not preclude you from this but most colleges do have some kind of physio assessment as part of th audition process.  Is the shin splints problem still ongoing?  Do you think you are fit enough to withstand the rigours of a professional career?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

Let me get this straight

 

You spent a year at university (presumably after A levels) but realised it wsn;t what you wanted so you went back to college to do a Level 3 course (presumably Btec or similar?

 

So you are 21?

 

You could apply for a Level 6 course.  Your year on the degree should not preclude you from this but most colleges do have some kind of physio assessment as part of th audition process.  Is the shin splints problem still ongoing?  Do you think you are fit enough to withstand the rigours of a professional career?

Yes, I did Dance at A Level, then did Dance for 1 year at university, then went back to the Level 3 (it was BTEC last year but now it's a UAL course, basically the same) after having not got into any other dance schools (I did London Contemporary, Northern Contemporary, Laban and London Studio Centre. At the time I only wanted to do contemporary however now I really enjoy jazz and commercial as well) I'm 21 in April :)

 

I would consider a Level 6 course as that's what I wanted to do originally, but I'm not sure I feel about an extra 3 years of training, and being much older than everyone else on the course? (presuming most people start at 18)

 

Shin splints for the most part are gone, my legs swell slightly but there's no pain so I'm pushing through! I'd like to think that I'm fit enough for a professional career, but my current college obviously doesn't think so. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This sounds very stressful for you.

 

What about getting a dance science or dance physio assessment? My understanding is that much shin splints is caused by inadequate strength in particular muscle groups.

 

You will be at a disadvantage due to your age I would think :(

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, sarahw said:

This sounds very stressful for you.

 

What about getting a dance science or dance physio assessment? My understanding is that much shin splints is caused by inadequate strength in particular muscle groups.

 

You will be at a disadvantage due to your age I would think :(

I did get referred to RNOH Stanmore but I ended up with a regular physio instead of a dance specialist like I requested, and then I was discharged after two sessions. I'd love to know if it was something I'm doing in my technique or something that caused the whole ordeal though! 

 

And yes, I don't think there's many 21 year olds auditioning for that kind of thing 😕 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you able to get to one of the NIDMS clinics (London I think would be easiest for you but there is also Bath and Birmingham).  I can't reccomend them enough. Am i remembering correctly that you current college does not have sprung floors?

 

The colleges you originally applied to are quite specific and pretty elite in their field.  There are other dance colleges offering Level 6 courses where students are sometimes older.  Graduates from these colleges tend to have portfolio type careers in the commercial, jazz, cruise ships areas etc. 

 

Your age will go against you at some places at certanly to be eligible for a Dada you have to be 23 or under when you start. Have you had honest feedback from any teachers about your potential for a career as a dancer?

Edited by Picturesinthefirelight
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

Are you able to get to one of the NIDMS clinics (London I think would be easiest for you but there is also Bath and Birmingham).  I can't reccomend them enough. Am i remembering correctly that you current college does not have sprung floors?

 

The colleges you originally applied to are quite specific and pretty elite in their field.  There are other dance colleges offering Level 6 courses where students are sometimes older.  Graduates from these colleges tend to have portfolio type careers in the commercial, jazz, cruise ships areas etc. 

 

Your age will go against you at some places at certanly to be eligible for a Dada you have to be 23 or under when you start. Have you had honest feedback from any teachers about your potential for a career as a dancer?

RNOH Stanmore is one of the NIDMS clinics, I explained this to my GP and yet somehow still managed to get referred there as a regular outpatient. I do have a follow up there soon though so will see if they can pass me onto someone dance related. Yep, my college is converted office blocks so the floors are not the greatest.

 

I think I'd prefer a portfolio type career like you mention! Do you have any specific college recommendations i could look into for that sort of route?

 

The only thing that's really been said to me is that injury could be a concern, and my weight (but that's something I'm working on) and other teachers have said I should be pushing for it so there's been mixed opinions!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ini which case you need to push for the dance clinic.  Print out the information from the website and ask for a referral to  Dr Roger Wolman's Dance Injury clinic.  If its anything like Birmingham the initial assessment should be done by Dr Wolman and he would then pass you on to one of his team of physiotherapists etc for treatment (depending on what is decided)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

Ini which case you need to push for the dance clinic.  Print out the information from the website and ask for a referral to  Dr Roger Wolman's Dance Injury clinic.  If its anything like Birmingham the initial assessment should be done by Dr Wolman and he would then pass you on to one of his team of physiotherapists etc for treatment (depending on what is decided)

I had an initial assessment by someone on Dr Wolman's team, and then I just got passed onto a regular physio who didn't do anything and then discharged me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your shin splints are mostly gone, why don't you just buy The Stage every week, see what auditions are out there and turn up to some of them? You'll soon know if you are of the required standard or not. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume repeating a year due to injury wasn’t an option? That’s a shame, if so.  

 

I know a couple of dancers who have worked on cruise ships; both had very solid ballet training and both had Level 6 Diplomas from very good schools.  Unless you can get a good Agent because you sing as well as dance, open auditions at places like Pineapple are literally like cattle calls and attract crazy numbers of very good dancers.  

 

Age in itself isn’t a problem (I saw a recent audition call for cruise ship dancers aged 19 - 35) but fitness, physique and technical standard is possibly an issue.  If you’ve only really had just over a full year of training due to shin splints then you’re very probably going to need more training to compete with the other hundred or so dancers after these sorts of jobs.

 

Have you had a look at places like Bird, Urdang, Performers, SLP and so on? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Lisa O`Brien said:

If your shin splints are mostly gone, why don't you just buy The Stage every week, see what auditions are out there and turn up to some of them? You'll soon know if you are of the required standard or not. Good luck.

I've set up email alerts for some casting websites so I can start to see and hear about what's out there and that is my other option I guess!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Anna C said:

I assume repeating a year due to injury wasn’t an option? That’s a shame, if so.  

 

I know a couple of dancers who have worked on cruise ships; both had very solid ballet training and both had Level 6 Diplomas from very good schools.  Unless you can get a good Agent because you sing as well as dance, open auditions at places like Pineapple are literally like cattle calls and attract crazy numbers of very good dancers.  

 

Age in itself isn’t a problem (I saw a recent audition call for cruise ship dancers aged 19 - 35) but fitness, physique and technical standard is possibly an issue.  If you’ve only really had just over a full year of training due to shin splints then you’re very probably going to need more training to compete with the other hundred or so dancers after these sorts of jobs.

 

Have you had a look at places like Bird, Urdang, Performers, SLP and so on? 

 

No, repeating the year isn't an option. 

 

I would like to do cruise ships but like you say the auditions are crazy I don't know how I'd get on with just one year of proper training. 

 

I don't think I can afford to go to those kinds of colleges, I'm also not a confident singer (I had a few lessons last year but my teacher left unfortunately) and I can't afford more lessons at the moment either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Lisa O`Brien said:

If your shin splints are mostly gone, why don't you just buy The Stage every week, see what auditions are out there and turn up to some of them? You'll soon know if you are of the required standard or not. Good luck.

Have you thought about auditioning for cabaret  /entertainment acts at holiday destinations both UK and abroad? Not sure how you go about it but know someone who was 2nd year at a small theatre school who did this last year, in Greece, and found it valuable experience as well as having an amazing time. Easier to get into than the big cruise auditions and once you’re there you may meet people with other contacts. If you don’t have a whole load of finance, then more training is possibly not an option, and you feel physically able then why not get out there and give it a go!  You may need to find a one off coach to give you direction for the auditions though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, anondancer_15 said:

 

No, repeating the year isn't an option. 

 

I would like to do cruise ships but like you say the auditions are crazy I don't know how I'd get on with just one year of proper training. 

 

I don't think I can afford to go to those kinds of colleges, I'm also not a confident singer (I had a few lessons last year but my teacher left unfortunately) and I can't afford more lessons at the moment either.

 

Would your family income entitle you to feel support under the DADA scheme?  Certainly when we were looking living and accommodation costs were a lot less in Leeds & Chester than further south. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It may be worth you talking to Andrew Hindley at PCD, Preston College Dance as they have a full BA dance degree plus pro dance training. I believe AH is very accommodating to different people’s circumstances and may be able to help you access more training plus you’d be eligible for further student loans if you only did one year of your previous degree. Most of the students leave with either teaching jobs or contracts on cruise ships/ hotel chains if that helps! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to agree with others who recommend a specialist dance physio. You really need to get to the bottom of the issue regarding the shin splints before you can decide for sure whether a professional dance career is physically possible for you. It would be very disheartening to either get a contract or to embark on further training, and then have the problem rear its ugly head again.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, anondancer_15 said:

I'd like to think that I'm fit enough for a professional career, but my current college obviously doesn't think so. 

 

 

They could be right, or they may not be. The only way to find out is to start auditioning. What about cruise ship work, for example? 

 

Or auditioning for other colleges? You need to find out what "the market" thinks of you as a dancer now. And yes, if you need a bit more training, it's sensible to seek that out: could you combine working a part-time job with doing open classes, with a studio where -once you become a regular - you'll get care & attention just as you might at college? I've seen this happen - if you go regularly enough (ie 5-6 days a week) to the same teachers, they will start to get to know you and coach you.

 

But given that your current college has not offered you a place to progress, I think you need to get a couple more opinions on the open market. Then - you may get work, and one job leads to another, and there's a career! Or, they may give you similar feedback to your current college. Then you know it's time for Plan B, or C, or D (good to have several parachutes!)

 

Edited to add: Apologies - I see you're already looking at cruise/entertainment auditions. My sense would be that that's a good way to go - a combination of auditioning & attending open/drop in classes, + part-time work. I really think you have to test yourself in the market - go for it! Toi toi toi & merde !

Edited by Kate_N
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, Kate.  Every dancer needs a Plan B because at any point, it may become clear that a career as a professional dancer is just not going to happen (or is cut short).  

 

This can be for many reasons; there are way more dancers than dance jobs, injury can occur at any time, sometimes bodies are just not designed for the rigours of full-time dance; either aesthetically or physiologically, or both.  Not everyone wants to teach dance but if you do, something like the ISTD DDI/DDE courses or the RAD’s BA in Dance Education are worth looking at.  

 

Changing path from a long held dream can be so hard.  So many dancers and dance students cannot imagine anything else.  Fortunately, there are always ways to continue dancing even if your career is completely different.  Adult classes, amateur ballet groups who put on performances, adult summer schools, adult rep workshops, classes at RAD HQ (in my daughter’s Advanced 2 classes there she was one of the youngest at 18).  

 

Even if you ended up back at Uni studying something completely different, lots of universities have brilliant dance societies and competition teams.  There are so many opportunities to continue your dancing should a performing career not be on the cards.  

 

I’m not saying this will happen, Anondancer, but the stark reality is that every dancer and every dance student could one day be told that a performing career just isn’t an option.  As much as you love dance, for many people it can only ever be a wonderful hobby.  So while you’re looking at next steps, it would be well worth thinking about what else you’d like to do - just in case - and how you could make a Plan B happen.  

 

Lots and lots of luck. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, valentina said:

Have you thought about auditioning for cabaret  /entertainment acts at holiday destinations both UK and abroad? Not sure how you go about it but know someone who was 2nd year at a small theatre school who did this last year, in Greece, and found it valuable experience as well as having an amazing time. Easier to get into than the big cruise auditions and once you’re there you may meet people with other contacts. If you don’t have a whole load of finance, then more training is possibly not an option, and you feel physically able then why not get out there and give it a go!  You may need to find a one off coach to give you direction for the auditions though.

I think this is the kind of work I'd like to go into! I've been looking at some auditions, there's quite a few with height restrictions (I'm only 5"2) but this is something I'm considering :)

 

16 hours ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

 

Would your family income entitle you to feel support under the DADA scheme?  Certainly when we were looking living and accommodation costs were a lot less in Leeds & Chester than further south. 

I'm not sure really, it's difficult because I live with my mum and her partner, and her partner has a higher income but obviously doesn't pay for me because I'm not his child so it makes it a bit harder! Is there an age limit on the DADA scheme? I will check out the link someone posted earlier on this :)

 

15 hours ago, Clarkd3 said:

It may be worth you talking to Andrew Hindley at PCD, Preston College Dance as they have a full BA dance degree plus pro dance training. I believe AH is very accommodating to different people’s circumstances and may be able to help you access more training plus you’d be eligible for further student loans if you only did one year of your previous degree. Most of the students leave with either teaching jobs or contracts on cruise ships/ hotel chains if that helps! 

Oooh I've not heard of that one I'll take a look thank you! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 

They could be right, or they may not be. The only way to find out is to start auditioning. What about cruise ship work, for example? 

 

Or auditioning for other colleges? You need to find out what "the market" thinks of you as a dancer now. And yes, if you need a bit more training, it's sensible to seek that out: could you combine working a part-time job with doing open classes, with a studio where -once you become a regular - you'll get care & attention just as you might at college? I've seen this happen - if you go regularly enough (ie 5-6 days a week) to the same teachers, they will start to get to know you and coach you.

 

But given that your current college has not offered you a place to progress, I think you need to get a couple more opinions on the open market. Then - you may get work, and one job leads to another, and there's a career! Or, they may give you similar feedback to your current college. Then you know it's time for Plan B, or C, or D (good to have several parachutes!)

 

Edited to add: Apologies - I see you're already looking at cruise/entertainment auditions. My sense would be that that's a good way to go - a combination of auditioning & attending open/drop in classes, + part-time work. I really think you have to test yourself in the market - go for it! Toi toi toi & merde !

Thank you for this! When I went to see my old teacher, he suggested I just go straight for looking for work and auditioning and just seeing what happens, and continuing to take class as often as I can. I'd love to be able to go and take more classes at Pineapple, Base etc but it's so expensive to get there and everything, though I suppose if I worked more once I'm done with college it could work! Definitely an option if I can't get another loan for another course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Anna C said:

I agree, Kate.  Every dancer needs a Plan B because at any point, it may become clear that a career as a professional dancer is just not going to happen (or is cut short).  

 

This can be for many reasons; there are way more dancers than dance jobs, injury can occur at any time, sometimes bodies are just not designed for the rigours of full-time dance; either aesthetically or physiologically, or both.  Not everyone wants to teach dance but if you do, something like the ISTD DDI/DDE courses or the RAD’s BA in Dance Education are worth looking at.  

 

Changing path from a long held dream can be so hard.  So many dancers and dance students cannot imagine anything else.  Fortunately, there are always ways to continue dancing even if your career is completely different.  Adult classes, amateur ballet groups who put on performances, adult summer schools, adult rep workshops, classes at RAD HQ (in my daughter’s Advanced 2 classes there she was one of the youngest at 18).  

 

Even if you ended up back at Uni studying something completely different, lots of universities have brilliant dance societies and competition teams.  There are so many opportunities to continue your dancing should a performing career not be on the cards.  

 

I’m not saying this will happen, Anondancer, but the stark reality is that every dancer and every dance student could one day be told that a performing career just isn’t an option.  As much as you love dance, for many people it can only ever be a wonderful hobby.  So while you’re looking at next steps, it would be well worth thinking about what else you’d like to do - just in case - and how you could make a Plan B happen.  

 

Lots and lots of luck. 

 

Thank you! It is cropping into my mind more and more that I need to decide on a Plan B or C just in case! I have a background in fitness too, so I have that as back up! I would like to go into teaching dance I just wanted to have a bit of a performance career beforehand. But teaching is always a back up. My other teacher suggested doing a distance learning CBTS with her, which I'm also looking into at the moment! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've also just been recommended Momentum Performing Arts Academy? They have a dance teacher training course running alongside a musical theatre course so my understanding is you can do both at the same time, or focus on one depending on what you want to go into. Does anyone have any experience of them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also funding wise. I've obviously only had one year of degree course funding, but I also have an advanced learner loan for the course I'm doing right now, so I don't know if that affects anything. I'll probably have to call SFE to find out but I HATE calling them with a passion hahah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are no details at all on fees at Momentum.  I'll be perfectly honest and say that my opinion is that as you have already spent two years at a private college then you could just be constantly spending money for no real gain.  I would go for somewhere like Preston or an institution offering a funded qualification ove4r and above an unaccredited college any day unless you are purely wanting the teaching qualification.

 

I'm not an expert on Advanced Learner Loans but at least repayments are income dependent unlike Career Development loans.  I'm sairly sure they won't affect HE funding as they are often used for Access courses.

 

DaDa funding is dependent on family income unfortunately so your mum's partner's income will be taken into account.  The age lmit for Dada is is you have to be 23 or under at the start of your course.  You get no help if the family income is over £90,000 per year. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cruise ship auditions are indeed crazy -  - my DD was once number 497 in a closed cruise ship audition, open auditions usually attract a lot more.

I would echo the advice to get yourself some headshots and a showreel done. The showreel you should be able to do yourself and while you are still at college is a good idea if you are able to enlist someone's help to show some partner work. Have a look on you tube for some examples of dance showreels - both good and bad.

 

Your best option is probably still to get further training if you are able to. I don't think your age is an issue - DD had a 22 and a 23 year old at college in her year when she started.I suspect you may be a little lost out there competing for jobs with the hundreds if not thousands of dancers graduating this year from level 6 and degree courses as well as graduates from previous years looking for the next opportunity. Though the good news is that it all does come down to how you perform on audition day and I do personally know of one girl who dances professionally having sought work after a level 3 course and another who sought and found work after completing a foundation year only at one of the big colleges. Neither of them went directly into dance though. Both went to work for holiday companies - one as a entertainment host (cant remember who with) and the other as a kids entertainment host with Thomas Cook. The latter involved duties with the kids club and helping them put on shows but also gave the opportunity of performing herself a few times a week. Similar are probably places like Siblu, Haven, Pontins, John Fowler - all places where the role is multi functional and performing may be only a small part. Disney too, I know of a couple of people who started out as parade characters but once there there have been more opportunities to audition internally for dance roles in various on site shows.  The two I mentioned initially - one is know a dancer in a showteam for a hotel complex in the Caribbean - after a couple of years working as a host, the other is still with Thomas Cook - does April-Oct abroad and then panto.

 

I think you need to have a really good look at what your options are and see if you can find your plan A, B, C etc. And just remember, even if you go straight into doing a teaching course, there are still plenty of performance opportunities out there for 'amateur' adult dancers. Even going back to university to do something totally unrelated does not mean giving up dance. My DD dances 4 evenings a week (opted out of another 2) and is doing the university competition team, showcases and end of year show as well. Good luck

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, SFE tuition fee loans for undergrad degrees are for the duration of the course plus 1 year (a “gift year”).  So if you decided to go back to uni having only done a year previously, you’d get a loan for the duration of your new degree (but not the gift year).  I think that’s how it works.  

 

Advanced Learner Loans seem to be for FE courses so shouldn’t affect your eligibility for an undergraduate degree or Level 6 Diploma. 

 

I’m inclined to agree with Pictures about not spending another 3 years at a private college.  I’m sure there are funded colleges who offer the DDE teaching qualification.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is your decision re a college course based on being in a particular area of the country or are you happy to move. I see you were at DMU. There are dance courses at Leicester college and a dance college called Addict in Leicester. I don't know much about the specifics of their courses but if you still live close to Leicester/midlands it might be worth having an informal chat with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...