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I would say that by 16, if you have not been offered any places at upper schools for the dance training of your choice, then you can no longer manage on "potential" alone. Potential is the promise, if you like, of coming up with the goods, and if you are not coming up with the dance goods by 16 I would suggest it was time to look at other options as the competition is just so steep.

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I agree with the above posters, however I would like to say that it is possible to continue further training at 18 and some students may well, having got nowhere at aged 16 will be succssful two years later- provided of course they have worked very , very hard! Students who have not been vocationally trained from a young age may not realise just how high the standard needs to be when they audition for the first time (eg at 16) but having had their eyes opened, do the necessary work to be good enough later.(presuming the capacity is there in the 1st place).


However I am talking about dance training in general here. Girls in particular who want to be classical dancers ideally should be at advanced standard when auditioning at 16. Nonetheless the potential to make the transition from student to professional should still be there. I remember one teacher telling me that she queried why a student she thought was outstanding didn't get a place at the school she was auditioning for. The answer was that it was felt that that student had reached her full potential and was therefore unlikely to benefit from the training they were offering.


When is it no longer enough to just have the 'potential' to achieve? This was the original question. My feeling is that it depends on the individual circumstances. For example Rudolf Nureyev had very little formal training until aged 17 and was obviously selected more for potential at the time.

Even now some places will take a chance on older students according to their backgroud/history of training. However someone who has demonstrated potential for years but not progressed despite years of thorough training will obviously have to reconsider trying to make it as a professional dancer.

Edited by hfbrew
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I think that potential encompasses two worlds: what the body is capable of and what the fire in the belly (and the mental stamina) ignites.


Either one may be outstanding but without the other it won't happen.


A teacher must be aware of both and how they balance out. That is more difficult to assess during an audition, however. And, yet, it does come through.


How does one know when potential is no longer enough? When a standard is not being met either because the body is incapable or the fire has dimmed in pursuit of the standard.


Sometimes, I think, we try to put hard and fast rules on what is not a science but art. Even science can be part art.

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