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From Dreams to Reality


lisadebs
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Have just stumbled on the RB documentary that was made in 2006 and shown on BBC 2 at Christmas time.

There is footage of RBS students training and also company members talking about the reality of life as a professional dancer. Topically there is also a short interview with a young Anna Rose O' Sullivan - so nice when the dream comes true!

 

Hope the link works and that it is alright to post it here

 

http://forums.dancemom.com/post/Documentary-OfferRoyal-Ballet-School-From-Dreams-to-Reality-(Follows-1018yr-olds-livingtraining-full-time-at-5728111

 

I'm sure many of you will have watched it the first time round - but it is interesting to see what some of the dancers interviewed are doing 6/7 years later!

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Golly was it that long ago?!

 

Incidentally, I remember Anna Rose O'Sullivan dancing at the All England semi finals when she was in the 9-10 years section - her ballet solo was phenomenal, the audience were spellbound particularly when she calmly did a developpe to 2nd position (ecarte) and her leg just soared.... my 14-15 year old students (who were struggling to do developpes in the centre in Intermediated!) were gobsmacked!

 

I remember at the time I stored her name to memory, thinking she would be something special.

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Thanks so much for posting- I thought the documentary was fascinating but also rather sad and slightly depressing- the dancers who weren't going to make principal were rather tragic (as well as poverty stricken), and even those who were principal didn't seem to be having the greatest time (Carlos Acosta seemed particularly exhausted and defeated, as well as in constant pain which he seemed to accept as the norm). I hope it isn't all like that or I will wonder what on earth I have done in letting DS pursue this profession.....

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There is footage of O'Sullivan age 10 on youtube and she was outstanding then so she must be amazing now. i can't imagine how someone gets to such an advanced level at 10 !.

 

I think she is one of those rare creatures that come along every decade or so that is so super talented that a lot of it comes naturally.

 

However, I do wonder how much is a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby if you are identified at an early age and given a lot of attention, help and support and get given all the lead roles in the dance school, doesn't that mean you are likely to become more accomplished than your peers by virtue of the fact that you have more opportunities to develop your skills?

 

I also agree with CeliB that the film is a bit sad. Poor Iohna Loots is still a soloist I think and never did get promoted. But better a soloist with RB than a principal somewhere else maybe? Who knows! Not everyone can make it to principal, just like not everyone can be managing director of a business.

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I also agree with CeliB that the film is a bit sad. Poor Iohna Loots is still a soloist I think and never did get promoted.

 

I think she did actually get promoted or something not too long after the show was transmitted, didn't she?

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Thanks so much for posting- I thought the documentary was fascinating but also rather sad and slightly depressing- the dancers who weren't going to make principal were rather tragic (as well as poverty stricken), and even those who were principal didn't seem to be having the greatest time (Carlos Acosta seemed particularly exhausted and defeated, as well as in constant pain which he seemed to accept as the norm). I hope it isn't all like that or I will wonder what on earth I have done in letting DS pursue this profession.....

Well my son is exhausted after 9 shows in 7 days, have just spoken to him on his day off and he was still in bed!!!!

 

But had a lovely chat mainly about character playing and choreography- he s far happier than he would be in an office job. He for one is loving living the dream and very chuffed not only to be doing roles that dancers in larger companies can only dream of but also be getting good reviews too. His ultimate aim is to teach and so is very fortunatel to be currently following a pretty comprehensivec life plan!

Edited by hfbrew
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To make it in this profession, so much more than talent alone is needed. The battle only begins when professional life starts, training is the easiest part, (ask any professional dancer).

Tremendous willpower and mental strength, great perseverance, a very strong body (and preferable remaining injury free, most of the time), very fast learner capable of picking up choreography at the speed of light, having great self confidence to replace injured colleagues at short notice and go on stage, highly developed artistry, stage presence, high self-motivation, high pain tolerance, having the intelligence to interpret different roles, living/working in a highly competitive environment, barely any time to live a "normal" life (performance days incl. Saturday matinees and evenings thus dancers only have 24 hours off, on Sundays, to recuperate...and to start all over again on Mondays)...

 

Perhaps others on the Forum can add to the list of "requirements" :)

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I started off feeling very depressed after reading your list of requirements (and a great list it was too) Nina G, as I am currently supporting three children who want to dance. I then thought about how it would look if we listed all the requirements to be say, a doctor, or a manager of a business, or a teacher, or even my life as a mother and part time music teacher. I'm sure when all the skills required for many jobs are listed it all looks rather challenging. So I am choosing to see the list as a wonderful set of skills that my kids will hopefully develop over time. I have yet to watch the documentary but hope I can put a positive slant on that too :-)

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Have watched the you tube footage of anna age 10, she obviously has great natural talent, but surely to be of that standard at such a young age her parents must have been able to afford many hours of training a week, even my dd who is a ja asked how she got to be so advanced at 10. Dd said the dance is from intermediate foundation?

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In answer to Ribbons' earlier question, yes sometime a dancer seems to have a golden future from a young age and fulfils all expectations. Anna Rose has certainly progressed as hoped and I too would like to add heart felt congratulations. However, it is not a foregone conclusion and there have been many dancers who showed early promise but did not develop and were overtaken by others. "The tortoise and the hare" is the fable that all young dancers should be familiar with.

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I remeber having a chat with Annas mother at a summer school, I am sure she is not a dancer or dance teacher and I think Anna trained at a local dance school before going to WL. Her mother told me that the only reason she started dancing was because she was slightly pigeon toed when she was younger. (Its quite a few years ago now, but I am sure that is what she said), A very nice down to earth lady who came across as very relaxed about the whole ballet thing.

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In answer to Ribbons' earlier question, yes sometime a dancer seems to have a golden future from a young age and fulfils all expectations. Anna Rose has certainly progressed as hoped and I too would like to add heart felt congratulations. However, it is not a foregone conclusion and there have been many dancers who showed early promise but did not develop and were overtaken by others. "The tortoise and the hare" is the fable that all young dancers should be familiar with.

 

I can think of a few "hares" too and have seen "tortoises" overtake in the long run. Certainly once dancers enter professional companies the best from all over the world are there to compete with!

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Belljul' I'm sure when all the skills required for many jobs are listed it all looks rather challenging. So I am choosing to see the list as a wonderful set of skills that my kids will hopefully develop over time.

 

You are absolutely right and good to see it in a positive light. The difference for a dancer is that their body is their instrument and they have to cope with near permanent exhaustion and bodily pains whilst most other professions are not simultaneously physically and mentally exhausting.

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The only nice thing about ballet is the bit that is seen on stage, the rest is blood sweat, tears with a big dollop of heartache. I think strenght of character and a strong mind are the biggest attributes a dancer has, obviously coupled with talent. As a parent of dancing child you only learn all about this the further along the journey you go. To the parents of the younger children out there, ENJOY your childs dancing for what it is now as it does get much harder the further along the professional path the dancer goes.

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Did anyone else find that video profoundly distressing and disturbing? I did. To see those fresh young children auditioning and the young teenagers, to compare them with those two beautiful girl dancers, one of whom could not find a job because she was all of 5' 8" tall and the other who was in chronic pain, and Carlos Acosta who looked beaten and exhausted and seemed to wish he was almost anywhere else. Darcey was positive but I know she has suffered from chronic pain and had several operations and rather glossed over all that.I must be honest and say that if I had seen that first, I would not have wanted my very talented ex dd (the would be actress) to be a dancer. Is it just me?

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I still remember the 2006 screening: I thought the participants very brave to allow its broadcast, especially after the PR disaster of the nineties BBC documentary “The House”.

Ionha Loots's comments made a big impression on me and I was delighted that her promotion soon followed (Alison is right about its timing).

I suspect Carlos Acosta's untypically downbeat manner and form was due to jet-lag but Marianela Nuñez came across, unsurprisingly, as thoroughly sensible. I don't think I'm alone in heaving a huge sigh of relief now whenever I see them manage that one-handed lift in “La Fille mal gardée”.

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No it is not just you. I actually don't think any parent in their right mind actuallly wants their child to be a dancer if they are aware of the reality which sadly many of them aren't. I certainly did not want my son to follow in my footsteps (He s well outgrown them now!)

 

However I also understand his desire to dance (well actually with him its more of a desire to perform) and I have kept a careful eye on his training without actually teaching hiim to ensure he trains safely. Obviously one reason why he was successful at 11 was that he had a trainable bodythat lent itself relatively easily to the demands of classical ballet. So he has been fortunately injury free apart from a hamstring injury foolishly caused by doing splits in a dorm with fellow students rather than adult supervision.

 

And yes professional life is no walk in the park but then is any job? The key is, as parents, is to understand how tough and demanding the profession is whilst also understanding the passion that drives it. We do our bit by listening. ensuring good diet and nurturing other interests so that our dcs don't become completely unaware of the fact that there is life outside ballet!

 

And believe me for many of our young people that have made the transition to professional dancer, well life is very exciting as well as tiring. I still can't quite believe my ds luck in that he is now getting paid for doing what hes always done, that is dressing up and performing!

Edited by hfbrew
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It's very interesting watching this as a parent of a dd and feeling,like many of you,trepidation and fear for them - I watched with my daughter who at the end had only seen the"good" in the documentary and is now even more inspired to go for it - I wish her and all our mad dd lots of luck - you can't put an old head on young shoulders - thank goodness!! :)

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