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Six reasons why ballet dancers make awesome employees


Jan McNulty
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Interesting!  I know of one young man who, having attended one of our major vocational schools for some years, took himself out having decided it was not a path he now wished to follow, went home, completed his A levels and, on applying for University, found that his ballet years made him a desirable chap at interview, that very fact making him stand out from his competitors.

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Thanks for posting that Janet. And for your comment Ian. I'm going to get my ds to read it - it could be very useful when planning his personal statement on his UCAS application...as a boy who will have devoted over a decade to his ballet training, with no intention of becoming a professional dancer, it is difficult to know how to "sell" his "hobby" (passion!) on degree applications.

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This article is very acurate and I know of one young lady who missed one of her A level grades by one grade and therefore thought she would not gain entry to her university of choice to study medicine.  The university not only accepted her, but told her that her years of ballet study was the deciding factor as she had proved that she was dedicated, fast on the uptake and had the discipline  and application needed for the course.

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I have a friend, who after having done the often soul destroying 'Europe Audition backpack tour" we all did in the 80's (youth hostels,inter-rail card, map of Europe, a list of ballet companies and a bag of change for telephone calls), decided on a change of career. She got on a post graduate management course at one of London's largest stores on the strength of good O levels and 3 years at Ballet School. They said her training made her the ideal candidate.

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It has always been the case that having something in which a high level has been reached and/or which has required dedication and hard work, whether that is ballet, music, sport or whatever over and above academic qualifications will give a real boost to a candidate for an oversubscribed university and/or course. There are children at my DD's school who, at the age of 11, were saying that they would like to do nothing but their homework after school finishes - and i was horrified that some were allowed to drop everything else to do just that. I should add that these children were already doing very well academically, so their academic ability was never in any doubt.

 

My DD does very well academically, in music, in many sports and in dance but was very worried that because some friends were now ONLY doing schoolwork and had dropped all of their other interests, she would fall behind academically - and she said that one friend's mother had instigated the move to schoolwork only because she wants DD's friend to have a chance to attend Oxbridge/Ivy League universities. Fortunately I was able to reassure her that even when I went to university, back when Adam was a lad, academic qualifications alone were simply not enough, especially for top universities and/or popular courses - and I think that is even more the case now, when almost every A level candidate seems to go to university. Having achieved in different areas as well as academically gives a candidate a real edge - and also shows that they have a life beyond their desk....

 

Echoing huddsballetmum's comment, DD's dance school principal was contacted last year by the medical faculty of a prominent university which had just interviewed and accepted one of her Advanced 2 pupils. They explained that reaching such a demonstrably high standard in a training system renowned worldwide (RAD) and attending at least 3 but usually more ballet lessons per week, along with the student's high grade piano playing and of course her academic grades had meant that there was no way she would have been rejected; she had demonstrated dedication, tenacity, time management skills (very, very necessary and yet often simply non-existent), an infinite capacity for extremely hard work, an ability to learn quickly and assimilate changes and cerebral ability way above simple academic achievement that she was perhaps their ideal candidate. This also reassured my DD - as do her ongoing excellent grades!

 

Our dancing children should be encouraged to see all of the other advantages - apart from an ability to dance - that ballet training gives them. I hope your DS, Amum/Cathy, is able to put together a personal statement that will wow the university admissions panel!

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When my dd was about to start secondary school (some time ago now) we went to the induction evening and were talking to her new form teacher. I outlined her extra-curricular commitments and expressed concern about fitting in homework as well but was told that these were the students the school loved as they knew how to organise their time and were frequently the ones who achieved best later on. Not all staff were as sympathetic especially as she moved up the school but she showed them by always keeping up to date and coming away with 3 A*, 5As and 5Bs at GCSE (and gaining a 6th form place at vocational ballet school) despite having moderate dyslexia which school completely failed to spot!

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This confirms what I am always telling parents about ballet training - that it is a really positive thing for their children to do. With the culture of instant gratification nowadays the fact that children stick at something which is incredibly hard, takes endless practise and advances slowly is a miracle and will, I am sure, stand them in good steed for the rest of their lives.

 

I will never forget working in a social services office as a temp for a period when I was "resting" . My job, along with the other ladies of the typing pool, was to type out the handwritten reports of the social workers. I found the reports fascinating for a start, so I typed them out at top speed eager to read the next bit and well because I had a lifetime of training behind me that made it impossible for me not to work to the best of my ability and full out! The other secretaries hated me and I was told in no uncertain terms to slow down, because they would be expected to maintain my high output long after I was gone!

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I hope your DS, Amum/Cathy, is able to put together a personal statement that will wow the university admissions panel!

Thanks Legseleven.

 

I love this thread.

 

Dance*is*life, following on from your post, I've put a quote from an interview with Michael Nunn and Darcey Bussell that was in the Independent: John Mallinson has just posted the link to it in the Dance Links section...

 

"One thing that defines ballet dancers is our sense of discipline. It drives us in everything we do, sometimes to our detriment. But that's why I like employing ballet dancers, even within an office environment: because of their discipline. They are never ill, never late."

 

Edited just to say that it is Michael Nunn who says the above.

Edited by amum/Cathy
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I think ballet dancers also know how to stand still and listen to instruction - which are two attributes not often found in other employees in the work-a-day world.

 

We also know how to respect another person's space. 

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And one reason, courtesy of Leanne Benjamin's retirement interview with The Arts Desk, http://www.theartsdesk.com/dance/theartsdesk-qa-ballerina-leanne-benjamin?page=0,0, why they may not be 100% perfect employees :)

 

"How has being a dancer shaped your personality and way of thinking?

I think it's given us a lot of freedom and that's the one thing I will have to be careful of in the outside world is how I behave! Because we are so free with each other and the world has changed to become so much more politically correct. We don't adhere to those rules in a ballet company. You can pinch someone's bum in the company and you don't think anything of it, but you can't do that in the outside world."

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I think she has a point.  When you end up in gender mixed company making a fast costume change - no one has time for the niceties.

 

A dancer tends to look at the body as an instrument to be used - not hidden. 

 

When you spend so much time touching such as in partnering - your view tends to change. 

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