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22 this year... adult learner with no hope of full-time training?


odette92
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hi everyone, i've realised recently that i don't want to do anything professionally but dance. however with some sadness i do realise that this option is pretty much closed for me (only started ballet at 19, pointe work now at barre only, some basic centre work).

 

i'm just curious to know if there are any schools who might be willing to take me (fairly flexible/proficient i.e. < 90 degree arabesques, grand battements a la second are far above my arm, can do double pirouettes regularly). obviously i wouldn't mind training with people younger than me. 

 

i am really just hoping to do this full-time on a course, with the knowledge that i most probably won't get into a company/be employed as a ballet dancer. 

 

will be grateful if anyone has got any leads! thanks all x

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Hello odette92. I don`t know you or how good you are at ballet.But i`m afraid i would have to be straight with you.Your chances of becoming a professional ballet dancer are almost zero. I`m sorry if this sin`t what you wanted to hear.There are hundreds,if not thousands of people who begin training from a very young age and are considered to have a very good technique,coupled with the correct physical proportions and musicality/dramatic ability etc,who will never become professional classical ballet dancers.The sad reality is there are far too few contracts for dancers out there. You say you did`nt begin ballet lessons until you were 19; this is the age most people are graduating from vocational school,often after 10 or more years of intense training,often several times a week , for hours on end. Of course,this doesn`t mean that you cannot continue to enjoy your ballet lessons,and continue to improve.If you enjoy doing something it does`nt matter what level or standard you are at, as long as you continue to gain pleasure from doing it. So my advice would be to continue with your classes and enjoy yourself.

Edited by thequays
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Have a look at Preston College. You need to be about Intermediate standard though, not sure if you're there yet....plus there's other dance styles, not just ballet.

 

thank you Aurora, will do!

 

Hello odette92. I don`t know you or how good you are at ballet.But i`m afraid i would have to be straight with you.Your chances of becoming a professional ballet dancer are almost zero. I`m sorry if this sin`t what you wanted to hear.There are hundreds,if not thousands of people who begin training from a very young age and are considered to have a very good technique,coupled with the correct physical proportions and musicality/dramatic ability etc,who will never become professional classical ballet dancers.The sad reality is there are far too few contracts for dancers out there. You say you did`nt begin ballet lessons until you were 19; this is the age most people are graduating from vocational school,often after 10 or more years of intense training,often several times a week , for hours on end. Of course,this doesn`t mean that you cannot continue to enjoy your ballet lessons,and continue to improve.If you enjoy doing something it does`nt matter what level or standard you are at, as long as you continue to gain pleasure from doing it. So my advice would be to continue with your classes and enjoy yourself.

 

hello thequays,

 

thank you for being honest! yes, i do know all those facts. however i'm not hoping to be professional (perhaps my original post wasn't exactly clear about that). i recognise that door is now closed!

 

but i do have some savings that i would love to spend on a full-time course to enrich myself and get up to scratch and be in an environment i love very much full-time for a year or two.

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thank you Aurora, will do!

 

 

hello thequays,

 

thank you for being honest! yes, i do know all those facts. however i'm not hoping to be professional (perhaps my original post wasn't exactly clear about that). i recognise that door is now closed!

 

but i do have some savings that i would love to spend on a full-time course to enrich myself and get up to scratch and be in an environment i love very much full-time for a year or two.

Oh I see.I thought from your post you wanted to become a professional ballet dancer. You could most certainly teach,that`s for sure,and a very rewarding career it would be too.!

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Guest chinafish

I did the RAD full time teacher BA Ballet Education course in my late 20s so it's not impossible!

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I'm sure teaching could be an option but to start or be accepted on a course I guess you would have to reach at least Intermediate standard as there will also be a lot of people wanting to do these courses as well and I think with the RAD one at any rate even though you are in your twenties you will examined by a physio for suitability as well unless they don't do this any more of course.

I don't know about Preston College......sounds interesting.

 

Of course you could also aim to do some dancing in an amateur capacity........there are quite a lot of opportunities to do this now especially if in the London area but increasingly in many other parts of the country.

For example if you are within say an hours striking distance of London you could have a look at what the LAB (London Amateur Ballet ) are up to. They hold weekly classes on different days of the week where you learn repertoire and get to perform once a year in July.

There is also The Chelsea Ballet which have performances throughout the year in various venues. I believe there is a very good ballet company in Chelmsford area as well.....though have never seen them. So have a look for these opportunities in your area.

 

There are also lots of workshops run by RAD or the ENB or LONDON CITY ACADEMY or again LAB in which to learn repertoire.....these are great fun.

 

Or you could just aim to pass exams of either RAD or BBO both of which allow adults to take exams and just get your dancing to a high level of proficiency.......just doing that is very ambitious for working people!! Ive never managed to get beyond Intermediate level in exam terms myself but I know others who are older than yourself who are studying for Advanced level exams.......no mean feat once you are passed 18 years old!!!

 

But please don't harbour any secret ambitions to end up in a professional capacity.........which is very easy to do when you are passionate about ballet.....you may think if you just work hard enough and have a few years full time you can somehow make it but as the quays says it really is too late for this ......there are loads of vocational students chasing those elusive contracts.

 

I hope you continue to enjoy your ballet though good luck!

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.........................................

 

But please don't harbour any secret ambitions to end up in a professional capacity.........which is very easy to do when you are passionate about ballet.....you may think if you just work hard enough and have a few years full time you can somehow make it but as the quays says it really is too late for this ......there are loads of vocational students chasing those elusive contracts.

 

I hope you continue to enjoy your ballet though good luck!

 

Having said that there is always choreography. According to Wikipedia Matthew Bourne enrolled at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire at the grand old age 22 and even performed professionally.

 

Also there seem to be a lot of good jobs with ballet and other dance companies, theatres and impresarios in marketing, education, media relations. licensing, design, merchandising and all sorts of other spin-off activities that are vital to the dance.

 

There's a lot of snobbery and cliqueism in ballet odette92 which I find exasperating (and sometimes rail against more than I should in this forum) though I must stress that none of the folk who have contributed to the thread are guilty of such tendencies and all will have advised you with affection  and your best interests at heart.

 

Ballet is very competitive which is a good thing as it ensures that the public see only the best wherever they live but ingenuity and resourcefulness will always find a way to achieve an ambition. I do hope you achieve yours, my dear, even if you do so in a slightly different way and by a somewhat different route. Like LinMM I wish you all the best. I also endorse her tip about the Chelmsford Ballet Company. I saw and reviewed their Nutcracker  on the 19 March 2014 and it was jolly good. 

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It is easier for men to take up a career at a slightly later age but I don't think Ive heard of a female who only started if genuinely for the first time at that age ......19.......who has made it as a professional.

 

Of course there are list of related careers in ballet world and even theatre world but I get the feeling Odette92 just wants to dance!!

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Hi Odette,

 

My dd1's ballet teacher started ballet late too and did a course at a local dance college which is I think similar to the one in Preston. She is my dd1's favourite teacher - she teaches the adults (she also teaches the younger pupils but my children are all older), and has so much enthusiasm and smiles so much when dancing which is so infectious to her students :) 

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It is easier for men to take up a career at a slightly later age but I don't think Ive heard of a female who only started if genuinely for the first time at that age ......19.......who has made it as a professional.

 

Of course there are list of related careers in ballet world and even theatre world but I get the feeling Odette92 just wants to dance!!

 

I agree with LinMM that for male dancers it is possible to start a bit later than female, due to the fact that generally male body fully develop a bit later than that of female.

 

"But please don't harbour any secret ambitions to end up in a professional capacity.........which is very easy to do when you are passionate about ballet.....you may think if you just work hard enough and have a few years full time you can somehow make it but as the quays says it really is too late for this ......there are loads of vocational students chasing those elusive contracts."  (quated from LinMM's post today 09:15PM - sorry I don't know how to multi-quate.)

 

I also agree with LinMM on this. You are at a stage of life where one should be horning into acquiring a skill for earning one's living, either at school or on job.  Sorry to be a bore, but this is necessary skill for most of us who dance as hobby, unfortunately. 

 

By the way, I don't think there is "a lot of snobbery and cliqueism" in ballet, at least no more than any other discipline which require certain degree of experience (it has to be a bit more than just a few years' of experience, though) to acquire necessary skill(s) and knowledge about the subjects, so I would not worry about it.  At least I had no such experience when I took up ballet again as an adult after over 2 decades!

 

I wish you best of luck, odette92. And I hope you will keep dancing!  Ballet is one of the few hobbies even after a decade or so continue to give a plenty of challenge and so much joy.

Edited by mimi66
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thank you for your kind words and thoughts everyone! I think teaching is my best option and I will look into that.

 

it's just a culmination of personal factors that prompted my post and raised my hopes about dancing... recently a couple of people I know passed away and before that one of them shared that he didn't get to fulfil his dream of becoming a painter because of the need to raise his family. I know I'm only 22 but that certainly triggered something in me.

 

then I found that wordpress whose author secured a preliminary audition at Central at the age of 20 so I thought there might be a chance for me.

 

LinMM, you are right, I just want to dance! thank you for being so lovely and honest everybody, I will moderate my expectations and keep going for classes to continue living my dream in whatever small way I can.

 

wouldn't it be nice if we we're completely in control of how our lives turned out? never thought that my parents being unable to afford the ballet lessons I wanted when I was 6 would make me regret so much.

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thank you for your kind words and thoughts everyone! I think teaching is my best option and I will look into that.

 

it's just a culmination of personal factors that prompted my post and raised my hopes about dancing... recently a couple of people I know passed away and before that one of them shared that he didn't get to fulfil his dream of becoming a painter because of the need to raise his family. I know I'm only 22 but that certainly triggered something in me.

 

then I found that wordpress whose author secured a preliminary audition at Central at the age of 20 so I thought there might be a chance for me.

 

LinMM, you are right, I just want to dance! thank you for being so lovely and honest everybody, I will moderate my expectations and keep going for classes to continue living my dream in whatever small way I can.

 

wouldn't it be nice if we we're completely in control of how our lives turned out? never thought that my parents being unable to afford the ballet lessons I wanted when I was 6 would make me regret so much.

 

 

If we were completely in control of how our lives turned out doesn't mean we would make the right decisions.  And think of how many pleasant surprises we would miss.

 

A few years ago there was another person at this board who like you wanted to dance but had started too late for consideration by a professional company. I suggested to her that Instead she should find others like herself and form a company of their own.  It is possible to do.  You can make your own opportunities.  There are lots of opportunities to share your gift other than a formal theatre setting.

 

I always kept room in my schedule to dance at senior centers, day care centers, fairs, etc.  I would say without hesitation that dancing at those kinds of places - especially at full care nursing homes was every bit as gratifying as dancing on a formal stage.

 

I made up a repertoire, crafted the choreography, made the costumes and set up a schedule of dancing at these places once a month.  When practicable I took my best students with me.

 

Think about it.  

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Odette92, 

 

With the greatest respect to those who take a contrary view I still don't think you should despair. I agree that it is unlikely that you will appear on the stage of Covent Garden or even less famous venues but your chances would not have been high even if you had started to study at the usual age. 

 

The reason I counsel against despair is not that to offer false hope of performing professionally but because interests change over the years and there is a lot more to a ballet than the dancing. The musicians, the designer of the sets and costumes, the choreographer, the technicians and all their assistants and support staff are just as creative and as essential to the success of a work as the ballerina.  I appreciate that you have set your heart on dancing but even if you had shown exceptional promise the time would have come when you would have had to stop performing in public.  That is the end of a phase of a career in dance but it need not be the end of a career in dance.   Similarly, the reality that time is against you need not rob you of the opportunity of a fulfilling career in dance or related to dance.

 

You mentioned that you might try teaching. That is in no sense a second rate option.  Antoinette Sibley stressed the importance of teaching in a talk that she gave to the London Jewish Cultural Centre in February. A teacher represents every teacher, every choreographer and every dancer that had ever gone before. Less than two weeks later I saw a great teacher in action at Northern Ballet Academy's open day.  Watching Yoko Ichino teach the senior students thrilled me just as much as any performance by a ballerina.

 

Find a good course - there are lots to choose from some of which focus on the technical and commercial side of dance and others on performance - give it your all and see where it leads to.  You should be able to earn a living somewhere.  

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If we were completely in control of how our lives turned out doesn't mean we would make the right decisions.  And think of how many pleasant surprises we would miss.

 

A few years ago there was another person at this board who like you wanted to dance but had started too late for consideration by a professional company. I suggested to her that Instead she should find others like herself and form a company of their own.  It is possible to do.  You can make your own opportunities.  There are lots of opportunities to share your gift other than a formal theatre setting.

 

I always kept room in my schedule to dance at senior centers, day care centers, fairs, etc.  I would say without hesitation that dancing at those kinds of places - especially at full care nursing homes was every bit as gratifying as dancing on a formal stage.

 

I made up a repertoire, crafted the choreography, made the costumes and set up a schedule of dancing at these places once a month.  When practicable I took my best students with me.

 

Think about it.  

 

You always talk such sense Anjuli_Bai.

 

All your suggestions are excellent. I am sure that Odette92 will find some outlet for her skills and requite her ambitions. As Voltaire is reputed to have said

 

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.

 

That's why she should not despair, 

 

Speaking as a "senior" (OAP in our terminology) I am jolly glad there are folk like you who have time for folk like me. And even I have a chance of performing in public (albeit a very remote one) as our Over 55 class takes part in the Northern Ballet Academy's end of year show in the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre where many of my favourites such as Martha Leebolt, Hironao Takehashi, Cira Robinson and Sarah Kundi have danced. If I do make it into the show I will die a happy woman.

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There is a two page article in today's Times about Matthew Bourne and it does indeed say he started training at Laban aged 22.  Have you thought of applying there Odette 92, or somewhere similar?  As well as Contemporary dance and Choreography they have Classical classes and there are also teaching module options in the degree.  

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Not to put a dampener on things for you Odette92,but have you read the thread on this forum about vocational school tuition fees and how much it costs to attend ? Please don`t think i`m trying to kick you while you`re down but it costs serious money to train full time for three years. And as I am sure you have read on this Forum not everyone gets funding.

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But if you follow a degree course you have access to student loans.

True, but wouldn't that depend upon not having been at Uni before? I am sure student finance only offers funding for four years in total (please correct me if I'm wrong). Obviously if Odette92 hasn't yet been to Uni then student loans could be a good option.

 

Speaking of Universities, that is another option. I believe Roehampton in particular has an excellent Dance Studies degree course and I'm sure there are others too.

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Again I am sounding such a bore, but please be aware that there is a fierce competition for getting a job as a ballet teacher, and it is not as easy as some may think to earn one's living from teaching ballet (or other dance) alone. In fact, it is very difficult.

 

Do not forget that those who have gone through vocational school training - a lot of times, even with those who have actually danced in a reputable ballet company such as RB, ENB et all in principal roles - would be seeking teaching posts.

 

I am not discouraging you from taking teaching course for those who has not been trained ballet at vocational schools, nevertheless I think you should not ignore this when you plan your future.  Getting in to a course (for you even that will be a few years away) is not an end for you - easy to forget at your age. (hasten to add that, I am not that old yet, but old enough to know this :) ).

 

Most of us who have been dancing long enough (albeit as one's hobby) to see how enthusiasm alone isn't enough when it comes to ballet related-works. 

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