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When is it time to be realistic?


tomuchtallent
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Just wondered when is it time to be realistic about a career in dance?Is it when you dont get into any vocational school at 16?Is it when your teacher tells you?How about if your parent tells you?Its very sad really as most train for years and at what point can you tell if its not going to work out as a proffession?

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if my dd listened,to her teacher she would not be going to northern ballet,the rbs summer school,

or either getting a merit in her last exam.

i think for me you should keep going, untill your dd wants to stop.time will tell

if everyone listened to other people there would be no one dancing.

look at darcey bussell

good luck keep positive

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I know of so many students who have been told by some teacher, somewhere along the line that they weren't going to make it....and have then gone on to get into good vocational schools for sixth form. (Still to early to say how their careers will pan out in the longer term)

 

I think that the time to stop is when the dancer feels its no longer worth the effort.

 

Very few will actually become ballet dancers, but for those who don't, dance training may take them down different avenues that they didn't even know were possible when they started out.

 

However, they have to be in it for the journey, not for the end game, because that end game is so illusive. If you aren't enjoying the journey (at least most of the time) you're throwing a big part of your life away.

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The average age of a woman starting ballet is between eight and eleven, of a man, often in his teens. Later is not unheard of; Melissa Hayden

began at 15, Misty Copeland from ABT at 14, Adam Cooper at 16 and Igor Youskevitch at 22.

 

I was 35 when I started but it was only for fun. I've danced in the ballet school's end of year show and I'm quite happy to leave it at that. If at say 8 years of age, I knew just how much I enjoy dancing, I might have gone into ballet professionally. Who knows!

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look at darcey bussell

good luck keep positive

 

What do you mean regarding Darcy, Stardancer? I confess I don't know her history-did someone tell her she wouldn't dance professionally?

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Don't think so; she didn't start at WL until 13 but if I remember rightly she was training elsewhere up until that point.

 

Melissa Hamilton is the one whose story inspires me.

 

I think if my dd doesn't get a place to study dance by 18 or so, and either doesn't want to apply for Musical Theatre or can't get a place, she would then decide for herself to take a different path. But it would be her decision, not mine.

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What do you mean regarding Darcy, Stardancer? I confess I don't know her history-did someone tell her she wouldn't dance professionally?

Yes, Darcey initially had a very hard time at White Lodge and I am sure I remember an interview in which she spoke of a teacher who said she wouldn't make it.

 

I know plenty of people who didn't get into vocational school at 16, including myself but were successful two years later. And I had a successful career performing professionally as well as teaching. Ok so I ended up in a contemporary group but I'm quite happy with that and I did get to do any classical roles that came up!

 

I agree with what others have said that its about the journey and if you are not enjoying it (and I mean really not enjoying it ANY of the time, afterall sometimes its downright hateful!) then do something different! Otherwise follow your dream and have the satisfaction of having had the chance to follow it. Even if you don't end up being a professional ballet dancer that doesn't have to stop you enjoying this wonderful art form and of course these days there are other avenues to consider such as physiotherapy for dancers, promoting dance, research etc. One of my students became editor of a well known dance magazine.

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Perhaps the focus on what all our DD's and DS's may become in the future can take away some of the joy of dancing now.

 

I guess that children need to be growing up carefree, and enjoying life to the full, rather than worrying about whether they will be good enough, or feeling that they might not live up to expectations. There's plenty of time for all that when they are grown up!

 

It's a tough old world out there...

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Its all well and good saying that the child can continue until they decide to stop etc., I find myself constantly worrying about whether my dd will be able to earn a living from all this dance training and all the sacrifices we have made financially. Sometimes I think we should just call time on it and just go on a 5 star luxury round the world trip for the same money we spend on a year's dance training........far less stressful!

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I remember from Darcy's book that a teacher told her when she took her Grade 4 at White Lodge that she was a disgrace and was embarrassed by her dancing. I hope she lived to eat her words!

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About a year ago, I was chatting to another mum at dd's dance school. She was starting to find it hard to get her 15-year-old dd to continue with ballet and was having to persuade her to go every week.

 

She said that, considering all the money she had spent over the years, she wanted her dd to be able to 'pay her back' when she was older by getting a part-time job teaching at a dance school!

 

Haven't seen them for a while...

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According to some at the time, Mozart was not a success. Certainly not a financial success by any means. How much less beautiful the world would be without his music.

 

One doesn't have to be a member of a major ballet company to be a success in the field. There are many doors in the hall of dance. Even if one leaves dance entirely that kind of education in one's background is never lost: the discipline, dedication, attention to details, self-knowledge, sharing space, and the knowledge of possibilities is a lifetime asset.

 

As parents we don't get materially paid back for the years of changing diapers, amount of food, money and time invested. We do get paid back by watching a new life take flight - away from us - on its own.

 

I always say the child reserves the right to say "no more." If one has to persuade the child to go to class week after week - the child is saying "no." There is no material payback - we don't parent for a profit.

 

I know someone who was giving her daughter a huge "coming of age" party. She waned to keep expenses down to equal the probable return in gifts. Oh dear! Is that what we've come to? Give a party to make a profit - or break even?

 

Children are expensive - always have been. We bring them into the world and the debt is ours - we owe them care, food, education, and as much well being and love as we each can give. If we are fortunate the child will repay - but not because we are owed.

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I think that all serious dance students will have been told at some time that they won't make it. teachers somehow seem to think that that can be motivating. If one teacher tells a child that they won't make it that could mean anything but what if a number of teachers say the same? What if a child auditions over and over and never has any success? Should that child then be gently persuaded that an actual career in dance is not realistic?

 

I totally agree that we should support and encourage our children but I also agree that it is very important to be realistic. If a child subsequently continues to dance recreationally then a miracle may happen and how sweet would that be? better that way round than continual let down! I have to admit to sometimes being a little concerned by the frequent posts that say "her/his time will come". And it might. But, there again, it might not.

 

For every dancer that is told that they won't make it and then go on to be successful I am sure that there are many, many more who sadly never do. my child may well be one of them but is, at least for now, enjoying the journey!!

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All I'm hoping for is a dedication in my non-dd's first novel! As for the dd, well everything has been based on the "at least when she's in her old age she can look back and say she tried" ethos and you know, it's been fun for us along the way too. We uprooted ourselves and moved ourselves to a different county and if she doesn't make it well we had an adventure too.

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I agree with what others have said that its about the journey and if you are not enjoying it (and I mean really not enjoying it ANY of the time, afterall sometimes its downright hateful!) then do something different!

 

And that applies just the same even if you are one of the most potentially talented dancers ever seen (sadly).

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I'm afraid that IMO the decision to give up the dream is not solely the child's. The DC's training etc will generally be funded to some extent by the family, usually with considerable sacrifice (financial and otherwise) on the part of the other family members. I think that it must be very easy to lose perspective when you believe that your DC is talented and it is his/her dream, but, if you looked at the situation without the tags of "talent" and "dream" you would approach the situation differently, I think. For example, if your child had pursued post-graduate studies or had tried to make it as an artist without success for years you would probably reach the point where you had to tell your child that you could not finance them any longer. Children have to grow up and make their own way in the world without looking to their parents to finance them indefinitely. As children grow older so do their parents who have to think more about how they are going to finance their (hopefully lengthy) old age. I'm afraid that I just don't believe that it is a parent's moral duty to fund his/her child's dream for as long as the child wants, and the child does not have the right to expect this.

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We scrimp and save like nobody's business to fund ballet training, EYB, Easter Schools, piano and singing lessons, trips to the theatre etc. If my dd doesn't achieve her dream of dancing as a career, I will be able to look back with a clear conscience and say "we gave her every opportunity we could afford to". If she's still dancing at this intensity at 14, she won't be made to take a paper round to contribute, as she's already tired enough as it is with homework etc.

 

If nothing comes of it, will I think it's all been a waste of money? No, I will not. The friends she's made, the experiences she's had, the discipline it's given her, the fitness and beautiful posture, and the confidence she's gradually gaining - plus the fact that it keeps her off the streets - will have all been worth it, because she's chosen to do it.

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Spannerandpony you put it so much better than I did - wish I could have put it so eloquently.

 

I feel exactly the same about supporting the non-dd when she was at University as well. If she doesn't make it as a writer, well she had a wonderful experience and has grown into a lovely young lady. Tad excited as she's coming home this week-end - haven't seen her since dd auditioned at Northern!

 

Good luck to your dd with everything she does.

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I was told by a teacher I respected that it was her opinion when auditioning for 6th form places that if a child did not make it through to second/final round of auditons at all of the schools, then it was probably the right time to stop wanting to dance professionally. She was referring to classical training. I have to agree with her. I do think however that if the student does reach final auditons then they do have something the schools are looking for, there just isnt always the spaces available.

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A good question, albeit a difficult one to answer.

My advice to my daughter was that if she hadn't been successful in getting a vocational place by the age of 18 then it probably wasn't going to happen. Then after graduation, I suggested she give it 18 months and if she hadn't secured a contract by then, it would be time to rethink and try something different. I've always believed in being realistic and objective about her ability.

The concerns don't stop though when your child gets to a vocational school. The years from the start of 6th form to graduation fly by so quickly and the next hurdle looms. Will they get a contract. How long do they give themselves to get one. It's a never ending worry. If you are lucky to get a contract, the end date comes around very quickly. The next question, is your contract being renewed. If so, all well and good. If not, it's back to the audition rounds again with the hundreds of other hopefuls. Then there's the dilemma of how to support yourself in between contracts. A regular job is difficult because not many employers can let you have time off at very short notice to attend auditions. If you don't work though, any money you've saved is quickly eaten up travelling to and from auditions. Despite the bleak picture I've painted (apologies everyone) there are a great many success stories and grit and determination count for a lot. Seeing your child dance professionally for the first time makes everything worthwhile.

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mumofballetmaddaugter, its great to have real and honest posts. The only way we ever know what happens in the real dance world is through peoples experiences. I honestly think that the whole dance thing is a journey and should be enjoyed every step of the way, as you never know when it will end.

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I do think however that if the student does reach final auditons then they do have something the schools are looking for, there just isnt always the spaces available.

Would you say that applies to those auditioning at age 11? According to Deborah Bull and 'The Everyday Dancer', to make it, got to be in full time training by 11, 12 at latest :( I prefer your thoughts as have DD wanting to try again next year after making 3 finals for yr 7 but no funded offer.....we will support her but are very realistic as to her chances but as she's not giving up, who are we to give up on her. Let's hope she proves Deborah Bull wrong!
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I would never say that just because a child doesn't get a place at 11, they will not have a career as a dancer. Likewise, it would be dangerous to say that someone will make it just because they are at Vocational School by 11. I disagree with Deborah Bull's statement. It may have been the case when she was at WL, but times change.

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We scrimp and save like nobody's business to fund ballet training, EYB, Easter Schools, piano and singing lessons, trips to the theatre etc. If my dd doesn't achieve her dream of dancing as a career, I will be able to look back with a clear conscience and say "we gave her every opportunity we could afford to". If she's still dancing at this intensity at 14, she won't be made to take a paper round to contribute, as she's already tired enough as it is with homework etc.

 

If nothing comes of it, will I think it's all been a waste of money? No, I will not. The friends she's made, the experiences she's had, the discipline it's given her, the fitness and beautiful posture, and the confidence she's gradually gaining - plus the fact that it keeps her off the streets - will have all been worth it, because she's chosen to do it.

 

I think that this depends on how many children that you have and what sacrifices one would have to make to support the other. I could never put all my resources into one child alone as it simply would not be fair. Compromises have to be made.

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I would never say that just because a child doesn't get a place at 11, they will not have a career as a dancer. Likewise, it would be dangerous to say that someone will make it just because they are at Vocational School by 11. I disagree with Deborah Bull's statement. It may have been the case when she was at WL, but times change.

 

I think that you have to say that they may not have a career as a dancer whether they get to a school at 11 or not. this is not being negative, it is being honest!

 

I think, though, that if a child does not get to any finals at 11 that is perhaps a time to start to introducing the possibility that it just might not happen. I have certainly done that and if it does, I will be thrilled but if it doesn't, then my child will be prepared!

Edited by Jellybeans
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I think that the journey is only just begining at age 11. Children develop at different times in their lives. Some just arent as develped in their dancing at age 11, but by the time they are auditoning for 6th form they are more than ready. I know many students who were deemed as the next Darcy Bussels at age 11 have simply not developed much further as the years have progressed.

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I was told by a teacher I respected that it was her opinion when auditioning for 6th form places that if a child did not make it through to second/final round of auditons at all of the schools, then it was probably the right time to stop wanting to dance professionally. She was referring to classical training. I have to agree with her. I do think however that if the student does reach final auditons then they do have something the schools are looking for, there just isnt always the spaces available.

 

Primrose, did you really mean ALL of the schools?

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