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dance010

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I have decided to open up a new thread separate of my others because I am a confused mother with a daughter who is looking for guidance i can't give very well  [frown] My DD18 graduated HS this past year (c/o 2016). She has been dancing since she was 14/15ish but fell in love with it from the start. Currently, she dances 13-15 hrs a week at a competitive studio that is heavy on technique. She has been on a comp team going on her 3rd year now and just loves it. She is taking online college classes through a local school. Academics have never really been her "thing" she would tell you. She has all A's and B's throughout high school but never had interest in any subjects really. Personally, I cannot see sending her to a University when she has no idea what she would want to do, what degree she is interested in, or even what subjects she likes. Everything to her is just dance, dance, dance. She would love to pursue it as a career but fears that she isn't good enough because she started late in the game. As a mother, I dont want to tell her she can't do something, but I think it wold be beneficial for her to have a year or two more of training. We are looking at sending her off to a SI this summer to boost her skills. I guess I am just reaching out on this platform to get some advice from some experienced dance moms, I dont know much about the professional dance "world" outside of the competitive dance we have done the past years and so i dont think I am helping her the best I can. Here we are, a year after she has graduated and I am not sure where to go from here. To clarify, takes 4 hrs of ballet a week but does NOT want to become a professional ballerina by any stretch (she is not on pointe). I with there was like a dance life counselor or something we could go to [crazy] All advice and thoughts on my situation would be very helpful!
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #2 
I don't know where yiu are from or how,it works for yiu. But in my country (Australia), many dance studios offer a full time program for kids once they finish high school. They dance 5-6 hours per day 5 days a week through the full time program and then work towards dance qualifications, most also continue to ale regular afternoon/evening classes at their dance studio and they continue to compete on the competition team and keep working through their dance exams to attain their teachers certificates and diplomas.

Lots of kids finish high school and then just do this and dance for the next year or two. For some studios the program is amazing and the vast majority fi the kids will go on to have professional careers. But other studios this isn't always the case. It can act as a gap year or 2 for the kids to develop more maturity and learn more about themselves and their interests before attending university. Also the qualifications they gain through the dance program can lift their school grades and help them get into the university of their choice.
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dance010

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacaranda
I don't know where yiu are from or how,it works for yiu. But in my country (Australia), many dance studios offer a full time program for kids once they finish high school. They dance 5-6 hours per day 5 days a week through the full time program and then work towards dance qualifications, most also continue to ale regular afternoon/evening classes at their dance studio and they continue to compete on the competition team and keep working through their dance exams to attain their teachers certificates and diplomas. Lots of kids finish high school and then just do this and dance for the next year or two. For some studios the program is amazing and the vast majority fi the kids will go on to have professional careers. But other studios this isn't always the case. It can act as a gap year or 2 for the kids to develop more maturity and learn more about themselves and their interests before attending university. Also the qualifications they gain through the dance program can lift their school grades and help them get into the university of their choice.


wow this sounds amazing! Unfortunately we are in California and programs like these dont exist that I know of. It sounds like it gives the kids a year or two to "get their life together" and know for sure what they want to do before sending them away. Wish we had a program like this in America!
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Kfish1987

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Reply with quote  #4 
There are community colleges that offer dance majors in California. Glendale, Mt. San Jacinto and El Camino Community College offer an Associate degree.
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dancingpeanut

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Reply with quote  #5 
There are post high-school dance programs in the US that are similar. What tyoe of program is best for your daughter depends on what type of dance your daughter is interested in. Obviously, ballet programs would be best suited for dancers wanting to be ballerinas, but there are other options. Most college programs have a modern/contemporary focus (not all, there are some that are more ballet focused and a few commercial dance programs out there). For commercial dancers, they can get training at professional schools, generally in LA and NYC, in LA there are studios like Millenium, Edge and Debbie Reynolds or Steps and Broadway Dance Center in NYC. As the parent of two young adults myself, I would recommend you have her start researching her options, if she wants a career in the arts, being proactive in searching out opportunities is a vital skill. My DD is interested in commercial dance, and she began by reaching out to dancers and choreographers she had worked with in master classes, conventions, etc. She asked the simple question, "Where did you train to be a professional?" and got a list of options to check out. Most dancers/choreographers have bios readily available online, so it's easy information to get even if you don't get opportunities to talk to them in person. Reading playbills and programs from professional performances is another way to find out what path lead performers to where they are now.
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JulieDB

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Reply with quote  #6 
One of my daughter's former ballet teachers did not start dance until later in life. She just had a lot of natural talent. She went on to teach at another studio as well as dance in a local troupe.
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1tinydancer

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I would ask your dd what kind of dancer does she want to be and then go from there. We know she doesn't want to be a ballerina so let's cross that off the list. Does she like tap? Jazz? Modern/contemporary? Broadway? Hip hop? Animation? Maybe she should narrow her focus a little bit before she expands it. Also, she's pushing 19. As a mom I know you want to help and do things for her but she is the one that wants to take this journey so maybe let her do the research and you be her sounding board.
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heidi459

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If it were my own daughter, the first thing I'd want her to do would be to think long and hard about what kind of dance/dance career she wanted to pursue since that will drive so many of the decisions. Sounds like you need some direction.  And after that?  Some intense training.  And I do mean intense.  Don't make the mistake of just doing what everyone else is doing and "hope" that she has some sort of super natural talent that will help her make up for all that lost time.  When you start late you need to put the pedal to metal.  Btdt with my own dd who switched to ballet late.  Good luck!       
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dance010

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Thank you all! She is very interested in contemporary, she was thinking of maybe being a part of a contemporary company. She also loves jazz as well, those are her two favorites. Commercial dance is also something she is interested in, but more so contemporary than anything 
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camercad

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I agree with looking at the dancers bios from different dance companies to get a better understanding of the potential dance career routes. 
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dancingpeanut

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She needs to start looking at the bios of female dancers in contemporary companies. Here is a nice list to start her search: http://www.contemporary-dance.org/contemporary-dance-companies-usa.html I don't know how up to date or complete it is, but it is a starting point. I think she will find the vast majority of them have a BFA n dance. And most dancers in contemporary companies do not earn a full-time income, they often supplement with side gigs, teaching, fitness instruction, waitressing, etc.
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camercad

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I know the director for one of the companies listed on that link and the dancers in her company are unpaid. The company only has two performances per year, so it is more of a hobby gig. The director also owns a dance studio and I think most of her income is generated by that. She does end up usually using the company dancers as instructors at her studio, and they do get paid for that. 
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heidi459

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I think I would only want to caution that all college dance programs are not created equal. That BFA?  That's a guarantee of a piece of paper not a guarantee of a job and sadly, most certainly not a guarantee of the highest caliber/most intense dance training.  So perhaps just keep that in mind.  You state that she started late and if you think that she is behind where she should be as a result, you're going to want to make very sure that she is getting the very best training she possibly can from this point forward if she wants to maximize her chances of performing professionally.  Lots to think about for sure.
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3dancermommy

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So I have a senior who will be graduating in June. Here are my two cents. I think your daughter should take dance classes at a community college. My senior has already done so because she has planned to attend a 4 year university and double majoring and one of them is dance. Community colleges gives you a transition. Also your daughter can get her AA in dance or whatever other degrees at the same time for minimal costs. It also allows her to have performance opportunities. The other thing is that I know people who have made a career out of dance and did not start until they attended their first dance class in a community college. Two of them in fact. Both are now teachers at a local studio and choreograph as well. Also being that she is not that much into academics, she can take all the dance classes she wants there and still be in an academic setting just in case she changes her mind. Hope this helps.
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #15 
Ok, we need to be realistic here.

In order to get a job she needs to be the best dancer in the room (or have a beautiful face and fantastic body and be auditioning for that type of job).  You say that she's not keeping up with her peers now.  That says to me that she's not going to be able to support herself as a dancer.  It's fine to have dreams but at some point you need to be realistic about them, she's not eleven anymore.  A dance degree with what you've said only makes sense if she wants to be a dance teacher.  A degree doesn't get you jobs, being the most talented and the prettiest in the room and having a lot of perseverance gets you the job and you have to pass audition upon audition (and often also teach and do commercial and modeling work) to be able to support yourself.

You need to sit her down and figure out what she wants to do for a living and have her tailor her academics around that.  She can continue to dance as a hobby, and if she wants to teach that's great but you need to have a plan and "oh she likes dance better than other things" doesn't say that she has the passion and the talent to perform.
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gymanddance

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Reply with quote  #16 
What Meatball said.
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dancermom128

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
Ok, we need to be realistic here.

In order to get a job she needs to be the best dancer in the room (or have a beautiful face and fantastic body and be auditioning for that type of job).  You say that she's not keeping up with her peers now.  That says to me that she's not going to be able to support herself as a dancer.  It's fine to have dreams but at some point you need to be realistic about them, she's not eleven anymore.  A dance degree with what you've said only makes sense if she wants to be a dance teacher.  A degree doesn't get you jobs, being the most talented and the prettiest in the room and having a lot of perseverance gets you the job and you have to pass audition upon audition (and often also teach and do commercial and modeling work) to be able to support yourself.

You need to sit her down and figure out what she wants to do for a living and have her tailor her academics around that.  She can continue to dance as a hobby, and if she wants to teach that's great but you need to have a plan and "oh she likes dance better than other things" doesn't say that she has the passion and the talent to perform.


I know you tend to be pretty anti dance degree and I'm not sure that it would be the right option for the OP, but I think there are many that would disagree that a dance degree only makes sense if you want to teach. A degree may not actually get you a job but it certainly can open a lot of doors for you just by the sheer number of connections you make with working dancers and choreographers.
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JojosDanceMom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128


I know you tend to be pretty anti dance degree and I'm not sure that it would be the right option for the OP, but I think there are many that would disagree that a dance degree only makes sense if you want to teach. A degree may not actually get you a job but it certainly can open a lot of doors for you just by the sheer number of connections you make with working dancers and choreographers.


I completely agree... I was looking at some programs for my DD to audition for and stumbled upon a NYC based contemporary company... I looked at the bios of their company and their trainees.  Almost all of them had BFA's from prestigious dance programs.  Now, I didn't see anything on their site that said they required a BFA, but it was abundantly clear that they certainly favored it when doing their hiring. 
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tiptoemom

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After 11 years of strictly pre-professional ballet training, my junior found modern and jazz and contemporary. And her goals have changed. So, while she gets 13 hours of training at her PA high school (10 ballet/3 contemporary) she now trains at in the afternoon at a  contemporary school attached to a contemporary company. She takes modern and jazz and more ballet. She auditioned for and is one of 8 in their youth ensemble. So, that is an additional 5+ hours of rep and rehearsal. Now, we have had to switch research from ballet companies to contemporary companies. We've had to do research on SI/summer training options. 

What "our" research had found, is that 1/2 to 3/4 of dancers in a modern/contemporary program come through a top notch BFA program. I've talked to people at this company and another more modern ballet company and they value a BFA and they are not necessarily looking for 17/18/19 year olds. They do value solid ballet training. The AD at her current school said that her years of ballet training made learning new genres much easier.

I think that there are different paths to careers. I think that you all need to do a lot of research. I do think that her ultimate goal will help to dictate what type of training she needs, both short term and long term. 

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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JojosDanceMom


I completely agree... I was looking at some programs for my DD to audition for and stumbled upon a NYC based contemporary company... I looked at the bios of their company and their trainees.  Almost all of them had BFA's from prestigious dance programs.  Now, I didn't see anything on their site that said they required a BFA, but it was abundantly clear that they certainly favored it when doing their hiring. 


Could also simply be that most of the best dancers auditioning just happen to have had BFAs. I do think we are entering a time when dancers are being discouraged from not going to college so it stands to reason that we will start seeing more and more degrees mentioned in bios.... whether or not it matters to a company.  Tbh, I really can't figure why it would. It's the talent that matters.  The degree itself isn't what makes a dancer talented, that would be the training.  And you don't need a degree to have had amazing training.
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meatball77

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128


I know you tend to be pretty anti dance degree and I'm not sure that it would be the right option for the OP, but I think there are many that would disagree that a dance degree only makes sense if you want to teach. A degree may not actually get you a job but it certainly can open a lot of doors for you just by the sheer number of connections you make with working dancers and choreographers.


In this case the dance degree only makes sense if she wants to teach because it requires extreme talent to get the jobs.  So a career in dance is not a realistic one (unless she wants to teach)as the OP says that her daughter doesn't keep up with her peers now.  Doing post high school training (college/traineeship) has value totally dependent on the child.  It seems with the OP that she's got starry eyes thinking that the dance degree will lead to her daughter magically getting a job as a dancer and it doesn't.  The degree means nothing if you're not what the directors are looking for and that's a combination of major talent and being in the right place at the right time.  Now if she wants to teach then that's different.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


Could also simply be that most of the best dancers auditioning just happen to have had BFAs. I do think we are entering a time when dancers are being discouraged from not going to college so it stands to reason that we will start seeing more and more degrees mentioned in bios.... whether or not it matters to a company.  And personally, I can't figure why it would.


I can think of a lot of reasons why a company would choose a dancer with a BFA over one without. For one they know the rigorous training these dancers receive especially out of the more prestigious BFA programs. For another, often these dancers have had the opportunity to dance in pieces choreographed by some of the best in the world. Companies are very aware about how tough these programs are to get into as well as stay in. I think oftentimes these dancers are less of a crap shoot than someone who hasn't gone this route.
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128
I can think of a lot of reasons why a company would choose a dancer with a BFA over one without. For one they know the rigorous training these dancers receive especially out of the more prestigious BFA programs. For another, often these dancers have had the opportunity to dance in pieces choreographed by some of the best in the world. Companies are very aware about how tough these programs are to get into as well as stay in. I think oftentimes these dancers are less of a crap shoot than someone who hasn't gone this route.


This... this is what I've been hearing.  More and more AD's (at least from contemporary/modern companies) are favoring the BFA because they know the hard work that goes into obtaining one.  So they know the work ethic and commitment these dancers have just by having that degree.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that extensive training in post-high school dance programs aren't demanding as well... I'm just saying that having that BFA is another measure of how hard these dancers work.  And it could be possible that no dancers auditioned for this company that were as talented as these BFA dancers, but given the numbers it seems unlikely that that many in the company/trainees would have BFA's if it wasn't a preference of the AD.  There are so many dancers out there auditioning for these spots that it just doesn't seem statistically probable for that to be the case.
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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128
I can think of a lot of reasons why a company would choose a dancer with a BFA over one without. For one they know the rigorous training these dancers receive especially out of the more prestigious BFA programs. For another, often these dancers have had the opportunity to dance in pieces choreographed by some of the best in the world. Companies are very aware about how tough these programs are to get into as well as stay in. I think oftentimes these dancers are less of a crap shoot than someone who hasn't gone this route.


I'm not suggesting that there is not a lot of value in that BFA.  All I'm saying is that it's what the dancer brings to the table aside from the actual 'degree' that's going to get them the job, not the degree itself.  A college program is a one stop shop which makes it the perfect choice for so many... but the same opportunities can be gained independently. It will take a lot more effort and energy to find that training, those performance opportunities, the connections, etc, no doubt, but they can be found.  And we could also make the argument that the ability to do so on one's on would say a lot of very positive things about a dancer.   It's not a matter of saying one way is any better than the other.  It's just a matter of pointing out that there are, and will always be, more than one way.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #25 
Oh I agree with you Heidi. The BFA isn't the only path to success. You had said you weren't sure why it would matter to a company if a dancer had a BFA and I was pointing out why it could and often does. All other things being equal it could absolutely give a dancer the edge to book the job. Especially if it's a program the director is very familiar with, has attended or choreographed for.
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