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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #226 
Wow! Just took me forever to read all these posts. DD8 just started her SI today. It's for 2 weeks at her studio. I was so worried she wouldn't be able to handle all the hours but she's so excited and I'm sure she'll do fine. It's mostly ballet but also includes ballroom, theatre, character, modern and, contemporary. Mostly all ballet though. I'm hesitantly looking forward to when she's a bit older and checking out the NYC area SI mentioned by all of you.
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Angel2228

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Reply with quote  #227 
Dd is on her last week of a three week SI. Although I am super proud for my mommas girl to not be homesick, I have resorted to sending her family supper pics and pics of her favorite breakfast. (Food there sucks) in hopes that I can convince her to come home!!

I can't wait to see her this Friday and see how much she's improved. The schedule looked awesome!
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #228 
Well DD8 is exhausted and her feet hurt. And now she's at hip hop. She already said she doesn't want to sign up for next week. I told her to wait till Friday and then decide. I'm not sure how much "fun" a SI is supposed to be for an 8 year old but it seems very strict and not much fun. She said she's learning. I'm trying not to judge her endurance or lack there of at this age as an indication of the future. [frown]
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #229 
Dancingdd - if she doesn't want to do it, don't. She's still little, she needs to be having fun in the summer not dancing if it isn't fun. Step back and breathe, I know she's your first dancer but you seem very stressed by the entire "mom of dancer" role and it really shouldn't be stressful. Don't take your queues from social media, television or even other kids in the studio, take your queues from YOUR dancer. 
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #230 
Thanks and I am. I know she's young and I want her to have fun along the way. I'm not pushing her. I told her she can decide how much she wants to do in September. I watched the last 15 minutes today and I can already see she's learning but I also saw a tired little girl. If she wants to do a dance camp next summer we will go to a less intense studio so she can spend at least half the time having fun. [smile]
I'm really not stressed so much anymore about it all. I think I've realized that most of it is out of my hands and up to her. It's hard for me to feel like I cannot control this but logically I can't at all. I've asked myself how I would feel if she gave it up all together and honesty I felt a little relieved. I love it but it's so much work and money!
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Oglefresh

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Reply with quote  #231 
I keep seeing comments about the ABT "satellites" and curious if a DD is accepted aside from NY are they sent geographically from where you live or is there a "level placement " for each site? If so what is the perceived ranking down starting with NY obviously. I hear wherever you go the faculty is good and training will be realized.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #232 

It is in part perception and in part based on information that ABT once provided (and might still provide) about the different locations. I have not looked recently, but several years ago, there was a letter from the then SI director that was lengthier than the descriptions provided more recently.

NYC and CA were listed as being for advanced dancers. Until a year or two ago, it was possible to do NYC and then go to CA right afterwards. There were always a few in the top level who did. Dd's first year in CA, the top level had a number of trainees and even a few second co members in the top level. Not so much the next year. 

NC and Detroit were listed as being for intermediate and advanced dancers. (Detroit was replaced by NC).

Texas and Alabama were indicated as being for dancers who needed to work on things like placement, refinement, strength, stamina, etc. Alabama used to take the youngest dancers (the age limit was lower for that site, at least back when dd was doing ABT auditions)

Things may easily have changed. I thought I saw on Ballet Talk that NC was not listed as a site. That could completely change everything. Also, with CA occurring earlier, it is possibly no longer thought as a program for advanced students to prepare for the fall semester. 

Note that they accept students to JKO from ALL locations and that National Training Scholars also come from all the various locations. That means some really talented kids end up at Alabama, which is often viewed as being "lesser." 

Don't get caught up in these perceptions of one site being better than another. ABT has it's act together with this SI thing. As you already said, the faculty is good and the training is also good. They place the dancer where they believe they will benefit the most.  Some don't give it great reviews because dancers may be placed lower than they expect and move slower than they normally do at home... but that's all about gaining that refinement of technique. They are not really placed by geography in our experience nor is your ranking of preferences taken into account very much. DD was accepted to both her first and last choices in different years. She was also accepted to more than 1 site, which is apparently not the norm. 

 

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llisam

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Reply with quote  #233 
Hello fellow dance moms! I very much need advice from those more experienced than me on tough choices we're facing after the last few SI audition seasons. DD has consistently aced SI auditions. She attended SAB at 12 and PNB at 13. This year, DD is just 14. However, she is on the shorter side (only 5'). Looks like predictions of her ending up at 5'5"-5'6" aren't likely. With her track record, I was considering investing the time and money to have her continue to go for it with the big names - attend their SIs each year if possible and potentially pursue the pro path. However, DD's height is likely an issue. I don't think it will affect her this year, but it's already come up. Can anyone provide some insight into how big an issue height will be? I know it's huge for PNB. Kind of disappointing as she's been very dedicated, gifted and rewarded accordingly to date. If height is a make or break issue, I need to reconsider how much time to take from the important high school years for intensive dance training. Any insights would be appreciated from those who have faced this decision and guided DDs through ballet training in their teens. Thanks in advance!
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #234 
We're in the same boat, lisam.  My DD is only 4'11" right now.  She's 13 and a half.  I'm thinking she will end up around 5'2" like I am.  Although there are some companies that prefer taller dancers, like Ballet West, please remember that Misty Copeland is 5'2", Misa Kuranaga with Boston Ballet is less than 5'2", and Maria Kochetkova (San Francisco Ballet) is only 5'0".  I'm sure there are many more examples of short dancers but those are the three off the top of my head.
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #235 
The chances of any of our beautiful young dancers ending up with a paid position at a major ballet company are achingly slim.  99% of these dedicated young female dancers will end up either dancing at a lesser regional company, teaching, or doing something completely unrelated to dance by the time they are 22.  This is my opinion, backed up by a lot of research.  For those that do dance professionally, many have careers that last only a few years.  The financial investment for ballet training is almost never balanced by income from a dance career.

At this point my daughter, also 14, not having "aced" SI auditions, and having no chance to go away to a summer program because of financial reasons, cannot imagine doing anything other than dancing in her future, even if that means working at a fast food restaurant during the day and dancing for free at a semi-professional local company in the evening (she says.)  She feels like she "needs" to dance.  So, I support her dream to the extent that I can and enforce some educational standards so that she has opportunities for further education in her future, whether she thinks she needs that or not.

No one has a crystal ball.  Even the dancer with the "perfect" feet, "perfect" body, amazing natural talent, musicality and expression can experience a career-ending injury crossing the street.  I've seen girls adamant about their desire for a future dance career at 14 decide at 17 that they'd rather pursue something else, despite scholarships to big name intensives and acceptance to high caliber colleges.  At 14, eventual height is not even something you can predict with 100% accuracy.  Its also unlikely to be the biggest roadblock she will face in their pursuit of a career in ballet.  

Will it be worth it even if she never steps onto a stage as a paid professional dancer?  Only you (and she) can answer that.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #236 

@ggsmith... you had me there 100% w/the one exception of "lesser".  "Lesser regional company".  No such thing as "lesser".  In fact, in the big picture a professional career with one of those smaller, regional companies could prove much more satisfying for a dancer.  We know a former professional ballet dancer now in her mid 30s.  Never was "big name" material even in her youth so off she went to dance w/a smaller regional company.  First as a corps member.  Then as a principal.  Now she's the ballet mistress in their school.  That's not 'lesser'.  That's some serious success [smile]     

IDK  I just don't think of the bigger, major companies as somehow being the most or even more desirable.... a career w/anything but them as somehow second rate.  The big guns are just but a handful of the many  many opportunities that exist out there for our dancers.  I think it's time people started to fully embrace (and respect) them all.  So tired of the elitist attitude that is so prevalent in this society.


eta:  and I do see that you do, otherwise you wouldn't be supportive of your own dancer!  I'm just reacting to the subtle message that is sent w/the use of the term 'lesser'.

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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #237 
At 14 it is still difficult to know her final height! Plenty of kids grow later on, especially those with a desirable body type for ballet. It certainly sounds like your DD has that at this point.

There are many professional dancers who never stepped foot in a big name SI. There are many smaller programs and schools that have excellent track records and some are not even company affiliated.

It actually matters little if a dancer got into the more selective programs at younger ages. It matters much more at 17, f that's the route they are aiming for. Though, very few end up in the big name companies and very few end up as professionals at all.

Pick the program that suits her best at the current time. The big name SIs are often larger and less personal. Maybe that's what she needs it maybe she needs a small program where you don't need a nametag.. Only she knows that.

Once again, there are no crystal balls. My kid did not get into the big names programs and never had a scholarship until she was 16 or 17. Yet, she is dancing professionally. I never would have guessed that at 14.
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #238 
Heidi, I think the misunderstanding is in the application of the term "lesser regional companies."  There are some larger regional companies paying subsistence (or better) wages and putting on a full schedule of ballet performances, where a dancer can rise through the ranks and have a satisfying career.

Then there are lesser regional companies where the pay is at best a nice part time, partial year income and there are only a few paid company members, working as instructors at the attached and/or at other full time jobs.  They perform a couple times a year with the lesser roles and corps filled with advanced dancers from the attached school.  This would describe the company attached to DD's former school.  They regularly cycle through recent college graduates not ready to give up the dream.  Most dance for a year or two before moving on to something else.  Maybe there is another term for that type of company?  Maybe "semi-professional company?"
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #239 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggsmith
Heidi, I think the misunderstanding is in the application of the term "lesser regional companies."  There are some larger regional companies paying subsistence (or better) wages and putting on a full schedule of ballet performances, where a dancer can rise through the ranks and have a satisfying career.

Then there are lesser regional companies where the pay is at best a nice part time, partial year income and there are only a few paid company members, working as instructors at the attached and/or at other full time jobs.  They perform a couple times a year with the lesser roles and corps filled with advanced dancers from the attached school.  This would describe the company attached to DD's former school.  They regularly cycle through recent college graduates not ready to give up the dream.  Most dance for a year or two before moving on to something else.  Maybe there is another term for that type of company?  Maybe "semi-professional company?"


Ahhh yes.  The misunderstanding was the result of how I read it.  My "Lesser regional companies" vs your "lesser" regional companies.  My apologies.  I clearly have a stick up my butt when it comes to anything that could be interpreted as negative/discouraging.  I own it 😉
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classydance

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Reply with quote  #240 
So take out the "lesser" and I agree with ggsmith's definition and disagree with 

With that definition there are companies that are really "semi professional."  

And frankly, the dancers employed in the top tier companies really quite different.  The NFL is not  a D I college team and no one would think it elitist to say that.  


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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #241 
Quote:
Originally Posted by classydance
So take out the "lesser" and I agree with ggsmith's definition. 

With that definition there are companies that are really "semi professional.:

The misunderstanding is that someone dared to disagree with an opinion that, while forcefully stated, and full of emotion and energy is no better or worse than anyone else's opinion. 


[confused] 

Actually the misunderstanding was a simple misunderstanding.  ggsmith & I actually agree on this.... as we usually do.  But even if we didn't, what of it?  It's a discussion.  The sharing of thoughts & ideas.  Expressing different opinions is the name of the game, no?  

And to clarify... there is no real force, no real emotion, no real energy.  And these discussions aren't some strange type of competition where our opinions are ranked.  Whether it's the general elitist attitude, the rampant negativity, or the stereotypical "formula" for success that I often decide to take on/speak out against... my opinions are all about support not discouragement.  And I'm not exactly sure why staunchly defending the dreams of the "lesser" dancer is somehow seen as so controversial by some of you.  Perhaps you'd like to enlighten me?
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #242 
There are many companies out there that don't pay a living wage, I think you can call them lesser companies.  There was an article in Pointe Magazine about a dancer who left one of those tiny companies where she was dancing principal roles to dance in the Corps at ABT and it was acting like that was a big risk or sacrifice that she was doing that when there's a good chance that the job at ABT pays more than she was making dancing principal roles at her small local company (and absolutely allows for advancement that's non-existent after a point in those tiny unranked companies).  However, it's a different lifestyle and some people are happy in a lesser or part time companies where they can fill their free time teaching or doing other times.
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classydance

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Reply with quote  #243 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
There are many companies out there that don't pay a living wage, I think you can call them lesser companies.  There was an article in Pointe Magazine about a dancer who left one of those tiny companies where she was dancing principal roles to dance in the Corps at ABT and it was acting like that was a big risk or sacrifice that she was doing that when there's a good chance that the job at ABT pays more than she was making dancing principal roles at her small local company (and absolutely allows for advancement that's non-existent after a point in those tiny unranked companies).  However, it's a different lifestyle and some people are happy in a lesser or part time companies where they can fill their free time teaching or doing other times.


So that dancer left Texas Ballet Theater, which is not, in my opinion a semi professional company. It has an annual budget of 5.9 million.  The dancers all earn a living wage and likely don't have second jobs.  This is, to me, a strong regional company.  It would be like Carolina Ballet or Oklahoma City Ballet, Ballet Arizon, Ballet Austin.  

ABT has an annual budget of 42 million. 

I think that she wanted to be challenged more and clearly paid more.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #244 

Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77
There are many companies out there that don't pay a living wage, I think you can call them lesser companies.  There was an article in Pointe Magazine about a dancer who left one of those tiny companies where she was dancing principal roles to dance in the Corps at ABT and it was acting like that was a big risk or sacrifice that she was doing that when there's a good chance that the job at ABT pays more than she was making dancing principal roles at her small local company (and absolutely allows for advancement that's non-existent after a point in those tiny unranked companies).  However, it's a different lifestyle and some people are happy in a lesser or part time companies where they can fill their free time teaching or doing other times.


I read that too... I thought the risk/sacrifice they were talking about was related to how that major change in company role... principal to corps member... could be hard for a lot of dancers to swallow.  Not quite as exciting or fulfilling perhaps.  A 'step back' in the minds of many, I'm sure.   W/absolutely no guarantee that she'd ever advance beyond the corps.  More money or not... that would be hard for a lot of dancers.  And understandably so.    

And as an aside... dd & I were actually talking this morning about how, while so many cringe at the words "second job", some dancers might actually find a second job to be a nice way to round out their life a little.  Be around other people.  Do something more than dance all day, every day.  As you say, different people find happiness in different things.  Something we always need to keep in mind when offering opinions/ advice on these boards (yes, myself included!).        

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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #245 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459

And on that note.... dd & I were actually talking this morning about how, while so many cringe at the words "second job" (teaching, even waitressing) some dancers might actually find that a second job is a nice way to round out their life a little.  Be around other people.  Do something more than dance all day, every day.  As you say, different people find happiness in different things.  Something we all need to be a little more aware of when offering opinions/advice (yes, myself included).        



I like that.  It's so positive the way you word that, Heidi.  
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #246 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle


I like that.  It's so positive the way you word that, Heidi.  


[smile]  And really, think about it... isn't it always about how we 'choose' to look at something?  I find it funny to hear some (generally speaking, not talking specifically about anyone here) be so quick to diminish the so-called "lesser" opportunities.  Especially when it's so often the very same individuals who want to squawk about how the average dancer's career is so at risk/so very short due to the terrible toll all this dancing takes on a body.  Okay.  So maybe we should be embracing/encouraging these "lesser" opportunities a little more, no?  Less wear & tear = longer shelf life, right?  Instead of always painting these opportunities w/this second rate brush.  For the "lesser" dancers.  Something you settle for when you aren't good enough to make it to "the top". 

And please don't anyone read more into my words than is intended.  I'm not angry.  I'm not bitter.  I'm not defensive.  Just because I refer to things as hot buttons doesn't mean I'm all worked up.  I'm a champion for ALL dancers, not just the tippity top cream of the crop w/absolutely everything going for them dancer.  And as a result, anything that I see as discouraging to those "lesser" dancers will very likely get a response from me.   There is indeed "a" place for most of our dancers who want it bad enough & are willing to go the extra mile to get it.... I'm seeing firsthand evidence of that now that my dd is older.  All I really want is for people to consistently be more encouraging & open minded... to talk more positively about 'all' the opportunities that are out there for our dancers instead of always fixating on the 'big time'.  And specifically on how unlikely that shot at the big time really is.  Shouldn't really be too much to ask 😉
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #247 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


[smile]  And really, think about it... isn't it always about how we 'choose' to look at something?  I find it funny to hear some (generally speaking, not talking specifically about anyone here) be so quick to diminish the so-called "lesser" opportunities.  Especially when it's so often the very same individuals who want to squawk about how the average dancer's career is so at risk/so very short due to the terrible toll all this dancing takes on a body.  Okay.  So maybe we should be embracing/encouraging these "lesser" opportunities a little more, no?  Less wear & tear = longer shelf life, right?  Instead of always painting these opportunities w/this second rate brush.  For the "lesser" dancers.  Something you settle for when you aren't good enough to make it to "the top". 

And please don't anyone read more into my words than is intended.  I'm not angry.  I'm not bitter.  I'm not defensive.  Just because I refer to things as hot buttons doesn't mean I'm all worked up.  I'm a champion for ALL dancers, not just the tippity top cream of the crop w/absolutely everything going for them dancer.  And as a result, anything that I see as discouraging to those "lesser" dancers will very likely get a response from me.   There is indeed "a" place for most of our dancers who want it bad enough & are willing to go the extra mile to get it.... I'm seeing firsthand evidence of that now that my dd is older.  All I want if for people to consistently be more encouraging & open minded... to talk more positively about 'all' the opportunities that are out there for our dancers instead of always fixating on the 'big time'.  And specifically on how unlikely that shot at the big time really is.  Shouldn't really be too much to ask 😉


You know, it's funny, back when it was first introduced, I didn't take "lesser" as a pejorative.  More just a word to mean "not one of the big ones."

Maybe I'm biased, but I think we have some top notch dancers in our local "lesser" company.  I'm not going to lie, when I first saw PNB?  Disappointed!  Maybe a bad night for them?  Maybe they worked so hard on piece #3 of 3 that numbers 1 and 2 were a bit rusty or under-rehearsed?  I don't know.  Nothing against them, just saying that you can see some darn good dancing even if you aren't seeing a company with fancy initials.  And ... it's good to watch dance!
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #248 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave9988


You know, it's funny, back when it was first introduced, I didn't take "lesser" as a pejorative.  More just a word to mean "not one of the big ones."

Maybe I'm biased, but I think we have some top notch dancers in our local "lesser" company.  I'm not going to lie, when I first saw PNB?  Disappointed!  Maybe a bad night for them?  Maybe they worked so hard on piece #3 of 3 that numbers 1 and 2 were a bit rusty or under-rehearsed?  I don't know.  Nothing against them, just saying that you can see some darn good dancing even if you aren't seeing a company with fancy initials.  And ... it's good to watch dance!


Re: the bolded:  I do agree w/you... that that is what is usually meant when the actual phrase is used here.  My most recent post is just a tangent.... about an attitude that I find to be far too common (here, albeit more subtle, but very in your face I find irl)  

And yes...I couldn't agree more that many of the smaller lesser known companies employ some really talented dancers who put on amazing performances!  Which is precisely why I'd like to see them celebrated as legitimate 'primary' options for our dancers much more often... & less as some sort of a fallback for those who can't cut it in the big league  lol
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #249 
Quote:
Originally Posted by classydance
So take out the "lesser" and I agree with ggsmith's definition and disagree with 

With that definition there are companies that are really "semi professional."  

And frankly, the dancers employed in the top tier companies really quite different.  The NFL is not  a D I college team and no one would think it elitist to say that.  




But you have conveniently distorted the point here.  That's not what was said, nor was it ever implied.  Of course it's not elitist to say that the prestigoius top tier companies employ top tier dancers. What is elitist though is to even subtly suggest that a position in anything other than that type of company is somehow less desirable, less worthy of celebration, not a true sign of success, etc..  Elitist to even subtly suggest that a dancer who would not be celebrated by one of those companies should seriously consider taking themselves out of the game.  And lest someone tries to suggest that no one does that... oh yes they do.  All the time.   

But it goes on. What's also elitist is to think that top tier dancers never choose to dance for anything other than those prestigious top tier companies.  And not simply as a stepping stone, but for the balance of their career.  Not everyone is going to be blinded by the prestige of a bigger name above all else, wants/needs that kind of validation above all else, or cares about what others may think above all else.  Sometimes there's a much bigger picture.  And if we don't believe that, we need to get out more.  If we don't understand how that could be, we need to dig a little deeper.  Need to work to get our own personal biases out of the equations. 

We all have biases & many of us (including myself) like to make them fairly clear... ok, great!  But when offering advice, & before presenting our opinions as some sort of blanket truth, it's also wise to remember that not everyone thinks like us.   

(love the stealthy edit btw)


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classydance

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Reply with quote  #250 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


Ahhh yes.  The misunderstanding was the result of how I read it.  My "Lesser regional companies" vs your "lesser" regional companies.  My apologies.  I clearly have a stick up my butt when it comes to anything that could be interpreted as negative/discouraging.  I own it 😉



Ahh yes, the "distortion" was the result of how I read the response and then communicated. 

So,  to get back to the discussion.  

IMO. There are 

Tier 1 professional companies 1200/week for a corps member
Tier 2 regional professionoal companies 300/week for a corps member. 
Semi Professional companies ????

And yes, I do believe that dancers who could be in "Tier 1" companies would choose regional companies. 

I do not believe that a person who really loves dance and could get a job in a Tier 1 or 2 company would accept a semi professional company position. 

And well the term "elitist" is actually pretty subjective and opinion-based. 

 

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