High Gold Member
Registered: 1344196225 Posts: 864
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With two years of YAGP under DD's belt - and with DD and I agreeing that ballet competitions just aren't her thing - I am only now wondering where dancers find coaches and mentors.
The DT that worked with DD11 on her classical variations did a nice job, but I wouldn't classify her as a mentor to DD. However, I watch some amazing dancers (and, yes, I check out social media, too) and it is clear some of these young dancers have a student/mentor relationship with a choreographer, DT or SO. The artistry of these dancers and the interesting choreography, to me, seems to be a result of that kind of relationship. Are those dancers already so gifted that SOs or choreographers want to put the time into those dancers and groom them from an early age? Is it a question of money? Probably both. If a young dancer isn't mentored from an early age (say 9 or 10), but really reaches his/her stride at 13, is it already too late at their own home studio - meaning they should consider moving elsewhere? I'm just curious how these relationships seem to develop? How expensive are they to maintain? How beneficial and/or harmful can they become?
Registered: 1329494474 Posts: 6,376
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Sometimes dancers/dance parents search those people out, in which case I'm guessing finances do play a big part. Sometimes it's a little bit of luck. Just being in the right place at the right time and with things just falling into place. That's how it happened with my own dd. Although with her it didn't happen until she was much older. Earlier is not necessary, nor is it always better. Deep breaths phx... you're going to burn yourself out with all this premature worrying.
High Platinum Member
Registered: 1266718806 Posts: 3,595
Reply with quote #3
Personally, I don't think you can find the mentor/dancer relationship by searching for it. I believe it happens, when it happens. There is some kind of spark that ignites between dancer and teacher, I've seen it happen many times.
Phx, why don't you and your DD look at other ballet schools in the area? I mean, it really can't hurt anything to look around and investigate programs and see if there's a better fit for your DD. Maybe I'm reading something that isn't there, but I believe by the tone in your posts that you aren't truly happy where you are, and I think you have doubts about your DD's training. There are so many ballet schools in the metro area, many are truly wonderful. You may have to drive further, you may have to pay more, but if you are both happier and if she is getting better training, isn't it worth it?
Registered: 1490819226 Posts: 281
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Looking at my DD's relationship (yes she is young) I can see that we have unwittingly (and of course financially) built a mentorship type relationship with two fantastic teachers. I would agree that it is a bit of luck. We did take some privates with other teachers that were good, but not the connection that DD has with the ones we work with the most. I see a spark or connection and I have cultivated it. Right now these two are really great with her and she loves them both and they have really pushed her-- she's grown so much. Our path may change later on.. but to find these two (and I am soo lucky there are 2 I can't even tell you), it was seeing who my DD connected with, a bit of me also observing to see if I liked the person, their approach, their personality, and if my DD responded well.
I say seek out some privates, mix it up, get some recommendations and don't be afraid to go elsewhere to find a good fit.
High Gold Member
Registered: 1344196225 Posts: 864
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I have to say that I'm getting afraid to post topics because, for example, this post was a random thought or two that came into my head after watching some of the ballet comp going on in FL right now. There's no hidden agenda to be analyzed.
My only concern right now is raising funds so she can go to RWB for the month of July.
DD isn't doing ballet competitions for the foreseeable future (meaning indefinitely) so she can concentrate on improving strength and technique. Non-ballet competitions are also off the table, too. Those things will always be there for her should she decide she wants to take part in them.
Emmymom - Although unrelated to the topic, I do have a myriad of concerns with her current studio. None are absolute deal breakers at this point. The thought of changing studios is rather daunting. There's no perfect studio, and the unknown is scarier than the known right now.
Registered: 1457385957 Posts: 1,707
Reply with quote #6
I think that kind of relationship happens over time. We've been really blessed to find teachers and a SO who have become almost like family to us, but it wasn't that way at the beginning. We also go to a very small studio so there's more one on one attention for the dancers.
High Gold Member
Registered: 1337092342 Posts: 788
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DD15 has a mentor. She taught ballet 1 day a week at our competition studio that wasn't at all serious about ballet. We were there for fun and didn't have any knowledge about dance.
She was literally the person who convinced my husband and I that DD could pursue ballet more seriously, that she had potential and we should respect that. Mentor teacher also didn't want us to pay her for private lessons at all and then dramatically discounted her rate for private lessons when we insisted we pay her (we found this out later). She started working with DD at age 8, almost 9. She has now "shown us the door" per se to make sure that DD15 is getting adequate training now, as not everything can be done privately. Mentor teacher gave her the foundation, the encouragement, and now the push to do more. This may have been the last year she will be able to work with DD as a teacher for various reasons, and they are transitioning to more of a friendship. She will forever be one of the most influential people that my daughter has had the pleasure to grow up around.
Registered: 1247159640 Posts: 1,910
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Ash is now a freshman in college. She found her mentor/teacher/big sister/2nd mother/friend/sounding board when she was a freshman in HS. Her mentor had been her DT for a couple of years for groups and then a duet. Her freshman year, she decided to work with that DT for her solo and never looked back.
Throughout her HS years, her mentor pushed her in ways I couldn't even imagine. She would come to me and tell me "Ash needs to go to this intensive or that intensive." And as long as we could afford it, we sent her. Her mentor also worked a professional dancer, so when guest choreographers would come work with her company, she would encourage Ash to take classes with them. At the end of her Jr year, she came to me and asked me me have Ash's solo done by an outside choreo. She felt that choreo could take Ash to the next level, and she absolutely did. I can honestly say that if it were not for her mentor, Ash would not be at college majoring in dance. In her case, it was a relationship that developed over time. She was a DT at one of her studios who saw potential in Ash and took her her under her wings. Ash still calls/texts her on a regular basis for advice/guidance. I consider this wonderful women a part of our family. We did not go looking for her. She and Ash found each other and the relationship developed naturally.
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Registered: 1298213712 Posts: 4,386
Reply with quote #9
DD has had several mentors along the way. She definitely did not have one at 11. While her teacher in her early to mid teen years acted as a bit of mentor to all her older dancers, dd didn't really start her "collection" of mentors until she was older. I'd say 17 on up. All of these mentors were her teachers. One was a choreographer and gyrotonics coach (not her personal choreographer but someone who set a group piece). These are the people that she turns to when there is a bump in the road, the people she messages when she has a success, etc. There are 4 of them.
Keep in mind that what you see on social media is what they want you to see. Don't forget that these social media accounts are carefully curated. Dancers being mentored at 9 or 10... and even at 12 or 13.. what difference does it make? Does it really help them succeed? These dancers clearly have talent and good training. The latter is the bottom line.. the training.
I said on the post about YAGP yesterday... or at least I said it in my head. I can't remember if I actually posted it. LOL. Anyway, competitions are absolutely not necessary to have a career as a ballet dancer. Your dd could easily never do another competition again and it won't matter at all. 😉 Once again, what matters is the training.
With all the attention on these competitions, sometimes I wonder what is the point? Why train dancers so much to be soloists when they need to be able to dance in a corps de ballet? All this work on a variation or two and a contemporary piece for months on end is also not real world. In a ballet company, you will never be working on something for that long. A rehearsal period is a few weeks. In dd's experience, that has been 4-5 weeks. In fact, she has a performance the first weekend in May that they have not even started rehearsing yet.
Registered: 1394807833 Posts: 1,329
Reply with quote #10
Originally Posted by
Phx115 I have to say that I'm getting afraid to post topics because, for example, this post was a random thought or two that came into my head after watching some of the ballet comp going on in FL right now. There's no hidden agenda to be analyzed. My only concern right now is raising funds so she can go to RWB for the month of July. DD isn't doing ballet competitions for the foreseeable future (meaning indefinitely) so she can concentrate on improving strength and technique. Non-ballet competitions are also off the table, too. Those things will always be there for her should she decide she wants to take part in them. Emmymom - Although unrelated to the topic, I do have a myriad of concerns with her current studio. None are absolute deal breakers at this point. The thought of changing studios is rather daunting. There's no perfect studio, and the unknown is scarier than the known right now. Please don't stop posting. I think it was a great question. The kids I've seen that have gone the farthest had that relationship with a teacher. Mostly it was developed in private lessons and overtime. DD15 didn't find a mentor until this past year. And it's a different kind of mentorship than I think you are looking for but important all the same. DD15 has no professional aspirations but loves dance and seems to have taken to teaching. She love creating choreography, costuming - the whole package. Her SO is happily mentoring her on that path.