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Lovemydancer24

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am putting this out to the community for input.  Our team of 5 dancers was just invited to YAGP to perform their ensemble at the Final.  It is one dance at SUNY Purchase.  Would you go or not?  Why?  The cost for one dance is expensive plus we have to travel, rent a hotel for a couple nights and eat out for the weekend.  Is it worth it?  My daughter placed in the top 24 regionally and she is wanting to go.  I need help!  the dollars keep adding up and I don't know if this is one to say enough, we are out. Any input would be appreciated.  Studio wants a decision tomorrow and I am at a loss. 
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #2 
How do the others in the group feel about going? I think being part of a group is a sticky situation.

Personally, I'm of the thought that you never know when she may ever have this opportunity again due to injury, interest, finances, etc. (I'm a little fatalistic lately due to some diagnoses and health scares among family and friends).

However, I know all about wanting to say, "Enough already!!!" There are lots of ways to save money, though. Airbnb or renting a house for the group to share, and eating in as much as possible is one way to go. There's plenty of time to set up a fundraiser or two.

Congratulations on your daughter's placement, and the group's invite!
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #3 
Personally, I would not go just to participate in an ensemble.  There aren't many ensembles that compete at the regionals so it's not that difficult to get invited for an ensemble, if you wanted to wait another year.  Just my opinion.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #4 
I have not heard of an ensemble that was not invited. Keep that in mind.

It's quite a lot of money to spend. While there are classes, the ensemble members are in different classes than soloists and not eligible for the various scholarships. So, it's really about going and performing. The new location is not in Manhattan, which might be helpful for lowering costs a tad, but would be less appealing to me if I were coming from elsewhere.

On the other hand, as she did place well, it might be helpful for her to see what those that had highest scores actually look like.
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karenc

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Reply with quote  #5 
Don't forget you can live stream the finals so she can watch all the performances. 
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enpointe

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Reply with quote  #6 
My daughter has attended finals three times-- twice as part of an ensemble and once as a soloist.  Her first year was as an ensemble participant.  The group did choose to do it because of the reason mentioned above.  We figured that it might be the only opportunity that we would ever have to attend YAGP finals, so we did not want to let that chance go.  That did not turn out to be the case for my daughter, but it has held true for most of the rest of that original ensemble.

My daughter's ensemble was invited to go to finals this year (she is with a new dance company now). We briefly considered it until we learned that the finals were being held at SUNY-Purchase this year. Finding out that the finals were not being held in Manhattan lost its appeal for us. We feel that it is more trouble than it would be worth to participate as an ensemble this year. That being said, I am sure that if it was our first time (the people in this ensemble have participated in finals before), we would be carefully considering it.


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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #7 
Depending on the distances and prices involved, I would be hesitant to go to the finals for ensemble.  Of course, I'm coming from the perspective of someone with limited financial resources.   I would be unlikely to take my daughter (who didn't even participate this year) to finals as an individual before the age of 16.  For us, an invitation at that age might indicate she is interesting to ballet finishing schools and should be attempting to make pre-professional contacts.  It is too far and expensive for us to participate for training purposes (a summer intensive seems more cost effective) or a performance opportunity.  She has opportunities at her school and could perform with the local semi-professional company if that were a high priority. 

What would you have to give up to add a trip to the finals to your year?  Would it affect summer training?  Would your family be giving up a vacation or travel to visit family?  Would you add to your credit card debt?

What are you hoping to get out of this trip? 

As long as you understand what you'll be able to "get" out of the trip, and can "afford" it, I think it would be a nice experience.  The Performing Arts High School in the next county always sends a group or two, and my friend's daughter had a wonderful time last year as a high school junior traveling, taking class, and performing with her friends.  The PAHS subsidized the trip and only some of the parents had to take time off work and pay travel expenses to serve as chaperones.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #8 
I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way, but considering that almost every ensemble that competes at regionals gets an invitation to Finals, I'm not quite sure I would consider it as much of an honor as a soloist that gets an invitation.  So then it boils down to if the experience is worth it to you.  I don't think ensembles are eligible for any of the scholarships.
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TinyDancerNJMom

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Reply with quote  #9 
I'm pretty new to YAGP and so is our studio, so this is the first time I've heard this.  Is that really true of all regionals? We do Philly, which I was told is one of the most competitive regionals but I thought a senior duo we brought this year did well and scored fairly high but was not invited to the finals. We are a little local studio and haven't had any finalists yet but this was only our 3rd year going.  She is considering bringing a pre-comp ensemble next year after watching that division this year that my DD may be a part of, now I wonder if we should.  
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enpointe

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Reply with quote  #10 
I have not found it to be true that almost every ensemble gets invited to finals. Yes, there are usually fewer ensembles than soloists, and sometimes YAGP does grant invites to ensembles that don't place in the Top 3, but, in my experience, there are many ensembles that are not invited.  At my daughter's last dance company, they took 5 ensembles to the regional.  One placed in Top 12 and was issued an invitation.  This year my daughter's current studio took 2 ensembles and one was invited to finals (it was in the Top 12).  A friend from another studio whose ensemble also placed in the Top 12 at the same regional was not invited to attend finals.

So, I agree that it is much easier to get an invite to finals as an ensemble, but it is by no means a guarantee.
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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #11 
My experience is 2 years old, but at that point and at the Philly regional, not all ensembles were invited to NY. My daughter participated in an ensemble that placed first or second and I believe top 3 of many, many ensembles went to NY. Maybe that has changed now?

We live in Philly and our school is a powerhouse at YAGP. Taking our jr. ensemble was easy and the dancers all enjoyed themselves. Our school rents space where ABT trains and we run solos and ensembles prior to performance. My daughter did not participate in any classes because she could not miss academic school and I did not see the value in running around.

That is just our family. It was fun and cheap and easy or I may not have done it. I don't value competitions and it is one of the reasons she stopped training at this school. Our training goals stopped aligning, but that is a different conversation[wink]

edited to add, we have attended Philly regionals and NY finals on numerous occasions to support other dancers who were attending. It can be a lot of fun, but I watched it for many years. Our school was heavily featured in First Position, so I have truly observed it for many, many years and watched it behind the scenes. I really do not like what it has morphed in to.


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karenc

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Reply with quote  #12 
edited to add, we have attended Philly regionals and NY finals on numerous occasions to support other dancers who were attending. It can be a lot of fun, but I watched it for many years. Our school was heavily featured in First Position, so I have truly observed it for many, many years and watched it behind the scenes. I really do not like what it has morphed in to.

I would really love to hear your thoughts on how the culture has changed since First Position.  What the experience is like now vs. what it was prior to that exposure.  New thread?

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Emmie46

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Reply with quote  #13 
Not all ensembles are I invited to finals. We had five groups perform and one was invited. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity even if you do not receive scholarships. Weigh the costs and discuss it with your daughter.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #14 
I'm just curious what you mean by a once in a lifetime opportunity, Emmie.  What makes it a great opportunity if you don't receive scholarships?  I'm just wanting to understand where you're coming from.
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Emmie46

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle
I'm just curious what you mean by a once in a lifetime opportunity, Emmie.  What makes it a great opportunity if you don't receive scholarships?  I'm just wanting to understand where you're coming from.

Not every dancer even at YAGP will become a professional dancer. I believe it’s the journey that you remember and might be more important. Your dancer will remember being on stage, being judged by amazing professional dancers, learning new techniques and seeing new ideas and expressions, meeting new friends, and seeing new places. Other opportunities might open up not directly involved in performing. Weight that against the costs and see if your child wants that.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #16 

I know a school that brought 3 ensembles to Philly this year. All 3 of their ensembles were invited this year. I remember another year when they simply announced that all the Pas De Deux from the Rock School tied for first (I think it was first) and all were invited to the finals. It was actually kind of funny when they made that announcement. "In first place, ALL the pas de deuxs from The Rock School!" 

The first time I went to watch a regional was a year or two before First Position came out. Even then, there were a number of dancers that really did not fit- dancers that should not have been performing in pointe shoes, dancers who did competition jazz dances (more like musical theater) for the contemporary portion, etc. If you look back at the winners lists on their website, you can see how the number of regionals has grown exponentially. 

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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #17 
@Tendumom, I think we were there the year all of Rock's pas made it through! Our ensemble was the first year they did a "junior" ensemble. I remember the other ensemble pieces. Most of them did not resemble anything that I recognized as a ballet or contemporary ballet piece. There were lyrics in the songs. And props. And crazy costumes. 

Anyhow, I agree with you that there were always dancers who were not ready to be there and dancers on pointe who should not have been. But, I think you'd agree that it has exploded, both in attendance and in the number of regionals.  It does not resemble what it used to. I don't fault dancers for attending. It just is not a path that we valued for our daughter's training and for our then limited money. I saw way too many of our dancers stressed out during YAGP preparation and the at the competition. Dancers way too affected by the outcome of not placing or going to NY. I saw the school over valuing dancers who did well, but who the struggled in the day to day of class. Or dancers who had gorgeous solos year after year but struggled when they were apprentices and could not or did not do well in corps work. Equating doing a solo well at 16, 17, 18 with becoming a ensemble dancer with a professional company. They are not the same thing, at all.

I think if it going to be this big then it is time to institute a pre-screening process. I think that multiple variations and multiple contemporary dances are ridiculous. I think that multiple appearances at different regionals is also ridiculous. This is all just my personal opinion and observation. I know that my view will not be popular and that a lot of people would disagree and that is ok, too. 

 My daughter received wonderful training at our school. We all loved and valued her teachers and the school has a long history of producing professional dancers and sending students to top SIs and classical BFA programs. I did not agree with the new emphasis on full time training (cyber school and all day training) starting in middle school or the focus on YAGP and other competitions. So, my daughter moved after 9th grade (but that decision is another story[wink] I am not in any way trying to trash our school because it was a wonderful place for a very long time. When visions and training start to spit you need to decide to go with the program or leave.
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Lovemydancer24

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Reply with quote  #18 
Thank you for all your insightful comments and feelings regarding my topic.  We took each one to heart in our decision process.  We decided not to go.  The honor of being asked is something my daughter can treasure.  Whether or not YAGP as evolved over the years doesn't matter because of the historical reputation of the program.  Their soloists are amazing and something my daughter will aspire to become.  As for the adults, we agreed the expense for one dance was high when we have SI coming up.  We choose to put our funds into the classes that are more valuable for her development and craft as a future professional than a one time performance.  Thank you for everything!  I appreciate all the comments and input.  
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