In college… You have English 101… and if you went to community college you might start in a lower level class like English 100, and there is nothing wrong with that… Ballet should offer courses for parents…. So, if you didn’t realize how all encompassing ballet is… Well, for those of you who aren’t ready for Ballet 101, here is Ballet 100. Some of you have also written in saying that my blog is designed for the inside clique of ballet dancers and that I act like a mean girl and that my blog is cruel to those who aren’t naturally gifted… I beg to differ but you are entitled to your opinion… as I am mine.
I never mean to discourage or alarm dancers or their parents. For some reason this week, I have gotten dozens of emails from dancers and parents around the world concerned about what my blog says… I want to reiterate something I have made very clear since the beginning of my blog (a year and a half ago), that if your child wants to dance there will be a place for your child to dance… I don’t know what at level or caliber or even in what genre of dance… But if there is a will, there is a way… And you might not even get paid for it, but if you love to dance… then dance. I will say it a million times, that if you want to encourage your child to dance, then you better be ready to make the commitment to ballet… The emotional, mental and financial obligations to ballet are huge. You also have to be willing to send your child away at a young age, and find the best training out there… (I think I have written numerous times on that as well)
Ballet is expensive. The average summer program (5 weeks) runs anywhere between $2,000-$4,000 dollars in tuition… and that is not including room and board…. That adds another $2k… Pointe shoes, attire, flights and so on…. Parents spend up to $10k on a five-week summer course here in America… It’s just a fact. Year-round programs are just as expensive.
Ballet is hard. The physical demand of a ballet dancer isn’t just about athleticism and stamina. You have to be smart, and be able to manipulate your body using your mind, and then have the stamina and athleticism behind it all. This isn’t starting on artistic merit…
Ballet is emotional. Ballet is not made for the weak… It is demanding, teachers don’t care, and they shouldn’t…. There are millions of dancers out there trying to find work and powerhouse companies and opera houses don’t have the time to nurture you through every step of your career. At an early age, you have to become self-sufficient and learn how to work for yourself. Ballet is also filled with racism, favoritism and dominated by male directors… It is also extremely body conscious.
Ballet is time-consuming. I’m sorry to the parents writing in about how you feel that ballet is taking away from your family vacations… But, it is a huge time commitment because ballet is progressing at such a fast rate through physiology and physics, and the mastering of anatomy… Dancers are required to master so much more than ever before in a shorter amount of time. So, I can’t really justify you wanting to pull your kid out of ballet because it cuts into your family time…. Dancers 14+ can dance/rehearse/cross-train up to 35/hrs a week on top of their school work.
Ballet isn’t for everyone. It is sad, but true… As wonderful as ballet is, and as beautiful as it is…. It isn’t for everyone… Even those gifted with the most beautiful bodies, and natural facility… Sometimes it just doesn’t work out… Trust me… I have seen happen hundreds of times to my own students and my friends… Ballet just isn’t for everyone… and what you experience in the classroom is far from what it is like actually dancing as a profession…
Soooo, now that you are caught up with the blog… I will make a ballet 101 post and slowly go from there to help those of you confused or feel left out, or lost in ballet… I will try to help you catch up!