Every year, around this time, hundreds of people write in, lost in the confusion of acceptances, rejections, and the emotional rollercoaster of summer-intensive decisions. When it comes to the ballet calendar, there is this crazy fog of anxiety that parents, students, and teachers seem to walk into that clouds judgment-making. By now, most students have their acceptances, have put down deposits, and have announced where they are committing to for the summer. If you haven’t, don’t freak out. Actually, avoid the Instagram; it just creates more anxiety and FOMO. Also, try to avoid parent groups on Facebook because the information might be too subjective (not that mine isn’t); everyone’s experience is different, everyone’s kid is different, and sometimes parents won’t have a wider understanding of ballet schools, companies, and current ballet politics.
When it comes to decision-making, I always say go where they offer you money. Yes, you can be strategic about where you accept; you can attend for clout; you can go for resumé building, but at the end of the day, any school offering you a scholarship means they like your kid. It means they are willing to lose out on the 4-5k that a hundred other parents would pay without blinking an eyelash. So, first, see who offered you free money and go there.
So, you didn’t get a scholarship offer, and you are under sixteen? Go for the resumé builder. Attend schools like San Francisco Ballet School, Paris Opera, Houston Ballet Academy, School of American Ballet, and ABT New York. Click here for my Summer 2023 guide.These schools will only make your resume more desirable and heavy.
If you are over sixteen, go to schools offering to look at you for trainee and year-round. They might be smaller, but who cares? At the end of the day, you need to go where you are wanted, where people believe in you, and you have a fighting chance. Look at the companies they are affiliated with and ask yourself, “Do they look like me? Do they move like me? Do I like the company rep?”
If you are eighteen and haven’t gotten a scholarship or a year-round offer, you might want to consider if this is something you can seriously afford to pursue. The financial strain can be overwhelming. The truth is, by eighteen, most dancers who will make it receive some sort of financial aid or are dancing for free in a not-tuition-based program. Many dancers out there will pay till eighteen and get into a second company, especially if they are behind or need another year of training.
If you are looking to launch a career out of this and you don’t know why it isn’t working out, find a second opinion. Whether booking a consultation with A Ballet Education or talking to another director, finding the honest answer is essential. Someone telling you the truth will help set you on the right path. Because of this, The Ballet Clinic is offering a professional launching program next season for dancers ages 18-22. If you are interested in learning more, check it out by clicking here.