Tag Archive | ballerina

the “c” word

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That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. College.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about whether or not I want to go. Obviously my parents want me to. The hard part is trying to factor in whether or not that really matters to me. You see, I want to be a dancer, there’s no mistake about that. The question is, how do I get there? I don’t want to be a ballerina. Contemporary and commercial dance are where my heart’s at. I don’t necessarily need to go to college to be able to do those, I just think my parents believe that all successful roads in life start with university.

The problem, part two: I don’t want to waste the first four years of my adulthood, when I could be joining a company/agency or getting better training and seeing the world (London, specifically), trapped taking jazz and working towards a useless bachelor’s degree. I wanna do exciting things and meet exciting people. I want to dance.

Some of my friends’ life goals look like this: graduate high school, go to college and get a meaningless degree, and maybe work a little bit before marrying a dude and raising his family. I’d rather not. I have ambitions. Every day college starts to seem less like an achievement to aspire towards and more like a roadblock on the path to what I really want to do. I’m in the eleventh grade and the reason for everything I do nowadays has been reduced to “It’ll look good on your transcript.”

I overheard a conversation between a friend and his mother when they were the car yesterday. He told her that he didn’t want to go to uni because voice acting was the career he was after, which made college somewhat unnecessary. His mother said to him, “Will you feel the same way when you can’t feed your own family?” and that swiftly ended the conversation. Tense silence in the car.

Our parents just want the best for us. But I’m not ready to dedicate more anxiety, time, and money thinking about something that will determine the course of my adulthood. It’s too big for sixteen. I just want to dance honestly.

— Bethany.

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old school, new school, gently-used school

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When I was a little girl, I’d always thought about being a ballerina or joining a contemporary dance company; but I never imagined that I would actually be able to pursue it. I even took a year off when I was a freshman to find out if there was anything else that I would like to do with my life, but there wasn’t. And there isn’t, still. But now I have to make up for the lost time by pushing my training into overdrive, and what better way to do that than a summer dance intensive?

Hi. It’s Bethany.

I know that summer 2014 is a long time away, but typically auditions for intensives take place the winter beforehand, so if I want to study anywhere, I’d better start looking now. And I have, except I’m not sure where I’d like to go. My top picks are the summer programs at Juilliard, Jacob’s Pillow, London Studio Centre, and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire. They’re all very far away from where I live (Virginia), but I’m really interested in their programs.

Contemporary dance has always been my passion, but I wouldn’t mind studying ballet, which is technically what I’m trained in, or ballet technique. I’d call it nearly impossible to start a career in dance without proper ballet training, no matter how old you are.

ghgJuilliard is a three-week intensive taking place next August in New York City, focusing on ballet and modern dance. It’s very expensive, estimating at one thousand dollars in tuition and an extra thousand dollars for accommodation.  London Studio Centre is an English university I can see myself training at after I graduate, and it’s pretty cheap. However, the camp only lasts a week and it almost seems like a waste of time/money to fly out to London for only seven days of contemporary training. Trinity Laban is also in England; this intensive lasts two weeks and I’ve heard amazing things about it (free accommodation, too). At Trinity I would be able to tailor my timetable to the things I wanted to take (ballet, Graham-based contemporary, yoga, etc.) and that’s pretty cool.

Now, my dream dance school, the crème de la crème, is Jacob’s Pillow up in Massachusetts. They have a summer program for professionals and pre-professionals from ages sixteen on up, specializing in either ballet, commercial, or contemporary. Free accomodation for approved applicants, but it’s extremely selective; only twelve men and twelve woman get chosen each year. The contemporary program, which I would be auditioning for, costs about $1,800

I would love to attend any combination of these schools, although my heart is pretty set on Jacob’s Pillow. For an aspiring dancer this is an incredibly important decision; for me especially because next summer is my last season as a high school student. I’ll also have to decide how much out of my paycheck/savings I want to pay for tuition and/or audition fees (because I really want to help my parents out); but I don’t want to spend too much, because what’s the point of going overseas and doing all these intensives if I end up with no money for college? So many, many things to do.

— Bethany.

girls just wanna have funds

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It’s my birthday today. Turning sixteen has always been depicted in movies as a big deal for a girl, but for me it’s just another road sign on the path to finding a job. I have been looking for places to work for about two months now, but haven’t really seen anything I like yet (I know what you’re thinking: “Silly Bethany! You’re not supposed to like your first job!” but I’m not a fan of pointless experiences, so I want to like it at least a little). Truth is, on the inside I feel about thirty years old, but on the outside I look about thirteen; those two things simultaneously make it difficult for me to find places of employment that will both accept and suit me.

This weekend I’ll be having a proper birthday slumber party in true American fashion, with junk food, a Doctor Who marathon, and about twelve other sixteen-ish girls. Lots of my friends have jobs now (Anna works at Dairy Queen, Krysta is a part-time nanny, etc.), so late on Saturday night I’ll probably get to ask them some questions about the whole “working girl” thing. One thing I do know is that I do not want to babysit. Some girls adore children and like taking care of them for long periods of time on a regular basis (like my friend Ahna-Louise, who wants to be a teacher), but that’s not really my thing. My younger sister is only three years my junior and she’s pretty good at taking care of herself, so I don’t have much experience in this field.

In a perfect world, where ballet classes are free and Niall Horan from One Direction is my boyfriend, I’d be able to do the kind of short-term work I would prefer: waitressing or retail. I can fold clothes, I can smile and carry things; these jobs are ideal for me. But, being as young as I am, it’s a little difficult to secure a steady income anywhere. Krysta and Maddie, the other co-owners of this blog, are both older than me, and as far as I know they didn’t have a hard time getting their jobs. Le sigh.

Long-story-short, it’s my sixteenth birthday (and yes, I always have birthdays in the middle of the week. Leap years screw it up for me), and I need a job so I can write up a well-functioning budget plan. I’m the one who likes to make lists and charts and itineraries. Ask Maddie and Krysta.

I’m one step closer to England today. (:

— Bethany.