Tag Archive | Contemporary dance

the “c” word

cword

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

ghgh

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.

Getting Down to Business

Summer is ending very quickly and I’m glad of it. 

Hi, people. I’m Bethany, the youngest owner of this blog, and I’ve been spending my summer either indoors or taking the limited amount of dance classes available at my studio; and as socially-damaging as it sounds, I’m glad the season’s almost over. As soon as school starts back up, I can focus on my dance training and get a job; me and the girls want to save a minimum of $3,500 individually just to cover the cost of getting settled in England.

The Urdang Academy of Dance in London, England

The Urdang Academy of Dance in London, England



Step one: dance.

My dance training is extremely important to me. I’m taking on more courses this year so that I’ll have  a broader spectrum of capability; so far I’m mostly trained in contemporary/modern. Plus, there’s no way I’ll be able to live in London if I can’t get into any of their dance schools! And as for that, I’m torn between England’s Urdang Academy and Bird College. Both seem like really good schools to train at, but my main issue with choosing between them is that I’ve not yet decided which field of dance I would most like to break into (company or commercial). Once I’ve decided I think it’ll be easier for me to choose a school, but for the time being I’m just trying to have as much experience and technique under my belt as possible: continuing this autumn with four ballet classes (two en pointe) and an advance contemporary class.

Step two: school.

It would also be helpful if I actually graduate high school. Maddie and Krysta are already putting the trip on hold to wait until I’m out of school (2015), so I don’t want to keep them waiting any longer than legally possible. We’re all three home-schooled (Well, Krysta graduated this year, but she was), so we have flexible schedules when it comes to our educations, and I think I’m going to take advantage of that to shape my school schedule around work and dance. And family, of course. My mom, dad, and my little sister Grace are extremely supportive of my aspirations and I just don’t want to let anyone down, really.

Fine dining at Jerry Jack's.

Fine dining at Jerry Jack’s.

Step three (the final step): work

This topic has been long-considered in my brain. I’m only fifteen and quite lazy to be honest, which puts a bit of a strain on my options as far as employment. I’d decided that I didn’t want to work in fast food (I can barely make cereal for myself, and you’ll never catch me cleaning a public toilet on this side of the grave) or with children, which are the two main jobs young teenagers tend to have. At first I thought to work in retail, maybe at a store in the mall, but at the current moment I haven’t got a car to drive or a full license, so that seemed pretty pointless as well. Now I’ve resolved to apply for a job at this cute little diner within walking distance from my house, called Jerry Jack’s, that my mom has written a story about in our local newspaper. I think I have waitress potential, if only I could learn to be a little nicer. ;P

This is my plan so far for the beginning of fall 2013. I’ll be back once I get the job to talk about budgeting and spending. For now, I’m trying my hardest to focus because, to be real, Maddie and Krysta are boarding the plane to London without me unless I’ve got all three bullet marks on lock. But don’t worry, I’m going find out how to make it work.

— Bethany.