Here’s a heads up to parents of young male dancers heading down the ballet route. If your son becomes a ballet boy, by which I mean a serious ballet student, beware that he likely will begin to think he should ditch the idea of heading for the hallowed halls of higher learning and head instead for the bright lights and applause of whatever stage a large, medium or small ballet company calls its home.
We were warned, it’s true. We were told that once Julian began training in a ballet program he would be pushed and enticed (via interest from ballet companies and encouragement from his teachers) towards going straight from high school into a ballet company. Sure enough, those in the know knew. I would say Julian is leaning towards the studio and the stage. (As you may know, school is not his “thing.”)
And, those in the ballet world are probably right. If you want to be a ballet dancer, the thing to do is to get a position as an apprentice or trainee (the former is preferable in my view) in a company. Or, if you are really good, audition and get a spot in a company.
After all, dancers dance.
If you want to be a contemporary ballet dancer, college may work for you–rather than against you. For instance, then a degree from Juilliard may be an asset (and it offers little to no real academics, although some conservatories do). But not necessarily if you want to go into a ballet company…then you will just have lost three or four years of your dance career to…well…an education rather than to experience.
So, beware. If you have your heart set on your son going to college, avoid a serious ballet program set up to prepare your son for a ballet job. Instead, opt for some other type of program that leans towards preparing him for a college audition.