The School of American Ballet (SAB) students receive guidance about summer intensives and company auditions just before Thanksgiving break. The boys are brought in to see Jock Soto, the head of the men’s division, and he asks them what summer programs they might be interested in attending. He then advises them on their choices. He also tells them if they are ready to begin auditioning for professional positions and if they can return to the school the following year. Some of this depends upon age; some depends upon skill level.
Numerous ballet companies from around the nation (and possibly from Europe…I’m not sure) conduct their auditions right there at SAB starting in the New Year. Most companies with summer intensives hold their auditions at SAB as well.
As for next year, Julian’s age puts him in an odd category. He turns 18 this summer. If he were already 18—or was 18 for part of this school year, he might be deemed too old to come back for another year. Because he will have just turned 18, he can return for one more year—and that’s what Jock told him. He could return if he wanted to do so—and they would be happy to have him. However, he also was told to go ahead and start auditioning for ballet companies. He’s ready.
Jock also asked Julian what type of companies he might like to dance for, and Julian replied, “Large ones.” (Duh.) So, his choice of what to do next year will be dependent upon his offers, if any come. And, of course, he hopes New York City Ballet might make him one—but that could take another year at SAB, if it happens at all.
In the meantime, he is also filling out college applications. Some of you may disagree with the idea of having your son implement a “Plan B.” I understand this totally—and I’ve even played devil’s advocate for the “Only Plan A” route. As parents, my husband and I have decided to stick with our initial feeling that we want Julian to have all his options open at the end of the year.
As for summer intensives, he’ll be auditioning for summer intensives at Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet—among others. Pacific Northwest Ballet is his first choice. Jock said to go wherever he was given the best scholarship. I’ve done a little research and found that Pacific Northwest and Boston are chaperoned and provide housing. Whoo-hoo! As I write this, though, I’m feeling stressed about the idea of him going to a new city all alone. Of course, San Francisco is just an hour and a half from our home.
By the way, it is the season for summer intensive auditions. If you haven’t seen it already, The Summer Intensive Handbook is now available for the Kindle at Amazon.com as well as in most other digital formats at Smashwords.com. You might find it helpful when choosing an intensive for your son or preparing him for one. (Here’s a special coupon code for 15% of the $7.99 price –just for My Son Can Dance blog readers good at Smashwords.com: Coupon Code: QK67P Expires: December 28, 2011.)
While in New York before Thanksgiving I got to observe Julian’s ballet class again, but this was an exception to the rule since parents only get to observe every other month. We don’t normally come to NYC so often—awfully far to go for us folk in CA, so SAB agreed to let us observe after just a month, but now we are banned until March. I’ll be in NYC in January, but I won’t have time to watch class anyway. I’m sure we won’t have a reason to be back again until at least March.
Anyway, Julian looked really good. I think he’s improving by leaps and bounds, and I don’t see a whole lot of difference between him and some of the boys who have been there a long time. I know I don’t see the little technique differences, though—and I’m his mom! I’m biased. He says he still has a way to go to catch up.
I enjoy the fact that some of the core members, soloists and principle dancers take class with the boys—and some of the ballerinas in the company, too. They all show up for the advanced men’s class! They say it’s the hardest one around. It’s fun to watch these beautiful dancers try to do the really difficult combinations Jock throws at the boys and to seem all of them—professionals and students alike—struggle with them. Of course, the company members struggle with them less and get them right more often. But I can compare Julian to these dancers as well as to the other boys, which is really a unique opportunity.
Julian seems to be doing really well in partnering—from what he tells me. I didn’t watch a class this time. He is trying to do some of the partnering moves one handed! And he has gained a regular partner who is a company member—after having no partner at all. (Company members come to partnering class during off season.) Some of the girls are now asking to partner Julian as well. So no more being a wallflower for him.
We are still struggling with preparation for Regents tests, though. Really too bad he has to take them to graduate high school when he already passed the California Exit Exam. I finally called the school and made arrangements for tutoring and some sort of monitoring of his studying—or lack thereof. SAB has gotten involved as well, much to Julian’s dismay. Well, what can I say. He has to pass to graduate, and he has three test to take (and one mock test). After January—if and when he has passed them—he can relax knowing he’s fulfilled his requirements. Then he just needs to finish his two humanities courses, and he’s doing okay in those. His report card was good—should be with just two darn courses. (Could have been a tad better given the fact that he has so few classes…)
He comes home in three weeks for the first time since he left in the fall! We’ll see how that goes. His “requested” plans for the vacation—and some of the summer—are worth another post.