Career Development Plan - Want to be a ballet dancer

by Kelley

Career Development Plan - Want to be a ballet dancer

Hi Odette,
I have been doing ballet since i was three years old. I do ballet twice a week and i think i have a ballet body.I am 14 years old and i really want to do ballet as a living.

The only problem is all the ballet dancers i read about all dropped out of school at 16 and went to study at full time ballet colleges.Is that the only way to pursue a career in ballet?


Reply by Odette
To:-Career Development Plan - Want to be a ballet dancer

Hello Kelley,
Thank you for your message, it's great to hear from you. You must look at the ballet dancer, Melissa Hamilton, who is from Northern Ireland and nearly broke all the stereotypes on how you become a ballet dancer.

Although she left home at 16 to pursue a career, she was actually told ballet was not going to be suited for her when she first joined a full-time school in the UK.

Melissa met one teacher who believed in her talents and she was trained privately until she reached the profession. However, she did enter a huge competition Youth American Grand Prix which is what helped her reach her goal to pursue a career.

So, I know most ballet dancers you read about are very similar in terms of where and when they trained full time. This is because of the high expectation and standards there are in ballet to go on and reach a professional level.

However, there are always stories like Melissa Hamilton where I hear of dancers who did not follow the typical route to still make it as a ballet dancer.

I would say, it is important to get full time training by the age of 16. The only other way to be recognised by ballet companies is through compeitions, but still you have to be a high enough standard to enter which mostly means you would need to study ballet full time to be in for a chance.

You don't have to drop out of school, or stop your academics though. Especially places like the UK, there are full time ballet schools which offer A Levels or some sort of study to leave you with something by the end of the course.

If you look at schools in the UK like Elmhurst School for Dance or Tring Park School, they are places which continue school work as well as full time ballet training.

I would reflect on these thoughts and please keep in touch to let me know what you are thinking, or what more you would like help with.

Best wishes,

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