Career Development Plan - Sarasota Ballet School

Career Development Plan - Sarasota Ballet School

Hi Odette,

My daughter has been dancing since she was three and is now 10 years old. She has a passion for dance that amazes me. She is young but tells me she wants to be a prima ballerina. Her goals are to eventually attend Julliard and dance with the New York City Ballet. She currently trains at a small studio in Georgia. She competes at regional competitions and wins 1st place overall 99% of the time (not bragging - just painting a picture of the ride we're on). This summer she has attended two summer intensives on scholarship at Joffrey Ballet in NYC and one at Sarasota Ballet in Sarasota, FL - Both were two week intensives. Sarasota Ballet is offering her a full scholarship to join their full time conservatory program which feeds into their professional company. They are very complimentary and excited about my daughter and her talent. We currently live in Georgia and have the flexibility to move, however we are unsure if this is the right time/place. I am learning about the ballet world but am certainly no expert. I am a supportive parent looking for advice and wisdom from someone in the know - In desperate need of objective Career Development advice from someone who has been there. Looking forward to your response.


Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - Sarasota Ballet School

Thank you very much for your message, it's great to hear from you. Of course, I will offer my advice and experiences. I know what it's like to be stuck making decisions and ultimately you have to follow your gut instincts even if you inevitably make mistakes along the way.

I am familiar with Sarasota ballet company and it's a fantastic opportunity for your daughter to join their program, especially on a full scholarship. It's important for dancer's to find a place where people believe in them and their ability. A dancer's confidence has much to do with how they succeed, so if they are in the right place to do so it will help her improve and progress forward.

If this is the only place your daughter has 'applied' to for training (I know they offered her the position), but just to bare in mind there are many more options and places to train. It's not the only place and opportunity that will come your way, but it is a good one.

Your daughter is still very young and I know how much things can change through the years. To put it in perspective, I started full-time training in ballet at a vocational dance school aged 11. I can tell you from the 12 girls who were in my year at school, only 2 of us (including myself) have a job in a professional ballet company right now. This is just so you are aware nothing is guaranteed in ballet and it is highly unpredictable, especially during the training years.

If you're not sure about the time/ place right now, it might be helpful to know the 'timeline' as such for ballet dancers. By aged 18, dancer's are joining a professional ballet company and complete training. From what I've seen, it is fundamental to be training by aged 16 if not before. Not all of the ballet dancer's in my ballet company right now began serious training at aged 11, in fact most of them didn't. However, it is important to look at the timeline for your daughter and see what opportunities could be there for her.

My advice, which I think my mother would say to, is to keep your options open. Even if you commit full-time to dance, don't forget the importance of academics and studies. Dancer's drop out or quit all of time and it's very reassuring to have that 'back-up' route or just other interests. I know many dancer's do not and maybe that works for them to go for the ride and see how it goes. However, I always think it's wise to keep an open mind.

Let me know your thoughts and please do keep in touch. I wish you all the best.

Best wishes,

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