Career Development Plan - To Dance Professionally at 19?

by Bronwen

Career Development Plan - To Dance Professionally at 19?

Dear Odette,

My name is Bronwen and I'm from the UK. I did ballet for about 5 years as a child, but hated having to dance tap and modern as well and only wanted to do ballet. However, something got lost in communication somewhere and my mother took me out of everything. It was also due to money issues.

I asked years later to go back to ballet but again, I don't think I was communicating how much I wanted to dance so the answer was no.

As a pre-teen I again wanted to go back, but felt powerless and had no idea how to find classes, or travel on my own, let alone fund it.

Now I'm 19, and the freedom of uni gave me a chance to start lessons, and as soon as I started I knew that it was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I've recently withdrawn from uni and intend to go back to college for a 4 year dance course. At the moment I'm taking 2 lessons a week but recently found a third, so hopefully next week I'll be doing 3 a week. I stretch and exercise in my own time, study the vocabulary, and have recently been buying books/DVDs on the RAD syllabus now one of my teachers is putting me in a RAD grade exam class after Christmas. Now I have family support for funding and travel and my mother has apologized for not helping me with lessons as a child now she realizes exactly how much I've wanted this.

But I'm 19, that's the raincloud looming over my head. Usually girls are joining companies by now, not beginning training, so I'm so scared that after everything and all the years of necessary training I won't be able to dance. Even if I'm forever in the corps du ballet in a tiny company I'll be happy, I just want to dance.

Do you have any advice?
Thank you very much,


Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - To Dance Professionally at 19?

Hi Bronwen,
Thanks for contacting me and sharing your story. I admire your passion for ballet and determination to follow your heart. Having come from a prestigious ballet background myself, I have to say a career in ballet is very competitive and somewhat unpredictable. Even my friends who trained 8 years at a top vocational ballet school struggled to graduate with a job. Perhaps they lacked fresh passion, or aimed their standards too high for ballet companies. Even still, just that alone shows how tough ballet is even for the finest dancers.

As long as you are aware of these factors in ballet, you can set yourself realistic and achievable goals. I understand you are going for it now, but I do think you should ask yourself a few questions just to confront your doubts or fears. Firstly, have you researched ballet companies around the uk or abroad to see if you could potentially audition in years to come? If you really want to join even a smaller ballet company, you need to be aware of the possibilities.

Have you got your ballet teachers full support? She is the person who is responsible, as well as yourself, to provide you with training good enough to reach the standards of a professional.

Being older yourself, I know you must have more of an understanding of the options or time span in ballet. Remember to always give yourself options and keep your interests open.

Follow each page of my website as each one holds a worthy piece of advice to guide you. You seem to already be aware of the factors that could hold you back, but keep in mind studying dance can lead you onto many great things even if it is or not directly to a ballet company.

Best wishes,

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