I'm a ballet dancer of 13 years, but I only got serious about it a few years ago, and very recently realized that I might want to pursue ballet professionally. I've contemplated auditioning for several prestigious pre-professional programs. But now I'm a junior in high school, so I'm worried it's too late. Should I still go for it, or am I better off staying at my current studio and going to college? —Lexi
Well…you won't know unless you try, right? The biggest guarantee that you won't get into a pre-professional program is never auditioning for one. Sure, you risk getting rejected, but that's part of life as a dancer.
I understand how scary it can be when you feel like you're late in the game, though. I didn't audition for my first summer program until I was almost 16, and I was incredibly nervous. But gaining exposure to other dancers my age, as well as receiving feedback from the schools, helped me gauge where I stood in the larger dance world and make an informed plan for my future.
I also encourage you to look beyond prestigious, big-name programs. Conservatories, as well as schools attached to smaller or mid-size companies, have a lot to offer and may be a better fit for you. If you don't have any luck with auditions now, try not to freak out—you still have time. A strong college ballet program is a wonderful option to complete your training and prepare for a career.
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at firstname.lastname@example.org.