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YAGP—Continued frompage 21.

weekends throughout the year.Between their dance training and academic schoolwork, students often report that they only got four hours of sleep the night before. She noted that not only do students feel the pressure to excel academically but also they feel driven to become the best dancer they can be as quickly as possible. James said that “they are tethered to the internet and see dancers younger than themsucceeding. Their solution is to trainmore.”

Excessive training and can take a toll on a young body not fully developedwith the strength that is built naturally and slowly through years of balanced training. Young dancers do not always understand the body’s need for rest, nor take the time to do condi- tioning and cross training to help prevent injury.

In a phone interview, former TBT principal dancer,EnricaGuana Tseng says injury is to be expected at some point in a professional dancerwho dances all day, every day.However,many young dancers do not have the daily training and knowledge of cross training needed to performsuch difficult variations and prevent unnecessary injuries.

Enrica and her husband,Chung Lin Tseng, own theBalletCenter of FortWorth and attribute daily ballet classes to their lowinjury rate. “We never cancel class in order to havemore time for rehearsal. Sometimes parents or studentswant to skip class and come just for rehearsal in order to havemore time for homework, etc.We do not allowthis and try to explain the importance of consistent daily class in preventing injury.We also offer Pilates and other cross training opportunities.”

BalletCenter of FortWorth does not participate inmany competi- tions. They focus on YAGP because they feel that it gives their stu-

dents the opportunity to reallywork on a classical variation and receive valuable individual coaching andworking to perfect every detail. They also compete in the ensemble category to give their dancers experienceworking as a part of group. They “try to take the focus off of the prize or qualifying forNewYork and only on the benefits of thework involved in being a participant.”

It is interesting and encouraging tomention thatmany of the

YAGP alumniwho are dancing professionallywere not accepted into the prestigious FinalRound of YAGP such as SaraMearns, Lauren Lovette or LaineHabonywithNewYorkCityBallet. The majority of dancers in professional companies have never competed in a competition at all.

Bottomline is that competitions such as YAGP help tomotivate dancers towork harder, improve greatly fromthe individual coach- ing, and if lucky enough to qualify for the Finals inNewYork, be seen by the directors ofmajor schools and companies fromall over theworld.Because of the growth of YAGP, the competition is becoming tougher, especially fromthe international schools. It is important to remember that a hopeful young dancermust always train seriously for their career and not a competition.

“The reality is that daily ballet class is the foundation of all progress, and is crucial to the continued development and success of our stu- dents. It is the singlemost important toolwe have in guiding stu- dents towards their goals of achievement and dreams of success. Participation in class every day is not optional, it is an absolute necessity to pursue dance at the highest level.” Wendy Perron, DanceMagazine

KellyKilburn Lannin is theArtisticDirector ofBallet Conservatory and LakeCitiesBallet Theatre.

page 22

May-July 2016

DANCE!NORTHTEXAS a publication of the dance council of north texas vol. 19 • no. 2

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