It works out perfectly:
As a young child, you are signed up for a few different activities and spend an hour, maybe two, per week doing each thing. Let’s say you start that at age 4 and subtract a few weeks for holidays and summer vacation. By the time you’re six, you’ve spent 108 hours doing each activity. And then you choose the one or two things you really enjoy and for a couple years, you do that twice per week and add on another 144 hours. By the time you’re 9, you know what you really love. Assuming everyone wants to be good at something you choose athletics over math, or gymnastics over theater and you spend some extra time at practice on the weekends and after school. About four hours a week, minus time for holidays and summer breaks, and you tag on another 432 hours.
If you chose ballet, by the time you’re 12, you are dancing five or six days a week, for an hour and a half technique class, plus an hour or half hour of pointe and rehearsals. Let’s say you’re dancing 11 hours a week during the school year and you’re in a full time summer program for three weeks – that’s 516 hours. For three years, you have 1,548. So by the time you are 14, that’s 2,748 hours.
And then it’s party time. You want to dance professionally so you’re in class and rehearsals six days a week (7 at some programs, but I personally don’t believe that’s healthy, necessary or even beneficial, so let’s say 6). You’re taking 630 hours during the school year, 180 or so hours at a four week intensive, and instead of hanging around on your weeks off from school – you head into Manhattan for open class, at least twice a week- 90 more hours. That’s 2,700 from age 14-16. When you’re 17, you are selected to apprentice a company – let’s be generous and say you’re dancing a 60 hour week for 36 weeks. If you don’t apprentice a company – you find a way to dance this much anyway. That’s 2,160 hours. So all together that’s a little more than 7,600 hours. Maybe you get hired as a corps member, or continue to apprentice, or continue to take class and audition when you turn 18. That’s about 9,700 hours. Pretty close in my book.
Ballet is not only for people that want to dance professionally. Ballet adds beauty, grace, strength to anyone’s life, even in small doses. However, this is the formula if you want to dance professionally.
Get used to saying, “I can’t, I have class."