September 4th, 2009

Learning ballet, moving on to other dance types?

I'm writing a character in her late teens who's recently stopped serious ballet classes, and I want to make sure I get the ballet-related details right.

Setting: North America (Washington state, if it's relevant), near-future (some urban fantasy elements, but not much affecting daily life).

1) First of all, is it really true that "if you grow too much, you can't be a ballerina any more"? Anne was pretty talented at ballet, but shot up to 5'10" during her teens, with an athletic rather than waif-like build. That's likely to be too big/heavy for most companies, I assume, given that she's limited in her choice of companies by her location? (I.e. she's a minor and her parents aren't going to move for her dancing.)

2) Secondly, what ballets is her school likely to have staged? I know many of the "big name" ballets, so to speak, but I don't really know if some are generally considered 'too hard' for ballet students? Or would the ballet school have professional-calibre dancers associated with it who'd take the challenging roles, regardless of whether a ballet was easy or hard?

3) Thirdly, if you're doing ballet seriously, at what point does it take over your life? I mean, assuming Anne's been having lessons since she was six or seven, I assume at some point if you've got the wherewithal to be a professional dancer you go to a full-on ballet school, and the rest of your education takes a back seat. How early is that likely to happen? Is it possible to juggle ballet training (beyond hobbyist levels, I mean) and a 'normal' education?

4) And finally, she still loves dance, and would consider some kind of dance-related career. Are there any professional dance disciplines where ballet training is of _particular_ advantage, where she'd make a particularly easy transition and all that old training would be applicable? Or are they all equally different, trainingwise, and her advantage will be limited to "generally extremely fit, flexible, coordinated and graceful"?

Searches done: Googled for ballet dancer height and weight, learning ballet at a school, ballet school companies, ballet schools, ballet school education, dance styles related to ballet, easy ballets. Read all the comm entries tagged 'arts: ballet' and 'arts: dance'. Read the Wikipedia pages on 'Ballet' , 'Ballet company', and various stuff linked from there.

Thankyou so much!
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Process of Becoming a Doctor (19th century)

Setting: Mid-19th century England

Hey, everyone. I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me as to the general process of becoming a doctor/physician in mid-Victorian England? I've done quite a lot of research (mostly with source material) and a year ago I did a brief course on the development of medicine but I wonder of someone has an overview of it?

For example, what was the general age at which one had more or less completed their training? I'm particularly struggling with how old to make my main character (from a wealthy family), who is in this position. Did it just entail going to university and getting experience elsewhere? I honestly have no clue so if you could help me out I'd be very grateful. Also, was the university system much different back then in terms of ages (going into university at 18, etc) than it is now?

~ Thanks in advance, everyone!

Climbing route in Yosemite

I would need a climbing route in Yosemite National Park doable for someone

* who's in a great physical condition and climbs in halls and
* now would start outdoor climbing (with hooks and ropes) partnered with a very experienced climber.

The route should be a challenge for that person, but doable. The route should take a few hours to take in whole, and the climbing parts of it should be visible from the ground by people with binoculars.

Anyone having any suggestions?

(I googled but as I don't really understand how these climbing things are rated, I'd love to get some input from people with know-how. It's only a side detail so it doesn't need to be super expert know-how - just enough that climbers within my readers won't run away screaming *G*)

Thank you so much for your help!
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