Tsiskaridze recently gave an interview which I think outlines his position about ballet children on television. There’s a written transcript, but unfortunately it’s hard to understand using Google Translate. Grateful if you could summarise his main points.

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Here are his key points (I’m paraphrasing some of them):

  • When it comes to televised competitions, a great deal depends on the parents, and little to nothing depends on the children.
  • A good parent understands that any competition is an opportunity for their child to realise their potential and to find their calling. Competitions are also great networking opportunities.
  • Sadly, there are way too many parents who crave money and fame. Their greed ends up preventing their children from seriously pursuing their craft.
  • When it comes to “classical” professions: music, ballet, art, etc., there is no such thing as an early career. Note: Tsiskaridze makes this point often in other interviews and especially when talking to parents: the children are at the academy to learn, not to make their careers. There is plenty of time for that once they graduate. 
  • Televised competitions are first and foremost a show. It’s important to remember that the show’s popularity and viewership are the producers’ first priority. A child’s mental health can suffer greatly in the aftermath of the experience, after the show squeezes everything out of them.
  • A child can often get a lot of attention because of their looks, of how adorable they are on screen, rather than their talent. They will often end up very hurt and confused when a fellow contestant, who received a lot less attention because they weren’t as “cute”, goes on to receive lucrative offers and has a successful career, while they are left with nothing.
  • Another thing parents often forget is that children can’t act. They always play themselves. This has been proven empirically; books have been written about it. In order to become an actor one must train hard and learn the craft. Parents often feel that their kids can get by on their cuteness alone, and when push comes to shove, the child isn’t capable of applying themselves to serious training.

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