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Wiz

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  1. My son is almost six foot tall. He listens to a lot of people and has learned to read elementary Russian. He follows several Russian dancers on Instagram. He goes to a dance school run by a teacher who was himself schooled in the Russian tradition. He believes standards are higher in Russia, especially at the Mariinsky. He reveres Ekaterina Kondaurova whom he saw dance at Covent Garden last year. He was fascinated by the personal history of Xander Parrish but not quite so impressed by the performances of the man himself. He is determined to dance in Russia, where dancers, he believes, (rightly, I think), are properly valued as artists. He has been offered places at The Hammond School and at Tring Park. He is being considered for awards at both institutions. He liked the appearance and feel of Tring best - the accommodation at Hammond is not on the spot as it is at Tring, and is perhaps a little run down. But Hammond might be the best place for him up to the age of sixteen. At sixteen he hopes to be at a classical ballet establishment. It is worrying that LRBS is not registered with British authorities. Until we moved down to Cornwall last year he was an Associate at Northern Ballet. I didn't know there was a Bristol Russian Ballet but now that I do I shall certainly get onto it. Thank you all! Still not sure about anything though!
  2. Can I ask whether parents of young ballet students have had the opportunity of forming a received view about London Russian Ballet School? Our fourteen-year-old son is desperately keen on a ballet career and is very tall for his age. He believes, because male ballet stars in Russia tend to be tall, and indeed female stars do too, that he could follow in the footsteps of the likes of Xander Parrish, whose example has inspired him. But although the LRBS recruit students from overseas and from many far-flung parts of the UK and these students of course board, the school itself does not offer accommodation under its own auspices. So a young boy, away from home for the first time, would be living in a boarding house (which would be near the school apparently) on his own. And although the school says it recruits purely on ability, and grants are given according to potential, and that no student considered a good prospect would be disadvantaged financially by the fee regime, the school refuses to give out its fee structure. It says it depends on the course taken. This seems a bit mysterious to me. Is it unusual? We live a good five hours from London, and we now have the prospect of making a compulsory formal application and then taking our son up to London for a whole-day audition session involving two nights away, and then seeing how talented the school thinks our son is, without having any notion of the kind of fee we will have to pay in the end. It would seem strange to go through that whole process and only then discover the kind of financial commitment that is required. Of course other schools have no difficulty publishing their fees. What do people think about this, please?
  3. Wiz

    Questions about Lower School auditions

    My wife and I are new to all this, and in particular to the world of private education of any kind. We have significant reservations about the value of paid-for education in general, and neither my wife nor I nor any of our four children have had anything other than state-funded education. I qualified for the bar and had all my tuition at school, university, and vocational level paid for by the state, and I also had grants to support my living expenses when I needed them. My wife went to Oxford and became a solicitor in similar fashion, and our first three children went to university having had a state education at school. Of course the increasing privatisation of the tertiary system is ruining things, but university is still just about a public good. You will have guessed, after this lengthy preamble, that our fourth child is different, and you would be right. He didn't dance a step before the age of eleven. Since then he has danced like a maniac, and I am not best placed to judge but he seems to be very good. He has been dancing in the evenings for three years and is currently dancing six days a week. He has been offered a place at Tring and at Hammond. I sympathise very much with what is said above about being caught up in an unstoppable and inexorable series of events - our son has auditioned, has been successful, and we have now realised it is going to be very difficult to tell him that he can't go to boarding school, which he is thinking will be something like Hogwarts. He will probably go to Hammond, but the question I have for anyone inclined to answer it is whether the large amount of cash we will be investing in his education will necessarily provide returns that would not be provided by his current regime of state secondary school and private dance classes in the evenings and weekends. Our son wants to join the Royal Ballet, and will certainly audition when he is a little older. Will going to the Hammond maximise his chances at sixteen, or will his raw talent be recognised by the Royal Ballet regardless of where he gets his dance education in the next two years? He works very hard at the moment. We will miss him dreadfully if he goes away, but would not for a minute deny him his opportunity in the world of dance if boarding school was going to give him that unique chance.
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