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  1. Pups_mum

    Missing ballet through illness

    Lovely to hear from you C4D. And well done to your lovely DD. What amazing perseverance she has shown. (And you too!) Best of luck for the next phase.
  2. Pups_mum

    Unqualified teachers

    Obviously things are far more complex thsn qualified =good and unqualified =bad and there are lots of things that contribute to how good a teacher is. I think that context is key too. For example, someone teaching exclusively older teens in a vocational upper school will need a different approach and skills to a local dance school teacher with a class of 20 five year olds. They could both be excellent teachers in their own setting but virtually useless and even potentially dangerous if they swapped classes! I think what this article was getting at is the dangers of people who have "danced a bit" setting up classes for young children without a real understanding of what is needed rather than ex pros becoming teachers. That said, I do think its a good idea for even ex pros to take adfitional training before they teach. As we have discussed on the forum many times, some "traditional" teaching practices in the ballet world can be very damaging both physically and mentally so its not ideal for people to perpetuate these by just replicating the way they were taught. Interestingly a friend of mine recently completed a British Cycling coaching course where one of the other candidates was a well known professional cyclist. He had to do exactly the same as everyone else before being allowed to coach children. Obviously he could do the cycling skills needed in his sleep but still had to learn how to give feedback, deal with learners of different abilities and so on, as well as the health and safety, children protection etc. There is a lot more to coaching/teaching than just being highly skilled at the activity yourself.
  3. Pups_mum

    Unqualified teachers

    I would think that at a very young age the issue is not so much not learning the right things (yet) but actively learning the wrong things. I think it can be very difficult to "unlearn" bad habits learned at an early age in any activity, not just dance. I recall girls arriving at my DD's old dance school having started elsewhere and even I, with my limited knowledge, could see that they had poor posture and were doing the most basic things wrong. And this wasnt their natural posture, it was something they had been taught to adopt for ballet. I am sure it was harder for them to correct than for children of a similar age who had never done a class at all.
  4. Pups_mum

    Questions about Upper School auditions

    Or if any parents are more science-y, it is a fairly easy walk to the Science and Industry Museum in Castlefield. At the moment they have Stephenson's original Rocket on loan from the Science Museum and there's lots of other very interesting stuff including a section on Alan Turing's original computer.
  5. Pups_mum

    Tap boards

    If i recall rightly, my husband made one from the offcuts of a laminate floor, stuck onto a piece of hardboard or similar. Not the ideal dance floor of course, but for the amount of time it was used it seemed fine. It was useful for DD when practising particular steps that she was finding technically challenging but she didnt use it that much really. No doubt the Harlequin board will be a high quality item but its a lot of money. You could buy an awful lot of laminate for £119...
  6. Pups_mum

    Questions about Upper School auditions

    Wow. That must have been a shock, growing so much so quickly! Glad he has found his niche though. I have learned a lot from DD's experience. I listened too much to what I (and she ) wanted to hear rather than what was staring me in the face. People really do mean well and are trying to be encouraging but sometimes it is better to be realistic. I would never have stopped her dancing, as I think the benefits are huge and I dont see a classical career as the only succesful outcome. But I would have definitely encouraged her to be more diverse both in her dancing and thinking, at a younger age. I am doing things a bit different with SS as a result, and we've had the hard conversations rather sooner. Ask me in about 5 years if I think I've done any better!!
  7. Pups_mum

    Questions about Upper School auditions

    Ive been wondering whether to post this as I dont want to sound rude or discouraging, but I do think that its important to be realistic if you are a "non standard" size. I write as a very short mother of petite children. I am in no way anti short people....but I am afraid experience tells me that it does matter. Both my DD and my SS (sporty son!) are short and many, very well meaning people over the years have has the "well they might still grow" conversation and pointed out the exceptional people who have been hugely successful despite their lack of height. But there's the rub. They ARE exceptional. Both in terms of being exceptions to the rule and in having exceptional talents. If you are destined to be a soloist the being a lot shorter, or indeed taller, than the rest of the company is far less of an issue than if you are aiming for the corps. And let's face it, how many dancers have that level of talent.....very few. As a sporting example, Maddie Hinch, the world number 1 hockey goalie is unusually small for her position. But she is insanely talented. Caleb Ewan is a very short sprint cyclist but other aspects of his abilities are almost unique. If they were only "very good" their stature would have been far more of an issue. Im not saying give up. But be realistic. Your physique may mean that some things are out of reach but a different path may be equally fulfilling. My DD is almost certainly heading down the teaching route and there's lot of exciting possibilities that way. My SS is being gently steered by his coaches into disciplines that he is more physically suited to but what he has done so far is not wasted. Its a popular concept that if we just work hard enough we can do anything. Sadly its not true. Hard work is of course crucial, whatever "raw materials" the genetic lottery may have give you but it is not always possible to get what you want, however hard you work. I think perpetuating that idea is potentially very detrimental to hard working and talented youngsters who dont get to "the top" as they the feel they have failed, not give enough etc etc. Work to be the best you can be. But recognise that that may be different to what someone else can be be, or what you currently want to be. And note "different"...not better, or worse..
  8. Pups_mum

    Demi pointes for auditions at Royal.

    I think its a matter that needs to be kept in perspective. I really can't imagine any post audition panel discussions would go like this... "So, number 23.....what musicality." "Absolutely. And paired with such strong technique". "Perfect physique too - great potential". "Err...guys, guys, hang on a minute....didn't you see her dirty shoes?!" "Oh yeah, now you come to mention it....So we're all agreed, that's a straight "no" then?". It wouldn't happen would it? And nor would the most perfectly presented dancer get a place if they didnt have all the necessary attributes. However, that said, human nature being what it is, people tend to perform better if they feel confident. And knowing that you look the part can certainly boost confidence. Plus, particularly when you get to the age where a dancer is more likely to have got themselves ready rather than have been prepared by a parent or teacher, I can believe that a slap dash appearance might be considered indicative of a slap dash attitude. If two dancers were equal in all other respects, well it could make a difference. So I think its worth taking care over but not having sleepless nights about. Mummytwinkletoes - I would let you DD choose whichever type of shoes she will feel most comfortable and confident wearing. I would imagine the majority will opt for flat shoes. I get the impression from my DD and her friends that soft blocks are at best tolerated, but nobody seems to actually enjoy dancing in them!
  9. Pups_mum

    RBS Junior Associates

    Hi worsethanclueless, I agree that it is sensible to go into these things with your eyes open, but at the same time it is sometimes better not to overthink things. The chances of ANY child "making it" in classical ballet is miniscule and if that were the only point in participating nobody sane would ever start. But you could probably say the same about many things - sports, music, drama and lots of more academic career paths too. But the benefits of all these kinds of things are many. There is intrinsic value in simply doing and enjoying the activity plus lots of transferable skills to learn. None of us knows what the future holds, and though it is natural for parents to worry about their children, there is a lot to be said for living in the moment and enjoying any given opportunity for what it is now. Your DD is very young. In a few years she may have changed and have a new passion. But if she is enjoying ballet now and you can support that interest without it impacting too greatly on the rest of family life then I can almost guarantee that she will get a lot out if it, even if it isnt a ballet career.
  10. Pups_mum

    Spanish inspired ballet music

    Also, if it has to be Spanish inspired rather than actually Spanish you might want to consider works by the contemporary Mexican composer Arturo Marquez -he has written lots of lively dance music.
  11. Pups_mum

    Spanish inspired ballet music

    Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega
  12. Pups_mum

    Being muslim at ballet

    Hi Nadya, I dont think there is any reason why your faith and your interest in ballet should be incompatible with a little bit of planning. One think that i dont think has been mentioned regarding other students potential attitudes has just come into my mind and I thought it worth mentioning. Lots of teenagers go through rebellious stages and ballet students are no different. I remember my DD's old teachers tearing their hair out over some of the teens moods at times, and not wanting to wear the uniform, put their hair up for class etc was a fairly common thing. So if you go to a class with a strict dress code you may find the other girls dont want to wear it either, albeit for different reasons. If that is the case I think you would be wise to try to ensure thats your choice of clothing is as close to the uniform as your faith allows. For instance if the class leotard is plain navy blue, then look for a plain navy blue outfit for yourself. If the others have to wear some thing they dont much like and you have, say, a pretty flowered skirt or coloured headscarf on they may feel thats it isnt altogether fair. This might possibly cause a bit of tension. I think the teachers should make reasonable adjustments to allows you to participate with out compromising your beliefs, but you also need to explore how you can best fit in with the culture of the ballet class, within the framework of your faith.
  13. Pups_mum

    Good Luck and Best Wishes

    There's a travelodge right by the station in Greenwich that is very handy for Laban, and on the occasion we stayed there it was quite cheap, by London standards.
  14. Pups_mum

    How to keep up interest in dance when it starts to falter?

    I think that you are 100% right to insist that she completes the associate programme that you've paid for. I believe firmly that ballet (and indeed many other hobbies) provide numerous benefits and learning opportunities for our children, that are actually probably more important than the dancing in the long term. Associates places are expensive and hard to come by and it's entirely reasonable to expect your little girl to respect the effort you've gone to to pay for it, and the fact that she has an opportunity that not everyone gets. Maybe I'm a bit harsh, but I don't think 9 is too young to grasp those concepts. If she doesn't want to reapply next year, that's different, but having committed to the place I think you are right to stick with it. Obviously I wouldn't make a child who was being bullied or similar stay in any programme, but if it's just a case of "going off" an activity then I think it's a fair expectation that they complete the course. That said, I do think that the previous posters have a point about considering a change of school as it may be that she's getting a bit bored as not being stretched enough. My youngest was losing interest in one of his sports a bit but a change of club and new challenges has completely reinvigorated him, even though he's gone from being one of the best in the first club to one of the weakest at the new one.
  15. Pups_mum

    How to keep up interest in dance when it starts to falter?

    I think going to see some ballets is an excellent idea, because even at age 9 she will start to see how what she's learning relates to what she sees on stage. I remember my DD being very excited at a similar age because she spotted steps that she could actually do within the choreography of something we'd gone to see. Suddenly something that was just an exercise she did in class had real context and became far more interesting. I definitely don't agree with making children continue with a hobby they are clearly no longer getting anything out of, but I don't think it'd good to let them chop and change either as its good for them to learn that everything has its ups and downs and sometimes you have to work through the downs to really enjoy the ups. I would set a deadline that if she is still adamant that she still wants to stop by she can do,but it won't be a spur of the moment thing.