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HowMuch!

When to go for associates?

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Hi there,

 

With encouragement from her teacher, my 8 year old has settled on her dream to be a ballet dancer. I’m hoping to get some advice about how to provide her with the best opportunities and pathways to reach her dream. I’m very aware of how competitive ballet is so i’m keen to make the journey as enjoyable as possible for her. 

 

She’s currently in a Grade 2 class for a hour a week and will be taking an additional associates-type class from September (not JA). 

 

I think i’m struggling to know whether to get her to audition for JA next round, or to see how the additional classes go and wait until she’s a bit older to audition for associates? She’s desperate to get into the CAT programme so would a JA class make this more likely? 

 

Thanks for any advice xx

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imo it would be easier to get into JA’s earlier because they do really take children on their physical and musical potential. The older they get, there is an expectation, to a degree, that they will have at least a working knowledge of the exercises they set.

 

The more experience children get, in a relaxed and enjoyable setting, at auditions, the better. Even if they aren’t successful first time around, they can see around them the level of the other dc in the group and understand what they are working towards. 

 

With regard to CAT. I would imagine most dc who got into JA’s would get into a CAT scheme also, however they might work more on current ability rather than future potential?

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Both JA and to a lesser extent CAT only take into account how you perform on the day - being in one class will not help you get into another.

 

My best advice to the parent of any 8 year old - encourage them to see the wider picture, enjoy their dancing, but not focus on it being the be all and end all.  You simply don't know what will happen, broken limbs, development, ability to cope with pressure .. the list is endless.

 

Even if it all works out well, the more rounded your child the better they are able to seize the opportunities offered.

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Thank you for your replies. It sounds like it would be worth having a go at getting into JA next year. The additional classes she’s starting in September will give her a taste of what JA would be like so I imagine by Christmas she’ll be more knowledge about her decisions. 

 

We're very keen on making the journey an experience in itself so that she takes as much from it as possible regardless of success. She’s been very realistic about it all so far, she even has ideas of what she wants to be ‘after ballet’! 

 

Thanks again for the replies, it’s really helped me feel content that i’m opening the doors for her whilst not being a pushy parent!

 

xxx

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Good luck with not being a pushy parent. It kind of creeps up on you 😂

 

JA is a basic class aimed at mastering the basics of ballet. It’s exciting being a part of it but not necessarily an exciting class, if that makes sense. It’s hard work, almost tedious. A good grounding for what’s to come!

 

One thing I wished I understood years ago is the absolutely tiny amount of dc who actually go on to have a career in dance, let alone Ballet, even after success at JA, vocational school etc. 

 

Wishong you and your dd luck 😊

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Thanks for your reply.

 

I imagine the pushy parent in me will be difficult to tame at times! 😁

 

We’ve discussed the competitive side of ballet extensively with her and we’re trying to focus on the enjoyment of the experiences she might get rather than simply focusing on where it might lead. 

 

That’s good to know about JA classes, the extra classes she’s doing in September have a similar format so at least she’ll get a taste of what the next step could be. 

 

I guess this this is the start and we’ll take one step at a time and see where it takes her. 

 

Thank you so much for all the advice and information. Xxx

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Totally agree with Angel above!

our experience of our 3 years of RBS JA’s was our happiest time in this crazy journey! And one thing we’ve said to dd along the way is ‘if this is the only thing you do, then what an experience’! We’re still saying this going into vocational upper school! Dd has had a bumpy ride along the way but is looking forward to a new start in a new school! And yes she’s always had the plan B of being a teacher!! A very good plan.

 

Do a JA for a day, a brilliant taster - our first ‘if this is .....!’ Haha!!! 

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Hello HowMuch! and welcome to the Forum!

 

I've added a couple of tags to the top.  If you click on them you will get a list of loads of earlier threads about Associates.  You may find it worthwhile to peruse them.

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Your daughter sounds exactly like my daughter! She was 8 (Year 3) when she auditioned for RBS JAs, and grade 2 and was just about to start at her dance schools associates too - she has just finished her first year with the RBS JAs as a Year 4, and has loved it. She also just auditioned for the Cecchetti Associates and got a place on that too for September start - I think doing the JAs gave her more confidence with the audition as she does get nervous - but was able to come out of it and say it was easy and could do everything in the audition. So in my opinion doing the JAs has helped her massively - and that's only after one year!

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It is certainly a journey, yes - but it might be more helpful to think of it as a journey to an unknown destination ...... Enjoy the sights, but be prepared to explore every diversion, every potential change of track and every other holiday brochure along the way. Above all, don't drive if tired and watch out for travel sickness. 

Edited by glissade
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Thank you so much for all the replies. I’m from a music background so have very little knowledge of all the opportunities for ballet!

 

Can I ask if anyone knows the structure of the CAT programme at Northern Ballet Leeds? Is it during the week, weekends or both? And does it mean dropping her regular class or is it alongside like JA? I’ve looked on the website but can’t find the information i’m looking for.

 

There’s so much out there I wasn’t aware of before! 😁

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8 minutes ago, HowMuch! said:

Thank you so much for all the replies. I’m from a music background so have very little knowledge of all the opportunities for ballet!

 

Can I ask if anyone knows the structure of the CAT programme at Northern Ballet Leeds? Is it during the week, weekends or both? And does it mean dropping her regular class or is it alongside like JA? I’ve looked on the website but can’t find the information i’m looking for.

 

There’s so much out there I wasn’t aware of before! 😁

CAT  is designed to be an alternative to  residential vocational  training  ...  It's 10 hours a week  to start with  increasing with  time to 18 -20 hours a week ... I doubt many CAT students  would have the time  and energy to continue   with their 'local' classes ( not sure  what CAT does  or thinks with regard to  grades and VGEs as  being Northern   the training itself is Ichino  ) 

https://northernballet.com/academy/training-programmes/centre-for-advanced-training/course-content

https://northernballet.com/academy/funding

Edited by Nicola H
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There is a girl at my daughters dance school who got a place on the Northern CAT. She had to give up her lessons at the school and she does have to go over to Leeds during the week as well as on a Saturday. I would say there's more demand on parents to get them over there. Which is why when it comes to it we are going vocational rather than CAT.

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Thank you, that’s really useful to know. We’re very near Leeds so it would be ideal as vocational school sounds like a unknown world to us at the moment.

 

It looks like she’ll audition for JAs and maybe CATs in the next round and we’ll take it from there.

 

😁

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Does Elmhurst still hold associate classes also Tring, Hammond and central school of ballet 

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Just wanted to add that although associates classes can be good fun and especially useful if your child is at a ballet school that doesn't have a history of prepping children for a career in ballet, or are small so not many other children are doing it seriously, they are absolutely NOT necessary (at least not enough to make you end up in a hair tearingly stressful financial or logistic situation to ensure they attend them).

 

I don't want at all to put you off as I doubt they ever do any harm (hair tearing situation excepted) but please don't feel they are a necessary precursor to vocational school. My DS applied for RB JAs and then MAs (I think at around 11 and 12) and didn't get in either time. He didn't start serious (e.g. more than 30 min a week) ballet classes until he was 12, didn't go to vocational school until 14 and is now at 20 quite happily ensconced in the corps of a classical ballet company.

 

I realise boys can leave it a little later but I don't think I am the only one whose DK made it to professional without following the 'conventional' JA/lower school/upper school route...

 

Welcome to the roller coaster!

 

Edited by CeliB
edited for typo
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I did wonder about this. It’s good to know, although i’m still not sure what I think about vocational school, i’m not sure she’d want to board. 

 

She’ll be going into Yr4 in September so we’ve got plenty of time yet for JAs, CATs and thinking about what she could do. 

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Hi,

 

I would advise that if your DD wants to audition for it, go as young as possible. The programme is iterative, so joining in later years is certainly possible (my DD started Associates as a Y7 Mid), but there is a lot of foundation that needs be there beforehand. It's not impossible to join in later years, but be aware that there may be a considerable catch-up.

 

Good luck!

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Just to add my experience into the pot.... My daughter wanted to be a ballet dancer from a very young age, got into RBS JAs and had a wonderful couple of years with them, and was certain she was heading to WL to join her brother. Sadly (at the time) it was not to be - she hit puberty and grew boobs and hips - her talent remained but her physique meant it was not to be. But she found a love of science and academics at secondary school and has just qualified as a vet. Good luck with whatever the future holds - enjoy the journey.

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I think it depends on where you live too! We live in the country and for us going to JA’s and then vocational school was our only option! Were as if you live in an area where you have the option of excellent training on your doorstep ie London or Birmingham then I wouldn’t bother with associates or vocational school until 16! I really wish we had had this option. 

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Thanks for these replies, it’s really useful to learn from your experiences!

 

My daughter seems to have an amazing attitude to it all and takes it all as it comes. She has quite broad interests and i’m sure if ballet doesn’t work out then she’ll move on happily.

 

Luckily we’re in the suburbs of Leeds so Northern Ballet is on our doorstep for any future success at associates or CAT. 

 

If anything, i’m struggling the most with reigning in my leotard buying excitement! 😂

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12 hours ago, Dancing unicorn said:

I think it depends on where you live too! We live in the country and for us going to JA’s and then vocational school was our only option! Were as if you live in an area where you have the option of excellent training on your doorstep ie London or Birmingham then I wouldn’t bother with associates or vocational school until 16! I really wish we had had this option. 

Don't you think it might be a bit late to go to an associate scheme at 16, as a lot of the schemes concentrate on the basics, preferably at a young age.

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That’s not what I meant vonrathbart! What I meant was I would wait til 16 to go to a vocational school and miss out associates and lower school altogether and just do good classes with good teachers if we had lived in London or Birmingham! 

As it was our dd absolutely loved her JA classes it was her first 3 years at vocational school that was the problem. The last two years have been better but the damage has already been done! 

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1 hour ago, Dancing unicorn said:

That’s not what I meant vonrathbart! What I meant was I would wait til 16 to go to a vocational school and miss out associates and lower school altogether and just do good classes with good teachers if we had lived in London or Birmingham! 

As it was our dd absolutely loved her JA classes it was her first 3 years at vocational school that was the problem. The last two years have been better but the damage has already been done! 


this is arguably  what  CAT  is meant to  do ... 

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17 hours ago, Dancing unicorn said:

That’s not what I meant vonrathbart! What I meant was I would wait til 16 to go to a vocational school and miss out associates and lower school altogether and just do good classes with good teachers if we had lived in London or Birmingham! 

As it was our dd absolutely loved her JA classes it was her first 3 years at vocational school that was the problem. The last two years have been better but the damage has already been done! 

DD did exactly that and is now at Vocational 6th form BUT going down the MT route because she has decided she can’t live without all her music so she will be applying for MT degrees course at the end of the year. She loves classical and contemporary but knows she doesn’t want to specialise in them. 

 

There is is no right or wrong way. Everyone follows  their own path, working out what is best for them as time goes by. 

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4 hours ago, Vonrothbart said:

I see, I suppose it backs up the opinion by some, that vocational school isn't for every child as such a young age.

 

I have a friend who told me that, at the age of 11, he went to White Lodge and left after 3 weeks because of extreme homesickness.  He went into musical theatre training as a later age and ended up having a successful career in MT.  

 

As Pointetoes says there is no right or wrong way.

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This is really useful and insightful information. I would doubt my daughter would suit vocational school so it’s good to hear about the different paths and other destinations away from ballet that others have taken. She LOVES ballet but also does street dance, drama, musical theatre, piano and guitar classes. Equally she’s very academic and I could see her pursuing entirely different goals. She’s still only 8, going into year 4 in September. I guess we should grab some more ballet experiences whilst she’s still young but remain open to other pathways as and when they open. 

 

Xxx

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