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hi,  

I'm currently 15 years old (year 10) and i'm starting to look at vocational ballet/dance schools to apply for when i'm 16. (Upper schools/6th Forms.) :) 

I'm a serious dancer, and i particularly love ballet, although do modern/jazz too. I train more or less daily alongside gym/pilates. I currently do festivals as-well and my mum coaches me for my solos (she's an ex dancer)

I don't currently take any grades, but in class we've worked through the RAD advanced 2 syllabus and one of my teachers has suggested me taking the exam, so i'm around that level right now?? 

Anyway, I just wanted to know any info about dance schools... such as auditions, the standard, what it's like, personal experiences and also any way i can improve my training in advance for full-time training! 

 

Thank you!

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Well I reckon if you're at AD2 level at 15 yrs old, then you should be fine applying for auditions at schools such as RBS, Tring, Rambert, Elmhurst, Central, etc etc. You certainly have nothing to lose by applying, apart from the entry fee, and travel expenses of course, It might have been better for you, if you'd gone up the grades gradually, then you have been more or less certain where you stand standard wise, maybe makes no difference though as I'm certainly no expert, and I'm sure some of the members on the forum will advise you.

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Hello RubyBallerina and welcome to the Forum!

 

There's tons of information about the various upper schools that if you look around you may find useful.

 

Here's a thread to start you off:

 

 

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Do you want to specialise in ballet or do you want an all round dance training?  

 

My my daughter is in the first year of Hammond Seniors and auditioned at several schools and colleges last year. We were told that the auditions were pitched at around Intermediate Level although many dancers she auditioned alongside were around Advanced 1. 

 

As an aside Be be aware that you won’t be allowed to just take Adv 2; you have to take Intermediate as a pre requisite. 

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6 minutes ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

Do you want to specialise in ballet or do you want an all round dance training?  

 

My my daughter is in the first year of Hammond Seniors and auditioned at several schools and colleges last year. We were told that the auditions were pitched at around Intermediate Level although many dancers she auditioned alongside were around Advanced 1. 

 

As an aside Be be aware that you won’t be allowed to just take Adv 2; you have to take Intermediate as a pre requisite. 

 

I prefer ballet to most other styles, but I'm also keeping my options open as I know the standard and competition is especially high for ballet schools.

 

What is the training like at Hammond? I don't know much about it.

 

Ah i wasn't aware, I'll talk to my dance teacher about that! Thanks  :) 

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20 minutes ago, Vonrothbart said:

Well I reckon if you're at AD2 level at 15 yrs old, then you should be fine applying for auditions at schools such as RBS, Tring, Rambert, Elmhurst, Central, etc etc. You certainly have nothing to lose by applying, apart from the entry fee, and travel expenses of course, It might have been better for you, if you'd gone up the grades gradually, then you have been more or less certain where you stand standard wise, maybe makes no difference though as I'm certainly no expert, and I'm sure some of the members on the forum will advise you.

 

Thank you.

I haven't gone up the grades, my dance school is more focused on competitions and festivals, although some girls take grades alongside our normal ballet classes. 

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1 hour ago, rubyballerina said:

 

 

What is the training like at Hammond? I don't know much about it.

 

 

 

Well there are two courses in Seniors Dance or Musical Theatre & my Dd is going the MT route so there are others who may be able to comment better. If someone ONLY wants to do ballet it probably isn’t the right school but there is a lot more ballet there than at most of the more general dance/MT schools. 

 

The first year everyone is together & does everything (but ballet, jazz & Tap are streamed) There is ballet every day plus extra optional early classes then there are classes in jazz, tap, commercial, singing & acting. 

 

In the second year for MT students there is less ballet but the dance students have more ballet from what I’ve seen alongside jazz, tap, commercial & contemporary. They can also choose an elective, either singing or choreography. 

 

Therr are some very high calibre classical ballet teachers there (but Dd is looking forward to next year when she can do more jazz & singing!)

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2 hours ago, rubyballerina said:

 

Thank you.

I haven't gone up the grades, my dance school is more focused on competitions and festivals, although some girls take grades alongside our normal ballet classes. 

 

Hello rubyballerina and welcome from me too.  Picturesinthefirelight is quite right; for the RAD Vocational exams there are pre-requisites for entry.  To take Advanced 2 you have to have passed Advanced 1 (and I believe to take Advanced 1 you have to have passed Intermediate).  So if you haven’t taken any vocational exams yet and want to start you will have to chat to your teacher.  

 

Having said that, the actual exams - or lack of them - certainly don’t mean you won’t be able to audition for full time Upper Schools, especially if you’re working at Advanced 2 level.  Have you done or applied for any selective summer schools? They can be good preparation for auditions, especially if you’re not on an Associate Scheme.  Some schools do courses in the Easter holidays too; both are good for building familiarity with schools you haven’t been to before.  

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5 minutes ago, Anna C said:

 

Hello rubyballerina and welcome from me too.  Picturesinthefirelight is quite right; for the RAD Vocational exams there are pre-requisites for entry.  To take Advanced 2 you have to have passed Advanced 1 (and I believe to take Advanced 1 you have to have passed Intermediate).  So if you haven’t taken any vocational exams yet and want to start you will have to chat to your teacher.  

 

Having said that, the actual exams - or lack of them - certainly don’t mean you won’t be able to audition for full time Upper Schools, especially if you’re working at Advanced 2 level.  Have you done or applied for any selective summer schools? They can be good preparation for auditions, especially if you’re not on an Associate Scheme.  Some schools do courses in the Easter holidays too; both are good for building familiarity with schools you haven’t been to before.  

No I haven’t before... I thought it would be too late to apply for summer schools now as I assume the deadlines are closed now. 

But I think the enbs have an autumn course that I could try out for?

 

Do you think you could recommend any courses?

 

The only other way I know schools award places is at big competitions such as yagp. I know two girls who I’ve competed against who were at yagp regionals this year but I don’t really know much else! 

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Applications for Elmhurst summer school are certainly still open:  https://www.elmhurstdance.co.uk/Summer-School-1.html

 

Audition dates are full for ENBS summer school but it looks as if you can still apply by video:  http://www.enbschool.org.uk/editorial.php?ref=summer-course

 

Rambert School summer school is excellent if you like Contemporary as well as Ballet:  https://www.rambertschool.org.uk/courses/summer-course/

 

Central School of Ballet is also still accepting applications for summer school:  https://www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk/centralcoursesspringsummercourses.php

 

My own daughter did all the above at least once and really enjoyed all of them.   They all offered different things and gave her an insight into the schools in terms of facilities, teaching style and so on.  

 

Will you be auditioning this Autumn and Winter for entry into 6.1 (Year 12) September 2020? If so, you may not have the time to also do an Autumn course so I would advise looking at Easter and Summer courses. 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Anna C said:

Applications for Elmhurst summer school are certainly still open:  https://www.elmhurstdance.co.uk/Summer-School-1.html

 

Audition dates are full for ENBS summer school but it looks as if you can still apply by video:  http://www.enbschool.org.uk/editorial.php?ref=summer-course

 

Rambert School summer school is excellent if you like Contemporary as well as Ballet:  https://www.rambertschool.org.uk/courses/summer-course/

 

Central School of Ballet is also still accepting applications for summer school:  https://www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk/centralcoursesspringsummercourses.php

 

My own daughter did all the above at least once and really enjoyed all of them.   They all offered different things and gave her an insight into the schools in terms of facilities, teaching style and so on.  

 

Will you be auditioning this Autumn and Winter for entry into 6.1 (Year 12) September 2020? If so, you may not have the time to also do an Autumn course so I would advise looking at Easter and Summer courses. 

 

 

 

 

Thank you, i’ll definitely have a look!

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Hopefully your mum, as an ex-dancer can help you out with some advice on exams, summer schools and auditions. Did she train in the UK?

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On 28/01/2019 at 19:22, rubyballerina said:

 

Thank you.

I haven't gone up the grades, my dance school is more focused on competitions and festivals, although some girls take grades alongside our normal ballet classes. 

The important thing is are you taking regular technique classes - the Royal Ballet School doesn't do exams and the dance schools are looking for a solid foundation in technique, not showmanship and tricks (sorry if I seem down on competitions - blame Dance Moms). Depending on where you live you may find it helpful to find a big/reputable school and take some classes there. Some places have open classes or it might be possible to take a class with the associate program of a school which has one, it will give you more idea what things are like in the wider ballet world. There is DanceWorks in London and the Northern Ballet School in Manchester and there must be other places. 

 

You are both on the slightly late side whilst also being plenty soon enough, in an ideal world you'd have done an easter and a summer course this year, and had to turn down some offers, but you still have plenty of time to explore options and audition next year.

 

You might want to think about what plan B is. If you'd like to dance in anyway you can, then you want to be at a school that has classical ballet but offers a wide syllabus either a musical theatre or a general dancers course. Or if you really want to throw everything in ballet then you'll want to look at schools that have a heavy focus on that, RBS, ENBS, Elmhurst etc. your plan B can still be dance, but maybe your plan B is dance teacher, or something completely different, so for some people being able to continue academics and do 3 A-levels alongside ballet is important.

 

Good Luck 

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22 hours ago, annekh510 said:

The important thing is are you taking regular technique classes - the Royal Ballet School doesn't do exams and the dance schools are looking for a solid foundation in technique, not showmanship and tricks (sorry if I seem down on competitions - blame Dance Moms). Depending on where you live you may find it helpful to find a big/reputable school and take some classes there. Some places have open classes or it might be possible to take a class with the associate program of a school which has one, it will give you more idea what things are like in the wider ballet world. There is DanceWorks in London and the Northern Ballet School in Manchester and there must be other places. 

 

You are both on the slightly late side whilst also being plenty soon enough, in an ideal world you'd have done an easter and a summer course this year, and had to turn down some offers, but you still have plenty of time to explore options and audition next year.

 

You might want to think about what plan B is. If you'd like to dance in anyway you can, then you want to be at a school that has classical ballet but offers a wide syllabus either a musical theatre or a general dancers course. Or if you really want to throw everything in ballet then you'll want to look at schools that have a heavy focus on that, RBS, ENBS, Elmhurst etc. your plan B can still be dance, but maybe your plan B is dance teacher, or something completely different, so for some people being able to continue academics and do 3 A-levels alongside ballet is important.

 

Good Luck 

Thank you for this.

I will talk to my mum about taking classes at a more reputable school, as currently I just take 3 ballet classes at my dance school and then every day when there isn’t ‘class’ my mum trains me. 

 

There are apparently still summer schools open for this year  so I may look into that too.

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Kings International Ballet Academy is predominately Classical training - and you can study a levels 

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On 02/02/2019 at 19:32, rubyballerina said:

Thank you for this.

I will talk to my mum about taking classes at a more reputable school, as currently I just take 3 ballet classes at my dance school and then every day when there isn’t ‘class’ my mum trains me. 

 

There are apparently still summer schools open for this year  so I may look into that too.

Northern Ballet School (NBS) run a summer school on a first come first served basis with no fixed closing date so there may well be places left. They then group the pupils in their level/grade ability. The SS is more general, whilst offering ballet classes is more Jazz focused for the week. Whilst not directly residential the school does offer accommodation nearby with supervision if required at an additional cost. Great way to be around other like minded pupils and to generally assess whereabouts you are for ability. 

ENBS offer an audition one day workshop in October half term and then again the following January. My DD had attended the previous SS and went back in the Oct even though she couldn’t apply to ENBS full time (costs) felt the day was very educational and the skills learnt were transferable whilst also gaining more confidence going forward into the audition season. 

Its a challenge in its self as no two schools are alike for comparison and not all suit all pupils. You will just have to research then attend as many open days/workshops etc to work out which one suits you best. 

Will pupils take RAD/ISTD exams? 

Genres on offer? Classical only/Jazz Focus or MT? 

A levels? Is this important to you? 

Funding? Classical costs are budget busting whilst MT is more closely linked to Uni fees for many as they offer BA(Hons) rather than Dip level 6. Thus requiring the pupil to be 18 and having already attained A levels. London Studio Centre (LSC) as an example. They also offer a classical course as well as Jazz. 

Accommodation, boarding or independent living?

Location? 

Graduation employment? 

Whilst also considering your choice of career path? Where do you see your self as a dancer/performer? Swan Lake, West End Musical or somewhere inbetween? 

And that’s just for starters. 

I thought I was going crazy as a parent when I started looking more deeply into Upper Schools for my DD. 

Good Luck. 🙆‍♀️🤩

Edited by balletbean
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1 hour ago, lilacfairy said:

You don't have to be 18 to access student finance for BA Hons courses or have done A levels

 

With a few rare exceptions who take 16 year old school leavers such as Rambert or Central (& RCS for their classical course but not their other courses) you have to have attained Level 3 qualifications and have a certain number of UCAS points. 

 

For or young people educated in England & Wales this means A levels or Level 3 Btec/Cambridge Technicals/RSL and it would be most unusual to find a young person who took these qualifications before Year 13. 

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On 10/02/2019 at 09:39, balletbean said:

Northern Ballet School (NBS) run a summer school on a first come first served basis with no fixed closing date so there may well be places left. They then group the pupils in their level/grade ability. The SS is more general, whilst offering ballet classes is more Jazz focused for the week. Whilst not directly residential the school does offer accommodation nearby with supervision if required at an additional cost. Great way to be around other like minded pupils and to generally assess whereabouts you are for ability. 

ENBS offer an audition one day workshop in October half term and then again the following January. My DD had attended the previous SS and went back in the Oct even though she couldn’t apply to ENBS full time (costs) felt the day was very educational and the skills learnt were transferable whilst also gaining more confidence going forward into the audition season. 

Its a challenge in its self as no two schools are alike for comparison and not all suit all pupils. You will just have to research then attend as many open days/workshops etc to work out which one suits you best. 

Will pupils take RAD/ISTD exams? 

Genres on offer? Classical only/Jazz Focus or MT? 

A levels? Is this important to you? 

Funding? Classical costs are budget busting whilst MT is more closely linked to Uni fees for many as they offer BA(Hons) rather than Dip level 6. Thus requiring the pupil to be 18 and having already attained A levels. London Studio Centre (LSC) as an example. They also offer a classical course as well as Jazz. 

Accommodation, boarding or independent living?

Location? 

Graduation employment? 

Whilst also considering your choice of career path? Where do you see your self as a dancer/performer? Swan Lake, West End Musical or somewhere inbetween? 

And that’s just for starters. 

I thought I was going crazy as a parent when I started looking more deeply into Upper Schools for my DD. 

Good Luck. 🙆‍♀️🤩

Ah that’s a lot to think about... thank you so much!

And my mum actually trained at the London studio centre !

Edited by rubyballerina

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