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Yes we had ours about 2 days before Xmas.  Our class is at 3.30pm so not a great time for DD as she tends to flag mid afternoon hopefully the nerves will be buzzing.  The lady said to me that if you live far away she will try and put your audition later in the afternoon as she is aware that some trains are infrequent on Sundays.

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Thanks pas de chat

I think I will give them a ring.If we have the same time maybe we can meet up.

Hi toomuchtalent that would be lovely although I'll be so so nervous for her!  I've noticed you are doing Elmhurst are you also applying for Tring and Hammond?  We are at Tring on the 13th (and Feb 4th), Elmhurst on the 14th, Hammond on the 20th and RBS on the 26th. :)

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Pas de chat,we have Elmhurst on the 22nd and sending a DVD for Tring.

Wow!you have a very busy time ahead of you!

Good luck and by the time you get to the RBS audition it will be a piece of cake!

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Tring audition is now behind us and according to DD it went as well as it could.  Lots of very lovely children from the senior school looking after the children.  A very good stay at The Bell in Aston Clinton which is about 2 miles out of Tring and also lovely food.  Taxi was very late picking us up in the morning (25 minutes late) so a very good lesson to book even earlier and just get there mega early.  Elmhurst tomorrow :)  a bit less nervous now the first one is out the way!

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Apologies if I am posting in the wrong place as I am completely new to this forum but could really use some advice. My son is in his second year with RBS as a JA and has just auditioned for White Lodge (year 7) and Mids. He had never shown any interest in dance and was selected from his school by a visiting dance teacher. He then did one year of contemporary dance before starting ballet. Three months later he auditioned for RBS JA's and was accepted. He has become a very dedicated dancer and lives for his ballet. We were totally shocked when he announced that he desperately wanted to go to vocational school and of course White Lodge is his dream. However. I cannot see how he could possibly get in being up against a lot of very talented boys who have all been dancing much longer than him. We are auditioning for Elmhurst but my worry is should I also let him audition for Tring and Hammond. I am so convinced that he will be rejected and surely it is better to get two rejections than four. If he doesn't get any offers does that mean he will never make it as a dancer. He tells me that he is never going to give up trying but surely no offers would mean no future. I don't wish to seem negative but there is so much competition I just can't believe it would be possible. I really would appreciate any advice from you more experienced ladies.

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It certainly does not mean no future if he gets no offers. As you say yourself there is a lot of competition and if he is not successful this year he may be the next or a few years after that or he may go at 16. All four schools have a different feel and what may suit one may not suit another so if he is desparate to go to vocational school I don't think you have anything to lose from auditioning (other than money and time of course). Good luck

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Thank you! I guess you don't want them to get too disheartened but I suppose it is all audition practice and I am learning that you have to be prepared to just keep going. It's very difficult as I never did ballet myself and really know absolutely nothing about it. He is really only interested in classical ballet and has no interest in musical theatre/drama.

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Welcome and good luck to your son. When mine started JAs (11 year's ago!) he was pretty new to ballet compared to the others and I was completely new to the ballet world. He caught the ballet bug once he got on the opera house stage with them and only auditioned for WL (Elmhurst wad only just moving then and the others really weren't on our radar). There's much more available now to students who don't go to vocational school - loads of associate programmes and performance opportunities.

 

Don't think you have to learn everything at once - you'll gradually get the hang of it like the rest of us!

 

Audition for anywhere he'd be happy going to school (and you can afford) and see what happens.

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Let him audition everywhere you can afford if there is funding avaliable-

You never know- he may be just what they are looking for - it's not about experience alone - it's also about passion physique musicality etc

All the best !

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If he has had 2 years of JA, then he is reasonably likely to get a place somewhere. My son never got into JAs, but is now in year 10 of classical ballet training.

 

We went to all's the 4 vocational schools that have MDS funding, as we had no experience of ballet schools, and it gave us a good overview of the differences. So if money allows, do that. It also meant we met quite a few of the same faces, some that we still know today. So a good time to have a chat, you'll probably meet parents from JAs at all of these, as well as JA parents from other centres.

 

All good fun really! And if he gets in - with a funded place - excellent. If not, then there are other routes, and we do know of boys who did not go to vocational school in year 7 who are at vocational school now.

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Thank you so much for your replies! It's all so daunting. I was thinking of letting him go for Tring and Hammond but know very little about these two schools although it would be good for audition practice as he gets into such a state with nerves. Do they have funded places at these two schools does anyone know?

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Tring and Hammond do both have MDS funded places but I don't know how many.  I don't think they have one for everyone offered a place though. 

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Tring and Hammond do both have MDS funded places but I don't know how many.  I don't think they have one for everyone offered a place though. 

Sadly no :(

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I think it varies from year to year.

 

Last year Tring had very few funded places possibly due to the fact pupils carried their MDS with them into upper school

 

Hammond had more (someone said about 12 but that's hearsay)

 

Hammond also offer bursaries I don't know about Tring.

 

For us we were lucky enough to be able to send dd to a private school anyway. By thectimecwe added that to the cost of her dance classes with the bursary we are now better off.

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You'll find quite a bit of general information about the schools if you do a search (might take a while to find what you want, but you'll learn lots on the way!)

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Welcome to the forum Myveryownbillyelliot.  I am sure that people with much more experience than me will offer better advice, but I will add my own experience in.  My son is a current JA and we are auditioning for the big four this year too.  We could only go to Tring and Hammond if he is lucky enough to get a MDS though..... 

It is interesting that Stirrups thinks that, for a JA, they are likely to get a place somewhere.  That might be true if you can pay but perhaps not if you need a MDS at Hammond or Tring.....

Lots of the older dancers at my son's ballet school go on to Central etc after A levels (to do degree level dancing).  They have not attended vocational school.   A place at vocational school is not necessary to a career in dance, in my humble opinion, but of course it is if the goal is to be a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet.....

What you need to remember is that they are looking for a very specific body type.  You either have that or you do not.  

Last year I saw a boy dance who took my breath away.  He was amazing to watch with true x-factor.  However, for whatever reason he didn't meet the RBS body type (although he was accepted at Elmhurst, I understand!).   His mum's on here and if she is reading this will no doubt agree with me!  A little girl my son dances with is again a truly amazing dancer (wins all the festivals etc) but she is very muscular not lithe and was not even accepted as a JA.  A truly unique and amazing dancer may well not get a place at any of these schools, therefore, but that does not mean that they are not amazing to watch and destined, one way or another, for a lifetime of dancing.  Anyway, that's what I think.

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Just to add that even those aspiring to be principals in the Royal Ballet do not always follow a vocational route till 6th form. A recent example is Tierney Heap who went from a dance school in Manchester into the RB upper school. She is now in the RB company soon to be dancing a role in one of the forthcoming productions. Proof that it is always possible if you have the talent!

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Thank you suzyszoo! Sorry to be so ignorant but what is MDS? We would also need funding if ds were to get offered a place. I had originally decided against auditioning for Tring or Hammond as I thought it would be too much with Elmhurst and White Lodge but on reflection I should have given them a try. I telephoned Hammond and we are not too late to apply but Tring have said they cannot take any more for auditions now so we have missed the boat so to speak. I totally agree with what you say about the type of person the RBS are looking for. I know that flexibility plays a huge part and this is an are where my dis has struggled a little. However, he has worked daily to improve this with specific exercises and has improved vastly. There is a boy from our dace school who is amazing and was turned down I believe on the basis of flexibility issues. My ds I is so dedicated and after visiting White Lodge for a day has really set his heart on going there but of course he knows the chances are very small and the dream is huge!!

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Sorry ladies - another question! Before I heard about this website I asked a question on mumsnet about ballet exams. My ds's teacher (himself a former RBS principal) does not do exams. My ds has never taken an exam but the opinion on mumsnet is that exams matter and that vocational schools will definitely take these into account. My ds was accepted into RBS Associates after less than four months of ballet lessons so why would they place such importance on them when considering who to take?

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Welcome MVObillyelliot !

Although they may ask on the application form what exams have been taken this is only to get an idea of previous training and experience , it is not taken into account when deciding on suitability for vocational training as far as I am aware.

MDS is the government funding which is means tested - you can google it - it stands for Music and Dance Scheme .

Unless you have £30,000 + a year to spend on fees alone you will need this ! .........

If your DS is mainly into Ballet then White Lodge and Elmhurst are the ones to try for first , but the other2 are more varied in that they cover more musical theatre training .

Following on from Suzyzoo's post , I have to say that It's not true that all boys at RBS JAs get year 7 places at vocational schools ....there are more boys than places , but they do make up a large proportion of the successful auditionees , probably as they have already been selected to fit what they are looking for for classical Ballet .

We had not even considered Elmhurst until our local teacher recommended it as it was so far away and DS had his heart set on WL.

However we are glad we made the effort to go to Birmingham as he is very happy there now and the whole ethos of the school is more his style . We loved the atmosphere there from the first time we visited .

Places do come up in years 8,9,10 but are fewer, so keep trying as for a boy it can be much harder to get good training at a local school and my DS had a lot of bullying from his "normal" school and he just loves living with other dancing boys !

All the very best of luch with the journey

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