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Everything posted by meadowblythe

  1. The sight of me and my Ikea bag hand delivering books around the school (picked with gloves on, placed in a bag and quarantined for three days on return) is, apparently, one of the enduring memories of the last year. Students reserve books on line (or email me) and I take them to their classrooms. Fortunately the school has also invested in a high quality ebook scheme which includes a large wellness and mental health selection. Otherwise my knees would have given way a long time ago under the weight of books lugged around the school site.
  2. Speaking as a librarian, rather than not enjoying cheerleading, could she not read a book? Best thing you can do for your mental health and really great habit to get into at a young age. A lot of performing is sitting around waiting - and learning to use that time productively is as important as any dance training.
  3. Nothing is ballet in easy! I think it's one of the great ironies is that something that is so hard to get into, so badly paid, with such a short career, is such a sought after profession.
  4. I think there's a big if there - our experience was it was very difficult to find good quality male training (rural location). This is why we decided on vocational in y7. There was also the issue of being the only male in an entire ballet school. Admittedly our DS rather enjoyed this for a while but I think the social aspects are hard in that situation. CAT was impossible as it would have involved leaving school by 1pm for every weekday session. Not ideal even had the school allowed it, and finances stretched to me reducing my hours. As with all things it's a case of find out what works for your DC.
  5. we could never afford Prague - ironic as Ds' first job was in the Czech Republic. International was, however, generally cheaper and gave better life skills. Not practicable this year sadly, musical DD has just turned down a fantastic summer school in France for this reason (100 Euros total cost inc. food and accommodation - this is our level). The main purpose of the summer was rest, cycling, swimming and growing ! Every year when he stopped dancing he grew and I genuinely believe the opportunity to grow physically without otherwise stressing his body was more beneficial than any course could have been. Also sustained family time so that conversations could be had without it being on the way to/from/during other events.
  6. Huge congratulations to your DS Bunny! Decisions to make now?
  7. Just to say it is, according to DS, more about technique than sheer muscle. Strong core and willing to communicate means happy partnership. Both apply for both genders!
  8. Know people who have developed successful careers from both. And not-so-successful careers. Do look at the overall package - are the A levels on offer ones your DS would wish to pursue. Elmhurst is very urban, Tring more spacious - which suits your son? Does he want to be with just dancers or a wider range of students? Accommodation? Distance from your home? Exeats? Read the recent threads from us oldies - nothing is more important than mental health. Physical health is a close second. Which offers the best "Plan B?" Everyone hopes not to use it, but .. Prestige is a long way down the list. As well as where your son would feel happiest, which do you think will support him best, and support you? The best of luck with your decision making process.
  9. If they are already in Voc. training do you need associates? And could it be that it's one thing too many?
  10. You might also wish to consider the academic aspects of each school - how important is the opportunity to study for A levels?
  11. Well, presumably if you PM the posters, they may feel able to share more. The thing is, for every good experience, there's a bad experience. For everyone who suffered at an institution, someone flourished. And some steered a middle course. Personally speaking, I am sharing my experiences so that others can see the warning signs, not to discourage anyone from accepting a place anywhere. This is a more media-enabled society than when my DS started so it's great parents today can be aware of both sides of the story.
  12. Definitely check the funding - as we are not in the EU when I checked for music, we are considered rest of the world (ie ouch!) Shame, it's a fantastic city. I reckoned London +25% if self catering.
  13. I just asked musical DD, who spent her formative years being dragged around after her brother, if she had ever felt hard done by. She was genuinely surprised I asked - as far as she was concerned, it was fun and as a family we support each other. She also said it showed her how hard you have to work if you want to succeed - being good at something was only half the story. Cote Du Rhone's comment about a square peg did, however, strike a chord. Just had a serious talk with musical DD about her plans - she wants to do a post grad because she feels she has more to learn. But I have just assured her, hand on heart, that she should only do this if she wants to do it, not because of us. As far as I am concerned, she's learnt as much about her future from her non musical activities. She's involved with a charity which takes music and theatre to refugee camps, and a VP of her student union. These, I hope, will be a route to secure employment if she decides the life of a jobbing musician is not for her. A little part of me hopes she does decide to use her undoubted organisational skills as the basis of her employment. Like others, I don't regret letting my children go to vocational school, but I do regret not being more assertive, and remembering that there were choices. I don't regret the summer schools, I do regret feeling I had failed because I couldn't afford expensive ones. I do regret thinking that "better" schools would be "better" for my child. Musical DD certainly learnt from this and refused point blank to consider a place at a school which, at audition, she felt was wrong for her. No one, parent or child, should be made to feel as if they have "failed," if they have done their best, and made informed choices. No one should feel belittled for having the courage to recognise we all change our views and aspirations as life progresses. I will confess that I no longer feel David Cassidy is the finest pop star in the land, and have sadly come to realise the chances of owning the classic sports car I dreamed of are receding - and I probably couldn't get in it or fit in it now anyway. If it doesn't work for you and your family, don't be afraid to stop. If you are all enriched by the experience, happy days ...
  14. Would have said the same thing, and my son graduated 5 years ago (gulp!) - I think to have two parents with the same experience over the years speaks volumes. Many of the same staff too - Fabrice is amazing! Incidentally, I only heard about RCS through this forum - it is such an amazing source of information for us non ballet parents.
  15. You may not all want to hear this but .... DS rang the other day, having got in a huff about something and nothing, he'd applied for a vacancy elsewhere. Should he now follow through and take the audition? I could think of many, many reasons why not but ended up rather feebly suggesting he treated it exactly the same as when he was little and we used to trot off to auditions together. The view was always that it would be a lovely day out and if anything came of it, so much the better and we'd discuss the implications then. So consider this the first of many, many such trips to come (although I obviously no longer play taxi). We've had more lovely days out with nothing to discuss except where to have lunch than successes over the years, but that early training still comes in useful!
  16. That is appalling. The opposite happened at DS' school - some students without contracts were showcased in the final show. It does seem a particularly ballet thing doesn't it? Having two other children also involved in theatre/performing arts in various ways the idea that you during a course you find another route seems to be accepted, even expected.
  17. @tutugirl as you say, similar experiences. DS was lucky he got 2 offers on his first weekend trip to Europe to look. And a UK offer, but he wanted to work abroad. He also got support from his school and help looking at what might suit, but this because he took the initiative and ask. Certainly no one made a show reel or took photos, but that's one of the advantages at being at an upper school with film studies students! My DS has now travelled further East (I think!) but has very fond memories of his time in the company next to your DS. As have I. If he had stayed, I would seriously have considered retiring out there .. I loved the culture, the people, the whole way of life. No chance now of course, anyway. Funnily enough, we were talking about the cuts in opportunities for all our young people at school today. Musical DD spent 5 months in Norway on the last Erasmus programme. It was literally life changing for her. I'm about to start ordering careers books for the sixth form library ready for next year. Do I need study abroad titles? Gap year? It's so sad and so frustrating.
  18. It is also worth thinking about the finances and what happens if anything goes wrong. If it doesn't work out for your DC (and this will happen at every school for someone I suspect ..) what is your financial commitment? For how long? How long will you have commitments to accommodation costs and training costs? I would check the quality of the degree and how acceptable it is to other institutions. Ring up the one most likely to be your plan B and ask them if they would accept the degree offered by your Plan A establishment. How long have the staff been there? Is there much turnover? At the end of the day, all you can do is inform yourself as much as possible and try not to be too emotive (easier said than done!)
  19. As the parent of a child who was assessed out, and, incidentally had zero support from his "home" ballet school, I have been considering whether the Pros and Cons .. Background: home school had a favoured child in the same year, all effort went on supporting them. No recognition of 4 finals and 3 MDS as he didn't get a place at WL (favoured child did.) First vocational school was one DS had set his heart on. It wasn't right for him and he had 3 years of limited progress both dance and academically. Assessed out in Y9. Told he had the makings of a dancer but not a ballet dancer. His roles this month include Rat King, Rothbart and soloist in a new commission (he lives abroad and they are offering socially distanced performances.) Ironically, his home school listed him on one of their "where did they go next" features, including companies he has danced for, although no one ever went to a single festival, JA class, or competition to see him dance. Undoubtedly he was a late developer (August birthday.). Would he have flourished eventually at the first school? I doubt it. I felt the students had been categorised by the end of the first week, the opportunities would not have come, however much he improved. This, however, is some time ago, and things may well have improved. Would we have removed him? Again, to my shame I doubt it, we were of the "grateful to be here" school.. I wish we had been able to get advice from anyone as to what to do then (although thank you Julie Welman you were wonderful.). So yes, I agree, however barbaric and painful assessment is, it sometimes pushes you to make decisions that need to be made, and forces new doors open.
  20. Exactly same experience - and roles were shared more equitably than previous school, where you were "in" or "out". And even when Dada declined for sixth form, they moved heaven and earth to help find a place that was going to suit.
  21. Don't forget to check which spaces are available for down time as well as the time periods - these vary dramatically between schools and if you have a sporty child some will be more suitable than others. Also whilst the extras are wonderful, our DC have always known that they wouldn't be able to audition worldwide - we couldn't afford the air fares - and summer schools were picked with care as funds were limited. DS did a variety of summer schools but was never, for example, able to go to Prague. He was fortunate that he got paid job offers from both his first 2 European auditions. Maybe not the finest companies but he earnt enough to keep himself and relished being financially independent. It's all turned out OK and you do need to think of the extras. But you also need to keep those honest conversations going about what is, and isn't possible. When musical DD joined her school in year 10 the first two trips on offer were skiing in Canada and the bi-annual trip to Mount Everest. I apologised but she couldn't go. The response: with respect mum it doesn't matter. You couldn't afford the school trips at my state school but it's cool. Didn't make me feel any better at the time, or since, but it would have been worse to say yes for the wrong reasons.
  22. Not sure if this is a postive or negative, but even in the days when there were Open Days and the like, there are plenty of cases, my DS included, where it turns out to be not quite the perfect fit .. teachers change, you may have bad luck with a particular cohort, boarding may turn out to be a more positive or negative experience than anticipated, injuries may come into play. And Open Days, vocational schools and otherwise, will paint a picture which may not reflect the every day reality. I'm genuinely proud of the school I work at - we have a policy of sending parents round with year 7 tour guides who are encouraged to "tell it as it is .." - as are staff. But local state schools as well as vocational schools are looking for customers! I'm not trying to diminish the task ahead of you, or how grim the current situation is. However, there will always be an element of make the best judgement at the time, and making sure the lines of communication are open, as prior experience, including associate schemes, may not reflect full time study at the schools. I don't think many children, at 11, are expected to know that they want to be a fire fighter/pyschologist/nurse/salesman/engineer/career of your choice, so it's perfectly reasonable to expect that although a DC may have the potential to pursue a dance career, it doesn't mean it's what they want to do. Every staff room in the country is full of teachers frustrated that although x is their star pupil they don't want to study german/physics/DT - why should ballet be different? Meadowblythe
  23. Agree, certainly it used to be a love of performance and willingness to "have a go:" Hammond produce performers of a wide variety of genre. This is one of the great strengths - learning to appreciate other disciplines and work on multi-skilled teams. Knowing it is an active choice, rather than "well, if I can't go the WL then .." will also show a commitment to the school.
  24. When DS, who is an August birthday, went to RCS, he was not the youngest there even though just 16 - some of the Scottish students were younger. I'm not sure if they were in halls of residence though.
  25. I will draw to techie DS's attention - what a shame and how ignorant. The creative arts are really being hammered, aren't they? Tecchie DS took an extended BTEC in Performing and Production Arts. He got five university offers from prestigious technical theatre courses and worked consistently from the day he started the Btec until the beginning of lockdown. The breadth of experience meant he was doing full professional pantomime runs at 17, experience that directly lead to his latest employment, at a West End production. I was dubious about the value of the Btec - how wrong I was. I actually rang up several Russell Group universities before allowing him to enrol, all of which assured me that the qualification was acceptable.
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