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  1. What she's been given may actually be a huge blessing. I agree with Mrs Brown. Years ago DD (who is now 17) came across a dancer on the summer school circuit who pre-puberty was painfully weak and thin - tiny tiny stick legs and arms and looked the least likely to have any kind of career and a terribly uncoordinated and weak dancer. Well, that certainly all changed! Of course looking back with hindsight the reality was that she was probably the most promising of all...
  2. I had surgery on bunions in both feet, on the NHS, around 15 years ago. They were done at the same time (my decision, not recommended in any way by the surgeon) and the correction involved pins in both big toes (I was told this was to ensure the operation was a life long solution as otherwise they would come back). Although very successful for some considerable time afterwards I certainly couldn't wear high heels and even now I wear relatively sensible heels at work. I'm not a dancer but I don't think my big toes are very strong and I wouldn't want to take my whole body weight on them. The operation itself was extremely painful and I had very reduced mobility for weeks afterwards. However I now no longer have any pain walking in comfortable flat shoes which was not the case before- pre-op I had pain walking extending into the soles of my feet at just 32 years of age. Incidentally, the GP initially told me he would refer me but highly unlikely the NHS would operate despite the pain. However by the time I saw the surgeon he said my Xrays showed the problem was actually urgent and that my bunions were hereditary. After my successful operation my mother also got hers done. Her surgery was not on the NHS and she did not have pins inserted. She found the whole thing much much less painful than me and was back on her feet much more quickly than me. Her op was about ten years ago but her bunions have not so far returned.
  3. It’s disappointing but if you take away the very few top tier institutions in the UK such as RBS and ENBS which don’t send their dancers to P de L the provision of schools, at 16 especially, is actually quite light in the UK. For instance, London is a huge city on the world stage but where do you train in classical ballet only at 16-19 in London if you don’t get a place at RBS or ENBS and/or you don’t want Central? If you compare with say Florida in the States which we know well there is really high quality ballet provision in a number of towns across the State and not just in Miami. These schools are training students in a serious way- dancing the required hours and with top flight teaching - albeit the studios may be a bit grubby and not as nice as the lovely Floral Street. They may not have the brand name but that is not everything. I feel in the UK to improve with these sorts of statistics we need to create more grass roots opportunities for more students. Just my view- others may disagree and feel there is a good selection of alternatives. And of course query if there is a job at the end anyway if the provision were to increase...
  4. Lived in Central London for 22 years now and fortunately the night of London Bridge our daughter decided to stay in for dinner before joining her boyfriend in London Bridge. It was a good decision. My daughter's boyfriend was not so lucky - he saw terrible things, lost his work colleague that night and had a stranger die in his arms. He somehow found time to call my daughter to stop her from coming, for which I will be eternally grateful. I remember his call- my daughter was on the stairs with her jacket on ready to go. People have different perspectives and experiences and some poor people are just downright unlucky/in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I must admit I find some of the comments here about the risk (or lack of) in London a little bit too dismissive.
  5. Hi If you are prepared to swap schools you could consider applying to one of the European schools instead. Our DD is not eligible on income for any financial support in UK but she has a full scholarship for her new school (she is in 6.2, having spent a year in the States last year) and there are no tuition fees whatsoever or any means testing. She has to do a few academic lessons (history of dance and music etc) and is learning German. Term has started already for the current year in some schools in Europe though- I'm not sure if that would be an issue or if late places come up.
  6. Our DD does not have the perfect ballet body by today's standards and over the years she has grown used to being the type of dancer (she feels) plagued with criticism in the classroom and heaped with praise when she steps off the stage. The contrast is just huge. Every ballet door that has opened for her - and she has had some amazing opportunities especially in the last year or so- have come from being seen on stage and never in the classroom. It has been wonderful but also so difficult for her but one thing we know is the best training available to her is definitely not the UK. To those members in Aus etc who see us as having loads of great schools in the UK, I really don't think the training here is great if you are not in line for the very best like RBS US which are just so very very competitive. There are other schools in the UK, of course, but that doesn't mean they are all universally great for classical ballet. Our DD turned down the UK places she was offered as we just didn't feel they were as decent as the options overseas. She made RBS US finals but it was obvious in the audition the places had all been filled by international competition winners and WL and quite honestly there was no way she was going to be going there anyway. She does not have the look. I don't know how much longer our DD will dance. It could be days, weeks, months or years. I do really wish though that the emphasis was a bit more on natural acting ability and musicality and dancers who dance with their soul, rather than the tricks they can do, how high will the leg go and how long are your legs and how great are your feet.
  7. DD completed a year in US in June and although she is now joining a European school for one year, she had a fantastic time, grew up a lot and made astonishing progress as well as lots of friends. She hopes to return to the States (ideally the same school) for her graduate year and job search from there as the prospects seem so much better. You never really know with a new school so rather than focus on it I'd ask the question realistically what will she achieve in her current school? Do the graduates get paid jobs or do they end up doing a further year of training or repeating a year? And crucially, if it goes wrong will they probably have her back?
  8. I'm a practising lawyer and I can honestly say I've found supporting my 17 year old's ballet career more emotionally gruelling over the years than my job.
  9. I must admit the one summer our DD had a packed schedule it badly back-fired injury wise and she was off for weeks. A lot depends on the child though surely. I remember in the past thinking a child was doing far far too much and the parent was making terrible choices jettisoning academics and turning down classes which were not classical ballet for yet more privates. However the dancer never sustained injury and has gone from strength to strength through top schools and now companies. Also, looking at the career progression of many principal dancers it always strikes me many were in companies by at least 17 and doing not a lot besides giving all to ballet from a pretty young age. The schools too have double standards. Despite advocating slow and steady training for their UK students the top voc schools seem equally happy to recruit intensively trained dancers from competitions like YAGP and put them up a year to study with students at least a year older. This, even if academically a student may be quite frankly almost illiterate and/or incredibly immature on a personal level. As a parent you make the best decisions you can for your child surely and sometimes you get it wrong.
  10. I see they are particularly looking for 6.2 which will be my DD's year. Quite a few seem to have left that year group mid year. I don't know why.
  11. My DD is ex YDA and I've been following YDA grad destinations over the last five or six years. The standard of teaching is good and especially in Year 11, where it is really impressive. Most of the students get a UK classical school if they want one but whether it is the classical school the student most wants, is another matter, particularly for the girls. There is good support applying for the UK schools but if the student doesn't get what they want or if they particularly want to apply overseas, or if the new school proves a disaster for the student when they arrive, the student and parents are on their own to sort it all out. That's probably not unusual and not meant as a criticism of YDA- just pointing out what we have observed over the years.
  12. Appreciate the commercial aspects for the ADs, but equally I can think of various strong UK students over the years- who would be full fee paying- turned away from the top schools at US and even sometimes lower. On the one hand you would think - they just don't have the talent and standards have to be maintained regardless of money- but some of these then went off to compete through YAGP etc suddenly to be courted where they were turned away before. An example of a dancer was given above I think offered in YAGP but not in school audition. I don't believe that experience is actually all that rare. It makes you wonder if sufficient interest is being paid to the UK students being turned out.
  13. DD has recently stopped growing (she is 17) and finds how long she gets from a pointe shoe varies. Freed generally last less than a single class, she uses Russian Pointe and gets a few weeks out of them (generally about 2-3). She is en pointe probably 4-5 hours a day Monday-Friday, sometimes more.
  14. Presumably a 14 or 15 year old at upper school will be doing a distance learning course on an unsupervised basis (if indeed they are studying anything) and not attempting A levels with the other students.....
  15. I agree Anna with your post above and plainly no school is perfect. Also UK schools must work within the stricture of the UK system and we parents would probably not be happy if academics were jettisoned in the way some international students jettison them at 14 or so. Appreciate this has also all been discussed before.
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