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  1. I posted this back in 2016 : I have made small references to our DS' journey a couple of times but thought it would be nice to share our news. He was born with severe kidney & bladder abnormalities for which he underwent numerous operations as a baby/toddler & has had further surgery throughout his life, leaving him with one kidney . His amazing medical care saved his life on more occasions than I care to remember. Lightening struck twice & he was diagnosed with one of the most aggressive cancers, totally unrelated to his renal problems - he was nearly 5yrs old at the time. He went through further surgery & months of the strongest chemotherapy. We nearly lost him again on too many occasions & he was unable to walk properly for months afterwards...... but he was cancer free. We were told if the cancer returned ......there would be no hope of a cure, and we would have to wait years before a final all-clear. DS grew in strength very slowly & I arranged dance lessons for him after he'd repeatedly asked for tap shoes & to learn how to dance - he was nearly 7 by now. I was nervous, his heart had taken a bashing from the chemo and he suffered terribly with leg pain, again another side-effect. His oncologist who was by now a good friend - said to me .....if he wants to dance, let him dance & enjoy himself ..... his heart is strong enough, try not to worry . The rest is history, his dancing went from strength to strength , gave him confidence, focus, his leg pain eased and his heart grew strong again, he had less time to dwell on upsetting memories ... he was healing before our eyes and his happiness charging to dance class was palpable. His oncologist was and is amazed by how DS has recovered so well and puts it down to his dancing - improving his physical & emotional well- being. DS said goodbye to his oncologist a few weeks ago as he is retiring after a lifetime of trying to save children from cancer. His oncologist told him ..... I'm retiring now, but I'm so happy to tell you finally that you are cured , and your cancer won't return & I'm so proud of your dancing achievements. DS cried at hearing this news and also at having to say goodbye. DS starts at vocational school this week. As parents ..... this is a new chapter for us & watching him dance over the last few years has helped us heal our own scars. We realise how amazingly lucky we have been for DS to recover so well, we count our blessings all the time . I write this in memory of the children & teenagers we met & became so fond of along the way and so sadly weren't as lucky as our DS . We hold their families in our heart knowing they would be so pleased for DS ..... Every now and again it's nice to be reminded of success stories with cancer & other serious health problems...... and we firmly believe dancing has played a huge part in our family's healing. X Five years on and our DS still requires regular renal & oncology check ups. His consultants still maintain dancing and his level of fitness have played a huge part in his recovery and the strength of his heart (which was damaged by chemo) is now comparable to that of an Olympic athlete. His doctors have watched his journey with great interest as it is highly unusual for a child with his medical history to make such a good recovery. My mother ( his grandma ) died when I myself was young, so the two of them never had the chance to meet. Her great passion in life from being a young girl was dancing, especially ballet - and she later became a ballet teacher with her own dance school. It’s bizarre (but in a lovely way) that our DS looks like her, and also wanted to dance from a young age (just like my mum) with absolutely no prompt from anyone……. ! I like to think that she is his guardian angel and coupled with the amazing medical treatment and dance training he’s received …… it has all played a part. He starts full time training at Central this September and I’m sure his Grandma will be pirouetting in heaven xx
  2. Our DS is just about to take up his place at Central School of Ballet following five years boarding at a lower school. He once told me that he had ‘tried’ vaping as many of the other students had tried it and indeed some of them were already smoking. I remained very calm, sat him down and explained that I understood his reasons for wanting to try it ……and that when I was young, I had experimented with it too - but whilst he was under our roof and we were sacrificing a lot as a family for him to attend vocational school - I expected it to end there. I also told him that if I ever found out that he’d started smoking …… we would bring him home immediately and his vocational training would be over ……. no discussion, no second chance. Smoking for us is a boundary that you just don’t cross. Our DS had and thankfully survived one of the most aggressive cancers as a young child. We almost lost him on several occasions. Having cancer as a child unfortunately means you are statistically much more likely to have cancer again later on in life. This has been explained to him and that he must never smoke at all or drink alcohol to excess. He still attends oncology check ups & this will continue for life. We explained that he would be slapping all the amazing consultants, doctors, nurses and us his parents in the face by smoking. We’ve just reinforced all of this again with him before he starts his life in London. No drugs, no smoking, no vaping, very controlled alcohol limits when his age allows drinking (as he lost a kidney)…… and we will always support him in every way possible. Break these rules ……our funding his training stops and he’s back home !! Once he reaches 18 - if he wants to roll the dice with cancer - then he can choose to do this - but we won’t fund it. He knows we are serious and those are our boundaries. It may seem harsh to some of you and I can understand that - but that’s our views as parents who have been ‘through the mill’ and shed a sea of tears during his fight back to health. x
  3. Hi there, my DS is a present year 11 dance student and boarder at The Hammond. To the best of my knowledge - full time dance students are not allowed to take part in associate classes at Hammond or anywhere else. Boarders certainly wouldn’t be supported in doing so, whether ‘day students’ squeeze some extra lessons in somewhere else could potentially happen but is certainly not advised or deemed necessary. We’ve found throughout his 5 years at Hammond our DS would have been far too exhausted to consider extra classes and needs his weekends to rest, relax and actually enjoy other activities other than dance. Sometimes ‘less is more’ and the dance training at The Hammond is so comprehensive and full-on ….. extra associate classes are simply not needed and could lead to burn out & injury. Don’t forget the full time dance students also have classes on a Saturday morning - so it only leaves Saturday afternoons & Sundays for them to complete homework, socialise & rest. The only ‘extra’ classes our DS has ever needed (or had energy for) has been reputable Easter intensives or Summer intensives which The Hammond have supported. He’s also attended the odd limbering classes during the Summer with his original dance school …… just to help maintain some degree of fitness & flexibility. Theatre arts students who have an aptitude for dance & wanting to attend associate classes - has not happened in our experience but happy to stand corrected. We have known a drama student being allowed to join occasional tap classes whilst their own timetable allowed - as they really wanted to learn tap. Boarders who are theatre arts students would find it impossible to attend associate classes as there wouldn’t be boarding staff free to facilitate taking the students to these classes……… unless changes have been made that we are unaware of. Hope all this helps 😊
  4. Chester is a truly wonderful city and we’re really sad in a way that our DS is moving away from the Hammond after five years. He’s loved it in Chester and loved his time at lower school. My husband and I still plan to visit every Christmas as the atmosphere with the Christmas market is magical. We will miss Hammonds Christmas Carol Concert .... one of the highlights of our year. Our DS was very happy at the Hammond ...... good luck to all those starting there xx
  5. Hi everyone, We have booked a twin studio for our DS at Drapery Place - he starts at Central in September. There is still a vacancy in his studio which is a twin room with their own en-suite shower room and kitchenette for £255 a week for 51 weeks. If anyone with a DS who wishes to share - feel free to DM me and I can pass on his booking details. Our DS likes to have fun but also likes his rest/sleep and is fairly tidy .... he’s not bad at cooking either - so would be great to find a like-minded roommate. I believe Drapery places all their Central students in the same area ! 😊
  6. What a great question and I suppose the answers you may receive will depend on the individual experiences. Some will say they have lots of regrets and some will have lots of positive things to say. You didn’t mention what age your children are but it sounds like they are still fairly young ? Vocational training is tough with bumps in the road even for those that end up having generally positive experiences by the end of it. It’s certainly not for everyone. I only speak from our experience and I’m acutely aware that this won’t be every families view. Our DS has spent the last 5 years at vocational lower school and is now about to join an upper school . I think you need to ask as many questions as possible especially before entering vocational training if that is what you’re considering..... so that you go in with eyes wide open. It’s expensive with no long term guarantees of a career. As parents there have been times when we’ve simply just missed him and his presence in our home and him being part of family life. I still cry every time he leaves to return to school ! They grow up very quickly and you do sacrifice ‘time’ with them and family dynamics are altered. Our experience has been a really positive one and he’s loved his time at lower school with a few hiccups at times. I think if it’s what your child dreams of and ultimately if they continue to be happy in their training ..... this has to be the most single important factor. All along we have questioned our DS on his happiness..... given him the option of leaving training & returning home and explaining that this would be absolutely the right thing to do if he wasn’t happy. It’s true - they all change as they get older and what an 11 year old aspires to will possibly be very different to what a 16yr old wants from life. We don’t regret it - even if it were all to have ended at this stage. He’s learnt so much & benefited in so many ways over and above dancing. I think if it’s what they truly want and they are happy - then we have left it to fate and have let the journey continue. We’ve always considered plan B and C and the direction he could follow when ballet ends, or indeed if a career in it never even materialises in the first place. Ballet (in my opinion) is both beautiful & brutal all wrapped up into one ..... if you keep yourself as informed as possible then that helps with decision making I suppose. Be ready and accepting of the cost implications not only to finances but more importantly to family life..... dancing can take over whether they train vocationally or not. Be prepared for them falling out of love with dancing and not wishing to continue and be ready to help them see another direction in life. I’ve spent a professional career in a safe job giving us a comfortable life but felt very stressed & unhappy ..... so with that in mind , I’ve always had the opinion to follow your dreams & happiness - if fate, talent & finances allow. 😊
  7. Thanks everyone ..... it’s proving to be such a difficult decision but one he realises how lucky he is to have a choice between two wonderful schools. At the moment as parents - we are leaning towards one school and our DS is leaning towards the other ..... typical ! Both schools are fabulous though and we’ve received positive feedback for both from current students & parents - which is lovely ! Thanks again to all of you for your advice ...... this forum and its members have been invaluable in steering us through his journey for the last 6 years x
  8. Hi everyone, I’m resurrecting this thread to get some more up to date information please. Where do most students at Central tend to live now that the school has relocated to its new site ? We are considering options for our DS who is 16 and has been very lucky to be offered a place. We’d like him to be in halls with other Central students but we’re not sure which is the most popular. He’d also be happy to consider sharing a room with another male central student if there’s anybody out there interested?😊 . He’s very much still considering everything but as a starting point we’d be really happy to hear from other students planning to study at Central later this year. many thanks
  9. We’ve had a ‘yes’ for our DS for Central . He’s beyond being over the moon ! Good luck to everyone else waiting x
  10. We’ve just called them and there will be more results posted out today and some posted out tomorrow ! I’m sure this process is designed to fry everyone’s nerves 🤣🤣
  11. Has everyone been given their results (Central) as we’ve not heard anything at all ?
  12. Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone with information on RCS would please post what you know. We’d be grateful for any information (good, bad & in between) . I’m thinking along the lines of student experiences & happiness during their period of study, accommodation options, pastoral care, graduation destinations etc etc. Our DS has been offered a place ! Thanks very much in advance
  13. Hi Pam ..... I think that they’ve just said we’ll hear by Fri 2nd April ! Seems quite late if they are still holding final auditions. It’s all a bit frustrating for our DS who just wants to know which direction his life is going in !!
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