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Everything posted by valentina

  1. You’d be amazed how many reasons there are for students leaving vocational schools or changing schools. Also, some schools make room for an extra one if they really want them!
  2. Desi Samii is both an inspirational teacher and person. Just a treat to find teachers like her who truly care. From personal experience, both as a parent and teacher who has experience of several vocational schools, Tring has a special vibe. It’s the balance between the TA’s ( theatre arts students) and the Dance course students. The TA’s bring an energy and vitality which feeds the dance students and vice versa. It brings a balance of fun and friendly but serious competitive spirit. This energy is sadly missing in some vocational schools, where the discipline and narrow focus has suppressed the joy and natural bubbliness of dancing. This energy is truly magnificent and builds confidence in whatever genre you are suited for, INCLUDING CLASSICAL!
  3. In September, there will be 4 students at RBS upper school who started their training at Tring, plus a 5th who has just graduated.
  4. This whole thread is interesting and makes some important points but takes a rather one dimensional view of the process of training dancers. 1 ‘real’ live class is worth more than 5 online classes. What is really happening in those online classes? How could anyone possibly know what the quality of those classes are? Plenty ‘big names’, dancer wise, make less than adequate teachers. I can tell you this from experience. How well does the teacher know the pupil? Does the teacher know the pupils history? Body? How good is their relationship? How good is the teacher when teaching online? Trying to decipher all these very important questions from social media.... waste of time. Even if a student is taking 5 REAL LIVE private lessons a week it doesn’t mean they are improving or taking on board the corrections given, or even that the classes are worth taking in the first place. You can’t tell anything from anything from peoples stories. Most of us will know students who did all the lessons, Ambassadors for this and that, easy ride vocationally from yr 7 etc etc etc. But believe me, this is only the beginning of a very long and arduous journey that needs to climax at 18/19 yrs. Many of those superstars are not superstars now. Why? Because being successful at 11/12/13/ doesn’t guarantee a thing! Being able to to 32 perfect fouettés en pointe age 13 does not guarantee you anything! There is burn out, injury, puberty, over developed muscles, growing too tall, being too small, motivation, perseverance, genetics, luck of teachers, luck in guidance, luck in general, parental support, diet, discipline and on and on and on. Going to vocational school age 11 is handy, sure, but it means nothing in terms of landing a classical company job. You make a good observation that living near London will obviously make it easier to access more teachers, (as will having the finance to access the tuition), but that doesn’t mean they are excellent teachers. Being a ‘big name’ does not always mean you will get the kind of tuition you need. Because students need different tuition dependent on their very different needs and personality and FORCING a pupil on, even subtlety, will have consequences later. When a pupils natural talent and ability, coincides with their technical ability, and their confidence and performance also peaks at that very same time, then the student has arrived. This can happen ANYTIME! It may mean, that a student at a very small school that only does one lesson a week and has no idea about competitions auditions etc needs to find something extra to give them the confidence they need To SHOW OFF their talents so they can be noticed. But providing a vocational school can see that a talented student has enough confidence to promote themselves, and let THE JOY OF DANCING SHINE THROUGH then that is all that is needed. For those who didn’t get a yes this time, then find a different way. Because it’s not just about how many lessons you can afford or take! It’s about thinking creatively, about what suits you as a person and a family, about finding different ways to get to the same point! About honest research, not social media! Some of the smaller, quieter places can lead, surprisingly, to a better/ same outcome! It is all about the joy of dancing, feeling the music, enjoying and perfecting the detail, dealing with the disappointments when they come, feeling the support of your friends and teachers, dealing with your injuries, understanding when to push and when not...the magical essence of dance. None of this can ever be reflected in social media.
  5. The above post is proof then, of how social media can be so misleading! And how interpretation of social media is so misleading! I can tell you from experience there are pupils at White Lodge from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester ( many) and Yorkshire. It seems very odd that posters could come to a conclusion about the locations of students from social media alone.
  6. Our experience would be that students share quite freely, within a year group, whether they are on a MDS or not. It might have been a sensitive subject for some but the students didn’t appear to see it that way. Some of those not on MDS were applying to re- audition for the award the following year, which was possible in some Vocational schools. Not sure if that still happens.
  7. Hi. Was there a certain style you were looking for? We may have a couple to sell.
  8. Usually, the yr8, 9, and 10’s are altogether in the final, but I can’t tell you how it would be for this year. Sometimes they ask the students to introduce themselves as they go in... just name, where they came from. But again, this is a few years ago. It can be a little daunting in the beginning being with older students but my Dd found everything manageable, so no worries. Just a case of focusing and not looking at others too much. The year 8’s were at the front of the barre and it went round in date of birth order. There were about 15 girls in total and 5 yr 8’s that year, but it varies I think. I can’t remember there being any improvisation but I do remember how much her legs ached on the train going home! Hope she has a wonderful day. Remember to smile and perform 😊!!
  9. No, I don’t think feedback is ever that detailed. The differences between students will be minute and the feedback is quite generalised. It is only given to the students dance teacher on request.
  10. Great post Anna C and much more balanced than my previous one. My Dd started Associates because her own school was very tiny and didn’t offer more than 1 class a week. She was lucky to have a strict but caring teacher with a passion for detail. She felt she had to put in more effort when she went there and it pushed her. It also opened her eyes to the broader ballet world which she could never have experienced in her own school. Sadly this teacher left, and was replaced by another, very different, but equally well qualified teacher. Somehow, those lessons were not the same. This was felt by many. It was a teacher/ personality type of thing which wasn’t working. Associate schemes can be beneficial but are not compulsory to a career in Ballet ( providing you have good alternatives) and it’s often the teacher that makes the difference.
  11. Your daughter is obviously not finding the current situation nurturing or stimulating, so leaving it behind before she loses all her confidence and desire to dance, would seem very sensible. Its very easy, when you’re on this blog to assume associate programmes are a necessity. For some, it will be a step on the ladder to a more challenging path but for others it is simply not necessary, providing you can access high quality classes which can increase with age. What I would recommend is finding a HIGHLY QUALIFIED teacher with great recommendations. This will take some research to look at the teachers behind the name of the programmes. Your daughter obviously has talent so once things begin moving again, she may well change her mind (several times!) and maintaining a sound technique and keeping confidence high would be beneficial. The name of the Associate Programme matters not one jot. What matters is the teaching!! The big vocational schools do not care if you have been an associate of anywhere providing you fulfil all their requirements at the time of audition. Good Luck!
  12. I think it’s really important to take a few days to grieve for ‘ what might of been’ and to recognise the sadness that a ‘ no, not yet’ can cause. After the pain has lessened, you could get an expert opinion from Sarah Toner ( North London ). She will give you the truth but she is also the loveliest person and fills every student with confidence. There could be so many reasons for not getting the result she wants from physical to simply not enough training, or to being better suited to a different style of dance. At 16, the standard is incredibly high and most students will be putting in a large number of hours of training. The main message would be that she is travelling, still developing and maturing and there’s still plenty of time left to find the right place. However, she might need to adapt and change direction several times and find experienced, supportive teachers to help her.
  13. Im not disputing any of the above but vocational schools can, and do learn lessons and improve and evolve as a result, although much slower than we need. As a qualified dance teacher who trained vocationally, I have seen evidence of these changes and it’s sad that the positives are not recognised. Is there still a long, long way to go and are we needing things to change faster? YES. Because young, vulnerable students are still being damaged by the system.
  14. I totally agree with this. Whatever other issues occur, the health team at this particular establishment are proactive and top notch. From physio’s to nutritionist, they are right on it.
  15. I’m sorry, I don’t have any specific information on this year’s applications. I am just advising on what’s happened in previous years. I think that they usually find space for an extra student if they like them enough.
  16. Im pretty certain that 2 weeks is plenty time to be considered for full time training. Every student is observed during the week and it only takes a few classes for them to see what they need. I know someone offered a place after a single week. Also, at 15, a student needs some holiday time to rest!
  17. Although there is much criticism of assessing out, I’m sure it would not be any schools policy or in their interest, to accept more students, due to Covid, simply so they can assess them out several months later. Most schools have a limit on how many beds are available in any case.
  18. This is completely untrue. The choice of school is left completely up to the student. Some of the schools students have gone on to include Elmhurst, Tring, Moorlands, Hammond and plenty European Schools or private coaching.
  19. If your own school does not offer lessons in other dance styles at a time that are compatible with your family life then personally I believe you should go ahead and find them elsewhere. Being open and honest with your child’s classical teacher and explaining why you have decided to make that decision would be important in my view, emphasising your high regard and loyalty to her ballet training, but that’s where it ends. You are a busy parent, trying to juggle everyone’s requirements and your child shouldn’t have to stick to ballet just because your teacher doesn’t have a suitable times for alternative classes. I can understand your teacher being firm with regards to taking ballet classes elsewhere which would be a definite no. But she is being unreasonable in this circumstance which may mean she loses you altogether!
  20. Digressing from the original post and apologies but the issue when comparing schools is how well the 3 way contract between school, parent and pupil is being met. The parent pays the fees and supports their child through a very long and arduous training. The pupil, having had a rigorous audition process to assess suitability, works very hard, co-operates and applies themselves mentally and physically throughout their training The teachers work their hardest to bring out the best in EVERY pupil from start to finish. The problem is that it is too easy for schools NOT to keep their contract. Any student is easily replaceable. They can use ‘physically unsuitable’, ‘hasn’t applied themselves’, or any other of the multiple problems, which may or may not be true. Who is to say? Having experienced two different vocational schools, I can say with certainty that in both, the standards of teaching were extremely erratic with both poor and highly competent teachers. I say this coming from a qualified teachers perspective. It seems there is a complacency and laziness in vocational schools about working really hard with EVERY student. I say this not having experience of ALL vocational schools. For me, the problem lies in the lack of communication and lethargy from the Directors in bringing unity and energy through theIr staff so that every pupil feels the same worth and their needs are met.
  21. Yes, exactly. There has been the rare exception where a female student from yr 7 has made it all the way. But it’s unusual.
  22. Traditionally about 3 or 4 girls from around a approx class of 15 get to upper school. 3/4 of those will have started at White Lodge in later years, usually year 10. Traditionally, most of the boys will go on to upper school.
  23. The day before lockdown we humphed our dining table and chairs to a small lockup storage unit and a charity came and picked up our sofas. Never worked so quickly! We then put up the barre and laid some flooring of sorts. There’s a good space but not suitable for allegro. We still have a small seat in the corner to watch telly!
  24. The upsides of the mat is that it is non slip. The downside is that it is rather small and some students in my Dds class have found that an issue as their feet get stuck doing tendus. The plastic tape they provide helps but if you can afford a slightly bigger piece it’s well worth it. They do have off cuts which they sell half price but still very pricey. The other downside is there is no cushioning whatsoever and in fact it feels slightly harder than our wood floor. Not suitable for much allegro.
  25. I don’t believe this is hysteria at all. Looking at the intense pressure the health systems in other countries have been put under with nurses and doctors working insane hours ( sometimes days and nights on end without a break) and with a lack of necessary medical supplies too, it makes complete sense to all do our bit, if we can, to ease the pressure on our own well underfunded NHS. I’m sure we can all put our own stuff to one side for a couple of months if it helps to contain, even a little bit, the overwhelming pressure nurses, doctors, carers will be under in the coming weeks.
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