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  1. I wouldn’t read to much into those picked for performances tbh. While an amazing opportunity and lots of fun it is much more about fitting into existing costumes and location/availability of the child and parent. My son was picked after his very first JA lesson so definitely not based on ability (we joked that it was probably his wild-child look that matched the look they needed for the character 😂). Most roles are non-ballet/dancing roles and if they are it’s a tiny part. Often it’s just seated to fit in with the stage scenery/environment, a stage ‘prop’ so to speak, or to walk across the stage carrying something. If lucky, some mime or skips. It’s great fun and the whole experience is exciting but the actual being on stage bit is very minimal. While not as grand a stage as somewhere like the ROH, a child would get far more performance confidence/experience from local school’s end of year shows or festival performances etc. If your DC doesn’t get to do this already, definitely seek something out - it’s the best!
  2. Yes! I’ve had an Instagram account for a few years (and only ever put on 3 photos in that time) but only as the lockdowns began did I start really using it. Both as a means to connect with others (and maybe boredom added to the use...the dreaded doom-scrolling!! ) but also to find info as our children’s training was indefinitely halted at that point. It became a desperate scramble for something, anything (ballet and fitness wise) to keep them motivated.
  3. The stretching for ‘oversplits’ posts on Instagram. Gosh, yes. They are scary!!! If you are not training as a contortionist, is there any benefit to them? I took part in gymnastics into my teens and we never did oversplits (ever!). It seems a relatively new thing - last 20 or so years maybe?
  4. @BalletBoyMum1they were a really lovely group. Huge credit to every single one of them on that. 💙👏👏👏 (My DS has been asking about your DS - would love to keep in touch if possible. ) Fingers tightly crossed for Elmhurst! 🤞🤞🤞 So glad to hear he had a wonderful time at that one also - it makes such a huge difference for them.
  5. Absolutely agree on those teachers/schools who encourage a supportive attitude toward one another, even when they go into an audition and they’ll be each other’s direct competition. This supporting one another, enjoying themselves, and reminders to not compare themselves to each other (because they all have their own strengths and weaknesses) features a lot in our JA classes. And strongly with all the teachers we’ve chosen for DS (I’ve actively avoided the ones that promise success in this or that and gone for much more wholesome environments). It’s a real confidence builder. From what I’ve read on this forum most DCs made new friends at the auditions this year and really enjoyed themselves anyway, regardless of whether they are on a JA programme or not. That IS positive. And yes, only successes shown. I know I’ve not publicly posted the numerous times we’ve been unsuccessful for things. Can I suggest one really big thing I’ve found so helpful please? If you go to a class or event (associates or auditions etc) be open to making friends with the other parents and encourage your DCs to make friends too, even if they likely won’t know anyone there. TV-type ‘Dance mums’ (or ‘tiger mums’) do exist but they are not nearly as common in the UK. Many parents of ballet-loving children have fallen into this world by accident and are mostly just winging it, relying on advice from teachers and forums like this one. I used to think it was a ridiculously competitive world and that everyone would be super judgy but actually almost every other ballet parent we’ve met has been lovely...and they have their own worries about ‘are we doing this right?’ Instagram will ALWAYS be problematic but having those friendships allows you to see that they are all just normal children who have talent and some happen to be very self-driven, even at this young age. The friendships will help ease the stress a little, especially for the DCs. It’ll bring opportunities you might not hear about otherwise too. There’s honestly nothing nicer than a fellow parent tagging you in a post because they think your DC might like a particular zoom workshop. Especially when they are not from the same local dance school and you only see them once a blue-moon but they’ve thought of your DC anyway. And vice-versa. The support for each other is really encouraging. Also seeing your DC’s excitement about going to an event (even on Zoom) knowing they’ll see friends they’ve met at a previous workshop is really nice. If your DC has attended and enjoyed an audition experience, do it again and again and again (if you can) - even if it’s just for them to show off their dancing. I think it’s always safer at this age to assume it’ll be a no but just go in and enjoy the experience. The reality is there are far fewer school places than there are talented dancers. And even if a DC gets a yes, a devastating no could be coming a bit later down the line when it’ll likely to be much harder hitting and have a bigger impact on their lives (this is my fear!). You’ll never know if you don’t try these things out though.
  6. Instagram in particular can be horrible for making ourselves (or our DCs) feel like the bar is set too high. Ignore it. Dance because you love it. Ask your teacher questions and apply corrections with care and attention. One good quality teaching session is still better than 100 mediocre ones.
  7. Right, this is loooong and I can only speak for myself/my own DS but I must say, I feel rather uncomfortable reading this thread about people analysing the children who got a yes and what ‘training’ they’ve had and making assumptions based on social media posts. I’ve just switched my own Instagram to private because of this (DS doesn’t have one, I post of his ballet fun, and successes, on my own account). Maybe naive of me but I didn’t realise he’d be scrutinised like this. If I did I would have been far more cautious. My son is from ‘the south’, a JA, has had the same teacher as some other successful JA finalists and been in lots of classes (though all on zoom, none in person). Apparently all things which worked in his favour according to the conversations. I have credited numerous teachers/schools in my social media post but some are doubled (teacher AND programme tags so it probably looks like a lot more) - two didn’t even know he was auditioning for WL until that post, one didn’t know he was a JA. They all taught him just as they did their other students. He most certainly was NOT hot-housed and we could never have afforded (or travelled to) the extra classes he managed to take while online in the last few months. He has never met in-person with two of the teachers I credited in my post either, only on Zoom (though we hope to once restrictions lift, even if just to say huge thanks!) He is the first student from his local teacher to get into a vocational school. Only as of 2021 (so less than 3 months), my son has been doing approx 4hrs a week of ballet (on Zoom). Certainly not ‘all hours’ or being overworked/over-trained. Some of this was for social benefit rather than ‘training’ as lockdown has taken a toll on his mental well-being. Prior to JAs, starting in yr5, he was doing just 45min ballet per week (and 30min tap/jazz). Pre-pandemic he did a weekly local class, a fortnightly JA class and a once a month other associate programme. My point in explaining all of this is to show what you see online is often only a fraction of the real picture, even if you are seeing the same teacher or school named repeatedly (you will have in our case as the recommendation came from someone who’s child was having similar frustrations with Zoom) they might not be linked any more than being word of mouth recommendations to try a particular teacher/programme. If anything, this year the amazing teachers have been far more accessible to everyone no matter which part of the country you live in. AND they don’t have to be crazy expensive - we’ve found Zoom costs are much, much lower than in the studio training would be. I really wouldn’t rate some of the (non-teacher) professional dancers who’ve offered classes - amazing dancers, not so great at teaching. It can actually be more damaging to a child’s confidence when they are encouraged to keep up with a skill level well above their own and find that they just can’t (because it’s impossible at their age). It shouldn’t be a surprise that many JAs make it through to vocational schools. They’ve already been selected and then taught with vocational training being a possibility for their futures in mind. That doesn’t mean every JA is suited to it or that only JAs make it through (not at all!). There will still be lots and lots of potential in DCs out there, that’s why they open the auditions out to everyone rather than just keep it in house. Please remember, this is just one route of many. And do try - always try! A love of dancing will shine through - there are lots of boxes to tick though, I really do believe potential mixed with particular physical aspects (hence the physio checks) is what the schools are looking for. It would be lovely if it was simply a case of showing the ‘joy of dancing’ but that’s only one aspect unfortunately. Find good quality teachers and trust them. Most of all, tell your DCs to dance because they love it, not because they want to be successful. Most DCs won’t become successful dancers (I know this despite letting DS try) - but hopefully all Dcs will enjoy themselves while they dance.
  8. 4 pairs (brand new in packaging) of Bloch ContourSoft Children’s Footed Tights T0981G in Bloch Tan size Small (100-125cm height Approx) - only selling as we bought too many and DD needs next size up now. Suit olive/golden/medium skin tone. £12 posted for all four.
  9. Hi Weloveballet, are you within travelling distance to London? If so, applications for Central’s associates programme are still open (I think until May) - I believe they run on Saturdays normally. That was going to be our next step.
  10. I feel sick and shaking too. DS has a yes! My heart just broke at the thought of letting him move away but I know he really wants this. He is so happy! I’m in total shock!
  11. They were probably stood in the same position in the room looking at the same camera then. I hope your DD wasn’t too distracted by it.
  12. Ooh, maybe there were multiple cameras so they can watch the audition back. I mean, it would make sense to do that.
  13. Has it been mentioned in this thread? Will have to read back. When DS gets fed up of my questioning he starts answering with ‘funny’ answers to make me stop. 😅 I thought he was just messing about but I asked him again after you posted and he said yep, right in front of him with the camera lens open. Was your DD the last number of her group by any chance? DS said it was the only camera he could see and it made him jump as he only realised it was there mid exercise and then the nerves kicked in at the thought of it filming him. He said it was pointed at his face. I reassured him it was probably wide angle and filming the whole room, not just him. 😂
  14. I’m glad you’ve said that as I wasn’t sure if DS was making that bit up about a camera. He said there was a GoPro looking thing on the barre a little bit in front of him and was quite distracting as he didn’t know if it was filming or not. 🤣
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