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  1. Echoing Peanuts comments, it’s so easy to get caught up in chasing every associate programme often at the detriment of ballet/family balance. In my humble opinion after 6 years on this road, the key is to find quality local training and use Easter, Summer, holiday intensives at the more prestigious schools to as a way of providing new experiences. After a few years driving the length and breadth of the country attending associates classes with 15+ students and limited teacher contact we finally found the key was in fact a top quality 1:1 weekly coaching (Ex-Tring) alongside our local school and Easters at Elmhurst or in Italy, summers at YBSS or Malvern etc.... and time as a family. DD about to settle into Vocational School Yr10 in the autumn. This may be a useful article from Mark Annear, quality over quantity - wins every time. Posted on 31st October 2019 Ballet training: how much is enough? A thinkpiece by Mark Annear, Head of Training & Access at The Royal Ballet School For as long as I have been involved in auditioning students for vocational training I have been asked: ‘how much should my child be doing before an audition?’ My answer is usually ‘no more than they are doing now’, but I often get the feeling that some parents may not trust this feedback. It also begs the question of how much they are doing now. “Now” might already be too much. Doing everything possible to ensure your child’s success is very natural. I admire the time and effort that parents spend supporting their children, but we seem to live in a world where more is deemed to be better. This is not always the case. Children of today lead busy lives The pressure for academic success often means that children are inundated with additional work after school. They can also spend a significant amount of their free time participating in numerous activities, or focusing and specialising on one. In recreational dance training, children take ballet or other dance lessons as part of their extra-curricular activities. This ranges from the child who attends one short dance lesson per week, to those who spend numerous hours in classes, rehearsing for and participating in many festivals, exams, competitions and performances. The joy gained from a performance, or the elation from good exam or competition results can have a positive effect on a student. However, a narrow focus on, and the significant amount of practice time required for these events, can leave very little downtime, affecting a child’s emotional health as well as their technical development and physical wellbeing. You may think that to be a successful dancer, you need to focus as much time as possible on pre-vocational training. There can be a false belief that the more hours children train, the better they will become; however, more training time does not necessarily equate to successful results. In our experience long and arduous training periods can lead to overtraining and burnout. Burnout, overtraining and early specialisation Research has shown that burnout can be the outcome of overtraining in sports or dance. Burnout is the negative impact on dancers or athletes from insufficient recovery time after intense periods of work, affecting both health and performance. For students, including vulnerable pre-adolescents, and established dancers, it results in physical symptoms such as loss of appetite and greater susceptibility to injuries, affects cognitive and mental functions including poor concentration and loss of motivation, as well as decreased technical ability. Why put our children at risk of these things? Overtraining often stems from a narrow focus on dance skills, with learning focused on what is required for examinations, competitions or performances. This limits the depth and breadth of learning, leaving the child unable to dance successfully in unfamiliar situations - for example in an audition. Alternatives: quality rather than quantity Investing in the quality of the student experience rather than the number of hours studied will lead to greater success. This means approaching dance from a holistic point of view. Instead of limiting practice towards an exam or competition, students should have time for experimentation, discovering how their bodies work and how this relates to their dancing. They need time to reflect on their learning and be allowed to develop their natural motor skills before focusing on specific dance techniques. They need exposure to different forms of dance, music and other creative arts, creative opportunities and to understand dance as an artistic practice: an outlet for expression. Ballet technique is only a small part of the skills and qualities that we assess in a Junior Associate audition. The audition mainly focuses on natural movement and physical capabilities, coordination, musicality and expression. For a variety of reasons, children are less physically active than previous generations, with less exposure to movement and creative expression. In the past, dance and creative activities were an important part of the school curriculum, today lesser value is placed on the arts and many schools no longer offer opportunities for children to study dance. Having more time for physical play helps to develop natural motor skills and coordination. Today’s students may not have the opportunity to develop these skills outside the dance studio, so it relies on the dance teacher, particularly of young students, to ensure that they have the time to develop these skills within class and not just focus on technique and results. It is understandable that success is often measured by exam results and first place trophies, these are tangible achievements. However, this can lead to the notion that more time needs to be devoted to training specifically towards those goals. Unfortunately, without careful guidance, this can lead to overtraining and its inherent problems. Product is valued more than the process of learning and the student experience. At The Royal Ballet School we take the issues of overtraining and burnout very seriously and our in-house healthcare team has been working closely with the artistic team on a preventative approach. To reduce overload we are challenging the traditional structure of and incorporating periodisation (periods of low and high impact) into ballet classes, and respecting physical and mental recovery times. This has led to a significant reduction in injuries and more effective learning. We are also asking students to evaluate their school experience in order to help them to achieve their individual best. A balanced artistic curriculum ensures our dancers develop the skills needed to succeed in the work place. Able to adapt to a broad range of styles, they develop not only into aspiring artists but as curious, individual, intelligent human-beings. So when do you know a child is doing enough? Some good indications are that they are happy, healthy and enjoying their dance lessons. Also that they are making steady progress in their dancing and want to continue their learning. When we ask ‘how much is enough?’ we should be thinking in terms of the quality of the student experience and not how much training they do. We should allow for the process of learning to take place rather than focus on the take-home certificates and awards that are increasingly dominating the dance world. We all have the responsibility to allow students to learn in an environment that supports and develops a healthy and long-term participation in our art form, creating intelligent audiences and skilled, healthy dancers of the future.
  2. My DD was looking forward to 2 weeks at YBSS and I would gladly support any online alternative with them as she loves all YBSS events. RBS on the other hand never select her for SS so I would begrudge putting any 💰 in their well lined pockets 😂
  3. Yes, really pleased with it would recommend 👍
  4. We used Dance and Stage ballet flooring 2.5mx2m which was £150 inc delivery when we revamped my dds room last year. We have used Harelquin for ballet barres before but found the flooring over priced. Vinyl would be just as good if budget an issue but for us a great investment as my dd spend a lot of time training at home.
  5. Thank you for the update TwoDancers a real shame that they don’t just send out a generic email to all those on the reserve list. The info on the Tring website clearly says that they’re able to advise top, middle, bottom of reserve list but perhaps this is for those lucky dancers looking at multiple offers? For us it would be helpful in terms of deciding whether to put ourselves through audition next year. Playing the lottery tonight 😂
  6. I’ve read lots of chatter on the Hammond thread but all quiet on Tring. For those of us on the MDS reserve list do we just wait? I emailed the school before Easter break to try to get an idea of where we are on the list but sadly no reply. Has anyone had any feedback?
  7. My dd just loves his daily class. She’s been with him since day 1 and hasn’t missed a session. In the afternoon she picks and chooses from other dancers/company’s but thinks his class can’t be surpassed 🥰
  8. Thank you for this, always great to hear of a happy outcome 😊 I guess my concern is that these places will go to Yr7 students whereas we’re hoping for a Yr 9 place. Did you ever ask or were you ever told where your daughter was on the waiting list before being offered the place?
  9. Staying hopeful that my DD will make it off the reserve list 🤞🩰 but also wondering if its still possible to accept the original offer of a place and try to negotiate a reduction in fees? Or is the original offer of a place without funding withdrawn if you go for the MDS audition? Does anyone have experience of this?
  10. Wow Congratulations to your DD 🥳 what a relief. I’m still trying to stay hopeful for a Yr 9 place 🤞
  11. No response but still hopeful I’ll hear back even if it’s a sorry we’re not able to discuss.
  12. Thank you for this Peanut68. I’m hoping to get a response from Tring about my daughter’s place on the waiting list 🤞
  13. Huge congratulations to your daughter - wonderful 🎉🩰⭐️
  14. Congratulations! I’ve already emailed to see if they’re able to give an indication; top, middle or bottom 😂 I realise that there will be lots of movement as dancers receive offers from elsewhere but if we’re middle/bottom of the list then I guess we need to move on and decide how best to use the next year. My husband thinks the reserve list is worse than an outright no.... I’m starting to agree 😕 Also do they put everyone on the reserve list?
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