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Everything posted by rowan

  1. But helping only some children to be made to feel more comfortable or confident than other applicants would be an advantage. Kindness won’t come into it much.
  2. I don’t see why children from the same JA centre should be together to deliberately give them the advantage of familiarity over other children who are not JAs. I would be very surprised if that was a policy.
  3. They do, as someone said. But that should not mean they get places ahead of the many other young dancers who just didn’t happen to start dance lessons before the age of ten, or who had never heard of JAs, or were unable to audition previously, or indeed take up places they were actually offered. The JA/MA/SA programme is meant to be an outreach scheme, not a closed shop for those already in the know.
  4. I think people should consider now what school their child might move to if they get assessed out, especially if you live in an area with complex admissions systems or you are giving up a place at a good state school that you might not be able to get back into with ease. If you can afford an independent school, you might have more options. I know one boy whose family turned down their place at WL for this reason. I’ve also known two pupils assessed out from WL. One went on to an independent academic school. Another went on to Tring. If Elmhurst is saying they now guarantee a full five years, I assume that might mean fewer places there in higher years.
  5. For those struggling with this, I empathise. My DD took on a new ballet contract last year, and to even enter the country she had to have proof of a negative covid test -but...that test could not be from the U.K. or Ireland. Oh, the fun we had trying to get that sorted - not.
  6. Lara, could you borrow an address? My local council in London is offering lateral flow tests and you don’t need proof of address. It does say it’s for those who live or work in the area, but they don’t seem to check. All it says you need to bring is: confirmation of your booking - the confirmation email on your mobile device or printed out a mobile device to scan a QR or bar code on the test. There will be devices available if you don’t have your own
  7. Thanks for this link. I’ve had a listen to one or two at random. Very interesting, though they could be edited slightly.
  8. I’ve said this before, but I think it’s best to regard the dance vocational schools not as vocational schools but as normal schools with a specialism in dance, just like many other schools might have a specialism or focus on a particular area.
  9. Sorry, I meant the cost of the flights to audition, not the cost of a visa. The cost of flights to the US was too much for us.
  10. My DD isn’t a graduate, but she did get ballet job offers during the pandemic and changed jobs. However, she’s experienced and not a newbie. I am glad she got into her present company before Brexit, but she has no idea yet of what will happen when it is time to renew her contract. I know of other dancers who did not get their visa renewed (outside of Europe), so although the company wanted them, the visa authorities said no. I echo a lot of what Cotes says about the situation. The standard of many international dancers can be exceptionally high. Japan and Brazil seem to turn out lots of great dancers, not to mention the Russians. These are outside of Europe, so visas are definitely obtained for them, even straight from school. The British are in the same situation now. German companies are highly sought after, not a second- or third-best option. And graduate dancers are up against experienced dancers who already may be soloists in another company. Mine did A levels alongside ballet training. I really think they are essential (or at least a proper alternative plan). I know young graduate dancers who have now applied for university instead.
  11. When mine was first auditioning, she had offers of auditions in the US. We turned them all down on cost grounds. We were also concerned about the difficulty of getting a visa.
  12. Just to emphasise some points above - ballet is a long game. What happens with an 11-year-old may have little relevance to the outcome at 19. Most British dancers I know did not go to vocational school at 11, and, of those that did, most left partway through their time there. My DD got noes for JAs, MAs and summer school. She never went to vocational school at all. Yet she is a successful professional ballet dancer. If you’re looking at yesses and noes, the only ones that really matter are the ones for jobs. I have seen many, many talented young dancers (much more talented than mine at a young age) fall by the wayside. Most have to/ want to take up other paths. Do not think that just because you get into school x at 11, that it means you’ll end up on pathway x.
  13. Lin, I think you are referring to Julian Mackay. He was at the Mikhailovsky, and joined San Francisco ballet last year.
  14. Also, there may be many valid reasons to take dance exams, but you don’t need any to be a professional dancer - if that is your aim. As others have said, it is the slow and steady matter of improving your technique and artistry that matters. The marks you get on any one exam don’t matter.
  15. Perhaps I am simplifying but it seems to me that big differences are: 1:After school - after the age of 18 - music students can go on to either university or a conservatoire, whereas dance students need to look for work. OK, dance students get an extra third year at school which I assume music students don’t. 2:A levels. Music students seem to have a full cohort of A levels open to them that they can/must study alongside their music, which keeps doors open for them. 3: Music, unlike, dance is more usually regarded as a proper academic subject at university, so going on with music is much less likely to close off other options. If dance students could have more of those options, perhaps it would be better for dance students.
  16. I was wondering about the music schools, Meadowblythe, and how they might differ to dance schools. Do they all go on to be musicians? I assume not.
  17. As we all know, and as we are all told, the chance of becoming a ballet (specifically) dancer is tiny. And yet we carry on on the journey, until there’s an end, and that end is often forced upon us - often by not being able to get a job. I suppose people might slink away, as if ashamed, as if you’ve publicly fallen victim to a well-known scam, such as the foreign prince who wants to put millions in your bank account, and, hoping against hope, you fall for it. It’s so worth while for people to bravely post here to explain what really happened afterwards. I’ve sometimes thought that there should be no vocational schools at all, and I do wonder about the future of some of them.
  18. Can you provide a link? I’m absolutely no expert, but I’ve never heard of a barrel jump, so have nothing to go on.
  19. Cotes, I think it is so important that stories like your DD’s are shared. I know of some ballet dancers who technically “made it” - they got a ballet job, but they often lasted one or two years, at most, before stopping. This isn’t necessarily because they were injured, but because sometimes the life of a working ballet dancer isn’t quite what they imagined it to be in the rose-tinted hope of youth - and that of their parents. It’s important that they feel they have the freedom to say, “Enough,” with no pressure or guilt about the money and time spent.
  20. Oakley, mine followed an unconventional route, but has never had a private lesson or done a competition. It is possible. But you need a good ballet school/teaching, and you also need to learn contemporary and character and pas de deux as a minimum. The idea of a young person having all their teaching done one to one with one teacher doesn’t sit well with me at all - if that’s what you mean. How would you do pas de deux or learn to work in a corps? There is an advantage with flexibility, though, not being tied to the confines of a three-year course. The issue of contacts is valid, but can be surmounted, but of course you don’t know what additional auditions you would have been offered if you had attended a big-name school. I’m sure that attending a world-famous school would help get that initial audition, but as long as you have good video clips, that seems to have been enough in reality. Once at the audition, where applicants studied doesn’t make a difference. It’s all on merit. There are a lot of ballet schools and teachers around the world, many of which most of us won’t have heard of, and all these students will be competing for jobs, as well as those going for their second or third jobs.
  21. Radio 4’s “Something Understood” on the subject of Obsession has an interesting small segment with Deborah Bull on what makes a ballet dancer.
  22. I’m still around as a retired ballet mum and drop in here from time to time. My DD is a professional ballet dancer in a national company, but I think there’s as much, if not more, value in hearing about those who have taken up other pathways. I can’t add information about vocational schools or youth dance programmes, as mine didn’t do these, but can talk about auditioning for jobs. Mine swapped ballet jobs mid-pandemic and moved countries, so there are still companies hiring, working and rehearsing - to give hope for those looking for jobs.
  23. Guinness World Records say it was 7th Jan 1973. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/69625-fastest-entrechat-douze However, if you look at the archive, there wasn’t an episode that day. There was one on 5th Jan, and the next was 12th. There is no guest listed for 5th, and I suspect this was the actual day. https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/search/0/20?order=asc&q=Record+breakers&svc=9371541#search Either way, I don’t think it’s available to see.
  24. In regards to competition becoming fiercer, I suspect this is true. There are many, many more associate schemes around now compared with when my DD was younger, and this will cause many more to audition for the various schools. When my DD was young, there was JAs in London, and I think one other centre. There wasn’t even an Elmhurst scheme at all, I believe. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone can put dates as to when the various associate schemes started. In addition, forums like this and the internet in general make many more people aware that the various vocational schools actually exist, and hence there will be more competition.
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