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Everything posted by rowan

  1. I’ve always thought that U.K. vocational schools should be regarded as normal educational schools with additional dance training, rather than dance schools with additional educational training.
  2. “The ultimate proof that there are many roads to Rome ...” This is so true. If it helps, mine did not go to vocational school, but still ended up in a company with a dancer who had been to RBS from 11. They were the only Brits, I think. Depends what sort of teaching you have available locally, of course.
  3. York Dance Space does drop-in classes. Looks to be more contemporary dance, but offers ballet too. http://yorkdancespace.com/
  4. That’s interesting, Karen. The problem with vocational schools is that many students start at them at 16 and they may be studying for degrees or diplomas or whatever. Many are much more like higher/further education institutions, as we see from all the threads about funding, etc. Would that make a difference re statutory obligations/Ofsted? I don’t know if it would be different if you were in the same institution from 11-19.
  5. I don’t think it is equivalent to this. It’s more like, what support does a university give to its graduating students to find a job? On average, not much, I’d guess. It’s for the student to be proactive and seek out what they need. However, I think as a minimum, a ballet school needs to lend out its studio for the taking of videos or photos, with coaching for a solo, if this hasn’t been done already. Plus, a suggestion of where to look for jobs, websites, etc, for those without a clue. But really, students need to have a clue. Unlimited time off for attending auditions. It would never occur to me this wouldn’t be granted. The issue of using connections is tricky, because no doubt this might not be opened up to all students.
  6. It might be worth having a look at the bios of dancers from various companies, in Europe, say, and see if you can see where they trained, bearing in mind that websites might not be up to date and bios can be misleading, by mistake or on purpose. You might for example see RBS, but that actually means “was a JA” or “left after one year”, omitting the years spent doing solid top-notch training at no-name school.
  7. I do think it’s difficult for ballet schools that are not affiliated with a company to help a great deal. There will be a limit to the number of contacts they have, the number of company class invitations or invited auditions they can wangle. And they probably can’t - or won’t want to? - get them for all their ballet students. Even if they can get some, it doesn’t mean there are any actual jobs going. And can they keep that up year after year? There are also a lot of ballet schools out there in the world - the world - the vast majority of which most people won’t have heard of. It can be easy to fall into a trap of thinking that X Not Famous ballet school won’t be much good and their students are no threat, otherwise they’d be at somewhere “better” = well known. This is not the case at all. In fact, it may sometimes be the opposite.
  8. To be frank, I’m not sure that anyone should be optimistic about chances of getting a job in ballet. In fact, realistically, it’s downright idiotic to aim for it. You are much more likely to get a decent dancing job if you aim for other types of dance. It’s hard to comprehend when your child is younger and all things seem possible, no matter how much you read about the odds.
  9. I’ve been checking some facts on the questions you posed. Advice about where to apply? - Yes, but DD also applied for everything she could find. Was offered lots of auditions at major and smaller companies. Sometimes had to turn auditions down because the dates clashed with other auditions. Hard choices had to be made here. She turned down auditions in the USA, because of the likelihood of not getting a work visa, and the expense made it unfeasible for us. Was help given in school to make rehearse/ plan/produce audition dvds ( or online equivalent) ? -Not needed. Took headshots on her phone. No arty shots. But did have access to professionally filmed stage work. She edited and set up everything herself. I think help would have been given if needed. Were company artistic directors invited into school or for a special performance? - No. But school did get her a couple of auditions through contacts. Were solos choreographed/ rehearsed by staff for auditions? - Not needed. DD already had solos to use. But these had been rehearsed by staff originally. Or were the dancers ( or parents?) left pretty much to sort this sort of stuff out on their own? - Much of the legwork was done by DD, though the school helped where it could. As parents, we had no involvement at all, apart from forking out for flights/hostels, etc. DD did not attend one of the well known vocational schools. I suppose if she had attended RBS or the worldwide equivalents, it would have been easier. However, she always made the last round everywhere she auditioned and had several job offers. Most of her auditions were cattle call. As had been said, there are hundreds at these auditions, with talented ballet dancers from across the world and competition is tough. Just to give an idea of the possible competition, sometimes she was up against a soloist from one company trying for a corps position in another. Or a load of ballet dancers made redundant from another national company. In one of the major German companies, she made the last four, with the jobs eventually going to Vaganova school graduates.
  10. Pictures, I have always followed your posts with much interest over the years. I do not post so much these days but I always look out for the old-timers here, of whom you are one. Thank you for your much valued contributions. I wish you and yours all the best.
  11. You don’t need to have professional photos done. My DD never did. Doesn’t seem to have mattered.
  12. Short-term work in a company situation while you are on breaks or at home will be hard to come by, especially if you are only 16. There are short-term dancing jobs advertised for a few months or weeks, but they might not fit with the times you have off for breaks. They will be highly sought after by professional dancers who have completed their training. At 16, most dancers are not company ready. But no harm trying if you meet the minimum age required. It might be helpful if you can explain why you want the work - to gain experience in a working company, to gain performance experience, to have something to put on a CV? Are you looking for ballet in particular or more general dance work? If you need stage experience, could you join a dance school, or perhaps a summer school, that offers performing opportunities?
  13. It doesn’t seem to matter. My DD doesn’t have any “qualifications” in ballet and is a ballet dancer. No grades, diploma or degree but does have three A levels. Never did a competition or had a private lesson. No directors came to her ballet school. She got lots of audition offers - based on her video submission - and a few job offers. I suppose there will be auditions she applied for that she didn’t get but I didn’t hear much about those! Her teacher did get her a couple of auditions but neither resulted in an actual real job.
  14. I had a similar encounter with Francesca’s grandfather while in the audience for Onegin a couple of years ago. I started chatting to a man in the seat next to me during the interval, and it turned out to be him. He was clearly so proud of her.
  15. Places will definitely come up for at least some on the waiting list. My DD only auditioned for this once and was offered a place, but we had to turn it down in the end. We weren’t the only ones either. It may perhaps depend on which roles are available as to whether a place emerges.
  16. I think that’s a bit harsh to say it’s disrespectful. Maybe it’s the only leotard they had. Many years ago for us, but mine only ever had one leotard at that age.
  17. Yes, but let’s not go there... All sorts of geopolitical and diplomatic machinations behind the scenes, hence the cultural push from the embassy, etc. I didn’t see either company, though a friend of mine saw Astana Ballet on the off-chance and raved about them.
  18. This is the second major ballet company from Kazakhstan to appear recently in London. Astana Ballet performed at the ROH for a few days at the end of September. (Links 22 September.) There is a huge push from Kazakhstan to raise its profile on the world stage in general as it redefines its national identity after years of being part of the Soviet bloc. For example, the Astana cycling team is a major player in cycling. It’s a relatively wealthy country and is investing in the arts.
  19. “I'm sure they are aware from the number of posts they deleted from the comments section under the review“ As they stopped people posting comments very quickly, I’m not sure they are aware. From the Guardian/Observer pop up: “We believe that each of us deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart...We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism.” Hmm...
  20. I’ve read the review several times now and I get the impression that the reviewer is not only hugely ignorant about ballet, but also doesn’t like it at all. That, coupled with with an egotistic arrogance, is shocking in a dance critic in a serious national paper. If she had started writing by explaining she was at the start of her dance appreciation journey, I would have more sympathy, but how she has been employed and paid to write this is mystifying.
  21. Comparison is the thief of joy - as the saying goes. It’s human nature, though, so let’s hope most try to keep their less wholesome thoughts in their heads. My “fantastically academic” DD managed to dodge all the bullets and become a ballet dancer. Did I imagine this future for her when she was young? No way. Yes, I supported her as a child and young teen, but as she got more into ballet and the older she got, the riskier it becomes as other pathways seem to close off. Relatives and friends made pointed comments. Friends went off to university and I compared, and I worried - about job prospects and injury and everything. But she made a choice to try, and it happened for her. Why did she want to try? Because she loved it more than anything else. Is that the comment of a very young person? It may be, it may not be. But the decision to try has to be made at a young age. It may not have worked out and then she would have to have made another choice. None of us is on the same pathway as anyone else, and diversions and junctions and dead ends are to be expected somewhere. At some point, her ballet career will be over, that’s for certain - it may be soon, or it may be years in the future - and she’ll have to make another choice. A few days ago, I chatted with a stranger on a (much delayed) train. He had been a ballet dancer in his youth, and all he wanted to do at 16 was dance. He had trained and worked as a dancer for several years before stopping in his late 20s and going into a career completely unrelated to dance or the arts. Now about to retire, he had no regrets about either becoming a dancer - or giving it up to do something different.
  22. I mean Sugar Plum Fairy and not Lilac Fairy, of course - getting my pink-purple fairies muddled up!
  23. CBeebies did a staged version of The Nutcracker (no ballet involved) for very young children, on telly over the Christmas period, and very good it was, too. It was acted by well-known CBeebies presenters and was kept short and simple. The basic story was that Clara and her brother Fred were always fighting and wouldn't play together, Uncle Drosselmeyer gives them a present each, a nutcracker and a toy mouse. At night they're whisked off to the Land of Sweets where the Lilac Fairy presides over an annual dance-off competition between the Toys and the Mice. The nutcracker is on the Toys' team. Each team do their dances, but it's decided that if they all dance together, that makes the dance even better, etc. You can still catch it on iPlayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/cbeebies/episode/b0851jgb/cbeebies-the-nutcracker
  24. The Fonteyn programme wasn't made by the BBC, it was made by an independent production company. While independent production companies may use the BBC archives, they're not free. And even if the programme had been made by the BBC, I think there would still be an internal charge. The BBC has a paragraph here about how the use of the archive is charged: http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/tv/production/articles/production-resources#archives But I still take the point - they could have showed the last balances of the Rose Adagio in full!
  25. I'm afraid that's all too hypothetical at this stage, Piccolo. I've got Scottish ancestry and I've wondered, too.
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