Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


4,860 Excellent

Recent Profile Visitors

2,986 profile views
  1. Sorry, I also read age 8 to 11, not year 8 to 11, which obviously changes things a bit. That said there are Disney sings that would still be appropriate. My DD did a lyrical solo to "I'll Try" from Return to Neverland when she was in her early teens which seemed quite appropriate as it's kind of about growing up. I've not seen the new Mulan movue - ids there anything nice in that. On the musical front,the big thing at the moment seems to be Everyone's Talking About Jamie but I've not seen it so don't know what the songs or like and I guess the theme might be a bit controversial for some, but it's certainly very popular at the moment.
  2. I'm a bit out of touch with what kids are into now, but my DD is a dance teacher and I know she uses songs from popular films and musicals quite a lot as she's concerned that the lyrics of lots of pop songs are unsuitable. Some of the Disney films have lovely soundtracks which are age appropriate.
  3. I agree @cotes du rhone ! I think the schools actually shoot themselves in the foot by not promoting what their pupils actually achieve. At present it seems like all students and parents are, initially at least, allowed to believe that they're going to be professional dancers. The relatively few who achieve that are feted by the schools and everyone else slips away quietly. It's almost like the schools consider that they themselves are failures if they don't produce 100% professional ballet dancers, and that people won't send their children there if they are honest about the outcomes. But it's just the way things are - the world doesn't need that many ballet dancers and job opportunities are scarce. Personally I would have a lot of respect for any school which gave realistic information about the probability of a classical career and which was able to "sell" to me the benefits of an education there inspite of that. I would like to hear that attendance at School X optimises the slim chances of a classical career but that the school also produces happy, well rounded graduates who are successful in a wide range of other careers, and every student is equally valued. Dance has so many transferable skills and is worthwhile in it's own right, not just as a paid career. I think that this tendency to define success only as a classical performing career actually devalues a dance education and indeed dance itself, which is terriblysad really.
  4. I think it's very difficult Glowlight. This is always this risk when demand massively outstrips supply. Sports, exclusive academic schools, prestigous University courses,top jobs.....anywhere it could be said that "you're lucky to be here " or that " we could replace you tomorrow " there is great pressure not to speak up about anything negative. A of fear of losing something you've worked hard for and guilt at seeming to lack gratitude make a very potent combination that often ensures silence from both students and parents. There isn't an easy answer. Those who have been brave enough to speak out are deserving of all our support and I think the fact that more people are doing so is a very big step in the right direction. Something that I think the whole of the dance world needs is more honesty and transparency. It is very difficult as nobody wants to stamp on a child's dream but more information about the reality of the profession is needed, and not just about the chances of getting into a vocational school, but what happens when you get out. What is the reality of grad destinations? How many of the apprenticeships and pre professional years with companies actually result in paid contracts? "Past students have performed with......." often sounds impressive but what does it really mean? How many past pupils, for how long and it what capacity. What is the outcome for the majority, not just the top few students in each year? I'd like to see more transparency around physical requirements. I know it is an incredibly sensitive issue but the reality is that, like some sports and other pursuits, there are specific physical requirements and sometimes "no" does mean ""no, rather than "not yet" .Often people just want to be kind, but I wish I had had more objective information when my DD was young. On the other hand, I think another thing we parents can do is to share positive messages about our children's lives post dance school. There is a tendency to view a career with a classical company as the only successful outcome and if that doesn't happen we often slink away, feeling slightly embarrassed, ashamed even, because news of our DCs doesn't seem "worthy". It is though, and other parents need to hear it so they can make properly informed decisions. It also potentially helps empower students. We need our young peopke to know that there is more than one valid outcome, and that it isn't only the future principal dancers who matter and are worthy of decent treatment. My DD is a teacher now by the way. She's completed her RAD teacher training, has recently opened her own school and loves working with young childre. I am very, very proud of her. There are some things I would do differently if I had my time again, but overall positives outweigh the negatives and I don't see this as failure. We need to make sure that young dancers know that they all matter and are not powerless - then those who may wish to control or abuse them will not have the power to do so.
  5. I'm sorry to hear that you and your child have had such a difficult start to Year 7 NotadanceMa. My dancing child didn't go to a lower school so I have no direct experience but I think the best piece of advice I have ever read on the topic wason this forum and it is simply that we should not accept from a vocational school anything that we would not tolerate in a regular academic school. Now that can be easier said than done for a whole host of reasons, but I think it is very sound advice. It is true that the school cannot divulge information about the perpetrators to you, but what they can and should do is tell you what they are doing for your child. One of my (non dancing) children was bullied in year 7 and I had multiple conversations with school staff on the subject. Never once was the bully mentioned but I was told things like "X has been allocated a student mentor" "X may spend breaks in the Student Support Centre and can bring a friend for company if they wish" and "We are putting a member of staff on the bus to monitor behaviour and ensure X feels safe to and from school". I had to take it on trust that appropriate measures were taken for the other child involved but that wasn't my business or my concern really, but the support being provided for my child most definitely was. "It's sorted" isn't an acceptable answer in my opinion. You can't be there for your child so you need reassurance that the school is providing necessary care. I would try to have a video call or at least a phone call with the member of staff responsible for pastoral care if I were you. I hope things get resolved quickly - nothing is more important than your chiid's well being.
  6. I think this is a really important point. Those who appear unscathed are, in a way, perhaps the most damaged, as they have accepted toxic behaviour as normal, and may well go on to perpetuate it. I've no dance experience, but I can see parallels with my experiences as a medical student in the 80s - obviously not as bad as we were at least adults and could escape as not boarders, but there were definite similarities. Ritual humiliation was a recognised teaching method, sexism and racism commonplace and nobody dared speak up because the potential damage to career progression was significant. And you could see young doctors behaving just like their seniors. Of course they did - they knew no different and as far as they were concerned such methods were "necessary" to prepare us for the profession. Plus in any hierarchy it's unfortunately human nature that people who are being treated badly from above will vent their frustration on those below them once they get the chance. The good news is that it has changed. I'm sure there's still room for improvement but generally speaking students dont get treated in the way that we did. Fear and humiliation aren't widely seen as effective teaching techniques any more. I'm not sure exactly how it happened but I guess people started to stand up and say "this isn't ok", and tutors actually started to be taught to teach. "Because it's always been like this" ceased to be acceptable and the assumption that because someone has a skill themselves they can automatically teach it is dying. To be honest, some of the best doctors I have ever met were truly terrible teachers - I don't doubt that applies to dancers too. There is hope. Professions with long held traditions are slow to change but will do eventually. Hopefully at least some of today's dance students are going to be tomorrow's dance teachers who will go on to say "I'm not going to do it that way" instead of "We've always done it that way" and eventually the toxic cycle wil break.
  7. I was about to say the same thing. My DD always used suede tips and would brush them with a wire brush after every wear. That stopped them becoming slippery and she'd generally worn the shoes out before the patches were beyond revival.
  8. I think the overall numbers are valuable to know, because it helps a child/parent realise that the vast majority of applicants are actually unsuccessful. It's very easy to feel that you/your child are the only one to get a "no", because human nature being what it is, people tend to share news of success much more freely. Seeing it in black and white that something like 9 out of 10 children will not be chosen can help with expectation management beforehand and disappointment afterwards. But detailed analysis of the odds of success for any particular centre/year group/sex is probably just tying yourself in knots for no real benefit. As with all these things, population statistics do what they say on the tin - describe a population. But what they can't do is predict outcome for individuals. I know it is lots easier to say than it is to actually do, but over thinking things and worrying about stuff that you have no influence over does tend to make all these things even more stressful than they need to be. Not specifically dance related, but I have learned in recent years that energy expended on things that are outside of your control is very seldom positive. My advice these days is very much focus on what you do have influence over, don't stress over what you don't and enjoy the ride as best you can.
  9. Have you looked at Preston College? It may not be a "big name" but I know of several people who have gone there and speak very highly of their experience there. I think they have a number of course options but unless things have changed very recently you can definitely do teaching qualifications alongside their other courses. The facilities look lovely and Preston isn't a bad place to live, with very good transport links.
  10. As has been discussed quite a lot on here recently, it can be really hard to step away from an opportunity for all kinds of reasons, including fear that it will count against your child in the future or that you are shutting a door that will never reopen, guilt that you are turning down something that many would give their eye teeth for, and sadness at ending a relationship with people or an institution that's been important to you. Those are all normal feelings and totally understandable. It can need real strength to walk away from a scheme - especially a very prestigious one. But the message that the dance journey needs to be enjoyable in its own right is something that can't be stressed too much. It sounds like your child is expressing his feelings about MAs quite clearly and is in alternative training that he enjoys. Not every scheme is right for every dancer. It isn't necessarily a reflection on either the student's or teacher's abilities, just that they don't gel. If that happens it really is best to say goodbye and move on.
  11. I agree with Rowan that 16 hours of training is too much for a 10 year old whatever their hopes are for the future. I coach young people in a sport and the rule of thumb we are taught for school aged children is that even the most enthusiastic and committed young athlete should not be doing more hours per week training than their age in years, including the sport they do in school and any other out of school sports. Obviously not everyone will agree with that and I certainly know of children who do more, but from my observation there is a high risk of those who put in very long hours from a young age becoming "burned out" both physically and mentally. Rest and recovery are a very important part if any athlete's training, especially whilst they are young. The more you tell us the more it sounds like you need to find another school. You've got excessive hours, unsupportive teachers, classmates who are essentially bullying your DD and mothers who are doing the same to you - that sounds like a pretty toxic environment. There must be somewhere better surely? Somewhere more nurturing where both she and you will be treated kindly - I'm sure that would make a world of difference.
  12. This all comes down, I think, to a topic which has been discussed many times on here but is very important and bears repeating. The chances of a successful career as a professional ballet dancer in a classical company are tiny for any child, even those who seem to have all the right attributes at this age. That is why it is absolutely crucial that young dancers enjoy what they are doing in the here and now, rather than being too focused on any particular end point. Personally I don't believe that the vast majority of 10 year olds should be doing anything super intensively .They should be doing things that interest them and bring them joy, regardless of whether they are likely to make a career from their interests. Your DD's happiness is of paramount importance. If the lessons she is currently having are not making her happy, then shop around. She absolutely does not have to give up ballet because she has entered puberty early or because she doesn't have the "perfect ballet body". There is no such thing as a dancer who is "unworthy" of high quality teaching because of their physique. But there is another side to the coin. There are many parents on this forum and others who regret allowing ballet, or other activities such as music or sport become all encompassing for their child. Many say that they wish that they had been more aware of the realities of vocational training and the tiny chances of success - at least as measured by professional contracts. So it's possible that the teachers are, albeit rather clumsily, trying to get that message over. My DD doesn't have the "right" physique and the issue was always skirted around. I was frequently told stories of dancers who had made it despite not having the ideal physique, but the fact is that they are exceptions because they are exceptional, or that things can change with time, ignoring the fact that a quick look around our family strongly suggested otherwise! I would never have stopped her dancing and she may well have followed the same kind of path (she's a dance teacher now and very happy) but I wish we'd not fallen for the "you can be anything if you try hard enough" mantra for as long as we did. I know people were trying to be kind, but more honesty would actually have made things easier I think. I would steer well clear of any teacher who focuses on pushing a small group of pupils towards a professional career and is not interested in the rest, but there may be a different motivation behind the comments. There's a big difference between " your body shape makes you inferior to the other girls and you are not allowed in this class" and some gentle guidance that maybe the vocational path isn't the right way to go and it's hard for us to know what your DD's teachers are actually getting at. But the bottom line remains the same - put your DD's well being first and seek out an environment where she is happy and valued for who she is, not looked down on for who she's not. And if she loves to dance that is the very best reason for her to take dance classes.
  13. Yes, I think it is very important to recognise that not every young dancer has a bad time at vocational school. At any given time there are probably some who are having a wonderful time, others who are miserable and others at all points between - even in the same class. It happens everywhere doesn't it? The same can be said of academic schools, workplaces, sports teams etc. Sometimes it's because particular people are treated more or less favourably of course, but other times it's just because they are different people with different needs and expectations. I had an absolutely wonderful midwife when I have birth to my youngest child so I was disappointed for my friend when she gave birth a few weeks later and told me that her midwife was awful. But as the conversation went on it became apparent that we'd had the same one! And she'd been much the same with both of us, it was just that her way of working fitted with what I wanted but my friend needed something different. I don't think anyone here wants to scare parents, just to raise awareness. It is so easy to get swept along with all this and it can be very hard to step off the conveyor belt once you are on it, whether your DC goes to vocational school at 11 or not. I think the message is really about being alert to possible problems and not being afraid to rock the boat or walk away if it becomes apparent that something isn't working for your DC. And try not to get drawn into an "arms race" - you don't have to do something just because "everyone else" is.
  14. I think when we talk about regrets it's worth remembering something which I learned in counselling around an unrelated issue. The only thing you can guarantee would have happened if you'd made different choices is that things would have been different. It sounds obvious really but I'd never consciously thought about it. I had fallen into the common trap of believing that if I'd made a decision the outcome of which was "bad" then if I'd made the opposite choice the outcome would have been "good". Ergo, all bad outcomes were the result of my bad decision making. But it ain't necessarily so. The other choice would have led to another outcome but there is no way of knowing what that would have been. It might have been better, but equally it could have been as bad or worse. All any of us can do is make what we believe are the right decisions with the information we have at the time. Sometimes that won't work out the way we hoped. We need to accept, learn, and move on. Easier said than done if course but I am getting better at not dwelling on the past and "if onlys".
  15. Good question. One I have asked myself many times. Would I do things differently if I had my time again? Yes, definitely. I would without doubt encourage DD to make some different choices. But would I have not done it at all? No, I don't regret letting her follow her passion and the positives by far outweigh the negatives. Much like Anna C has said, I don't want any of my children to look back on life and say "Maybe I could have done X but you stopped me". (Within reason of course - my youngest recently expressed an interest in skeleton luge and I did say no to that!) I wish I'd been less trusting and asked more questions and looked at some different institutions but I don't regret letting DD do what she loves. She's a teacher now, so still doing what she loves even though she never "made it" as a performer, and I can't honestly imagine her doing anything else.
  • Create New...