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Moving from Aus, ballet school recommendations North west


Minn
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Hi looks like we will be moving to the UK from Australia so looking for some ballet/dance school recommendations in the Northwest (Liverpool/Southport or nearby).

My daughter currently attends a cecchetti ballet school here in Australia. She turned 6 in November. She has competed her pre-primary and primary exams and due to do her grade 1 cecchetti exam in a few months time but I have no idea what grade she would go into over there if she was to do RAD. Any ideas? Interested to hear from anyone who knows the cecchetti method well and could tell me if its usual for a 6 year old to be in grade 1 cecchetti over in the UK or if she joined RAD what grade she could go into to. From what I have read online it says the minimum age for grade 1 exam cecchetti is 8 years old! would anywhere take a 6 year old and put them into a grade 2 cecchetti class? (she would of completed her grade 1 exam by the time we move).  I don't have much knowledge of dance at all, though I think she is quite good and received 96% on her last exam. Saying that, she does have an excellent teacher, so hoping to find similar when we move.
Alsom although it is a ballet school she attends, she also takes lessons in Jazz, musical theatre, acro, lyrical and does competitions. They also do an end of year concert and she loves getting up on stage (very professionally done at a large venue, lights, cameras, months of rehearsals etc).  Hoping to find a similar school in the UK. I've done a bit of a google search and I can find ballet schools in the UK, and then separate theatre schools, but is there anywhere that teaches ballet to a high standard, but where they can also do all the other genres too?  Would really like her to continue with correct ballet training, yet do all the other dancing that she loves. Does such a school exist in the North west? would she have to chose between a ballet school and a stage school or can she do all the genres under the one roof like here?

I have seen a lot of posts about auditions etc over there but I have no idea what any of this means. Any information and advice regarding ballet schools and dancing over there very much appreciated! thank you

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My 9 year old will be taking grade 3 cecchetti so probably on par. you have to be 7 for grades here I think but before that most schools will take the standard exams which are the same level as the corresponding grades but they go in with their teacher and are not asked questions by the examiner, so an easier environment for little ones!

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If you want a school that follows the Cecchetti syllabus, then the Cecchetti website has a geographical list of schools that teach it:

 

http://www.cecchetti.co.uk/wheretolearn/regions/north_west_england.php

 

In general, IME it is relatively common for 'good' non-vocational dance schools to offer different genres + the opportunity of performing / competing. DD dances elsewhere in the country, but both the 'good' local dance schools (teach up to 18, graduates go on to dance college at or before that age, or sometimes to to vocational schools earlier) teach ballet, tap and modern theatre; have 'competitive troupes'; teach 1:1 and duet  lessons in all genres for competitions + auditions etc; put on productions in a proper theatre every 2 years; provide dancers for local professional productions such as pantomime.

 

We fell into our school totally by accident. However, knowing a little more now, i would be looking on the timetable for a significant number of advanced classes per week (Grade 6, Interfoundation, Intermediate, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 in ballet, as above but without Interfoundation for Tap & modern) and, if you can find it out, a high proportion of 'above Pass' exam results. As a comparison, in the 20+ termly exam sessions I have read the results f for DD's dance school, I can remember 1 Pass grade, the rest have always been Merits and Distinctions. Obviously it isn't a guarantee of quality, because it may be that children are kept back until very old in a grade to ensure good results, but it is an indicator.

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Hi Minn, KS dance in Warrington have a junior programne, I think they follow the same method. I have no personal experience of the school, being from north east england, but I think it's a well known school. :)

 

Yes KS Dance follows the ISTD Cecchetti syllabus

 

"The KS Dance Junior Programme offers a wide variety of dance classes for all ages, including Classical Ballet, ISTD Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop and ISTD Tap. If you require more information about the classes or on registering, please contact us. KS Dance does recommend that children consider ballet above other subjects as a classical foundation gives a strong base for all dance subjects.

The Junior Programme also have their own productions for young students to have the opportunity to perform on stage in a theatre. It is valuable experience for children and KS Dance believes that it is an important aspect of their development. It enables our younger students to grasp a sense of where their training is leading them. KS Dance also participates in dance competitions for juniors: Cecchetti Classical Ballet Awards, Molly Lake Awards, Star Tap Awards and Janet Cram Awards in Modern."

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I live not far from the area and I agree Elizabeth Hill and KS Dance are the 2 main ones I've come across in the area. I think KS Dance may have the ultimate ballet reputation but it would be a longer drive and not sure if the difference would be important at that age? K'S does Cecchetti not sure about Elizabeth Hill. Hill do competitions - not sure about KS. By this I mean festivals which are less selective I would guess than the national comps mentioned on KS website .

 

I only have experience of one ballet teacher from KS and she is excellent. No personal experience of EH.

 

As a non dancing Mum who has learnt on the job I would not get too hung up on syllabus - Cecchetti,RAD, BBO ,ISTD all have a good reputation. I think the quality of teaching, rather than the syllabus itself is important.

 

Important would be having a good teacher who treats each child as an individual. I agree that a school with plenty of senior classes in ballet indicates quality. You could ask if any pupils attend classical associate schemes. You should ask to watch a lesson and I'm sure you'll get a gut feeling.

 

At your dd age it must be fun and time will tell if she pursues it further. I would consider a long travelling time could be detrimental at that age so don't discount good,more local schools initially. You may find travelling times in that area much longer than you would expect.

 

Should add most of the talk on here about auditions relates to vocational schools which are from age 11. Your dd may be suitable to audition for associate schemes in a year or 2.

 

Good luck with the move and don't forget your gum boots!!

Edited by sarahw
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My daughter attended Elizabeth Hill. The school has an excellent reputation for training and a lot of their students have got into top ballet schools and musical theatre schools. For ballet the syllabus is RAD and ISTD for other jandres. There is also Elliot Clarke in Liverpool itself which also has an excellent reputation.

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I studied both RAD and Cecchetti in Newcastle then Sydney when I lived in Australia. There are some differences in the individual set exercises, but the differences between the syllabi are minimal. The grades translate pretty much straightforwardly. Good training is good training.

 

But relax! She's only 6. Serious training doesn't really start till 8 or 10, and it's really not until a girl turns 14 or so that you'll know what sort of a dancer she'll be (body changes etc etc). So you've got a couple of years to settle (it's a big move - I've done it twice!) and find the right studio or combination of studios.

 

The other thing I always advise people to check are the regional Dance Agencies (not theatrical agents for getting work). They offer reliable because non-commercial teaching & advice. They're subsidised by the Arts Council England and local county councils, and their remit is for general dance education. They've had some excellent results (Swindon Dance is a powerhouse for producing contemporary dancers, for example).

 

I'm very familiar with Ludus Dance in Lancaster (also NW) and here's a link to the Merseyside Dance Initiative

 

http://www.mdi.org.uk/about/

 

I'm a great fan of the regional dance agencies - they do terrific work. And are a good model of how to make a career in dance if you're not cut out to be a RB principal  :)

Edited by Kate_N
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Northern ballet associates would be great if your daughter was successful in an audition with them. They are based in Leeds with beautiful studios. My daughter is on their graduate programme there and she loves it and is enjoying their style of training. My daughter said that Jenny is a beautiful dancer Janet.

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Northern ballet associates would be great if your daughter was successful in an audition with them. They are based in Leeds with beautiful studios. My daughter is on their graduate programme there and she loves it and is enjoying their style of training. My daughter said that Jenny is a beautiful dancer Janet.

 

 

She most certainly is Tulip - she stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons!

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Hi looks like we will be moving to the UK from Australia so looking for some ballet/dance school recommendations in the Northwest (Liverpool/Southport or nearby).

 

My daughter currently attends a cecchetti ballet school here in Australia. She turned 6 in November. She has competed her pre-primary and primary exams and due to do her grade 1 cecchetti exam in a few months time but I have no idea what grade she would go into over there if she was to do RAD. Any ideas? Interested to hear from anyone who knows the cecchetti method well and could tell me if its usual for a 6 year old to be in grade 1 cecchetti over in the UK or if she joined RAD what grade she could go into to. From what I have read online it says the minimum age for grade 1 exam cecchetti is 8 years old! would anywhere take a 6 year old and put them into a grade 2 cecchetti class? (she would of completed her grade 1 exam by the time we move).  

Not in the UK but I also read the minimum age 8 thing and worried about it and questioned , my dd was 6/7 when she did grade 2 and it wasn't a problem.

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Hi Minn,

 

welcome to the forum - we moved her from Australia last July. I can't really help with your questions, because my dd is 18 and we live in a different part of the country, but I just wanted to say 'hi'.

 

Best wishes :)

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