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Advice on future vocational training


hgib23
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My 11 year old DD wants to follow a career pathway of a professional ballet dancer. We were unable to consider applying for year 7 vocational school as my older DD has secured a place for post 16 performing arts college, and we are unable to fund two children at once.

 

What else can I do to help prepare her for post 16 entry, we already do associate classes, summer schools, and EYB.

 

Should we focus on syllabus grades as a priority?

 

I have no previous experience in anything dance related so learning as I go along!, but don't want to do anything to hinder a post 16 application.

 

All advice gratefully received.

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My dd dida patchwork of dance up to going to vocational school and the thing I think I regret now is not keeping a better eye on injury prevention and resolution. As she had different teachers in different places and we had paid up various fees and there was pressure to attend I think she carried on through injury when should not have and I didnt know enough about it. So by time she got to vocational school she had an injury that keeps her off ballet and needs surgery. At least now she is getting the care and attention to resolve it. So I think I suggest that sure you make sure you have a teacher that is good and undestands your child as a dancer and that you can get access to got dance health advice and a physio .

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I'm not an expert but I would focus on more non syllabus opportunities rather than grades. During the auditions they focus on what is in front of them (the dancer) and they are expected to follow an unseen class . Technical ability,musicality,performability and the ability to pick choreography up quickly are all desirable attributes to bring to the audition - not all learned by syllabus teaching. Associates/EYB and summer schools are all good ????

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I agree with Kat09. Focus on good quality non syllabus classes rather than grades.

Or both, if you possibly can - the RAD Vocational grades have advantages such as (in no particular order): UCAS points, the possibility of entering the Genée, they keep your options open should you later wish to become an RAD teacher, etc.

 

If you can get a good mix of associate schemes, non-syllabus ballet, vocational grades, summer schools, performance opportunities and nutrition/injury prevention then you will have a really good balance in preparation for upper school applications.

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My DD is in year 10 so we are at the stage of preparing for US auditions now.

We are now realising that DD does not/has not been doing enough ballet. She has always done other dance styles too which she is now cutting back on. It's difficult as a non vocational student to get enough quality hours training at a small but busy school in a smallish town. So we are now travelling to London for private lessons. This is costing a huge amount of money and time but we feel it's necessary.

I guess my advice is to focus on the goal, get as much quality training as possible through associate schemes, holiday courses and private lessons if possible and always be realistic. Good luck.

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Have you thought about your dd applying for entry into Y10? That is in three years time - would your older dd have finished her course by then? The vocational schools don't normally assess anybody out during Years 10 and 11 because of GCSE's so there is often a fair amount of movement with students at the end of Year 9 and a few places do sometimes crop up. 

 

If she auditions then, the experience of auditioning will stand her in good stead for the upper school auditions, and it won't be quite so daunting.

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We certainly wish we'd done that.

Well dd did - and got an offer of a Y10 place without funding, so she couldn't go and was really upset for a while - but what the experience did for her was to make her realise that yes, she did have what it takes and to persevere with her training. It made her all the more determined to re-audition for 6th-form places and everything turned out well in the end.

 

There are many other lovely dancers we know who were also disappointed earlier on, but have now been successful when auditioning for upper school places, so don't give up folks!

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On a good week 6 that add up to around 7 hours plus a bi-weekly 2 hour private lesson and a bi weekly 2 1/4 hour associate programme. I say 'on a good week' as lessons are sometimes cancelled due to other rehearsals and for the last two terms she struggled to get 3 lessons a week.

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Yes that's about the same number of hours my dd gets (she does fewer classes but they are 90 mins plus some body conditioning). One possible way to boost the amount is to do one or more classes in the next grade up if the teacher is OK with this. It can work well if close to exam standard in the current grade.

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