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Ballet Trust - has anyone heard of this?


robin64
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People may want to note that, whilst the website is active, googling the company number produces a number of data sites indicating that the company was dissolved in January of this year, eg:

 

http://ukdata.com/company/06723914/THE-BALLET-TRUST

 

It may, of course, just have been revived, but you will no doubt wish to bear that in mind in any discussion.

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I suspect it might be a case of it being "a good idea at the time" but then not managing to get anyone to contribute financially. I might try the "contact us" bit and see what happens....

 

edited to add that I've sent a message - I'll let you know if I get a reply

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The way I see it, is enough parents and sponsors would need to subscribe for it to be of any use to even one child.... I have come across this website before and I am not sure I would feel confident enough to donate anything without seeing something more conclusive or perhaps a big name affiliated with it.

That is just my opinion though...

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I tend to agree with Jane. I remember looking at this at least a year ago after seeing mention on the old ballet.co site. I think the idea itself is somewhat flawed. For it to work you need enough people to subscribe and donate and I think very few people would be willing to donate on the possibility that their child might one day benefit, especially without a proven track record and I doubt that many of us actually plan that far ahead.

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I am sure it takes a lot of work to get a charity up and running and then work to maintain and manage the funds that do come in. A huge amount of work - but then again these things do happen. I suppose if all dance schools had to pay in to it (obviously this would then be passed as a cost to clients) then funds would build up enough to be useful..but I am not sure I could see it happening. Maybe parents could opt in to contributing something..but would enough want to as lessons can be expensive anyway? Hmm, seems like a passionate idea that hit a brick wall...shame they didn't reply to people contacting them though. I agree that just expecting people to paypal money into some account without being absolutely 100% sure what it was about would not appeal. A nice idea though and how many times on here have people wished they could get help with funding?

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As far as I can see The Ballet Trust intention to raise funds to support needy dance students came to nothing. It seems to have been disbanded as an ongoing idea. That being the case the website is out of step with their present aim of just being an information resource.

 

All a bit of a muddle, it seems to me.

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I had a very long email from the chap who set it up. I won't go into detail as most of it involved what's happened with his son, but suffice to say there were many reasons for the financial side of things not working - lots to do with charitable status etc, but that he hopes to use the website to give advice to people about training and funding. I haven't replied yet, but I will point out that we help lots of people through this forum. He said he gets lots of queries from people when they get places but without the MDS award or scholarship/bursaries and I agree with him when he says that lots of people don't realise what a difficult position they can be in if they're offered a place without funding. People who find us on this site usually go into auditions with their eyes open, but we are still in the minority - which is why we need to spread the word about this forum.

 

Sorry for the waffly post - hope I've made some sense :wacko:

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So the bottom line is that they cannot help with funding and I didn't actually see any details for other sources of funding for people to try (unless I missed that on their site). It would be good if they had a list of charities or other funding bodies for people to contact. The information on all the different schools might be helpful to someone with a young dancer but this forum is better as information is so current and questions answered so promptly.

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I've had another email which he's asked me to pass on - basically to say that he has registered with this forum so will come on and explain a bit more once he's "passed" the registration process.

 

But I agree that it would be a good idea for the website to be updated to take out the references to the raising money side of things and concentrate on just giving information about training and schools.

 

You're right robin64 that this is a great forum to ask questions and you can learn a lot from reading other people's posts - on here it's much more about people's own opinions and experiences.

 

There are loads of people out there with children auditioning who don't find either this forum or the Ballet Trust site and I wonder how on earth they cope ;) but then when my son first auditioned for JAs I had no idea about anything to do with ballet or vocational schools. I've learnt a lot - coz I'm nosy :P

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Hi all. I am the person who started The Ballet Trust and run the website.

 

I have a DS at Tring who was only 1 of 34 dancers auditioning for 8 MDS awards when he got into the school. I believe that the same kind of ratio exists for the other 2 MDS schools (all RBS pupils get an MDS) What happened to the other 26? Has this talent been wasted because the fees are too high? I thought of a way of getting round this problem and came up with the idea to start a Charity where dancers would pay £10 per annum to the Charity as a kind of insurance against parents either losing their job or the dancers having enough talent to get into a vocational school. Based on 1 - 1.5 million dancers across the UK this would give the Charity £10 - 15 million per annum to achieve its aims.

 

To use the word Trust in the name of a company you have to give Companies House a guarantee that you are going to become a registered Charity as soon as possible. The reason for becoming a Charity is that the trustees of the company registered as a charity are not allowed by law to benefit in any way from the Charity which would remove all suspicion that this was being done to benefit me or my family. There are two routes to becoming a registered Charity. One is to have a turnover of over £5000 and register which would then entail two sets of paperwork to the Charity Commission and Companies House with the encumbent costs of these submissions. The second is to follow a route proposed in the Charities Act 2006 and become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) which is a company opened as a Charity with the Charity Commision and a resultant minimisation of red tape (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charitable_Incorporated_Organisation). I find it incredible that 6 years later Parliament are still wrangling over the exact nature of these companies although you have been able to register one in Scotland since April 2011.

 

In 2010 Companies House decided to charge for all submissions and increase the number of submissions a company had to make whereas previously a dormant company only had to make a declaration they were still dormant (I was waiting for CIOs to become a reality but keeping the company dormant in the mean time). Faced with having to pump more and more money into Companies House coffers or dissolve the company I chose the latter option which is why it is listed as Dissolved.

 

As far as the informational side of the site goes, at the time it was recommended that DS audition for Tring I hadn't even heard of the place. A bit more informed than most parents we had heard of Elmhurst as well as RBS, however, all other options were a complete mystery. I set about trying to gather as much information as possible about other vocational dance schools and list it on the site. This has not been at all easy especially when it comes to finding out fees. For interest sake once I had got some information, using Prix de Lausanne Partner Schools as a reference point I compared the fees charged in England as opposed to the rest of the world. The result came as a bit of a shock. The overwhelming majority fall in the £10 - 12 000 per annum bracket. It is cheaper to send a child to the Juilliard than Tring. The Juilliard was the most expensive school I could find outside England. One of the top vocational dance schools in South Africa costs less than £1 000 per annum.

 

Yes, I have neglected the site and yes, I agree I should update it. The fact of the matter is I work for myself and my business has taken off recently which doesn't allow me the time to do the research required. To complicate matters I no longer live in England so I cannot rely of getting prospectuses to keep me updated and have to rely on trawling the internet for information. I still believe the site give people a good starting point and I am still enough in touch to advise people who email me to the best of my ability. I will certainly also be pointing people towards this site in future.

 

If you have emailed me before and I did not respond it is most likely because my mail server periodically gets blocked by Microsoft who then advise blocking it to all MS Mail Servers because it doesn't have the correct MS certificate. During this time sending to some email addresses just doesn't work at all which is why you may not have got a reply. It is annoying and takes 4 -5 days to clear, but I think I have now had it "white listed" as this doesn't happen so often now.

 

I hope this answers some of the questions raised here. Like many of you having a highly talented child has come at enormous expense to us and at time we struggle to make ends meet especially now with currency fluctuations hammering us badly. The Ballet Trust was a genuine attempt to help other people out of this dilemma, but it got hopelessly entangled in red tape amongst other things.

 

Sorry about War and Peace as my first post, but a lot of questions needed answering.

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Dancingdad, thanks for taking the time to tell us about ballet trust. It must have been very frustrating for you to face all that red tape. It is admirable that you tried to help out other dancing families. Wishing your son success in his dancing.

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Thanks Robin64. I am pleased to say he is one of only 2 Tring final year students to already have a contract. He starts on the 8th of August on Costa Cruise ships (he should have been starting next week on the one that caught fire in the Indian Ocean 4 months back). He also has an open ended offer to join the South African Ballet Theatre - the top Ballet company in South Africa - after his sister organised for him to take part in their Adult Classes while on holiday out there. The Artistic Director said DS didn't realise quite how good he actually is, something we have been told time and again by EYB. Hearing comments like that from people who really know what it is like to have a career in dance certainly makes everything we have had to put up with worthwhile and extraordinarily proud of him.

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Dancersdad - it is so inspiring to hear of someone actually trying to do something to help solve the problem of funding, rather than just bemoaning the situation. Especially given that by the time you were doing this it clearly wasn't a fund that would have been able to benefit your son. Even though it didn't work out it, I take my hat off to you.

 

Congratulations to your son on his Costa contract and good luck to him in is professional career.

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Congratulations! Thats brilliant news. But if you are talking about current 3rd years at Tring then I feel that I should point out that I know four graduates who have already secured jobs with Ballet companies but are still officially students with the school and completing their dance diploma. Hopefully the 2 contracts that dancersdad mention bring it up to at least 6!

 

Just wanted to put the record straight!

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Spannerandpony yes he was part of the "Dancers Company" and will be in the Queen number in Dance Show.

 

HFbrew he hasn't mentioned other people getting contracts, but that would be good news. I fear though that the other 1 I am talking about is included as part of the 4 you are talking about. One of the conditions of a school offering a DaDA are that the recipents must be in a full time job or represented by an agent within 6 months of finishing the course. It places an enormous amount of pressure on the school so I would expect to see more students getting jobs in the near future.

 

Thanks for your good wishes. Unfortunately the contract is looking to be in jeopardy after Costa introduced a requirement to attend a £900 Basic Safety course before being allowed to board ship. This must be done at the dancer's expense despite it not being a contractual requirement when the contract was signed and making the change is specifically excluded in the contract. Equity believe that in England the company would be forced to pay for the training, but the contract is within Italian jurisdiction. Does any one know an Italian lawyer we can get an opion from?

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Spannerandpony yes he was part of the "Dancers Company" and will be in the Queen number in Dance Show.

 

HFbrew he hasn't mentioned other people getting contracts, but that would be good news. I fear though that the other 1 I am talking about is included as part of the 4 you are talking about. One of the conditions of a school offering a DaDA are that the recipents must be in a full time job or represented by an agent within 6 months of finishing the course. It places an enormous amount of pressure on the school so I would expect to see more students getting jobs in the near future.

 

Thanks for your good wishes. Unfortunately the contract is looking to be in jeopardy after Costa introduced a requirement to attend a £900 Basic Safety course before being allowed to board ship. This must be done at the dancer's expense despite it not being a contractual requirement when the contract was signed and making the change is specifically excluded in the contract. Equity believe that in England the company would be forced to pay for the training, but the contract is within Italian jurisdiction. Does any one know an Italian lawyer we can get an opion from?

 

Oh goodness me thats a bit off isn't it? I definately don't think you should have to pay that- surely its up to Costa to foot the bill. Thank goodness your DS has another career option now open to him. Sorry I don't know an Italian lawyer.

 

My DS never seems to know the news about anyone else but he did tell me quite a while back about your DS! He was really pleased, as am I! I look forward to seeing him in the dance show. Good luck with sorting out the Costa cotract.

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Is the contract direct with Costa or through an Agency? I may be wrong, but the issue may be that if he is not a direct employee of Costa the company doesn't have to foot the bill. So in a sense its a bit like when you are self employed in this country and having to pay your own employment costs.

 

It isn't unusual for dancers to have some upfront expenses when starting a cruise contract. When my dd started she had to pay for the very stringent medical which the company required, which cost a couple of hundred pounds, and for her US visa (which I think was about £150). I know that all her friends who have worked on cruise ships have had to pay these expenses themselves. I also know that they have to get the medical redone every 2 years at their own expense.

 

I would say though, if he can possibly afford the upfront cost, and unless he has a definite offer elsewhere, that over the length of his career as a dancer he should see this simply as a cost of getting started (in the same way as the cost of going to auditions is a cost of getting started) and should go for it. He will soon find that he has covered these start up costs by what he is earning on the ship.

 

Edited for Typo

Edited by glowlight
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