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Daughter Has Been Invited to Audition for a Comp. Programme


BalletTutu
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Recently, my dd2 was entered for a dance event for ballet and modern and even though she didn't win any prizes we have received a letter inviting her to audition for a school that is close by's comp. programme. If she did get through to this then she would be doing 4 hours comp work a week as well as an extra three hours of Grade 3/4 ballet and two hours of Grade 3/4 modern. Also she could also do an hour of Grade 2/3 tap. At the moment though she is doing 45mins grade 2 istd ballet as well as 30 mins grade 2 modern/tap a week, so I am worried it would be too much of a leap for her. I would be very thankful if anyone else can settle my worries on this topic. Thanks in advance.

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So another school has approached her to audition to join them? Have you told your current school? It sounds a bit dodgy to me!

As to whether she'd cope, how old is she? Is she naturally very energetic? Does she love dancing and want to do that above other activities? 9 hours is a lot

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At the moment she is nine however she is going to be ten in just over a month and in September she was going to up her hours of dance any way. We are telling her current dance school at her lesson today. Hopefully she will still be able to carry on with swimming, violin and ukulele, as she is naturally energetic and we aren't that strapped for money. I will ask her again but I do think she loves dance the most out of all of her hobbies and she does realize that at some point she is going to have to commit to it full time anyway, due to the fact that, like her older sister, she wants to be a professional ballet dancer. 

N.B. she does have the physique for classical ballet.

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I hate to say it but your dd's current teacher may not be pleased at all if the nearby school appears to be headhunting or poaching your daughter. Absolutely do tell the teacher because she needs to know, but unless the other school has already approached her out of professional courtesy, she may be put out - not with you though.

 

As to whether your dd would cope, I would worry about that after you've spoken to the teacher. :-)

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That is REALLY bad manners - to say the least - by the other dance school, and unless you are on bad terms with your current school and were already pondering a move, something that you might want to leave the dance school principals to fight out between themselves. In your position, I would hand over the letter to your current dance teacher and ask their opinion as to how you might proceed.

 

I live in a town with several dance schools of varying quality. There is some movement between them - often between the 'less serious' and 'more serious' at slightly older age groups, where a child wishes to progress further and realises that there are very few other children with such ambitions at their current school, or where there are very few older students. However, such movement is ALWAYS initiated by the student or their parents, never by the receiving dance school, and there is an absolute veto on poaching.

 

'Non-overlapping' / complementary dance activities - e.g. street dance, Tap Attack, Associate programmes - aren't a problem. But a direct approach to a student from one dance school by another just isn't done, and you need to be VERY open with your current dance school to show that you aren't complicit in this.

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(I would also worry about the ethics / philosophy of a school that did this - and would wonder why they do not have enough 'home grown' students to fill their competition team. A thinning out of the ranks in mid-teens seems, IME and observation, relatively 'normal', and can leave some schools short of students for their most senior teams, but to need to poach at 9/10 would make me wonder.

 

Are you happy at the current school? What is its local reputation? What are the destinations of its students in terms of vocational schools, associate schemes, dance colleges? I mean, if you know that your current school is very limited in terms of hours, or maybe it only really has younger students, or you already have worries about the quality of training it is providing, that is one thing - especially if the school; from which you have had an approach is known to be excellent in comparison. But if the new and old schools are very similar, why would you move?)

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There's a school an hour away from our school that has private messaged students from our dance school and suggested that they move to their school as they can offer them more than we can as a school. They have invited them to Easter courses which we had no problem with them attending as it seemed like it a good opportunity. It is really bad taste!

 

In the past 2 years I've had 6 students join me from a local dance school and on every occasion I have tried to encourage the parents and pupils to work through their difficulties with their old school, on the simple grounds that if my students were upping and leaving for another school I would want the opportunity to work things through with them.

 

Definitely inform your dance teacher and enquire if she offers a similar comp programme

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I'm agree with the other posters, this is very bad etiquette. Unless the comp team is totally independent (like tap attack for example) it's poaching. You will gain a bad reputation.

 

I know the schools bluebird is talking of & it's left a very sour taste in a lot of people's mouths (I bet I know who they are currently after?!)

 

Students do move sometimes but wiry much more specific reasons. And comps are not necessarily the best way to get the best training anyway.

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I agree with others and think that this new place is attempting to poach students from other schools, and this will not go down at all well with your dd's current teacher. It might also be going against the rules of the competition organisation for participating schools to actively headhunt in this way.

 

By the way, if your dd is really keen on ballet and has the facility for it, then it might be a better idea for her to audition for an associate programme at one of the big vocational schools rather than to join a competition team.

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Apart from the appalling lack of professionalism from this comp. school, one has to wonder about the physical impact of 10 hours+ of training a week on such a young (and vulnerable whilst growing) body. There is absolutely no need for it. Pupils at vocational schools in year 7 won't be starting with this much (although they will probably be doing more by the end of year 7). 

 

Bluebird I wish there were only a few schools who do this but I know sadly there are quite a few....

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I agree with Blue Bird and if I know people are joining from another school I always check that they have given proper notice. And I have one school who also contacts me direct if they hear from my students to check approval. In one case it turned out that one student joining me was one of my closest friends students. This friend also coaches for me so had I not ensured that this student had informed her that she was also coming to me, things might have been very awkward.

 

It's a small world out there so I would say to OP to be wary, in my opinion the people approaching her are being very unprofessional and are definitely breaching the Dance Teachers code of conduct.

 

And competitions are not necessarily a good way of training for a possible career.

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When I spoke to her teacher yesterday, she said that even though she would love to have my daughter in just her school she also said that due to the fact that she aspires to become professional she would need more hours than what she could offer her. Even so, she said that she would still offer her on Thursdays and Saturdays if the classes didn't clash with the other school and/or comps if my dd wanted to do them.

Also, she said to consider auditioning for a vocation dance school for yr 7 as well as summer schools for 2017.

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I agree with auditioning for Year 7. Personally I would look at Associate schemes as an excellent means of supplementing training, rather than competitions. Are you within travelling distance of Royal Ballet School JAs or Elmhurst PVPs?

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Perhaps if you contact the associate schemes which would be do-able for your DD they may agree to add your DD to any audition dates still available?

I agree with Anna that a good associate scheme may be better than competitions to prepare your DD for Y7 auditions for vocational schools next year. Especially if an associate scheme is run by one of the vocational schools. Equally if your DD struggles with confidence and performance then a competition or two could help develop those qualities before her auditions.

If associate schemes are not possible, then extra lessons at the other school, as your DD's teacher is agreeable and some competition work there would develop stamina and expose your DD to other teaching styles, which will also help her at auditions.

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Something else to think about is that competition/festival schools often discourage their students from attending associate programmes, because it interferes with comps. Also, have a look and see who the competitions/festivals are affiliated to - some are very good, others less so. The best ones have regional/national finals and are highly regarded (such as All England, & ISTD Awards).

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Something else to think about is that competition/festival schools often discourage their students from attending associate programmes, because it interferes with comps. Also, have a look and see who the competitions/festivals are affiliated to - some are very good, others less so. The best ones have regional/national finals and are highly regarded (such as All England, & ISTD Awards).

This is a very good point, and it is well worth finding out exactly what the commitment is before you get involved. My DD did festivals from the age of 5 to 17, but her school wasn't what you'd call serious about competitions and only did 3 or 4 per year usually.Even so, it was fairly time consuming and made doing other things in school holidays difficult at times. I always said that I didn't care whether she danced her solos or not, but that if she committed to a duet, trio or group then she had to perform if she possibly could. (Unless her partners also didn't want to do a particular festival of course.) Her teachers were generally quite laid back about it all too, but on our travels I have discovered that there are schools with very different attitudes. Certainly many who take competitions very seriously travel to different places many times a year and expect 100% commitment from pupils and parents, both in terms of competing and attending rehearsals. This can certainly make it difficult for your child to attend other things, be they dance related or not. And stuff like family holidays, spending time with other children if you have them can end up playing second fiddle to the dance school's requirements. Not to mention the costs - costumes, travel,accommodation,parking,entry fees and so on can mount up significantly over the years.

I'm not anti festivals at all -DD has had a lot of fun and got lots put of them - but everything needs to be kept in perspective. A school that goes to the lengths of trying to poach students from other schools for their competition squad is almost certainly going to be one that takes festivals extremely seriously and will expect you to as well. I would ask lots of questions and have a long hard think about whether the time and money you will need to invest might be better spent elsewhere.

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I was under the impression that you had already - about a month ago - identified a school to move to that offered a step up in terms of number of lessons, dropping tap, and that your DD had already had a trial lesson there? Is this the same as the comp. dance school, or a different one? What was the result of that trial lesson?

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Morning Ballet_girl,

 

I agree with sarahw that having two aspiring ballet dancers at two different non-vocational schools could be a logistical nightmare. If I remember rightly from your other thread, it doesn't sound as if your daughters currently get a great deal of ballet training?

 

If there is a means of getting more, good quality ballet training at any of the nearby schools, I would definitely look at that as an option for both girls. Equally, it would be well worth looking at RBS JAs, MAs, Central School of Ballet's Preps, London Junior Ballet etc even though you are in East Anglia. These schemes offer excellent supplementary training and people travel from all over to attend them.

 

If getting more high quality ballet training means a trade-off with tap and/or competitions, then I really think it is a trade off worth making if your girls want to go into full time ballet training. And it's definitely going to be more viable if both your girls are at the same dance school in the meantime.

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About competitions ... Just a word of warning to be careful that your dd won't just be another feather in the cap of the new dance school rather than developing from the whole competition environment

 

I would encourage you to sit and make a list with your dd of development goals and consider carefully how they will be met with comps

 

Definitely there is huge value in my opinion or extra stretch and flexibility sessions, learning advanced technique, being surrounded by like minded people, having 1:2:1 time with tutors, gaining high level of corrections at a detailed level. Quality feedback from adjudicators and mixing with comp people for inspiration and support.

 

Be wary of over training (I didn't know about this until we were two years down the line). You don't want your child to be doing leg tilts, scorpions without considering the impact

 

Be careful of getting lumbered with a small number of dances that are competed over and over to the point of boredom when you could be doing something more constructive

 

Be careful of getting sucked into false levels of success .. Winning comps and scoring highly doesn't necessarily mean dancers progression ;)

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