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Kate Simmons Dance (KS Dance) and Chantry Dance


BlueLou
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Does anyone have any information about or experience of these schools? One of the KSD graduates secured a contract at Northern Ballet last year, but until that I had never heard of the school. I have perused the websites ( http://ksd-online.co.uk ) ( http://www.chantry-school.org ), but wondered if anyone here had actually been there or knew anyone who had? They are non-residential so wondering if anyone knows where the dancers generally live? Are they happy? Also, anyone any idea of fees? Or teaching faculty? Or standard of acceptance? We will be applying for upper school this time next year and finding it difficult to choose where to apply to! During GCSE year so don’t want to apply to too many schools, I’m thinking 3 or 4. Dd has a 1st and 2nd choice already (Central and Rambert), but beyond that ……….??? UCAS forms for university seem so much easier because you have so much more information about required grades, course content, etc …. I am currently trying to compare KSD, Chantry and Ballet West.

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I don't know much about KSD but have come across the deputy principal Miss Gillian Hurst at 2 Associate Schemes. She is an excellent teacher. I will be looking at the school because of Miss Hurst.

 

I suspect last year's success of Jenny Hackwell in getting a classical contract is not the norm but am happy to be corrected. But that may be a reflection of intake rather than teaching quality.

Edited by sarahw
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I took a student to the audition on Tuesday, there were 8 girls auditioning and as far as we can tell there are no other audition dates ? Miss Hurst led the audition class, which made me sit up a little taller as I remember her from my associate days! There was feedback given to each dancer after the audition in a private interview with Miss Simmons, which gave it a personal touch.

The teaching faculty seems to be of a very high standard although very small scale and all the students we saw looked happy. There are open days next week I believe.

 

Location is very strange, basically down a dirt track to an industrial estate, so goodness knows where and how the students get in every morning. They offer a teaching qualification as part of the course which I think contributes towards the employment rate, as the also have a non vocational lower school.

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A girl who was a few years ahead of my DD at our local dance school went to Kate Simmons, and from what I've heard she enjoyed it and was pleased with her choice.I know she had offers from a couple of other places (can't remember where though sorry) but felt KSD was the best fit for her. I believe she completed ISTD teaching qualifications whilst she was there, which is a plus point. Her interest was always more commercial than classical dance though. We didn't look at it when DD was auditioning, partly because as far as I could tell there was no financial assistance available and I was looking for degree courses with access to a student loan, but also because it's in the town of my birth which I have to say is not a particularly inspiring place to live.  The transport links are good though... easy access to motorways, railways that run both north/south and east/west,and both Manchester and Liverpool airports are within easy reach so it's a very easy place to get to. (And away from.)

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I'm going to be looking at Kate Simmons but in view of dd attending part time alongside A levels at a normal academic school rather than the full time course.  it has an excellent reputation.

 

However Bluebird, I'd like to hear more about the location and I need to find out about public transport as I'd need to attempt to get dd a place at a 6th form in Warrington & she would be commuting from Stoke each day.

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Just off the motorway. They can catch a bus from train station to very close to school. They have houses available for accommodation sharing and at audition will show you photos and info on them. No funding but if you apply for the bursary you will have a second audition and could pay quite a bit less. My DD chose another school in the end but the teaching seemed good and the staff were lovely. BTW if you're stopping over the Premier Inn is only 5 mins drive from the school.

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KS Dance - know of six or seven students who have been there , now graduated and gone into a mix of cruise ship dance jobs, dance in holiday resorts abroad and teaching positions. For the Young Dancers Competition, there was also a male ballet dancer who partnered in the pas de deux (but was not actually a competitor himself) who was from KSD and I believe he secured a classical contract abroad following graduation.

 

Chantry Dance is a fairly new course I believe.  I really like the company and would probably have looked at it for my DD had it been around then. The associates scheme has been running longer and has a good reputation as far as I know. Certainly it has attracted students from full time vocational schools.They have all the details of fees etc on their website.

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Chantry - whilst the school is new, Paul and Rae have excellent contacts with existing full time vocational schools and are used by them as teachers.  They also choreograph for a wide variety of productions and have great industry contacts.  Their faculty looks great  with a lot of ex-principals and again including the same teachers as used at vocational schools.

 

More importantly, Paul and Rae are simply great mentors, I know they give advice and help to those who have passed through their summer schools and associate programs, and continue to be involved in their careers.   

 

Definitely worth a look!

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Chantry - whilst the school is new, Paul and Rae have excellent contacts with existing full time vocational schools and are used by them as teachers.  They also choreograph for a wide variety of productions and have great industry contacts.  Their faculty looks great  with a lot of ex-principals and again including the same teachers as used at vocational schools.

 

More importantly, Paul and Rae are simply great mentors, I know they give advice and help to those who have passed through their summer schools and associate programs, and continue to be involved in their careers.   

 

Definitely worth a look!

 

Yes, it all looks fabulous on the website. And very cheap. Seemed too good to be true! I think we’ll try to do their summer school next year :)

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ah, you are forgetting the "yellow-belly" effect - Lincolnshire is one of the cheapest places in the country to live (just means it's difficult to get away ...).

 

I know a lot of the faculty have personal contacts with Paul or Rae which is presumably why they have such an impressive staff list.

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My daughter started at KSdance this September, she joined the second year as she was unhappy at her previous school.

all I can say is that she is very happy at KS dance. She has grown in confidence and feels that her dancing has improved loads.she has had a lot of individual attention.

my daughter is in the classical stream, but as it is a small school they attend many of the same classes.

They also have jazz, commercial, flamenco and tap although my daughter chose not to do the tap.

My impression is that the teaching is excellent and the school although strict is very nurturing. They seem to really care about their students personal development. Miss Simmons and Miss Hirst are according to my daughter excellent teachers.

My daughter is doing the Trinity Diploma and her teaching qualifications so the work load is full on.

It seems to me that many children of dance teachers send their children to KS dance and some are from Italy and Malta. I think this is the Checchetti connection.

Since my daughter has been there they have had master classes, and competitions.

I get the impression that as they have been around for many years they have very good contacts and connections in the industry.

The building is not very pretty at all and the location is quite of putting but inside there is a warm, supportive atmosphere where ex students are always visiting.

The students live in houses and flats although I understand some are with host families. They are living independently and have to cook and clean for themselves .

I had lots of reservations about this especially as my daughter did not enjoy her first year but she is very happy when she is.

They are very organised and quick to get back to me if I have any questions. Bursaries are available.hope that helps.

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My DD has been an associate at Chantry for a year now and absolutely loves it. Rae and Paul are very organised and professional but also very friendly and approachable and there is a lovely atmosphere in the school . They have high expectations of their students but are always positive and encouraging. My DD feels that she is challenged and learns something new in every session. As mentioned above, Rae and Paul do have very good links with others in the industry and the students have been given some great opportunities, such as dancing at Move It 2016 (you can find a video of this on youtube) and performing in front of Deborah Bull, Robert Parker and Dominic North at the studio naming ceremony. They have also been taught by and danced with members of the Chantry Dance Company and watched Rae and Paul dance (e.g. at the Summer School) which my DD finds inspiring.

 

We attended an open day for the full time course in October, which gave the dancers a taste of what being in vocational training might be like as well as a chance to find out more about the course and ask questions. I believe there is another one in November for anyone interested.

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My daughter joined KS Dance Grad year in September. The first 2 weeks was all about the students and working out their strengths and weaknesses and what classes they would attend to make the most of their time at the college. Since then they have worked hard and yes it is full on but she is so happy and feels very supported.

There is definitely a personal touch and they are working on my daughters confidence which was squashed by previous experiences.

 

There are open days this week, current parents and auditioning dancers and their parents will be able to meet and chat.

 

My DD is happy and feels that she is part of something special at KS Dance

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