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Hello all,

I am totally new to the forum and was hoping you may be able to help me...

My daughter is 8 years old and has been dancing in a local ballet school since she was 3,5. Her teacher approached me some time ago and recommended that the auditions for JAs at RBS when she turns 8. She said that my daughter has the right physique to be successful - she is slim and long limbed. On the not so positive side, her feet arches are rather low and I am wondering what chances she has given how very competitive the auditions are. Does she stand a chance given how important feet are for ballet? Are there any mums out there whose girls have been successful at auditions despite low arches? I have read up on the topic and it doesn't seem like much can be done to correct low flexible arches so I am wondering if I might be setting her up for failure? Thank you!

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Hello Pixie and welcome to the Forum!

 

I see you have written the same post in 2 threads so I have hidden your other post.

 

Apart from the audition queries you will also find lots of advice already on the Forum using the tags on your thread.  It's definitely worth looking through them.

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I would say definitely audition as they are constantly changing what they are looking for. Also it is a great experience and the chance to be a JA is worth it. The audition itself is a lovey experience.

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Her teacher suggested that she audition, so I'm sure that your dd's feet are absolutely fine and there's nothing to worry about. :)

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I agree with taxi - if your teacher has suggested it then it's worth a go if your dd wants to. Some elements of foot shape can change as strength increases.

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Huge numbers of children audition for JAs but only a small proportion get places - about 10% if my memory serves me right.Unfortunately most of the children who apply will be disappointed, and that's really tough for them, especially when you bear in mind that the majority who audition will be amongst the most able pupils in their local dance school, so for many this will be their first major disappointment.

I think that if your child can understand that and accept that the probability is that she won't get a place, but that that doesn't mean she is a bad dancer, then you have little to lose by trying. Treat it as a day out and an opportunity to have a dance lesson somewhere different and enjoy the experience for its own sake. If it ends there, then you've had a lovely day, if she gets a place then it's a wonderful bonus. It is nigh on impossible to predict whether an individual child will be selected or not, so it's better not to over think things. But of course if you don't try you will never know!

You know your daughter better than anyone of course, and there are some little ones who will find the whole thing too stressful,but, in my experience at least,provided they are prepared with realistic expectations, the majority will enjoy and get something out of the audition experience whether they are successful or not.

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Thank you so much for your reflections. I will let her audition as I do think she has the strength of character to stomach a disappointing outcome. She has by now taken part in a number of festivals and has had to cope with the reality that she can't always win a medal. It is harder still because two other of her friends from the same ballet school will also be auditioning at the same time and one of them may get in so that will be a constant reminder but there is nothing I can do about that...I have also looked up the information about the Classical Academy JAs programme at Tring Park and was going to also sign her up for that but her teacher has advised me against it. Apparently it isn't as good? Any views? Thank you!

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Thank you so much for your reflections. I will let her audition as I do think she has the strength of character to stomach a disappointing outcome. She has by now taken part in a number of festivals and has had to cope with the reality that she can't always win a medal. It is harder still because two other of her friends from the same ballet school will also be auditioning at the same time and one of them may get in so that will be a constant reminder but there is nothing I can do about that...I have also looked up the information about the Classical Academy JAs programme at Tring Park and was going to also sign her up for that but her teacher has advised me against it. Apparently it isn't as good? Any views? Thank you!

You will find that the Tring CBA is also very competitive to get into. Obviously it "isn't as good" in terms of the fact that the Royal Ballet School has the pick of the bunch so to speak. But as the Royal is so difficult to get into its daft not to try others. I've been very happy with the training some of my students have received from CBA. Is it possible that your dd teacher is confused with Tring associates?

 

And if you are talented enough to get into Tring CBA, it is not as time consuming as other schemes because it takes place every other week.

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And just to add that although RBS associates perceived to be 'the best' doesn't mean it is best for every child.

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Yes I agree with Jane. RBS may be perceived to be "the best" in term of kudos, but there are many other fantastic associate schemes providing equally good training and nurturing.

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I can empathise with the friends issue Pixie. Many years ago now my DD and her best friend auditioned together. They were virtually joined at the hip - lived on the same road, in the same class at school, same dance School,literally identical marks in every dance exam they ever took, and even siblings born a few days apart! I think we all assumed they would either both get in or neither would, but sadly for my DD she was unsuccessful but best friend got a place. I cannot deny that it was upsetting and though DD put on a very brave face it was hard for her at first. But it was all forgotten in no time. There are many other opportunities, and I wouldn't rule any reputable scheme out personally. There are many roads to Rome as they say.

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Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response Pups_mum! Yes, having 2 of her friends also audition will make it tough and this is also why I would like her to try different JA programmes. However, her teacher doesn't want her to audition for any other JA programme other than RBS or BBO or else simply keep her at the local ballet school which she says should prepare her to high enough standard anyway. So it looks like I will just have to accept it so as not to offend her.

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However, her teacher doesn't want her to audition for any other JA programme other than RBS or BBO or else simply keep her at the local ballet school which she says should prepare her to high enough standard anyway. So it looks like I will just have to accept it so as not to offend her.

You need to do what is best for your dd and her future prospects - and not have the worry of offending her ballet teacher (who should want what is best for your dd also). :)

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This sound like my daughters ballet school. She was told to audition for RBS JA and BBO but we still went against the teachers wishes and auditioned for Elmhurst, Tring CBA and LJB as well. She was offered places at the last three and short waiting list for RBS. We chose LJB as it worked best for us as a family. She is loving it and I was pleasantly surprised at the standard / improvement in my daughter at the watching lesson at the end of term. Do what you think is best and follow your daughters lead. Local dance schools can only provide a limited timetable after all!

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Tring Classical Academy may not have the kudos of the RBS Associate schemes, but it is definitely as good and I would venture to say in some ways better.

 

My DD has done both and has always preferred Tring CBA and felt she was stretched more technically.

That's not to say she didn't enjoy the RBS Associates though.

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Thank you Toomuch and Loulabelle! May I ask what LJB stands for? I haven't considered Elmhurst as we live in the South East so too far to commute...I don't think that I can go against her teacher's recommendation or else she will start treating her differently, I just know it. She will take offence that I have ignored her recommendation and this will impact how she treats my daughter going forward...I had filled in the form to Tring's audtions and she advised me to withdraw it...:(

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London Junior Ballet.

 

As an outsider looking in (I don't have children let alone dancing children) I would just say that you are the customer and if your feel your daughter's needs aren't being fully met or that she is being penalised for wanting more experience you should think about moving her.

 

In respect of Associates there are many excellent schemes and it seems a shame that you should be putting all your daughter's eggs in one basket.

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What a shame that some people are so blinkered. Who knows where the next opportunity comes from for a person and to deny the chance to try is very narrow minded in my opinion. I have come across this attitude a lot where Tring is concerned - not sure why, it's a lovely, happy, talented school.

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I feel upset about this too. It feels wrong in my stomach that my daughter is denied the chance to expand her training beyond her regular ballet classes. I am not thinking of stopping her regular classes anyway, quite the opposite - I would like to expand her horizons and opportunities to learn more and be amongst other talented children. But I have now mentioned it twice and can tell that I am not going anywhere with it. My only option would be to leave the school which I wouldn't want to do to my daughter. She is settled and doing well and I wouldn't want to upset this balance for her own sake.

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I know it will be difficult but I would seriously be thinking about moving schools. Yes, it will upset your daughter, but she is only little and she will adapt rapidly to a new school.

It sounds like you are walking on egg shells around this teacher,which is wrong. The idea that a teacher would treat a child differently (by which I assume you mean less well)because her mum had decided to apply for a well regarded associate scheme is shocking - it really shouldn't be like that. Yes, a good local teacher is worth his or her weight in gold, but nobody can provide everything and good quality experiences outside of the school are very beneficial.

If it's like this now, it's only going to get worse as your DD gets older and has more ideas about what she wants to do. I would start investigating other schools in your area with a less restrictive outlook if I were you.

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I know how you feel about moving schools but speaking from experience it was honestly the best thing we did 2.5 years ago. DD is absolutely flourishing plus having always been told the best she could hope for would to be some form of dance teacher, probably not classical she is now with full support looking at dance as a career. She knows it's tough and is going to work towards her teaching qualifications but at 18 ( 2 yrs time) she will be applying to various places.

 

I know children who do both JA and CBA, they love both and get different things from each. Just out of interest where about are you ? It might help with recommendations

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Is it possible that your dd teacher is confused with Tring associates?

 

Tring associates is not a ballet associates programme but they do have graded ballet classes, technical ballet and pointe classes.  They do evenings and Saturdays and essentially run as a dance school would so should you decide to leave your current school they could provide a range of dance styles in addition to ballet.  I understand that some of the teachers also teach in the main school so I would think that must say something about the quality of the teaching but perhaps others can comment on this.

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I can empathise with the friends issue Pixie. Many years ago now my DD and her best friend auditioned together. They were virtually joined at the hip - lived on the same road, in the same class at school, same dance School,literally identical marks in every dance exam they ever took, and even siblings born a few days apart! I think we all assumed they would either both get in or neither would, but sadly for my DD she was unsuccessful but best friend got a place. I cannot deny that it was upsetting and though DD put on a very brave face it was hard for her at first. But it was all forgotten in no time. There are many other opportunities, and I wouldn't rule any reputable scheme out personally. There are many roads to Rome as they say.

Pups-mum this is so uncanny as exactly the same thing happened to us. My dd cried (in private) for about a week for not getting into JA's - BUT - the first time she saw her friend after the news, she went up to her, hugged and said 'well done' with total sincerity. I have never been prouder of her; very character building for an 8-year old. Happily other opportunities came her way and she is currently auditioning for full time training in Sept 2017. Its such a tough competitive environment that the ability to bounce back from disappointment is at least as important as having the right feet or body shape.

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Pixie ,

 

I can only go on our experience as DD former dance teacher was exactly the same with her , I had a real struggle in getting her to sign the application forms and she wasn't happy about DD auditioning for anything . She was happy though that DD did festivals and was successful most of the time . We went with our and DD's heart and auditioned anyway for RBS JA's and Elmhurst too - she got offered places at both . Though we went with RBS JA's and she had an amazing time there , she is now at vocational school dancing everyday and loving the experience so much . She wouldn't have got there had it not been for her RBS JA teacher believing in her ability. I wish I could have moved DD away from the local school but there was very limited other schools to choose from. It definitely made DD's confidence take a nose dive something which we are still working on now with her . My advice move if you are not happy and audition if that's what your DD wants to do.

 

Hope all works out ok for you xx

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Pups-mum this is so uncanny as exactly the same thing happened to us. My dd cried (in private) for about a week for not getting into JA's - BUT - the first time she saw her friend after the news, she went up to her, hugged and said 'well done' with total sincerity. I have never been prouder of her; very character building for an 8-year old. Happily other opportunities came her way and she is currently auditioning for full time training in Sept 2017. Its such a tough competitive environment that the ability to bounce back from disappointment is at least as important as having the right feet or body shape.

I agree. Whilst it is not a nice lesson to learn at 8 or 9 years old, it's a valuable one. Best friend and her mum also found it hard as their happiness was tinged with sadness too. Best friend and DD had apparently made a pact beforehand about how they would support each other if this happened and they both managed it splendidly. Very mature and sensible approach from two little girls. I think sometimes our children are capable of dealing with this kind of thing better than us!

My DD is in full time training now and I don't think that a few setbacks along the way have done her any harm. I think that whilst selection for JAs is without doubt a very positive thing that should be celebrated, not getting in shouldn't be seen as a negative think. I had a few people ask me what I was going to do now DD had "failed" when she didn't get in, as if they thought I should stop her dancing as she was clearly no good. Well obviously she has proved them wrong, but even if she hadn't I wouldn't have cared - dancing is so valuable whether it leads to a career or not.

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Pixie

 

I agree with the other posters and would seriously consider changing school.

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I changed my dd's school in Sept, she is 7 nearly 8

Although she was happy there and her teacher was very good she could only do 1 45 mintute class per week for her grade and she wanted to dance more. The new school could offer alot more.

There were a few tears at the beginning, she missed her teacher but she soon settled in and would not go back now. They soon adapt at that age.

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