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How did you choose schools??


MrsMoo2
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Hiya,

Curious question for you. How did you choose your dance school?? I just kind of e mailed some local ones and went with the first to reply! ? At the point now where DS needs more classes than current one provides. Current ones focus seems to be shifting to under 5's and he's 10. They've cancelled two of his classes this year due to low numbers and there seems to be less and less tweens. So, what's the etiquette? Can you join 2 schools or is that not cricket? At the minute he's dead set on a career in dance somewhere...xxx 

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It's usually normal to ask the old school if it's all right. Some schools don't like it. When our youngest dd was having problems at our local school, I spoke to the mother of a schoolmate who went to a well regarded school elsewhere. They used to run a summer school I sent both of our daughters to it to see if they liked the school. They did. We never returned to the other school.

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We were lucky ... we moved to an area with a brilliant dance school that keeps on adding classes! 

 

However, before we moved the local dance school was run by someone who has an 'elite' team and everyone else and everyone else might as well not bother .... a friend had set up a dance school in the next town, so DD went there. But if we'd still been there and DD got more serious, I'm not sure what we'd have done.  However, I think it is the quality and variety of classes and experiences offered at current dance school that has encouraged DD to think about dance seriously! 

 

Sorry ... no help OP! 

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I was in the same position this time last year.

I spoke to her old teacher and decided to look elsewhere when she confirmed there wouldn't be any other classes she could do to increase her ballet hours.

I asked on here for recommendations for my area and then booked her into the summer school to see how she felt. I instantly saw the difference between the schools. She loved it and moved there from the September. We haven't looked back and she has come on so much in her new school and my dd is very happy. 

 

 

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I agree with the posters above about asking first if there are other classes your son could join and if not can she recommend a school in additional to her own that he could try. As she has cancelled two of his classes I think that this is a perfectly reasonable request.

 

Also be mindful of any notice that has to be given if you decide to leave. As a teacher myself I really hate it when students disappear without warning and I have to chase up notice fees. 

 

I don't mind if keen students attend lessons elsewhere but I do mind if my advice hasn't been sought first,especially as there are schools I'd recommend over and above others.

 

I hope that your son gets the classes he desires!

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I think you're asking 2 separate but inter related questions - how to you select a new school and what's the etiquette for making the change?

In terms of changing, I think personal recommendation from someone you trust is a good start, but with the caveat that many dancers develop a strong bond with their teachers and tend to view their school as "the best". So do a bit more research. If there's a summer school that's an excellent taster, but do check that the teachers are the usual ones and not all guest teachers, as summer school may not be totally representative of normal class. Also, if there is a show you can see that might help judge the standard. Ask if your DS can try out a couple of classes at different schools before you commit and ask questions about things like how many children do associate schemes, youth ballets and so on, and if any former pupils have gone to vocational schools. If the answer is none or the teacher looks at you blankly, it's perhaps not the right place for you.

As to the etiquette, I think you have to accept that it's likely that whatever you do or say there is going to be at least a little-known of upset along the way if your DS has been with the same teacher for a while. Just be kind but honest and listen to the inner voice. If something is telling you you need to move on, you probably do, and the longer you leave it the harder it gets.

Attending 2 schools sometimes works well, especially for more advanced students, but from my observations it often gets messy - clash of teaching styles, conflict of interest at competitions, class times or whatever. Most people I know have ended up swapping totally in the end. But above all, always be honest. I know several people who have kept secret from one or both schools that they are attending another. It always comes out in the end and it always causes more trouble than it would have done if honest from the outset. Good luck.

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When looking at potential new schools I would say to consider a few different things;

How many older students do they have? If a school is managing to keep large numbers of 16-18 year olds dancing then it tells you they are doing something right.

Secondly I would say it's really important to see a performance/end of year show - it's important that you make your own judgement on the qualities of the new school rather than relying only on what the teacher has told or promised you.

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Thank you guys! ? Haven't had chance to speak to his teacher yet but will endeavour to this weekend. 

I understand that if a class has a low take up it will get cancelled but one of the cancelled ones had 15 kids in it, so not sure what's going on there!

I've found one other class within our own school that fits in with everything else, just need a different set of clothes and shoes for it! ?? it's all ££££ eh?? xxx

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, I maybe a tad late joining this post but I thought I would through my thoughts into the ring. 

 

When considering a school, not only research classes which is self explanatory but what about the exam results.

 

Are the teachers RAD or ISTD qualified?  The most recent exam season results should be filtering through about now. 

 

Watching a production is helpful but if it's a long term career choice for your DC then you really need to look at exam results for the school. 

 

Cost can also play a factor so look closely at the fee structure. Some schools offer a sliding scale reduced rate subject to the more lessons taken. Even to the extent that after the first 6 weekly lessons paid for any more are free. This will encourage pupils to join in the none syllabus classes. i.e Stretch/Conditioning/Acro etc

 

Good Luck, not easy but at the end of the day it's you requiring a service so you expect (naturally) for the business (studio) to reciprocate. 

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I am afraid that I don't agree that exam results are a good guide. Some excellent schools don't take exams. On the other hand some schools achieve high exam results by "teaching to the test". Pupils are held back for a long time until the teachers think they will get the desired result. 

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15 hours ago, balletbean said:

<snip>

 

Are the teachers RAD or ISTD qualified?  

<snip>


any particular reason so  focus in on those  two  awarding bodies , rather than  saying  find out what (if any)  awarding  bodies the school is  registered / affiliated with ... 

or do you have a particular  reason to  ignore  or  exclude IDTA, BBO , BATD  or any of the other CDET  member organisation  ?

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1 hour ago, mph said:


any particular reason so  focus in on those  two  awarding bodies , rather than  saying  find out what (if any)  awarding  bodies the school is  registered / affiliated with ... 

or do you have a particular  reason to  ignore  or  exclude IDTA, BBO , BATD  or any of the other CDET  member organisation  ?

The majority of ballet teachers tend to use those two, they are the largest and most well-known.

Some of the others offer exams in a wide variety of genres, so are less well-known for classical. It's really down to the parent to find out, and some of the websites of the other examining bodies don't give much information and thus leave a lot to be desired in that respect.

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Having had a child train at vocational school, I would say it's the absolute quality of training that is essential and certainly not the examination board they follow. You mention your son wants to dance as a career. So you need to ask a few questions, does your current school get children into vocational schools for year 7 is it even a known thing. Does your current school encourage associate auditions particularly Royal Ballet. Look at dance festivals competitions how do other school compare in quality of dance and placements with the adjudications. Can we ask where you live as people may be able to help. If your son is already 10 now is certainly the time for some serious quality training.

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Be aware though, that although

On ‎15‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 12:24, mph said:


any particular reason so  focus in on those  two  awarding bodies , rather than  saying  find out what (if any)  awarding  bodies the school is  registered / affiliated with ... 

or do you have a particular  reason to  ignore  or  exclude IDTA, BBO , BATD  or any of the other CDET  member organisation  ?

One watch out if you are planning to go into full time training, is that whilst vocational schools will recognise these exam boards for the purposes of admission (coz what they really care about is how you dance at the audition), they may require joining students to retake exams on e.g. RAD syllabus. Achieving RAD with distinction to the correct grade makes you eligible for competitions like the Genee.

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23 hours ago, taxi4ballet said:

The majority of ballet teachers tend to use those two, they are the largest and most well-known.

Some of the others offer exams in a wide variety of genres, so are less well-known for classical. It's really down to the parent to find out, and some of the websites of the other examining bodies don't give much information and thus leave a lot to be desired in that respect.

 which  awarding bodies are  most often used tends to be  a bit locality specific ,  although RAD  for ballet   is a common , primarily because the RAD awards are  linked  in the minds of many with the high profile organisations in the ballet world .... which can  lead to a 'self licking lollipop' moment ... 

also the question has to  asked   which is better ?- Is it a  mediocre school  doing awarding  body A 's syllabus  or  is it a  good school doing lesser know awarding body D or E 's syllabus but  getting  people into vocational  schools / none awarding body tied associates /  HE  study  in dance   even if they have to retake  some awards  in a different awarding body  at some point ...

ifyou aren;t carefull this could all get a bit  Hogwarts  with  mudbloods and the like ...  

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5 hours ago, primrose said:

Having had a child train at vocational school, I would say it's the absolute quality of training that is essential and certainly not the examination board they follow. You mention your son wants to dance as a career. So you need to ask a few questions, does your current school get children into vocational schools for year 7 is it even a known thing. Does your current school encourage associate auditions particularly Royal Ballet. Look at dance festivals competitions how do other school compare in quality of dance and placements with the adjudications. Can we ask where you live as people may be able to help. If your son is already 10 now is certainly the time for some serious quality training.


some might argue that  looking for  both success  in  vocational / associates admissions and  success in festivals   may be incompatible  ...

 I do know some teachers who dispair about  what festivals and the 'freestyle'  (i.e.  what used to be called disco)  are becoming in the lght of 'Dance Moms ' and some of the  X factor style dance competitions promoted by  TV companies,  where  the 'dance' seems to be a collection of stunts  and enchainments  with the emphasis on  the stunts being dramatic and  excessive  - and  technique closer to contortion or  RSG than  to  ballet or contemporary. 

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On 8/15/2017 at 12:24, mph said:


any particular reason so  focus in on those  two  awarding bodies , rather than  saying  find out what (if any)  awarding  bodies the school is  registered / affiliated with ... 

or do you have a particular  reason to  ignore  or  exclude IDTA, BBO , BATD  or any of the other CDET  member organisation  ?

 I chose ISTD and RAD as they appear to be the mostly widely recognised examination board used for me locally.

 

RAD in particular is the one board mentioned on many application forms for vocational schools and incl those for many SS. Vocational schools also appear to continue with the RAD syllabus and examinations. Success in these examinations also opens the doors for pupils to enter national and international competitions like the Genee. Medal winners of these competitions use this opportunity to showcase their talents and offers for places in a ballet company have arisen as a direct result of these competitions.  A pupil that was considering auditioning for a vocational school rather than enjoying Ballet as a hobby would have already trained in this Board will obviously find the transition to vocational schools and even the audition day itself, slightly easier as they would already be familiar with the terminology and technique. Obviously if a pupil that was RAD trained but decided to attend a Russian based vocational school could experience challenging times with the transition but in the reverse. 

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Some vocational schools such as RBS choose not to didn't graded examinations. 

 

At dds school they do RAD for ballet & ISTD for Tap & modern but those who enter the school having followed another syllabus are allowed to continue at the appropriate level e.g. If you have passed Intermediate with another exam board you are allowed to progress straight to Advanced 1. 

 

Other schools do ISTD ballet to facilitate entry to Cecetti competitions. 

 

In the area where I live there are only a few RAD schools. Most do BBO & it is entirely possible that if my dd decides to wait until 18 to apply to MT college she will switch to BBO due to the availability of classes at the appropriate level. 

 

Exams & festivals (never done festivals ) are only a tiny indication. The best way to find a school is to visit several & observe class. Even a none dancer can get a feel for what is good teaching. How are the children encouraged, how specific are corrections, will that approach suit your child. 

 

Ds has just aged 13 started to dance to complement his singing/drama  & the type of school he needs is very different to the type Dd needs. 

 

 

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