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Options for an 18 year old


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Can anyone give advise to an 17 year old who desperately wants to study Ballet.  She applied at 16 but as a non vocational student was not well informed on the process and probably aimed too high only applying to Royal Ballet, Elmhurst Ballet School, English National Ballet, Central Ballet School and Rambert.  She got through to the final audition for Elmhurst but unfortunately did not secure a place.  She was then talked into studying A'Levels and told to apply to dance schools at 18 instead.  She is now regretting this decision and desperately wants to be in full time dance school but has missed most of this years auditions.  She had a Distinction in her RAD Intermediate Ballet exam and was then moved straight to Advanced 1 which she is sitting this Spring.  Looking at the options at 18 there doesn't seem to be many opportunities for a budding ballerina.  She is a Contemporary associate but this is not her passion.  Although she loves commercial dance she is not a singer.  At a insight day she attended at Central Ballet School this year they basically said if you had not secured a place in ballet school at 16 it was too late.  Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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I think the difficulty for 18 year-olds starting upper school on a purely classical course is the likelihood of getting a classical ballet job in a company as a 21 or 22 year-old, up against 19 year-old graduates.  There are scarcely any classical contracts on offer in the UK, even for those graduating from top schools.  That may be why classical schools prefer to take 16 year olds.  

 

What does your dd's teacher suggest? Does she think your daughter has potential for a classical career? If so, what about trying Ballet West? I would also look at Rambert and maybe Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  If your daughter wants more all-round training, it would be worth looking at London Studio Centre and Northern Ballet School in Manchester. 

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12 hours ago, stressedbeyondbelief said:

Have you considered KSD or Moorland?? They most certainly take older students. Or just apply to enter others at an older year.

 

KSD is a good thought.  

 

That's an interesting idea about applying to enter year 2 or 3 of upper school.  This certainly happens but in my experience (and do please correct me if I'm wrong) it's *usually* students transferring between upper schools.  

 

It would be very difficult to get the equivalent hours of top quality training at home in order to be at the same standard (and have the same stamina) as full time students at good schools going in to year 2.  There are some students from abroad who have been home schooled while training all day, or Prix de Lausanne winners for example, but otherwise I think it might be tricky to go from academic school straight into 6.2 or 6.3.  

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I definitely recommend looking at London Studio Centre as they only take people from 18 posts a levels. I am kind of in a similar situation - I am currently in year 13 and auditioning for schools to hopefully start them in September when I am 18. Starting at a school that takes from 16 when you are 18 isn't a bad idea at all, you will be maturer than the other people there and you won't really notice the difference of being 2 years older as I feel like when you dance you dance with so many different ages in classes that you don't see people as different ages. I'm not sure if that makes sense at all but basically find the schools that she likes the sound of and go for it as age shouldn't be a barrier!

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A few things for your DD to think about: 

* what is her eventual aim with ballet? To be really brutally honest, it is unlikely she'll secure a contract in a ballet company in a couple of years, if at 17/18 she's only just at Adv I level. As others have said,  most people looking for their first ballet company contracts are 18/19 and professionally pretty much ready.

* what other A Levels?

* what feedback has she had from Associates' auditions, competitions, guest teachers, her own teacher?

* what exposure has she had to the national ballet scene? Does she do open classes at professional studios in London, for example? 

* How does she assess her standard in relation to her peers at a national level? Has she been able to do that via summer schools or competitions etc?  At 17 or 18, dancers should be starting to understand where they stand in relation to their peers - those who will be applying for all the same jobs. 

 

I'd be advising her to look at degree level courses in Dance. At most universities (as opposed to Conservatoires) these are contemporary-based programmes, but I'm sure posters here will know of degree programmes which have a good lot of ballet in the mix of study. Conservatoire degree courses might be another possibility. But those will be at least as competitive as the kinds of auditions she's done so far.

 

I think key here is a realistic assessment - made by your DD as much as by her teachers - of what sort of career she might achieve. And the looking for the next stage of training at post-secondary level that gives her options to pursue. 

 

18 minutes ago, WillowBallerina said:

you won't really notice the difference of being 2 years older

 

This would be ideal, but it isn't really the norm in the mostly classical ballet world. It shouldn't be this way, but it is. Age and level at starting etc is less of an issue in contemporary dance.

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This is a very busy time for KS Dance at the moment but I’m sure if you contact the office, take class at the London audition and ask for constructive feedback from Miss Simmons or whoever takes class you will feel more able to make informed decisions for September. 

 

Good luck and enjoy 

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I no girls who leave vocational school at 18/19'and are not ready for the ballet world'so either stay on for the graduate course 'leaving at 20/21.

So going to vocational at 18 then leaving at 21 is no different 'infact i think this way is the best'my dds friend did this and is now in new york living the dream

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2 minutes ago, stardancer said:

I no girls who leave vocational school at 18/19'and are not ready for the ballet world'so either stay on for the graduate course 'leaving at 20/21.

So going to vocational at 18 then leaving at 21 is no different 'infact i think this way is the best'my dds friend did this and is now in new york living the dream

 

....which is great if the school takes 18/19 year-olds into 6.1.  Some do, some won't.  

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I think that all the different experiences & knowledge of individual's pathways on this thread show that there are many possibilities, but they will be dependent on individual's talents, basic physical attributes for ballet as opposed to dance (the ideal ballet body etc), and resources such as money to pay fees etc. All you can do is try to gather together as many options as possible.

 

But I would still advise getting some realistic assessments of where any trainee dancer is, in relation to his/her peers. Ballet as a profession isn't really amenable to the current fashion for saying (a la X Factor etc etc): "If you want it hard enough, you deserve it" etc

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19 hours ago, AuntieNora said:

This is for 16-18 year olds, it’s the same course DD is doing at her college which only opened in September 2017

https://www.kings-pa.uk

However DD’s college does also offers a Foundation course for 18+ and a Foundation Course might be worth looking for your DD 

 

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I do think it is well to remember that getting onto a Vocational course is only the next rung up the ladder.  Where will that ladder lead?  Of course it is impossible to know with new courses, but as Anna says above, there are few classical contracts available in UK, and over the last few years there are fewer abroad too.  Everywhere there is an oversupply of trained, talented dancers and not enough jobs for them.

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You’ve only got to look at the posts re ‘grand audition’.  200 approx dancers chosen to audition (pre selected from video) from all over the world auditioning for 10 companies and only 10% of them  were offered contracts - which is actually pretty good odds.  You have to be looking at what’s at the end of the training. 

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Definitely.  Which is why the majority of 18+ dance students *starting* full time training after A Levels look at schools offering Contemporary and/or all round dance training alongside ballet.  That opens up their employment options hugely.  Contemporary or Neo Classical companies often prefer slightly older graduates with more emotional maturity and life experience.  Then there are theatre dancers, commercial dancers and cruise ship dancers.    In Musical Theatre and Cruise Ship dancers, singing is definitely a bonus as you can go for roles like "Dancers who can sing". 

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I have to add as well, that local colleges offering a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts or Dance, or even a BTEC Higher National Diploma is all very well and good, and you will have  academic qualifications to show for it. But these courses will absolutely not get you to the standard of auditioning for classical contracts, or indeed of many other professional dance contracts out there. If that were the case no-one would bother with training for years at Royal, Elmhurst, or even Urdang or Laines in order to find work. Everyone would just study dance at their local college !

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  • 1 month later...

Have you considered Kings International Ballet Academy - it is a purposefully small academy in numbers ( each year group is limited to just 16 in total to ensure individual attention to each and every student )  but we take students from all over the world - we offer a levels / academic qualifications as an optional extra - plus a teaching diploma . The academy has a very different ethos and approach to the training of Classical Dancers. Have a look at the website and contact me with any questions I’d be mire than happy to help.

We are currently in Portugal auditioning but we have dates left in Malta , Switzerland, Wales, Ireland, Birmingham and possibly Spain . So it’s not too late! 

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