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RBS Junior Associates - travel from Scotland?


AllAboutTheJourney
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Hi, this is my first post here but I've been reading the forum for a little while and have already found it really helpful so thanks for that!

 

My daughter is a keen dancer and goes to a really good local dance school. She's heard about RBS junior associates and would like to audition when she's old enough (which will be next year) but we are in Scotland and our closest centre is Newcastle. 

 

Has anyone traveled from Scotland to Newcastle for JA's? Or a similar distance (about 2 hours on the train with a bit of faffing at either end presumably)? Is it do-able or a bit crazy?

 

I wondered also if there is an option for fortnightly classes or whether they are all weekly? 

 

Obviously I know there's only a very slim chance of her getting in, but I'm wondering whether we should even be letting her audition in the first place if the travel will mean it isn't feasible... On the one hand I wonder if it might be quite nice, in a way, to have a few hours on the train each week to do homework/watch a movie but on the other hand she would only just be 8 and perhaps it's just all a bit too much. 

 

Would appreciate any thoughts!

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It is possible to do JA’s fortnightly. Not sure about Newcastle centre but if you call RBS they are always helpful and friendly (admin staff at least 😂). 

 

I know many people who have travelled that distance. Don’t underestimate the impact on family life though if you have other children. 

 

I even know a lovely lovely lady who is planning to travel from Scotland to London for SA’s this year! 😊

 

Good luck with auditions. JA’s can be a magical experience x

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My dd is a JA and we live over 2 hours drive from her centre. It’s a huge commitment as we leave around 10ish in the morning and regularly get stuck in traffic on the way back so don’t get home until gone 5pm! We have other children so a big impact on family time, but saying all that I wouldn’t even consider not doing it. The training she receives is invaluable and she has improved so much in a relatively short space of time.  The ballet world is very competitive so if you are given opportunities like RBS associates I would grab it with both hands. Good luck x

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We travelled about 2 hours for 2 years every Saturday to JA’s on the train and yes it is quite nice to have a couple of hours on the train and then a day out in whichever city JAs is in. Quite missed it when it ended my child is now in full time ballet training as a result of  JAs - definitely worth it good luck!

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We are in our 4th year of weekly Saturday runs to Birmingham for Associates and fortnightly Sundays too...a 4 hour round trip. Yes, it takes up pretty much the whole day, but dd has loved every minute of it and wouldn't change it for anything. Definitely don't let the distance discourage you from applying!

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Thank you all for your welcome and replies - that's actually very encouraging. I think we will try and get her a space in the JA insight day if that runs again in October ish and then if she's still keen to try we will let her go for it. It's nice to know other people have travelled and made it work :-)

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My daughter is a Junior Associate with Ballet West - they have a class in Edinburgh (and one in Glasgow) one day per month.  I know we have at least one associate who comes in from Newcastle.

Would you consider one of the Scottish programs?  Ballet West has been excellent, and has Juniors from age 6-8 and Seniors 8+.  I believe Scottish Ballet Associates starts in P6 orP7?  Some excellent training here on our doorstep - we're very lucky!

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We went right through RBS associate programme, Leeds Manchester and London. Living on the north east coast, this meant a lot of travelling, and London was a 12 hour day, quite enjoyable although it can be tiring. Offer of Advanced Associates again in London, but think GDD will start vocational school this year. I'll miss going with her from time to time. It's crazy, as it doesn't seem two minutes since we were in your shoes, good luck with it all.

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I'm sure it probably flies past - to me it doesn't seem that long ago since she was 3 and jumping about in a frilly tutu with a fairy wand... 

 

Thanks ScottishDancerMum - I would think we will definitely try for SB associates when she is older (if she's still keen). I'm not 100% sure about Ballet West as have heard mixed reviews - some people really seem to love it and others not so much. It's good to hear another positive view - will look into it again. 

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There are several BW parents here.  I can't say enough for it, especially at this age.  She's 8... you don't know if she's still want to do it when she's 10 or 12.  We had initially planned on sending our daughter to SB Associates, but when BW started taking dancers at a younger age, we felt this was a great fit.  I know of several dancers who manage to do both BW and SB Associates.

I just saw the deadline for the applications for both schools are around the end of April, so note that for future years :)   Good luck with your search, and welcome here!

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I travel 2 hours on the train each month to get to Ballet West Associates and I would highly recommend it! I have made best friends for life there already, especially with the yearly classical ballet tour that Ballet West do around Scotland (in which each group perform a piece together - this year was Giselle :)) I think that it has been invaluable in making me a more versatile dancer - I had never tried Commercial or Lyrical or Yoga before, especially not with famous guest teachers! The highlight for me is ballet though, which is very much treated as the most important class of the day. All classes are a high standard regardless, and the teachers both push your limits and are very kind and funny!

 

i love the journey there too... My mum and I travel there the day before and stay in a hotel, and so we get to explore bits of beautiful Edinburgh together! The journey back is always sad though - I never want to leave (also usually with danced muscle soreness!) 

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We did Newcastle JAs and there were kids from Edinburgh/Glasgow there. We drove more than 2h to get there.

 

I agree they are good classes and a great experience but consider very carefully the effect on you and your family. For us at age 9 the downsides of travelling outweighed the benefits I think. Take a serious look at BW also. ?apply to both and make a decision if you get both?

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Going back a few years,I knew a lovely family who flew from Scotland to London most weekends for RBS associates for their children. They did eventually move south though. Oh, and one of them is now with the Royal Ballet!

 

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(*oops - posted too early by mistake) When you live north of the central belt you quickly realise that if you don't do it, you'll miss out on a lot of things (not just for dancing!) so there's not much else for it but set your alarm early and go for it! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Notmoreshoes - yes so true, this thread has been really reassuring as I can imagine people rolling their eyes a little at the idea of travelling that far 'just for ballet' (if successful of course) but it's so nice to hear from others who have tried out, done it and loved it :-)

 

All the best to your DD and everyone else applying this year!

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18 hours ago, Notmoreshoes said:

We'll have a 4 hour plus train journey to Newcastle if DD gets in. When you live north of the central belt you quickly realise that if you don't do it, you don'

 

That would be a very long day - assess carefully if it's worth it. We weren't able to use the train as Sunday timetable made it impossible. 

 

I would consider carefully whether you'd be better off spending the money on private lessons /summer schools instead.

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18 hours ago, Notmoreshoes said:

We'll have a 4 hour plus train journey to Newcastle if DD gets in. When you live north of the central belt you quickly realise that if you don't do it, you don'

 
Four hours total, or four hours each way!?  Either way, that is a very, very long day.

My 8 year old is tired at the end of the week after her regular dancing classes, and school, and we only have an hour commute to Edinburgh to go to BW Associates.  She tends to be exhausted at the end of her session, and it's not even a full day yet (that will change if she gets in next year).  The students are "on form" from the minute they walk in the building to the minute they leave.  They don't slack for a minute and they work very hard.    

I think SarahW's comment about considering if money might be better spent on private lessons or summer schools is very important.  As much as we love the Associate program, there isn't a lot of individual attention and while it certainly helps her group work and her "team spirit", I like the combination of the program along with private lessons when possible.  I realise that RBS has a wonderful reputation, as do many of the English schools, you have to weigh up what gives your dancer the most value for time and money.  My family life, and my bank account (!) just doesn't allow for that.  

Best of luck for your auditions! :)

 

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We live in rural northern England and everything is a long way away. Not just regarding ballet of course, it's the same for many things including my other children's activities, my continuing professional development activities, specialist healthcare and simply getting a flight to go on holiday. It goes with the territory if you live outside a major city and something that you get used to of course. We regularly travel for 2 to 3 hours each way for what are billed as "local" opportunities in my youngest child's sports - I'm sure some people think we're crazy, but it's just the way things are if you live in a more remote area.

BUT, I would always advocate seriously weighing up the pros and cons of every opportunity on an individual basis. Is the benefit to the child worth the cost to the family? Are there other ways that the time, money and energy might be better spent? Paradoxically, travelling further but less often is an option that can sometimes work out better. For example, staying somewhere for a few days at a time for courses can be more productive, less exhausting and similar in cost than frequent gruelling day trips. Children are remarkably resilient of course, but travel is very tiring for everyone, and you need to consider your own well being too. 

Other children are another consideration of course. Whether you take them or leave them at home it can be difficult. There's potential for sibling jealousy if a lot of time and money is spent travelling for one child's benefit, and of course it sets a precedent if younger children subsequently have interests needing a similar level of parental commitment. Fortunately there is quite a big age gap between my DD and her younger siblings so my dance taxi duties had significantly reduced before I had to start travelling a lot for other activities, but it must be a nightmare to have more than one needing that degree of input simultaneously.

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, but I do think it's easy to get swept along thinking that you must travel to all kinds of things, especially "big name" schemes, possibly overlooking other less prestigious but potentially valuable things nearer to home. 

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