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Well known college or not so well known, any thoughts?


robin64
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This is following on from another thread about dance teacher colleges. On that it mentioned Preston College. I didn't even know there was a dance course there but I had a look at the link and was pleasantly suprised. Plus DrDance commented it was a good course. It led me to wonder how much of a difference it might make where a dancer has trained when auditioning for jobs or perhaps for post 18 training. Obviously for classical ballet there are certain schools you would aim for but if you were looking for a more general dance training with ballet but also tap etc would it make a difference? For us doing some 16+ training in Preston would be an option as there would be free accommodation with family and it looks like there are free bus passes, extra funding available etc But is it better to try for some more well known dance or MT colleges?

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I think what I would do robin is check out where the students have gone to after graduating. I know a lot of Northern Ballet students in Manchester are well known for securing excellent jobs on cruise liners and are very well paid with a very good life style. I must admit that I have only just started finding these sort of things out once my daughter started auditioning for 6th form places.

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Have you considered Phil Winstons at Blackpool if you are looking Preston way? My girls dance teacher trained there and has a pupil go last year. She is very good on her tap and contemporary choreography is amazing!! Always winning best choreography at comps. Also they train monday to wednesday so lots of them work the rest of the week to fund themselves through. Just a thought.

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Hi, I am not really looking yet as DD is in y9 so has her usual dance classes and companies. It was more just a general question of whether training at a better known school or college gives you an advantage. Lots of DCs seem to head off to vocational training at 16 and I assume there would be fees to pay but not at an FE college such as Preston. So would there be a major advantage to training at say for example Tring/Hammond against somewhere like Preston College? Sorry I don't know a huge amount about the fees etc for different schools yet.

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Personally I have always considered top schools as Brand names - good training is good training it doesnt matter what the name of the school. However it might (rightly or wrongly) matter to employers as mentioned inthe original question.

 

Does it take a brand name to get audition or will talent suffice?

 

Even with funding dance schools are still very expensive as are universities, its no different for non dancing students.

 

Perhaps its not having the right contacts or knowledge of opportunities which holds students back rather than their path of training?

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It's very good training but I do think some of the more well known schools still have an edge - whether that's due to more variety of teachers, higher standard of teaching, more commercially relevant training etc I'm not sure. Probably a combination of things the commercially relevant work was mentioned by a graduate as being slightly lacking. Plus I guess because they do teacher training it probably takes away from actual technical training at a high level as that won't all be high level work.

 

Both girls I know that went there have struggled to find professional contracts. One had a summer tour with a small dance troupe plus pantomimes but she has also reached the final stages of auditions for slightly higher level work like cruise ships and other contracts. She's doing a lot of teaching now and I don't think she's really trying to 'make it' as a dancer now. The other girl left the course in her 2nd year as she wasn't that happy there, had a short term contract but isn't now dancing and I don't think she's auditioning either.

 

So overall it is very good for a funded course and has the bonus of teacher training. But if you really want to do well and get pro contracts I think you need to stick with better known colleges perhaps, in my opinion.

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From what I've heard on the grapevine etc, Preston has the reputation of being a teacher training college more than a 'performance' type of place, but I don't know anyone that went there so can't really comment I've just heard that it's very good for teacher training and is state funded!

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Thanks Aurora, that is what I thought really. I always look at where people trained in show programmes and it is mostly colleges such as Bird and Laines but that would mostly be for 18+ I don't really want to be paying fees before that. We recently went to see Top Hat in London and the choreographer explained the audition process they had for the dancers...it was tough!!

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My daughter has just finished at Preston college, she was offered places for post 16 training at more reconised schools like Tring but we had to take funding into account and that her dream was to teach, Stella mann do allow some students to do the ISTD DDI's and DDE's. At Preston college they continue in the vocational grades in tap, ballet,modern and national taking the teaching exams in ISTD, also RAD vocational level [ a few did the RAD cirtificate or deploma in Ballet Studies/ dance teaching with the surport of the college], they also have classes in jazz and comptempary. My dd's ballet teach also teaches at Northern Ballet most of the graduates go on to work on cruise ships or they can continue on to Ba in Dance at UCLAN [Foundational degree is taught at Preston college ].

my dd did 3 years at college gaining her DDI's and DDE's in Modern, Ballet and national, in her second year at college at 18 transfered on to the foundation degree which she completed in that year, this last year she completed her Ba Hons in Dance performance and Teaching with a high 2;1 her foundation degree was a 1st in Professional Dance Pratice, the foundation degree was delivered by the teachers at Preston College.Enterance to the college is by audition, and like most colleges the perform in a dance show and cheography show.

Preston college worked out very well for my daughter who has acheived so much in three years and is now working as a teacher.

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I have to say congratulations to your DD Balletpointe. She sounds very hard working and has achieved a great deal. I will keep an open mind and try to visit the college some time. I know they have had a considerable amount spent on facilities and all colleges must start to build their reputation. I am glad there seems to be some money and expertise going into dance training in the NW. Thanks for posting about your DD. My DD enjoyed the amazing summer school at Ballet Cymru so I am happy to look at some less obvious choices in future. These days value for money, funding options, living expenses etc do really count (at least for us they certainly do).

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Balletpoint a huge congratulations to your daughter for working so hard and then being able to follow her dream teaching dance. Your daughter quite clearly chose the right college to suite her needs and it sounds as if the college is really caring about its students.

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