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Meglorien

Private coaching in Cecchetti ballet

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I'm looking for a teacher who would provide private coaching as a complement to my dd's syllabus Grade 3/Standard 4 class. Her teacher is going away for the summer and is currently unable to provide private classes. We're in Milton Keynes, but could get to either London or Birmingham or anything along the train line between Euston and Birmingham. Oxford may also be a possibility.

 

Also, I would like some advice on what to do when a beloved teacher suddenly seems to lose interest, despite the good results in exams and competitions. After a year of inspiring collaboration, she seems to have found a new favourite and, while she teaches well whenever lessons happen, she seems less than willing to continue to provide the support to achieve the goals she herself set for my dd to have a chance to get into a vocational school in Y6 (she's currently finishing Y4). Dd has noticed it too, so her confidence levels are dropping. I'm feeling a bit stuck.

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Nicholson Ballet in Birmingham is close to New Street Station, and Annette is a wonderful teacher.  Very caring and careful. Various teachers in London at various central London will do private lessons, but I think that that comes from an ongoing relationship. Would supplementary Associates classes, or a new dance school be a better thing? I see the young people on Saturdays at the Danceworks Academy, when I do class there in the late afternoon, and they seem really well taught and happy - it's quite a big school, so there wouldn't be the "big fish in a small pond" of suburban studios. Could your DD go to a bigger more professional studio in London or Birmingham on Saturdays, for example?

 

But it's only Grade 3/4 and your DD is very young.

 

35 minutes ago, Meglorien said:

After a year of inspiring collaboration, she seems to have found a new favourite and, while she teaches well whenever lessons happen, she seems less than willing to continue to provide the support to achieve the goals she herself set for my dd to have a chance to get into a vocational school in Y6

 

You seem OK about the teacher with your DD being a "favourite" but not when she is not ... It must be tough to have had your DD be the "favourite" and then apparently set aside, but it's important that your DD wants the achievements & the ambition because she wants them, not because someone else believes in her - if you see what I mean about the difference? It could be one of the most valuable lessons - if also the most difficult - for her to learn. That she has to keep on going because she wants to, not because she's the favourite or the star or whatever. But tough for a 9 or 10 year old to have to learn.

 

If she gets to a vocational school, there will always be pupils who appear to receive more attention, and others who feel they receive less attention -  just as your DD has learnt. She won't always be the favourite and it's unreasonable to count on that, or blame a teacher for such perceived shifts. The teacher may have an entirely different story.

 

I write partly from the experience of watching one of my family who got into the very top national school for full-time training, but at the home studio (which I attended as well) was never the favourite. They were always second fiddle to the studio "star" - but it was my family member who had the good solid career, not the "star." But gosh it was difficult to watch ...

Edited by Kate_N
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1 hour ago, Kate_N said:

 

You seem OK about the teacher with your DD being a "favourite" but not when she is not ... It must be tough to have had your DD be the "favourite" and then apparently set aside, but it's important that your DD wants the achievements & the ambition because she wants them, not because someone else believes in her - if you see what I mean about the difference? It could be one of the most valuable lessons - if also the most difficult - for her to learn. That she has to keep on going because she wants to, not because she's the favourite or the star or whatever. But tough for a 9 or 10 year old to have to learn.

Thank you for your very thoughtful answer.

You are right, I think the teacher is a good, competent teacher and it would be unfair of me to say otherwise. I'm not too bothered about my daughter not being the favourite, even though it is difficult for her and that does make me feel sad on her behalf, if you know what I mean.

My main problem at the moment is that from encouraging her to have private classes with her regularly, and insist dd needs at least three ballet classes a week, and insist dd needs to work hard enough to achieve Grade 6 by the end of Year 6 - meaning two exams per year - the teacher now seems completely uninterested in arranging the private coaching she said dd needed on top of the 45 minute regular class.

Whether my dd needs to be grade 5 when she applies for vocational training in Y6, I don't know. Since her classes are on Saturday mornings, if I go for more associates I will loose the syllabus classes as well, which I don't think is a good idea (although we are applying to the RBS associates). I have considered the possibility that the teacher is upset with me rather than dd, or that the teacher now thinks dd is not actually as talented or has as much potential as she initially thought. But since dd really does want to pursue ballet, my job as a mother is to provide her with what she needs and I'm not sure how to do it without the teacher's support. I do know for a fact 45 minute regular class won't be enough, though. I could also try a different studio for Saturdays, but replacing one class for just one other class doesn't seem to be clever. I have considered other bigger schools in the area, but they are RAD and I'm afraid that might mean going back a year, like when we moved to the UK and had to fit in in a different system than the one we'd been following in Oslo.

 

You are also right about everything else you say and it's nice to be able to talk to someone who understands. I just don't know what to do anymore. DD does have to learn to go forward without being the star, the favourite, the best in class. I'm more than fine with that, difficult as it is. But she does also need enough classes/training to support work she does at home. Does any of this make sense? I'm having a bad day, so I'm not sure it does.

 

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Just now, Meglorien said:

 

Whether my dd needs to be grade 5 when she applies for vocational training in Y6, I don't know.

 

 

 

Dd was Grade 3 when she auditioned in Year 6. She did feel she was a bit behind her peers. She’d been in Grade 3 for 2 years due to circumstances (change of syllabus half way through & dance school show). The average grade of children starting Year 7 seemed to be Grades 4/5/Inter Foundation (Inter F was often taught alongside Grades 4/5).  There were the odd ones who were a bit higher or lower than this. 

Edited by Picturesinthefirelight

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Maybe it's time to find a different teacher? If you are unable to have that dialogue with them then find a different teacher. 

 

DD's old teacher wouldn't give much away. She would say 'dance is a very short career' she was very much of the old school and didn't appreciate how much competition there is for female dancers.

 

She would also say that she didn't need dance exams to get into vocational school, missing the point that they have to be a particular level whether they take exams or not. 

 

She was a marvellous teacher with an incredible background, on paper she is probably the best in the business. Unfortunately I was not comfortable approaching her and her teaching style didn't suit my daughter.

 

 

Edited by Tatasmum

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My dd has just passed Grade 4 RAD and been doing Inter-foundation (would have taken exam but cos hadn’t turned 11 by time Exams came round couldn’t do the exam - she had to wait another 12 months before she could do the exam at school!)

 

If your dd goes to vocational school then she will be doing RAD exams (depending on where she gets in as some don’t follow a syllabus at all) so may be better to change or at least do RAD along side  Cecchetti. Just a thought x

Edited by Dancing unicorn
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I echo Tatasmum’s and DancingUnicorn’s views and would suggest a change of school now. You don’t want to risk your daughter becoming despondent and losing her confidence and self-belief if she seems to have been ‘cast aside’ by her current teacher. 

 

If she changes to an RAD school then as DancingUnicorn says she will be doing the syllabus she would follow at vocational school (if any at all, I’m aware that the RBS don’t now do RAD exams). I understand that you are concerned that she would slip behind if so but it isn’t the actual exams that matter, more the level at which your daughter is able to work confidently which can only assist her in auditions. She could perhaps work at the grade above (and possibly below) her main class - which I would assume would be RAD grade 3 - to increase her confidence with a different syllabus. That would also give her time in a lower grade to concentrate on the basics while stretching her in her own and a higher grade - as well as increasing her dancing time! 

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My daughter moved dance schools, she went from Cecchetti to RAD and enjoys RAD much more. 

 

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You say your dd is going into yr5 in September. Has she auditioned for RBS Assiciates and awaiting result or is she auditioning next year? Doing an associate class as well as her usual classes is definitely something to think about. I know Birmingham are Saturday classes but could you do Manchester which I know are Friday or Sunday! Or is London on a Sunday? I can’t remember!

 

She still has 12 months before auditions for vocational school start so changing and getting somewhere where she can do more classes now is more preferable than leaving it too late!

 

Oh and have you thought about doing some summer schools this year? 

Edited by Dancing unicorn
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Mine also moved from Cecchetti to RAD, she was Grade 6 at the time. She also prefers RAD but loves the grounding Cecchetti gave her and is now at vocational 6th form. 

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An associate scheme would prepare your DD very thoroughly for vocational auditions, especially for the school they are affiliated to. RBS and Elmhurst both have associates in Birmingham. You may well find that it would be time very well spent, even if it causes your DD to miss classes at her regular studio. There is no need to be in Grade 6 by then, they are looking for a very solid basic technique, which may be compromised by rushing through the grades. 

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It really sounds as though you need to start looking for a new school. I would say that the syllabus doesn't matter too much - it's simply a way to formalise the level of progression for a child - what they should be able to do by what age. But it's a very rough estimate, and we know there's a lot of variation in children's progress due to growth, ability, desire and so on. Most of the major international ballet schools don't follow a named syllabus (they have their own, of course). Certainly when my family member was training the RBS didn't use RAD syllabus at all (although you could do the exams if you wished). Most other countries find the emphasis on RAD grades etc in the UK to be a bit odd - and certainly, having RAD Advanced or whatever won't get you a job! We all know that, of course.

 

And it's also personal preference and peer pressure: I studied RAD as a teen to Intermediate. Then took it up again at 20 (competitive show horse riding took over from 15-20) and started on the Cecchetti syllabus Intermediate & Advanced (in the old levels of both syllabi so no foundation year). Personally, as an adult I prefer the Cecchetti syllabus, it's more musical & dancey. But in the end it's only a way of formalising learning all the basics. I think the preference for RAD in the UK is because it is the most widespread curriculum - but I think there are issues with the way it's had to become all things to all aspiring dancers. 

 

I wouldn't worry too much about which syllabus for your DD - but the main thing is finding good teaching, and maybe a teacher who doesn't do the favourite thing then drop people. I get the sense that what upsets you (and it is upsetting!) is that your DD was picked up and pushed, and then dropped without warning. If the teacher hadn't picked her up as a favourite & then dropped her, I get the sense you are fairly happy with her teaching.

 

Associates schemes sound great for your DD. Good luck - I hope she regains her confidence and ambition!

Edited by Kate_N

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On 28/05/2018 at 14:47, Dancing unicorn said:

You say your dd is going into yr5 in September. Has she auditioned for RBS Assiciates and awaiting result or is she auditioning next year? Doing an associate class as well as her usual classes is definitely something to think about. I know Birmingham are Saturday classes but could you do Manchester which I know are Friday or Sunday! Or is London on a Sunday? I can’t remember!

 

She still has 12 months before auditions for vocational school start so changing and getting somewhere where she can do more classes now is more preferable than leaving it too late!

 

Oh and have you thought about doing some summer schools this year? 

She's doing Associates in Cecchetti and Tring. She's going to quite Cecchetti next year, because it clashes with Tring and it's more a series of master classes. It has its merits, but given the travelling time, and how it sometimes clashes with Tring, we are opting for doing one really well rather than divide between the two.

She auditioned unsuccessfully to Elmhurst, and yesterday she auditioned for the RB JA in London. She doesn't think she will get in, but loved the experience.

 

Yes, we're doing summer schools. At least one. We are waiting to hear from two others if she's been accepted or not.

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