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annaliesey

To guide or not guide vocational choices ... ?

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Before all the experienced parents depart .. please help with a situation. 

 

My dd, year 9, on a CAT scheme, is 100% sure she wants a career in dance and she loves anything contemporary ballet with choreography in some form. She's OK with ballet but has struggled over the years to see herself as a ballerina.  If we were to measure in grades she achieved a mid distinction RAD grade 8 six months ago, and one point off distinction for Intermediate RAD.  In both cases her teachers felt she had more to give and in hindsight she possibly took them too early and could have worked for another 10 points or so in either grade. (we were pressured by available classes and timetabling)

 

I know measures aren't everything but I guess on a forum its a bit of something to go by. 

 

She's continued with other dance styles working at ISTD Modern Inter/Adv 1, ISTD Tap Adv 1 and non syllabus lyrical, contemporary, street/hip hop, and just started singing. 

 

We've had conversations about what, if anything , she wanted to do either at age 16 or 18. Up until now she has always said one of the big theatre colleges on the dance course including modules for contemporary and jazz.  This is why she's started to do more with singing.   Her thinking was that she likes MT and commercial dance and that she could see herself doing that. 

 

But actually, all of this stems from having a lack of confidence around ballet. She feels, even on the CAT scheme which is ballet and contemporary, mostly contemporary, that she is not cut out "body-wise" to pursue the contemporary conservatoires. 

 

The CAT scheme are extremely careful to not make reference to personal bodies/appearance in any way. I personally think she has grown into her body and has a lovely graceful quality starting to emerge. 

 

Has anyone else had a child who appears to be a good all-rounder but want to make a choice between theatre/MT/Commercial and Ballet/Contemporary?

 

How did you help guide their choices and thinking?

 

Any tips appreciated :)

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Not yet but I think it's on the cards (although my Yr 9 has yet to take Grade 6) so v interested in the responses to this 😊

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9 minutes ago, MAK said:

Not yet but I think it's on the cards (although my Yr 9 has yet to take Grade 6) so v interested in the responses to this 😊

 

Grade 6 ballet or other style?

 

Honestly I'm just putting it out there as we have done things by timetables and availability and tbh it's been either really frantic to 'get through a grade' in some classes (talking into private lessons) or doubling up at more than one dance school or overlapping grades (goodness knows how it all happened but it did) ... or super-slow in others (grade 2 tap and grade 6 tap were both two years haha)

 

 

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Ballet (RAD).

Grades aside though DD1 is definitely an all rounder so I'm interested to find out at what age dancers have found it most beneficial to specialise. 

 

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If she isn't thinking of one of the classical schools, then I'd strongly suggest that she does A-levels and auditions at 18. That will take the pressure off her re the ballet, and she can take more time rather than taking exams before she's completely ready. Many of the contemporary and MT schools don't take them at 16 anyway. Contemporary dance schools are much more relaxed about body type by the way.

Have you had any advice from the CAT staff?

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Well we’ve heard of a fair few getting offered diploma courses theatre colleges at 16 but not many scholarships or much funding which has been prompting our plan if she really wanted to do those and hopefully get on dance courses with contemporary and jazz ... but I’m in favour of A levels, some part time work, less pressure on ballet as you say and go at 18 if ballet contemporary route.

 

we are just starting to get advice from CAT now. They recommended Central, Northern, LSCD, Rambert for her at this stage so I’m just really trying to understand courses, funding, what she really really loves rather than “everything”! 

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Well there’s a world of difference between LSCD and Central! Wouldn’t put the same dancer to both of those.  Sounds like the advice is general rather than specific to your dd. 

 

It may be useful to split the schools into categories such as;

Those that take from 16

those that that from 18

those that take from 16-18/19

 

Then break it down as to what qualifications each provides and therefore funding options and what qualifications needed to attend the course. 

 

Off the top of my head the following schools breakdown into the following dance styles:

 

LSCD - contemporary - 18 degree

Laban - contemporary - 18 degree

Rambert - contemporary/classical - 16-19

                  (unlikely to get classical job) degree

RCS - classical/contemporary - 16-19 degree

Central - classical with contemporary - 16-18 degree

Tring - classical and contemporary/jazz -16 but with added bonus of A’levels.  Diploma 

Northern - no knowledge

Hammond - MT degree at 18, but take at 16 and do A’levels (not sure on any difference on the courses other than funding) 

 

You then have your strict MT colleges 

Laine, urdang, performers, Bird, bodyworks, London Studio centre (they also have classical stream but don’t know if any got classical jobs - degree course from 18).  Think I’m right in saying that all the above MT colleges accept at 16 for diploma and 18 for degree, apart from LSC.

 

Visit shows, talk to people who have attended (both happily and not happily) go to open days. Work out best fit for your dd.  Listen to advice but don’t listen to prejudice - there will be plenty of the latter. Accept your 14 year old will feel very differently from your 18 year old and things will most likely change along the route. All of us who have children at vocational school will have a story to tell, good and bad. 

 

The standards your DD is working at are about average for the serious student. 

 

Good luck in your decisions and happy searching. 

 

 

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Rambert best leaving til 18 as generally don’t take young 16year olds!!! More contemporary focus than ballet and therefore more contemporary company places than Ballet! 

 

Hammond - takes from 16! First year is foundation course so therefore they do ballet, Tap, Modern, Drama, singing! (Which is what dd didn’t want, hence why we’re not staying! - which would be a waste of a year if you know what you want ie ballet/contemporary or good if you don’t know which way to go!) Second year is when they split into either dance or MT! Xx

Edited by Dancing unicorn
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I know  one girl who got a classical job after doing the classical course at London Studio Centre, probably 3 years ago, and she has now moved on to a second classical contract.  Won't give names of companies as it would too easy to identify the dancer, but both contracts are small UK companies.  

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3 hours ago, Harwel said:

Well there’s a world of difference between LSCD and Central! Wouldn’t put the same dancer to both of those.  Sounds like the advice is general rather than specific to your dd. 

 

It may be useful to split the schools into categories such as;

Those that take from 16

those that that from 18

those that take from 16-18/19

 

Then break it down as to what qualifications each provides and therefore funding options and what qualifications needed to attend the course. 

 

Off the top of my head the following schools breakdown into the following dance styles:

 

LSCD - contemporary - 18 degree

Laban - contemporary - 18 degree

Rambert - contemporary/classical - 16-19

                  (unlikely to get classical job) degree

RCS - classical/contemporary - 16-19 degree

Central - classical with contemporary - 16-18 degree

Tring - classical and contemporary/jazz -16 but with added bonus of A’levels.  Diploma 

Northern - no knowledge

Hammond - MT degree at 18, but take at 16 and do A’levels (not sure on any difference on the courses other than funding) 

 

You then have your strict MT colleges 

Laine, urdang, performers, Bird, bodyworks, London Studio centre (they also have classical stream but don’t know if any got classical jobs - degree course from 18).  Think I’m right in saying that all the above MT colleges accept at 16 for diploma and 18 for degree, apart from LSC.

 

Visit shows, talk to people who have attended (both happily and not happily) go to open days. Work out best fit for your dd.  Listen to advice but don’t listen to prejudice - there will be plenty of the latter. Accept your 14 year old will feel very differently from your 18 year old and things will most likely change along the route. All of us who have children at vocational school will have a story to tell, good and bad. 

 

The standards your DD is working at are about average for the serious student. 

 

Good luck in your decisions and happy searching. 

 

 

 

Yes I think the recommendations are very gentle prompts at the moment to get the students to take responsibility for researching and thinking about things themselves. The talk they had with her was specific to her though. When she relayed some of the conversation I too was like .. OK that's pretty broad! haha But maybe that was deliberate to get her to start thinking a lot more in depth for herself.  Lots of kids trot out names but have no idea why they are saying the names of the places if you asked them.  Or they only know little snippets of information. My dd liked the sound of Urdang because the logo had horns! (yep, true story) and then started to research :)

 

I think the starting point for us is OK.. what do you see yourself doing and enjoying the most and why? who do you see as someone to aspire to be like in their career? How likely will you change your mind in the next couple of years? why might you change your mind? (I just want her to see about specialising versus not closing training options, hence starting to sing). 

 

She and I are doing a spreadsheet now (I remember others on here with the spreadsheets and I'm at that stage!) plotting things and adding in experience days, open classes, shows to go and see, intensives so thanks for that advice. We are subscribing to the social media channels and newsletters etc. 

 

Thanks for advice :) 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dancing unicorn said:

Rambert best leaving til 18 as generally don’t take young 16year olds!!! More contemporary focus than ballet and therefore more contemporary company places than Ballet! 

 

Hammond - takes from 16! First year is foundation course so therefore they do ballet, Tap, Modern, Drama, singing! (Which is what dd didn’t want, hence why we’re not staying! - which would be a waste of a year if you know what you want ie ballet/contemporary or good if you don’t know which way to go!) Second year is when they split into either dance or MT! Xx

 

So do the voc students already there then get to choose/apply age for Theatre or Dance? Do they get streamed into those pathways?

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No - they have to do the foundation year like all the new incomers for 6th form! Then during the first year I think they get advised which way to go!

 

Whilst Dd has enjoyed her time at Hammond (she’s had extra singing lessons and done exams, and done GCSE Drama) she was adamant that MT was not for her! Her heart lies with Ballet and Contemporary and she didn’t want to waste a year doing stuff she didn’t want to do, hence she’s off to a more ballet, Contemporary and choreo focussed School in September.

Edited by Dancing unicorn

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They can change very quickly. DD was certain Ballet/Contemporary was the way she was going to go with a very small blip during yr9 when she started thinking about MT. After a conversation with her teacher she was advised against MT. She is now coming to the end of her first yr in a Voc 6th form doing level 3 Extended Diploma and it has completely changed. She has spent hours researching all the various courses for 18+ and her first choice is actor/musician followed by MT.  She has realised that although she loves Ballet she would miss all the other disciplines within in the performing arts world. 

So my advice is do the research etc but more importantly keep an open mind because you just don’t know. 

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Just to say that first year Hammond is still very much dance based (or certainly has been this year).  My dd is not mt at all but has really enjoyed the first year.  2nd year is further split between MT, dance with vocal or dance with choreo.

Edited by All4dancers
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1st year at Hammond is the first year of the 3 year level 6 diploma and I think to describe it as 'foundation' is rather misleading as there are plenty of 1 year foundation courses out there and they are not part of the diploma and do not qualify for any funding either.  Hammond offers a choice of diploma in either Professional Dance or MT (2 separate qualifications) - the first year is common to both and as All4dancers says it is actually biased towards dance - far more hours doing the dance disciplines compared to vocal or acting. You can also do 2 A levels alongside the diploma. I agree that if you are wanting a more specific ballet/contemporary course then it is not the right course.  The students themselves choose which course they want to pursue in their final 2 years but staff will advise them too. As an aside The BA degree in MT is separate again and is from aged 18.

 

There are plenty of colleges out there that offer the level 6 diploma (DADA funded) in Professional Dance and that are open to 16 year olds. If your DD goes this route will depend on a number of things I suspect - if she wants a more specific ballet/contemporary focus - your personal circumstances for funding - what training she can access locally at 16+. More contemporary based courses/qualifications are normally from 18. Funding - DADA for a diploma or student loan for a degree. One of the main reasons my DD auditioned at 16 was concern for how or indeed if she could continue/improve locally.

 

You still have plenty of time to research - I would especially look into the actual qualification offered at level 6 diploma- as in Professional Dance or Musical Theatre as the course content varies considerably and actually many of the colleges offer 'Professional Dance'. There is a tendency to refer to those institutions that are not classical ballet as 'MT' but many of them are dance . I know some of DDs friends have attended the CDETs dance days in the past and found them useful so I attach a link below.

https://cdmt.org.uk/advocacy/cdmt-careers-conference

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1 hour ago, 2dancersmum said:

1st year at Hammond is the first year of the 3 year level 6 diploma and I think to describe it as 'foundation' is rather misleading as there are plenty of 1 year foundation courses out there and they are not part of the diploma and do not qualify for any funding either.  Hammond offers a choice of diploma in either Professional Dance or MT (2 separate qualifications) - the first year is common to both and as All4dancers says it is actually biased towards dance - far more hours doing the dance disciplines compared to vocal or acting. You can also do 2 A levels alongside the diploma. I agree that if you are wanting a more specific ballet/contemporary course then it is not the right course.  The students themselves choose which course they want to pursue in their final 2 years but staff will advise them too. As an aside The BA degree in MT is separate again and is from aged 18.

 

There are plenty of colleges out there that offer the level 6 diploma (DADA funded) in Professional Dance and that are open to 16 year olds. If your DD goes this route will depend on a number of things I suspect - if she wants a more specific ballet/contemporary focus - your personal circumstances for funding - what training she can access locally at 16+. More contemporary based courses/qualifications are normally from 18. Funding - DADA for a diploma or student loan for a degree. One of the main reasons my DD auditioned at 16 was concern for how or indeed if she could continue/improve locally.

 

You still have plenty of time to research - I would especially look into the actual qualification offered at level 6 diploma- as in Professional Dance or Musical Theatre as the course content varies considerably and actually many of the colleges offer 'Professional Dance'. There is a tendency to refer to those institutions that are not classical ballet as 'MT' but many of them are dance . I know some of DDs friends have attended the CDETs dance days in the past and found them useful so I attach a link below.

https://cdmt.org.uk/advocacy/cdmt-careers-conference

 

Thank you - super helpful advice 😄

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Apologies may be I should of said just  First year rather than Foundation! Sorry

Its me that called it a sort of foundation year, a bit of  everything. Sorry if I mislead people. Wasn’t intentional x

There hasn’t been enough ballet for her these last 2 years and couldn’t see it increasing either x

Edited by Dancing unicorn

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One thought about considering choice of school/course. As well as looking at the range of dance genres on offer (and pretty well everyone offers a variety these days), also think carefully about what the school values the most and has as a priority. A school may offer say ballet and contemporary, and teach both well, However if the school has a heavy bias towards competing in ballet competitions, and touring classical productions, it is unlikely to give its contemporary-biased students as many opportunities. Or as much kudos. I would in any case be wary of schools that heavily emphasize competitions (unless you realistically think your dc is a future Genee medallist). Any school has finite resources and competitions suck up a lot. Meaning the other 95% of students are left with the crumbs. The hallmark of a good school is one that gets the best out of all its students. Definitely a good question to ask at any audition.

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Northern Ballet School in Manchester offer the 3yr Level 6 Diploma in Professional Dance (Classical) (Jazz) with DaDa funding. 

 

They take pupils at 16 & 18 as they offer both Diplomas. 1st yr pupils train in all genres but then select their chosen focus for the 2nd & 3rd yr. Many know from day one which course they wish to pursue but they receive guidance by the staff as they develop over the first yr to ensure they are on the right path. Which is very helpful for those that really are unsure at 15/16yrs which one to follow. 

 

Singing/acting is incl but in a supporting role to enhance the dancing rather than Level of a ‘triple threat’ pupil as they don’t offer MT training. That’s for the other colleges like Laines/Birds/Urdang etc. 🙆‍♀️😊

 

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My daughter attended Central School of ballet, so I can offer you some information on this school. Central take students from aged 16. It is a full on training programme in ballet and contemporary, heavily ballet. A student has to audition again for the third and final year, this is for their touring company, where top choreographers have showcased their work. The full time course is a degree course, so a lot of course work to complete. The teachers are supportive and honest, a high standard is expected from the students, no time for dramas etc, they are treated as adults. 

My daughter was a summer birth and had just turned 16 when she started Central, after being at Tring. She loved the school right from the beginning, she always loved ballet and that is what she wanted, but she also knew that contemporary was very important too, so she had a choice of auditioning at a few schools. All British students can have DaDa funding I think. 

You and your daughter are already narrowing down what you want, get auditioning to see what is out there and to gage if your daughter has got what the schools are looking for. Best wishes and good luck. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tulip said:

My daughter attended Central School of ballet, so I can offer you some information on this school. Central take students from aged 16. It is a full on training programme in ballet and contemporary, heavily ballet. A student has to audition again for the third and final year, this is for their touring company, where top choreographers have showcased their work. The full time course is a degree course, so a lot of course work to complete. The teachers are supportive and honest, a high standard is expected from the students, no time for dramas etc, they are treated as adults. 

My daughter was a summer birth and had just turned 16 when she started Central, after being at Tring. She loved the school right from the beginning, she always loved ballet and that is what she wanted, but she also knew that contemporary was very important too, so she had a choice of auditioning at a few schools. All British students can have DaDa funding I think. 

You and your daughter are already narrowing down what you want, get auditioning to see what is out there and to gage if your daughter has got what the schools are looking for. Best wishes and good luck. 

 

 

 

Congratulations on your daughter receiving a place at Central. Just like to pickup on one point you’ve made. Not all British students can seek funding through the DaDa scheme. Only those residing in the U.K. and possibly EU (pre Brexit). Pupils from the Channel Islands and IOM (need confirmation) are classed as from Great Britain (British)  but not part of the U.K. thus excluded. Frustrating sometimes when residential status varies depending on the business etc. 

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5 hours ago, balletbean said:

Northern Ballet School in Manchester offer the 3yr Level 6 Diploma in Professional Dance (Classical) (Jazz) with DaDa funding. 

 

They take pupils at 16 & 18 as they offer both Diplomas. 1st yr pupils train in all genres but then select their chosen focus for the 2nd & 3rd yr. Many know from day one which course they wish to pursue but they receive guidance by the staff as they develop over the first yr to ensure they are on the right path. Which is very helpful for those that really are unsure at 15/16yrs which one to follow. 

 

Singing/acting is incl but in a supporting role to enhance the dancing rather than Level of a ‘triple threat’ pupil as they don’t offer MT training. That’s for the other colleges like Laines/Birds/Urdang etc. 🙆‍♀️😊

 

 

This course sounds very similar to the course offered by Hammond,  am I correct in thinking that? 

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8 hours ago, Boogalou said:

 

This course sounds very similar to the course offered by Hammond,  am I correct in thinking that? 

Dd is coming to the end of yr 1 at Hammond and has a friend at Northern. As far as I can tell, Dd is taught a broader range of dance genres in regular classes and also has the opportunity to do 2 A levels, although I think there is the opportunity to do a teaching qualification at Northern.  I think the amount of singing in yr 1 is similar. Happy to be corrected as this is my impression from conversations, rather than a direct factual comparison. 

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When researching schools and courses, it is always worthwhile to look at recent graduate destinations of the students who trained there, and see whether that fits with your chosen career pathway.

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40 minutes ago, taxi4ballet said:

When researching schools and courses, it is always worthwhile to look at recent graduate destinations of the students who trained there, and see whether that fits with your chosen career pathway.

 

This can be useful but the information is often not easy to find and one year can be very different from the next.  So far this year Tring students from the dancers course have recieved offers from the following;

American classical company 

European classical company

Chrysalis

Matthew Bourne

Northern Ballet 

Cruise line 

Musical theatre in Germany

 

I’m sure there are still lots of things to be finalised and not all offers will be accepted  but it gives a rough idea of the broad range of training at Tring as students are receiving such a varied range of jobs offers. 

 

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Agreed, and it isn't always easy to find out as some schools don't always publicise their grad destinations in full. You're right, Tring does cover a lot of bases, but there are some other schools which might show a different picture. 

It's no good, for instance, if you are classically-minded, to go to a school where the vast majority of former students are now in MT or contemporary, and only the odd one or two are with ballet companies.

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56 minutes ago, taxi4ballet said:

Agreed, and it isn't always easy to find out as some schools don't always publicise their grad destinations in full. You're right, Tring does cover a lot of bases, but there are some other schools which might show a different picture. 

It's no good, for instance, if you are classically-minded, to go to a school where the vast majority of former students are now in MT or contemporary, and only the odd one or two are with ballet companies.

 

Yes it’s a minefield isn’t it?!  I just posted these results as I am aware of them but you won’t find it on any website. So many students start off wanting classical but through training realise it’s not for them or realise they won’t make the level they hoped to and would rather branch into something else - all adds to the difficulties for us parents! 

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