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Poppysmum

Ballet newbie - late-starters and associates

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Hello all! Newbie here after some advice . 

 

My daughter has been taking ballet classes, alongside lyrical, musical theatre, character dance and body conditioning. She is now 10 (11 in May) and started a year ago and is about to take her grade 1 RAD exam (I know she's a bit behind but only really decided she wanted to dance in year 5) I would say she is now becoming ballet obsessed and has a one hour one2one lesson a week as well as her normal classes (4 days at the dance school) and her dream is to audition for the royal ballet school! Like all young ballerinas ! I have looked at the mid associate programme as feel this would suit her best (I am no expert though!) I wondered if her lateness to start will cause her any issues? Her dance teacher said she has excellent strength, spring, musicality etc but she is still unsure of the moves (the names etc) physically she is very good and her teacher said once she's  aced her turn outs she will fly, so it's all very nice to hear but does this mean she may have some potentional to audition for the mid associates despite still be fairly new to ballet. She does need to work on her flexibility but that is also coming along nicely now. 

 

I wondered how the new dancers fair at these auditions? I just think the experience in itself would be wonderful but I don't want her to feel out of her depth with the bendy, experienced dancers! Regardless of the outcome, I just want her to enjoy it! My daughter also looks very young for her age (she was born 4 months prem) and is still on catch up, I'd say physically she looks more like an 8/9 yr old but with very good muscles (she's a long jumper! Long legs!) and I wonder if this will also make a difference. 

 

thank you in advance,

L X

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Welcome to the forum, Poppysmum.  I'm sure some of our experienced members will be along to offer their thoughts shortly.

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Hi Poppy'smum.

 

I have no experience of RBS associates but back when dd was in year 7 at her vocational school there was a girl accepted who had never danced before but her potential was spotted at an after school outreach dance club type class.  She started at vocational school and she didn't know what a plie was.

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I have had RBS mid Associate pupils, and as ever it is impossible to predict who will get in.  Let her audition and see what happens, just so long as you have prepared her for the fact that there are so few places available and she may well not get a place.  It is often repeated on this board that at such a young age no means not this time, it doesn't mean never.

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Competition for places is huge. As long as your daughter is aware that there are very few places so not getting one is not a sign of failure or not being good enough/ not having the potential, then by all means let her audition but view it as a nice day out/ opportunity to dance somewhere different rather than anything else. My DD never got accepted at RBS mid associates but did get into vocational school at 16 and is now a professional dancer ( albeit not in a ballet company)

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Thank you so much for all your replies - it is very much appreciated! 

 

I absolutely understand the competition with regards to these things, and am under no impression that P will go there and be picked. If anything it is definitely more for the experience and joy of getting to attend, so from your answers I think this would be ok? Just to  simply let her have a go as this is what she wants.  I'm very much the mum who thinks why not...if they've got a dream let them have a go. I just didn't want her to feel out of her depth as I'm sure the other dancers  will have many more years under their belt. Has anyone had the experience of the audition? Is it like a class? And are there less experienced dancers there as well as the more experienced ones? 

 

Thank you so much, everyone! 

L x

Edited by Poppysmum

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Hello Poppysmum and welcome from me too.  Are you aware of other Associate schemes, just in case your daughter isn’t successful this time round?  Depending upon where you are, there are other reputable associate schemes that might be worth looking at.  Some (such as Central School of Ballet’s Preps) start in Year 7 but others start younger.  Your daughter’s teacher might have some insights too. 

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There is also the Cecchetti  Associate scheme too, which I have been really impressed with so far in terms of the quality of teaching she has received from some fab teachers in the industry. Btw my daughter had only been dancing a year before she auditioned for the Royal Ballet Junior Associates and was accepted. They are looking for potential so it's always worth a go :)

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Hi, and welcome! 👍

My DS auditioned for JA’s last year and didn’t get in. To be fair he’d only been dancing 18 months and was still in grade 1 at 10. 

He loved it though!! He’d gone into it with the right attitude, “I’ll try but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t get in” 

Its given him a taste for auditions!! He’s tried about 4 more since, all without the elusive “yes” yet but he remains hopeful. He’s working harder than ever in his classes, (now grade 3/4) and getting stronger by the week! (Upper body strength was one of his areas to work on).

Going to look at a Ceccheti associates class in a few weeks. I’m sure one day he’ll get the “yes” he dreams of but till then we’ll enjoy the train trips, days out and classes with amazing teachers.

xxx 

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Thank you so much for all your replies! I am very new to the ballet world myself and I'm using google and now this forum to get myself up to scratch! My daughter on the other hand...well it's become her life! 

 

I hadn't heard of the other schemes so I'm going to look into them, and it's very encouraging to hear of other dancers that have started a little later than the norm. I'm glad I joined here as it's so good to hear from other parents and your experiences...thank you! Lx

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The first part of the RBS audition revolves around physical suitability, so the fact your Dd hasn’t had a huge amount of experience will not matter. We are talking about physical suitability to RBS which does not necessarily mean physical suitability to other schools or associates as they all look for slightly different qualities. There will follow a basic ballet class( nothing tricky) followed by some musicality / self expression.

There are a huge range of standards of participants so it would be important for your Dd to be confident and show her love of dance

throughout. My Dd was gr2 when she successfully auditioned for mid associates and did 1 class a week. Perhaps you could ask her teacher to try out some steps from the grade above in her  ‘one to one’ just to give her an extra boost. At the end of the day, most of the participants seem to really enjoy the audition experience which is great. Some very famous ballerinas started much, much later (12 or 13?)

I’m thinking Misty Copeland but there are plenty others.

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10 hours ago, Poppysmum said:

Thank you so much for all your replies! I am very new to the ballet world myself and I'm using google and now this forum to get myself up to scratch! My daughter on the other hand...well it's become her life! 

 

I hadn't heard of the other schemes so I'm going to look into them, and it's very encouraging to hear of other dancers that have started a little later than the norm. I'm glad I joined here as it's so good to hear from other parents and your experiences...thank you! Lx

 

I’ve added the tag “Associates” to the thread (underneath the thread title) so if you click on it, a list of threads all about Associates will come up.  ☺️

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Do you have a good local ballet teacher for your dd? I feel inclined to add that RBS seem to be familiar with which local teachers teach their students correct technique. I think they probably see more potential for a student to benefit from their programme when they know that what the child is being taught locally is correct and supports the RBS training. 

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