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csmith263

How to find a good school for a boy

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My DS had been doing ballet for 4 years and wants to be a professional dancer and for us vocational training at year 7 wasn't an option he's now in year 8 were thinking of auditioning for a year 10 place or sixth form place. His current dance school has been great but has little experience with boys they are heavily focussed on girls and in particular at his age and grade the girls going on Pointe so they now have extra lessons and he's now down to 3 hours a week. How many hours should they be training at this age? How do I find somewhere to help him progress and push him to his his full potential?? Any tips or recommendations for schools in the East Midlands greatly received.

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Look at Tring Park associated courses.  They do kick start for boys, associate classes, boys open days.  Their boys are fantastic. They nearly always take in an extra boy or 2 into 4th form (year 10). 

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 in terms of 'local' schools  outside  London  the numbers game is  going to be against   boys

associates  is probably a good idea anyway if you are looking  at  y9/10   entry to lower  schools or attending an upper school 

and in terms of the local school, at the risk of  upsetting the traditionalists, why  not defy tradition ?

but  having heard another  sad tale  in the East Midlands  about  none traditional stuff and pointe   ... ( same tale from  two people  one femme presenting one masc presenting  about a dismissive attitude  shown by  retailer )  that may be an uphill battle.  (  and   although the RAD policy over  exams syllbuses and uniform  was  heralded as something to do with trans  dancers  -  there is nothing stopping any  dancer  doing  both versions of a VGE ) 

Edited by Nicola H

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Starlight Dance in Kettering is a good dance school for boys. Though they do loads of different styles of dancing and the focus is on commercial dance/show teams, the principal is male and runs a weekly ballet class for boys and a yearly ballet productions where all the boys get at least a feature role. The female RAD teacher loves boys dances and everyone in the classes learn both the boys and girls syllabus.

 

There are several boys in the pointe class and last month I did my Intermediate Foundation exam with a girl who chose to do the male syllabus as she wanted to do the boys variation (she also wanted to do pointe rather than the boy's allegro but the RAD couldn't wrap their head around that one).

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36 minutes ago, Nicola H said:

 and in terms of the local school, at the risk of  upsetting the traditionalists, why  not defy tradition ?

It's not really anything to do with that, it is more to do with the fact that many teachers don't have much experience of teaching the boys syllabus because there are so few of them. What young lads need is to be taught by someone thoroughly experienced and ideally in a school with a number of other boys. 

 

Associate programmes are a really good idea too, as they will often have a boys-only class and when they are older, they will be able to start learning partner work with senior girls, which is a whole subject in itself.

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London Russian Ballet School have full scholarships available for boys to train full-time, my best friend has just started at the School and is very happy there, feel free to PM me if you have any more questions x

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16 minutes ago, taxi4ballet said:

It's not really anything to do with that, it is more to do with the fact that many teachers don't have much experience of teaching the boys syllabus because there are so few of them. What young lads need is to be taught by someone thoroughly experienced and ideally in a school with a number of other boys. 

 

Associate programmes are a really good idea too, as they will often have a boys-only class and when they are older, they will be able to start learning partner work with senior girls, which is a whole subject in itself.

looks like  it went right over your head  ... 

 the numbers game means that outside of  London and perhaps one or two other big cities the  numbers mean that  lads are going to need to  get that  training other than at their local school ...  ( and even  in the big cities it may just be there are more options  for lads classes on top of  local class  ) 

just because  it isn't  traditional  for  men to do pointe  what  harm exactly  is there a  boy  doing pointe along with  his  classmates  at IF/Ele and Int  level ?  if  nothing else for  strength and stamina and to understand  his future partners  better...  or  is this going to be back to the  cis-sexist ' it doesn;t matter if lads carry on doing  tap  class '   guff  we saw a while ago )

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39 minutes ago, balletgremlin said:

Starlight Dance in Kettering is a good dance school for boys. Though they do loads of different styles of dancing and the focus is on commercial dance/show teams, the principal is male and runs a weekly ballet class for boys and a yearly ballet productions where all the boys get at least a feature role. The female RAD teacher loves boys dances and everyone in the classes learn both the boys and girls syllabus.

 

There are several boys in the pointe class and last month I did my Intermediate Foundation exam with a girl who chose to do the male syllabus as she wanted to do the boys variation (she also wanted to do pointe rather than the boy's allegro but the RAD couldn't wrap their head around that one).



Spot on 

 i think  as it stands with the current RAD policy   she'd have to do  the exam twice  once  as a 'girl' and once as 'boy'  -  and unless  the  grades and VGEs  go modular like Discovering Repetoire  or there is a re write of  the exam spec that allows  a wider mix and  match   ...   do we have an RAD examiners  reading  ?   ( alternatively  @sophie_rebecca could you ask Lynne  R-C ? ) 

learning 'both'  syllabuses  makes for better dancers  IMO  and so it  seems  in the eyes of increasingly numbers of  Teachers and Pros ... 
 

Edited by Nicola H

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Is it worth applying for a year 9 place (not sure of the deadlines)?  Would give him a get to know a school before picking GCSE subjects.

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5 hours ago, Harwel said:

Look at Tring Park associated courses.  They do kick start for boys, associate classes, boys open days.  Their boys are fantastic. They nearly always take in an extra boy or 2 into 4th form (year 10). 

We went yesterday to the boys day hence he wants to try for year 10 there but he's not ready yet he needs a local school to get him at the right level. He's had an injury and had the summer off with as he was starting to get picked on at school and wanted time to decide if really wanted it and is carrying to much weight currently. My experience so far with associate programmes has been not getting through the audition process. It's so hard to find the right path and encourage them equally as managing the dream versus reality. 😔

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4 hours ago, Nicola H said:

looks like  it went right over your head  ... 

 the numbers game means that outside of  London and perhaps one or two other big cities the  numbers mean that  lads are going to need to  get that  training other than at their local school ...  ( and even  in the big cities it may just be there are more options  for lads classes on top of  local class  ) 

just because  it isn't  traditional  for  men to do pointe  what  harm exactly  is there a  boy  doing pointe along with  his  classmates  at IF/Ele and Int  level ?  if  nothing else for  strength and stamina and to understand  his future partners  better...  or  is this going to be back to the  cis-sexist ' it doesn;t matter if lads carry on doing  tap  class '   guff  we saw a while ago )

Don't patronise me, I know far more about vocational ballet training than you do.

 

This is  a thread about a child finding a suitable dance school, not a platform for discussing whether or not boys should be taking pointe classes.

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45 minutes ago, csmith263 said:

We went yesterday to the boys day hence he wants to try for year 10 there but he's not ready yet he needs a local school to get him at the right level. He's had an injury and had the summer off with as he was starting to get picked on at school and wanted time to decide if really wanted it and is carrying to much weight currently. My experience so far with associate programmes has been not getting through the audition process. It's so hard to find the right path and encourage them equally as managing the dream versus reality. 😔

 

It is tough knowing quite when to encourage and when to hold back.  The right path will unfold.  My ds started Tring in year 10 and had passed RAD intermediate (just as a guide to the level required). Prior to starting there he was doing approx 4/5 hours ballet, an hour modern and an hour tap plus rehearsals for festivals.  He had done associate classes with Northern ballet and Graham Fletcher. He was not dancing with any other boys at his local school (3/4 hour drive away to get the best teacher for him) but the teacher was great with him and got him doing double tours and the girls did the boys work too. 

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Hammond also are having a boys day of Dance and I believe there is an associate scheme in the East Midlands run by a male teacher. 

 

Taxi Ive liked your post. I can’t see the whole context as my settings are set so they don’t show posts from certain posters but I wholeheartedly agree with you. 

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Try Dance Xchange in Birmingham Hippodrome. Lots of open classes there with teachers who have also danced as professional dancers. If your son really wants this then he will need to stay very fit, gymnastics is also fantastic for any dancer, having that undervyour belt when looking for professional work is another string to your bow, and fun. 

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Graham Fletcher based in Leicester is brilliant, I know of his Ballet Associates programme but I think he also runs classes during the week in Northampton possibly? I think they have posted on here previously. 

I teach a lot of boys and while I try my best, as a tiny lady, I think eventually boys need to have a male teacher, not necessarily as their main teacher but they certainly need a male perspective. My younger boys have had the pleasure of one of my ex students at vocational school coming back to visit this past week and they have just loved having someone their giving them “boy tips”. 

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Another few places for you to keep an eye for supplementing your son's dance training

RAD - couple of boys only days coming up in January and April. If the Associates scheme starts again, that has a monthly boys class in Birmingham plus a mixed class on the same day.

Birmingham Royal Ballet - offer repertoire days and sometimes Insight days - these days are themed around current repertoire but our experience was that after a general class for all, boys were often then taught separately by one of the male company dancers.

Chantry Dance in Grantham - offer associate classes

The Hammond has a boys day of dance coming up as well - usually very well attended and a good chance for your son to see where he is compared to his peers

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10 hours ago, Bluebird22 said:

My younger boys have had the pleasure of one of my ex students at vocational school coming back to visit this past week and they have just loved having someone their giving them “boy tips”. 

 

Yes, I’m getting to a stage where I’m feeling that myself. One of my ballet todo items at the moment is “learn to walk like a boy” 🙄.

 

In the short term I’d be inclined to do the pointe classes for the strength and versatility, sort out some strength and fitness training for the extra weight and just raw strength and figure out what extra occasional boy training he can get from whatever is within  reach if there isn’t a suitable local school. Then I’d try to get into an associates programme again. 

 

I know the RAD do some boys events - there’s one in January in London our son is doing - and day/weekend courses often have boys taught separately.

 

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Just as a side note we were told categorically that our DS at 13.5 needed to be in FT ballet school in order to reach his full potential.... he started therefore at only just 14 somewhat against our better judgement in terms of family/social/education but trusting the teacher's opinion and hoping we could make the rest of it work....

 

He considered that he remained behind his peers at least until 19 and might (I haven't asked him recently) consider even now he would be better had he started earlier...

 

At 14 he was probably doing around 20-25 hours a week (including rehearsals and other forms of dance although these were a relatively small proportion of the training...)

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Shannon and Peter Parker used to run the “Midlands Associates” based in Ollerton, north of Nottingham. Our DS used to really enjoy the Sunday sessions there - with Peter often taking the boys to one side to teach them separately. Our DS is now at vocational school so I’m not sure if this scheme is still running - but maybe worth looking into 😊

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On the back of this, can anyone point us in the direction of boys classes in the NW/NWales. Or at least places with more than 1 boy. DS is getting bullied by his high school friends for wearing “tights” and he’s feeling marginalised being the only boy in the class. Have him booked onto the Hammond day in Jan but need something more grown up for him to find some man moves! (He’s 12). Made me sad to see him open his ballet based Christmas presents and get upset, being torn between being cool, at school or continuing his dance dreams.

Considering private’s if I can’t find more boys or even a boys school of my own!! 🙈😆 xx

Edited by MrsMoo2
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Grr! I feel for your son, Mrs Moo. I hope things work out well soon for him. x

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So sorry to hear that Mrs Moo - we went through that awful phase too whilst DS was at primary school with both verbal and latterly quite severe physical abuse. We were so lucky to have a very supportive head teacher who stamped on it - but it took threatening police intervention in the end. 

I used to dread DS going to mainstream secondary school and what he would have to face there. We were very lucky to be offered a vocational place and the bullying is now just a horrible memory for him.

Remind your son of how these people are just jealous and that he will have a richer life experience through dancing at whatever level he takes it to. Talk to your headteacher and stamp on it before it gets out of hand. There should be zero tolerance to it.

Give your DS a big hug and tell him this time will pass and he’s not alone in this. 

Maybe consider private lessons if you can’t find associate classes and keep trying for a vocational place. 

On a personal level - I really feel for you ...... good luck with it all and you are welcome to DM me if you need a broad shoulder xx

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I'd second the recommendation for Chantry Dance in Grantham. It shares its studios with a 'normal' (ie evening/weekend) dance school and I know that they have a fantastic teaching faculty, including male teachers. 

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Have you looked into Kings international ballet academy. They are based in Leicestershire. It is a vocational school but also holds winter,spring,summer intensive courses and Associate classes. 

If you are local I know they are very welcoming and will let you and your DS have a look around and participate in one of the classes. The teachers have an Immense ballet and teaching background. 

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I think the reality is, having a DS, if you want to dance with other boys, you may well have to travel if you live outside a city.   Associates or private lessons with another male teacher - it will still be cheaper than vocational! We are not a rich family and many UK summer schools were out of our price reach.  But the experience of travelling  and mixing with other dancers has stood him well over the years.  There are so many European summer schools at substantially lower prices than the UK tour.

 

But don't dismiss female teachers - DS had no male teachers in his vocational school during year 11 but his female teacher he still rates as one of the best from whom he received training.  A lot of this had to do with her attitude - she would ring up her male friends from her last company to check things.

 

Regarding the wider question of children being unpleasant to each other - if it's not ballet chances are it would be something else ... and boys at vocational school can be pretty unpleasant to each other too, albeit not about wearing tights.  

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