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Height for girls in Year 11 - restricted?


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So, having ventured out there into the ballet world for the first time, applying to two european schools via video, we have been told that DD is too short.  Its not something that had even entered our minds before that - gutted doesn't come close to the feeling.  She is 15 years old and is 5 feet 1.5 inches and is a UK size 4 in street clothes.  We chose Europe to apply to because of the low fee aspect.  

 

I have to wonder at this point if we are going to get the same answer from every school that she applies to??

 

For those of you who are lucky enough to have DDs starting out or finishing Year 11, first year of Elmhurst, ENBS, Royal conservatoire or indeed ANY of the UK schools - do they have a height restriction or do they accept shorter dancers? Or are there any other schools anywhere that will accept shorter dancers?  Getting desperate here and haven't even told my DD why she will not be looked at... she'll be heartbroken

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3 minutes ago, TwoLeftFeet said:

So, having ventured out there into the ballet world for the first time, applying to two european schools via video, we have been told that DD is too short.  Its not something that had even entered our minds before that - gutted doesn't come close to the feeling.  She is 15 years old and is 5 feet 1.5 inches and is a UK size 4 in street clothes.  We chose Europe to apply to because of the low fee aspect.  

 

I have to wonder at this point if we are going to get the same answer from every school that she applies to??

 

For those of you who are lucky enough to have DDs starting out or finishing Year 11, first year of Elmhurst, ENBS, Royal conservatoire or indeed ANY of the UK schools - do they have a height restriction or do they accept shorter dancers? Or are there any other schools anywhere that will accept shorter dancers?  Getting desperate here and haven't even told my DD why she will not be looked at... she'll be heartbroken

Hi. I feel your pain you are experiencing. However, I’m sure that many if not all schools actually ‘advertise’ openily a height restriction policy. Feedback is normally non existent at auditions (either a yes or no) so it would be hard to offer any further information. Application forms may ask for height and possibly weight but I think it’s for proportions rather than restrictions. Some do ask even for parents height possibly to see potential.  It’s a hard one to answer. Just as much as teenage growth spurts no one can predict. 

With so many laws in place in the UK there may well be limitations on actually declining a place openly due to height compared to European Schools. 

Other Dance schools & Colleges that offer more Jazz focus whilst still offering ballet as a core subject (like NBS Manchester) could be another option to consider, if you believe that height may still be an issue. I wish you and your DD all the best. 

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2 minutes ago, balletbean said:

Hi. I feel your pain you are experiencing. However, I’m sure that many if not all schools actually ‘advertise’ openily a height restriction policy. Feedback is normally non existent at auditions (either a yes or no) so it would be hard to offer any further information. Application forms may ask for height and possibly weight but I think it’s for proportions rather than restrictions. Some do ask even for parents height possibly to see potential.  It’s a hard one to answer. Just as much as teenage growth spurts no one can predict. 

With so many laws in place in the UK there may well be limitations on actually declining a place openly due to height compared to European Schools. 

Other Dance schools & Colleges that offer more Jazz focus whilst still offering ballet as a core subject (like NBS Manchester) could be another option to consider, if you believe that height may still be an issue. I wish you and your DD all the best. 

I haven't seen minimum heights for schools mentioned on the forms or indeed websites, although I certainly have when it comes to Company applications.  The forms for Europe that we filled out did ask for height and weight both for DD and heights for us as her parents.

 

I would love to know if there are any 5'1" ballet dancers accepted to UK schools so that we can focus on applying to those schools... anyone?

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I understand where you are coming from however I wouldn’t exclude the other schools that don’t have pupils that are the same height as your DD. It could be that those that applied just weren’t the standard that was required and height wasn’t actually a factor. Not all schools suit every pupil. Elmhurst is semi boarding for 6th form whereby ENBS is fully independent self catering requiring a hefty commute and of course London cost of living. All schools also look for something different in their pupils. Just as much as a pupil maybe successful at RBS they maybe declined a place at Elmhurst. 

Your question whilst valid is nigh on impossible to really answer. 

Good Luck. 

Edited by balletbean
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Height is a problem in not only dancers.  I know  of students who have applied for acting and MT who haven’t been offered places because of their height. Admittedly they are just under 5ft, they resorted to saying they were 5ft to simply get auditions. Having said that DD auditioned at a college last week for MT and the principal made a big thing about accepting all heights etc  Helped by the fact that she herself is 5ft 2.5 in trained classical 50 years ago but she appreciates how hard it is for small people to break into the world of performing arts. 

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If it’s any help, there is a HUGE  range of height difference in the year groups at White Lodge (13-15 yrs) from  extremely teeny weeny to extremely tall. At that age there is still time for growth though so don’t think it’s very helpful to you.

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When my daughter was at Central School of Ballet four years ago, they had shorter dancer right through to tall dancers. All professional dance companies require a height to replace a height when employing. Centrals aim is to make their dancers employable and nearly all of them are. The Japanese students tend to be shorter. 

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When required heights are included in ballet company auditions, the range is usually higher for European companies - especially German who seem to ask for min 5'5" - so it does not surprise me that European schools also look at heights - especially if it was a German school you were applying to.

 

Not sure the same would be true of UK schools. I can tell you I do know of a dancer who I think was just under 5' who got accepted for vocational training at16. I know the acceptance letter she posted on facebook included a note about her height - along the lines of they did not know if she would be able to dance professionally after graduation if she did not grow further. Not sure how many offers she got - she went to KS Dance  in the end I think.

 

In terms of dance rather than specifically ballet, since she graduated nearly 4 years ago my DD has worked with many female dancers around the 5'2" . Many of the post 16 diploma courses in the UK are actually the level 6 in professional dance (or in musical theatre) - the backbone of which is classical ballet - and most if not all the smaller dancers DD has worked with have gone down this route. note- my DD is not with a ballet company - she is self employed and has covered many dance styles in various contracts

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My gut feeling is that the very top upper schools in the UK will select in a preferred height range. Other schools , where excellent training is offered, offer to a range of heights.

 

I feel your pain - dancing is a harsh world. Have you applied anywhere in the UK? Many European schools take on the taller side 

 

At 15 your DD may still grow so fingers crossed..... It's difficult news to break but she may grow yet. Better to be told that then a plain 'you're not good enough'.

 

Good luck!

 

I know KS Dance, Ballet West, Tring currently have some shorter girls.

Edited by sarahw
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We had a similar conversation recently with Arucaria ballerina worrying about her height (not sure I know how to link to prior threads). My Dd is 5ft and 14 so it is a concern. We were going to apply to some of the German schools but I then realised many German companies have min heights of 5ft 6-which she won’t reach. I am 5ft 2 on a good day.

It has not stopped her being associate or being accepted to lower school but we are aware it will be harder to succeed.

Good luck with future applications.

 

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My older dd is 5ft 1 inches 17 years old and 42 kg. She auditioned last year for five classical schools. She was offered RCS at first audition, they said she didn't need to go to the final audition. She was offered an MDS place for upper school at Tring which is almost unheard of. A place at NBS Manchester and a place at Central. She also got finals for elmhurst.

She is now studying at Central and loving every minute. Her height was never mentioned at any audition and she is by no means the smallest in her year at Central. It has never been a problem at all. In fact when it comes to pas de deux she is very popular. Lol

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4 hours ago, Twoballerinas0004 said:

My older dd is 5ft 1 inches 17 years old and 42 kg. She auditioned last year for five classical schools. She was offered RCS at first audition, they said she didn't need to go to the final audition. She was offered an MDS place for upper school at Tring which is almost unheard of. A place at NBS Manchester and a place at Central. She also got finals for elmhurst.

She is now studying at Central and loving every minute. Her height was never mentioned at any audition and she is by no means the smallest in her year at Central. It has never been a problem at all. In fact when it comes to pas de deux she is very popular. Lol

 

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Here are the names of a couple of petite female dancers who appear to be having  successful careers with the Royal Ballet at present. Francesca Hayward who at 5ft 2 ins seems to be doing reasonably well with the company and Yasmine Naghdi who I am not sure is that much taller than her. In addition  here are three names from the past of Principal dancers none of whom were that tall, Ann Jenner, Leslie Collier and Brenda Last. I will only write a little bit about Brenda Last as I assume the names of Jenner and Collier may strike a note of recognition.

 

At five foot Brenda Last was the shortest female Principal dancer the Royal Ballet companies have ever had.She won the Genee gold medal and worked for Ballet West for some time .While performing with them she was seen by de Valois who invited her to join the company which was something of an irony as it is said that the RB's founder had originally rejected Last because of her lack of height. She was a dancer with a very warm stage personality who seemed to tell the audience that they were in for a great time the moment she stepped onto the stage. Her technique was extraordinary then and would still be seen as outstanding today as her footwork was very fast , crisp and clean . She was as outstanding as Coppela as she was in the Peasant pas de deux in Giselle; a superb can-can dancer in Boutique ;a extraordinarily funny Poll and as far as the Ashton repertory is concerned she danced Lise even more times than the role's creator did clocking up a total of 101 performances and although she might not have been obvious casting for the Gipsy Girl she was wonderful in the role as she was in the pas de trois in Les Rendezvous where she gave the finest danced and timed account of it that I have ever seen. She had her career at a time when the RB companies danced very few body revealing leotard-clad abstract works and far more demi-character works such as Massine's La Boutique Fantasque and more of Ashton's early ballets than they do today and that must have helped. But the fact that Francesca Hayward and Yasmine Naghdi have made it to the rank of Principal  makes it clear that being five foot two or thereabouts is not a bar to recruitment or promotion.

 

I suspect that the advice given to Wayne Sleep who was only five foot two that in order to get into the company he had to be twice as good as the men of average height holds true for the shorter woman as well.The older dancers whom I have named were outstanding technically and more than equal to the artistic and technical challenges of the roles which lay within the range of roles for which they were thought  to be suited through physique and temperament.

Edited by FLOSS
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Thank you all so much for your advice and support.  We took her to be measured yesterday - the last time we did it was in August last.  She measured 159cm - 5 feet 2.6 inches!!   I actually cried with relief and I still can't quite believe it.  Heres hoping for at least another inch before we try auditioning again at the end of the year.

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I recall getting my first passport so at that time it was when you were 16 and I was 5’3.  I spent the next three to four years saying I was that height until someone questioned me and said I was definitely taller so tape measure out and I had grown to just short of 5’6”!  Don’t give up hope. 

Edited by junedancer
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Brenda Last makes me feel like a giant at 5”3, until I’m stood in class with her (both as a pupil and teacher) when suddenly her presence makes her larger than life. She has to be one of the most commanding, terrifying and respected teachers I’ve ever had the privilege of being taught by. Some people just own a room, a stage, a studio and their height is irrelevant.

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DD has had the privilege of being taught by Brenda Last and she too commented on her huge ‘presence’. Her main teacher danced with Brenda Last and said she was the most compelling dancer there. 

 

Clearly being shorter than many or most dancers is no automatic bar to commanding a stage or classroom! TwoLeftFeet - I’m so glad your DD has grown and that you and she are feeling less anxious and I wish her a little extra height and successful auditions!  

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I will forever love Brenda Last.  She was my teacher for a week of classes at the RAD when I was a very tall gangly and self conscious teenager (over 35 years ago now).  She went around the room asking our names and getting to know us a little .  By this time it had become apparent to me that dance teachers put tall dancers at the back - just because - and they rarely revolved lines.  They seemed to have no clue to the damage this did to youngsters confidence or the immediate boost it gave the small dancers.  But not Brenda Last - she made me feel just as important and valued in that class and she made the small dancers prove their worth.  A truly fantastic lady and fabulous teacher. Height to her was irrelevant, just the quality of the dancer - as it should be to everyone. 

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On ‎19‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 21:30, Mummy twinkle toes said:

We had a similar conversation recently with Arucaria ballerina worrying about her height (not sure I know how to link to prior threads).

 

To summarise, ArucariaBallerina is auditioning for UK schools only, as far as I understand.  She is less than 5ft and has been told by a couple of different 6th forms that 5ft is the minimum they will accept.  So TwoLeftFeet's daughter at over 5ft won't have the exact same problems, but if auditioning for places that like them taller, that's a different matter.

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On 20/01/2019 at 11:44, junedancer said:

I recall getting my first passport so at that time it was when you were 16 and I was 5’3.  I spent the next three to four years saying I was that height until someone questioned me and said I was definitely taller so tape measure out and I had grown to just short of 5’6”!  Don’t give up hope. 

Congratulations on your new found status. I have always been the other end. At 5ft7 I was always at the back for ballet classes/performances as a teenager.

Found my niche in MT as teachers/choreographers liked the longer legs in the taller girls!  No hiding for me! Something I had got used to. Took a while to get used to though. 

The industry may have changed over the years. 

I always remaining seated in family photographs as well. Coming from a family of 5ft2/5ft4. Now trying to get my children to sit and for me to stand in photos, as my boys are both nudging 6ft. Height can be such a fickle thing that can mess with our heads if you let it. 😉. Embrace your height for whatever Mother Nature gave you and work with it (have confidence both mentally and physically because if you don’t, it will show) there is an opportunity out there for talented dancers,  some might have a longer search than others but it will all be worth it  🙆‍♀️

Edited by balletbean
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  • 4 months later...
6 hours ago, Mummy twinkle toes said:

Hi Twoleftfeet just wondered how your Dd was getting on?

Hi there and thanks for asking.  DD auditioned for one UK school and was offered a place but has decided to train for a another year before auditioning again.  She will still be 16 in September 2020 so its all good.  Her height however, has remained the same and I'm not expecting that she'll grow any more... whatever will be will be I guess so we'll just ride the wave and see where it takes us.

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5 hours ago, Balletmummy18 said:

My dd is 13 and 5’8 at vocational school in UK and that has been huge disadvantage  so we feel your pain but from the other side of the fence - hope your dd finds a place at upper school .

Thans Balletmummy18.  DD will wait until next year and audition again, she'll still be 16 and with another year of training between now and then hopefully she'll be in a better position... I hope!

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