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oliviaT

Advice for 16 year old

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Hello everyone

 

I need some advice for my daughter and a friend suggested I ask on here. Sorry this might be long! 

 

She is 16, has been dancing since she was around 6 years old but only decided about 2 or 3 years ago that she wanted to aim for a career in dance. 

 

She knows that a career in ballet is out of the question and would just love to dance professionally in some way or another before eventually going into teaching. Her long term aim is to have her own dance school. (the reason I say this is because she is not at the advanced level needed to apply for ballet schools - she is working at around intermediate in ballet, tap and modern)

 

She is in year 11 at school so this last term she has been auditioning and we decided to start with the 'easiest' and build up. 

 

First she auditioned to 2 local colleges who offer level 3 performing arts / A level dance. She was offered a place at both but really didn't like them - she says the standard was low and not enough ballet. 

 

The she auditioned at quite a well known private college that offers level  a 4 teaching certificate but no other qualification. She was offered a place and loved it. The pros are the teaching qualification (as this is her long term aim) and good industry links. The cons are that she wouldn't have the ucas points needed for uni if her circumstances change. 

 

Next she auditioned to a level 6 college but one that doesn't offer a Dada. We knew we couldn't afford for her to go here unfortunately but we were told it was a similar standard to her dream college so we thought it would be good preparation. Again she loved it and was offered a place. 

 

Unfortunately a few weeks ago we got the dreaded 'no' letter for the place she had her heart set on (level 6 with the possibility of a dada). No recall, no feedback. 

 

As you can imagine she is devastated. 

 

So what do we do now? There are a few places still accepting applications but I don't have endless amounts of money for auditions, hotels etc! I also want to avoid panic auditioning for a place that isn't right for her. She loved the college that offered the teaching qualification but for me it seems a bit risky (no other dancers in our family, it's the norm to do A-levels and university). 

 

Thanks for reading 

 

 

 

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Hello Olivia and welcome. 😊

 

Well, the good news is that for a general dance career - i.e. not a classical ballet career - 18 is fine to start full time training.  If your dd is academic she could even stay on at school and take A Levels, providing she’s getting enough high quality training locally.  That means that if by any chance she’s just not cut out for a performing career (there can be lots of reasons why), she has her A Levels as a backup to go onto Uni or a teaching degree like the RAD’s BA in Dance Education.  Every single dancer and dance student needs a Plan B.  

 

Private colleges can be great but they can be very expensive.  They can also be unregulated and not inspected and this in itself can lead to problems.  Full time dance training can really take its toll on even the strongest of bodies, especially if the student hasn’t trained full time from 11, but at least if you are at a reputable established school/college with proper facilities like fully sprung floors, onsite Physios, qualified teachers and so on, you’re giving your dd the best chance to make it through training unscathed.  

 

Doing A Levels (or a Foundation Course at a reputable funded college with good onward prospects) will also give your dd two more years to improve her technique and stamina and get to at least Advanced 1 standard so that when she auditions for Level 6/Degree courses she’ll have a better chance of getting offers.

 

What is her local training like? Are you happy with it? Do they get students into upper schools/colleges?

 

 

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Thank you Anna. 

Yes she goes to a very good local dance school. She is one of the oldest so no real track record in getting children into post 16 training but lots are in associate schemes. If she did her a levels I think she could carry on getting a good level of training where she is now. 

 

The private college also has a good reputation. It’s a well established, successful college. It definitely has good facilities and properly qualified teachers but I understand it’s not the same as going to Laine or bird for example. 

My daughter’s argument is that she might not get into these places in 2 years time anyway! She’s not keen on doing a levels (I wish she was) 

 

 

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If she’s not keen on A Levels then she still needs a back up.  If you are happy with the college that offers the teaching qualification, could she get an Advanced Learner Loan from SFE? 

 

Has she considered a Foundation Course at somewhere like Millenium, Urdang and so on?  London Studio Centre offers one but I think that might be post A Level and pre Degree.

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Hi, my daughter is a year older than yours and currently in her first year of a Level 6 diploma. 

 

Shed had had a few injury and other issues in Year 10 and we initially felt that she wasn’t ready so she applied to a local Btec course (run by an excellent local dance school, I wouldn’t touch the normal FE college one); also a private school that combined A levels/Btec with dance training. The plan was A Levels/Btec then apply at 18. However following feedback from current teachers she also applied to two L6 Dada Colleges. She was going to apply to Arts Ed 6th form but decided against for reasons of location, finance and academic choices. 

 

She was probably the person in her Year who applied to the least amount of places! Partly because she didn’t want to go to London at 16. I don’t know which college your dd applied to and was rejected from but there are certainly a few I don’t think would have taken dd as they are all very different. I’m fairly sure she would never be a Laine or Urdang girl for example but possibly Bird or Performers had she been willing to go to London, there are also places like Bodyworks, Wilkes Academy, Masters etc. Dd was accepted at Hammond & SLP (who offered useful on the day feedback)  & also the school (but with only a small scholarship so unaffordable). 

 

So definately cast your net a little wider. We were told at one audition (& dd observed it at others) that the auditions were pitched around Intermediate Level. Some were stronger in ballet, others stringer in jazz or commercial. There are many on dd’scoirse who are 18 and she came across many older auditionees. 

 

I would wholeheartedly 110% endorse what Anna said about unregulated colleges not offering any qualification. Injury can happen at any time. Saying that you don’t get a qualification from a foundation course but they can be very worthwhile as long as you can afford the fees for students who aren’t quite ready yet. 

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1 hour ago, oliviaT said:

The she auditioned at quite a well known private college that offers level  a 4 teaching certificate but no other qualification. She was offered a place and loved it. The pros are the teaching qualification (as this is her long term aim) and good industry links. The cons are that she wouldn't have the ucas points needed for uni if her circumstances change. 

Which examining body is the teaching certificate affiliated to, and which dance genres does it cover?

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Taxi4ballet - level 4 dance teaching IDTA ballet and modern 

 

Thanks for the comments everyone. Sorry if I wasn’t clear but I wouldn’t allow her to go to an unregulated college. It’s more the lack of transferable qualifications that worry me. Also I wasn’t aware of any other funding options so I will have a look at that thank you 

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have you considered the Hammond in Chester? I believe they have just added an extra audition day. Its a level 6 diploma in either Professional Dance or Musical Theatre but with a common first year but you also have the options of 2 A levels alongside the diploma.

 

You could also look at KS Dance or Preston College in terms of dance and teaching.

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To add to 2dancders post about Hammond- If your dd is really not keen on doing A levels at all she could do a btec in music or fitness teaching qualifications instead alongside the diploma.

 

I beleive that KS dance isn't funded though they have scholarships - but at least there she would be working towards the Trinity Diploma as wll as the teaching qualifications. 

 

I've heard really good things about Preston College.  There is also a great triple threat MT (free) Btec course at The Academy for Perfoming Arts in Staffordshire and I believe they have arranged Homestay for students in the past.

 

Don't worry too much about being near London.  The agents/industru professionals often travel up North to lead workshops and run casting days and the good colleges hold London showcases. 

Edited by Picturesinthefirelight
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Preston’s College Dance ( PCD) offers funded 3yr pro dance training for 16-19yrs plus a 3 yr dance degree that runs concurrently for 18-21yrs with usual student loan funding. It is possible to move across to the degree if the student achieves good grades and demonstrates the right aptitude to learning! It might be worth looking at this option as it involves no ‘A levels’ but intermediate dance plus audition as a rough guide to entry requirements.

The students all come out with DDE dance teaching qualifications as well as opportunity to audition for cruise ships etc 😊

Edited by Clarkd3
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Just catching up with this as I was working late yesterday - sorry for the late replies and thank you for all your comments. I will be looking into your suggestions. 

 

Roughly speaking we are based in the north west but more towards the midlands end. 

 

KS dance is the college she has been offered a place at. She would love to attend but we can't fund it. 

We knew that we couldn't entirely self fund when she auditioned but rightly or wrongly we decided to apply anyway as we were told (as were other applicants) they are hopeful that their funding arrangements might change. For example, they have written a degree pathway. Unfortunately it might be too late for my daughter but might help others who are a bit younger. Hopefully that gives you an idea about what standard she is at. 

 

I do think that it's possible to get caught up with the importance of going to one of the main colleges that produces the musical theatre stars of the future! But the reality is that it's possible to have a career in dance without this. So in some respects I think my daughter is being realistic. Why chase something that you're unlikely to get? She wants to teach so she's right that a teaching qualification is going to be useful. I just worry about the lack of a back up plan! 

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3 minutes ago, oliviaT said:

Just catching up with this as I was working late yesterday - sorry for the late replies and thank you for all your comments. I will be looking into your suggestions. 

 

Roughly speaking we are based in the north west but more towards the midlands end. 

 

KS dance is the college she has been offered a place at. She would love to attend but we can't fund it. 

We knew that we couldn't entirely self fund when she auditioned but rightly or wrongly we decided to apply anyway as we were told (as were other applicants) they are hopeful that their funding arrangements might change. For example, they have written a degree pathway. Unfortunately it might be too late for my daughter but might help others who are a bit younger. Hopefully that gives you an idea about what standard she is at. 

 

I do think that it's possible to get caught up with the importance of going to one of the main colleges that produces the musical theatre stars of the future! But the reality is that it's possible to have a career in dance without this. So in some respects I think my daughter is being realistic. Why chase something that you're unlikely to get? She wants to teach so she's right that a teaching qualification is going to be useful. I just worry about the lack of a back up plan! 

If you can find her somewhere where she comes out with a degree as well then there will always be other doors open to her, my DD has primary education in mind as her back up plan to dance performance/ teaching

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I’ve just remembered about a girl I know who has been at BOA ( Birmingham based) for her 16-18 course, she combined the MT pathway with an A level in media studies, decided that MT long term wasn’t for her and has an unconditional offer for uni studying creative journalism, BOA has a dance pathway too so it may be worth a look

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2 hours ago, oliviaT said:

Just catching up with this as I was working late yesterday - sorry for the late replies and thank you for all your comments. I will be looking into your suggestions. 

 

Roughly speaking we are based in the north west but more towards the midlands end. 

 

KS dance is the college she has been offered a place at. She would love to attend but we can't fund it. 

We knew that we couldn't entirely self fund when she auditioned but rightly or wrongly we decided to apply anyway as we were told (as were other applicants) they are hopeful that their funding arrangements might change. For example, they have written a degree pathway. Unfortunately it might be too late for my daughter but might help others who are a bit younger. Hopefully that gives you an idea about what standard she is at. 

 

I do think that it's possible to get caught up with the importance of going to one of the main colleges that produces the musical theatre stars of the future! But the reality is that it's possible to have a career in dance without this. So in some respects I think my daughter is being realistic. Why chase something that you're unlikely to get? She wants to teach so she's right that a teaching qualification is going to be useful. I just worry about the lack of a back up plan! 

 

You must be fairly near to where I live then. 

 

Do you mind saying which is the non qualification teaching qualification college). 

 

 

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Thanks everyone. I realise I have been a bit vague (as my daughter preferred me not to give too many details) but I have had some discussions by private message which have been helpful 

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