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5678Dance

BTEC level 3 dance or academic A levels?

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My dd is currently in lower school at one of the vocational schools and been auditioning for upper schools, she has been offered a couple of places but not been awarded a dada so she is going to have to come home and decide what to do next. Her main aim now is to do a dance degree when she is 18 in 2 years but we don't know what is best to do in the next 2 years? she could go to a local college and do 3 academic A levels and just dance on an evening locally ( a big drop from being a vocational school)or she could do  BTEC level 3 in dance? (possibly a lower standard from what she is used to?)Anyone have any advise on how to decide, she is frightened she may never make it as a dancer but has no clue what else to do but thought doing A levels would be handy in the future but then she has never really enjoyed academic studies apart from art and just wants to dance hence possibly doing a BTEC but having nothing to fall back on! Help!

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We seriously considered this option for dd but she was awarded a Dada and stayed on in the end. 

 

Firstly, don’t quite give up hope yet.  There will be a lot of movement between now and the summer. A girl in dd’s year at lower school was offered a Dada from the waiting list the first week of July. There will be some holding multiple offers or waiting for Dada results from elsewhere, when dd auditioned last year the Dada recall at one college wasn’t until mid April. 

 

With regards to Btec or A levels that’s very dependent on her. I think that A levels gives more options when it comes to higher education and dd loves her A level study but that level of academic study isn’t suited to everyone so for example my ds will be applying to do music Btec. Your problem will be that the standard of dance Btec vary wildly. Where I am in Staffordshire we have two excellent ones run by dance schools that have a great track record in getting students into leading dance colleges on either degree or diploma courses aged 18. Some of these institutions can organise home stay for students out of the area. Those courses run by normal FE colleges however can be very different and of a much lower standard. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, 5678Dance said:

Her main aim now is to do a dance degree when she is 18 in 2 years but we don't know what is best to do in the next 2 years? she could go to a local college and do 3 academic A levels and just dance on an evening locally ( a big drop from being a vocational school)or she could do  BTEC level 3 in dance? (possibly a lower standard from what she is used to?)Anyone have any advise on how to decide, she is frightened she may never make it as a dancer but has no clue what else to do but thought doing A levels would be handy in the future but then she has never really enjoyed academic studies apart from art and just wants to dance hence possibly doing a BTEC but having nothing to fall back on! Help!

 

What kind of degree does she want to do? Are there any courses in partcular she is interested in?

Some of the ballet school offer degree courses, as do some of the colleges that specialise in musical theatre. Then there are the contemporary conservatoires such as Laban and NSCD as well as other university dance courses that have more of an academic base.

What does she want to do after graduating from uni?

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She loves ballet and contemporary equally but she doesn't rule out eventually working the cruise ships so is happy doing jazz, she just doesn't want to sing. She would love to get into rambert, London school of contemporary dance or trinity laban for example. 

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3 hours ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

We seriously considered this option for dd but she was awarded a Dada and stayed on in the end. 

 

Firstly, don’t quite give up hope yet.  There will be a lot of movement between now and the summer. A girl in dd’s year at lower school was offered a Dada from the waiting list the first week of July. There will be some holding multiple offers or waiting for Dada results from elsewhere, when dd auditioned last year the Dada recall at one college wasn’t until mid April. 

 

With regards to Btec or A levels that’s very dependent on her. I think that A levels gives more options when it comes to higher education and dd loves her A level study but that level of academic study isn’t suited to everyone so for example my ds will be applying to do music Btec. Your problem will be that the standard of dance Btec vary wildly. Where I am in Staffordshire we have two excellent ones run by dance schools that have a great track record in getting students into leading dance colleges on either degree or diploma courses aged 18. Some of these institutions can organise home stay for students out of the area. Those courses run by normal FE colleges however can be very different and of a much lower standard. 

 

 

We have asked and we were told she isn't near the top of the waiting list so we don't hold much hope for a dada. She would definitely want a dance school offering a btec rather than just an FE college. 

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Posted (edited)

A lot of the btech are performing arts. I googled btech ballet and contemporary and this one came up https://www.dancecity.co.uk/learning-academy/btec-level-3-diploma-dance/ so I'm sure there's more. There are also level 4 course in ballet and contemporary with jazz classes but they may include singing and other styles. 

 

www.moreaperformingarts.com offer level 4 as do https://www.chantry-school.org and I think both are still auditioning. X

Edited by smallbythesea

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Centre Pointe Manchester are launching their BTech extended diploma in Dance this September and are currently auditioning. Exceptional high standard of training with an emphasis on nurturing and individual care. Past graduates take up places in all current top colleges to undertake degree courses. 

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Hi 

My daughter is in a similar position. 

She has these offers: 

level 6 offers but without funding which we can’t afford. 

Level 4 offers which although not funded are significantly cheaper so we can self fund. 

Level 3 offers which are free and she could top this up with local classes / associates.  

 

It’s a difficult choice. 

One of my concerns about level 4 is the lack of ucas points. Level 3 would be better if the eventual aim is university. But level 4 has the advantage of a teaching qualification. 

 

One thing we have noticed is the huge variation in the standard of the level 3 courses. I think the question about A level or Btec in our case came down to finding a good quality btec course. 

 

Goid luck in making your decision x 

 

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My inclination would be to do the A-levels and continue dancing in the meantime. But that would depend on the level of classes available to her in the evenings and at weekends locally. Whereabouts in the country are you?

 

I suspect that doing a level 3 Btec probably wouldn't increase her chances of success at audition for level 4+ courses all that much anyway, especially if the standard isn't as high as she is already used to. If she has A-levels on the other hand, that would open up more opportunities for her.

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14 hours ago, 5678Dance said:

She loves ballet and contemporary equally but she doesn't rule out eventually working the cruise ships so is happy doing jazz, she just doesn't want to sing. She would love to get into rambert, London school of contemporary dance or trinity laban for example. 

 

With that in mind, I think it will depend on the quality and content of the BTEC (they vary widely) and the availability of classes locally.

She would need to maintain and build on her ballet and also have access to contemporary classes if dancing only in the evening. Are there any contemporary youth dance groups in your area she could audition for?

I did a university dance degree (not at a conservatoire) and the students who had done a BTEC were better prepared than those who'd only done A level dance. However, those with A-levels in a variety of subjects potentially had a better "back up" plan if dance didn't work out. This also depends on what your plan would be though.

Do you know where she'd go for the BTEC if she goes down that route?

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I also wanted to say that she needs to thnk about what she would like to do after graduating from Rambert or similar. Working in cruise ships requires a different kind of training that that offered at the schools you mentioned. Singing is also required for many cruise ship jobs.
 

Has her vocational school offered any advice?

 

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Going back to OP, you say your daughter is not particularly enamoured with academic studies - given that A levels require a huge degree of commitment I would look seriously at the Btecs on offer, particularly the Extended Diploma.  There was a recent report that showed 95% of universities accept btecs, and a level 4 btec often allows access straight onto the second (or higher) year of a degree. I can't source the quote, but I believe a quarter of university entrants had btec qualifications.  

 

 

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I think Urdang do a foundation year which has no fees and prepares for auditions for level 6?

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

I'm not sure where abouts you are based but here are a few options I have heard of (they lean towards more jazz/mt than classical ballet though so may not be useful to you so sorry if that's the case)

 

I know urdang offer a fully funded level 3 course called the AVT. It is 21 hours I think and they have 20-30 on the course. It does say you need to live within travelling distance to London but on the open day they did say that it was flexible.

Their qualification is a level 3 ocr worth 2 alevels so perhaps not enough to gain entry into some of the schools later on that prefer 3 alevels or equivalent. They are still auditioning.

 

There is LIPA sixth form too which offers a dance course and is fully funded

 

BRIT school dance course although don't think much ballet is involved so you might have to supplement your training with additional classes. Also tiny catchment and few places available outside of this.

 

Italia Conti Guildford offer a l3 btec which is only  funded for 16 hours (like most btecs) but you can top up to more hours (can't remember exact number).

 

There is a sixth form called Arts1 in Milton Keynes who have a very impressive list of destinations including trinity laban, RBS, Laine, bird, performers, masters, Urdang, Stella Mann, millennium, London studio centre, northern school of contemporary dance (as well as purely MT colleges) . So a wide range of graduate destinations covering both more contemporary schools as well as those leaning into jazz/mt. They are also still auditioning. From what I've heard it's 21 hours and there is a specifically dance course as well as an mt one.

 

Have heard of Pendleton college too but not sure if it's more for MT than dance.

 

Jelli studios were at move it (veryyy jazz based and MT so might not be your daughter's bag)

 

Dance Box in Milton Keynes too. It is a 3 year course fully funded the whole way through but once you get your BTEC at year 2 I don't see why you cannot audition for the 'bigger' colleges. I know they are just dance based.

 

BRICTT and BOA also come to mind but I know much more about MT and less about contemporary dance so the above information may not be helpful at all😳

I think that most of the above options would be great if she's considering cruise ship work etc but for contemporary perhaps only a couple of them. 

 

Best wishes

Edited by All that jazz
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Hello my daughter chose A levels over BTEC to keep her options open (including A level dance) as well as training pre vocationally alongside on a CAT program. She has auditioned, been offered  and excepted a Dance Conservatoire for BA HONS and also has offers for 3 University's including Edinburgh so has the very best of both worlds just needs the grades and some tough decisions!! Good luck but it certainly shows you don't need to do dance full time to get post 18 dance school offers :wub:

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Hi,

Watching this thread with interest.

We're at the year 10 stage deciding whether BTEC or A Levels too.  Could anyone advise........If dc thinking of 18+ degree in dance (Ballet/Contemp) etc, how important do you think it is to have either BTEC dance or A Level Dance alongside other ALevels/BTEC?  Are the UCAS points purely numbers or would it be advantageous to have dance in there somewhere.   Dc has strong dance support evenings/weekends so not worried about keeping up the dance hours.    Thank you for any advice.   

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It depends. If your dc has a genuine realistic likelihood of being accepted by one of the very top handful of vocational schools/colleges, then there's no point at all in doing A-level or BTEC dance. You are better off with academic A-levels. A dance career can be cut short unexpectedly for many reasons.

 

On the other hand, should you be looking at a broader range of training or one of the university dance courses or maybe training as a dance teacher, then A-level/BTEC dance might be worthwhile. It also depends on the quality of the training. Some BTEC college courses are excellent, some less so.

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If keeping future options as wide open as possible is important then go the A level route with A level dance in the mix, my DD did this plus her usual out of school dance classes and had offers for Primary Ed and dance degrees. If dance at 18plus is the main plan for your DD then a BTEC Dance course might give her the extra boost she needs to get into some of the most well established  18plus dance courses such as Laban or Rambert!

Reflecting on my daughters journey it wasn’t easy combining the demands of the academics with dance but at the time it seemed like a good idea!

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I did A levels in Dance, Performing Arts Psychology and Theatre Studies. This is back in the day but all my fellow dance students went on to do dance degrees at LJMU, LIPA, Roehampton, DMU, St. Martins, and Laban. Most of them now are teachers, one works for P&O still in the Carribean and I went back to study psychology and now work with ex dancers and others with mental health issues.

DS is now the dancer in the family! 😆 xx 

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Thanks for all your replies and as always I have concluded it is a very individual choice as students can be successful via so many paths. My Dd has decided to do A levels so she can strengthen her plan b and continue dancing on an evening locally and with associate programmes. She will then reaudition at dance schools at 18 and uni's for plan b ad see what happens. 

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Some really helpful advice here - I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread as I have been searching too for some information on choosing BTEC or A Levels. My daughter is in Year 10 at present so just starting to think about her options post GCSE.  At the moment she's leaning towards the A level route - Dance/PE and one other.  Does anyone have any advice on which A levels to choose? She's conscious she needs a back up if applying at 18 to Uni/Dance college doesn't work out and after a recent minor injury is quite interested in sports science or dance teaching.  She's worried if she did a BTEC then all her eggs are in one basket even though she would love to dance all day!

She's doing GCSE dance at the moment, has just passed her RAD intermediate and trains in a wide variety of styles (grade 6 )including MT.  Her dream would be somewhere like NBS but she is also trying to be realistic - and at 6ft tall she knows she will have a disadvantage height wise.

 

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Posted (edited)

At A-level maybe english, psychology or business studies? 

Edited by taxi4ballet
edited for punctuation :)

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I was going to suggest Psychology but with Biology if she’s interested in sports science.  PE would be useful too. 

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In terms of A levels I think its important to choose subjects that you are good at and will enjoy.  If she is not sure what kind of degree she may want to apply for then having at least two facilitating subjects keeps more options open and having a maths/science subject alongside an essay subject can also keep options open (but its no good doing that if someone is not mathematically or scientifically minded or (like my ds) struggles with writing/essay subjects.

 

So lookat the subjects your dd is takinjg for GCSE.  What does she enjoy the most? What are her predicted grades? Then make a shortlist. 

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Thank you for the A level suggestions - some good ideas. My daughter struggles with heavily essay type courses. She currently does GCSE dance and really enjoys that especially the choreographic and technical analysis. So that will be a definite for A level if she goes down that route. She does well in science, geography and art too.

She’s seen a couple of dance science degree courses so that could be a possibility for the future too. 

As an aside - how likely would it be that her height (6ft) would be a significant barrier to getting work as a dancer in the future? I don’t want to squash her dreams but need to open her eyes to reality as this may influence her choices after GCSE.  Many thanks x

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There was a very talented & very tall young lady at Hammond a few years back who was deeemd to be too tall by some colleges/ballet companies but she is now earning a living (as reported in a recent newspaper article) and by all accounts having a fantastic time with a company who values highly trained dancers with a ballet background but requires a minimum height of 5ft 9.  So I believe that if you have the talent the jobs are there but you may have to lookoutside the box.

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In which case dippy I would reccomend that she consider taking a science, particularly Biology which opens the door to Sports Science/Physiotherapy type degrees.  Chemistry and Maths are also regarded for these courses.

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Is she 6ft?  Female Classical Ballet dancer at 6ft would be unlikely because any PDD partner would have to be 6’4” and over, really.  😕 

 

Other dance styles are not so strict in terms of height.  I know a beautiful tall dancer who is now a ShowGirl/Show Dancer and gets to travel all over Europe to work.  

 

I had a quick look at Sports Science degrees and both Exeter and Bath (no. 1 and 2 respectively in Sports Science) ask for Biology (or Chemistry) with Maths/PE/Psychology.  Both also ask for a B or above in Maths GCSE and two science GCSEs.

 

Nothing at all to stop you contacting them (or asking your school careers officer) whether they would accept A Level Dance instead of PE as Dance would probably be beneficial if your dd was considering the RAD BA in Ballet or Dance Education.  

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40 minutes ago, Anna C said:

Is she 6ft?  Female Classical Ballet dancer at 6ft would be unlikely because any PDD partner would have to be 6’4” and over, really.  😕 

 

Other dance styles are not so strict in terms of height.  I know a beautiful tall dancer who is now a ShowGirl/Show Dancer and gets to travel all over Europe to work.  

 

I had a quick look at Sports Science degrees and both Exeter and Bath (no. 1 and 2 respectively in Sports Science) ask for Biology (or Chemistry) with Maths/PE/Psychology.  Both also ask for a B or above in Maths GCSE and two science GCSEs.

 

Nothing at all to stop you contacting them (or asking your school careers officer) whether they would accept A Level Dance instead of PE as Dance would probably be beneficial if your dd was considering the RAD BA in Ballet or Dance Education.  

 

Yes - 6ft exactly! She has beautiful long lines though!!

Ballet is her first love but she does train in tap, jazz, contemporary, commercial, Irish and MT so does have other styles to fall back on. 

She has looked at the RAD degree and even emailed them - they will also accept BTEC dance which is useful to know. 

Trinity Laban are offering a new degree in dance science which may appeal too.

Decisions/decisions ! Thank you everyone for some really useful info/food for thought xx

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