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Central school of ballet


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From reading the graduate destinations I was wondering what was meant by apprentice. Does this mean the student has gained a place on a post graduate course where they have been placed with the company or is it a paid contract directly with the company? If it is a post graduate course this would suggest further training is required for a career as a contemporary dancer.

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My understanding is that apprentice means its not necessarily a permanent contract as it will depend on performance. This also allows them to pay a lower rate for a period of time. I think joining any company from vocational school involves a bit more 'learning on the job'.

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Apprentice contracts as in Bern Ballet, Rambert, Alston, Scottish Dance Theatre, National Dance Company Wales, for example that are through London Contemporary Dance School, is a post grad scheme (approx 6 - 11 months) and therefore the student pays! It is interesting to note that a number of apprenticeships offered could not be taken up by first choice students as they couldn't afford the fees. They are also not 'open' auditions in that the dancer auditions for the post grad 'course' stating which of the companies offering apprenticeships they are interested in and then a small panel selects which company/ companies you can audition for. You have no choice other than to say who you would like to audition for.


However it is interesting to note that National Dance Company Wales are offering 10 week paid (living expenses) apprenticeships to 6 dancers, auditioning at the beginning of November.


Edited to add name!


aka TaxiMom

Edited by taximom
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Yes, that's why it is so confusing. Historically in Europe many companies had a few apprentices who were paid a bit less than the corps de ballet, but still a living wage. As taximom explains, there is now the post grad scheme, through LCDC, but you are still a student paying for tuition, so I think the label "apprentice" is a bit misleading. But if the dancer has only received 3 years funding on a degree course, then they can still receive a 4th year of student loans. Many of these apprentices do get hired by the company they are working with eventually.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone!


Central is definitely a good ballet school, and I specifically say ‘ballet school’ and not ‘dance school’ as their primary focus is ballet. That said, I agree with previous posts that they try to a) provide a broad range of training across dance styles to increase students’ versatility and employability, and B) work with students’ strengths. In this way it is likely you may find a strong classical dancer falls in love with contemporary and thus graduates showcasing their strongest contemporary work as part of the Ballet Central tour, for example. I also agree that some year groups have graduated with stronger contemporary than ballet (as illustrated by the Ballet Central performances), but again, I agree with a previous post as this is reflective of the calibre and strengths of the students of any given year, rather than the training of the school.


I liken Central to Northern Ballet School, in that the majority of their classical dancers are invariably not as high calibre (in terms of ‘ideal physique’ and technical proficiently - artistry is another topic), as some of their Royal Ballet, Elmhurst or English National Ballet School counterparts. This I attribute at least 90% to the fact that a majority of ballet students, given the choice, would pick Royal over NBS (for example), and thus the higher up the hierarchy the school is perceived to be, the more students the school has to choose from i.e. the higher up, the more they can cherry pick the most talented students and the ones with ‘ideal’ bodies. In this way the best ‘raw material’ is snapped up by the schools at the top of the hierarchy, and the schools lower down have less choice (not that competition for the students is any less challenging!!). As a result, the schools with more student choice, and the best 'raw material' usually have the strongest graduates and become most desirable for the next generation of applicants... and so continues the self-perpetuating circle.


By this I am not saying that the training at the Royal Ballet School is of the identical standard as at NBS, for example, but I am saying that there is something to be said for the privileged position of the schools ‘at the top of the food chain’. After all, that way you attract the best teachers too.


From my knowledge of the school, I would definitely recommend Central to any ambitious ballet student, but, in agreement with another post, would also always suggest that students audition for as many schools as possible – not only to increase their chances of success, but so they are more likely to find a school which suits their personality as well as their ambition.


Best Wishes,


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I whole heartedly agree with Angeline. Although I have heard of some students over the years choosing other establishments other than RBS for their training the fact of the matter is that they do attract the students who by virtue of physique as well as strong technique are most likely to get classical work.


Having known students at all the vocational schools, many of them ex pupils, I can honestly say that I personally think that the strongest teachers are not necessarily at the RBS! The teaching at Central is excellent and quite rightly geared to bring out the best in the students, afterall they are all individuals.


My ds chose Tring (and he had a big choice) and the ballet training and care he received from teachers such as Terri Wright and Jeremy Kerridge was some of the best we'd seen. Incidently one of their female graduates has just got a contract with ENB!


Elmhurst has also had strong graduate success (sometimes wished my ds had chosen them) and Ive known students to be very happy there.


I also agree that students should audition at several places and not be swayed by other peoples perceptions "oh thats not really a ballet school" for example or "they don't get many ballet jobs" etc. The best school is the one thats right for YOU and it is really advisable to look careully at what each has to offer. For example, if you only ever want to do ballet lessons don't go to places that are more geared to versatility! Also look at the training history of the teachers, are they actually qualified to teach?


Its all too easy to get swayed by other peoples opinions, especially if they have personally experienced bad times at any of the vocational schools. Unfortunately I know of "horror" stories from all the establishments, equally I know very satisfied students. This is nothing new. I'm still in touch with many of my wonderful teachers but some of my friends have only bad memories of them, and vice versa!


Good luck to everyone who is auditioning at whatever level.

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