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Remember, remember the 5th of November: Kings International Open Day


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Remember, remember!

The 5th of November,

Grande jeté, tour en l'air, and pirouette...


For parents of DC's currently looking, in this audition season or for the future ,for a small vocational school with a personalized approach to career development  , I would recommend  spending time at the Open Day at Kings International Ballet Academy in Barwell, Leicestershire on  the 5th November. Yes, it is a school day, but when as parents we are blessed with a talented child and have important life choices to make for our children, usually no effort is too great and absences from school should be accepted for such purposes.


The school offers a three year full time post- 16 diploma course for serious students aiming at company admission but including ARBTA teaching qualifications, but has extended its range to include earlier years for vocational students switching between institutions for whatever reason and post grads looking for structured classes and pre-audition preparations . My DD now a second year student has not regretted the move to this school from her previous vocational school. Extra activities include international competitions, summer schools, company work and stagecraft and production , end of year showcase and so much more. The diploma students are expected to spend some Saturdays teaching the pre-voational students as part of the course. 

There is a good balance between the necessary steady technical development of ballet, contemporary, character dance, jazz, commercial and other general stagecraft and the chances to express artistically in performance. My DD's previous stage time was significantly restricted within her old vocational school compared to the old local school and consequently she became very closed and conditioned to remain aloof. Now I have seen her blossom and relax into roles. Now she does not 'mark' a role, she dances. Now she does not move in monochrome but dances in technicolour. 


Academic tuition is available with an excellent home schooling service and pupils are encouraged to take up this, though OU enrollment is also used by some pupils. Younger pupils have a special timetable that allows for more academic study and a reduced physical component. Senior pupils will spend evenings or Sundays in study, so  for the self motivated pupil with clearly defined artistic goals and serious long term plans this is a calm and supportive community united in acheiving their individual aims but helping each other to keep focused. 


Most students are living independently and rented accommodation is a fraction of London prices. My DD lives with a host family.


There are two half -fee scholarships awarded yearly by two of the patrons for the duration of the full-time course , one for a young lady and one for a young man. 


Not every school  fits every pupil and sometimes we are afraid to change the thing we know, and I see numerous posts here from parents wondering what choices to make. Worries about being 'assessed out' , and such. Lord knows, I have lost enough nights’ sleep for the last 6 years over all of this. I sleep better now even though my DD is over a 1200 miles away because I have a happy, busy DD , surrounded by affirmative mentors. 


So keep searching for solutions and a good home for your DC.It's tough and we the parents need as much courage as our DC's to let them fly the coop, but have a look at Kings  International Ballet Academy too, when you consider the smaller independent schools. Yes it is early days but the confident  progress I have seen in the first entrants in the first twelve months of the school is astounding. I am sure the best is yet to come. 



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