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To audition or not to audition...


swe
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Having reached a major crossroads re ballet training, just wanted other's views really-appreciating that ultimately dd will have the last say. She has been training in dance forever (!) and is now 15 with experience in modern/tap and some musical theatre but particularly ballet (she is RBS SA. ) I say that she has now got to decide about vocational training in ballet otherwise she will 'miss the boat'. Unfortunately she is not happy to leave home and says that she is not keen to audition for ballet school in case she is offered a place she won't take. My view is if you don't at least try the audition you won't have the choice. She is steering to Musical Theatre just so she can have another couple of years at home. Am I being too hard? And is it out of the question to do ballet school for 2 years then move into Musical Theatre afterwards?

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I've seen quite a few students go from full-time ballet training (at year 11 or sixth form) who have then gone to musical theatre colleges, because they're either no longer suited physically to ballet (whether just because they've changed shape or have had an injury).

 

But I think your "issue" here is to discuss why she doesn't feel ready to go. Is it the living away from home that's the issue and perhaps worries about living on her own? Has she visited any of the schools to see what the living arrangements are like - particularly somewhere like Elmhurst where they live in a house together with a couple of members of staff on hand to keep an eye on things?

 

Or is it that she really doesn't see herself doing ballet as a career?

 

I don't need answers - that's for you and her to think about :)

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My DD was of the same mindset last year. She didn't really want to live away from home either and was worried aboout being offered a place somewhere that she wasn't ready to accept. However she did decide to audition because she was also worried about keeping up to the required standard by training locally. and her interest was still more ballet rather than musical theatre. It was during the audition process that she sort of changed her mind. I say sort of because she did decide against some schools in advance of hearing about the outcome of auditions because she did not feel comfortable with the location/accommodation situation. She is now at vocational school and boards with a landlady and really feels that it is a home from home.

 

However, it is something you do really need to talk to her about and take your time about. I would point out that when my DD auditioned there were quite a few dancers auditioning at schools like Northern Ballet and Central who had chosen to wait until after A levels. Although it is perhaps more probable that you have to start a 16 to have a career as a classical ballerina, nothing is certain in this industry and certainly it does not need to be musical theatre at 18, there are plenty who start professional dance diplomas at that age and older and who get work as dancers afterwards.

 

Year 11 is a very stressful confusing year. I wish you and your DD all the best as she thinks and talks things through to decide what path she wants to take.

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I think that your DD first needs to decide whether she wants to be a classical ballet dancer or whether she wants to have a career in musical theatre, leaving aside the issue of leaving home. If she definitely wants to be a classical ballet dancer then you need to find out whether it is essential that she goes away to vocational school for sixth form if she is to have a realistic chance of a career in classical ballet. If it is essential, then she has to make a choice: go away to vocational school at 16 or stay at home and pursue a different career. As Julie says, her fears about leaving home may be allayed once she has visited the schools and the living accommodation which apparently varies from school to school. On the other hand, they may not be. Young people are tremendously variable in what they feel they can take on. They can also change very quickly. In a year's time she might feel differently but by then it may be too late to change her mind. Has your DD done residential courses? If not, then a good experience of one of these might make her feel more confident about going away. I don't wish to pry, and I'm certainly not suggesting that your DD is unusual in any way, but if there is a specific reason for her reluctance to leave home, rather than just general anxiety, then you perhaps need to tackle that head on. Finally, just because she is good at ballet and has done it for many years does not mean that she wants to make a career of it. Perhaps she feels embarrassed by admitting this to you, and to herself. I think that you and she need to have a full and frank discussion. I hope that what I have said won't cause offence and isn't too personal. I'm trying to make helpful suggestions.

 

Finall

 

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It seems to me she is making a choice.

 

If you lay out all the variables, all the consequences of each choice then you have done your task.

 

If she knows that her choice not to leave home might very well mean no (or limited) career in ballet - and she still chooses not to leave home - that is a choice.

 

If you think it is a matter of self confidence and you have told her that auditioning might help her test that possibility and she still refuses - then that is a choice.

 

The fire in the belly must come from within - we can only point the way.

 

If she is happy where she is - then that is a choice.

 

I wish her much luck.

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Hi all

Thanks for the replies. I don't think you are being too personal Aileen-I am grateful for your view! With regards to leaving home-I believe it is simply anxiety (she is a bit of a homebird). She has done lots of summer schools but only 1 residential so I think visits are definitely in order. However I think you have hit on a point that just because she is good at something doesn't mean she should do it as a career. I have tried to say I will support whatever decision she makes but I think the truth of it is she is just not ready to make a decision and let's face it most of us wouldn't have had a clue what we wanted to do when we were 15. So I will have another talk with her-thanks all

swe

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Hi Swe,

 

I would just like to add that truly I don't think not going away to vocational school at 16 means any dancer has 'missed the boat.'

 

My dd is the same age as yours and it is very easy to feel pressure about getting them onto the next stage. Every young person is different: some will be ready to go off at sixth form age, others will not - for a variety of reasons.

 

We know many talented young dancers who are doing one or both of their A level years before auditioning - and at 17/18 they intend to audition for schools such as Rambert, Central, London Studio Centre, Northern etc. Perhaps if your dd's aim was to go to Royal or Elmhurst or Tring, that might be different...

 

Living independently in a big city is a huge undertaking, even at 18 - but when you factor in the huge commitment, physical effort, discipline and organisational skills involved in full-time dance training then it becomes an even bigger challenge!

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I agree with all the above posters. Like Julie I too know people who have switched to Musical Theatre courses after more classical ones.

 

Would it be an idea to talk to her SA teacher and main dance teacher to get their thoughts on whether she should audition now or not?

 

I also know of people who audition at 16 to test the waters as it were but actually didn't go into vocational training until 18. (They had to re audition though!)

 

I certainly think attending open days would be an excellent way of initiating discussions with her. Don't suppose you are near any vocational schools where she could be a day student? Just a thought!

 

Ultimately though does she really want to be in the profession either as a ballet dancer or in musical theatre? If she is one of the successful few to get work it will definately involve being away from home, most probably abroad. If she does want this then she may want to consider being away at 16 to help get used to the idea of being away from home albeit in a more controlled environment.

 

As many have said, many do wait until 18 and are subsequently successful (as I was) but it is harder at this age for those who want to do only ballet.

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My Dd is 15 and wants to audition next year. She has just started on one of the cat schemes which run extra session for auditioning students , when I asked about the sessions I was told that they don't encourage students to audition till they are 18. Last year they had students go off to Rambert and London studio centre so I agree that your Dd does not have to audition now and could wait till 18. Also my DDs Pilates teacher went to London Studio Centre at 16 and has told us she wished she had waited till she was 18 , she felt she would have coped much better if she had waited.

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A friend of ours got into RADA when she was sixteen. She says she was far too young. She lived in Bolton and had never even been to London before. All the students were older and left her out or teased her. She says now that she wishes she had waited those two years.

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I wouls also sugest talking to your royal ballet teacher (which one is she at London or Birminham), mind you my daughters S A teacher arranged consultations with both student and parents to discuss what the student wanted to do career wise. She will advise for classical training what age is necessary. I know that there are some older non English students in all the top schools in the first year of 6th form. A lot of the schools have open days which your daughter may like to visit. I would also ask your daughter if she was lucky enough to get into a top ballet school and it was possible to live at home, would she go then? If she says yes then you will know for sure it is just about the living away from home, and then you can both work on that one. Good luck.

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If, as it sounds, your daughter has good quality local training, perhaps could she leave it a year and try again at 17 when she may feel happier at being away from home.

Full time ballet training is hard physically and mentally and along with living independently for the first time, can put a lot of pressure on a young person, especially one who doesn't feel ready to cope with the demands of it. Writing down the pros and cons of going away versus staying at home may be helpful, as seeing things in black and white might help to clarify your daughter's thoughts. I wish you both the best of luck.

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My DS started post 16 education just before he turned 16. He was definitely too young which manifested itself several times over his first year in London. Most of his peers (although some near his age) seem to be on average about a year or so older than him so I would say no harm in waiting a year. My DS is now reasonably well settled but it was a hard year for him and in hindsight I really wish we had waited until this year.

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So glad I posted-some very good advice as usual. I had a good chat with my dd and I think at the root (putting aside moving from home) is she feels she ought to get some A levels as a 'fall-back' and is not 100% set on doing ballet as a career, so we are going to step back from the applications and continue with (luckily) some good local training and review everything in a year or so..phew......2dancersmum stated earlier that year 11 is a 'stressful, confusing year'-you're not kidding!!

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hi SWE my DD was in the same position as yours last year and she made a choice she would get A levels then hopefully be off somewhere she has started her A level courses and is still dancing five times aweek . She is managing the work load for both and she only turned Sixteen in July this was one of the reasons she decided to stay and continue her education . I hope everything works out for your DD.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi SWE...i personally think the world of Ballet should be entered at an early age (Vocationally age 11) and there has to be a deep passion to pursue this life! I think that as your daughter is unclear of her vocation ie Ballet or Musical Theatre it would be more than wise to stay at school/home, pass some great A Levels (Drama/Dance etc) and re-look at things towards the back end of year13. She may then have a totally different feel for things....Uni perhaps? But then if she feel she still wishes to follow her dreams in Musical Theatre then she could audition. However, i do feel she will have missed the window of opportunity as far as the Ballet is concerned!!!! Remember though, she will still be doing Ballet class at MT School....Good Luck!!!! I am going through this right now with my own Daughter and it is not an easy time! x

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