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London Children's Ballet audition selection


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London Children's Ballet have selected some of the same children for their productions several years running.  Do LCB do this for a particular reason?  As children can only apply for a few years due to age restrictions, it seems a shame not to have a 'level playing field' and introduce new blood by having an entirely fresh company each year, to give other children the best chance possible of being selected for such a fantastic opportunity.  I would be so interested to know what the general thoughts and views are on this.

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It is the same as say, county sports teams I suppose. There is no reason why a boy trying out for the County team my son plays for couldn't be selected for the first time at U16 level. Everyone has to try out at the beginning of each season. But in fact the majority of the squad have been there since U12 days, because they are the strongest players. Some have left because they lost interest or didn't develop as expected and some new ones have joined because they have improved a lot, come later to the sport or developed a deeper interest. But quite a lot are the "old guard." They get selected year on year because they perform well at the try outs and the dual aims of the County squad are to develop players for the future of the sport, and to perform as well as possible as a team in competition now.

I accept there probably is some degree of bias, quite possibly unconscious, on the part of the coaches doing the selection. If two boys were very close technically and boy A is known to be reliable, accepting of corrections and a great team player whereas boy B is a totally unknown quantity I suspect boy A would be selected. Not 100% fair, and it could be argued that they should take a gamble on the new guy who might be even better,  but human nature being what it is I imagine the "known" would be preferred. Then there is the confidence thing. I've noticed that my son plays much better when he is with friends, on a pitch he knows, doing something where he knows the format, knows the opposition etc. The players who have done County trials multiple times before do have a bit of a swagger of self confidence of them, so are more likely to play well and catch the eye of the selectors.

I don't think anyone would really expect the selectors to pick anything other than what they believe to be the squad that has the best chance of good results and contains the players with the highest likelihood of progressing in the sport. Imagine saying to the top goalscorer "Well, yes, you were the best at the trials, you've won us multiple matches in the past and we think you have Olympic potential, but this year, just go back to your club. You've been picked for the last 3 years and we think it is time to give someone else a chance". It wouldn't happen would it?

I think you can extrapolate much of the same thoughts to selection for youth ballets, associates etc. Each scheme wants the dancers who will put on the best performance and the ones that they feel have the highest chance of success in an outrageously competitive profession. The more experienced,  as well as having the ability are also likely to have a proven track record and confidence that gives them a little bit extra at audition. There is always a far higher number of applicants  than places and many, probably most, of those who apply will be competent and could benefit. Not being chosen doesn't mean a dancer is not good. But like the sports selectors, the audition panel will pick who they feel shows most potential on the day for the roles they have on offer. It isn't absolutely fair, or infallible - I don't think any subjective selection process can be. I would also think that having a cohort of children who "know the ropes" as well as being a high standard really helps the company.

As I understand it (no personal experience) LCB audition everyone every year so the playing field is as level as it can be. But dancers who ticked all the boxes in the past are likely to tick them all again. I understand where you are coming from and I agree, ot can be frustrating to see what seems to be the same children getting picked for everything, but I can also see the company's point of view. There are lots of stories on here of yesses coming after long runs of nos though, so it is not always the case.

(Sorry, that ended up longer than planned!)

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Everything that Pups_Mum said plus .... it can seem (and probably is) a vicious circle since the children who perform best are usually those who have performance experience ... but to get performance experience, a child needs to be one of the best at selection ....

 

Whatever the rights or wrongs of this, at least it's a good preparation for the rest of life ....

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On 05/12/2019 at 13:40, Pups_mum said:

 

(Sorry, that ended up longer than planned!)

..but very well explained and a good analogy.  

 

One of the things that dance training gives is experience of the hard knocks (sometimes not completely fair) which come in later life.  Dance life can seem particularly unfair.  My dd went to one professional audition where, after the first exercise at the barre, the director split the room in half and sent away everyone in one half because the studio was too full!  (DD took the opportunity to nip across to Covent Garden to another open audition which was taking place the same day).

 

But..GBC - persistence pays off, so encourage your child to keep trying at every opportunity which comes up.  Their time will come.

 

 

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Thanks so much for your thoughts Pups Mum, Glissade and Glowlight.  Glowlight so sorry to hear about your daughter's audition experience - that was brutal!  I hope she was successful elsewhere in Covent Garden!

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Yep the dance world is not fair, even the schools seem to have favourite students who whilst often good are not always the best, who get the opporrunities, the photo shoots, the official Instagram posts. In the long run though those who gave to fight for every opportunity and survive come out stronger. I do think some of the favourites must find life very difficult when they move on to the next stage.

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