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Vocational Schools - differences in what they look for


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I think this question has probably been asked many times before - but are there any major differences in what each vocational school looks for in a child auditioning or is it very similar?

For example does Tring look for something different to Elmhurst..or RBS look for something different again..? At year 7...TIA...

 

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Interested to see responses to this. 
 

From what I can gather

- RBS is HUGELY about body shape. Also potential, musicality and coordination. 
- Tring and Elmhurst require the appropriate body shape but aren’t as picky as RBS. I would assume they also want potential, musicality and coordination...!

- I’ve also heard that Tring like a bit of personality...

 

None of them require extensive training for year 7: less can often be more since there are then fewer bad habits to unravel!! It’s mainly a question of potential which makes it tricky to accurately gauge the likelihood of success unless

you know what you’re looking for. 

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Always an interesting post. My DD got to WL finals......the one thing that stands out from.that day is the principal saying "it is a chance for you and your parents to see if you like the school, but also a chance to see if you fit our image too"

 

Mmmmm.......

 

I'm glad she got in to Elmhurst!

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I think in contrast to the other 2 Tring is a performing arts school so

they are not just looking for  ballet dancers. I think the MDS awards are for ballet but the self funders could be chosen for other dance types or acting or singing.
 

It always seems to me that in recent years the majority of girls at WL have had a considerable amount of training before they go there. 

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Some years ago, I remember a RBS Associate teacher commenting that in JAs they are aiming for students to be able to do a single pirouette before audtioning for White Lodge. I can't remember now what the occasion was, possibly an audition insight day or teacher observation at an Associate class.

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I would agree with the above statement. 
The intake to WhiteLodge sees children arrive with perhaps not necessarily more training  behind them but perhaps the correct training to give a ‘Royal’ starting point. Yes you must fit in with the ethos of the brand and have the correct physical attributes at the time of audition but to peddle other schools look for personality etc etc is absurd. They all do. There are many strong characters with big personalities in lower school. I believe the difference to be  a more finite specific way of training ballet which means RBS  in turn perhaps look at a candidate in the moment and make a subjective call if they believe they can train the body presented to them to date. 
There always seems to be urban myths around this process. 
The drive is  to produce a classical dancer, other vocational schools by their own admission look to facilitate other areas of the arts. Just my musings having walked the pathway........

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Very interesting topic...

You probably could get a bit bearing from their associates selections or maybe not at all as this is not only on potential as per se, but as well about facility, coordination, artistry and musicality.

Children are changing in time and small growth spurt or the first signs of puberty can completely mixed up everything items balance and flexibility.

The trouble this year is that RBS and Tring preliminaries are by video, which might be difficult to demonstrate personality or artistry.

It is a big guessing game....

Good luck everyone. 🤞

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I think it's a mystery!  And a bit of a lottery in the end.  Not having gone through this myself although seeing friends and their daughters and sons through the years, I can sort of tell that there is a certain type for each school.  Not generalising or stereotyping as that would be unfair and inaccurate but there are definitely some patterns and "types" that emerge.  

 

It's tricky because I noticed that in the last 3 years or so at least, it seems like the competition to get into these schools have just gotten fiercer, as if classical ballet suddenly became even more popular.  It might be because of social media, I am not sure.  Years ago, I have heard of students who got in to these schools whose previous training would have been a couple of ballet classes within the week and maybe one associates class in the weekend.  These days, some of the students I have seen who got in to these schools were doing in excess of 10 hours of ballet within the week and even 2-4 associates in the weekends (and lots of privates on top).  It used to be you just went to your local school for your syllabus class and maybe the nearest associate centre.  These days I know kids who travel hours every week to classes and associates, not to mention masterclasses in London and other cities hours away from home.  It's now hard to believe that schools just take in kids on potential (and physique) alone when some of these kids they take in probably dance less hours now they are in full-time vocational school than they did prior to getting in.

 

So maybe in the past the answer for all schools would have been potential, physique and facility for all three, perhaps in varying priority.  I do think now that standard at the time of audition comes into play.  Without stereotyping, I noticed that a lot of those who get into Royal have the feet, sways, flexibility and most of all physique.  Elmhurst are similar but are more open to a variety in height but are still largely very classical when it comes to physique.  I know some of the more classically inclined sometimes overlook Tring as being too "performing arts" but with just a handful max of MDS places in their dance programme, sometimes I think the odds of getting a place AND funding there is harder.  I also find, based on the Tring dancers I know, that their students are very versatile.  Throw them in a street dance, contemporary, tap, jazz etc class and they look equally as home and comfortable as in a ballet class.  This is reflected somehow in their audition process (pre-Covid), as it includes a jazz class.  There is a bit more variety in physiques but I find that this is not a bad thing as even if you don't have banana feet or swaybacks, you won't feel like you're at a disadvantage.  From friends who've gone through the audition process of all 3 schools, it also seems like Tring already looks for artistry at this stage - there is a solo and the audition classes were apparently more tricky (with pirouettes etc).  This is also reflected in their CBA scheme, the classes I heard are quite different from JAs or Young Dancers.  For example, I remember they started pirouettes and turns early on, in the younger groups.  Tring students I've met are very confident turners.

 

Not sure if that answers the query but I guess, really, no one actually knows.  Even the panel's choices from year to year might still surprise people as it can vary.

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1 hour ago, Mum of unicorn dancer said:

Very interesting topic...

You probably could get a bit bearing from their associates selections or maybe not at all as this is not only on potential as per se, but as well about facility, coordination, artistry and musicality.

Children are changing in time and small growth spurt or the first signs of puberty can completely mixed up everything items balance and flexibility.

The trouble this year is that RBS and Tring preliminaries are by video, which might be difficult to demonstrate personality or artistry.

It is a big guessing game....

Good luck everyone. 🤞

We are in this video year and we have found it very stressful, not necessarily the dancing part but how to show DCs artistry... DC has artistry and moves well but its difficult to capture it. Our house isn't big enough for some of the elements, despite stripping out all the furniture! 🙈🤣 we aren't parents with a dance background and certainly not movie makers. We tries not to get stressed or overthink it but we have and do. Despite RBS vid now in and done.. I look at it and think things like nope that was wrong etc etc. Parents should just be the people who take a child to an audition, wish them luck, collect them, have a talk about it, celebrate their bravery etc, then wait for the results. This year it feels so much responsibility to get it right for our DC. Not started Tring yet 🙈🤪 but would like it done soon! Haha x

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I suspect the teachers can spot artistry, and whatever else they are looking for, in ways we non dance parents don't know.   

 

When I took musical DD for a look around a school and an "informal instrumental session," the teacher came back and said that by the third note he knew what he needed to know.  

 

Associates can be a double edged sword - DS' JA teacher, after seeing his first round audition, commented she regretted some of her earlier  feedback to RBS - she had seen a different side to him when he took class with someone else.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Pas de Quatre said:

Some years ago, I remember a RBS Associate teacher commenting that in JAs they are aiming for students to be able to do a single pirouette before audtioning for White Lodge. I can't remember now what the occasion was, possibly an audition insight day or teacher observation at an Associate class.

 

I'm assuming this thread was where you were intending to put this one, PdQ, but if it isn't, let me know :)

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33 minutes ago, meadowblythe said:

 

I suspect the teachers can spot artistry, and whatever else they are looking for, in ways we non dance parents don't know.   

 

When I took musical DD for a look around a school and an "informal instrumental session," the teacher came back and said that by the third note he knew what he needed to know.  

 

Associates can be a double edged sword - DS' JA teacher, after seeing his first round audition, commented she regretted some of her earlier  feedback to RBS - she had seen a different side to him when he took class with someone else.

 

 

Gosh how galling. I hope it didn’t make a difference in the end.

 

Interesting to hear that JA do feed back: I have always wondered.  

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In regards to competition becoming fiercer, I suspect this is true. There are many, many more associate schemes around now compared with when my DD was younger, and this will cause many more to audition for the various schools. When my DD was young, there was JAs in London, and I think one other centre. There wasn’t even an Elmhurst scheme at all, I believe. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone can put dates as to when the various associate schemes started.

 

 In addition, forums like this and the internet in general make many more people aware that the various vocational schools actually exist, and hence there will be more competition.

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Just to clarify; reader they liked her ...

 

Despite us looking for sixth form (I assured her there was no chance of a year 10 place as we were looking early May of year 9) an MDS was "found" in early July (I had double assured her no chance now, as the school term had finished.)

 

Experience of an elder brother at ballet vocational school, and knowing she had a thorough grounding from her local state grammar before leaving for year 10, made the decision easier.  Whereas year 7 was the right decision for him, she was vehemently against going at that age.

 

1 hour ago, Whiteduvet said:

Gosh how galling. I hope it didn’t make a difference in the end.

 

Interesting to hear that JA do feed back: I have always wondered.  

 

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My ds auditioned last year and made it to finals. He was auditioning for year 8 and has only been doing ballet for a couple of years. He sadly didn’t get in but plans to try again. The entire experience of going to white lodge is amazing but very daunting for them. I have no idea what they look for, I wish I did. He’s currently a mid associate and started as a ja. We haven’t tried any of the other schools as yet so can’t comment on what they look for as I think they are all very different. 

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The schools are definitely looking for different things. My dd auditioned last year for year 7. She was rejected by Elmhurst after the first audition, got to finals for White Lodge, and was awarded an MDS at Tring which was by far her favourite school (and mine).

I think she got the Elmhurst rejection first and was convinced the other schools would reject her too, so no matter what one school says, don’t be disheartened: one school’s treasure and all that.

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