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Brussels International Ballet School


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Would any members please have any reviews or opinions of this school?  I have been offered a place there but I can't find anything online from people's personal experiences - if you'd rather message directly thats no problem at all, I just really need some opinions good or bad!

Thanks :)

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I have no experience of this school but if you go into the results page on their website and see their past pupils competition wins there maybe someone listed who could help you. I recognise a couple of past pupils on that list who are open on social media x

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There was a member of this board whose DD went there after graduating in UK.  She thought it sounded very good, but the DD returned after only a few weeks, somewhat disappointed and went elsewhere.  As this was a few years ago she only drops in here from time to time.

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I can give some first-hand information, as my daughter is currently there. I'm happy to DM if you have specific questions, but I found it frustrating not to have some more public information before she left, so here goes.

This year, it has been a fantastic decision, as she has done so much dancing, and Belgium has had a lighter lockdown than many places so they are yet to miss a day's class. The staff are very committed to the students and have a fine eye for detail, and work them very hard. Compliments are hard to come by, but there is a constant stream of energetic corrections. The emphasis is very strongly on classical ballet, though character and contemporary are also taught once a week. The teaching is Vaganova, and you will need to adapt if you come from a different tradition, but the staff understand this. My DD has made enormous progress, but that may be because she was non-vocational before, so the sheer number of hours has had an impact. They dance six days a week, with a short day on Wednesday giving the students a mostly free afternoon, and a half day on Saturday. There are 2 groups, in theory ages 15-17 and 18 - 21, but there are some 18 year-olds in group B and a couple of 17 year-olds in group A, according to stage of training. At 18 and non-vocational, my daughter was surprised to be placed in group A, where she is dancing with students who are auditioning for contracts (such as there are at the moment). This is a fantastic opportunity for her, and has been very challenging in a good way, with exercises pitched at a demanding level. One of the boys has just been successful with getting a contract, so has just left, meaning pas de deux is stretched rather thin, but they do nonetheless have a class two or three times a week. Most of the students come from vocational backgrounds, and it is truly international, with only two or three Belgian students. Teaching is in varying forms of English (!) and some is in French, but there is no automatic assumption that you will understand French.

There are a large number of hours given to repertoire, both solos, usually for competitions, and corps de ballet for regular performances. Since the annual December performance was not possible, the school prepared a professionally filmed and slickly produced video of repertoire extracts as a Christmas present/ compensation, which was sent out to parents for free, which was a nice touch and an acknowledgement of the students' disappointment. Theatres have been re-booked for March, though this may also be problematic. The director, Anderson, is absolutely determined to get the students on stage this year to give a full-length ballet performance. We'll see.

The pluses: real commitment from the staff; excellent value for money; really positive and supportive relationships between the students; being a small independent set-up, there is a lot of room for manoeuvre and flexibility in decision-making, which is being vital this year.

The minuses: because it is a small, independent set-up, you rarely know what the decisions are until the last minute, but this is what protects the room for manoeuvre; you need to be ready to accept quirks; you need to be resilient as praise is scant and corrections freely given.

For my DD, who is taking a very unconventional dance path, it is perfect. For those who have come through a more conventional vocational route, it may be a bit of a culture shock.

For practicalities: Brussels is a great city to live in, and very international. Accommodation is not provided by the school, but can be had cheaply through a fabulous organisation called 'un toit deux ages' (my daughter is paying 2000 euros for the entire year's rent), though many of the students share flats locally. Do feel free to DM me for details.

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Allwrong, I can't thank you enough for coming on here and sharing your DD's experiences, it really is invaluable to people like me just starting out.  Your review sounds just great to be honest!  I do have some specific questions and will dm you.  Thanks again :)

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There was a girl from DD's dance school in Australia who went there but she only lasted about 10 days. This would have been perhaps 6 or 7  years ago. I believe she was very homesick and they were not happy about her weight so she felt bullied and returned to Australia. It was a very strange situation and may be more a reflection of the girl's readiness to leave home and move to the other side of the world rather than the school itself.

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10 hours ago, Oakley said:

Oh Kanangra I really do feel for that girl, it really is such a gigantic step to move that far away.  I hope she found happiness and her place closer to home.

Yes,.it was awful, because of course everyone was talking about it too. I think she is now a dance teacher and fitness trainer

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