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Is it really still potential? (Royal Ballet School 2021 intake)


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3 minutes ago, Motomum said:

All credit to your son, in defence though of the OP, your son and children like him are not the focus of this discussion.

It is not an attack on those children who don’t do extra, or an attack on those that do.  
It seems to me it is a very valid discussion about the trend toward more and more of everything when it comes to dance. It maybe distasteful but it is a valid discussion about children who are 8/9/10 being polished dancers because of privates, intensive ballet training and hot housing toward entry into competitions like YAGP, PDL and entry into prestigious vocational training schools.

The discussion doesn’t detract from these children’s achievements it asks whether potential is really what’s being assessed anymore.

This years WL intake is very relevant because many of the children whom we know have trained differently and more intensively and more than has been so in the past that I can remember, and this matters because it altars the playing field, altars it massively.

 

It doesn’t alter the playing field... it didn’t with my ds hence my post. I’m sorry to say.. hard work comes from within and not how many extra classes you attend!! Quality always over quantity!! I know if children who attended multiple ballet classes, PBT, conditioning and privates and didn’t get onto the wait list... so.... 

I think assuming that money buys you success is ridiculous too... if you have an excellent teacher once a week.. that is good enough!!! The rest needs to come from the child with home practise !! 

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6 minutes ago, The red shoes said:

It doesn’t alter the playing field... it didn’t with my ds hence my post. I’m sorry to say.. hard work comes from within and not how many extra classes you attend!! Quality always over quantity!! I know if children who attended multiple ballet classes, PBT, conditioning and privates and didn’t get onto the wait list... so.... 

I think assuming that money buys you success is ridiculous too... if you have an excellent teacher once a week.. that is good enough!!! The rest needs to come from the child with home practise !! 

The problem is ‘the rest’ very often is no longer coming from the child with home practice and that’s the point of this discussion.

It is disingenuous to suggest other wise when the problem has been identified by the Royal Ballet School itself in an article written by Mark Annear.

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I think the take-aways from this discussion are:

  • Some children who are successful in auditions do lots of associate classes and/or private lessons
  • Some children who are successful in auditions do fewer classes
  • All children who are successful in auditions work hard, love to dance, have natural potential, and (from what I can see) have supportive parents
  • Not everyone who works hard, loves to dance, and has natural potential will be offered a place at vocational school
  • Some families like to shout about what they are doing on social media, others keep what they are doing private
  • We shouldn't worry about what other people are doing - we should do what is right for our own families

 

Edited by glowlight
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1 minute ago, Motomum said:

The problem is ‘the rest’ very often is no longer coming from the child with home practice and that’s the point of this discussion.

It is disingenuous to suggest other wise when the problem has been identified by the Royal Ballet School itself in an article written by Mark Annear.

Hmmm the point of this discussion keeps altering from comments to comment ... 🧐 A minute ago it was about it not be a level playing field, before that it was RBS only accepting polished dancers and not “ rough diamonds” ... now we are talking about “ rest”?  
The fact is.. if you are what they want it doesn’t matter how many classes you have or how “ famous “ you are on Instagram. Accepting this and moving on is the best thing to do. 

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4 minutes ago, glowlight said:

I think the take-aways from this discussion are:

  • Some children who are successful in auditions do lots of associate classes and/or private lessons
  • Some children who are successful in auditions do fewer classes
  • All children who are successful in auditions work hard, love to dance, have natural potential, and (from what I can see) have supportive parents
  • Not everyone who works hard, loves to dance, and has natural potential will be offered a place at vocational school
  • Some families like to shout about what they are doing on social media, others keep what they are doing private
  • We shouldn't worry about what other people are doing - we should do what is right for our own families

 

Amen 🙏 

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13 minutes ago, glowlight said:

I think the take-aways from this discussion are:

  • Some children who are successful in auditions do lots of associate classes and/or private lessons
  • Some children who are successful in auditions do fewer classes
  • All children who are successful in auditions work hard, love to dance, have natural potential, and (from what I can see) have supportive parents
  • Not everyone who works hard, loves to dance, and has natural potential will be offered a place at vocational school
  • Some families like to shout about what they are doing on social media, others keep what they are doing private
  • We shouldn't worry about what other people are doing - we should do what is right for our own families

 

Well said Glowlight 👏👏👏

Edited by Dancing unicorn
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4 minutes ago, The red shoes said:

Hmmm the point of this discussion keeps altering from comments to comment ... 🧐 A minute ago it was about it not be a level playing field, before that it was RBS only accepting polished dancers and not “ rough diamonds” ... now we are talking about “ rest”?  
The fact is.. if you are what they want it doesn’t matter how many classes you have or how “ famous “ you are on Instagram. Accepting this and moving on is the best thing to do. 

You have taken my comment out of context, ‘the rest’ was made by @The red shoes, not me.

The point of a discussion is that it moves and flows through many different points of reference as this one is doing.

This is not about right or wrong it is about the changing platform of ballet training, all POV are valid and interesting.

If we all just ‘moved on’ there would be no forums like this and no interesting discussions like this one.

 

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The other thing to remember is that no-one posting here (as far as we can know!) is on selection panels or staff at the various vocational schools where children are auditioning.

 

So any judgements any of us make are always going to be partial and not really informed by enough information. The teachers among us who have had pupils go to vocational schools may have more insight, but they're professional, and not going to speculate, I would hope.

 

And brava @glowlight especially your final point

26 minutes ago, glowlight said:

We shouldn't worry about what other people are doing - we should do what is right for our own families

 

None of this speculation really answers @Momapalooza's question. First-hand experiences of other parents generously sharing on this board suggests that there are many roads to Rome ...

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5 minutes ago, Motomum said:

You have taken my comment out of context, ‘the rest’ was made by @The red shoes, not me.

The point of a discussion is that it moves and flows through many different points of reference as this one is doing.

This is not about right or wrong it is about the changing platform of ballet training, all POV are valid and interesting.

If we all just ‘moved on’ there would be no forums like this and no interesting discussions like this one.

 

Precisely this. But for families who will have to make extra sacrifices to help their DC achieve their dream, perhaps more than others, it is good to go into this with open eyes. To go blindly is to assume that because your DC has been told to have heaps of potential and works really hard with what DCs got that’s it’s a level playing field. What if the family situation dictates that you cannot easily access quality training? That the nearest school is a small one that only does syllabus and exams every so often? that the nearest associate centre is miles away and the family cannot afford to send DC weekly. Parents have no dance background therefore cannot guide accordingly. The teacher isn’t really used to preparing students for auditions. There are no exercises assigned to improve and strengthen, no programme as such. I would not trust a 9/10 year old to Google or YouTube exercises (possible, but could be dangerous). I wouldn’t trust myself to do this. I do believe in the last year that there has been a distinct shift of something I can’t put my finger on, could be due to the pandemic and rise of online delivery, but I cannot deny that for me this seems to be the case. Again my personal feeling only. 

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18 minutes ago, The red shoes said:

Hmmm the point of this discussion keeps altering from comments to comment ... 🧐 A minute ago it was about it not be a level playing field, before that it was RBS only accepting polished dancers and not “ rough diamonds” ... now we are talking about “ rest”?  
The fact is.. if you are what they want it doesn’t matter how many classes you have or how “ famous “ you are on Instagram. Accepting this and moving on is the best thing to do. 

Your last sentence has always been my attitude with my child. However, you can’t blame parents for wanting the best, and  when seeing what others are doing questioning whether they are doing enough. All of us want to give our children the best chance of following their dreams.
There will always be exceptionally talented children that get in with very little training, but they are the exception.
All children who are accepted to RBS are extraordinarily talented without exception. But given how competitive entry is, it is fair to assume that more training would give an advantage, in a hypothetical situation of two children with similar potential. 

I think this is a valid and interesting discussion.

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Perhaps the standards required now mean that it’s just not possible to take kids at year 7 stage if they aren’t at a high enough level. Perhaps to level the playing field the schools need to look at taking children at 10 like the Russian schools do. Or maybe increase the amount provided through their associates, which may be more easily achieved with some zoom classes. Some of the children starting year 7 will be 12 or near enough which I suppose is fairly late in terms of starting training?

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I think to suggest that an hour of ballet a week with a good teacher is enough for children with potential is wonderful in theory, but in reality parents cannot think this, or they surely wouldn’t be accessing private one to one coaching and additional classes and schemes? What would be the point if they thought there was no benefit? I can absolutely see the benefit, and only regret that financial circumstances and my own lack of research and foresight means that I didn’t/couldn’t consider these options for my DS. Still, you live and learn! Every child who has a place at WL is exceptionally talented and I’m sure their place is very well deserved. My DS will sit patiently on the waitlist and hope for the best with fingers tightly crossed! x

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3 minutes ago, Bunny said:

I think to suggest that an hour of ballet a week with a good teacher is enough for children with potential is wonderful in theory, but in reality parents cannot think this, or they surely wouldn’t be accessing private one to one coaching and additional classes and schemes? What would be the point if they thought there was no benefit? I can absolutely see the benefit, and only regret that financial circumstances and my own lack of research and foresight means that I didn’t/couldn’t consider these options for my DS. Still, you live and learn! Every child who has a place at WL is exceptionally talented and I’m sure their place is very well deserved. My DS will sit patiently on the waitlist and hope for the best with fingers tightly crossed! x

Yep same with us. Good luck to your DS

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I do think it’s important to remember that this last year has been really different aswell. Dance schools offered varying levels of classes through zoom during the Lockdowns (some had a super limited timetable, or offered nothing, some offered a full timetable etc), so naturally people may have looked elsewhere ... and there was lots available! Anyone with access to social media could find free ballet classes or teachers offering new online classes for all age ranges.

And it’s also important to consider that just because multiple schools are posting the success of these children, doesn’t necessarily mean the children are “still” doing classes with them .... maybe it’s an opportunity for that teacher/dance school to celebrate that they’ve had some part in that child’s training at some point over the last couple of years or so??

Maybe this is naive of me, but I am super wary of social media!!

 

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6 minutes ago, TwoDancers said:

I do think it’s important to remember that this last year has been really different aswell. Dance schools offered varying levels of classes through zoom during the Lockdowns (some had a super limited timetable, or offered nothing, some offered a full timetable etc), so naturally people may have looked elsewhere ... and there was lots available! Anyone with access to social media could find free ballet classes or teachers offering new online classes for all age ranges.

And it’s also important to consider that just because multiple schools are posting the success of these children, doesn’t necessarily mean the children are “still” doing classes with them .... maybe it’s an opportunity for that teacher/dance school to celebrate that they’ve had some part in that child’s training at some point over the last couple of years or so??

Maybe this is naive of me, but I am super wary of social media!!

 

This may well be the case and you’re right there was and still is a wealth of free ballet classes through social media. However I do think there is a difference between “follow along” classes and actual classes and I think the reference on this thread is more about actual classes where teachers can feedback to students. 
 

And of course it’s also true that perhaps some were posts from previous schools or teachers celebrating past students’ successes as this does happen often too but I believe this thread is more to do with those who appeared to have been training quite at a very high level and frequency (for example, those who have been posted multiple times a week doing various classes with several different teachers whether ballet, stretch etc).  Don’t get me wrong, I believe if we could do this we would as well! Especially leading up to auditions. Why not try to maximise and complement existing potential leading up to auditions. It does make sense.  The sad reality is that not everyone can do this, especially not a sustained level over a few months. And one of the the purposes of this  discussion is whether people think this alters the playing field or not. It is hard reality that depending on family situation, not everyone can access the same training. 
 

Social media I think just highlights this disparity. Only time will tell whether this trend will continue and whether child A who has potential but very minimal training (and can only do exercises at home as there is no available or affordable training classes) is actually on a level playing field with child B who has potential but also able to take lots of quality ballet classes and associates with multiple teachers/schools, complemented with other training such as conditioning, strengthening (in a formal class setting with a teacher).

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45 minutes ago, Momapalooza said:

Precisely this. But for families who will have to make extra sacrifices to help their DC achieve their dream, perhaps more than others, it is good to go into this with open eyes. To go blindly is to assume that because your DC has been told to have heaps of potential and works really hard with what DCs got that’s it’s a level playing field. What if the family situation dictates that you cannot easily access quality training? That the nearest school is a small one that only does syllabus and exams every so often? that the nearest associate centre is miles away and the family cannot afford to send DC weekly. Parents have no dance background therefore cannot guide accordingly. The teacher isn’t really used to preparing students for auditions. 

Much of this is true in all aspects in life, though. No one can be provided equal access to every “hobby that some might make a job out of later”.
 

However, in relation to ballet, providing access to good training to those who would never have thought about dance, or been able to afford it, is the purpose of outreach schemes. Mine started dancing through such a scheme. The lessons were free. There were no exams at all. Leotards and shoes were provided. The audition fees for JAs, MAs, vocational school were also paid for for those put forward. However, it is still true that hardly any children on such schemes, like children studying dance anywhere, will go to vocational school or become dancers. 

 

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1 hour ago, Peony said:

Perhaps the standards required now mean that it’s just not possible to take kids at year 7 stage if they aren’t at a high enough level. Perhaps to level the playing field the schools need to look at taking children at 10 like the Russian schools do. Or maybe increase the amount provided through their associates, which may be more easily achieved with some zoom classes. Some of the children starting year 7 will be 12 or near enough which I suppose is fairly late in terms of starting training?

You raise a really good point indeed.

My son is in Russian based vocational training here in the UK, and at 12 is still at pre-vocational level, but the training is intense. Their focus is very different indeed. Starting young is everything.

Interestingly all the Y6 children who auditioned for WL from one particular Russian school were successful in getting a place.

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Could it just be possible that standards are indeed getting higher ... ? RBS specifically advertises themselves as a school of excellence and they have to keep that reputation. Not saying this is right or wrong but if “ the more polished child” is being accepted.. we need to ask ourselves why? 
 

A long time ago , if you were a boy with the right proportions and equipment then you were half way in the door.. not anymore I’m afraid!!! The standard of boys has increased dramatically in the last decade and keeps increasing so IMO .., no it’s not potential alone anymore .

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9 minutes ago, The red shoes said:

Could it just be possible that standards are indeed getting higher ... ? RBS specifically advertises themselves as a school of excellence and they have to keep that reputation. Not saying this is right or wrong but if “ the more polished child” is being accepted.. we need to ask ourselves why? 
 

A long time ago , if you were a boy with the right proportions and equipment then you were half way in the door.. not anymore I’m afraid!!! The standard of boys has increased dramatically in the last decade and keeps increasing so IMO .., no it’s not potential alone anymore .

I totally agree with this. Potential is a very elastic word. The goalposts of the word ‘potential’ have almost definitely shifted. The RBS are presumably going to take successful WL applicants on an incredible and demanding educational journey. Like you say, in the past, body type and facility might be enough to show potential. (I personally had this conversation with a famous choreographer who joined WL at 16 with no previous classical ballet experience, and went on to become a principal, then artistic director of a major company). That would be almost unheard of now! He said that himself. Now you’ll see young boys with ‘body potential/facility’ AND some very solid skills that demonstrate additional potential. You’ll see that in a Y5 class, and these boys will be trying for vocational places at the end of this year. There will always be that boy with limited experience who shines, but there will equally be many boys who’s ‘potential’ is already highly polished. 

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A long time ago RBS used to say they preferred someone with no training but who had the right physique, to someone with poor training as it is so hard to eliminate faults. That no training certainly wouldn't apply now. But it is still a case of do RBS think the candidate is suitable for their training, not measuring what they have learnt already. 

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I have just been drawn down the rabbit hole of this thread - I rarely visit here anymore since my DS left the ballet world (I thank God everyday for that day!).  I feel the anxiety of the new parents just entering this world who want to try to explain everything, find a reason for everything, justify everything.  I think you are just finding out that NOTHING about the ballet world has anything to do about a level playing field (I genuinely don’t think anything in this world does).

 

 I strongly suggest you read some of the threads about the beautiful dancers who have gone through vocational school systems and come out utterly broken.  There are some on here, there are some 

on Instagram there are some on YouTube.  I truly wish all the beautiful young hopeful dancers get what they want and live a life of roses and sunshine - unfortunately this will not happen.  Many who have just got into vocational school will never make it to senior school and even fewer will make it a career. Some who were unsuccessful at gaining a place this year will actually do better by being nurtured at home and may find success later.  
 

What is this training for?  To get a job in a ballet company? Honestly, save your energy, stop comparing, stop blaming uneven playing fields, north south divides (never heard anything so nutty - can’t think a company AD gives a flying monkeys where someone is from given all the international hires).  Focus on your child’s needs, make them mentally strong, teach them to understand their worth in this world away from ballet.  If a ballet career is for them it will happen. if not, be grateful they will be super successful elsewhere. 
 

The standards are incredibly high, and increasing every year. No one gets a place if they are not incredibly gifted physically.  The training is intense and only a tiny minority can take it (a tiny % of those accepted at year 7) classical dancers are elite athletes that are born for the role.  
 

There is no level of training given by any 3rd party that will confer enough talent, dedication, physical attributes to a child that has not been born with those attributes.  If a child with those attributes does not get the level of training to bring it out then unfortunately a dance career is not their destiny. However, that training does not have to happen to gain a year 7 place. 
 

Enjoy your child’s successes, help them recognise the talent and dedication of others.  It seems to me the biggest challenge to our younger generation is mental health - make them mentally strong to face life in general.  Ballet will be a footnote in most of our children’s lives. 

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7 minutes ago, Harwel said:

I have just been drawn down the rabbit hole of this thread - I rarely visit here anymore since my DS left the ballet world (I thank God everyday for that day!).  I feel the anxiety of the new parents just entering this world who want to try to explain everything, find a reason for everything, justify everything.  I think you are just finding out that NOTHING about the ballet world has anything to do about a level playing field (I genuinely don’t think anything in this world does).

 

 I strongly suggest you read some of the threads about the beautiful dancers who have gone through vocational school systems and come out utterly broken.  There are some on here, there are some 

on Instagram there are some on YouTube.  I truly wish all the beautiful young hopeful dancers get what they want and live a life of roses and sunshine - unfortunately this will not happen.  Many who have just got into vocational school will never make it to senior school and even fewer will make it a career. Some who were unsuccessful at gaining a place this year will actually do better by being nurtured at home and may find success later.  
 

What is this training for?  To get a job in a ballet company? Honestly, save your energy, stop comparing, stop blaming uneven playing fields, north south divides (never heard anything so nutty - can’t think a company AD gives a flying monkeys where someone is from given all the international hires).  Focus on your child’s needs, make them mentally strong, teach them to understand their worth in this world away from ballet.  If a ballet career is for them it will happen. if not, be grateful they will be super successful elsewhere. 
 

The standards are incredibly high, and increasing every year. No one gets a place if they are not incredibly gifted physically.  The training is intense and only a tiny minority can take it (a tiny % of those accepted at year 7) classical dancers are elite athletes that are born for the role.  
 

There is no level of training given by any 3rd party that will confer enough talent, dedication, physical attributes to a child that has not been born with those attributes.  If a child with those attributes does not get the level of training to bring it out then unfortunately a dance career is not their destiny. However, that training does not have to happen to gain a year 7 place. 
 

Enjoy your child’s successes, help them recognise the talent and dedication of others.  It seems to me the biggest challenge to our younger generation is mental health - make them mentally strong to face life in general.  Ballet will be a footnote in most of our children’s lives. 

Thank you @Harwel I was actually just reading through a couple of other threads on this forum and combined with what stood out for me the most in your post (the last sentence), it really has helped me get a good dose of reality. After hearing and reading about other people’s experiences too, I do think I know how to manage DCs expectations and hope that DC sees the reality too - hopefully before the “should I or should I not audition” decision.  I have my personal thoughts and preference on this (I like a quiet and easy life) but I am going to go with what DC wants.  

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13 minutes ago, Harwel said:

I have just been drawn down the rabbit hole of this thread - I rarely visit here anymore since my DS left the ballet world (I thank God everyday for that day!).  I feel the anxiety of the new parents just entering this world who want to try to explain everything, find a reason for everything, justify everything.  I think you are just finding out that NOTHING about the ballet world has anything to do about a level playing field (I genuinely don’t think anything in this world does).

My Dd stepped off this mad rollercoaster at the end of Year 11 she had places at 3 Upper Schools. It is not a level playing field at all...... I do wish my Dd had stayed at home until 16 in a nurturing environment.  For those of you starting the vocational school journey be honest about how it is going and keep talking.  We sat down each summer and discussed if this was what Dd still wanted.  It is very easy to get caught up in it all, and not want to get left behind. Many of Dd's peers were doing multiple Summer Schools... Easter Courses ... private lessons.... extra associate classes on top of vocational school to try and get noticed - it doesn't come cheap.

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8 minutes ago, Fudge said:

My Dd stepped off this mad rollercoaster at the end of Year 11 she had places at 3 Upper Schools. It is not a level playing field at all...... I do wish my Dd had stayed at home until 16 in a nurturing environment.  For those of you starting the vocational school journey be honest about how it is going and keep talking.  We sat down each summer and discussed if this was what Dd still wanted.  It is very easy to get caught up in it all, and not want to get left behind. Many of Dd's peers were doing multiple Summer Schools... Easter Courses ... private lessons.... extra associate classes on top of vocational school to try and get noticed - it doesn't come cheap.

Absolutely this!  Being honest with your children, talking openly about options regularly and ensuring your child knows that they can jump off the train if it’s not for them , has to be the way to do this!

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I agree with everything @Harwel says. Regard ballet as a hobby. Anything else, madness lies. I’d almost say to not wish it upon your child. There can be so much damage done.

 
Regarding potential, as I’ve said before on here, I never stopped wondering if mine had any potential until the job offers came in. (Did not go to vocational school at all, was turned down for everything RBS, never had any private lessons or did a competition or any prestigious summer schools.) We regarded it as a serious hobby in her teen years, and I certainly expected nothing to come of it when she went off auditioning for jobs. 

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18 minutes ago, Fudge said:

My Dd stepped off this mad rollercoaster at the end of Year 11 she had places at 3 Upper Schools. It is not a level playing field at all...... I do wish my Dd had stayed at home until 16 in a nurturing environment.  For those of you starting the vocational school journey be honest about how it is going and keep talking.  We sat down each summer and discussed if this was what Dd still wanted.  It is very easy to get caught up in it all, and not want to get left behind. Many of Dd's peers were doing multiple Summer Schools... Easter Courses ... private lessons.... extra associate classes on top of vocational school to try and get noticed - it doesn't come cheap.

This is my priority @Fudge, that all my DCs remain in a nurturing environment and there is no doubt in my mind that this is at home. It is of course a big factor if DC dreams big and is actually given the opportunity, pros and cons would need to be weighed but for me, personally, I do not want to miss any second of their growing up years. I know that someday they will move away but if I had my way I would try and delay this as much as possible as long as this doesn’t hinder their big dream AND provided it is actually their dream and not anyone else’s (me included).

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10 minutes ago, rowan said:

I agree with everything @Harwel says. Regard ballet as a hobby. Anything else, madness lies. I’d almost say to not wish it upon your child. There can be so much damage done.

 
Regarding potential, as I’ve said before on here, I never stopped wondering if mine had any potential until the job offers came in. (Did not go to vocational school at all, was turned down for everything RBS, never had any private lessons or did a competition or any prestigious summer schools.) We regarded it as a serious hobby in her teen years, and I certainly expected nothing to come of it when she went off auditioning for jobs. 

I  very much like the idea of ballet as a hobby. I often have open conversations with DC and am honest enough to admit that if it were up to me, I’d rather DC consider auditioning at age 16. Part of this is because, based on my first hand experience alone, I find kids age 10/11 hardly know what they really want and are easily influenced by big names or what others want. Mine change their mind about most things every week! I don’t want DC, if by some miracle they get the opportunity to go away full time, to realise 1-2 years down the line that it isn’t what they wanted but then would be too guilty or hesitant to let me know because they know full well how much we have possibly invested (in the limited amount we can)  in getting them there, or for fear of others thinking they are giving up or are failures. I think that at age 16, they are more mature physically, mentally and emotionally and have a better gauge of what they want to do with the next couple of years of their life at least.  I also think that by that age, their bodies are more like what they would be as an adult, and is a better gauge of whether they might actually still have what it takes physically to go the classical route. 

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Brava times a hundred, @Harwel

 

And your point about the fundamental requirement: 

1 hour ago, Harwel said:

No one gets a place if they are not incredibly gifted physically.  The training is intense and only a tiny minority can take it (a tiny % of those accepted at year 7) classical dancers are elite athletes that are born for the role.  

 is so true. And the physical gifts are never a 'level playing field' particularly when added to the requirement for musicality, communication ability, and the desire to want to use all these attributes. 

 

I remember having some physiotherapy treatment years ago, and the physio was a consultant to a major Olympic athlete team. She'd pointed out something in the way my legs worked out in turnout, and we were talking about the extreme physical requirements of dancers & athletes. I'll always remember her statement that Olympic class athletes had to be pretty much biomechanically perfect, because the intensity of training led to injuries otherwise. I think it's pretty similar for dancers.

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I have nothing to say about who RBS select for White Lodge - you're welcome!

 

I do see cultural differences between the perspectives in the UK and Australia (probably true of the US too)

Where I live, in Australia, there is a very strong migrant & Asian mindset.  Part of this is the strong emphasis on hard work over natural talent. 

 

Yes, we can all agree that Ballet as a profession is dependent on having certain innate physical attributes and, as Kate_N says, being close to biomechanically perfect!

 

Students that I see, are working with what they have and try to improve on what they can.  If their parents can afford it and if the child has dedication & sufficient 'talent' (in the eye of the beholder!) to be admitted into a program - if selective. They work to maximise their personal potential.   Ericcson's theory of Mastery, in terms of physical expertise, required 10,000 hours of 'quality' practice.  Many characteristics previously considered innate talents were found to be the result of intense practice over ten years.  So this kind of effort and training can show results - particularly by the upper school ages & onwards.  Even artistic quality can be improved with greater technique and through training (shock horror)

 

You will shout that these students may suffer from over-work or never had the 'right' facility.  Often we see young 'stars' fade away.  Sometimes succeeding at big comps and performing lead roles as a teenager means you get injuries, burn out early or have little interest in being a lowly paid Corp member. So True!

 

If you are risking everything  - money, academics, broad childhood experiences - for the end goal of getting a professional contract then that is a very poor & uninformed gamble.  From my perspective as a parent however, I do see value in the journey, in the discipline, in the etiquette, in doing what you are good at, in developing your brain in this way, and experiencing how hard work produces results (body & performance-wise). 

Edited by DD Driver
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