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


Momapalooza
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Right, this is loooong and I can only speak for myself/my own DS but I must say, I feel rather uncomfortable reading this thread about people analysing the children who got a yes and what ‘training’ they’ve had and making assumptions based on social media posts. I’ve just switched my own Instagram to private because of this (DS doesn’t have one, I post of his ballet fun, and successes, on my own account). Maybe naive of me but I didn’t realise he’d be scrutinised like this. If I did I would have been far more cautious. 
 

My son is from ‘the south’, a JA, has had the same teacher as some other successful JA finalists and been in lots of classes (though all on zoom, none in person). Apparently all things which worked in his favour according to the conversations. 

I have credited numerous teachers/schools in my social media post but some are doubled (teacher AND programme tags so it probably looks like a lot more) - two didn’t even know he was auditioning for WL until that post, one didn’t know he was a JA. They all taught him just as they did their other students. He most certainly was NOT hot-housed and we could never have afforded (or travelled to) the extra classes he managed to take while online in the last few months. He has never met in-person with two of the teachers I credited in my post either, only on Zoom (though we hope to once restrictions lift, even if just to say huge thanks!) He is the first student from his local teacher to get into a vocational school.
Only as of 2021 (so less than 3 months), my son has been doing approx 4hrs a week of ballet (on Zoom). Certainly not ‘all hours’ or being overworked/over-trained. Some of this was for social benefit rather than ‘training’ as lockdown has taken a toll on his mental well-being.  Prior to JAs, starting in yr5, he was doing just 45min ballet per week (and 30min tap/jazz). Pre-pandemic he did a weekly local class, a fortnightly JA class and a once a month other associate programme. 

My point in explaining all of this is to show what you see online is often only a fraction of the real picture, even if you are seeing the same teacher or school named repeatedly (you will have in our case as the recommendation came from someone who’s child was having similar frustrations with Zoom) they might not be linked any more than being word of mouth recommendations to try a particular teacher/programme. 
If anything, this year the amazing  teachers have been far more accessible to everyone no matter which part of the country you live in. AND they don’t have to be crazy expensive - we’ve found Zoom costs are much, much lower than in the studio training would be.  I really wouldn’t rate some of the (non-teacher) professional dancers who’ve offered classes - amazing dancers, not so great at teaching. It can actually be more damaging to a child’s confidence when they are encouraged to keep up with a skill level well above their own and find that they just can’t (because it’s impossible at their age). 

 

It shouldn’t be a surprise that many JAs make it through to vocational schools. They’ve already been selected and then taught with vocational training being a possibility for their futures in mind. That doesn’t mean every JA is suited to it or that only JAs make it through (not at all!). There will still be lots and lots of potential in DCs out there, that’s why they open the auditions out to everyone rather than just keep it in house.

 

Please remember, this is just one route of many. And do try - always try! A love of dancing will shine through - there are lots of boxes to tick though, I really do believe potential mixed with particular physical aspects   (hence the physio checks) is what the schools are looking for. It would be lovely if it was simply a case of showing the ‘joy of dancing’ but that’s only one aspect unfortunately. Find good quality teachers and trust them. Most of all, tell your DCs to dance because they love it, not because they want to be successful. Most DCs won’t become successful dancers (I know this despite letting DS try) - but hopefully all Dcs will enjoy themselves while they dance. 

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Instagram in particular can be horrible for making ourselves (or our DCs) feel like the bar is set too high. Ignore it. Dance because you love it. Ask your teacher questions and apply corrections with care and attention. One good quality teaching session is still better than 100 mediocre ones. 

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9 hours ago, DD Driver said:

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). 

I agree with much of what you’ve said in your longer post,@DD Driver. And when it all is going well, I agree with what’s been said above. But at some point parents must be aware that, for some, the journey becomes harmful, the discipline becomes bullying, the etiquette means not speaking out, doing what you’re good at becomes doing what you’re not good enough at, developing your brain becomes developing self-esteem issues, and hard work doesn’t produce any results at all. And parents may not be aware, because their child might not tell them.

 

When mine was younger, I sometimes used to look at the American ballet forum. I found it hard to believe the huge numbers of hours people were training in dance, on schedules that seem normal there, even for recreational students, but are really unheard of here, the home schooling purely to fit in “enough” hours of dance training, the worry over which level of dance you were in, the insistence on the “essential” very long summer intensives, often more than one, the obsession with YAGP, traineeships, the sheer expense of it all. I thought there was no way my child could ever compete with all that, because all American dance students must be so advanced. I had to stop looking at that site. It was irrelevant to what we could do at home with the resources and opportunities we had. We could do only what we could do.

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21 minutes ago, rowan said:

I agree with much of what you’ve said in your longer post,@DD Driver. And when it all is going well, I agree with what’s been said above. But at some point parents must be aware that, for some, the journey becomes harmful, the discipline becomes bullying, the etiquette means not speaking out, doing what you’re good at becomes doing what you’re not good enough at, developing your brain becomes developing self-esteem issues, and hard work doesn’t produce any results at all. And parents may not be aware, because their child might not tell them.

 

I agree!  As parents we have to set boundaries.  How much money we are prepared to spend.  Enforcing academic requirements that must be met for the ballet hours to continue. Gaining an understanding of where your dancer realistically sits in the mix...

 

The industry was difficult before Covid, now we see dancers stuck, waiting and hoping.  It has been a brutal reality check. I have had many frank conversations with my DD.  A goal of growing up is to be able to get a job that pays your rent & food!  

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19 minutes ago, rowan said:

I agree with much of what you’ve said in your longer post,@DD Driver. And when it all is going well, I agree with what’s been said above. But at some point parents must be aware that, for some, the journey becomes harmful, the discipline becomes bullying, the etiquette means not speaking out, doing what you’re good at becomes doing what you’re not good enough at, developing your brain becomes developing self-esteem issues, and hard work doesn’t produce any results at all. And parents may not be aware, because their child might not tell them.

 

When mine was younger, I sometimes used to look at the American ballet forum. I found it hard to believe the huge numbers of hours people were training in dance, on schedules that seem normal there, even for recreational students, but are really unheard of here, the home schooling purely to fit in “enough” hours of dance training, the worry over which level of dance you were in, the insistence on the “essential” very long summer intensives, often more than one, the obsession with YAGP, traineeships, the sheer expense of it all. I thought there was no way my child could ever compete with all that, because all American dance students must be so advanced. I had to stop looking at that site. It was irrelevant to what we could do at home with the resources and opportunities we had. We could do only what we could do.

I became curious with the American way of training too @rowan One of my DCs was offered scholarships to a couple of “full time” virtual places for pre-professional training (I think this is what they are called? And yes, I too was surprised such a thing existed virtually!) and when I looked at the timetables, they were actually during the day time! I did query this and it looks like most who undertake serious training are home schooled to be able to squeeze all the training hours in. We had to decline them because despite the time difference, the timings still encroached on school hours here or are too late at night! I did wonder how they managed to train so many hours. 
 

I think Australia might have a culture of home schooling too for those who are training seriously. However, from what I’ve heard, it’s all very structured with a set timetable within the school. Most DC are able to train good full time hours while still living at home. And even for those preparing to go into the big schools there, there are good pre-vocational programmes all within the same school and students normally just attend other schemes similar to associates. Friends in Australia, not making a sweeping comment, has told me that as far as they know there is no culture of going to multiple schools and teachers In their area anyway. even when they have privates with another teacher, these are those who specialise in just privates and would need the permission of the main dance school before they would teach anyone. 

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8 hours ago, BalletBoyMumma said:


My point in explaining all of this is to show what you see online is often only a fraction of the real picture, even if you are seeing the same teacher or school named repeatedly

 

@BalletBoyMumma makes some excellent points in her post, but this is really important.  Social Media is media - it was what people chose to publish about themselves.  Just as what you read in a magazine or see on the TV may not give you a full and balanced picture - what people publish can be very one-sided.

 

I would also add that if one particular school has had particular success this year, it could be the luck of the draw, could be that they've struck it right with the balance of their teaching this year, or maybe the camaraderie that these students feel when auditioning together gave them that extra boost of confidence that helped them to shine in their final audition.

 

I remember the very first audition my dd did, her dance teacher took a group of them together and made a day out of it.  They were all dressed similarly with a little flower in their hair.  Although obviously they were judged as individuals they went in as a team. There is a strength in numbers that brings a special something.  

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1 hour ago, Momapalooza said:

Friends in Australia, not making a sweeping comment, has told me that as far as they know there is no culture of going to multiple schools and teachers In their area anyway. even when they have privates with another teacher, these are those who specialise in just privates and would need the permission of the main dance school before they would teach anyone. 

 

That is my experience Momapalooza.  When a dancer is at a 'serious' ballet school they usually agree not to go to other schools or teachers.  The existing faculty should be sufficient. This includes private lessons if desired.  Maybe Australian Ballet School interstate or Queensland Associate programs but these are only for visits a few times per year.  

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1 hour ago, glowlight said:

 

@BalletBoyMumma makes some excellent points in her post, but this is really important.  Social Media is media - it was what people chose to publish about themselves.  Just as what you read in a magazine or see on the TV may not give you a full and balanced picture - what people publish can be very one-sided.

 

I would also add that if one particular school has had particular success this year, it could be the luck of the draw, could be that they've struck it right with the balance of their teaching this year, or maybe the camaraderie that these students feel when auditioning together gave them that extra boost of confidence that helped them to shine in their final audition.

 

I remember the very first audition my dd did, her dance teacher took a group of them together and made a day out of it.  They were all dressed similarly with a little flower in their hair.  Although obviously they were judged as individuals they went in as a team. There is a strength in numbers that brings a special something.  

 

Pas de Quatre has started a separate thread about Social Media here:  

 

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On 26/03/2021 at 17:26, Ballerina_girl said:

Interestingly I have yet to see or hear of a child from the north of the UK get a place at WL hopefully I am wrong and there is a few out there but from social media this doesn’t appear to be the case. I’m sure it’s just coincidence as I know there was a lot from the north at the finals 

One of my students got a place at WL, my studio is in the North West! 😀

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21 hours 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. 

Fully agree with this Harwel!! 
I’m a principal of a dance studio with many years of experience of children auditioning, being accepted, wait listed & not accepted into vocational schools & associate, your thoughts and experiences are spot on!! 

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Absolutely agree on those teachers/schools who encourage a supportive attitude toward one another, even when they go into an audition and they’ll be each other’s direct competition. This supporting one another, enjoying themselves, and reminders to not compare themselves to each other (because they all have their own strengths and weaknesses) features a lot in our JA classes. And strongly with all the teachers we’ve chosen for DS (I’ve actively avoided the ones that promise success in this or that and gone for much more wholesome environments). It’s a real confidence builder. From what I’ve read on this forum most DCs made new friends at the auditions this year and really enjoyed themselves anyway, regardless of whether they are on a JA programme or not. That IS positive. 

 

And yes, only successes shown. I know I’ve not publicly posted the numerous times we’ve been unsuccessful for things. 

 

Can I suggest one really big thing I’ve found so helpful please? If you go to a class or event (associates or auditions etc) be open to making friends with the other parents and encourage your DCs to make friends too, even if they likely won’t know anyone there.

TV-type ‘Dance mums’ (or ‘tiger mums’) do exist but they are not nearly as common in the UK. Many parents of ballet-loving children have fallen into this world by accident and are mostly just winging it, relying on advice from teachers and forums like this one. I used to think it was a ridiculously competitive world and that everyone would be super judgy but actually almost every other ballet parent we’ve met has been lovely...and they have their own worries about ‘are we doing this right?’ Instagram will ALWAYS be problematic but having those friendships allows you to see that they are all just normal children who have talent and some happen to be very self-driven, even at this young age. The friendships will help ease the stress a little, especially for the DCs. It’ll bring opportunities you might not hear about otherwise too. 
There’s honestly nothing nicer than a fellow parent tagging you in a post because they think your DC might like a particular zoom workshop. Especially when they are not from the same local dance school and you only see them once a blue-moon but they’ve thought of your DC anyway. And vice-versa. The support for each other is really encouraging. Also seeing your DC’s excitement about going to an event (even on Zoom) knowing they’ll see friends they’ve met at a previous workshop is really nice. 

If your DC has attended and enjoyed an audition experience, do it again and again and again (if you can) - even if it’s just for them to show off their dancing. I think it’s always safer at this age to assume it’ll be a no but just go in and enjoy the experience. The reality is there are far fewer school places than there are talented dancers. And even if a DC gets a yes, a devastating no could be coming a bit later down the line when it’ll likely to be much harder hitting and have a bigger impact on their lives (this is my fear!). 
 

You’ll never know if you don’t try these things out though. 

 

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My ds was chosen for finals for 2 schools, he is not in any associate scheme, just his local dance school. He does more hours now only because he chose to do extra ballet and less other dancing. 

 

This is the first time he has experienced any auditions and had an amazing time. He met some lovely other boys and wished he had written down his phone number so they could text and maybe play on computers together. He came out buzzing from both auditions.

 

He didn't get upset at not getting a place at WL but instead said that means he gets to stay with his family (unless he gets offered Elmhurst) and that he wants to audition for everything he can as he lived meeting other boys, his age, who love ballet as much as him.

 

I really enjoyed chatting to some of the other Mums outside Elmhurst, while waiting for the boys to finish. I have only come across supportive, lovely parents and would have loved to stay in touch. Thank you for making both mine and my sons first auditions relaxed and fun xx

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@BalletBoyMum1they were a really lovely group. Huge credit to every single one of them on that. 💙👏👏👏

(My DS has been asking about your DS - would love to keep in touch if possible. :) )


Fingers tightly crossed for Elmhurst! 🤞🤞🤞

So glad to hear he had a wonderful time at that one also - it makes such a huge difference for them. 

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3 hours ago, BalletBoyMum1 said:
1 hour ago, BalletBoyMumma said:

 

(My DS has been asking about your DS - would love to keep in touch if possible. :) )

 

 

I really enjoyed chatting to some of the other Mums outside Elmhurst, while waiting for the boys to finish. I have only come across supportive, lovely parents and would have loved to stay in touch. Thank you for making both mine and my sons first auditions relaxed and fun xx

 

If you want to keep in touch why not DM each other.  

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21 hours ago, DD Driver said:

 

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). 

 

Absolutely.  I am sure my dd’s determination, self-discipline, resilience and work ethic from 15 years of ballet, recovering from a training-ending year-long injury, going back to school for A Levels, returning to one of her two Associate schemes and passing her Advanced 2 with Merit on two lessons a week all played a part in getting her into Oxbridge (the amazing brain helped too, obviously 😂).  She was asked about it at Interview and her whole ballet journey clearly made her an interesting candidate.

 

We are a lowish-income family but once her passion and talent for ballet became clear, we did send her on some residential holiday courses, summer schools and performance experiences, within our budget, of course.  Once she’d finished Brownies and swimming lessons, she decided that ballet and music were her passions so we did invest time and hard-earned money into two Associates schemes.  She was offered an audition for Year 9 but chose not to go because she wanted to stay at home for GCSEs.  

 

Yes, we invested a lot of time and energy on ballet and of course it wasn’t cheap - but it was a lot cheaper than riding lessons, a pony and a horsebox!  I think the difference between ballet and riding is that if a child shows talent and the facility for ballet, many of us automatically think they have a good chance of dancing professionally so the ballet journey becomes focused on full-time training.  We probably wouldn’t do that if they showed talent and passion for riding, and I expect we know that although horses will probably be a lifelong passion, the chances of being a professional showjumper or three-day eventer are pretty much nil.

 

Music’s the same; the number of children taking music lessons is huge, compared to those who become professionals.  But while we’re paying for music lessons or taking our dcs to riding lessons, we spend that time and money with no real expectations of a career - so why do we do it in ballet?

 

There’s a lot to be said for taking it all a term at a time, doing what we can afford, and trying to enjoy the journey, looking at the benefits that a commitment to ballet will hopefully bring our children no matter what they end up doing.  Residential courses help with independence, summer schools mean learning rep and being taught by different teachers, associates led to making wonderful friends.   EYB and LCB summer schools gave her confidence and acting skills.  Above all, all these things were fun.

 

Too much pressure and too many expectations rarely lead anywhere good, and they’re more likely to steal a child’s love of dance at best, leaving them broken at worst.   We must try to enjoy the journey, not be fixated on the destination.

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That's a really interesting point @Anna C

There is a strange level of expectation in ballet its true. It's there in other things such as sport too, but not quite to the same degree. I will never forget another mother asking me "Well what are you going to do with her now?" when my DD didn't get into RBS JAs. The inference was now that as she, at the ripe old age of 8, had "failed" at ballet I needed to find something else for her to try. My reply was "Nothing. She's the same child as she was before I opened that letter and nothing changes." (Showing my age there - no email then!!)

Even the language used is kind of disparaging. How often do we hear words like "just a hobby" and "only a recreational dancer" as though anything other than a professional career is worthless. What nonsense. As long as dance is bringing joy, to the dancer and those who watch, it is very worthwhile.

I think part of it is a relative lack of progression opportunities for dancers other than the vocational route. If you play a competitive sport there are often loads of options besides a professional  career to continue beyond childhood, even into quite old age in some sports But there's not so much in dance, particularly ballet so I think people sometimes view it as pointless.

Maybe there needs to be more development opportunities for dancers who don't aspire to a professional career? The process of selection as a potential professional starts so young, when a child can't possibly understand the implications. Really what is needed are enrichment opportunities- the chance to do more of what they love, without it being a precursor to, well, anything  - art for art's sake if you like. I wonder how much heartbreak could be avoided if there was some kind of system whereby children with more enthusiasm and talent than average could be developed and encouraged but without it being seen as a career choice. The exam boards could start by ditching the term "vocational exams" maybe?

Edited by Pups_mum
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2 hours ago, Anna C said:

 

Music’s the same; the number of children taking music lessons is huge, compared to those who become professionals.  But while we’re paying for music lessons or taking our dcs to riding lessons, we spend that time and money with no real expectations of a career - so why do we do it in ballet?

 

 

That's an excellent point, Anna.  Put like that, it does make the whole thing seem rather ridiculous.

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12 hours ago, Pups_mum said:

How often do we hear words like "just a hobby" and "only a recreational dancer" as though anything other than a professional career is worthless. What nonsense. As long as dance is bringing joy, to the dancer and those who watch, it is very worthwhile.

 

This is lovely @Pups_mum as an adult (perpetual student) dancer, I'm still doing almost daily classes for the love of it, the beautiful music,  the delight of trying each day to get a little bit better at some difficult stuff.

 

But people (outside of the ballet world) are surprised to hear it. It's odd - if I cycled or played tennis, or played bridge, or whatever - no-one would bat an eyelash. 

 

Children with good training in ballet and dance have something beautiful for life!

 

12 hours ago, Pups_mum said:

Maybe there needs to be more development opportunities for dancers who don't aspire to a professional career?

 

There are quite a lot of professional dance-related roles: education & outreach officers with the UK-wide network of funded dance agencies (not agents who get you work, but places like Swindon Dance or DanceXchange or Ludus); fund-raisers, stage technicians ... and so on.

Edited by Kate_N
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That wasn't quite what I was getting at @Kate_N, maybe I didn't express myself very well. I don't mean opportunities for other dance related work, more like additional opportunities for high quality training and performance outsids of the vocational system. 

 

One of my sons plays hockey at county level currently. Technically he is very good but he lacks the physical attributes he needs to follow the pathway designed to develop professional/international standard players. A couple of years ago he was invited to trials for that type of thing but didnt quite make it and the feedback (yes, we got some!) indicated that it was predominantly a physique issue. Hurray! Honesty! We know where we stand. But its not an issue. He still plays for the county, can still go on courses where he us coached by the best of the best - nobody scrutinises his photo first before deciding whether he is worthy of that opportunity. He might not be going to progress up the England Hockey pathway but it the opportunities are not just linear, they spread out too - there will be great opportunities at University, thriving adult  and even veteran leagues all over the country and so on. He will be able to continue to play at potentially a pretty high standard for as long as he wants. The vast majority of players are not aiming to win Olympic medals or play in the professional leagues but there are still loads of other options that are not seen as "failure."

 

But dance just doesn't seem to be like that. I know it isn't impossible to access high level teaching with a less "suitable" physique because I've been through that with my DD. But it's hard, and a lot of doors shut because of it. There doesn't seem to be an easily accessible route for able and enthusiastic young dancers to develop beyond their local dance school if they don't have the physique for a professional career. Yes, there's some, like EYB for instance, but even things like that get less from age 18. Again I know there are some adult companies but relatively few, and if you don't go to University and/or live outside a big city they are scarce. The whole system seems to be focused on identifying those who might go on to be professional rather than developing the art more widely. I know so many lovely dancers who have just stopped at 18. Such a shame. And I wonder how many children and families get sucked into the vocational system and potentially difficult experiences when they just started out wanting something extra for a child with talent and a love for dance, but the system inexorably pulls tgem along?

 

Sorry, I've rambled and I'm still not sure that I've explained properly what I mean. But there's just a different "feel" about ballet somehow, and a different perception. It occurred to me as I was typing this that nobody has ever said to me "Why do you bother with all this hockey stuff? He's never going to earn his living at it is he?" But I heard that about my DD and dancing so many times. Other parents don't quiz me about my son's career intentions when he plays well and his team wins, but I was asked that incessantly about DD. Why does ballet have to be leading somewhere when sport can just "be"? 

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9 minutes ago, Pups_mum said:

Why does ballet have to be leading somewhere when sport can just "be"? 

Oh I see, yes, that is difficult @Pups_mum And I agree, it is a puzzle I've wondered about as well.

 

I suppose because ballet isn't like sport, where - although the spectators are important - the main point is playing a game, and winning it! Ultimately, ballet is a performance art and needs an audience. 

 

But yes, it's really hard to keep up top-level training outside large cities. I've found that myself, and just have to live with losing certain skills or experience with kinds of steps etc. But I never had full-time training to an extremely high level - just adequate at Advanced syllabus level. And there's a limit to how many studios will let a middle-aged woman dance with 15 or 16 year olds! 

 

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32 minutes ago, Kate_N said:

But yes, it's really hard to keep up top-level training outside large cities. I've found that myself, and just have to live with losing certain skills or experience with kinds of steps etc. But I never had full-time training to an extremely high level - just adequate at Advanced syllabus level. And there's a limit to how many studios will let a middle-aged woman dance with 15 or 16 year olds! 

 

 

I guess our (fairly small) studio must be unusual in that respect, which I don't think I really realised.  We have a lot of adult classes: one beginners, three non-beginners mixed ability, an advanced adult class, PBT, pointe work, and floor barre.  There are also over 18s in most of the vocational grades.

 

When we have a show, the cast ranges in age from 3 to 70+!

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2 hours ago, Horsellian said:

 

I guess our (fairly small) studio must be unusual in that respect, which I don't think I really realised.  We have a lot of adult classes: one beginners, three non-beginners mixed ability, an advanced adult class, PBT, pointe work, and floor barre.  There are also over 18s in most of the vocational grades.

 

When we have a show, the cast ranges in age from 3 to 70+!

 

That’s great, Horsellian.  I feel exactly as Pups_mum does; my daughter loved her RAD Advanced 2 and Advanced non-syllabus classes at Battersea HQ but once she had passed her Adv 2, what was missing were things like EYB, LCB summer schools ending in a performance, and so on.  Even the wonderful ENB repertoire workshops for teenagers, which attracted advanced dancers, stop at 18 and then switch to “Adult General” workshops - which are aimed at less advanced adult dancers, with “beginner plus” or “some ballet experience”, with the repertoire adjusted accordingly.

 

There are amateur orchestras, amateur sports leagues at all levels and oodles of adult choirs, many of a very high standard for those who have taken music to an advanced level, but in comparison there are next to no performance experiences after uni (that I know of) for ballet dancers who have taken their exams as far as they can go but for whatever reason, can’t or don’t want to make a living in dance or theatre.  

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2 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 

I suppose because ballet isn't like sport, where - although the spectators are important - the main point is playing a game, and winning it! Ultimately, ballet is a performance art and needs an audience. 

 

That's just it though, isn't it? There are many opportunities for adult amateur musicians, singers and actors to continue to learn, rehearse and perform with others. Orchestras, bands, choirs, amdram groups, all sorts. Ballroom dance enthusiasts have many clubs and dance schools who teach large numbers of adults. You can participate in most sports as an adult.

 

But adult ballet dancers? Very few dance schools have classes for adults, and those that do will probably have one class a week for all abilities. Unless you happen to live near a big city or have the time and money to travel, there's nothing.

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Just now, taxi4ballet said:

That's just it though, isn't it? There are many opportunities for adult amateur musicians, singers and actors to continue to learn, rehearse and perform with others. Orchestras, bands, choirs, amdram groups, all sorts. Ballroom dance enthusiasts have many clubs and dance schools who teach large numbers of adults. You can participate in most sports as an adult.

 

But adult ballet dancers? Very few dance schools have classes for adults, and those that do will probably have one class a week for all abilities. Unless you happen to live near a big city or have the time and money to travel, there's nothing.

 

Typing at the same time, Taxi. ☺️

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I have just seen that Ballet International have posted a clip of their adult rep class on Instagram, hopefully some uk ballet teachers will take inspiration and start performance opportunities for over 18’s as from this thread it sounds like there is a gap in the market.

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I may be mistaken but I’m sure there was no upper age limit on the BRB Swan Lake Dreams. I used to teach a lady who would frequently express frustration at the lack of opportunities available for the dancer who had never stopped but equally never danced professionally. 

The discovering rep from the RAD is a step in the right direction I suppose.

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