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Fairly new to Ballet; she feels she needs more


Katymac
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DD just turned 15, she started Ballet last September and due to extensive practise/lessons and previous dance experience (ballroom mainly) she managed her Grade 5 after 8 months.

 

Her teacher made her learn all the grades (1-4) as she moved through to Grade 5 so she had quite a lot of lessons.

 

Now she is working on Grade 6 & the other one (is it intermediate?) & she is about to start on pointe work (as her teacher feels her feet are now strong enough)

 

But she is missing all the other classes she has been doing; the teacher would like her to do another class but the timing clashes with her CAT class

 

She also does Tap, Jazz, Contemporary and is about to start Modern in January; I don't really know what to do with her & am about to suggest a private lesson to the teacher

 

She does:

Monday

7:00 – 7:45 Grade 4 Ballet

7:45 – 8:30 Grade 6 Ballet

Friday

5:00 - 6:00 Inter Foundation Ballet & Pointe

Saturday

1.5 hrs of basic Ballet at the CAT

 

Is that enough? Is dhe being reasonable in asking for more?

 

(ps I'm very new to all this so please be gentle with me if I seem thick, or uninformed......I'm differently able - ask me about childcare or sailing & I'm your girl but dance??? bit bemused by it all. Sorry :wacko: )

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Hi Kaymac,

Not sure I can offer any advice but my first question would be, what is her goal dance-wise? That may dictate to a certain extent, what she should be doing?

Secondly I wasn't sure who was asking for more? Her regular ballet teacher or your daughter? And is your daughter misssing styles of dance she no longer does?

 

I am sure everyone will be gentle!

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Oh no she does the others too; she just wants more ballet

 

She intends (who knows how viable it is) to study dance at 16 - probably in London as we are in the wilds of Norfolk in Sept 14.

 

I don't know about her - but I'm knackered & I don't want to say yes unless I have to; her timetable is:

Monday

5:30 - 6:00 Singing

7:00 – 7:45 Grade 4 Ballet

7:45 – 8:30 Grade 6 Ballet

8:30 - 9:00 Choreography

Tuesday

Either 4:30 - 5:15 Ballroom or 7:45 - 9:00 Salsa

5:45 - 6:15 Contemorary

Thursday

3:00 - 4:30 School Choir

7:00 - 9:00 African Dancing

Friday

4:15 - 5:00 Grade 3 Tap/Tap Awards

5:00 - 6:00 Inter Foundation Ballet & Pointe

6:00 - 6:45 Silver Jazz Awards

Saturday

9:30 - 10:30 Ballroom

1.5 Ballet

1.5 Contemporary

1 Creative

 

Plus that silly school thing that gets in the way

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I am not a teacher, or an expert, nor do I have a child at this stage yet. However I think that most of the auditions at musical theatre/dance colleges consist of a ballet class. It would depend as to which colleges she was hoping to get into and whether or not she would need scholarships/funding. I would think more ballet. (and maybe a bit more ballet.)

There is only so much you can do time and moneywise. Would she be prepared to give up something else?

Edited by tutoo2much
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Hi Katymac, and welcome to the forum! :-)

 

Can I ask, when you say that your dd wants to study "dance", what her ultimate goal is? Does she want to be a commercial dancer (e.g. music videos, "backing" dancer on TV shows etc)? Or Musical Theatre, as she seems to like singing? Contemporary?

 

As she started ballet late, I'm assuming (correct me if I'm wrong) that she is not aiming for a career in a classical ballet company?

 

It will be the answers to these questions that determine which classes your dd could safely drop, and which she could try to add more of. For example, if she's thinking of applying for an "all round" dance course such as the one at Tring Park school, with -let's say- the aim of becoming a dancer on a cruise line, or a commercial dancer, then I'd say increase the ballet but lose the African Dance and one of the ballroom classes. If she wants to try for Contemporary at somewhere like Rambert or London Contemporary Dance School, then you could lose the ballroom and even Tap, and concentrate on ballet and contemporary.

 

But if Musical Theatre is her goal, then Ballet, Jazz and Tap will all be helpful.

 

Sorry to be vague but really until you know what her ultimate goal is then it's difficult to advise on tweaking her timetable. :-)

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I'm by no means an expert either, but I've read various comments on the forum which mention that if your main goal is classical ballet it is possible for other dance genres/gymnastics etc to affect pure classical style.

 

I've heard good things about the CAT scheme, so it's probably a good idea to continue with that.

 

If only there were more days in the week!

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Hi Katy

 

Not an expert here either but I think spanner has asked a really important question. What would she like to do with her dance training?

 

Does she have a particular school that she is aiming for post 16? What is the focus of that school?

 

Its great that she has such a broad range of experience, she's obviously very versatile and capable of adapting to different styles, but maybe its time to sit down and talk with her and perhaps her dance teachers about how best to use these skills. Its tempting to keep adding classes, but you do both have to stay fit and sane!!

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What does she want to do?

 

Choosing a goal is an important part of the maturation process.

 

Some people are lucky enough to do well at several things....but life demands that a choice be made.

 

Give her some time to think about it - to put together what she enjoys the most WITH what is realistic. You might consider giving her a time certain by which that decision needs to be made.

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"What does she want to do" well when I ask her she says dance

Her Ballet teacher feels shows/cruises are what she is suited for

 

A recent examiner said the only places she should audition for are: Bird, Laine, Performers, Arts Ed, London (something or other I can't remember) or Udang

We are doing open days at Stella Mann, Tiffany's, Millenium & Hammond; with the hope of Urdang's preauditio course in Feb, Laine Summer school & I'm looking for something the second week of Easter and May half-term

 

She wants to (in order depending upon what she is good enough for)

*dance in shows

*own her own dance school

*teach at someone else's dance school

*teach high school dance

 

& she "intends" to dance until I am too old then I'll teach

 

She knows she can't do 'Ballet' but really loved the workshop at English National Ballet Youth Company last weekend

 

& tbh the CAT isn't really working for her; she is in a class of much youger children (some of them 4 yrs plus younger)

 

 

I think we are a bit lost in a counrty we don't quite understand the language and social mores of (iyswim)

Edited by Katymac
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Hi Kaymac, it seems your daughter is already doing plenty of dance already. Don't forget to try Northern Ballet School in Manchester as they have an excellent reputation for their student getting good contracts on cruise ships. Northern not only look at ballet but also Jazz. I personaly would not add more classes to what your daughter is already doing as she will be doing her GCSE's this year won't she and that in itself is a very stressful time. All the best of luck for your daughter.

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So from what you've said she wants to do, I would aim to get enough good quality training in

 

Ballet

Jazz

Contemporary

Tap

Singing

 

Some ballroom training is probably good to have for diversity, but with so many classes in so many different genres there's a danger of spreading yourself too thin; in becoming a Jack of all trades and master of none. It may be worth dropping some ballroom and African dance, for example.

 

I'd also suggest that having been accepted onto a CAT programme - and sticking with it - is a good thing to be able to put on a dance CV, so that would be worth sticking with if at all possible.

 

Do you get parent/teacher consultations at your CAT? If so, it might be worth asking their view of your dd's potential and what they think she should concentrate on. :-)

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Half GCSE's this year & half next year - she already has Btec Dance & Science & has 12 more to take (me & the school don't see eye to eye; imo 8 solid C grades would be better than 14 maybe GCSEs)

 

Yes, consultations (ITPs) but at her age they do them with DD not me & they take weeks to answer my emails.

 

It would kill her to lose the ballroom she competes at a reasonably high level (ISTD medallists) & is about to start Opens; I guess Salsa, choir & African have to go

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I tend to agree with spanner re the CAT scheme and what to concentrate on. There is no doubt that your DD is a versatile dancer and all her dance styles and levels achieved will look impressive on her application forms and no doubt be a tremendous help to her once on a dance course at one of the schools you list. I would be inclined to look at what is included at an audition for dance at each of the schools you have listed so that those can be her priority classes. I would have thought that for ballet she needs to be aiming to have good knowledge of intermediate (not necesaarily having taken an exam). Bear in mind also that the schools you mention also will take them older ie 17,18,19 so there is no rush.

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The problem with them going older is I don't know what to do with her younger......she isn't really A level material (I employ 2 A level studens & the amount of work they do is astounding)

 

& she has to stay in education until she is 18 under the new rules

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If you are looking at a 2 or 3 year dance course from 16 then I am sure there will be written work towards either A Levels, a Diploma, or a Degree involved in the course. The days at Vocational school can be very long indeed, fitting in dance and academic work.

 

Does your dd's academic school offer A'Level Dance and/or Drama? They could be worth considering if a course at 16 doesn't happen for any reason.

 

 

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No A levels at all at school and the local A level college is limited; she could do a BTec in the nearest city but it would mean nearly 2 hours travelling each way (public transport) - so it's not ideal

 

It would help I guess if we didn't live so rurally

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I know you are visiting MoveIt in March which will give you a few more ideas for schools but there are some out there that offer a 2 year course for 16-18 year olds to prepare them for auditions at schools like Laine, Bird etc at 18. I think I may have mentioned Stageworks near Huntingdon before to you. There is no charge for the course for 16-18 year olds and boarding is availalbe. Boarding obviously does cost but I believe if a course is classed as further education rather than higher education help is often available for boarding costs and this course is further education. I have no experience of the school. We picked up information on it for DD in case she was unsuccessful last year but in the event knew she had a place before xmas so did not follow up on it. This type of school/course could be an option for your DD as her back up plan. In the meantime yes push on with the ballet. Your DD has taken a more unconventional route than many who apply for dance colleges and I am sure all her dance experience will be taken into account but she still does need to get through the ballet part of the audition.

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Yes, it's me again too!

 

I agree with 2dancersmum that you really want to look at what she'll need for the auditions.

 

I don't think that auditions for the colleges you've mentioned will include contemporary or tap...it will be ballet, jazz and potentially her own choice of a modern/jazz/contemporary solo. On top of that she will have to prepare a solo song and a monologue and there could be an acting workshop.

 

On that basis I would think your DD needs to be at a solid Intermediate level in ballet by the time she auditions, she needs to keep up her Jazz (if her teacher can offer some fast, free work so she's not fazed by the audition that would be great) and she needs to be able to perform her song and monologue competently - I think they are just looking for potential and performance ability here...as they seem to start from the beginning again with vocal work. Anything else that she has done will be a benefit on her application (and make her a more versatile dancer, obviously) but not absolutely essential for the course!

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Goodness everyone gets around don't they ;)

 

Stageworks looks good, she hopes to do her intermediate toward the end of next year/early 2014. She does every course that she can find - but I think the problem with some of them is that she is at a higher level already.

 

& the local youth theatre which she has loved is prehaps no longer the best place for her

 

I need to organise a good easter school (the second week) & something in May half-term then something in the summer (any reccommendations?). We can't book the summer yet because she is auditioning for Youth Musical Theatre which she really wants to do.

 

In Feb she is doing the Urdang pre-audition course staying with family & she is really excited about that.

 

Someone mentioned money for classes - we are very lucky because the CAT and some of her other classes are funded.

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If she's hoping to teach one day maybe you could try and find some kind of office skills or business course for her to do (if she doesn't get into where she wants to go and needs to stay home a whole longer).

 

Those sorts of skills could also help her in between dance jobs, temping work etc.

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From what I have observed at our local school the majority of students who go to dance/musical theatre and contemporary colleges at 18 years old rather than 16. They do a BTEC during the A-levels period which I presume prepares them for auditions. The ones that get places with funding to schools like Laines Urdang and Millenium do tend to have a very solid ballet background. Some of them will have known from an early age ballet isn't their thing but will do 4-5 classes a week minimum at age 15 and most of them started doing multiple classes a lot younger. There are exceptional students who have started ballet later like your daughter and like your daughter will often have exceptional facility or a background in something like gymnastics. I don't think they tended to do more than one class a week in modern, tap or jazz. I think most of them seem to do contemporary with GCSE dance rather than an extra lessons in it.

 

When my daughter was 10, she was in Grade 6 and Interfoundation. There would sometimes be much much older girls in her class. I don't suppose they particularly enjoyed being with the little ones, but somewhere along the line they started to move ahead very quickly. I am sure their physical and mental maturity played a part in this. So I would try and encourage her to disregard the fact she is in with the young ones for her CAT programme. She has only been doing ballet for a year some of them will have been doing it for six. When my daughter was put in the intermediate group rather than the advanced group at summer school she was quite upset as she felt that she belonged with the more advanced students. I was too embarressed to tackle the teacher about it, so sold it to my daughter as a welcome opportunity to focus on the basics. Your tendus and plies can never be too good I assured her. I said it must be what the teacher felt she needed at this moment. And for good measure added in some stuff about the growth spurt she was having and needing to work on her core.(I read an American ballet site and this seems to be the underlying message when parents discuss how disappointed their DD's are with their'placement' at summer intensives) In the end my daughter just focussed on herself and I think she quite enjoyed it not having to worry about the more technical stuff. My point being, stick with the CAT scheme.

 

Anyway it sounds like the summer/easter schools you will an oppotunity to get a taster of what these schools want. Good luck it definitely is exhausting for us parents.

Edited by tutoo2much
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Yes - we certainly do get around!! :) You mention she hopes to take her intermediate exam towards the end of 2013. Little confused here as I thought from the above posts that she was currently studying intermediate foundation and about to start pointe work. Will she be skipping that exam and moving straight into intermediate? Or Have I just got mixed up?

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No I have - there are 2 intermediates somethings in Ballet?.....Duh :(

 

The CAT wouldn't be so bad if they hadn't spent the last year telling her if she worked hard she would move up & she never did - then they moved 3 new 10 yos into the class - she will stick at it. But I asked her if she auditioned now what class would she be in & she said she wouldn't be there because she was obviously "****" poor poppet

 

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A solid ballet technique certainly does help in the college funding auditions.....and I think maybe even more so for the younger applicants (DD has noticed that quite a large percentage of the 16 year old girls on her course are in the top ballet set). But they strip them all back to basics again in the first term anyway, whichever set they're in...so the actual grade may not matter so much!

 

Having said that, I would look at increasing the number of ballet lessons your DD does if you possibly can......even if it is at the expense of something else (money and time not being unlimited sadly!!). She's doing amazingly well, and is obviously very talented...but her technique needs to be as strong as it possibly can be!!

 

I could well be wrong but I'm assuming that the Saturday classes are at her CAT?? If so, I'm sure the work she's doing there will be making a difference to her overall strength and technique, and will be helping her ballet......but she could probably do with at least two classes a week at Intermediate Foundation level as well (non-syllabus classes would be great...they just need to be set at that level)! :)

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We went to Stella Mann a few weeks ago; DD loved it, they did a few classes which were great & they also did a 'show' for us parents (we only just got back in time - we had gone to Milton Keynes, christmas shopping). Then we went to Tiffany's (she also loved that!) And they let us parents troop round - I likd that better but DD only did one class.

 

Now I'm on the train to Millenium who knows what tomorrow will bring.

 

Getting a eztra ballet class will be tricky, the one at her school clashes with her CAT midweek & apparently some schools don't let you do classes at other schools as well (DD's teacher is quite nice about it; she thinks the extra class is more important than who teaches it)

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