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Wanting to study ballet & A levels


Mrsmac
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Hello

 

im hoping someone can point us in the right direction.  We do not live in the U.K. but my daughter currently about to start year 11 wants to go to the U.K. next September to study ballet and also do some a levels. I know nothing about the courses available or the terminology used for them so we are finding it quite difficult to know where to apply. If you type in ballet schools U.K. you can imagine that it brings up every little dance school in the country! 
 

obviously we know of the bigger ones like elmhurst and royal ballet but where else can we look. We have no experience in U.K. ballet. She applied to royal ballet last year for summer school but only made it on to the waiting list so she may not even be of a high enough standard. 
 

can any one give us some advice on where to start. 

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Hello Mrsmac, and welcome.

 

I’m not sure whether funding would be an issue but if not, Tring Park School would be a very good place to consider.  They have a 3 year 16+ dance course and offer A’Levels.  Historically, their academic record has been very good, with some dance students changing path and going to university.  https://www.tringpark.com/curriculum/academic-curriculum/sixth-form-academic-courses

 

As you know, Elmhurst also offers A’Levels.  Both schools are by audition and obviously a good standard of ballet, the appropriate physique and so on are pre-requisites, but with the 6th form course at Tring being a “Dance” course rather than pure classical ballet, there is more scope for versatile dancers to get places.  

 

I know Moorland also has a 6th form dance course but I have no idea whether the school offers A Levels. 

 

There are obviously other “big” schools like Central School of Ballet, Rambert School, English National Ballet School etc but although these *might* still offer A’Levels as an extra-curricular activity, as the schools offer Degrees or Diplomas, A’Levels would probably be done at weekends or in the evenings, and I can’t imagine many 16/17 year-old having the time or energy to fit that in alongside dancing all day, cooking, doing laundry and cleaning. 

 

Your other option if A’Levels are a “must” (and personally, I think they are if a dancer is at all academic), is to find a good academic school with top quality ballet training nearby - assuming your daughter could fit in enough training during the evenings and at weekends, on top of her studies.

 

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Thank you for your reply. She doesn’t want to do a general dance only ballet. She currently does 4 graded ballet classes ( grade 8 & adv 2) pulse a couple of pointe classes, variation , free class, stretching, contemporary  and jazz. She knows she definately doesn’t want to do musical theatre. 
 

moorland is on our list to look at. I’m not sure it would work her attending an academic school Then ballet elsewhere with her being completely alone in a foreign country. I’m not sure what she would gain from it compared to what she experiences now. I wondered if we would be better investing the money into her attending summer schools ? 

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30 minutes ago, Mrsmac said:

Thank you for your reply. She doesn’t want to do a general dance only ballet. She currently does 4 graded ballet classes ( grade 8 & adv 2) pulse a couple of pointe classes, variation , free class, stretching, contemporary  and jazz. She knows she definately doesn’t want to do musical theatre. 
 

moorland is on our list to look at. I’m not sure it would work her attending an academic school Then ballet elsewhere with her being completely alone in a foreign country. I’m not sure what she would gain from it compared to what she experiences now. I wondered if we would be better investing the money into her attending summer schools ? 

Hi. I’m not too sure where you are based so another school to potentially research is the Northern Ballet School in Manchester. The school is a short drive by cab away from the international airport or accessible via the regular bus service that stops right outside the Dance House(NBS). Not all pupils start at 16yrs, they have a more flexible approach as some apply after taking their A levels at 18yrs, however all pupils study a variety of genres through their first year including taking RAD & ISTD exams where deemed appropriate then split into Jazz or Classical focus for the remaining 2yrs on a Diploma level 6 course.  

I appreciate your daughter is ballet focused but NBS might just be another option to consider. 
Despite its name there are no academic examinations ie A levels on the curriculum unlike Tring and others. Small yr group of about 27 so overall the school is close knit with a full register of just under 90. Funding is offered in the way of a DaDa but as that is operated by UK Gov, pupils from outside the Uk jurisdiction are reliant on their own finance scheme .  About a handful of pupils in each year are from Europe ie Spain & Cyprus. There are also a number that live within a commuting distance of the school. No difference within the school of where anyone lives. The remaining pupils reside in their own self-catering flats within ‘Halls’ used by the very large number of university students within the city, literally around the corner from the school.  
If you would like to know more please don’t hesitate to ask. DD has just graduated from NBS 🙆‍♀️🩰☺️

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Elmhurst offer a very small choice of two A levels along side a Level 6 Trinity Diploma in Professional Dance. If you are wanting the A levels as a back up to gain entry to university then it’s tough with just the two. The Diploma gives some UCAS points but it really depends on the degree course you are applying for. The academic teachers were brilliant, very small classes and really supportive. The school itself is mainly classical ballet focused. Accommodation for the first two years and all meals for all three years are provided. Birmingham is a fun city and cheaper alternative to London x 

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Hi MrsMac, we had the similar dilemma (though we are UK based this year).  My dd wanted to study at least 3 A levels as she is academic as well as being keen on ballet, ie rather than dance in general.  The only place to offer this is Tring.  (Although, we only looked at courses which offered funding) There is also the option of Rambert at 18 post A level - I think it’s worth looking at the graduate destinations on the websites to gain an insight on employment prospects after.  Or, perhaps just doing a graduate 3rd year maybe an option for some if exceptionally talented after A levels,  if you can afford the funding x

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Thank you. I was actually just looking at northern ballet but was a bit confused. Is it not a boarding school? At 16 she will need to have accommodation included as we will not be coming with her. We live in Cyprus. I’ve just seen looked at tying and see they offer a dance course rather than just musical theatre which is what I originally thought 

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4 hours ago, Mrsmac said:

Thank you. I was actually just looking at northern ballet but was a bit confused. Is it not a boarding school? At 16 she will need to have accommodation included as we will not be coming with her. We live in Cyprus. I’ve just seen looked at tying and see they offer a dance course rather than just musical theatre which is what I originally thought 

Hi. NBS as you said, isn’t boarding but the accommodation on offer is less than a 6min walk from the school. The fees for NBS reflect that it is not residential. The cost for the accommodation is competitive in relation to what a regular Uni student would be paying. 
 

There are already a couple of students from Cyprus in what now will be the 2nd & 3rd yrs. Definitely not MT though they do schedule singing lessons into the timetable, just to enhance their overall training as a supportive skill whilst allowing the pupils an opportunity to be able to read sheet music proficiently.   
The flats are allocated to NBS pupils. Staff on hand incl 24/7 security and maintenance crew. All in blocks that are only accessed with swipe cards. Shops for food incl pharmacies are nearby. 
 

We too don’t live in the Uk and I was apprehensive with my DD being away and independent just 2months after she turned 16. It is challenging for them, there’s no point saying it isn’t but wherever they go the change is significant but the friends that they make and the domestic skills they acquire (in their own little way!!😉) has certainly helped my DD mature and prepare for the outside world but still in a protective bubble of both school and her flatmates. 
Though they are classed as living independently, I’ve always found that the girls that share the flats work together as a team. Be it the cooking, the cleaning and the laundry🙂Call it team work. 
The convenience to Manchester Int’l airport was also an added bonus. 
 

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Ah thank you for that. I was struggling with the website but I think perhaps I was mixing the two schools up. My daughter would be slightly older as a September baby she will turn 17 just before she enters year 12 but it still a worry. The U.K. for is a longer bigger than Cyprus and she’s not particularly street wise allow extremely domesticated and mature. I think it may be a bit of a culture shock where ever she goes 

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2 hours ago, Mrsmac said:

Ah thank you for that. I was struggling with the website but I think perhaps I was mixing the two schools up. My daughter would be slightly older as a September baby she will turn 17 just before she enters year 12 but it still a worry. The U.K. for is a longer bigger than Cyprus and she’s not particularly street wise allow extremely domesticated and mature. I think it may be a bit of a culture shock where ever she goes 

I understand. We are in the Channel Islands so another island community albeit smaller than Cyprus. Manchester is a busy city I can’t deny that. However they do stay very close to home and only tend to go out with others even when it’s just to the shops. 
It’s so difficult to know what’s right but just be rest assured that whatever you decide as a family will be the right one for you.  I supported my DD throughout the audition process whilst being open and honest with her that if she was successful she was still able to change her mind right up until the beginning of the term that she could say no and stay at home for her A levels. Needless to say she didn’t but found that open conversation reassuring. Auditions take place so far ahead of the start, a lot can change in between. 
You know your DD best we can only offer info from our experience through this forum. 
I wish you all the best. 🤞🏼🍀

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21 hours ago, Mrsmac said:

Thank you. I was actually just looking at northern ballet but was a bit confused. Is it not a boarding school? At 16 she will need to have accommodation included as we will not be coming with her. We live in Cyprus. I’ve just seen looked at tying and see they offer a dance course rather than just musical theatre which is what I originally thought 

Northern Ballet School in Manchester is an 'Upper school '  offering  the 'normal'  levle 6 Trinity Diploma  (  with  either a Calssical ballet focus or  Jazz/Theatre  focus)


 the Academy of  Northern Ballet  in Leeds currently has no 16- 18   offer 9 and hasn't historically had one the subtext  is go to CSB    given the Gable connection ( also the Tindall / Bateman /Dixon connections there as well - but   it;s not to say that  CSb  predominates - as a quick look at the  bios  page  will tell ) -  certainly the daughter of a teacher friend of mine who is currently  going into Y11 and  is Northern CAT  has CSB as the top of her list  )   as CAT  is y6/ Y7 -Y11 and  the Graduate program is for those with a  level 6 award  
 

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22 minutes ago, NJH said:

Northern Ballet School in Manchester is an 'Upper school '  offering  the 'normal'  levle 6 Trinity Diploma  (  with  either a Calssical ballet focus or  Jazz/Theatre  focus)


 the Academy of  Northern Ballet  in Leeds currently has no 16- 18   offer 9 and hasn't historically had one the subtext  is go to CSB    given the Gable connection ( also the Tindall / Bateman /Dixon connections there as well - but   it;s not to say that  CSb  predominates - as a quick look at the  bios  page  will tell ) -  certainly the daughter of a teacher friend of mine who is currently  going into Y11 and  is Northern CAT  has CSB as the top of her list  )   as CAT  is y6/ Y7 -Y11 and  the Graduate program is for those with a  level 6 award  
 

Sorry I’m really confused. What is csb, tindall/Bateman etc? And CAT. We are not from the U.K. so I struggle with these abbreviations sorry 

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5 minutes ago, Mrsmac said:

Sorry I’m really confused. What is csb, tindall/Bateman etc? And CAT. We are not from the U.K. so I struggle with these abbreviations sorry 


CAT https://northernballet.com/academy/professional-training/centre-for-advanced-training

CSB - https://www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk/

Tindall in this   context refers to Kenneth Tindall,  Director (Digital)  and resident Choreographer at Northern Ballet; a CSB Graduate and former Premier Dancer at northern 
Bateman - referring to Hannah Bateman  who retired Last year from Northern  as  Princiapl Soloist  and is a CSB Graduate 

Dixon  -  refers to Ashley Dixon a current Principal soloist  at Northern and CSB  grad 

Christopher Gable  was one of the Founders of CSB  in the early 1980s and was also Artistic Director of Northern Ballet   fro mthe late 1980s to  his early   death in 1998  - it is only  within the past  coupe lf years with Pippa Moore's retirement  from performing ( but  a move to  other  artistic Duties witihn NB ) that  the links to Gable- era appointed Dancers at Northern has been broken  ... 
 

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The Hammond also offer a dance course with A levels. There are hardly any courses which just do ballet now as most will also do contemporary and jazz.
Moorland and Tring are very good but with limited funding on offer. The other alternative is to do A levels online or complete the equivalent in Cyprus and then pursue training. Lots more schools offer classical ballet with diploma or degree.

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1 hour ago, taxi4ballet said:

Something to bear in mind about Tring is that although it is a boarding school, overseas students need a nominated 'guardian' or similar who lives in the UK.

Thank you. That’s not a problem as she has an older brother living there atm. 

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I don't know if this will help, but I had a quick trawl through the current websites and pulled together this summary.

 

Establishment

Accommodation

Ballet qualification

A levels

Arts Ed at Tring (Tring, Hertfordshire)

Boarding School

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 6

 

Wide range of A Levels offered.

Pupils usually study 3 or 4

Central School of Ballet (London)

You arrange your own accommodation

Foundation degree/BA (Hons)  in Professional Dance and Performance

 

Elmhurst (Birmingham)

Provided by the school 

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 5 or 6

 

A levels offered – a choice of Art, Biology, English Lit, Maths.  Not clear how many people take

English National Ballet School (London)

You arrange your own accommodation

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 5 or 6

 

 

Moorlands International Ballet Academy (Clitheroe, Lancashire)

Boarding School

Not clear what qualification vocational students come out with – but there is an option to do

Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) Qualification 

 

 

Wide range of A levels offered, but not clear to what extent vocational students study these

Northern Ballet School (Manchester)

You arrange your own accommodation

Most students stay in halls within 5 mins walk of the school

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 6

 

 

Royal Ballet School (London)

Provided by the school 

BA Degree in Classical Ballet and Dance Performance

Option to study 1 A level in Art, English Literature, French or Mathematics

 

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow)

You arrange your own accommodation

BA in Modern Ballet

 

The Hammond School (Chester)

Boarding School

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance 

2 A levels from a range of subjects

 

 

I would consider carefully how important A Levels are at this stage, because if you only audition for schools which offer A levels you are limiting your choice quite a lot.

 

I believe some students do A levels in their 'spare time' at other schools or colleges, but remember they are already doing a physically and mentally demanding full time course at a level which is at A level to degree level depending on the institution.

 

When my dd got a place at Northern Ballet School, where A levels weren't part of the standard offering, my feeling was to let her put her all into her dance training while she had the chance.  You can do A levels at any age.   If you are lucky enough and talented enough to get a place at a vocational ballet school it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, glowlight said:

You can do A levels at any age.   If you are lucky enough and talented enough to get a place at a vocational ballet school it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 

 

Absolutely true - but I still believe that all dance students need a “Plan B”, purely due to the lack of jobs for dance graduates, the possibility of getting assessed out/injured/ill/stopping dancing, and other reasons why a student might stop training before they graduate (or graduate and not find paid work).  Even if you complete 2 years of a Foundation Degree/Diploma course, your academic options (and funding) are limited.  

 

I don’t want to sound full of doom and gloom but I do think it’s important to be realistic and not put all your eggs in one basket with a career as risky as dance. 

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28 minutes ago, glowlight said:

I don't know if this will help, but I had a quick trawl through the current websites and pulled together this summary.

 

 

Establishment

Accommodation

Ballet qualification

A levels

Arts Ed at Tring (Tring, Hertfordshire)

Boarding School

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 6

 

Wide range of A Levels offered.

Pupils usually study 3 or 4

Central School of Ballet (London)

You arrange your own accommodation

Foundation degree/BA (Hons)  in Professional Dance and Performance

 

Elmhurst (Birmingham)

Provided by the school 

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 5 or 6

 

A levels offered – a choice of Art, Biology, English Lit, Maths.  Not clear how many people take

English National Ballet School (London)

You arrange your own accommodation

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 5 or 6

 

 

Moorlands International Ballet Academy (Clitheroe, Lancashire)

Boarding School

Not clear what qualification vocational students come out with – but there is an option to do

Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) Qualification 

 

 

Wide range of A levels offered, but not clear to what extent vocational students study these

Northern Ballet School (Manchester)

You arrange your own accommodation

Most students stay in halls within 5 mins walk of the school

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 6

 

 

Royal Ballet School (London)

Provided by the school 

BA Degree in Classical Ballet and Dance Performance

Option to study 1 A level in Art, English Literature, French or Mathematics

 

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow)

You arrange your own accommodation

BA in Modern Ballet

 

The Hammond School (Chester)

Boarding School

Trinity College Diploma in Professional Dance 

2 A levels from a range of subjects

 

 

I would consider carefully how important A Levels are at this stage, because if you only audition for schools which offer A levels you are limiting your choice quite a lot.

 

I believe some students do A levels in their 'spare time' at other schools or colleges, but remember they are already doing a physically and mentally demanding full time course at a level which is at A level to degree level depending on the institution.

 

When my dd got a place at Northern Ballet School, where A levels weren't part of the standard offering, my feeling was to let her put her all into her dance training while she had the chance.  You can do A levels at any age.   If you are lucky enough and talented enough to get a place at a vocational ballet school it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 

 

Wow thank you. I see the same. If she was lucky enough to get a place I feel she should pursue it abs do alevels later. It’s actually her that wants to finish her schooling 

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Is it possible to do 3 a levels and ballet  to a level which will get you a professional career? Or does something inevitably suffer? Even more so if it’s not a boarding type situation with everything provided. If you’re not peak fitness then injury is more likely and if you don’t have time to study enough then grades suffer. Perhaps it’s possible for some but I think many would struggle along with living more independently. Maybe that’s why Elmhurst and RB only offer 1 or 2, if she could get 2 with good grades at least it’s very possible to take a 3rd whilst working.

it is of course very sensible to get academic qualifications as well but I’m personally guilty of taking on more than I can handle at times and I think 3 a levels and a professional ballet course would have broken me! 

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DD is about to start 3 A levels at a local college and will do 10-16 hrs of dancing a week on top with a combination of local dance school/associates. She is planning at looking at dance college at 18. She wanted to have plan B, C and D in place! (each A level could send her in a different direction!) 

 

We looked at colleges that offered A levels alongside dance training, but the A levels offered were limited and not what she wanted to do! 

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Forgot a bit!
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If it’s any help my DS started off doing 3 A levels at Tring .

He dropped back to 2 - Maths and Physics , which he gained good grades for . He secured a contract in a ballet company . He wasn’t the only one . So this is acheivable.

 

I think 3 would have been a bit much for him .

Tring have a very good choice of A levels and wonderful classical training.

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7 hours ago, tutugirl said:

If it’s any help my DS started off doing 3 A levels at Tring .

He dropped back to 2 - Maths and Physics , which he gained good grades for . He secured a contract in a ballet company . He wasn’t the only one . So this is acheivable.

 

I think 3 would have been a bit much for him .

Tring have a very good choice of A levels and wonderful classical training.

Thank you. I think 2 would be all she would choose if she was at a ballet school 

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My daughter will be doing distance learning at Kings International Ballet Academy - it's self led but time is set aside in their day to study. She'll also take teaching qualifications. It'll require some organisational skills and motivation but then so will life as a dancer. 

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  • alison changed the title to Wanting to study ballet & A levels

We have also been looking at post GCSE options. 

So far bar, the obvious ones, I have just googled dance / ballet courses in the areas where we have family and not really come up with much.

Does anyone know anything about this college? DD could stay with family to go here (or at least have family nearby), but the course titles don't seem to match the ones listed above.

Courses Overview – Kingsclere Performing Arts College (kings-pa.uk)

 

TIA!

 

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It looks like a dance school who offer a Cambridge Technical (it's a bit like a Btec/UAL diploma) in conjunction with a local FE college.  It is a fee paying college.  We have a place locally that does the same sort of thing but is free.  I imagine most students will go on to study a degree or L6 diploma in dance or musical theatre.  It's not a place designed for immediate entry into the industry.  

 

Saying that I recognise a lot of their singing and musical theatre faculty who are very high calibre.

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