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Full time dancing from 16 or from 18 - pros & cons


Katymac
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My DD wants to dance; she lives to dance and actually periods without classes make her a little 'lost'

 

If she has her way she would give up school now (she is 15 & in year 10 - doing 14 GCSEs) and just dance. But she knows she can't, legally, morally or practically.

 

So she wants to go at 16, which I understand will extend her 'working life'. She says when she gives up performing she can retrain and I have always stated 'learning is life long' combined with getting a degree at 43 and starting a post graduate qualification this year; so I can hardly insist on A levels (or more likely BTecs as she isn't tremendously academic)

 

So - she has 2 dance teachers, one has worked on the west end stage/ballet etc the other trained but works on a more administrative basis

 

One says 16 & one says 18; are there clear cut pros & cons for each?

 

Obviously I'd rather keep my baby at home to follow a more 'traditional' path most of the time (although there are days I could cheerfully allow her to move out straight away) but I'd rather control any 'leaving home' rather than have it happen as a result of a big argument.

 

So, currently I intend to let her audition & if she gets a place take it; but I am getting shock from people which ever path (16 or 18) we are discussing (either "you cant let her go at 16" or "you'll be stupid not to let her go at 16")

 

So pros & cons?

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Why don't you let her audition but also have a blan B for college or a levels at home and see what happens? Then whatever happens happens so to speak. I think there are pros and cons to going away at 16. If she does go at 16 it would be good to chose a course that offers a teaching qualification in with it so she always has something to fall back on if she can't get work or has an injury. My brother went to the Laines at 16 but knew he wouldn't have got into 6th form. He also did a diploma in performing arts that had teaching in with it. However, there were students who were 25 in his class. You don't mention if she wants to do ballet or musical theatre (or other?).

I guess the difference between going at 16 or 18 is very different from choosing between going at 11 and 16 if she wants to do classical training. Hope you make the right decision for you and your DD! X

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I was once told by a dance teacher that it was better to go away at 18. One of the reasons was that companies/cruise ships will prefer to employ 21 year olds to 19 year olds, as they are more mature! She taught on a BTECH which the students did aged 16-18. There were several students who didn't get funding at 16, but did at 18.

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Actually I think, for me, it is quite a clear cut choice. If it is ballet 16 is almost essential and I say that a s a Mum of a son who only went at 16. Many of the teachers feel that late. Very rarely people "make it" in ballet starting vocational at 18 but is is very rare and even more so for girls. With musical theatre my personal belief is 18 is ok and in some way the maturity helps. But many go at 16. The difference is many of the MT courses do have a broader age range which can be a little daunting for a 16 year old.

 

Re qualifications. I was worried about A levels etc but certainly the ballet training tends to offer something. At Elmhurst A levels and a diploma. Central a degree, ENB I'm not sure. I'm afraid I don't know about the MT schools.

 

So I think the first debate is what dance your DD wants to do. If it is ballet then yes 16, if MT you can be more relaxed. Hope this helps and good luck.

 

Juliex

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Well first and foremost make your own decision based on whats right for your daughter and your family and ignore the "shocked people", especially those who don't know anything about rigorous dance training!

 

Some are ready at 16, others 18, but do bear in mind that ballet training, if thats what she wants is best started sooner rather than later. Think you are very sensible to let her audition now even if its just to see whats on offer out there, what places appeal to you and whether she will be successful. I know students who got places aged 18 at places such as Laines, having been unsuccessful at 16- I myself was in this position many years ago and on reflection was vey glad I had two years to mature. I still dance professionally but have to point out that it was a contempoary based dance and drama company!

 

Good luck.

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Hi Katymac :)

My dd's the same age as yours and also thinking ahead. She's planning on auditioning at 16 for ballet schools which is what she'd love to do. If she doesn't get a place then she will go to a local dance college full time. She will get her Teacher training certificate and take as many dance classes, musical theatre and singing classes as she can (all included in the college fees except the certificate which is extra). She will then try at 18 for MT.

This is all up in the air though depending on funding and if I can find a job that's double my salary as we're over the threshold for financial help like everyone else :(

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every person is different and what suits on may not suit another it all depends on past as well as present training Northern Ballet school in manchester will still take an eighteen year old classiscal dancer into there school if they are good enough. also ballet west and central like wise . Laings depends on ability not age as alot of the mts do and some of them require all rounders depending on what course they follow however i agree with hfbew make the decision what is best for your DD and your family . I have also been in hthe same position and we decieded what was best for our family;

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I agree. If your dd has the physique, technique, musicality and desire to try for a purely classical ballet career, I would say you have to let her try for a place at 16. If she and her teachers think that Contemporary, Jazz/Commercial or Musical Theatre, then 18 upwards is fine, and in many places, desirable as they like students to be that little bit older with some life experience.

 

What's her plan - classical ballet, or another dance style?

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I don't think she can do classical Ballet as she came to it so late

 

But there isn't much round here in Performing Arts - she will have to move away even to do a level 3 I think :(

 

I do worry over much - it's a life skill I developed after having children ;)

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It is really good that you are getting expert input from the CAT team. It is invaluable. My friend's DD does it and she was telling me they were incredibly supportive with the older students. Even taking them to see schools in London they thought might be suitable at 18. Apparantly all their graduates that wanted a place at a vocational school got one!

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Hi Katymac,

 

My 15 year old dd is on the CAT scheme for the East of England and they are absolutely brilliant with advice and practical help regarding auditions. This is part of their remit.

 

They regularly have a variety of vocational school teachers and students in to do workshops and give audition advice, some of these schools take at 16 and some at both 16 and 18.

 

Some of the CAT students do go off at 16 - or earlier - but as CAT is contemporary based their emphasis is going to be more towards applying for places at 18. However, students approaching 16 do get loads of input and preparation, and those in Y13 recently spent a few days at both London and Northern Contemporary Schools of Dance, seeing all the facilities, talking to students and tutors, and doing relevant workshops.

 

My dd and her friends have received loads of help and advice - but it's my impression that they also try to encourage the students to do a lot of the research for themselves to foster an independent and self-sustaining approach towards the process.

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Perhaps they expect her to stay until 18 because most contemporary courses prefer a starting age of 18?

 

So we've established that she's not looking for a career in classical ballet. Do you think she wants to aim for:

 

Contemporary,

Commercial/Jazz

Musical Theatre?

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  • 1 month later...

We had the meeting with the CAT yesterday & they were much more spportive than I expected.

 

They have given DD some homework asking the same questions you asked Spannerandpony (sorry I must have missed you reply - I do feel rude for ignoring you; it wasn't intentional)

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Hi Katymac :)

 

From what you tell us about your DD "living to dance" you have no argument. It doesn't matter what "shock reactions" you get from other people. Your daughter is old enough to express her opinion. Life is for living and if your DD is happy she will thrive. Forced into academia that she doesn't want to do will make her unhappy by the sounds of things. Better to try & even fail, than live with regrets.

 

Just my take on things!

 

Good luck ;)

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We had the meeting with the CAT yesterday & they were much more spportive than I expected.

 

They have given DD some homework asking the same questions you asked Spannerandpony (sorry I must have missed you reply - I do feel rude for ignoring you; it wasn't intentional)

 

No problem at all. :-)

 

Glad you had a good meeting with them.

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Thanks Dancemad - if she doesn't try then she can't succeed

 

& thanks Spannerandpony :)

 

Poor thing has been poorly and has missed so much class & even 2 GCSE papers last week (I sent her in, school sent her home); then she had an audition today for summer school & she is now exhausted! But has to go to school as if she doesn't go to school she can't go dancing

 

I wish she could do less school - 14 GCSEs is stupid :angry:

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If you are struggling to find somewhere local that will do a Level 3 in Performing Arts I have attached the link to the awarding body website. http://www.edexcel.com/quals/nat/pa-music/performing/Pages/default.aspx They should be able to tell you all the colleges in the area that deliver the course.

 

Other than that Good luck with whatever you and your dd choose to do.

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