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Year 9 ballet progress concerns


lisadebs
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Hi there, just wondered whether I could share some concerns with all you experienced people out there.

Youngest dd is at vocational school and up until now has seemed to be doing well, good appraisal marks, fairly positive reports, some nice opportunities to perform, scholarships to summer school etc. However this year we have just had a pretty discouraging annual consultation with her ballet teacher followed by an equally discouraging (but very honest) written report. Suddenly there seem to be all sorts of problems, behind on technique (she has had to miss a lot of classes for rehearsals) lack of strength and stamina (21 performance of Swan Lake straight into Nutcracker!) weak feet, concerns over proportions to name a few!

 

This is fairly concerning with the appraisals looming fast and reading between the lines I am fairly sure that this will be our last year at the school. Has anybody else out there had similar year 9 problems? If so how did you handle them?

Any advice/moral support greatly appreciated!

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Hello.I`m so sorry to hear this. It sounds to me as if your daughter is spending too much time performing and not enough in the classroom. I could be wrong,of course, but if all of the time spent on rehearsals and performance were channelled into actual ballet lessons,ask yourself honestly if she would have the same level of problems? Only you and her can answer that,of course. Just my personal opinion here,but I really don`t like the idea of all these "youth Ballet" companies.Are they really helping young people become technically better dancers? The best of luck to your dd.

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If I understand correctly your daughter has been doing professional performances at ROH not youth ballet companies :) I haven't been through this before but I know others on the forum have experience of important year 9 appraisals and they will be able to tell of their experiences I'm sure.

 

All the very best to your dd and to the family over the coming weeks. It is a stressful time for everyone. Let's hope for a positive outcome xx

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Yes Kiwimum - you're right. She is at WL so the performances have been with the Royal Ballet Company, she is smallish and so has been the right height for various roles. The trouble is time spent both rehearsing and then going backwards and forwards to the opera house eats into class time. Having said that, she has been very lucky to be involved with these performances and has really enjoyed the experience. I guess we'll just have to wait and see....

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Sorry to hear of your worries lisadebs. I think there is probably very little you can do about at the moment as appraisals are so near. How is your daughter handling it? It's hard to say what you will be facing in a few months but although I haven't gone through it with my son I know some who have and heartbreaking at the time, they have come out of it and been ok. Bankrupt Mum is right and you just have to keep as positive as you can for your talented daughter. There are kids who have come out of white lodge earlier than hoped and are now working for ballet companies.

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No advice but just wanted to lend support. A girl from dd's old school & dance school is I think a school colleague of your dd (half the dance school went to see Swan lake at the cinema) & whilst amazing it must have taken its toll.

 

If you truly think it is her last year would it be sm idea to contact sone other schools with regards to the possibility of transferring (think a boy transferred to another school after bring assessed out last year?)

 

Hope it all works out for the best b

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You definitely need to keep level headed about it, if your daughter sees/hears you worrying it will put doubts in her head.

 

Nothing wrong in making plans just in case though, it won't jeopardize the outcome or change her potential but it will give her something to hang onto and focus on if her time at WL does come to an end. It almost becomes exciting to start considering other options. They go away at such a young age, even if she does stay on to Y10 it good to take stock of the situation and assess it from your/her perspective - is it the right place for her, she is a different person than she was.

 

I wouldn't stress too much about contacting other schools, it only takes a quick phone call and it may not be necessary.

 

Everything crossed for her - hope she doesn't have too long to wait until she knows what is happening.

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Such a shame to hear this but it may not all be over yet. By all accounts the yr 9 teacher has a reputation for being particularly brutal with her turn of phrase at times.

 

Also don't forget that some who are assessed out early have been known to get back in later. There is a girl in 6.1 at Upper School who was assessed out in yr 9 and went to Elmhurst for a couple of years.

 

If your daughter's dream is to dance then just keep going - another more 'sympathetic' school may work harder to help her with some of these issues.

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Better to get a heads up so IF you do get the dreaded 'no longer suited for our training ' letter you're slightly better prepared for it. When we had the ballet teacher meeting we were told that DS wasn't progressing as they hoped for. Though when we asked what his chances of being assessed out were the teacher couldn't give us an answer. It was down to the appraisal.

 

In the end he was assessed out and we were half prepared for it, but then it was easier to get an audition date after half term than I think it is now for another vocational school place. If you do get the dreaded letter it isn't the end of the world as it may appear at the time. As it has been mentioned before there are many who have been assessed out who now have professional jobs.

 

It might just be worth looking at your options for year 10 so if you do receive the dreaded letter you have a plan of action and you're not rushing about during half term when schools are closed. They do have to audition for the other schools and some will be very nice and accommodating and others not so. The way one school treated those who had been assessed out of not just W/L at the auditions put us of applying there for 6th form.

 

For DS it turned out for the best being assessed out and better financially for us. Those that are assessed out do just take it in their stride and carry on as normal. I on the other hand was a complete mess.

 

She has done very well to be selected for both productions and once chosen by the school it is very difficult to say no to them.

 

Good luck and try to not worry to much though that is easy to say but it does all work out for the best in the end

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Hello again lisadebs .I knew you said vocational school,but I had no idea you meant WL.Gosh I am really shocked and don`t know what to say. If WL thinks its more important for children to be performing than in classes.... words fail me. I wish your DD all the very best of luck, I really do.

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They must think she is really good to be using her in so many performances. Surely these young dancers are showcasing the royal ballet school so if she has so many faults they wouldn't have picked her. Just trying to see the positive even though I agree with everone's advice. I hope everything works out ok for you and her! X

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it may be the teachers way of telling her to 'buck her ideas up' not in a negative way but to get her to refocus on technique and class rather than performance, as has been said before the teachers can be brutal, sometimes i think while its ok to be forth right and honest etc they need to remember they are dealing with children, OUR children :) sometimes teachers can't see beyond the 'lack' of potential fulfilment, staff are often even more driven than the children and get frustrated if they think students are capable of more ... even if it pushes them to their limits :)

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Well do I remember the stress of year 9 and lighting candles for each student on appraisal day.

 

To have done so many Swan Lakes and Nutcrackers is a great achievement , I know that not all the girls are picked to do Swan Lake so that is something positive for yor dd to hold on to.

 

The best thing now is for your dd put into practise anything that she has been advised to do, whilst making sure she stays well hydrated, nourished and rested too.

 

For me as a parent my coping strategy was to make lots of "plan bs" as we had a "warning" letter in year 8. I got very good advice from another vocational school about what to do should my ds get assessed out- luckily I didn't have to follow it through in the end although he did eventually end up there for 6th form. The results of the appraisal were out of my control so I concentrated on the things that I could do that were.

 

What I wished I known then though is that very often assessing out turns out better in the long run as students often then find training better suited to their needs. And yes its true, some do get readmitted later on (to Upper School for example) . And there are many professional dancers out there who got assessed out of WL during their training, I know and know of, quite a few. It really isn't the end of the road (though it will seem like it) more a beginning of another loop on the rollercoaster.

 

Good luck in the next few weeks, try to stay as positive as you can.

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Thanks so much everyone for your support and advice, it is so helpful.

 

dd sounded quite chirpy on the phone last night and in her own words is 'taking it one week at a time'. She was fairly unfazed when she read her report, her reaction was 'well now I know what I need to do'. She likes her teacher and likes being challenged. I think one of the problems last term was that she became so exhausted that she didn't have the energy/brainpower to put corrections into place and I can see how this must have been really frustrating for the teacher.

 

She is now working on strategies to try and keep her energy levels up and we will cross the next bridge as and when we come to it...

 

Thanks again for all your words of wisdom, will keep you posted.

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Lisadebs-I find ballet reports and evaluations can concentrate on what you need to accomplish rather than what you have achieved. It's almost as though as soon as one issue is rectified another one materialises. Most of the issues you mention such as strength and stamina can fluctuate during puberty and can be worked on. Even technique can crumble during a growth spurt. No doubt teaching staff are aware of this, just as they are the issue about her missing classes due to performances. Obviously being singled out for performing with the company is a mixed blessing.

 

Kathy G- What are the other schools attitudes to children assesed out from their ballet schools?

 

 

edited to add- My motto- Hope for the best, expect the worst!

Edited by tutoo2much
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We found Elmhurst very welcoming when my son was assessed out of WL. I was worried that whatever was "wrong"with him would also be wrong for other schools, but thankfully that wasn't the case for him (but sometimes can be of course). That was the only school he wanted to try for, otherwise he'd have come home.

 

Lisadebs - you and your dd sound like you're being very sensible. All she can do is do her best in the appraisal class - what the teacher thinks has no bearing in the outcome (otherwise my ds would probably not have been assessed out rather than the other way round).

 

If you do get bad news I'm happy to chat - pm me if you'd like my number - I've "helped" a few people in the years since our experience.

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Thanks JulieW - and everybody else. What a great forum, massive cheer for those who keep it up and running. Have been looking at various options, we are near enough to Northern Ballet for their CAT scheme to be a possibility, have to say - having dd home for two years would definitely be a silver lining :)

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When DS was assessed out of W/L we applied to 2 schools. Elmhurst were very welcoming, it is such a friendly school. The other not so. The Director of Dance in the talk before the audition said "we know many of you are here having been assessed out of other schools, there is no funding for you here." She then left the room. Her attitude made us feel we were wasting their time being there. She was very different when we were recalled for funding audition. They knew a way that you could transfer your MDS to another school. Unfortunately for us the damage was done. So when he was offered a funded place we turned it down and didn't audition for 6th form. We just felt so unwanted. Such a shame as when we auditioned for year 7 it was so different.

 

JulieW was a great strength to me when DS was assessed out and many times since. I keep asking for advice even now. Looking for that first job!

 

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Just my personal opinion here,but I really don`t like the idea of all these "youth Ballet" companies.Are they really helping young people become technically better dancers?

 

I dare say that's open to debate, as what they are doing is rehearsing and performing.

 

What I think the youth ballet companies certainly give them is an insight into the commitment, dedication and sheer hard work involved in becoming a professional dancer.

 

edited for spelling

Edited by taxi4ballet
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With my moderator hat on - if anyone wants to continue discussion about the benefits of youth ballet/dance companies, please start a new thread - it came up here after a misunderstanding and won't be easy to find for anyone interested. Thanks.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks Bankruptmum and hoobydigger, she sounded positive on the phone tonight :). She knows she has done her best and tried her hardest, the outcome is out of our hands. I will be very glad when we know one way or the other! Thinking of all those waiting on appraisal results...    

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Fingers crossed for our Balletco children waiting for results over the next week or so. Hopefully you'll all get good news, but remember there are a few of us on here who have been on receiving end of bad news from appraisals in the past and will be here to support you should the same happen to you.

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