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Falling at the first hurdle!


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Just received dd's letter of rejection from Elmhurst and we are a bit shocked she didn't make it through the first round!

She has been an Associate of the RBS for 8 years , awarded 3 scholarships with the EYB and 1 to the Wells Weekend,

passed her Advanced 1 at RAD and ISTD with Distinction but was unable to pass the basics!

It would be very useful if along with these letters one could get some feedback.

I feel my emotions have resurfaced that were experienced during the one and only festival my dd participated in when she was 8.

My husband thought she was a swan dancing amongst ducks and wanted to punch the judge when she wasn't placed!!

Fortunately we have taken the positives out of these experiences. My dd can find her way to London on  the train on her own, knows her way  through the Underground, participated in 3 children's ballet and had workshops with Marianela Nunez and Steven McCrae.

I'm a great believer in fate and there will be greater opportunities around the corner.

 

 

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Hello.! I`m so sorry to hear this. All I would say is,and I`m sure others on here would echo it; things happen for a reason.Although we can`t always see what that is at the time and other`s decisions may seem illogical to us,"fate" usually knows what`s meant to be . Just put it down to one of life`s experiences,learn from it,and don`t be discouraged from keeping trying.!!

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i hate to say it, but Elmhurst has made some odd decisions over the last few years which have been out of step with the general consensus of opinion that has been received by many experienced people at many other places, including RBS associates. By that, I mean not even putting people through to finals when the general consensus is that they should easily get a place, and then taking people to final who most people would consider fairly average. When prompted, some of these girls who were initially 'overlooked', have subsequently been offered a further audition.

 

I really don't think this is a case of Elmhurst looking for something different. I think it is a case of inexperience. Don't forget they have had some changes of AD and assistant AD in the last couple of years and whilst they may have the best of ballet experience, they don't necessarily have experience of assessing 15/16 year old girls on their potential in a 1.5hr audition.

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It is so tough . Was she applying for the sixth form? What other schools is she applying to? Just because Elsmhurst have decided she isn't for them does not mean Central, ENB, Northern Ballet School, Hammond, Tring etc will feel the same.

 

Have you spoken to her RB Associate teacher?

 

Did she think she had done a good audition? I know my son came out of one saying he was rubbish just seemed to lose the ability to dance. Needless to say he didn't get a second audition for that one.

 

Sometimes a dance teacher can get more info from the school.

But try to keep positive. To be brutally honest this is the toughest business and they have to get used to so much rejection. For schools for companies. Very few sail through like the Vadim's of this world. It does make them stronger and they have to be very determined to keep going.

 

Again being brutal in many respects exam results etc actually do mean very little. I know that sounds horrid and it took me a long time to realise that . For the schools they are just an indicator of possible ability and will be what helped get the auditon in the first place. The sad truth is there are so many talented children around.

 

But if your daughter really wants to do this and you really think she does have the ability then don't give up. Talk to some other schools.

 

The school Martin did not get the second audition for at the time he was very upset about but, a year later, everyone he knew who had got into the school was assessed out and that left them in a very tricky position.

 

Good luck to your all and we really do understand what a tough tough time it is.

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My dd applied for the Sixth Form.

She has auditions for RBS and Central.

I feel very cynical about the whole process. My dd has achieved her present level on just 6 hours a week of ballet lessons. She is competing against girls who have been in full time training since they were 11. If this is a necessity then please let us know so we don't waste our time chasing something that will never become a reality.

My husband compares the training to spending hours on the driving range but never reaching the golf course. They need to perform more and not in a festival situation.

A dancer maybe technically perfect but not necessary be able to perform and for me I would rather watch someone that can evoke an emotion than watching a robot.

There is a lot of British talent around and we never see their full potential because we do not nurture our own.

I feel we will never get to see my dd full potential and that seems such a shame after she has dedicated so much of her time to follow this dream. 

Fortunately I am a realist and never stopped my daughter participating in other activities just in case she could get injured! 

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I have known several girls to get a no for Elmhurst and a yes for RBS and ENB. I also know that when my dd did finals at Elmhurst several girls from White Lodge were not given a final audition. Again, some girls who were told no at finals suddenly are given a place. Elmhurst is a lovely school but do some odd things at auditions. The schools do generally know what they are looking for and a lot do not come from vocational schools. Non of the vocational schools are interested in exam or festival or other previous performances, They are looking at the student in front of them and if they have the right attributes for their school. Sometimes they get it wrong in our opinion. If a student wants to be sucessful in the ballet world then they need to be very determined and not give up when told no thankyou. Many students daily life consists of not being chosen for something or other or being overlooked by somebody else. These are not necessary the ones who get the best jobs though. Keep going Discouraged there are other good schools out there. This is why us parents hate the audition process as it is so hard when the rejection letters invariably through the door. Auditioning is the easy bit, the waiting is the hardest.

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I think Elmhurst and RBS do look for quite different things. I know a girl who has done Elmhurst JAs for 3 years but auditioned for RBS JAs and not even got SWL. She has just got a place at Hammond so is obviously talented. I know this is not for 6th form but just an example. Don't give up yet!

What a shame your festival experience was so horrendous for you! We have done quite a few and sometimes it goes your way, sometimes not. At the end of the day it is just how it goes that day. Same with auditions I guess but with all your hopes pinned on it it is very disheartening. How is your DD taking it? Fingers crossed she isn't too put off and that you get a better result from her other auditions. If its meant to be she will get in somewhere and if not something else will present itself even if it wasn't what you planned. Sending hugs to you and your dd!! X

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If you want to dance, the key is to get in somewhere and make the most of the training you have available. It's not always about the school, it's about the teacher you get when you get to the school and there are some excellent teachers at some of the less coveted schools. You can always audition again in your first year of 6th form - many do move around.

 

As Primrose said, there will be White Lodge and Elmhurst students who have been in full time training for 5 years who haven't been given an Elmhurst final.

 

I would try and audition for a few more schools if I were you. And talk to your SA teacher - she should give you a realistic opinion. Not sure which one you are at but if Birmingham, you should get a very good indication of any issues as the SA there is an Elmhurst teacher as well.

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I know how you feel. My son too was non vocational until 6th form. Just went to a local school. Interestingly in our day (he left elmhurst in 2009) anyone auditioning from White lodge was almost guaranteed a place. But the then head was ex WL teacher herself. At his first audition he was the only one not from WL!

 

In an audition it is potential that is looked for. So conformity, flexibility, height, size etc are all factored in. In what happens in an audition artistry is hard to judge.

 

Everyone can point you to Melissa Hamilton. Taken into Elmhurst but had a terrible time. They just didn't rate her. Now look at her huge success.

 

 

It is certainly not necessary to have been vocational since year 7 but it is harder. In my son's year I think 2 (boys) were non vocational until 6th form. It is hard when they get there too as some teachers really do look down on them. But again this is what forms you as a dancer. Not sure I  how many girls. I know of at least 2.

 

The other interesting thing is 3 years after graduation how many are still dancing.  The boys most in a greater or lesser capacity. Some big companies and some small. The girls I do know of quite a few who never had any professional success. Some gave up almost immediately, some kept trying and injury played a part in at least 2 .

 

I only say this to show that the first audition rejection is a very small part of the future. The schools need to be tough because trust me the most depressing aspect of this whole business is the schools who take on people all will never make it professionally. Parents pay vast sums for very little. We may not understnad their reasoning but the schools do have a duty to not waste peoples time. The heartache for those who have gone through vocational and never get a job because they simply aren't good enough is tragic. The ballet world is blessed with so many talented youngsters.

 

 

If your daughter gets no offers then a sit down and honest rethink may be needed. But one rejection really is nothing. Very few are accepted by all their audition schools.

 

Final point is have you considered training in Europe. The German schools are fantastic as is The Vienna State Ballet School. There are other options .

 

It is the biggest shock to many to realise just what talent is out there and infact one negative of being non vocational until 16 is that in their world they are "big fish". Sadly some nasty teachers use this once they do get to vocational but it is true . Vocational is a steep learning curve that takes guts passion and acceptance that life just isn't fair. Also many actually do not have a great time at vocational schools but survive to have great success.

 

good luck at the other auditions.

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I have said this in other posts but my DD also auditioned for Elmhurst upper school and was rejected after the first round.......as were ALL her  classmates in her particular vocational dance school! Boys and girls alike I think.

She took it very hard but is still going to other auditions and has had some recalls to boost her confidence.

 

Please tell your dd to keep trying and she will hopefully come through, its bad enough to get our dancers through all the contstant auditions and rejections but we all then have to face the dreaded funding :( problem..........we do it because we believe in them and because they are all beautiful dancers!

 

Good luck

 

T

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I can say from experience that if you feel you can keep trying then don't give up!

My DD auditioned for a year 10 place and again for a 6th form at Elmhurst and got a no at both auditions. She did however get a yes for 6th form at Central and started her training there. She hadn't come from a vocational training back ground but danced at a local dance school 15 hours a week. 

However Elmhurst for her was always a dream so she gave it "one last go"  after a year at Central (which was wonderful) and to hers and our amazement was offered a place there and then to start immediately and luckily with a DADA.  I really don't know why things were so different this time round as it was only a year since she'd auditioned with them before. perhaps it was the training she'd had at Central, perhaps she had just simply matured with her dancing...it is and always will be a mystery to me! 

Anyway she did 6.2 and 6.3 at Elmhurst and graduated in the summer of 2012. She is now a professional ballet dancer in the Czech Republic so never give up because you just never know!

Wishing your DD lots of luck with her remaining auditions and stay positive...this ballet world can be a strange one :D

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My DD did the audition rounds last year and I know a whole bunch of them that did not get through to the finals at Elmhurst (and some that did) that ended up with offers from Northern, Central, Hammond, Tring, Bird and Laines and got funding.  Some had multiple offers.  Each school seems to look for something different and has limited places.  Elmhurst themselves told us that sometimes their sixth form was made almost entirely of 'new' students and other years only a couple of students came from elsewhere and the majority had come from their own year 11.  And I think Elmhurst is one of the toughest auditions, simply because it is so short compared to some of the others, with less time to shine and mark your mark as it were.

 

So please don't be too discouraged and do check out other ballet schools.  Good luck to your DD on her remaining auditions.

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daisybell, your story is so inspiring for many young dancers, and really backs up the theory of keep trying as no at this point means just not yet. Its lovely to hear your daughter doing so well, please keep us all informed of her journeys in the ballet world.

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I'm sorry to read of your and your daughter's disappointment Discouraged, but I don't think she has fallen at the first hurdle. It sounds like she has been highly successful so far - obviously the RBS and other people can see a lot in her. How many RBS SAs are there? Not many I don't think. Your DD is in quite an exclusive group there.

Rather than her having fallen at the first hurdle, it sounds to me like this is the first hurdle she has fallen at. That's not a nice thing, but you have to keep it in perspective. This is one school that have said "no" in the context of a lot of other "yesses" that she has had so far.

This sort of thing is not confined to the ballet world.I remember the shock I felt when I opened the letter after my first University interview and it was a rejection. As I had been told repeatedly through my school career that I was the brightest child my teachers had ever taught, and had received outstanding marks in everything I'd ever done, this was a bolt from the blue to me, my parents and my teachers. Yes, I knew I was applying for a highly competitive course, but I never seriously considered the possibility that I wouldn't get in. Why would I have done? I was 17 years old and nobody had ever rejected me before or even hinted that it could happen. But I knew that I really wanted to do that course, not just to go to that University so I picked myself up, dusted myself off and headed off to the next interview. And it happened again. I still don't know why. Like the ballet schools, universities (at least then) had a strict "no feedback" policy. But I kept going, and third time was lucky. Then I went to University and had to realise that whilst I was undoubtedly academically talented I was now in a completely new arena, and so was everyone else. My 4 A grades and 2 special papers at A level were now "not bad" but certainly not exceptional, and I had to get used to that. For a child that has so far done very well in their chosen field, the transition into higher training in that field can be bumpy. But if it is really what they want to do, they have to come to terms with it I'm afraid.

From what I have seen, the performing arts is a particularly tough direction to choose. A lot of decisions are subjective, as they have to be given the nature of the field really. If your DD continues along this path there will unfortunately be more rejections to come, and she will have to get used to it. One of my friend's daughters is a professional dancer (not classical ballet but I don't imagine it's that much different) and she tells me that she will sometimes arrive at auditions and be dismissed without even dancing a step, because she doesn't "look right". I asked her once if this made her angry. What a waste of time, and surely they could have seen what she looks like from her photos? But she just shrugged her shoulders and told me that that's just the way it is. Sometimes it's your day, sometimes it's not.

Nobody likes rejection, and you are entitled to be upset, but unfortunately it is part of life, and especially the particular life that your daughter has chosen. But she obviously has great potential. She would not have achieved all that she has if she didn't. Let her have a few days feeling sorry for herself then encourage her to get her shoes back on and carry on. With a bit of luck you will be back in a few months telling us that she has a place at another school and is ecstatic.

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Can I just say thank you very much to everyone who has replied to this thread.

I'm touched by the support of so many strangers!

Thank you to Lildancer for your PM it was much appreciated!

Everyone has a story to tell. We can cope with rejection but I don't understand the opinion.

You spend hours and money persuing a passion that your dd has and I feel that if it is a waste of time then those in a position should be HONEST enough to tell us so.

This whole world baffles me!

It is as if no respect is given to the dancer or parent who is making these sacrifices to support their child.

Fortunately I'm in a position to financially support our dd but I've heard so many stories of people remorgaging their house or working all hours for their child. I RESENT this if my dd is just not good enough. We need to be told before we are sucked into this world.

Another example is my dd auditioned for a part in the forthcoming school show which she didn't get but no-one had the courtesy

to email her to let her know. She just assumed she didn't get it when the other girls started posting their success on Facebook.

I'm not sure that this is a world that I want my dd to enter because it is definitely the dancer that is taken advantage of.

I have to plan my life in order for my dd to attend all lessons and rehearsals. It would be great if this could happen in the dance world.

(ps I know I come across as bitter and twisted but I'm just frustrated at the whole process)

These kids have enough to contend with of the pressures of GCSE's let alone this on top!

Edited by Discouraged
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First of all Discouraged may I say congratulations on your DDs incredble achievemments so far, she is obviously very talented and hopefully she is focussing on her successes rather than the couple of fallbacks (eg the festival and the Elmhurst audition.) Just because she has been unsuccessful at one audition does not mean she's not good enough, its more a case that on the day she was not what that particlar panel was looking for.

 

The have been many discussions on this forum about auditions and their outcomes, what vocational schools are looking for etc and there is no easy answer. The main conclusion I've come to is that its so subjective to peoples opinions, what actually happens on the day plus the sort of student schools are looking for at any one time. And thank goodness it is subjective because if all schools were looking for exactly the same thing then many aspiring dancers might as well stop right now, all Ballet companies would look the same and there would be no diversity for us audiences.

 

Its not helpful I don't think that some refer to Elmhurst's decisions as odd because that deflects from the achievements of those who have been successful there- I would hate for someone who has passed Elmhurst's audition to be reading this thread and start doubting the panel's decision.  The fact is, is that all the schools differ in their choices and not many students get several offers. When my ds auditioned, gosh, 4 years ago the outcomes of auditions were just as unpredictable.  Some of DSs friends who'd been at WL with him the whole time were not invited to Elmhurst but got offered Upper School 2nd auditions and DaDas at ENB.  A close friend of DS from Elmhurst was offered a DaDa  at ENB but none ofl the WL boys did- my own DS was on waiting list. But this talented dancer wasn't offered 2nd audition at RBS Upper whereas my DS was!

 

And I could go on- even back 30 years to my own experiences. I was gutted to be "rejected" at 16 for Hammond but went on a grant at 18 and ended up doing ok...

 

Unfortunately there is no crystal ball to see into the future as regarding getting professional jobs. I can see why parents might feel that they want to know now whetrher they are wasting their time but this again can be subjective. I was told I'd never make it. I did. Darcey Bussell was told she'd never make it. She did. I know lots of people who were assessed out o WL who are now professionals. My ds was never chosen whilst at WL for end of year pieces (except yr11) but he is now already very successful and so far the only one in that year to have seen his name favorably mentioned (thank goodness) in print.  On the other side of the coin I know of dancers who sailed through 8/9 years vocational training, were told they'd make it, but never did get work as a dancer.

 

So please just put this fallen hurdle down to experience, if your dd really wants to dance then it will stand her in good stead for auditioning for that first job-thats even harder. Unfortunately working liife in general is reliant on successful inteviews and impressing the right people- exams results alone don't always help as discovered by one of my beautiful students who has passed all her GCSEs and A LEVELS with top grades but is still trying without success to get onto a degree course to study medicine.

 

Sorry for the ramble, especially for long standing members who would have read all this  before in older threads!

 

Good luck to all young dancers out there. And remember that as long as you enjoy dancing then its worth doing!

Edited by hfbrew
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I've been thinking about how to respond, but bravo to hfbrew for saying it for me (except I wasn't a dancer myself).

 

(and thank you for your kind words hidden in there about my ds xx)

 

This is one audition - it's horrible getting that first rejection but you're not alone and lots of us have been where you are and come out the other side - one way or the other! It may be the first of many or it may be the only one - oh, for that crystal ball. Put it behind you and move onto the next audition. Best of luck.

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I know it's tough to hear too but actually not getting placed at festivals and school parts early on is all part of learning to cope with rejection and this is all to often forgotten at primary schools nowadays with the whole 'everyone's a winner' philosophy. I know we want to wrap our kids up in cotton wool but sometimes they don't get the place they want and odds on they won't get the job they want and bringing our children up as well rounded individuals is teaching them to take the rough /tough with the smooth. She will probably work all the harder if she doesn't get in at her first place. Hope this doesn't come across as harsh but just try to think of it as a learning experience and that nothing but positives can come from it. Your DD will be a better person and more prepared next time around. It's a tough business and they do need to experience that before too long. Better now than her first job audition. Good luck for next time! Xxxxx

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Hbrew when I mentioned in my post that some of the decisions made at Elmhurst were odd it was not meant in a way to detract from the very talented students selected. What I meant by that comment was that its odd how a student can be told no at the final audition but whatever happens between then and September the same student has gained a place. Now of course the student may have been looked at again by the panel, I know of several girls  who did just that and gained their place at the school.

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Hbrew when I mentioned in my post that some of the decisions made at Elmhurst were odd it was not meant in a way to detract from the very talented students selected. What I meant by that comment was that its odd how a student can be told no at the final audition but whatever happens between then and September the same student has gained a place. Now of course the student may have been looked at again by the panel, I know of several girls  who did just that and gained their place at the school.

I know that you didn't mean to detract from anybody, it was just the way I read it- and others may well do the same. In fact Elmhurst is not the only school to reconsider students, especially if their  teachers express concerns (rather than their parents). Even RBS have been known to change their minds late in the day. Such students may actually have done well in the initial audition but were just pipped on the day by other auditionees for whatever reason. Afterall, initially successful students won't necessarilly take their places so it stands to reason that schools will not be adverse to having another look at talented students, especially if that student has subsequently demonstrated a real desire to train with them because they are then more likely to respond to the training. And panels are well aware that everyone has off days so its to their credit that in some cases they are prepared to have a look again. Of course a lot depends on how close the student was to getting a place initially.

 

And again, this is nothing new or odd- I mentioned previously my own rejection many years ago. Well my mum was so upset she uncharacteristically contacted the school and they offered to take me afterall but she turned it down! (Didn't confess for ages though- I knew nothing about it!)

 

I certainly think that Discouraged should talk to her teachers by the way as they are in the best position to advise on how to handle the situation and move forward to other auditions.

 

My DS s reaction to audiition outcomes was that he would go where he was most wanted and welcomed. When his RBS teachers suggested a re audition for the following year would be successful his reaction was "well they've had their chance!"

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My DS s reaction to audiition outcomes was that he would go where he was most wanted and welcomed. When his RBS teachers suggested a re audition for the following year would be successful his reaction was "well they've had their chance!"

 

This made me smile hfbrew its the sort of comment my little one would make.

 

Discouraged please don't be too downhearted at Elmhursts decision like you say your DD has already achieved what many never will.....8yrs as an associate is fantastic!

 

Like many on this forum I have been in your shoes and can empathise wholeheartedly!

I also was very disapointed when my younger DD didn't get finals for WL and found trying to cope with mine and my daughters emotions very difficult......fortunately I had and still do have a very sensible friend (you know who you are  ;) ) who knows just what to say to make me feel better.

 

My elder DD broke her heart when she didn't get a final for Elmhurst (this was lower school) ........she ended up at The Hammond and quite quickly decided she loved singing as well.......so although she is a lovely ballet dancer her passion is now for Musical Theatre.

 

What I'm trying to say is that what is for your daughter will not pass her by.........I firmly believe this!!!

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As for your frustrations at not knowing why your DD (who is clearly talented and able) didn't get through: I can see both sides of this coin. Sometimes when you are auditioning hundreds of students it is simply not logisitcal to give every single one feedback as to why they were unsuccessful. However I also know how frustrating it is to not have any clue why, especially when others may have almost 'set you up' for success.

 

As for your other point about a lack of respect from the schools etc about how much effort and money and work goes behind every single dancer, well sadly this is a facet of the ballet/dance world (but by no means should it be acceptable). The dancers are pretty much the bottom of the pyramid and when they and others around them work so hard constantly, they tend to only be thanked by means of low wages, brutally exhausting hours and, historically, more verbal criticism than praise. In many upper schools and companies, adult dancers are belittled by being labelled 'boys and girls', and by being talked 'at' rather than involved in their learning/training. While there are some who acknowledge that this is unacceptable and needs to change, the majority are, it appears, of a mentality that "it worked for them so this is how it is". It is something that for some reason really irritates me! Particularly as it's common sense to a lot of people that in any line of work, if you are happy and feel respected and valued, you are more likely to perform better!

 

A young dancer (and their support network) needs to be very resilient!

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I do understand that a dancer needs corrections but they also need some encouragement.

One of my dd's teachers used the approach of teaching her with "Tender Loving Care" which she thrived on. I never did ballet and I'm very proud of my dd being committed to such an art , because I would have given up years ago. 

A negative should go hand in hand with a positive!

I just think that the teachers had to put up with the corrections so that method of teaching is passed down.

Edited by Discouraged
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I just want to add a huge good luck for your daughter at future auditions Discouraged, and I hope this 'no' has not broken her confidence. Has she had any of her other auditions yet and did she enjoy them? Try and have a laugh about the auditions with her if you can. My daughter was auditioning for one of her favourite schools, one that she would really loved to have got in to, however during the audition, when it was my daughter group to do their bitn another girl jumped into my daughter place. Needless to say my daughter jumped in and because of the timing ended up going in the opposite direction. We still laugh about this now, there was nothing that she could have done to fix the mistake so we just laughed about it.

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Hi, Discouraged. It is always hard when we suffer rejection, all the more so when it is our child being rejected. Having read many threads on here regarding 6th form applications, it looks as though students need to cast their audition net as wide as possible. Only a very few are ever lucky enough to be offered their first (or even second) choice, and perhaps a school you have not really considered as an option may decide that your dd is just what they are looking for! I know it's a bit late in the day, but would it be worth checking to see if there is still any audition availability anywhere else? Wishing you and your dd the very best of luck, and try not to let this disappointment get the better of you.

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I echo taxi's comments about checking audition availability elsewhere.  My DD started the audtion process last year with a favourite 3, a school her teacher reccommended for her and added in a 5th school in the January after girls she met at auditions kept telling her how great this school was.  Her opinion changed completely during the process for where she felt she would best suit her and her favourites became the teachers reccommendation and the 5th school.  The school she is now at was the one she liked most at audition but was not one of her top 3 originally.

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I have seen that your dd is doing about 6 hours a week ballet. Does this include associates?   I know that may be all that is possible in your situation, but at our local ballet school serious students aiming for vocational training would probably be doing quite a bit more than that. 

But I don't know what is the norm at this age!

Edited by tutoo2much
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We were told that if your dd was not at a vocational school at this stage they should be doing between 12-15 per week but this is maybe just one teachers opinion.Also rejection is just part of being a dancer you have to keep going if it something that you love to do xxx

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