Jump to content

Is there an alternative to 6th form vocational schools?


Friends
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have been thinking ahead if there is an alternative to vocational 6th form schools?

Could my dd continue her A levels with some flexibility from her school to allow her to find some form of training to match up with that offered by the vocational schools?

I feel she needs at least 25 hours a week of training.

The cost of going to these schools is substantial so could that money go towards private training?

With more personalised training would the student be able to compete with those that have had vocational training from a younger age?

I have always wondered could my dd enter the company audition circuit in year 3 and compete without having been to a vocational school but has continued the training privately to a similar standard?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest I don't think it likely that your dd would be able to enter the audition circuit in Year 3 without going to Vocational school.  If she does A-levels and has as much private training as possible, the best plan would be to enter a 3 year course after A-levels with degree funding, such as Central, Rambert or Royal Conservatoire of Scotland if she wants to follow a classical route.  If by then she is open to following a different route, such as contemporary or jazz, there are many other possibilities.  The sad truth is that there are hardly any classical jobs going at the moment, many companies are shedding dancers rather than hiring, so there are many good experienced dancers competing with the graduates from the Vocational schools.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is an almost impossible route. I say almost because there are a couple who have sort of done this. Melissa Hamilton did go to Elmhurst but it didn't go well. She then had private tuition from Masha Mukhamedov in Greece and the rest as they say, is history. But boy what a tough and lonely route I should think. I think Lauretta Summerscales was non vocational til quite late but she did train somewhere I think.

 

You would need an exceptional teacher and it would be almost impossible to get the pas de deux training. Much of early dancing is being part of a group. It doen't matter how brilliant you are if you cannot dance with a group.

 

How would she do school work?

 

The trouble is when you go for auditions where you trained does matter. There are totally open auditions but many companies use where you trained as a basis for the offer of an audition. Sometimes if you have a famous private teacher that will work but that isn't common.

 

Is it just ballet because training for contemporary is more normal at 1? Would that be an option?

 

To be honest I wouldn't think private will work. You just can't get the variety. Melissa Hamilton is a very individual case.

 

I know schools do miss things but if your daughter was that exceptional one of the schools would surely pick it up. I don't mean to be harsh but go back to the point that for every corps palce there are probably dozens of dnacers who could do the job as well as the one who got the contract. those dozens have had 3 years training at senior level to get to the position of auditioning.

 

Most auditions require  training at a recognized institution.

 

Of course your daughter could reapply next year and maybe a year will have made the difference. But does she not still have 2 auditions to go?

 

As I said before there are excellent training schools abroad. The EU ones work out great value too and I'm sure someone on this forum is in the USA.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree. Apart from the difficulty of getting enough quality training whilst doing a full day at academic school, I believe you have to be invited to audition for most, if not all companies. I assume this invitation is offered on the basis of your resumé - including where you've trained at 6th form.

 

While it's not unusual to read bios of dancers who didn't attend Lower School, I have never read a bio where a dancer in a UK classical company hasn't attended a vocational school at all.

 

Don't forget though, a place at 16 isn't the end of the world. I've known of dancers getting a place at Vocational School at 17. And of course some schools - e.g. Rambert - are happy to take dancers who are 18 and have done A'Levels.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel the same Discouraged, I've never been to vocational school and desperately want a sixth form place but I think compared to others that have already been in training since 11 I'm not up to the right standard (already had No from Elmhurst and tbh not expecting good news from my other auditions)

It would be fabulous to have full time private training to help me catch up but realistically I don't even know how I'd do that and don't think my parents would pay! I don't even know of any associate courses that keep going after age 16.

The issue is Devon really isn't known for its ballet training and I have no idea where I can get the highest non-vocational training possible to help me improve.

I'm just going to do as much as I can (and pray!) and audition again next year. Ballet world is tough :( I hope you and your dd figure something out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I echo spanners comment that a place at 16 is not the end of the world.  Not all vocational schools take only at 16.  Northern, Central, Rambert, Hammond, London Studio Centre are some I know of but I am sure there will be others

Edited by 2dancersmum
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ballet Cymru Associates also goes up to 18, as do the RAD Associate classes.

 

My DD incidentally was in this position last year and we looked at back up options.  Obviously if you have good local training alongside A levels that is one option, then reaudition the following year.  Alternatives are the Btec level 3s which are availalble at various colleges.  They vary in quality but there are some colleges out there that do courses aimed specifically at dancers wanting to apply at 18.  Some of them are still very ballet based, although others are more general dance styles.  We only considered these as a stepping stone to the levle 6 diplomas, however.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Discouraged

 

Obviously not aware of your location or if  your DD wants a purely classical course, although from her next auditions it would seem so, it may be worth looking the following:

 

Northern Ballet CAT scheme at Leeds

London Russian Ballet 

Bristol Russian Ballet 

 

Another alternative would be to look at doing some easter and summer courses this year......I feel these are a good way of "getting the feel" of school or college .......some of the vocational students also do some of these courses with short performances at the end. Last year one student was taken into Elmhurst from the summer school.

From your previous posts I see your DD is Advanced 2 so she is at the same standard a vocational student will be.

 

Good Luck to your DD for future auditions.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, London Senior Ballet does go up to 18.  I have a pupil there currently and as I understand it, some of them deliberately don't audition for RBS SA or Central Pre-Seniors as they only go up to 16.  The thinking being, that they are more likely to retain a place at LSB if they need it, than gain one if they have to re-audition.  As ever in the ballet world, this may or may not be true.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know exact details but at Elmhurst it's similar - they dance for most of the day (with some academic stuff dotted around the week), ballet, rep, jazz, contemporary, pointe/virtuosity, tap, pdd, conditioning....

 

Back to the question of auditioning for jobs without going to a classical school - some good points made above, plus remember that even the students at Elmhurst, RBS, ENBS, Central etc have a really tough time getting jobs - multiple applications sent, for a few auditions and if they're really lucky, a job at one of them.

 

Your daughter has lots of options open to her for training, especially as she's lucky to have financial support from you - loads have been mentioned and she may still get a place at one that she's already applied to - perhaps just worth trying some others too if you're now feeling "discouraged".

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just as an 'FYI' moment - MIDAS will take students of any age (realistically); last year we had a student who was studying at Warwick university who had danced to a very high level before that and wanted to take classes somewhere that would still challenge her.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding hours of dance, when DD was at Legat she was doing 26 hours/week of dance over 5.1/2 days plus 3 A levels, although she dropped Biology in the 2nd year.  I think they are still offering the same hours of dance but with a BTech qualification.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is actually no rule to stop anyone applying for any audition except the requirements of the company needing dancers- many specify height for example or ask for a minimum of three years professional experience. Age too, which sadly rules me out although I don't think they'd invite me from photos lol!

 

However most ask for training details and are unlikely to invite to an audition anyone that in their eyes has not received adequate vocational training. That said my ds did attend a couple of auditions where it was quite obvious some of the auditionees hadn't had formal training as such but he admired their courage!

 

There are other threads about the merit of going at 18 as opposed to 16 but whatever the age it is good to be able to show a recognised vocational establishment on a cv when looking for jobs as ADs are more likely to offer an audition on that, especially to young dancers just starting out.

 

It is true that there are many outstanding teachers not in vocational schools who get fantastic results and students lucky enough to have such teachers often get far better love and care than at vocational school. However, as has been said , non vocational schools can't provide pas de deux even if they can provide enough hours of quality training. And when a student gets to a high standard they really do need to dance with others of a similar ability - its not realistic to be a "big fish in a small pond!.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In DS year a girl has joined for 6.3 so she could complete her training.  I believe the majority of her training before was with private tutition. 

 

At our audition talk we were told that some companies may not offer places if they haven't graduated.  Though I think this was to make sure they complete the academic side of the course. 

 

One company DS is auditioning for does state they must have graduated from their place of training.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes some do come for the last year though often they have been at other schools previously. A school gives an AD director something to go on. If a private teacher was well known that is good but remember the vast majority of students will be auditioning abroad in fron of ADs who have never heard of some of our schools let alone individual teachers.

As I said a major worry is that individual training just can't give the breadth that a school does. Infact I'd say this is one of the main areas where big differences are noticeable when one starts vocational at 16. Martin was the only senior boy in his local school. He had done partnering for shows etc but not on a weekly basis.

 

For anything we do in life where we trained has a bearing. What uni, what hospital one trained at, what vet school, accountancy etc. There will always be those who succeed by alternative routes but it is hard.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another point to make is that in the final year of vocational school, students are being prepared for auditions, being prepared to show case themselves infront of visiting Choreographers and Directors of companies. Centrals third year is a touring company, giving their dancers invaluable experiences that they will need for their future careers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another point to make is that in the final year of vocational school, students are being prepared for auditions, being prepared to show case themselves infront of visiting Choreographers and Directors of companies. Centrals third year is a touring company, giving their dancers invaluable experiences that they will need for their future careers.

Absolutely , many vocational schools also help with preparing audition photos, dvds and cvs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When DS was considering how to get Russian training in the UK we got agreement from his school that he could do the minimum set of GCSEs and go up to the London Russian Ballet School on the days when he didn't have school classes. They had rooms so he often stayed overnight when he was going up for classes on 2 consecutive days. In the end he got offered scholarship at Kirov that summer so we never carried through this plan cos we felt vocational was a better option for him (mainly as LRBS had few boys and it seemed it would be very lonely). I'm not sure if he would have got enough hours but the standard of training is certainly very good.

The main hurdle in not going vocational seemed to be that very few non vocational teachers can offer enough hours, so finding a teacher is probable the first and most important step.

Good luck...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Birmingham Royal Ballets newest member Alys Shee was also privately coached by Evelyn Hart. It would seem she had extensive partnering experience as I saw her dance Grand Pas Classique in the Gala des Etoiles du XXIe siècle

in Paris in jan 2012 and was astonished to learn she was only 16 or 17 at that time. Very polished and regal performance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Perhaps with all of the discussion about the DADA awards I think there is an alternative to vocational school.

There are going to be a lot of talented students out there unable to fulfil their dream due to funding.

The cost towards accommodation could be used towards funding the ballet tuition.

If there are a number of these students within a certain area lessons could be arranged to share these tuition costs.

These students could probably study a couple of A levels of their choice as well.

It would involve a lot of organising but with the right training I feel it can be achieved especially if there are a number to share the costs.

It sounds like I'm starting a new school for those who didn't make it due to funding??!!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...