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Tring vs Hammond for ballet


sarahw
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Hi there,

 

My child will be applying for vocational schools next time. I am not a dancer and wanted some opinions on the 2 schools above for classical ballet. I see that Hammond had 15 MDS and Tring 3 this year. Is this funding in any way allocated by the success of the school's graduates? (We will also apply to RBS and Elmhurst as ballet is the important thing...)

 

Thanks in advance.

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It varies each year how many the schools have to offer new pupils as it depends on how many students leave who had an MDS. Last year Tring had about 10 and this year much less, as so many of the sixth form were MDS funded and they all stayed on. So what happens one year with the amount of MDS awards at a school is no measure of what will happen next year. In total I think that Tring has nearly 50 MDS places, across the year groups. Maybe next year there will be a lot more available as there are a lot of 6th form who currently have MDS places and they will be graduating.

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I would audition everywhere you possibly can. :)

 

We are regretting dd not having done the Hammond audition earlier this year, because she was offered a Tring place, but not an MDS.

 

With so many more MDS places available at Hammond than at Tring this year, we will always wonder what might have been.

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Welcome to the forum sarahw :)

 

Can't answer your question directly as I have no personal experience of either school (know lots of people with children at both however), but I agree with taxi - audition everywhere you would be happy for your child to go.   There may not be a decision to make (one or no offers!) and if you're lucky to have a choice then you can start looking at the pros and cons (you'll find loads of old threads on here).

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Welcome Sarahw!!

 

Don't want to hijack the thread, so folks may want to start a new one, but Tulip's post raises an interesting question about upper and lower schools. If you were fortunate enough to have a choice of lower schools, should graduate destinations from upper schools influence your choice? How relevant is that measurement for 11 year olds? Often the teachers are completely different as well as the management of Upper and Lower schools and sometimes location (as in RBS). Pastoral needs of the 11 year old are different to 16 year old (or are they ? ;)

 

NL

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I have to say that my priorities for a lower school would be:

 

Happy children

Excellent training by kind and understanding teachers,

Great pastoral care

Decent academics

 

And THEN how good are the chances of getting into 6th form either there or elsewhere? I don't think the graduate list was high on my priorities at all when dd was in Year 6. After all, it's a long journey to 6th form, with so many diversions or obstacles on the way!

 

I agree; audition everywhere you'd be happy to send your child should they be fortunate enough to get a place. Ask questions, get a gut feeling for the places, and then decide. :-)

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Its always useful to see the end of year shows of the schools to have an idea of what the training looks like and importantly, to see if there are happy dancers on the stage.

 

I do know that at Tring the lower school dancers perform with English National Ballet each year, both in London and on tour, sometimes twice a year, and that is a wonderful opportunity for the children, they just love that. And, in this last year, 2 Tring graduates joined English National Ballet company making a total of 5 that went straight into that company from school. So with the younger ones performing with ENB and the older ones joining the company, Tring is producing quality dancers.

 

I do advise Sarahw to audition at all 4 MDS schools, as often there is a 'feeling' you get when you visit a school and your instinct tells you what would be right for your child.

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Speaking as a teacher and a parent - would advise Tring over hammond if its classical training you are after - they nuture links with ENB and in the Cecchetti competition two years ago , proved themselves to be excellent contenders , with at least 3 students reaching the final and one boy winning a major prize . Yes - two students have been offered Bolshoi from hammond , but only one remained - other is at Elmhurst . Hammond , I am sure would class itself as more musical theatre - the staff , too , would concur . 

However - good advice from others on forum - go to the open days , get a feel for the schools and , indeed question how many grads are in ballet companies now. good luck with it all. x

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I agree wholeheartedly about attending as many open days as possible ,although I don't think that Elmhurst hold them,

After going through the audition process twice for lower school and once for MT colleges you really do get a "feel" for a place and what the faculty do therein.

You can have a look and ask questions without the pressure and nerves of an audition day.

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My dd has attended both these schools for equal amounts of time. I would favour the Hammond for their ballet training over Tring. That is just my opinion. My dd was also allowed to continue with her RBS associates classes whilst at Hammond. My dds classical training was very good  at the Hammond and she was lucky enough to recieve a lot of attention from the teachers. As with any school, If the student isnt in that position and does not get the attention and recognition they deserve then they will think differently.  I do not agree at all, that The Hammond is more MT. The all round dance training is of a very high standard. I would say that both schools are more for the all round dancer. Tring also has two students attending the Bolshoi school including my own dd. Its a shame that Tring doesnt seem to publicise this, so therefore not many parents will be aware of this sucess. The Hammond has had several students accepted into the upper school for White Lodge and this was whilst my dd attended the school.

Cristalle you are correct in saying that students from the lower school at Tring are selected to dance with the ENB company but these children are very much in the minority and only a small percentage of students actually get to perform.  Parents also need to be aware that Tring do not tell you until the September if your child has been selected for the classical set, which can come as a huge shock if that is the purpose for attending the school. All dance students do recieve ballet training everyday but not all sets have the same content.

Both schools offer very good pastoral care and education. Tring has the most beautiful building and grounds.  I think that other dance styles at both schools are very comparable. Both schools offer fantastic vocal coaching and choirs.

I would agree to audition for all schools and see where your heart takes you. I have tried to offer a very honest and open post and I hope I havent offended anybody here. I just wish I had been armed with all this knowledge when my dd was auditioning at the age of 11 years.

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A girl (16) from my Russian class has being doing the audition rounds and I can tell you she is a really lovely dancer. She wanted Royal but unlucky this year...as she is particularly keen on ballet but has just been offered a funded place at Tring that she will probably take up....Though I think she is still waiting to hear from Central..but for her she has got to have the funding. The fact that she is willing to go to Tring though means it must be okay on the ballet front! I'm sure Hammond is good too but I do know students there keen on ballet often choose elsewhere for sixth form. The teacher of our class has recently got students into the Vaganova academy in Washington but this is difficult to get funding for and is very expensive anyway apparently so some excellent places are obviously completely non starters for many students unfortunately no matter how talented. Now this will be a bit of a doh moment but what is an MDS?

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Well we must agree to differ , Primrose, but I must put one thing straight - Hammond no longer allow students to attend Royal associates . My student has improved immeasurably since moving to Tring , as the ballet staff are fantastic . I am guessing that your dd was at hammond a while ago , Primrose ? Sadly , a lot of great teachers have left in the last few years ,Mr Kidd , Mr Dutton, Mrs Durrant . Anyway , I guess its a case of what suits one may not suit another , and I would urge anyone considering vocational training to talk to their own dance teacher at length , also to existing parents and pupils and then , having been to open days , make your choice. Schools change from year to year , and everyone has teachers they love and teachers they struggle with, just like normal school .Its only my opinion , and like Primrose , do not wish to offend anyone.

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LinMM - as Primrose says, even if your friend has funding, she will not know whether she is in the classical set at Tring until she starts in September. Funding is not only for those in the classical set, and I know several students who were very disappointed in the training they received.

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The teachers at both schools are excellent, the director of dance at tring in my opinion is not an effective communicator and Hammond don't have one? It is important that you do your own research as everyone will have a different story to tell.

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Well we must agree to differ , Primrose, but I must put one thing straight - Hammond no longer allow students to attend Royal associates . My student has improved immeasurably since moving to Tring , as the ballet staff are fantastic . I am guessing that your dd was at hammond a while ago , Primrose ? Sadly , a lot of great teachers have left in the last few years ,Mr Kidd , Mr Dutton, Mrs Durrant . Anyway , I guess its a case of what suits one may not suit another , and I would urge anyone considering vocational training to talk to their own dance teacher at length , also to existing parents and pupils and then , having been to open days , make your choice. Schools change from year to year , and everyone has teachers they love and teachers they struggle with, just like normal school .Its only my opinion , and like Primrose , do not wish to offend anyone.

The teachers you mention above are all the teachers who taught my dd when she was there. What a great shame they have moved on.

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Thanks Pas de Quatre I will chat with her next week again as I hope she is fully aware of this then......but they would be mad not to have her in the classical set!! I don't know her that well was just chatting about all her auditions and what news she has had etc.

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Are we allowed to know which Tring graduates moved straight from Tring into ENB? I know Kerry Birkett trained at Tring but she joined ENB from St Petersburg State Ballet. Kesi Olley-Dorey has joined ENB but not straight from Tring; if I remember rightly she was with Ballet Theatre UK first. I know Ruth Brill and Max Westwell are on Tring's alumni list too.

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Well we must agree to differ , Primrose, but I must put one thing straight - Hammond no longer allow students to attend Royal associates . My student has improved immeasurably since moving to Tring , as the ballet staff are fantastic . I am guessing that your dd was at hammond a while ago , Primrose ? Sadly , a lot of great teachers have left in the last few years ,Mr Kidd , Mr Dutton, Mrs Durrant . Anyway , I guess its a case of what suits one may not suit another , and I would urge anyone considering vocational training to talk to their own dance teacher at length , also to existing parents and pupils and then , having been to open days , make your choice. Schools change from year to year , and everyone has teachers they love and teachers they struggle with, just like normal school .Its only my opinion , and like Primrose , do not wish to offend anyone.

It can also differ depending on the gender of the dancer, some schools may be stronger for girls than for boys and vice versa, not all the schools have dedicated teaching for boys as Elmhurst and RBS do. In addition class sizes can make a big difference. A teacher can't possibly give the same attention to individuals in a class of 19 as they can to a class of 7, and yes at vocational school that is the extent of the variation in class sizes within a school which can vary from year to year depending on the pool of the potential of students, availability of beds as well as funding.

 

Quality of teaching can go up and down as staff move in and out of schools, take sabbaticals or time off for other reasons, or themselves go through better and worse "patches" no one is perfect, no one school is perfect!

 

Listen to your child too, he/she will be making huge sacrifices by going away to school, its of up most importance that if they do have a choice, you listen to their needs and desires which may be different to your own, difficult I know when they are so young, but these children are amazing in many ways including their own decision making process.

 

Good luck with your journey sarahw!

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We all have our own opinions on which schools are best but there is no correct answer - what suits one doesn't necessarily suit another student.

My dd is very happily chasing her classical dream at Tring but I am sure that many parents would say the same about Hammond :)

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Primrose, just to let you know that 26 juniors from Tring danced with ENB this year; so quite a lot but the selection is up to the company, not the school.

 

Tring is unusual in that pupils are put into sets according to their abilities, not their age and this is done by assessments so all decisions are evidence based and externally validated by independant experts who visit many times a year. Also there is movement between the sets after assessments if progress is made.

 

This year every set in the upper school has pas de deux, and solos, and pointe in addition to their ballet classes, so every set is percieved as classical until their final year age 19 when they can specialise more. With Antony Dowson on the faculty now, (ex ballet master of ENB company) the classical training has never been stronger at Tring.

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As I have mentioned I wanted to give an honest opinion of both schools. My dd left Tring 18 months ago. The assesments were carried out by the head of dance and it was her alone who gave the marks, from what I am hearing from many of my friends children that is still the case. There is movement amongst the sets but again, as a potential student I would want to know exactly which set I was being placed in when I arrived at the school in September. Again the content amongst the classical sets is not the same. I know students who are in an assortment of sets and I hear this from them.

On a positive note, the school does offer a high standard of all round dance training. The teachers are generally very good and care about their students. Its lovely to hear that so many younger students got to dance with ENB this year.

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Best not to get into a debate of what Tring does an does not offer. I could write a fl page as my daughter was there for four years. The original question can only really be answered from personal opinion. Both schools offer good enough training. Best to see where your daughter gets offered, look at cost, location and opportunities. It is all very personal really.

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