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A few questions about The Hammond School


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We are considering applying for a place for dd at The Hammond School for Year 7. I have to say the dance course looks fantastic and exactly what she would want but she is not classical ballerina calibre. She is more of an all round musical theatre performer. She seems to have a flair for drama and we are looking at the drama strand for her. Even if she were good enough for the dance strand we could not afford those fees, the drama fees are just about doable.

 

I know this forum is mainly for the parents of dancers but I wondered if anyone know how much dance, if any is available for non dancers at The Hammond. Dd currently does ballet, tap, modern and jazz and it really complements her drama/singing classes. She wouldn't want to give her dance up but from looking at the prospectus it seems there is no dance involved on the drama course and with the travelling/longer hours it would be difficult for her to continue at her current classes.

 

Also does anyone know if children who attend the normal part of the school ever get to take part in anything like school productions at all or are they reserved for the specialists. I'm not sure if the course is what she is looking for, she currently says she does not want performing to be a career but she is a bit of an oddball at her current school to the extent that she has stopped telling people when she gets part in shows. (panto and touring productions). I wonder if at a school like that she will fit in better.

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Hi Sodor,

 

The Hammond is a lovely school. My DD has previously been a dance associate there and has done a couple of summer schools there. She has just been offered a place on the dance course but we are now waiting to hear about funding!

 

You could speak to the school, they are very approachable, and ask them.

 

I understand what you mean about being an oddball, my DD is a bit the same. She spends all her spare time at the dance studio or in rehearsals for shows and has a VERY few close friends at school, who aren't dancers. I absolutely believe that children like this would get on better in a place like the Hammond. Charlie already says things like, everyone is there for the same reason... because they want to dance, act, sing..... and everyone there knows how much effort and hard work it's taken them to get there. I think children thrive in an environment that they're comfortable, whatever the situation.

 

Hope this helps xxxx

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Yes agree. The Hammond is lovely, but I think you have to be a specialist to be in the shows. My dd is the same as both yours but unfortunately hasn't been given the opportunity to have a place. I would phone them and speak to Mrs Durrant as she is head of dance but will put you on to anyone else who you need to speak to about drama, etc. Hope this helps.

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My DD attends Hammond and I can say that the dance is central to a lot of the cirriculum. However, it is not all ballet (although they do have a ballet class every day). Not all on the dance course want to be a professional ballerina! There is a good spread of other forms of dance and singing and also musical theatre work. I believe that the drama students do some dancing as well but not the pure academic students.

 

There is a strong emphasis on singing and musical theatre and their last years production of Les Miz was incredible! (Ballet/dance/drama students as well as others took part - no dancing there)

 

Hammond is a brilliant all rounder school and a very caring one for the boarders.

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I'm afraid I can't answer questions regarding how many dance lessons the non-dancers get etc. I could ask my daughter, if you like, but I'm sure you'd be far better off ringing the school and getting it from the horse's mouth!

 

What I can say, though, is that the academic side of the school seems strong and I'm pleased with how my daughter is doing. I can't comment about the drama teaching, though, as my daughter does disappointingly little of it (she's on Dance). That's probably the one thing which I wish I could improve on!

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Agree with Regattah - the academics are fantastic and show my DS's previous school in a very poor light. Also the care on the boarding. I was particularly impressed watching each child being individually greeted and asked about their day as they returned to the house of an evening. I think the fact that there is a range of specialities reduces some of the tension as they can appreciate each others qualities without being in such direct "competition" (for want of a better word) with everyone else in the year.

 

I think there is a little flexibility regarding dance: as with all things the awesome Janet Starmer is the person to ask, but I think there are non dancers taking class with the dancers to a greater or lesser extent.

 

Of course, as far as I know (and I stand to be corrected by more experienced Hammondites) the school production thing works both ways - there are specialist drama productions as well as specialist dance.

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Yes, you are correct.

 

The drama side of the school do productions and musicals that are completley separate to the dancers, held at different times of the year so that parents can attend all the dhows no matter what the discipline. The senior school is the same I think.

 

The Les Mis was a brilliant production of all of the groups (dance and drama - mostly yr 9 and above but some lower year children also) and it worked very well. however there were/are still dance displays for the younger year groups and the usual end of year dance production.

 

I asked my DD and the drama students do not usually do dance classes unless there is a special arrangement but they can take GCSE dance (as my DD is doing GCSE drama!). They all mix well together in the year groups and i have never heard of a 'them/us' situation arising.

 

hope this helps.

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Thank-you the information is very useful.

 

Dh has been speaking to the head of drama but men never ask all the right questions. Someone is getting him a prospectus. I notice they have an integrated arts easter workshop thing we might consider her going to.

 

If we do apply and dd did get a place she would live out, we can't afford boarding, would that make her a bit out of it though? It sounds like we would have to make separate arrangemnts for her to continue her dance elsewhere and I don't know how that would work with the commute and having 2 children at schools 40 miles away from each other! At a minimum she would want to continue ballet and tap and preferably modern as it is her favourite dance form.

 

She goes to an excellent academic school at the moment and the indications are she will be offered a place at senior school so it would be a difficult decision. She has had to endure some teasing over roles she has won before and probably jealousy over time off (she is down to the last few for a leading role in small scale touring production in September and hasn't told anyone yet) though school are supportive over the time off she has needed.

 

Dh also liked the look of the prep school which is actually cheaper than her current school but I wouldn't want to take her out for one year in case she didn;t get in for year 7.

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