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Why are associate classes important?


tomuchtallent
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Hi,im new today!

I am currently living abroad and have no clue as to how ballet lessons are taught in the UK.

It seems to me that in this forum most people have or want their dd/ds to go to a associate group.

Are the lessons different to a normal ballet school?do they do different excersizes?is it a status thing?are the teachers better?or are they meant for the schools in question to train the kids to how they want?are they really important?

I am very interested to know as i might be moving back soon and need to understand the system.

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Hi tomuchtallent, A lot of the dance schools in this country are syllabus based, RAD, ISTD etc and often pupils don't get much chance to do unset work, so in my opinion can get very entrenched in doing the same exercises week in week out, where at an associate class I would think the majority of what they do is unset. Ballet classes here are often 45 minsutes to an hour once a week which is really not enough if a child wants to take dance more seriously, where again associate classes tend to be longer and will have time for conditioning and stretching within the class. Also often the facilities at an associate class are often better, bigger studio, proper barre (not the back of a chair!), pianist rather than recorded music. The children also get to dance with like minded children of a similar ability.

Hope this helps :)

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Unfortunately that is true tomuchtallent to a certain extent. The other problem is that many children who are already on an associate scheme, also audition for other associate schemes and tend to get those places too. So quite hard for a child with potential but has not yet managed to get onto an associate program. I know of one program where many of the children already attend another program because the programs are on different days, thus removing that space for a child who is not.

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Fortunately if you live within travelling distance to London we are blessed with the number of good associate schemes; not just Royal Ballet School, but Central School of Ballet, London Junior and Senior Ballet, then of course there are the CAT schemes at The Place and Laban...outside London you have Tring Park's Classical Ballet Academy, Hammond Associates, Elmhurst PVPs and Associates. And that's just in England!

 

Personally, my DD wasn't ready in terms of performance skills, technique and maturity to get a place at Vocational School at 11. The only decent school which we can get to easily (and still fit in the massive amounts of academic homework she gets) is completely syllabus based, and although she also does private lessons, I knew that she would need to top up her training with different, more advanced and definitely non-syllabus training.

 

Plus one of the Upper Schools she hopes to apply to is where she is an associate. So she's familiar with the building, the staff, the school's ethos etc. which hopefully will make her feel more at home there during the audition process.

 

Associate Classes aren't vital for progression to Upper School, but for some children who may be getting a somewhat limited local training (either in terms of available lessons, or if an aspect of the dance training is not available locally) then I do think Associate Classes are important.

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Interested Parent,

That seems totally unfair!!How can you be in 2 different associates.As there are only afew places available on each associate course,I cant believe that they are the only tallented children in the country!!Make some space for the other tallent students!!!!

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While DD's current school is excellent it is syllabus based and DD loves "free work" when she gets the chance to do it. Associate classes are a good way to access non syllabus classes as well as other things that may not be offered by a local school - contemporary, pilates, stretch and strength. Most local schools will not have huge numbers of dancers who are suitable for and desire vocational level training.

An associates scheme is a good opportunity to train with like minded, focused peers of similar ability.Most but by no means all schemes are run by or linked to full time vocational dance schools or companies (Ballet West), and therefore the standard of teaching is high and the expectation of the performance of the children is too. For some schemes there will also be the opportunity to dance with leading ballet companies in their professional productions - EG: Royal Ballet Associates and Elmhurst PVP's are regularly chosen to dance with the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet.

 

J x

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That is an excellent point about dancing with like-minded children of similar ability. My DD is the only child of her age at her local school who is deadly serious about ballet, and the youngest in her Vocational class there by several years. She loves her local training but says it makes a huge difference to be in a class of girls at Associate Class who are all as serious about ballet and all of a similar standard.

 

Interested Parent, that's very interesting re. Children in more than one Associate Scheme. I know of a child who does Associates on a Saturday and a different associate scheme on a Sunday. NOT something I would consider for my DD given the amount of homework she gets, but also because I believe children should have one day a week to rest.

 

But on the other hand, I suppose it's up to the individual child and their parents, and some could say that if they audition and get offered a place, it's their perogative to take both places.....?

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Not sure about the normal local ballet schools!Only 1 class for 45 minutes a week!

Don't panic Tomuchtallent - not all local ballet schools are like this. My daughter currently dances an average of 2-3 hours per day 5 or 6 times a week at her local school, including 3 hours of private lessons per week. (Not all ballet though, some of that is modern and tap, but the majority ballet.) I realise we are lucky and not all schools offer as much as this, but just wanted to tell you about more positive experience of a local dance school in the UK.

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I echo pups_mum's comment. My DD's ballet school is small and rural but from grade 2 upwards the children have 2 x 45 mins ballet each week plus modern and a weekly 'non-syllabus' class. This grows to about 6 ballet classes a week for those that do the majors plus other classes in other dance styles. And I would say that my DD seems to do less hours weekly than most people she has met at summer schools, auditions etc. So don't panic.

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Tomuchtallent the associate schemes are run by the top ballet schools in the UK ie Royal Ballet School & Elmhurst and offer classes for children mainly from the age of 8-11 years old. The purpose of these classes are for the schools to select children who they feel may be suitable to train full time with them at aged 11. The children are assessed each year and invited back if they pass the assessment for the following year they all have to audition again for a place in the school at 11.The schools run these classes in centres throughout the UK. The Royal ballet school also offer associate classes for children aged 11-16 for those hoping to enter the school at 16. Other schools who also run similar schemes areTring Park , Hammond and the central school of Ballet. Some of the dance societies also offer associate classes which are a good opportunity to dance in non syllabus classes and experience different dance styles. Like pups mum said not all UK dance schools offer one 45 minute class a week. At my school most of my students from aged 9 do 4 ballet classes a week plus a pointe work class ( demi pointe from age10!) plus classes in other dance styles ie modern,jazz, tap!

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