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British ballet students training abroad


aileen
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I hope that this topic will not overlap too much with previous topics, but I would be very interested to hear about the experiences of British ballet students training abroad. I think that it takes real guts to do this as there must be so many "lows" in training for a career in ballet. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone whose child has studied or is studying abroad. How hard was it to get into the school? Did s/he get funding and, if so, from where? How did the training compare with training in the UK and did s/he enjoy the "lifestyle" at the school? Finally, did s/he find a ballet job on graduation and, if so, where? Did s/he return to the UK?

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As a lot of people know on this forum my daughter went off this year to train at the Bolshoi Ballet School. Yes it has taken real guts on her side and also on ours. However we dont seem to hear many complaints from her. I dont think I have known her to be so happy despite the ups and downs that come with Ballet training. The training is very hard, she does several classes a day, all classical. She is allowed to go to watch ballet performances at the Bolshoi theatre for either free or something like a pound. She does gymnastics to help with stretching. She also has to take formal Russian Language lessons which she does have to pass as part of the exam. I can only compare her classes with the schools she attended when in this country and for her there is no comparison. That is not to say that those schools are not good they just were not able to offer my dd the ballet training she wanted and at the same intensity.

 

To audition for the school my dd had to send an audition DVD. I am aware that they do get many applicants from international students but there is a limit to how many they can take. Class sizes are kept small, My dds class is regarded as very big and there is 11 in the class. My dd will have to pass all the assessments and exams this year, she will also have to reaudition infront of the pricipal and other key staff members at the school to maintain her place. No funding is offered to International students regardless of ability.

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She was and still is 16 years of age. She has loved the Russian style of training since about the age of 12 years. From that age she had always said she wanted to go out and train at the Bolshoi Ballet School. However we didnt ever believe that she would actually do it. I am certain that if she had have been offered a place at The Royal Ballet School she would have gone there, but that wasnt to be. When we moved to Bristol, by accident she found a lovely Russian Ballet School, who saw the potential in my dd. It was they who suggested that an audition DVD should be made and sent off. The Bolshoi School was the only school abroad she wanted to audition for. Who knows if she will be succesful in making a career out of ballet. What is important is that she is enjoying it and really enjoying being part of the Russian culture. I think she has shown great determination and courage in believing in herself and putting herself in a country so different from her own to persue her dream.

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My daughter is training at the Harid Conservatory in florida and has been there since August. She loves it and is far happier than she was here at her vocational school. She sent a DVD for an audition but they really only give places to kids who go to their 5 week summer intensive as this is like an audition. She could not attend this as it was during June/July and her school would not have let her miss so much time. She was very lucky however and we got an e mail at the end of the summer school to say they were offering her a place which is an unusual outcome if they do not see you in the flesh!!

The training is intense but amazing and I was very impressed when I visited in December, the school is also very small and just lovely!!

They do assess the dancers every year and they don't all get invited back (same as everywhere else!!)We are hoping that she will as she is so happy there and although we really miss her I know she is in the right place for her.

I think that the kids really have to want to do ballet to move so far away from home as this is a huge upheaval for the whole family. My other two children miss her desperately and we have a lot of tears knowing that she will not be home for 3 and a half months!

I agree with Primrose when she says it takes greta determination and courage to go so far away but my daughter knew there was something better for her out there and she was right!

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Primrose and plie, it's really interesting to hear about your daughters. I take my hat off to both of them; what guts and determination they must have.

 

Plie, why do you think your dd prefers the Harid Conservatory to her previous vocational school?

 

Primrose, are there any other British students training with the Bolshoi Ballet School? Wasn't there a young man who went to train with the School and was featured in a television programme? Perhaps I am thinking of Xander Parrish but didn't he go from the RB corps? I remember reading about a British girl who is currently training at Perm.

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There are currently three British girls and one boy at the Bolshoi at the moment which is amazing and which also shows how times are changing. I think that my dd is about the fith British girl to train at the Bolshoi in its 3oo hundred year history and I think its even less for the boy. The numbers I have quoted are there abouts but I could be slightly wrong.

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And these four (one of whom is your dd) are actually training at the School rather than working at the Company? In addition to Xander Parrish (does your dd ever come across him?) David Hallberg is of course now at the Bolshoi and so there are a few Westerners in and around the Company. As you say, times are changing.

 

As a sub-topic, it would also be interesting to hear from anyone whose dc is training or has trained at a UK school whose methods and training are rooted in or linked to those of schools abroad (I'm expressing this clumsily but I can't think of any other way of putting it).

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This is an interesting thread particularly with the uncertainty over post 16 funding - as I understand it this is the last year of the DaDa scheme ..

 

Has anyone any experience of training either in Paris or Germany - I know of one Elmhurst student who went to Germany for 6.3 but would be very interested to hear more.

 

Anyone any knowledge of gap year type schemes, including more far flung places? And how would this fit in with applications to British dance schools on the student's return?

 

Meadowblythe

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I hope that this topic will not overlap too much with previous topics, but I would be very interested to hear about the experiences of British ballet students training abroad. I think that it takes real guts to do this as there must be so many "lows" in training for a career in ballet.

 

I'm not sure why you would limit this thread to just British students. It always seems to me we make a big deal of going to other places and yet hardly seem to notice that many students in advanced training here have done just that - are living far away from home in another country. I don't think its so unusual but much could be learned about the generic difficulties and benefits in being a student a long way from home. So I'd suggest throwing this open to all and changing the title form "British ballet students training abroad" to "Ballet students training abroad" perhaps.

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aileen, my daughter is getting much better training and her shape has completely changed since August.

Also because the school is so small, each child is important to them and this didn't seem to be the case over here!!

I can't really put my finger on it but the whole concept is better and well with the sunshine as well every day thats got to make you happier!!!

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In my dd's year at Northern Ballet School - on classical strand there were 3 German, 1 Canadian, 2 English and 3/4 Japanese girls. Ballet training is very international. I think the main reason more British students don't go overseas is because of the good possibility of getting funded training in the UK (although I believe you could be eligible for funding if you went to a school in another EU country. I think the German girls on my dd's course were on Dada's)

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Meadowblythe, when we think of ballet students training abroad we initially think of Russia and then perhaps of America but of course there are plenty of other countries with schools which provide very good training. I'm particularly thinking of countries in the EU because, presumably, there are no visa requirements and all EU nationals pay the same fees as the home students. In the wake of the increase in tuition fees for academic university courses in the UK I have heard that more students are considering studying in Europe because the fees are lower. As funding for ballet training is cut perhaps ballet students will increasingly go to Europe for their training.

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Not entirely related but the school I work in is encouraging students to consider studying abroad - generous funding is available from many US universities, and we recently discovered the tuition fees in the Netherlands are only 1000 euros per year - and all lectures are in English. One student is applying to the Sorbonne as a backup to Cambridge. Additional help is also available from the Dutch government if you are working 5 hours per week. Maybe the same is true for ballet?

 

Meadowblythe

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Bruce, the reason that this discussion is limited to British students is that, whilst there have been large numbers of overseas students training in the UK for some time now, as far as I am aware very few British students have done their training abroad and I, for one, am interested in finding out how that small band of students has fared/ is faring. As most people seem to agree, ballet schools, particularly in the UK, are international institutions today and in a very competitive world (and in the face of cuts in funding) I believe that British ballet students will go abroad to train in increasing numbers. I can assure you that there's no xenophobia here. I would be very interested to hear from parents of overseas ballet students who are training here as well.

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To me, Brits in general are not comfortable with the idea of working/training abroad and one of the reasons is language. We see London and other cities full of foreign students doing all sorts of jobs during the summer holidays just to brush up their language skills but this is not the case on the continent with British students. I am a language teacher myself and have tried to persuade my dd to take a summer school in Spain and she panics at the thought! I know I am speaking generally and this is not directly linked to dance training but I honestly believe this is one of the issues which affects our decisions.

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Aileen, a few years ago there was a YDA graduate who turned down a place at ENBS to train at the National Ballet School of Cuba - she thrived, I believe, winning awards etc and was apprenticed to ENB when she returned from Cuba.

She's since had a change of direction due to injury & gained a place at Cambridge reading Spanish - I imagine she stood out amongst the crowd of identikit UCAS forms!

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On the other hand, I know many people have followed Henry Perkins' story with interest and admiration over the past few years, but the most recent article I could find about him highlights the risks of training abroad and bowing out of the British education system entirely -http://www.gethampshire.co.uk/news/s/2102693_yateley_ballet_dancer_in_benefit_battle

 

I do hope he has recovered and that such a promising career is back on track. Ballet is a brutal business.

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We never considered my son going abroad to train because we felt that we're so lucky to have world-class schools in this country, with funding, so why would we need to look abroad. I do understand why people do, but personally we didn't feel the need! The British schools are attracting international students because of the high calibre of training, we were more than happy for our son to have his training with them. He'll soon be off to Estonia so I wouldn't say he's scared of going abroad - just didn't need to train there.

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I agree with Julie W on this....

Although I guess we have never been in the position to have to make that decision. As some of you may know my daughter was given the opportunity to audition for White Lodge even though she had never even considered it, and she was very lucky to be given a place and managed to remain there for 5 years. However when it came to Upper School auditions she felt that if she wasn't good enough to gain a place at one of her 4 choice schools in the UK then she would take another direction. She would never have considered training overseas and its not something I would have encouraged either. I am happy that she is still training here and I feel she is getting top class training.

 

But each to their own.. :)

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I am sure that we do have brilliant training over here -and I too would prefer my dd to stay here rather than go abroad. Having said that I don't think we have enough British youngsters training abroad to take a wider view on it. It is only an observation, but having recently attended the Imperial Ballet Awards I noticed the majority of winners (grade 6 and above) seemed to be Italian students -there were plenty of competitors from various associate programmes and one of the adjudicators was a ex-RBS soloist.

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There must be at least some subjectivity about how good any particular ballet school is, and a school which suits one child may not suit another. There are good schools in the UK and good schools abroad as well. The UK ballet companies have many dancers (particularly in the higher ranks) who did not train in the UK at all and so the schools which those dancers attended must be doing something right. Although the number of British students training abroad is currently small I predict that that number will grow.The decision to send your child abroad to train at such a young age cannot be an easy one but it will be the right one for some families.

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I can assure you that there's no xenophobia here. I would be very interested to hear from parents of overseas ballet students who are training here as well.

 

Good - I think these are generic issues

 

btw this was a private view - not moderation!

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Aileen, a few years ago there was a YDA graduate who turned down a place at ENBS to train at the National Ballet School of Cuba - she thrived, I believe, winning awards etc and was apprenticed to ENB when she returned from Cuba.

She's since had a change of direction due to injury & gained a place at Cambridge reading Spanish - I imagine she stood out amongst the crowd of identikit UCAS forms!

off topic - sorry - but this sums up (to me) the benefits of following your ballet ambitions as far as feels right for you, and then reaping the rewards of all that self-discipline and hard work by branching into a career that may not necessarily involve being on stage.

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I believe finance is the one huge factor that stops many young dancers from training abroad. Afterall if funding were not available for the UK schools it would be a very different situation for a lot of people.

 

My daughter would love to train in America - she has alredy tentatively looked into this possibility. Whist there are a few scholarships available, there is also the costs of flights, accommodation, and general living expenditure to consider - not a feasible option for many, espcially when there are other children dancing or otherwise at home.

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Bankrupt mum,

my daughter at Harid Conservatory has a tuition scholarship and we had no funding here as my husband earned above the line! Even with flights etc we are paying half of what we were paying here for 4 years running!

Its a real bonus for us!!

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Bankrupt mum,

my daughter at Harid Conservatory has a tuition scholarship and we had no funding here as my husband earned above the line! Even with flights etc we are paying half of what we were paying here for 4 years running!

Its a real bonus for us!!

 

 

I know the tuition is often free if not a lot cheaper than in the UK, still if you are on a lower income it makes it a huge if not impossible financial committment. Does your daughter come home for half terms or is it only the major holidays?

 

Do they offer any scholarships for their summer schools?

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