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British ballet students training abroad


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Afab, do you mind me asking where you live in France? And what's the latest prediction on the French Presidential election? There's been quite a lot of coverage of it here in the UK. Is Le Flaneur (hope I've got this right) still expected to win comfortably?

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Aileen, "le Flaneur"... that's quite funny! Who's Le Flaneur? Do you mean Hollande, also known here as "Flanby" (a sort of crème caramel!)???

 

Yes, he's expected to win comfortably and I'm half answering this forum and following news on Twitter and foreign press at the same time as we cannot know the results officially until 8 tonight!

 

We live in the North of France near Lille but we are moving somewhere around Paris this summer as the best dance schools are there and DH actually already works there...

 

DD1 has been accepted to the school of her choice :) and DD2 is trying POB school on Wednesday :unsure:

 

Fingers crossed for her! She has been accepted in all the good schools but POB is the ultimate one so the pressure is on...

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Afab, oh dear, I fear that I've said something rude. If so, apologies. I'm going to look the word up in my French dictionary. Yes, I mean "Flanby". I know that the nickname means something like creme caramel. Well done to DD1 and Bonne Chance (I'm trying out my school-girl French again!) to DD2.

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Aileen, you didn't say anything rude at all. Flaner means walking leisurely... Le Flaneur would quite easily be a good nickname for Hollande who took his time to get where he is now. Much nicer name than Flanby anyway...

 

Merci for DD1 & DD2...

 

Back to Twitter... Apparently, Hollande would have won!

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Afab, I'm afraid you've opened up a deluge of France related questions!

 

Can I ask you if you know anything of the Rosella Hightower school in Cannes? I think it's also called something like 'Ecole Superior de danse' or something like that.

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I can't edit my last post as I'm on an iPhone, but just wanted to add that I've stopped being lazy and I've looked up the proper name of the school. It's 'l'Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower'.

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Regattah, the rumour about The Rosella Hightower school is that it used to be a fantastic school 15-20 years ago, then it went downhill but it's trying to go up again. A good enough school but not one I would consider at the moment for my DDs. I also heard some complains about the kids not having enough to eat there... I think the boarding school stays open at the weekend as it's very international... Lovely setting... and a pool...

 

I hope that helps...

 

Note: this is my personal opinion based on what I heard or read, I could be wrong...

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Thanks, afab.

 

It's a shame to hear this! There is an international ballet forum site that only seems to mention POB and Rosella Hightower (and Princess Grace, although that's not really France) as the pre-pro standard schools in France. It may mention others, but I haven't seen them. Is there a definitive list of pre-pro/vocational schools in France?

 

I'm disappointed that Rosella Hightower's reputation is currently good. They do open classes during the summer and I was planning on signing DD up for some. Maybe I will anyway, just to see....

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On ‎06‎/‎05‎/‎2012 at 17:15, afab said:

There is boarding for all age groups at the POB school but not at the other top schools taking kids from the age of 8 or 9. The National Conservatoire has boarding but they take students over 14 only. The other thing is that even with boarding, schools close on Friday night and students must go elsewhere for the week-end hence the obligation of having a contact person in Paris... All that must discourage foreign families, I agree with you...

Hello afab

Are you still living in Paris, and somehow your dd.s are connected to ballet?

My DD is studying in CNSM now and we have some concerns in our minds.

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Hello Derin's Mom, Afab hasn't logged in since April so you may be waiting a while for a response unless anyone else has experience.

 

You could try messaging her - that usually generates an email to the person you are messaging, which may be picked up faster.

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2 hours ago, Derin's Mom said:

Hello afab

Are you still living in Paris, and somehow your dd.s are connected to ballet?

My DD is studying in CNSM now and we have some concerns in our minds.

Hi Derin’s Mom, we live in the uk now but I still have connection with ballet I France and with people at CNSM. My daughters are both professional dancers now or rather trying to be but they are not strict ballet anymore. Actually, my eldest has left the world of ballet altogether as she is a contemporary dancer but is studying to become a dance producer now. My second one is a jazz dancer but with a strong ballet and hip hop (!!) base now... And for people who followed me over the years, DD3 is now at Drama school which she started a month ago...

 

Anyway, back to your question, how can I help?

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1 hour ago, Jan McNulty said:

Hello Derin's Mom, Afab hasn't logged in since April so you may be waiting a while for a response unless anyone else has experience.

 

You could try messaging her - that usually generates an email to the person you are messaging, which may be picked up faster.

Still lurking, logging in when I am needed like maybe now... Hope you’re well Jan...

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13 hours ago, afab said:

Hi Derin’s Mom, we live in the uk now but I still have connection with ballet I France and with people at CNSM. My daughters are both professional dancers now or rather trying to be but they are not strict ballet anymore. Actually, my eldest has left the world of ballet altogether as she is a contemporary dancer but is studying to become a dance producer now. My second one is a jazz dancer but with a strong ballet and hip hop (!!) base now... And for people who followed me over the years, DD3 is now at Drama school which she started a month ago...

 

Anyway, back to your question, how can I help?

:-) thank you for replying back.

Well, maybe you can be of some help. My DD is 14 and just started CNSMDP this September. She is an aspiring ballet student. She auditioned in several places like berlin, zurich and got acceptances but we chose Paris cause she wanted to learn the French tech. She is a very well trained in vaganova technique. She lives in the dorm and her uncle living in paris is of help. This was the main reasons we chose it there.

But she seems unhappy not to mention the language barriers, homesickness etc, it is more than that. She says they work very less compared to her previous school and she is losing her strengths. She is a very mature girl  and is aware of herself a lot compared to her age so I listen to these with respect. The school director is great and tells her to be patient :-) . I was just wondering if we are on the right track and things will be different in years. Otherwise we will have to re-think the school issues once again.

Our aim is for her to be able to dance in Europe.

Any input will be helpful I suppose.

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I don't know if this will help, but ...

 

It is a pretty well-known (to teachers) phenomenon that changing schools will have this sort of response. I remember talking to young professional company dancers about their first jobs, and they all commented that they felt they worked less than in the final years of their full-time ballet training - theirs was an adjustment from the 8 hours of supervised TAUGHT work per day, 6 days a week, to the independent work of a company professional (company class, rehearsal, performance), where they had to take responsibility & initiative for extra coaching and sorting out & working on their own issues. 

 

Obviously, your DD is still in training, so can't be expected to have that level of independence, but - I was recently working with an student (18 years old) who is expressing similar kinds of distress about having worked so hard to get into my institution, but is now disappointed that they feel they're not working so hard or doing enough. They too, have come from a different country and culture.

 

The student had equated 'stepping up' in terms of level of institution & education (ie from A Levels to degree)  with doing more. I had to explain that it's not about doing more, it's about working differently, and with more breadth and depth. Which is more, but feels like less to the student at the moment. But it is a slow process, and will speed up, be sure of that!

 

You might also want to try to have your daughter separate out her dissatisfaction with the training, from her exhaustion from the huge challenges of learning a new language and culture, living away from home, in enforced sociability with lots of non-family. All at the age of 14! It's a lot to take on.  It's huge actually, and she must be extraordinarily dedicated & resilient to be managing.

 

I'm sure you know - we all come to learn - that sometimes we project anxieties from the things we can't control (learning a new language etc) onto the things we can control - changing schools. Or we focus our general dissatisfaction on one thing that is not about us - ie the teaching. We think that if we change the one thing outside ourselves that we can change, then everything else will be fixed. But we still take ourselves with us. So I'd want to be sure with a child that it's actually not the training, but the  whole framework within which the training is happening, if you see what I mean. I'm seeing this over & over at the moment as our first year students adjust to their new learning environment, together with their new living environment.

 

And wouldn't moving to a German school have pretty much the same issues of language and culture?  (I love speaking German, but it's a harder language to learn than French, in my experience ...)

 

If you trust her teachers at her current school, you need to trust them. Of course, if you don't trust her teachers, then maybe a new school is what's needed.

Edited by Kate_N
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32 minutes ago, Kate_N said:

I don't know if this will help, but ...

 

It is a pretty well-known (to teachers) phenomenon that changing schools will have this sort of response. I remember talking to young professional company dancers about their first jobs, and they all commented that they felt they worked less than in the final years of their full-time ballet training - theirs was an adjustment from the 8 hours of supervised TAUGHT work per day, 6 days a week, to the independent work of a company professional (company class, rehearsal, performance), where they had to take responsibility & initiative for extra coaching and sorting out & working on their own issues. 

 

Obviously, your DD is still in training, so can't be expected to have that level of independence, but - I was recently working with an student (18 years old) who is expressing similar kinds of distress about having worked so hard to get into my institution, but is now disappointed that they feel they're not working so hard or doing enough. They too, have come from a different country and culture.

 

The student had equated 'stepping up' in terms of level of institution & education (ie from A Levels to degree)  with doing more. I had to explain that it's not about doing more, it's about working differently, and with more breadth and depth. Which is more, but feels like less to the student at the moment. But it is a slow process, and will speed up, be sure of that!

 

You might also want to try to have your daughter separate out her dissatisfaction with the training, from her exhaustion from the huge challenges of learning a new language and culture, living away from home, in enforced sociability with lots of non-family. All at the age of 14! It's a lot to take on.  It's huge actually, and she must be extraordinarily dedicated & resilient to be managing.

 

I'm sure you know - we all come to learn - that sometimes we project anxieties from the things we can't control (learning a new language etc) onto the things we can control - changing schools. Or we focus our general dissatisfaction on one thing that is not about us - ie the teaching. We think that if we change the one thing outside ourselves that we can change, then everything else will be fixed. But we still take ourselves with us. So I'd want to be sure with a child that it's actually not the training, but the  whole framework within which the training is happening, if you see what I mean. I'm seeing this over & over at the moment as our first year students adjust to their new learning environment, together with their new living environment.

 

And wouldn't moving to a German school have pretty much the same issues of language and culture?  (I love speaking German, but it's a harder language to learn than French, in my experience ...)

 

If you trust her teachers at her current school, you need to trust them. Of course, if you don't trust her teachers, then maybe a new school is what's needed.

Very helpful indeed, thank you.

I am thinking about this "the thing" issue myself. And try to let her put down a list of likes and dislikes and re-write it from time to time, to see how things are evolving.

I trust the director. Not very much sure about teachers, they are sure capable but at least for the time being we need to wait and see if DD is in good contact with her current teacher. That 'click' you know sometimes is not there. Perhaps changing a technique is a reason. But as you said, all is very new and patience is sometimes all needed.

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I think sometimes it can be quite difficult to learn if the "click" as you say, isn't there. And young people can get quite emotionally invested in having this connection or "click."

 

Maybe part of the learning, is learning how to work with & learn from all sorts of people, is quite important. But it's a tough lesson at 14!

 

(I'm thinking out loud because I'm trying to find a "fix" for my own student, who's quite distressed by the adjustment they're going through! But actually, I'm not sure there's a fix - it's all about growing up ...)

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I don't know if I have much to add to what has been said especially coming from teachers... What I know of CNSM is that the selection is pushed so much that classes are ridiculously small and that doesn't help making friends, being pushed in your dance nor being nurtured funnily enough. As someone said, moving to Germany might not be the answer either... That being said, CNSM is not famous for being nurturing... and she's only 14 and more or less alone...

 

When DD1 and DD2 moved away from home to London to dance, they were 17 and 16 and it was not easy either but at least they had finished school so they spent 30something hours/week dancing which helped. 

 

Personally, I don't think the most prestigious schools are necessarily the best at nurturing a young teenager nor at helping them gain their best possible level. CNSM is very famous in France for being the school that takes in kicked out POB students, not because they are bad but often because of a growth spur, a body change or a physical weakness. CNSM students believe in their worth, even though fin reality for most the best school of the country asked them to leave so it's a second choice... hence a very particular atmosphere for the ones not coming from POB school. It often is snobbism at its best... like in most elite schools! So coming from another country, culture, school of ballet and language must indeed be very difficult...

 

I'm sorry I can't help more except maybe suggest that if she were in a country whose language she masters, everything might be much easier for her.

 

Let me know if I can be of more help. All the best to her!

 

 

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9 hours ago, afab said:

I don't know if I have much to add to what has been said especially coming from teachers... What I know of CNSM is that the selection is pushed so much that classes are ridiculously small and that doesn't help making friends, being pushed in your dance nor being nurtured funnily enough. As someone said, moving to Germany might not be the answer either... That being said, CNSM is not famous for being nurturing... and she's only 14 and more or less alone...

 

When DD1 and DD2 moved away from home to London to dance, they were 17 and 16 and it was not easy either but at least they had finished school so they spent 30something hours/week dancing which helped. 

 

Personally, I don't think the most prestigious schools are necessarily the best at nurturing a young teenager nor at helping them gain their best possible level. CNSM is very famous in France for being the school that takes in kicked out POB students, not because they are bad but often because of a growth spur, a body change or a physical weakness. CNSM students believe in their worth, even though fin reality for most the best school of the country asked them to leave so it's a second choice... hence a very particular atmosphere for the ones not coming from POB school. It often is snobbism at its best... like in most elite schools! So coming from another country, culture, school of ballet and language must indeed be very difficult...

 

I'm sorry I can't help more except maybe suggest that if she were in a country whose language she masters, everything might be much easier for her.

 

Let me know if I can be of more help. All the best to her!

 

 

Thank you Afab.

Of course it helps.

Funny to say, but my DD says the class is quite crowded -14 girls- (they are PREPA and I suppose they take more to see how they will evolve and eliminate in time) and she says the level is not as high as she expected. Again maybe it is because they call it Prepa. The want to bring them to a homogenized level.

For the nurturing, I guess as you say most well known schools have this issue, because there is a pressure on teachers and kids to be their best. Ballet is a harsh world anyhow...

When I look into things and when it is said Germany will not be very much different, I guess it is our best to wait and see how things will develop within the year as she practices the language more.

The option of staying in her home country is always gonna make things more difficult to spread abroad when she is around 17-18. I see that year by year chances of doing classical ballet is decreasing but contemporary and neoclassical is preferred in many companies. This brings the need to learn how to be a versatile dancer. And this is something difficult for her to learn here in her own country.

Ps: Lately there are no POB left girls in the school just 1 or 2. But again almost everyone is French :-) This is a basic culture shock for DD.

 

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Our experience is not of France, but of my son studying in Germany. He started in Munich, where due to several reasons he didn’t really settle the whole year. He saw the year out, learned loads, but was so unhappy there. After some serious thought, we decided to move the whole family again, and applied to Hamburg. Since coming here, he has settled immediately, lots of friends, never looked back, and so much happier.

So, sometimes the environment just isn’t right for the child, and if they really can’t settle and are unhappy, it’s worth changing schools. After you’ve given it a decent go, of course, it’s a massive upheaval, moving countries and into full time training at one of the “big” schools, and it will take time to adjust. 

This is our third year in Germany now, and he was finding it easier by about middle of the second year, once his grip on the language was better. And that was with the whole family being there, not boarding - but he was only ten when we first moved over( just turned 13 now)

All the best for your daughter! 

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10 minutes ago, Boys_can_dance said:

Our experience is not of France, but of my son studying in Germany. He started in Munich, where due to several reasons he didn’t really settle the whole year. He saw the year out, learned loads, but was so unhappy there. After some serious thought, we decided to move the whole family again, and applied to Hamburg. Since coming here, he has settled immediately, lots of friends, never looked back, and so much happier.

So, sometimes the environment just isn’t right for the child, and if they really can’t settle and are unhappy, it’s worth changing schools. After you’ve given it a decent go, of course, it’s a massive upheaval, moving countries and into full time training at one of the “big” schools, and it will take time to adjust. 

This is our third year in Germany now, and he was finding it easier by about middle of the second year, once his grip on the language was better. And that was with the whole family being there, not boarding - but he was only ten when we first moved over( just turned 13 now)

All the best for your daughter! 

Thank you for the support.

My daughter is used to a full time training. But as you say, changing the country, being alone, being friendless is upsetting her.

She still is not sure whether the classes will be enough for her or not. This will I suppose take a few more months to clarify.

Munich was an option for her as well but since she is 14, we said no cause there was no boarding for that age.

I am glad that your son enjoys her new school.

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10 hours ago, Boys_can_dance said:

Don’t go to Munich under 16 years old, they’re not set up for international students that age, and the support just isn’t there.

 

Can you please expand what you mean by not being ready for int. students?

I know there is no dorm either. Communication, friendship etc?

My DD is having a difficulty in France as well, since there are few international students. But dorm is settled, since they have been working like this for years. Her major issue is lack of friendship and communication tools.

I suppose your DS is in Hamburg now. Is he happy with the training as well there?

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Hi Derin's Mom and Boys-Can-Dance ,

 

 Did you consider the Escola de Dança de Conservatório Nacional in Lisbon? It is  Vaganova based for ballet.  Strong in contemporary too.

It is a Ministry of Education run school and costs are supported by the state for students that enter the academic school program . Fees are payable by students unable to study in Portuguese. Most European students join the state education system, regardless of home language, and students coming from Asian origins joining the senior school often do not, but are taught English and Portuguese.

 

My DD was one of the first students to be accepted into the Residencia  for under 16's. There are other residences in Lisbon that accept over 16's. The Residencia is run by a community of a religious order that originally housed single girls coming to study at Lisbon University. As numbers fell, the school took in the students from the dance school including young men and they can accommodate aproximately 12- 16 girls and 12 young men on different floors and in shared rooms, with shared bathroom and kitchen area. There is a study area and a TV lounge and dining room. It is half board, a metro ride from the school in a calm neighbourhood. The youngest students are 10(my DD was 11 and 4 days when she started) and up to final year aged 18. A certain independence is required with regard to laundry and school homework. There is no one to supervise this.Towels, linen, kitchen stuff are all included and everyone has the same. Just turn up with dance stuff and street stuff and Bob's your uncle.

 

The mix in the residence can be Portuguese, French, Italians, Ukranians, Japanese, Brazilians, Chinese, Taiwanese.

The course is from 1-5 th grade (school year 5 for Portugal  aged 10 _ Year 9 14/15yrs ), 6th to 8th grade.( years 10- 12)  So for example, Derrin's mum your DD would be entering year 10 next September, I think ,if she is 14 now, so that would be Vaganova grade 6 level . This is very different from the UK educational break at year 11and two sixth form years 12 and 13. So when she swapped to the UK she had completed her Level 2 qualifications in Portugal and then went onto start  A levels at aged 15.

 

It's an audition to enter, of course, in June though some come through competition wins I suspect. Assessments are made yearly, but the 'special' cases are after Grade 2/ 6 º ano, the end of 'middle school' in Portugal, and then grade 5/year 9.. the third 'ciclo' of Portugal. An access exam is necesssary to get from the basic course to the Curso Secundario grades 6-8,years 10-12. It is necessary to achieve a grade of 4/ 5 for either Ballet or Contemporary to move on.Many were 'assessed out' and numerous places became available for incoming students, usually international rather than local. My DD passed but opted to pursue her studies eleswhere.

Lisbon is a great city. Not called the city of light for nothing. Lots of history and culture. And safe and friendly.

 

Just off the top of my head, there may be 5 places at least coming up this summer if I have counted the finalists correctly. 

 

 

Other than this Pallco in Porto accepts overseas students. Not sure about host families or residences. Another great city and a good school.Also attached to the Min of Ed system. And there are others.

 

And then there is the Conservatorio International de Annarella Sanchez in Leiria. This is Cuban methodology and the results are outstanding. A quick search online will show you the depth here. Host families or apartments are arranged for the international students depending upon age and experience of independence. If students are passing through for a few weeks or months, one siolution will be found, if staying for longer then they will help find another. My DD was offered a place here too, but when they said to relax they would find a place,my husband didn't quite believe it (and she went to Lisbon), until she did a summer school and true to their word a school member opened up her house to her and another student. All sorts of nationalities arrive in Leiria and are welcomed.

 

A way of seeing for yourself is to explore any of the intensive courses that these schools do in the holidays. There are so many from which to pick.   

 

Hope this information is useful to some of you reading these posts.

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