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Anna C

Questions about Upper School auditions

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I emailed elmhurst yesterday and the upper school results have been sent out today so should arrive either tomorrow or Saturday. Nerves are jingling in our house. 

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What a great position to be in. What’s the favourite ? Still got 2 auditions left. We know one will be a no and are going for experience but the other is one of her top 2 x

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8 hours ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

We are at the point where we are going to start turning places down - which is a bit scary but Dd is fairly sure of her decisions. 

What a great position to be in! Where has she auditioned?

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9 hours ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

We are at the point where we are going to start turning places down - which is a bit scary but Dd is fairly sure of her decisions. 

 

Excellent, PITF - congratulations to your dd! :)

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I’m so excited!!! Just had a letter from elmhurst and my daughter has been offered a final audition. I can’t stop smiling.😁

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On 19/01/2018 at 09:16, arabesque1 said:

What a great position to be in! Where has she auditioned?

 

She has auditioned at Hammond, Abbots Bromley School & SLP College.

 

She has decided to withdraw from Arts Ed & Jill Clewes Academy auditions. The former she feels doesn't really offer what she's looking for she liked it because she could do A levels there but they don't actually offer the A levels she wants. The latter whilst being an excellent local course with a great track record is designed to get children into degree/Level 6 diploma colleges aged 18 whereas she's already got two such offers. 

 

Dh & i both think she should have tried for Bird & Perforners but she says she doesn't want to go to London. 

 

I am waiting on some paperwork as one offer/scholarship was verbal with no specifics of the amount unfortunately one scholarship is not enough financially, the third only considers bursaries after DaDa awards are given out. 

 

Her Dada recalls will he March & April. 

Edited by Picturesinthefirelight
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oops - I put this on the Lower School forum when really it probably should be on this forum.

Hi everyone

This is my first post on BalletcoForum but I have been a silent observer (ie over my wife’s shoulder) for some time as DD navigates the world of ballet.

DD is in year 11 and at ballet vocational school, wanting to pursue a classical ballet career. Little did I think when we ventured into this world of ballet what the future would hold. I want to do everything I can for DD to develop a talent she has and enable her to fulfil her dreams. I think it’s fantastic to know exactly what you want to do as a career and be completely focused on it.

However, it does come at a price not for just for parents but the rest of the family but that it what I supposed we have signed up for.

Having successfully negotiated the world of lower schools (rejections, offers, injuries and recoveries) I find myself staring into the abyss that is ‘Upper Schools’. I naively thought this would be straight forward – oh how wrong was I!

I wanted to share my experience so that it may help others as their DD’s and DS’s pursue their dreams. However, before I start, can I just say this is my opinion only (my lovely wife and DD don’t know I am doing this) and it relates to classical ballet only as that is all I have experience of.  

My advice to anyone looking at Upper Schools is as follows:

  • Start looking early. When I say early I mean when they are coming to the end of year 9. I say this because its all about trying to get yourself seen well in advance of ‘audition year’ so schools are familiar with your DD’s/DS’s name and their abilities.
  • Every DD/DS has weakness’. Know what they are and work on them. Trying to get schools/teachers to have open, honest and frank conversations is very hard but do push for it. That way you know exactly what DD/DS has got to do. Of course, there are things like turn out that you can do little about, however compensating work can be done to help.
  • If possible, do not limit yourselves to the UK for summer schools/Upper schools. This does depend on how independent DD/DS is but there is a whole world out there with schools as good as the UK. It will broaden your DD’s/DS’s repertoire not to mention the life experience it brings.
  • One of the reasons my first comment say’s start looking towards the end of year 9 (at the latest) is really important, is if you’re thinking of international schools. 
    • American Schools – there are some great schools in America which should be considered but to do that you should be trying to get on their summer intensives in Year 9 and Year 10 (if not earlier). This way the schools see you and are likely to have a place lined up for you (if good enough) for their 'Upper School' equivalent. Scholarships are also available. If you leave it until ‘normal’ UK auditioning time, it’s likely to be too late (not impossible) but you won’t have any experience of the school you are applying for, which makes it nerve racking and the position my DD finds herself in. The downside to American summer intensives is that they start before the UK summer holiday begins so you will either need to take them out of school early and join the intensive late. In my opinion, if they want to pursue a career in ballet, then take the risk and take them out of school early in the summer (I can’t believe I’m actually saying that as it goes against everything my natural instinct is telling me but for a DD so focused on classical ballet, it would have been the right thing to do if only someone had told me).
    • European Schools – Like America there are some great schools in Europe which should be considered. Ballet classes in the more well known schools (apart from the odd exception) are taught in English so that’s not a problem. Summer schools in European (timing wise) are more like the UK so that’s not an issue. If affordable, it is good to give them exposure to other styles/methods of teaching and meeting other similarly mind ballerinas from around the world. This is the important bit - If you believe DD/DS can turn ballet into a career and they are good enough, then consider taking them to one of the top European schools early and do GCSE’s through online schooling. That way they are well placed to join the Upper Schools when the time comes. As with the American schools, I didn’t knew about this at the time but subsequently noticed what other people who are ‘in the know’ had done successfully.
    • UK Schools – Yes there are some great UK schools and if your DD can get into one they want then that’s fantastic. However, if they don’t and they want options then these are limited outside of remaining UK schools if you have not already considered what I said above re American and European schools.
  • Private Lessons – wow, now that takes expense to a whole new level. DD has had privates with some great teachers who have really helped her over and above the school she attends. Being in the middle of UK audition season right now I think it has been worth it as there were areas DD needed to improve on. Are they absolutely necessary – no they are not, as I have seen quite a few DD’s get great schools without the need for privates.
  • Body Shapes – as I am even typing this I nervous about saying the wrong thing but here are my views for what they are worth. European and Far Eastern DD’s tend to be thin, flexible with great on-stage presence from years of competitions and show performances.  That is what the world stage looks like and what a lot of International Upper Schools are looking for. There I’ve said it. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, that’s just the way it is (or at least what I have seen). There is a school for everyone, it’s a matter of trying the find the right one for them
  • Audition by DVD – DD’s/DS’s will never look as good on DVD as they do in person. Whoever is reviewing the DVD has the time to replay over and over again so all DD’s/DS’s blemishes are visible. Don’t take the making of these lightly. Whilst they are only there to get DD/DS in the door to be seen face to face, they have to be done properly. As painful as it might be, keep doing it over and over again until its right. Also, don’t do the audition DVD to early, try and get the timing right when DD/DS looks in good shape (physically and mentally) as it will come across on the DVD.

I am sorry this has been such a long opening post on the forum but it has been playing on my mind for some time to air what my experience has been so hopefully it can help others.

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It's a very interesting post NaiveDad. As a mum to 2 elder DDs, I relate totally with what you said and especially with the part about body shapes that worried you so... and with the preparing early for Upper Schools too...

 

Edited by afab

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Hello Naivedad and welcome to the Forum!

 

Thanks for giving us the benefit of your experience; it seems to me that you are giving really good advice.

 

In view of your comments about preparing early for US I do not feel your post is out of place on this thread although we do not normally encourage multiple posting.

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Thanks NaiveDad, I enjoyed reading your post and the advice you gave.

My dd is only 8 and dancing for enjoyment at the moment but I do love to hear other people's experiences and stories.

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Thanks naivedad.  Really reassured by your comments as my DD is in Year 9 and I thought I was being a bit silly with the notion of 'getting her name out there'.

 

Thanks for your ideas about America too - hadn't even thought of it. 

#haven'taclue! 

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Can. Anyone recommend a hotel near Herbal Hill please? Also, before auditions, would you say a night in their own bed at home and an early start for the train or a night in a hotel nearby,  risk maybe not sleeping as well but no risk of travel disruption?

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17 minutes ago, Bex does ballet said:

Can. Anyone recommend a hotel near Herbal Hill please? Also, before auditions, would you say a night in their own bed at home and an early start for the train or a night in a hotel nearby,  risk maybe not sleeping as well but no risk of travel disruption?

Travelodge King's Cross is iirc about half a mile from Central.

 

I have a consultant appt in that there London in March and checked distances to herbal hill  from various hotel options as i'm in London on the Thursday and Friday evenings   ( which means David K and Hannah F   central nights )

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16 minutes ago, Nicola H said:
36 minutes ago, Bex does ballet said:

 

Travelodge King's Cross is iirc about half a mile from Central.

 

Thanks Nicola, I’ll look it up

Edited by Bex does ballet
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1 hour ago, Bex does ballet said:

Can. Anyone recommend a hotel near Herbal Hill please? Also, before auditions, would you say a night in their own bed at home and an early start for the train or a night in a hotel nearby,  risk maybe not sleeping as well but no risk of travel disruption?

 

We stayed at Crown Plaza Kings Cross when dd did the October dance days at Central. Very nice, and it has a pool :) . Lovely restaurant there too for a convenient meal the night before. Dd loves a steak and said that the one she had there was one of the best! 10 minute (if that) walk to Herbal Hill.

 

Dd always prefers the night in a hotel nearby option. I think we would both worry too much about possible travel delays etc on the day. She is a good sleeper anywhere, so we have a nice meal, early night, good breakfast, and she arrives refreshed and ready. 

 

Good luck :) 

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2 hours ago, BlueLou said:

 

We stayed at Crown Plaza Kings Cross when dd did the October dance days at Central. Very nice, and it has a pool :) . Lovely restaurant there too for a convenient meal the night before. Dd loves a steak and said that the one she had there was one of the best! 10 minute (if that) walk to Herbal Hill.

 

Dd always prefers the night in a hotel nearby option. I think we would both worry too much about possible travel delays etc on the day. She is a good sleeper anywhere, so we have a nice meal, early night, good breakfast, and she arrives refreshed and ready. 

 

Good luck :) 

Thanks BlueLou, I don’t sleep well in hotels but that’s not what matters, as long as dd gets a good nights sleep!  We are a 50 minute ( roughly) train ride to London but then would need a bus to get to Herbal Hill and even though it doesn’t seem too far, to get there first thing in the morning would mean doing battle with the commuters and I’d be worrying so would want to build in extra ‘ just in case’ allowances so we’d end up being up at the crack of dawn. I think I’ll go for the hotel option. 

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NaiveDad that is a very interesting post. I would add one other point about body shape and that is proportion of leg length to torso length. If your legs ain't long enough you are going to struggle with getting a place even if everything else ticks the boxes. I would reco getting a candid assessment from an expert that you trust. Own dance teacher may have made a huge emotional investment in your dc especially if they have taught them since the beginning and may find it difficult to have such a conversation.

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On 27/01/2018 at 16:57, hoglett said:

Thanks naivedad.  Really reassured by your comments as my DD is in Year 9 and I thought I was being a bit silly with the notion of 'getting her name out there'.

 

Thanks for your ideas about America too - hadn't even thought of it. 

#haven'taclue! 

I briefly looked at America (New York) but probably like so many other parents the thought of leaving my DD so far away and not just a few hours either by train or domestic flight to get to her should the need arise was worrying, as well as funding. Always a huge issue for many. Most HE funding schemes (Grants or Loans) don't extend across the pond and also with Europe, especially with Brexit, whereby at the mo some Eurpoean Vocational Schools may offer free or even low cost training for EU country residents this could all change midway through some US students final years of training, when the final Brexit thingy finally happens. 

I also looked at a couple of schools in Germany, as my DD is at least taking GCSE German I thought it was a start. Then France, all offering Fantastic schools and opportunities but with no direct flights from our home, other towns and cities around England could be the same. Travel would involve 2 flights and trains taking over 6 hours to get home or just to get there. For a DC that is an inexperienced traveller these points had to be considered. Even at the perceived all grown up age of 16. I even factored in the thought I would travel with her there and back everytime. ££££££££££ oops didn't take long to knock that one on the head either. 

 

Such a shame that the stark practicalities of life interfere with the aspirations and dreams of our youngsters but that's what us parents have to consider. Certainly doesn't stop them from taking these overseas opportunites when they Graduate and get offered a place in a European or further a field Ballet Company.  

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You're absolutely right @balletbean...cost is certainly a huge factor and I totally agree. I reasoned that if I was concerned about my DD being in London at 16, I/ she probably wouldn't cope with New York or Chicago.  

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21 hours ago, hoglett said:

You're absolutely right @balletbean...cost is certainly a huge factor and I totally agree. I reasoned that if I was concerned about my DD being in London at 16, I/ she probably wouldn't cope with New York or Chicago.  

If the accommodation was near to the London schools this may soften the blow slightly but one establishment requires their pupils to commute 45 mins there and back every day. A day that starts at 8am and finishes at 6.30pm. Those are very long hours before even factoring in the commute then cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundry for anyone, let alone a 16 yr old. And then quote rent and cost of living at £11,000pa. Just wondering how many research the full package before a applying. 

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Is anyone still waiting to hear back from ENBS audition videos?

 

I was surprised that there hasn't been much discussion on the new video application process this year on the forum.  Making the required 20-30 minute video has been an exhausting process taking many hours of studio time and private lessons.  As NaiveDad so rightly said, it may be just to get their foot in the door, but the school will have that video to refer back to later in the process, to watch in slow motion if required, so presenting your child's best work is imperative.

 

I wonder if the whole expense and length of process has put many off applying at all.....

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19 minutes ago, atacrossroads said:

Is anyone still waiting to hear back from ENBS audition videos?

 

I was surprised that there hasn't been much discussion on the new video application process this year on the forum.  Making the required 20-30 minute video has been an exhausting process taking many hours of studio time and private lessons.  As NaiveDad so rightly said, it may be just to get their foot in the door, but the school will have that video to refer back to later in the process, to watch in slow motion if required, so presenting your child's best work is imperative.

 

I wonder if the whole expense and length of process has put many off applying at all.....

 

Is that for UK students, atacrossroads? Or only for international applicants. 

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19 minutes ago, Anna C said:

 

Is that for UK students, atacrossroads? Or only for international applicants. 

It's for everybody according to the ENBS website. It says "All UK and international applicants must send a video audition."

 

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44 minutes ago, Anna C said:

 

Is that for UK students, atacrossroads? Or only for international applicants. 

All applicants have to submit an application video now, UK and International.  RBS and possibly Elmhurst get put straight through to Prelims and the YDA (and WLSD) joined the 1st year US for a private audition to go through to Finals.  Otherwise all others have to submit this video audition.

Edited by atacrossroads
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22 minutes ago, taxi4ballet said:

It's for everybody according to the ENBS website. It says "All UK and international applicants must send a video audition."

 

Yes, all applicants unfortunately...

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