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Associate Programmes


balletmummy
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Hi all

 

Firstly, thank you for all making this such an informative and useful forum! 

 

I wonder if anyone has any opinions on associate programmes. My dd, who will be 8 in December, is potentially interested in auditioning for RBS JAs. She takes 4 classes a week (2 ballet, 2 tap) and so badly wants to do more! She is currently Grade 1 ballet and tap.

 

Im wondering how RBS and Elmhurst JAs compare and whether there are any others we should be looking at...and if anyone has experience of either, it would be great to hear your thoughts-are RBS and Elmhurst looking for the same things at auditions, etc

 

Also, we have found the RBS outreach JA class, where dd can go and do a JA class to get an idea of what goes on, before deciding whether or not it is for her and then auditioning. Any views/experiences of these classes would be great too...

 

Thanks in advance to all! It is an exciting new path for her to be thinking about, and she is very determined indeed,  but a nervewracking one too...

 

Balletmummy

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Hi,

 

I will give you my experiences and views, but they are my views.

 

I have a daughter aged 8, who is at grade 2 in ballet and last exam got 97%. We went to the royal ballet insight day last year, which my dd loved, I watched the class all really basic things were done, nothing hard at all, they concentrate on posture, use of the floor, very few stretches, it was a lovely class to watch, and after that we both agreed to do the ja audition. So we did.

 

The audition, there were lots and lots of children auditioning for very few places, while waiting the other children there could put there legs in place which I'm sure they should not be! Again the audition was very basic, actually very few dancing bits in it, it was all about the body, the shape, the turnout, the leg length, then musicality, overall a nice experience but they are not looking or amazing dancers, they are looking for a dancer they can train into a ballerina.

Sadly my dd did not make it this time, but made it to the short waiting list, I certainly would audition again, but just beware there are very few places and think you need to get your child ready for that, as they fall in love with the school when they get there!,

 

After that we auditioned for tring parks classical ballet accademy, which my dd did get into, she loves every minute of it, it's all on technique and sometimes they spend a lot of time just on one step!

 

Good luck, these classes are all really good experience and I'm she my dd would not change auditioning for the world as she did love it, but if you are going to do it, definitely do the insight day, as it shows you what sort of things they do.

 

But beware its a roller coaster you cannot get off once on!,,,

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My DD was a Royal Ballet School Junior Associate for 3 years.The classes are pitched at quite a basic technical level concentrating on correct technique and conditioning, with homework stretching and strengthening exercises to be done 6 days out of 7.I felt this was a great opportunity for my DD to concentrate on her basic ballet technique.The classes are quite long - 2 1/4 hours and were quite a commitment for a young child ( and parents) particularly if there is a distance to travel to class - we had a 5 hour round trip.Being a JA however was a wonderful experience .In addition to the regular classes there were workshops at the Royal Ballet Upper School in Covent Garden and trips to see the Royal Ballet Company perform in some of their pre grand dress rehearsals at the Royal Opera House.Some JA children do also have some performance opportunities but this mainly seemed to be for London based JAs. Some firm lasting friendships were made amongst both the children and parents.It did lead to us being drawn onto that vocational ballet roller coaster however.

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Hi Balletmummy, my DS will be 8 in January and he also will be auditioning for Bristol JA. His older sister is loving her second year as a JA, she also auditioned when she was 8. We did the JA experience and are planning to do it with my DS as well. It doesn't get you ready for auditions but gives an idea of how the JA class looks like and also you will be able to see if 2h 15min it's not too much for your DD. I think that JA classes are great and my DD has improved enormously. But as the others said they are looking for specific body type etc ( we never know what is it exactly! The ballet X factor! :-) ) so it's good to prepare DC for the fact that they may not make it this time. If you have any questions or would like a "chat" please PM me. Good luck!

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Also look out for RAD Associates.  My DD does the class in Birmingham once a month, the cost is very reasonable and the teaching is excellent. Tring CA is worth a try out.  We didn't get in two years ago and then auditioned for MTB instead which is absolutely fabulous and lots of fun.

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Hi balletmummy.

From our own experience, I would also add that associate schemes (particularly RBS,perhaps) seem particularly interested also in body shape and type, so this might be worth chatting to your ballet teacher about. I am not sure how important, if at all,exam results or levels are at this stage. Encourage your dd to embrace any audition experience she goes for, to enjoy it, and not to be too upset if not selected. The JA experience days are definitely worth it and a lot of fun in a non threatening atmosphere.

I have found that there are lots of wonderfully knowledgable and experienced people on this forum and its a great place to pick brains!

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I'd suggest that if you have access to good local training then associates not necessary at age 8 (though I know lots do and enjoy and benefit from it) but its a roller coaster -of auditions/time/money - that you don't have to get on to just yet.

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It depends what you're looking for as the different schemes do offer different elements of training. For pure ballet technique and training, RBS and Elmhurst are both great. To be in a production, EYB and MTB offer brilliant performance experience but are both pricey. RAD Associates are non-auditioned so it's first come first served, and offered in blocks of 4, not always regularly so can clash with regular commitments. I run MIDAS and to my knowledge we are the only scheme that offers classes in ballet technique, artistry and body conditioning with elements of jazz and contemporary technique/skills too. Tring CBA I think is pure ballet too.

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It depends what you're looking for as the different schemes do offer different elements of training. For pure ballet technique and training, RBS and Elmhurst are both great. To be in a production, EYB and MTB offer brilliant performance experience but are both pricey. RAD Associates are non-auditioned so it's first come first served, and offered in blocks of 4, not always regularly so can clash with regular commitments. I run MIDAS and to my knowledge we are the only scheme that offers classes in ballet technique, artistry and body conditioning with elements of jazz and contemporary technique/skills too. Tring CBA I think is pure ballet too.

 

I'm not in a position to load your web page would you mind telling me what age range the MIDAS training currently coaches?  Many thanks,

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If you are within driving distance of Birmingham, Elmhurst Associates is on a Saturday morning and some of the children then go onto RBS Associates in the afternoon. Two birds one stone ! Makes the trip worthwhile ! My dd did both in year 6. Didn't know about it before then. Glad we were only on the rollercoaster for a year ! 3 might have been very stressful for us expectation wise. I believe its only the Elmhurst Associates at the school that offer the 3 classes but it seems to be evolving all the time.

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Plymouth Elmhurst Associates is an hour and a half ballet class on a Sunday so it doesn't clash with Totnes RBS Associates on a Saturday. If we had been closer I would have definately travelled to Elmhurst itself for the 3 classes and the studios are a lot nicer. Seems a bit more special !

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[quote name="drdance" post="62286" timestamp="

"To be in a production, EYB and MTB offer brilliant performance experience but are both pricey"

 

Having had experience of both EYB and MTB, I would disagree that they are pricey . MTB provide two and a half hours per week of first class teaching from top teachers in the profession in amazing studios. There are four spectacular performances where all pupils have a lot of stage time. Amazing costumes and sets combined with testing choreography and Pas de deux for the older students. At £25 a lesson I would say its a bargain.

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EYB is pricey in that it's £435 to take part, plus train fares/petrol to get to audition/rehearsals (often a long way away), tights, shoes and makeup for the production, tickets and dvd too. If I remember rightly, adding it all up it came to almost £600 (much of that due to the cost of diesel!). When they last came to Aylesbury it was in the summer holidays so we treated it as a Summer School which made it seem much better value.

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I think Summer Schools vary hugely in cost - plus it depends whether accommodation and food are included. Obviously for EYB they aren't but in the summer holidays I think it was 6 hours a day, Weds? to Sunday inclusive for 2 weeks, plus very long days on Thursday - Saturday inclusive the following week (for dress rehearsals & performances). So yes, it cost us around £600 but if you think of it as about 66 hours altogether it's a lot less scary! :-)

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I think if you added the extras on to any scheme and worked out the cost it would be far more than anticipated ( including the huge Costa cost for those attending Tring associates!) I know lots of people who travel long distances to be part of associate classes. Most also require participants to purchase uniform. Many of these also offer scholarships and I know quite a few of us on the forum have been lucky enough to receive these .

 

Dr Dance - I can only speak from my own experience; the whole MTB project takes 30 weeks, and my dd enjoyed every minute and learned loads. As Robert Parker is one of their patrons they are very lucky to be able to borrow the 6 th form boys if required although this year they do have a strong complement of their own boys.

Do you have pupils who have attended MTB ?

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