Jump to content

How to pick a summer school?


meadowblythe
 Share

Recommended Posts

Looking for advice regarding how to choose which summer school to attend ..

 

DS is now (gulp) in year 10 - thoroughly enjoying his new school, but obviously we're all keenly aware we are only a year away from having to go through the dreaded audition rounds again.

 

With this in mind, is it worth focussing on summer schools (it is only going to be 1, premium bond win not withstanding) where he may apply for 6th form, or are the two so separate the experience could be, at worst, misleading?

 

And within these establishments, would it be better to go for the aspirational choice or to take a more pragmatic route?

 

What should the main considerations be when picking a summer school?

 

Your advice, as ever, much appreciated.

 

Meadowblythe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a tricky question? Does he know which 6th forms he wishes to apply to? A summer school would certainly let him get the feel of a school but I am not sure it is any advantage during the audition process. My DD is year 11 and during auditions at Elmhurst, Northern and Central has met quite a few dancers who attended summer schools but were not offered finals/places at these schools. I think my advice would be to do your research and choose based on timing, price and location aswell as reputation of the ballet school. The quality of training he receives is probably more important than anything (apart from his enjoyment of course). I do not know where you are based, but one smaller and perhaps less known summer school is that run by Ballet Cymru (Riverfront Summer Dance). It is about £90 for the week (week 2 course). Last year there was just one 15 year old boy and he got to take most of his classes with the male company dancers/professional dancers and advanced students. I believe he loved it so much he will be back next summer. Others on the forum will I am sure give advice and pass on experiences from the better known summer schools like Yorkshire Ballet Seminars, Elmhurst, Northern Ballet, Central, ENB etc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would agree with the above and say not to think of summer schools in connection with applying for sixth form (except for maybe a chance to see what the buildings are like), but to look at when they all are, how much they are and what they offer. And also, don't feel he has to do a summer school - my son has only ever done 2 (and he's now 18 as you know) - he likes his rest :) (and I got to save money for what lay ahead)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are also looking at which summer school to choose but we're thinking more of which ones have close ties to companies. (Preparing for next year) We're thinking of Northern's or maybe their Easter course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the useful and insightful comments. We were particularly interested in the Central Summer School programme - does any one have any experience of this? We've not done the London summer schools before but have realised that having a MIL in commuting distance of London does have its advantages!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My DD did Central summer school for three years in a row and really liked it. The teachers are all excellent and they work hard. The groups are mixed up in ages and abilities so you may get a 13 year old doing Advance level dance in the top group and 13 year olds in the bottom group with inter foundation grades. There is also a lot of random placings. There were four groups in all.

The youngest group do very little point work (one lesson for the week if I recall) but the older ones do more.

They all learn a reportoir piece and a modern piece to perform in front of parents at the end, it was amazing what they managed to learn in a week!

My DD and I really enjoyed our week in London and managed to stay and eat quite cheaply considering.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The main advantage I would see with doing a summer school at a school you plan to audition at is that you would get familiarity with the buildings, studios, layout which can help tremendously with confidence when it comes to audition day. At least that is how it seemed for my dd. Central offers shorter Easter courses which may give this benefit without the outlay of a full summer course.

 

For students who are already in the 6th form I think it is very wise to look for summer schools associated with companies. My dd did Northern Ballet summer school for many years and would thoroughly recommend it. The links with the company are close and The Artistic Director of the company comes in to watch the students. If we were looking now I would probably suggest she looks as the Scottish Ballet summer school and Ballet Cymru too.

 

But most important is that they get a good standard of training, a good summer school can really bring a student on. And rest during the summer is important too. Bodies and minds need time off to recover and rebuild and this reduces the risk of injury. Most dance companies give their dancers a good break during the year for this reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another way of looking at it might be to think about what your DS needs, what does he need to work on? My DD has a place at RBS summer school, but I am wondering if she would get more out of something like National Youth Ballet.

(-f she got in) I think her overall ballet training is good but she gets very little opportunity to perform in public.

 

I would imagine different summer schools have different strengths.

.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't agree more. Last year DD did LCB's Performance Summer School and it did wonders for her performance and confidence. Her school doesn't do Festivals and she rarely gets any performance experience so it was just the thing for her.

 

In a couple of years' time though, she plans on applying for Summer Schools at the Upper Schools she intends to apply for. For no other reason than familiarising herself with the buildings and some of the staff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I asked a friend of my DS who attended RBS SS a few years ago what it was like- he said he got the strong impression it was a feeder for full time places at the school (almost to the detriment of the course itself). That's only one person's impression but perhaps worth considering...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...