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"Schools are all looking for different things" - are they?


balletla
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"All the schools are looking for different things" is a much and often repeated phrase on this forum, but are they really? Surely all the schools are looking for brilliant dancers with perfect physiques designed for ballet? However, as there are only usually a few students in each year who can live up to such an ideal, a series of 'compromises' have to be made, so for example, a school may take someone with slightly less flexibility than they would like or slightly flatter feet, or they may take someone with a more ideal physique but less musicality in the hope that they can improve it - it doesn't mean that's what they are looking for! Everything is a series of trade-offs.

 

Sometimes, where people are successful at one school and not another, it could be for a host of reasons e.g. different students perform differently on different days or different people see different things in students at different times. My DD auditioned for a vocational school one year and didn't get in. She auditioned again 6 months later and they offered her a place on the spot. Same school, same assessors, same student, different day.

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I personally think that schools like Royal are looking for a certain type in terms of physique, flexibility etc & they can afford to be picky.

 

The others I agree have to make a series of compromises. They are all after the best dancers they can find but if some of those decide to go elsewhere/they can't afford the fees/decide vocational training is not for them they look further down the line.

 

However individuals/schools do have different ideas about what they like. (& audition panels can have a split of opinion too)

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The phrase 'looking for dancers with perfect physique designed for ballet' is subjective. What I think meets this may be different to what you think and will be different to what individual heads of dance (or whoever is making the choice for whatever) thinks. Right place, right time pays its part too.

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Having two DC in two vocational schools I feel that the comment made could be taken as insulting to DC in any of the schools other that WL.

Children develop at different rates mentally and physically. DC don't get seen by the same panel at preliminaries for WL and what one panellist may like in a young dancer may differ from another who is choosing finalists in a different venue.

There is not one particular body shape favoured at WL. The DC there are tall, small, slim, athletic, muscular. They all have their own particular attributes which the panel, at that particular time, agreed would make them suitable for further training with RBS. It is not uncommon for DC to be assessed out only months after being offered a place, which must be heartbreaking. The panel cannot see how a DC will respond to their training in two hours.

They are not necessarily the best dancers in the country when they arrive, although they are considered to have the best potential, by that panel, at that time.

Not wishing to lessen the pride of anyone with a DC at WL but definitely not wishing to lessen the pride of those with DC at other vocational schools.

Edited by angel
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They all have their own particular attributes which the panel, at that particular time, agreed would make them suitable for further training with RBS.

Perhaps you have hit the nail on the head here - it could be that each school is looking for students who will benefit from their own particular methods of training, and of course each school will have slightly different training methods and criteria.

 

So somebody who is unsuccessful at one audition could well be exactly what another school is looking for :)

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I agree with this taxi4 but we will all know someone who has been assessed out of WL and has gone on to train somewhere else successfully but there are also cases of DC who don't get into their chosen school first or second time around but eventually make it.  

In my DD's year there have been 11 DC leave during the course of her training.  The new dancers coming in have often come from other vocational schools.  Children change.  What each panel is looking for is subjective and can change over time.  I don't think it is helpful to write DC off as not having the 'perfect physique designed for ballet' when they haven't finished growing.

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My dd has been told she hasnt got the correct proportions for classical training (I know this is the opinion of one person and others may be different) she is only 12 and it was very hard for her to hear. Obviously she has some growing to do and I agree completely with Angel.We cant control that, what she can do is work hard on her technique, flexibility etc.

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I have know JA teachers to tell DC similar and then for that same DC to be chosen for a place at WL the same year.  I'm not saying that we should be blind to the information given to us but to keep an open mind and remain committed for as long as your DC wants to.  

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I've said this several times before, but dd's hugely experienced Dance Physio always says that a girl's physique isn't fixed (in terms of proportions) until 16-18. Apparently the ribcage widens slightly, (the collarbone is the last to grow, according to her), the trunk strengthens and the proportions even out more. A good Upper School selection panel should really know this, and be able to see past small irregularities in physique while a student is still growing.

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I agree with this taxi4 but we will all know someone who has been assessed out of WL and has gone on to train somewhere else successfully but there are also cases of DC who don't get into their chosen school first or second time around but eventually make it.  

In my DD's year there have been 11 DC leave during the course of her training.  The new dancers coming in have often come from other vocational schools.  Children change.  What each panel is looking for is subjective and can change over time.  I don't think it is helpful to write DC off as not having the 'perfect physique designed for ballet' when they haven't finished growing.

That's exactly the point I was making - somebody who is not successful at one school, will often be just right somewhere else :)

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That's exactly the point I was making - somebody who is not successful at one school, will often be just right somewhere else :)

Yes Taxi4 I agree with that statement, however it does imply that they were 'wrong' for the first school (implication being WL) and sometimes it really is just a 'not yet'

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Not implying WL (or anywhere else) at all - I'm just trying to be supportive and encouraging to everyone who had dc's who will be auditioning or who have recently been unsucessful by saying that their turn will come, and the 'right' school for them is out there somewhere :)

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I think that it is the very fine details that differ from school to school. Obviously all schools look for a suitable physique and flexibility as well as musicality and general aptitude but all the top schools audition hundreds of hopefuls and the small handful that are selected each year are not necessarily the only candidates they saw with the potential to benefit from their training or become a professional dancer. Therefore, candidates end up being picked over others for tiny details and it can happen that someone is rejected from one top school simply because of the limited number of places available and not because they are unsuitable.

 

To give an example, two students might be under consideration for one available place. They both have the physical attributes and aptitude required by the school. Candidate A has better feet and is more flexible while the audition panel liked performance quality of candidate B better. The school awards the place to candidate B because her feet and flexibility and feet are still wonderful and they feel she has the potential to improve further in those areas under their tutelage. A different school might have given the place to candidate A because they saw her great personality in the interview and felt that they could draw that out into her dancing.

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I agree circus. Afte all both members if the audition panel & auditionees are all human & human beings are not perfect.

 

However a family member who works in the performing industry went to Move It this year. They watched some ofvthe performances on the Main Stage.

 

School A were very uniform in appearance, they looked like your stereotypical ballet dancers & this looked good in their group dance. You felt they were proper ballet dancers.

 

School B were much more of a mixture of shapes & sizes & some were not what you would necessarily find in a truly classical company. However overall the family member felt they were the better dancers.

 

School C were a musical theatre college. Their dancers were amazing both technically & performance wise & whilst they too were perhaps not what you would necessarily see as classical, they had a distinct body type.

 

Which approach is the correct one? I have no idea?

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So what would you say to a DC who has the feet, flexibility, dance quality, musicality, love of dance, work ethic, personality and gets finals in all 6th form auditions but then gets nothing. All because she's a tiny bit more womanly in her figure. Should she give up? Try again? I get so discouraged when I see this and wish we weren't part of this ballet world. (I'm not talking about my own DD.)

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Hi all

I find the lack of info from auditions worse than the rejection! ! I feel these schools are all on to a good thing as we keep on paying up audition fees!!

 

My personal policy is to let dc carry on auditioning as long as the time and financial commitment doesn't go above the level I can tolerate. .... If it reached the stage where I felt it was damaging in the long run to them I would also stop them.

 

I guess it is a personal decision as we all have such different circumstances. The bottom line is that very few of our DC will make an adequate living from it...

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The problem is that applying for ballet schools is a competition, with places available for a tiny number of the applicants. An applicant can be very good or excellent but that is not enough. If there are, say, 12 places available and s/he is 'ranked' 15 s/he will not get a place unless three others drop out and if that happens at all the schools then, however good s/he is, s/he will not get a place.

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Guest Autumn days

I agree it might have been something else.....but it wasn't.

How do you know this, Sophika? I am sure it would help a lot of us if you were able to say!!

 

I have always thought, and may be wrong, that if a students physique is not what a school is looking for then they would not be invited to the final. As has been said, all the points you mention may have been in place but other people at finals may have just been "better". My dd didn't get a place for 6th form but we don't know why. All I can tell her is that other people were thought to be more suitable or better dancers and we have all accepted that for what it is!!

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Mum in a spin, the not knowing why must be so frustrating as you (not you personally) don't know whether it is worthwhile for your DC to reapply the following or another year or whether s/he should give up. I suppose that if the schools gave reasons it would result in endless discussions and arguments with the parents and the applicants and requests for decisions to be reconsidered. At the end of the day, it comes down to who was regarded by the particular panel as 'the best', say, 12 applicants on the day.

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Might be slightly off topic, but just found a short film about Vaganova Academy entry selection (with English sub-title).  A snippet of th selection panel's discussion is featured at around 6'00.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9utQgxWy8A

 

 

The film was shot in 2007, so may be already slightly out of date, and many of you might have already seen it before...

Edited by mimi66
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Please don't think me rude or obstinate Mum in a spin, I just know, that's all. This DC was delightful. Had a really beautiful dance quality. If they didn't think she was the right shape why did all of the top schools invite her back? She wasn't going to change shape in a month! Apart from that, her shape was completely fine, long legs, small head, good turnout etc. I've seen bigger girls in royal, enbs and elmhurst. I must be biased and angry because I know this girl but I saw her go from elated ( after getting all finals) to despair. And I'll probably be scolded for this but I saw girls who couldn't dance get in to top schools who had the perfect ballet body. Which is fine, but in three years they still won't be able to dance and they'll be auditioning for companies. What then?

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Guest Autumn days

Please don't think me rude or obstinate Mum in a spin, I just know, that's all. This DC was delightful. Had a really beautiful dance quality. If they didn't think she was the right shape why did all of the top schools invite her back? She wasn't going to change shape in a month! Apart from that, her shape was completely fine, long legs, small head, good turnout etc. I've seen bigger girls in royal, enbs and elmhurst. I must be biased and angry because I know this girl but I saw her go from elated ( after getting all finals) to despair. And I'll probably be scolded for this but I saw girls who couldn't dance get in to top schools who had the perfect ballet body. Which is fine, but in three years they still won't be able to dance and they'll be auditioning for companies. What then?

I think we may be at cross purposes her as I am a bit confused!!

 

I agree, if hey weren't happy with her shape, why invite her back! Therefore there must be some other reason than shape why she didn't get a place. Bt you said that you know she didn't a place becaus of her shape! Also not being awkward, just being confused?

 

I hope she is OK, anyway, as that must almost be as tough as not getting finals at all!!

 

Edited to add that it is a shame that it is so physique focussed but it is. It will be interesting to see if these girls get jobs or not!

Edited by mum in a spin
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Guest Autumn days

Mum in a spin, the not knowing why must be so frustrating as you (not you personally) don't know whether it is worthwhile for your DC to reapply the following or another year or whether s/he should give up. I suppose that if the schools gave reasons it would result in endless discussions and arguments with the parents and the applicants and requests for decisions to be reconsidered. At the end of the day, it comes down to who was regarded by the particular panel as 'the best', say, 12 applicants on the day.

It is kind of frustrating but we knew from the beginning that it is very competitive and no one really knows what they are looking for. The hardest ting is hat dd got several offers for yr 7 but we decided against vocational school at ha time.

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Guest balletmum16

I find this question fascinating. DD was offered a place at Elmhurst, a place at Tring but didn't make finals for WL! And reserve list for MAs! This must be a shape issue, surely? How can she dance well enough to be offered places at two of the three places she auditioned but not be good enough to attend RBS's Saturday classes?

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You also need to consider that there are often only 6 mids places available per yr group at each centre. Some of these are often taken by dc's who have been offered full time places at WL but for one reason or another do not wish to accept a full time place. There may also be dc's who did not wish to be considered for WL but only for mids. Certainly, in the case of my two dd's yr groups, all the mids places went to WL finalists i.e. those who were considered to be good enough for full time training but were beaten to it by 12 better dancers. For some, a mids place is more desirable than full time training at age 11. However, we do know one talented mids girl was told last yr in yr6 that she was considered to be a beautiful dancer by the WL panel but her physique was not suited to full time training. They said they were sure she would be offered training elsewhere and she was. WL finalists are able to receive feedback from the audition via their dance teacher if requested.

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