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Is it ok to miss associate classes for festivals??


Lema
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I'm new to the world of ballet and this year my daughter has been offered a place at Royal Ballet JA's and 2 other monthly ran associate classes, but we have already committed to some festivals in September and paid entry fees, costumes etc, and 3 of the dates clash, so my question is...is it ok for us to not go to the associate classes on these dates, obviously we will let the teachers know ASAP but I wasn't sure if it's acceptable?? Thanks for any advice you can offer :)

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Gosh,I`m not sure,Lema. My understanding of the Associates schemes [especially the RBS ones] is that a lot of commitment is required on the part of the young person. I might be completely wrong,but I cannot imagine them being too impressed with wanting to take time off just to appear in a festival. Anyone? There are plenty of parents on here who have children who are Associates who will gladly correct me if i`m wrong.

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Yep I think Royal would frown on it I'm afraid! Maybe 1 session would be ok but not 3 in a class space of time!

 

I would ring them and discuss with them though. They might say do them this time as you've committed but not future ones...I'm not sure though!!

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Thank you for your replies, I've had the welcome pack off RBS and in there it says if you are going to be absent you must email your teacher direct, but maybe it would be best to give them a call, I feel a bit stuck as I don't want to let our regular school down as we have troupes entered with my daughter in, but also don't want to miss JA classes! I was under the impression that classes would be on Saturdays but they are about half and half Saturdays and Sundays and that's what's left me in a pickle!

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Perhaps it would be best to be completely up-front about it, let them know as soon as possible and explain that you had already made the commitment to a group dance in the festival before the JA offer came; and that you hope they will give permission but will understand if they say no?

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Hi, my advice would be to speak to the teacher to advise her that this was a commitment already made, however, depending on the timetabling, you may not have to miss your Associate Classes.  If you ask your school to email the Festival committee they are usually pretty accommodating if they can avoid scheduling your DDs sections at the same times at her Associate Classes.  

 

Then, where clashes do occur once the timetable for the Festival is set, you can forgo any solo entries but still do the troupe entries....hopefully that will mitigate any lack of attendance at the Associate Classes without letting the school down for the troupes.

 

Of course, this assumes that distance is not too great.

 

My DD did 2 sections in the morning at a Festival in Rugby earlier this year, then rushed through to Birmingham for rehearsals with MTB before rushing back to Rugby to do a couple more sections late afternoon....it was a juggle but we made it and didn't let anyone down.  

 

It would be a good idea to reassure the Associate teachers that now that your DD has a place with them, you wouldn't take on further commitments that would clash with her classes.

 

Hope this helps a little...

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Yes I think you are right, I will call them tomorrow! I just couldn't believe it when the dates came through and half of them were a Sunday, it says on their website that classes are a Saturday!

 

I am also aware that I shouldn't complain as we are so incredibly lucky to be offered a place and of course we are willing to make the commitment to the classes even if it means missing out on other things, it's just come as a bit of a shock as I really wasn't expecting Sundays!

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Yes I think you are right, I will call them tomorrow! I just couldn't believe it when the dates came through and half of them were a Sunday, it says on their website that classes are a Saturday!

 

I am also aware that I shouldn't complain as we are so incredibly lucky to be offered a place and of course we are willing to make the commitment to the classes even if it means missing out on other things, it's just come as a bit of a shock as I really wasn't expecting Sundays!

When you call them, it might be worth mentioning that you didn't realise beforehand that there might be a Sunday clash because you thought the JA's were on Saturdays...

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I'm hoping maybe the festivals could put all the junior sections on one day and then she could just miss one class and still do her troupes, and yes taxi4ballet I'll explain but I'm just hoping I haven't missed something somewhere?? I've double checked the website and it definitely says Saturdays, wonder why they have had to change it, it's only till December so wondering if it has something to do with brb rehearsing nutcracker or something??

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If its Birmingham, with you mentioning BRB, I would guess that it is to do with the refurbishment of the BRB studios. Their studios are used by RAD and MTB and classes for them are both being moved too, to Elmhurst and BOA premises when they cannot have a studio at BRB.

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I'm really pleased you brought this up!

 

With monthly classes, I personally feel that attendance at the class is more important - if you miss one class those teachers will go potentially 8/9 weeks without seeing your DD. And then factor in a couple of Sundays where your teacher puts on additional festival rehearsals that are mandatory, and the show rehearsal that you absolutely can't miss, and the ballet exam rehearsal which is also mandatory..... You suddenly realise you've missed more of the years classes than you've attended! With weekly classes, I personally would not object to someone missing the odd one here or there. ALso, if this is a local festival, there is a high possibility that there will be other students from the class involved - those who participate in festivals are often the same kind of children who participate in associate classes (maybe not RBS so much). At MIDAS, particularly in the first year, we had a lot of students from a handful of schools. When two or three of these schools participated in the same festival, our classes ended up VERY small! A double edged sword really, because while those in the class got lots of attention, both teachers and students had to work incredibly hard. We do have some wonderful parents who will try their best to do both - I have no objection if a student is late or needs to leave early if they've made the effort to honour both commitments. What does frustrate me is the fact that people appear to be complacent once they've got that 'yes'. But don't forget that most schemes have assessments, and unless they've got very good reason not to, staff will factor 'commitment' in somewhere. Poor attendance to me = poor commitment (priorities lie elsewhere).

 

It sounds like you have the right approach though, as you're at least querying it, and understand the commitment already made. I sometimes wonder how flexible festival programmes can be, as other parents claim to have asked organisers, without much success!

 

I'm sorry if this has come across as a rant - I didn't intend it to, as you are clearly thinking about this the correct way! Festivals are great but they aren't the be-all and end-all in a dance career. I sometimes think that some teachers (not all) put too much emphasis on them, and demand way too much of parents and young dancers all in the name of a one off (ie not All England) festival.

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Drdance it didn't come across as a rant at all, it was nice to have a teachers perspective on it. I don't mind my daughter missing festivals at all and as I said in an earlier post I appreciate how lucky we are and I want to fully commit to anything we take on, the problem cones with the fact that we made a commitment to our regular school and duet partners for the festivals before getting any results from associate schemes and with this being the first time she has auditioned for anything we were fully expecting no's so getting 3 yeses was a very big surprise!! I feel a little stuck between a rock and a hard place to be honest as I don't want to let anyone down! I think I will see if the festival committee can accommodate us and if not I'll have to let down the duets and I'm sure our teacher will be able to replace her in troupes, I just don't want our normal school to feel we are turning our back on them! Thank you for your input on this, it's been very helpful and you have raised some good points about poor attendance coming across as poor commitment, thank you :)

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Hi. Having had my eldest in rb for 6 yrs thought I would tell you our experience. When my dd was in yr6 we never missed a class as we felt the same way you do about committment. However, many children did miss, mainly for school shows, festivals etc. The following yr my dd started festivals & she has missed classes over the years. We always notify the teacher beforehand and apologise. Unfortunately, many of the children who get accepted for associates are the same ones selected for festival teams so there will likely be several other children in the same position. The most important time is just before and after Christmas as classes are gearing up for auditions at the start of the year. If rb did not allow these occasional absences then they may lose some of their most talented dancers. So my advice is don't worry about it. Make sure you explain to the teacher the circumstances when you start and I am sure it will be fine. Other people will have weddings, holidays and other commitments. I don't want to come across as sounding uncommitted. We have done ridiculous things to try to get our girls to rehearsals, associates, classes etc over the years and many 'normal' people think we are totally mad. But after 6 years we realise that life has to exist outside ballet occasionally and with 2girls, both doing festivals and associates it is a real juggling act at times. So, accept your place, start the journey and good luck! X

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We had this problem when my DS was a JA and we tried our best to keep absences to a minimum, however if you have a prior commitment and especially if it would mean letting dance partners or other members of a group down when they have reached a further stage of the competition such as all England , the JA teachers gave permission to miss some or all of the class.

My DS used to write them a personal letter explaining what he was up to . Most times they appreciated that honouring prior commitments and performance opportunities was important !

Hope it works out !

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All very good points here.  Just adding my bit as an festival organiser (not doing it any more).  I would always do my best to accommodate requests for times when children couldn't do, if they had a good reason like an associate programme, LCB etc.  But of course that had to be in plenty of time (preferably when the entries came in) for me to put the programme together.  But equally I know of some festivals my children danced in where the organiser absolutely wouldn't take requests.  So best to contact the secretary/organiser in advance, explain why you'll be asking and see if they'll accept a request with the entry.

 

I think in the four years my two were RBS JAs we missed one class for a festival.  We only did solos and groups at that time so solos would just have to take their luck at being on a good day and groups in our area are usually kept to Sundays and/or our dance school principal would speak to the organiser about any groups that any associates were in.

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I spent two years running between competitions and MTB and really tried hard not to miss either. Unfortunately we had to miss some MTB as my dd's dance school had our prior commitment. Also when my dd did get to MTB she found that her group hadn't done anything not even a warm up ( my dd's assessment not mine).

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Re asking festival organisers to work around other commitments, I think that is fair enough as long as you are reasonable. For instance, one year my DD was doing EYB and the rehearsals started one day after a festival that we usual do. At the time she had one duet and one trio, so I asked for those dances to be put on the first day. I felt that was a fair request and it was granted. We abandoned any idea of doing her solos in that festival - sometimes you just have to choose one commitment or another.

However, another girl asked for all her dances to be put on the same day, and she had 7 or 8. This request was declined, not surprisingly! I don't imagine that the rest of the dancers in the section would have been too thrilled to have to do all their dances in one day to suit someone else's convenience.

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Yes, I agree....the commitment to the other dancers is important - the solos are not.  With my DD, we took pot luck on the scheduling of the solos and if they clashed we didn't do them.  

 

Again, as someone who has been on a Festival committee, we did always try to accommodate requests if we could but as Julie W pointed out in her reply,  I also know some festivals won't.  

 

Lema, It is important to stress as well though that you were spot on when you said " I just don't want our normal school to feel we are turning our back on them! ".  Associate classes (whoever they're are with) are supplemental to your regular classes and you do want the full support of your school and teachers in developing your DD further...so commitment works both ways and a good associate scheme / teacher will always be mindful of that too.

 

Hope the Festival can work around your dates and well done to your DD on her Associate place :) x

 

Edited to add:

Just wanted to also say that MTB were fantastic with regard to regular school commitments and had a great attitude.  The A.D. would say "MTB are grateful that all the regular schools lend their lovely dancers to MTB" and they would invite the teachers from all the cast's regular dance schools in to watch a rehearsal and did a big thank you to them at the theatre. 

Edited by dtadmin
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Mmm..when my dd was an associate and I heard about other dancers missing associate classes over festivals I always 'tut tutted'. and on several occasions I wouldn't allow her to do festivals and miss her associate class. Now that my daughter is no longer on the scheme and has decided on a different career path I look back and think 'why didn't I ask HER what she preferred instead of insisting she go to the class?'You may think this is easy to say given the position I am in, but there are lots of years of training in a dancer's life and the odd competition (if they love it) and indeed the odd party are probably more memorable in a child's life than an assoicate class. Just my view  :)

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Good point sew, in fact I asked my daughter how she felt about it and she said that if she absolutely had to choose between one or the other it would be her class, although she has never done a class yet so maybe I should ask again after she's started lol x

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I spoke to her teacher and she said that these festivals won't accept requests on times/days and absolutely no dancing out of section! Ah well there goes that idea, teacher said to wait and see what the schedule is and take it from there, so I guess we will just have to wait and see x

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