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Vocational school summer shows


Luvlyfballet6
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I went to Elmhurst for an induction day for my DC, The show seemed ok ,however the same students kept appearing in main parts which made me a tad fed up , anyway I also heard that there was a year 11 performing in a year 9 piece which had me slightly confused :S but overall my favourite piece was Benedictis danced by year 11.

Edited by BBB
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BBB, you're not the first person to complain that a few students dominate these shows. The same point was made in another thread recently. I think that the schools want to showcase their best dancers but this does not give a representative view of the full ability range of the students.

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Just back from the Elmhurst lower school summer show .

Loved it of course , much more variety this year , mainly commenting on year 7 since I have a vested interest .......more variety for them , tap and Jazz as wel as the ballet .

Most of the pieces were for a mixture of years dancing together , which I thought was lovely to build teamwork across the years .

Some of the older years are a bit thin on boys , and the older ones have different casts for different nights !

Going back again on Friday for the whole school performance !

Feeling very proud !

Edited by Billyelliott
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BBB you'll probably find it was a boy as year 9 only have 3 boys so there was a year 11 and year 8 most likely chosen because of height. Also some of the parts are being shared between performances. I know in year 8 the girls have made sure they are dancing when they have parents family in the audience. Also different year group boys performed in the Scottish as with 16 girls all needing a partner the only way to accommodate is to use boys from different year groups. I for one thoroughly enjoyed the whole of lower school perform and am looking forward to going to watch a combined lower and upper school performance.

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I have been to Trings senior dance show and i thought it was brilliant. Great original storyline. Lots of big numbers that the students were in for both classical and jazz. Loved it!

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I thought that it might be of interest to post on here the programmes of the two end of year performances I saw last week.

 

ENB School:

 

Giselle: Peasant Pas de Six (ch. Peter Wright)

Trio of Choreography by students (Emmeline Jansen; Luke Francis and others)

Mozart Allegro (ch. Renato Paroni)

Metanoia (ch. Kerry Nicholls)

A Moment in Time (ch. James Streeter)

Balabile from Napoli (ch Bournonville)

Paquita Grand Pas Classique (ch. Jean-Yves Esquerre after Marius Petipa)

 

RB School:

 

Jubilation (ch. Antonio Castilla and Dianne van Schoor) danced by Lower School students)

Solitaire pdd (ch. Kenneth MacMillan)

Django's Waltz (ch. Lukas Bjorneboe Braendsrod - 2nd year US student)

The Sleeping Beauty Garland Dance (ch. Kenneth Macmillan)

The Dying Swan (ch. Calvin Richardson - 3rd year US student)

Vivace (ch. Mark Annear)

Swan Lake pas de douze (ch. Frederick Ashton)

Classical Symphony pdd (ch. Liam Scarlett)

Concordance Parts 1,2 and 3 (ch. Martin Joyce; Kristen McNally; Alexander Whitley)

A Sweet Spell of Oblivion pdd (ch. David Dawson 2nd/3rd year US student)

Raymonda Act iii - excerpts (ch. after Marius Petipa)

 

Two thoroughly enjoyable evenings.

 

Maybe someone who saw the RBS programme on Friday evening or Saturday afternoon would like to put up that bill of fare?

Edited by capybara
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Billyelliott, watching Soda Pop on Friday and Saturday night I immediately thought of you and your posts and just knew you would love it! Year 7's were gorgeous in all of their dances. We have seen the evolution of the Elmhurst Summer Shows over a number of years and I am delighted that all dancers now have the opportunity to dance in three dances of different genres demonstrating the versitility of the Elmhurst students, but with the emphasis still securely on the classical foundation.

 

BBB the Elmhurst shows have come a long way since we first watched when my DD's were just PVP's and children were lucky to be cast in anything at all. There are two casts for quite a lot of the dances. I have seen both casts. Yes there was a year 11 boy in the year 9 dance, but he danced at his level and he was spectacular, certainly one to watch for the future. Yes in some year groups boys are a little thin on the ground (they dont just fill the beds, and dont comprise) and so are used in year groups outside their age. Dancing in a company no one is interested how old you are, just how well you can dance. Casting in a company is at the discretion of the choreographer, its the same in a school. If you are cast in a principal role this season. you may not be next. That doesn't mean that those in the corps are lesser dancers, its someone's preference at the time. Not everyone can be the Prima. Its the same in local dance shows. BBB I wish your DC well for their Elmhurst journey and hope he/she enjoys every moment, works hard, makes the most of every opportunity presented.  Good luck for casting next year ;).

 

NL

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Well thank you Nana Lily - I think Soda Pop went down very well with everyone ! Much as I'm aware that the classical foundation is vital and have seen how much that discipline has helped to develop the much needed core strength that is needed to control the flexibility , it's so good to see them have such fun and freedom in their dancing , and makes me sure that I've made the right choice of school !

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BBB, am I right in thinking that you saw the lower school show? Perhaps people who have seen the shows at other lower schools in previous years will be able to give you an idea of what type of thing was performed by students of a similar age at those performances, but I think that quite a wide variety of dance is shown, particularly by the younger students.

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 BBB the students at Elmhurst tend to do 2 hours ballet class each day, National, jazz and tap probably take up no more than two lessons per week. The students will have done extra in the run up to the show as rehearsal. From year 10 tap is dropped or becomes optional and the students start Flamenco again two lessons per week. They also drop National and do a contemporary lesson at this age and start supported adage. Unless there is a choreographed ballet piece where a few students are chosen from each year I have not seen the younger students do a classical ballet piece in the shows they tend to do one of the other styles. Last year was the first time the school started doing split lower and upper summer shows with a just a couple of mixed shows. I haven't seen an upper school show but the mixed had a number of classical pieces mostly performed by the upper school students - this year we watched a very moving The Two Pigeons and an act from Paquita. The Defile is only performed at the mixed shows too and is when every student comes on stage in their year groups doing a couple of minutes of ballet, finishing with the graduate year. 


Someone with a child that is at White Lodge might be able to give more insight into how their dance lessons are broken down over the week but from their website I found this "In addition to classical ballet, students also take classes in character, contemporary, gymnastics, Irish, Morris and Scottish dancing. At senior levels, classes in repertoire, solos, pas de deux and upper body conditioning for male students are incorporated into the curriculum."  A friend whose dd went through WL a few years ago was disappointed at the end of her first year to only see her on stage for a few seconds doing National dance and couldn't pick her out in the Defile.


How did your dc feel after seeing the show? Are they worried about the different styles? Mine was thrilled by the Flamenco all those years ago when we went to induction day and couldn't wait to be old enough to start the lessons. 

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BBB I remember being confused by the summer show at induction last year , thinking that there was a lot of training in dance other than ballet , it's not so ! That show was not representative of a school day !

It's Ballet , Ballet and more Ballet , with 2 lessons a week extra dance only for the tap /jazz .

My DS who was already a jazz and tap specialist was rather sad about this , but as I felt he needed the discipline of ballet I persuaded him it was the best training for him .

Rest assured the only thing that counts in the end if year assessments is their progress in Ballet !

I was just so glad to see them all doing such a lot of fun stuff as well as the ballet !

If your DC is not fond if other styles it won't be an issue !

Hope you enjoy the excitement if preparing for the first year ahead and welcome to Elmhurst !

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Sodapop was super! I thought the year 7 really shone and showed great enjoyment.

 

And yes as has been said by others, the training is classical ballet by far. My DS also enjoyed tap a lot and was quite advanced. It would be fair to say his tap has been in 'maintenance mode' during his time at Elmhurst. There just isn't the time to do more. It does mean that he has found the flamenco great fun and has been better able to cope technically. But after all, he is there to become a classical ballet dancer, not a tap dancer.

 

Robert Parker is always quite clear that being versatile is an advantage. So encouraging versatility will always be an aspect of the school. But he is even clearer that the school is a classical ballet school, and I think the quality of the classical ballet training and dancing (and your DC will probably be a suitable example of this) is of a high standard (and the threads on assessing out procedures that you will undoubtedly be reading over the next few years will make this really evident).

 

I think one of the things we are coming more to terms with after 4 years at the school, is that the initial years are all about training. They don't perform as much as you would expect. If you are used to shows, festivals and seeing them perform, then you will be disappointed for a while! But one of the nice things about seeing the mixed programs of upper and lower school, is that we can see where they are aiming for. So we are looking forward to Friday and seeing the upper school performances as well.

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I went to see the RBS summer peformance on saturday night with my mum and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially loved the last dance can't remember the name of the piece at the moment but it included students from all 3 years of the upper school. Would definately consider going again next year.

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RB school Friday and Saturday afternoon programme

 

Scottish: yr 9

Suite of Character Dances: all yr groups

Giselle Pas de Six: yr 11

Irish: yr 8

Morris: yr 10

Irish: yr 9

Student Chore: yr 11

Student Choreo: yr 11

Encuentro (Castilla): yr 10

A suite of Dances from the English repetoire including

Checkmate: yr 11

Facade: yr 11

Solitaire pas de deux: 2nd yr Upper School

La Fille: yr 10 & 11

En Bateau: yr 11

Sudent Choreo: yr 8

Student Chore: yr 9

Jubilation (Castilla/Van Schoor): yr 11

 

All students danced very well, however yet again only yr 10 & 11 showed any ballet. With all the upheaval and changes going on at the RB I am sure it has been very difficult for all this year, however in my humble opinion it seemed like a vey lazily  put together  programme and far from inspiring for the younger half of the school.

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There doesn't seem to have been much classical ballet even for the older students; most of their dance seems to have been national and student choreography. Isn't there another performance next week or does that really feature the upper school?

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I saw the Elmhurst Summer show this weekend. I've seen many over the years and this year was by far the most varied. I enjoyed it immensely but like BBB get a bit tired of seeing the same faces. I appreciate that Elmhurst want to display their best dancers but surely they are all of a good standard or they wouldn't be there. I know that some may argue that in the real world there are principal dancers and corps dancers but I think it is important to remember that vocational school is not 'the real world'. There is plenty of time for that later! Surely all the dancers should get a chance to feature more other than being, as my child described themselves, as 'stage dressing'.

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NtE, someone did say that the parts were shared and it may be that the students asked to perform all their main roles at the same performance for the benefit of their parents and relatives. I agree with you that school is not 'real life'; they are in training and everyone should do more than dress the stage.

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Yes Aileen in some year groups there are casts. Although this hasn't always been the case for my child's year every time. Being in casts has its problems too as they then dont always share the performances equally, with some children having a particular part and dancing in both casts and doing all the performances and some only once or twice.

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As a former vocational student (then dancer) and now as a mother of a vocational student I would like to add my opinion to this thread (and I don't mean to upset anyone) The best, or most favoured students have and always will be chosen to perform the most challenging parts, this happens at school and in a company (I know several corphyee's who I consider to be more talented than soloists). I disagree that vocational school should not be the same as the 'real world', dance is an extremely hard career and the children need to be prepared for the future. I understand that it can be crushing and I agree that casting should be announced as early as possible (especially when parents and children are making so many sacrifices - financial and otherwise). I also think that it is normal and acceptable for the younger students to be performing national/character/other dances, as such they are shown in their best light (and please don't underestimate the professionalism and hard work that it takes to present these works to a high standard) I also think that versatility is a big plus and am happy to see that other dance styles are being encouraged.

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Ellie, I have a few questions for you as you have direct experience of vocational school. Are the most favoured students at school the ones who get the (best) contracts? If you are not favoured is it harder to shine at auditions because you have less confidence and less performance experience? If you are not favoured should you bow out gracefully rather than see things through to the bitter end? I've mentioned this before in relation to sport: children who have a slight edge in terms of ability early on, perhaps because they are slightly older or bigger, tend to receive more and better coaching and so the ability gap between them and their slightly less able peers is hugely magnified which means that they continue to pull ahead of their peers. Does this happen with ballet ie the ones thought to be the best early on are mentored and given more opportunities eg performing at galas, entering competitions?

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Aileen, I am sorry but I must admit I do not agree in the slightest , I feel that the soloist/favourites are not necessarily the best, many dancers in the 'corps' as I mentioned before far outshone the soloist and main parts , I followed where the previous graduate placements have been and the ones that have seemed to 'peak to early' don't end up with a job at the end of their training. Sorry if you take this offensively , but I feel strongly about this as I don't won't my DC to experience this kind of favouritism, my friends DD who is currently at a vocational school has been sobbing down the phone as a result of this unjust favouritism. It is uncalled for as she worked her absolute hardest , and come the end of year show you can't see the results of all the dedecation on her behalf.

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