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HappyGirl

RBS JAs - Trying again

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Hi. I know there are hundreds of threads on this forum about RBS JAs - I've read lots of them! However, I'm just after some honest thoughts from you lovely knowledgeable people. My dd (8) auditioned for JAs this year (for year 4) but was unsuccessful. She was very disappointed but coped pretty well with the knock back and is already talking about trying again next year. Her teacher has also already said that she should try again. Now, I have no problem at all with her trying again - she loved the experience and it was all very positive (apart from the 'no' of course). My query is whether it's honestly likely to pay off i.e. Do students really succeed in the auditions on second or even third attempt?

 

The 'rejection' email was very encouraging and stated that dancers develop at different rates and that they would never discourage anyone from auditioning again, which I get. However, if they are looking for that certain 'something' which they spot in the few they do offer places to, I can't help but think they'd have seen that in dd straight away at her first audition.

 

I'm a complete novice to the ballet world so I might have this completely wrong. I just want to try and get as full a picture of how it all works as possible so that I can help dd and manage her expectations.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read!

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Hi Happygirl. From my dd's experience I certainly would recommend trying again, especially if her teacher is encouraging. My dd auditioned for y5 and was unsuccessful, then, on her dance teacher's suggestion, she auditioned again this year and was successful!

Best of luck whatever you and your dd decide. :D

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Yes try again! Her teacher sees her potential. Go with you gut instinct and what you feel drawn to doing to support your dd. People thought my dd would get a 'no' second time round, but I felt compelled to help her. She auditioned again and the wait began. Then one day I had a chat with dd about being more realistic in her expectations. Two days later her 'yes' letter arrived. Of course I was told off by dd for not believing in her! :-)

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I have a student going in to year ten at WL she auditioned for year 5 JAs and was unsuccessful, she re auditioned for year 6 got a place and then got into WL and has been there since year 7 :) so yes it is worth it. They never offer many year 4s a place as they have more time only if they feel they would really benefit from the extra year.

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One of my sons friends didnt get in first attempt, waiting list second attempt, a place third attempt, then got into White Lodge and survived the full 5 years before going to ENB school.

 

And I know lots of professional dancers who were never successful for RBS associates and trained instead at other equally good places. For many students Royal is not necessarily the best place to train!

 

Although I do hasten to add that ds said only today that getting into WL is one of his greatest achievements!

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I would definitely recommend letting your DD re audition for a year 5 JA place if she wants to.The majority intake is for year 5 , there are few places for year 4.The audition experience in itself usually makes for a fun day out, regardless of outcome

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Thanks so much for sharing your insights. It's so interesting to hear your experiences and good to hear that dancers are successful on second (or more!) attempts. I just always thought RBS were ultimately looking for that magic "something" and the chances are that would be spotted straight away and so trying again would be fruitless. Obviously not given stories so far.

 

Interesting what you say about the majority of places being allocated in yr 5 too. I had heard that very few yr 4 places are offered but then read on another thread that actually very few yr 5 places are available as they fill up in yr 4 and so only spaces available in yr 5 are from those that drop out or are auditioned out. Maybe it varies between different associate schemes? Confusing whatever!

 

Dd's teacher is very encouraging. She has told her that she should try again next year and emphasised to her how few places there are so not to be too disheartened. She said to me that she thinks it's likely to be her performance/musicality which would've let her down rather than technique/physique and that's easier to work on. She's RBS trained herself and was principal dancer with RB so I do trust her judgement.

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I too used to think you either had it or you didn't HG, but there are countless examples, too many to mention, of children getting accepted after their 3rd or 4th attempt. Some don't ever get into JAs but get into MAs or even White Lodge. There are also a few people I know of who auditioned for WL every year and got in after 3 or 4 attempts.

 

Things change so much from one year to the next - if you are getting encouragement from a teacher or good feedback from an audition e.g making it to finals consistently, it is always worth trying again as long as you child wants to.

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I'm glad you posted this because i am in EXACTLY that same situation, same year for audition and thinking along the same lines.

I've decided to let DD decide if she wants to try again.

She's going to try for CBA at Tring too (her choice)

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My dd has auditioned twice for RBS JAs and enjoyed it both times. However, recently we have decided to step off the audition rollercoaster and just enjoy classes, exams, summer schools and festivals. It is soooo easy to get caught up in all the hype surrounding JAs and similar schemes. I feel quite liberated by our decision!

This forum is excellent but I do think that it is not representative of the majority who will not make it to the top levels within dance. As a lay person reading alot of the posts you can easily get carried away with unrealistic expectations. To be told your dd is 'very good and has potential' at a young age is a double edged sword.

For us I wouldn't change a thing but going forward I think a realistic head on my shoulders tells me to savour what my daughter was blessed with and not always be wanting more.

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Hi Balletsister

I know exactly what you mean. My dc did get into JAs but I think it has put us on a roller coaster we wouldn't otherwise have known about. I think their ultimate career is not likely to be a professional ballet dancer despite their desire to be one. I think some of the enjoyment has been lost due to the pressure of auditions etc. And my life has been affected as well.

My dc would disagree of course! !

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Interesting post balletsister. You're right that you get a slightly skewed view from being on here as most parents who post have children who are being successful. When I look back at the children who were at my children's auditions, the majority of them didn't get a place and most will not have gone on to be dancers. The main thing is to enjoy dance in whatever capacity. Two of mine were RBS JAs and only one now a professional ballet dancer (and he got in off the waiting list). My dd continued to enjoy dancing as a serious hobby.

 

Anyway I digress - it's definitely worth trying again for JAs - but be warned, as others said, you are stepping onto a rollercoaster with an unknown destination and it can be hard to get off :-)

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Thanks for the really interesting insights. The thoughts about the 'roller coaster' exactly reflect my concerns about dd going to her first JA audition - and they're still very much on my mind when considering whether to encourage her to try a second time. I'm still not sure if it would be a good thing to get caught up in it all and I'm very realistic about it. Dd just loves her ballet and her teacher is so encouraging - I can't not explore it further.

 

Thoughts on a second try are really useful too. Interesting that you are in exactly the same situation southern dancer - nice to know I'm not the only one pondering these things! Sounds like your dd will be doing quite a few auditions. We've not considered any other schemes at this stage just because dd's teacher recommended the RBS one and that was a complete surprise and opened up a whole new world as it was!

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Ok.....Here I go......I am a newbie and have been following

Ballet co for a while waiting for the right moment to post something. Hope it will be inspiring.

My DD auditioned for JAs for year 4 and 5 and basically it was a no both times. We then had a late audition for LJB and she got a place and it opened her eyes to so many things that were lacking at her local dance school....posture, technique etc etc. At the age of 10 after reading all of the Royal ballet school diaries series she decided she really wanted to audition for WL. Although her local ballet teacher didn't feel there was much point in it, I didn't feel at that age I should squash her dreams. So she auditioned and happily got through to the finals! We were so excited to get a day at White Lodge! Did she get offered a place.......no. She got offered a waiting list place! Again we were so excited. After a month we had a phone call to say a place had become available .....we couldn't believe it! ........Long storey short.....after 5 years.....and it hasn't all been easy trust me......injuries, home sickness etc etc ....she has gained a place at upper school and will be starting in September .......she was a finalist in ybdy( the last one!) Basically what I think I'm saying is......don't worry too much about the whole JA thing......children develop at different rates and you never know what's around the corner! Good Luck to you all! Xx

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Welcome to the Forum Juliet. Thanks so much for sharing your DDs story. I hope you will continue to contribute.

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Thanks guys. I will continue to post for as long as I have something helpful to say! Xx

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Son never got into JAs but is at vocational school and hopefully on the way to an upper school.

 

Other associate/boys classes/lessons did the job well in my opinion.

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Welcome Juliet and what a lovely story that just goes to show a no doesn't have to stay a no forever!! Congratulations to you dd and good look to her in upper school!! ????

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My limited experience with DD is that children develop at different times in their early years.  DD always showed potential to me but it was never truly reflected in the marks she gained in RAD Exams or the roles she got (or never got) in the annual shows.  Often shoved at the back and many tears in the car on the way home from show rehearsals thinking she was rubbish and her teacher hated her.  I too had many moments of 'may be it's just me who sees her potential'.  But then as the years fell away they girls at the front often fell away.  No longer was just being a clever, co-ordinated child enough to cut the grade you also had to have drive, dedication, fitness, and the ability to blink back the tears when others have been chosen over you.     Yesterday DD received her highest distinction mark for Grade 5, and is off to Hammond in September and is still bursting with potential.  If you have the funds try expanding her experience with things like Children's Ballet Companies (MTB - Birmingham, EYB - National, LCB) and also dance weeks/days during the holidays which will exposed her to other teachers and students with similar interests/abilities.  If you think she has the potential then always give it a second/third go as one year someone else will see it too! :)

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Another second time successful story here. DD tried unsuccessfully for y5 place on teachers suggestion and I was very unsure about trying again for y6 although teacher was encouraging and felt it was just a lack of confidence on dds part. DD and I were more convinced it was lack of flexibility as we were both intimidated by the competitive warming-up. However dd seemed keen to have another day out and in the end I decided we would go only because RBS had just moved from Talgarth Rd to Covent Garden and I thought it would be nice to have a look round the new building! Was so suprised when she was offered a place and that was when we stepped on the rollercoaster which we are still on (just) 11 years later. I hate rollercoasters anyway but this one is mega believe me and I still sometimes wonder if we made the right decision all those years ago.

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Spooky it's nice to hear of another success story and congratulations to you dd for all the hard work she must have put in over the years, but I must admit your comment "sometimes wonder if we made the right decision all those years ago" has scared me a little, being someone only just about to step foot onto the rollercoaster?! ????

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Another one here too.

Elder dd was asked to audition by her teacher for what must have been a year 4 place , I say must have been because I was clueless also never knew forums like this existed.

She was unsuccessful and the year after it never entered my head to try again , it was only a chance conversation , the following year wilth the owner of the dance school about what it had said in the letter that she suggested she try again .

She and her friend got a place for yr6.

Younger dd audition for yr4 and was lucky enough to get a place straight away , but has since only made Waiting list for Summer Schools and Mids neither made the finals for White Lodge ! So what they like at 8 might not be exactly right at 10/11 .

Both DDs ended up at Vocational school.

We are just one of many stories like this , the more you know the worse it is when they are not successful first time around . There are so many children competing for so little places and is not a reflection on anyone's future success.

Time and time again I've read articles on successful Ballerinas who never got places on the Royal Associate scheme .

So I say give it another whirl , make it a lovely day out, you know what to expect now , and who knows it just might be a yes this time .... Good Luck x

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Over the years I have had pupils who didn't get into JAs (or I hadn't even put forward to audition as they were not ready) but then gained MA places.  Conversely I have had JAs who didn't get into Mids, or who didn't want to continue Associates as it took too big a chunk of the weekend.  Every dancer is different and every audition is a new beginning.

 

Edited for spelling

Edited by Pas de Quatre
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" I hate rollercoasters anyway but this one is mega believe me and I still sometimes wonder if we made the right decision all those years ago."

 

I hate rollercoasters too.  We have four children, one dances...Yes, the dancing bit adds a few more twists, turns, ups and downs to the journey...but no matter what they choose to do (education /career wise), as a parent it will always be a rollercoaster . Hold on tight :) x

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I loved reading this thread. We are in New Zealand, and live in the capital where NZ's only weekly JA equivalent programme is run from our national dance school (dancers from other regions come for two weekends per term, ie two sessions versus ten for local kids). DD is auditioning in December, a year late as I only found out about it after applications closed last year - and she wouldn't have been ready at just ten. Now she has had a year of private lessons and just started competing in a solo and group, and has way more confidence (as well as technique and musicality) than a year ago. I feel the same way about stepping on a rollercoaster, but am reassured that this is a much smaller country (population 4 million) and so there is much less competition at audition. We are very calm :unsure:  but I do feel like it is the end of her childhood in a way. Ballet kids seem to have to grow up so fast!

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