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Is there any point auditioning ?


ballet babe
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Hi I'm new to this forum and looking for any advice or words of wisdom! My situation is this; I have a daughter who wants to go to 6th form ballet training. She trains with her local dance teacher and has done various ballet things over the years. My DD has passed all her ISTD intermediate exams with good marks in ballet, modern, tap and national. My DD is a good all-rounder in dance but classical dance is her passion. We have just started the dreaded audition forms and photos, each school wanting something different!! The further we go on this journey the more heartbroken I think my DD will become.

 

My husband and I support our DD in her ambition to become a dancer but it's a shame our finances won’t support her in her dream. Much like other families on here we are now realising that even if our DD was lucky enough to be offered a dada, we would more than likely have to turn it down because we couldn't afford the cost of living away from home. Our household income puts us at just over the cut off point for the maintenance grant and we have four children, so this makes it pretty much impossible as the dadas don’t take into account other children living at home. I am fully aware that this subject of funding effects everyone on here regardless of income, from lower income families, middle income like myself, and higher income families. Every household lives by their means and we all have bills and homes to pay for.

 

I just wonder if there are any success stories out there! It would be good to hear of other people in this situation.

 

 

 

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Are there any schools near enough so that she wouldn't have to board? Or are situated near family or close friends with whom she could stay instead. I agree with you that when means testing they should definitely take into account the number of children or young people living at home. An income that's above the cut off point, but is used to support 6 people should surely be considered as much as a lower income, which only has to support 3 or 4. I know my parents couldn't have afforded to send me to the schools where I studied if I had not won scholarships and lived at home. I was very lucky and I do hope your daughter will be too.

Edited by Dance*is*life
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Hi, my heart goes out to you and your Dd ! We are in a similar position with Ds ! We have cut his choice of sixth forms from 8 to 3 ! And even then the cost, even with a DaDa is unachievable ! We have a Dd on an MDS already and the two schemes do not recognise each other ! So it more than doubles our contributions ! With the £70,000 earning limit we are stuffed ! We have jobs that have the potential to earn extra but with this new rule can't !! We have to give him the same opportunity we have given his sister but it's so hard ! If they are both successful in their ambitions then at one point we would have two in sixth form ! That year alone I calculate would cost £26,000 !! We would do anything for our children but something's are a bridge too far ! Good luck with the auditions x may see you on the circuit ! Lol ! Xx

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Thank you both for your lovely posts!  The nearest school would take 1 hour 40 mins one way using public transport this may be an option if my dd gets a dada, but her dance teacher seems to think its to much for her to do twice daily at a young age on top of dance training. Although I cant see what else she could do! Could not imagine doing this with two children in 6th form !!! Good luck to your dancing children too .

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My DD has just started Elmhurst 6th form and by the end of the day she can barely muster the strength to brush her teeth let alone do a 1 and a half hour journey home. She gets up at 6:30 am to be in the studio for 7:30 warm up as her ballet class starts at 8:30. She has between 4-7 hours of dance a day. It really is relentless. I really don't want to upset you more but 6th form ballet training is a HUGE step up from year 11 training whether you are at vocational school or training with a local teacher.

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i appreciate this this is such an unfortunate situation to be in for you and i hope you find a solution!

you could perhaps narrow your choices to one or two schools and sit down and explain to your dd that she is most likely going to this audition as a learning experience and there is lots of competition out there so its unlikely shell get a funded place, then check if she still wants to go to the auditions of if shed rather save the money.

you could also look into btec courses at collages nearby or alevels in things such as drama and dance? 

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You don't have to go away at 16 ! Some like Central, Rambert etc take at 17 or 18 ! Some even later ! The degree courses obviously requires student loans to cover the course fees with parents only paying for accommodation etc ... That's still a big etc but slightly cheaper for some than with a DaDa and not with the earning restrictions !

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Try to get to one of the audition insight days and that will give you more of an idea about the school.

 

There are likely also to be students there who are at vocational schools as well and it is all good experience. Chat to the parents to see what they say (although maybe not the questions about which schools they are applying to and why are they looking around - each school has plus and negative points and sometimes it is all about finance, which is difficult to speak about with people you don't know).

 

They could give you an idea about workload though - as is pointed out above, it is a bit of a step up for some..

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Like others I would suggest looking at the courses that are funded by student finance. There are a number, Central, Rambert, Ballet West, (?) BTUK and Conservatoire of Scotland come to mind but no doubt there are others. I assume, but no doubt someone in the know will put me right, that along side the fee element the student gets the maintance element to support living costs.

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Welcome ballet babe :-)

 

Some good advice here. It's a good point to think about how much you would be supporting your daughter if she were off to university in a couple of years. I have two at uni and it's almost costing us as much for each of them as it did when my son was at Elmhurst. We were lucky that he was there before the DaDA system changed - if we were going through it now we'd be looking at schools offering funding through the student loan system.

 

We're resigned to being poor for a bit longer yet - and our mortgage will take longer to pay back than it would've done. .....

 

Your daughter is old enough to have an adult conversation with you about the financial side of things. Make sure she understands the implications before she auditions and then she can see what happens - and have a back-up plan in place.

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Thank you everyone for the warm welcome , lots of helpful posts.

 

We have spoke to our dd about funding and that due to our income and large family !  she may have to turn places down if offered to her. Also that even if offered a funded place, we cant at this moment see how we could afford to let her move away from home. On a good note she is very mature for her 16 years and told us that she would rather try and it be a no than not try at all.

 

It is heart breaking but we will do all we can to support her. I sometimes wonder what  past years have been for you know how it is , no holidays, drop offs and pick ups to and from ballet  and the rest ! if we cant help her achieve her dream. I never asked for my dd to want to dance as a job, I took her for a fun hobby and sometimes wish id never bothered !!!! It seams she has a natural flare for it and you cant knock it out of them !!! I wish we could have saved more money for her but paying out what we already do on family life and dance it leaves not much left for a rainy day ! . I had always hoped funding would be better by the time my dd got to 16 but it just comes around quicker than you think.

 

 

 We have decided to try for places that offer the student loan aswell and to take things as they come. Back up plan is to stay on in school and do a levels . I hope all our dc achieve their dreams and only wish funding was not an issue for them. Good luck to everyone  and let me know of any happy endings x

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I would sit down and work out your finances before applying.  How much do you currently spend on your dd's dancing in terms of travel and lessons?  If you haven't calculated this before, you might be surprised at how much it all adds up.  Read the student finance website/leaflets to see how much you would need to contribute on top of this for your dd to be able to attend.   Could you find this amount for the next 3 years? Is your dd happy to have a huge student loan?  It's then up to you whether your dd applies - either knowing she will be able to go if offered a place or not.

It's so tough.  At least you have all the financial facts up front and can make an informed decision.  When dd auditioned they published the new Dada scale half way through the audition process :( 

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Your right millie 3 at least i have all the info upfront, i would not like to have been in your shoes !

 

We  have figured that what we pay out on dancing now would cover the top up towards dada award if my dd got one , its out of the question without one. We come unstuck because we go over the earnings bracket not by much for the grant to help with living costs. We have four children and cant afford to pay for our dd to move away to dance college. There are no near colleges to were we live offering classical ballet, as mentioned earlier the nearest one is 1hr 40 mins away on public transport . But this may be her only option to commute this distance  each day.

 

If she does the degree courses the student loan would be a must but my dd understands the huge loan part. I am ok with that also because if she went to uni we would have to apply for that loan anyway. 

 

I am hoping in an ideal world that if my daughter was to gain a place with a dada ,that somewhere out there would be funding that may help with the cost of living other than the current grant , wishful thinking i know ! I keep thinking someone somewhere must of been in this situation before and found a way other than winning the lottery! The mds grants would of been miles better for 16 + although i know this is not offered , it takes into account other children living at home . 

 

Thank you again x

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I have just mentioned this on another thread but I believe Tring offer MDS awards for 16+. But I honestly don't know if it is for existing students already on an MDS or in exceptional circumstances also offered to new 16 year olds. Perhaps a call to ask them would be a good idea?

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The Hammond School used to offer very generous bursaries to some students. My dd was given one of these which was greater than what she would have had through MDS. They also backed it up by saying if the grant became unavailable or hubby left the Royal Air Force she would be given a MDS award. I still have that letter.

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Hi Balletbabe, I just wanted to weigh in with regard to long travel time, I know in UK 1 hour and 40 mins seems almost insurmountable, but we are from Australia and are very used to long distances, our daughter was regularly travelling 1 hour and 30m mins each way from her fulltime ballet school from the age of 14. Her ballet hours were 8am -8pm (7:30 start really to warm up for 8am.) 6 days a week. She was out of the house at 6am and not home til nearly 10pm. She also did a full load of school subjects by distance education as well. It was a huge transition at the time and her time management skills became finely tuned, but I just want to say that it can be done. Her dedication really proved to me that this was her dream and her passion was real. 

 

She is now in a 6th form school in London staying with a host family and many people said at 16 she would never manage being a full 24 hour flight way from home as we are still in Australia, but again she has adapted. At the end of the day if this is your DD passion she will find a way to commute and make it work if this is her only option. You can help and assist her wherever possible, lifts from the station and perhaps doing more for her than you would otherwise, just to give her some down time and lighten the load.

 

She will also make friends in student accomodation or perhaps friends who live near the school and she may be able to bunk in with them a couple of days a week when things get tough. What I have found is that ballet families pull together. My daughter was just taken home by one of her friends for the half term break, what a relief because watching everyone go home was making the homesickness that much worse. Even here at home we had a girl who came from the country she had a two hour train ride daily and I still have her bunk in at our place occasionally even though we no longer have our own daughter here.

 

The worst thing would be for her to spend her life wondering what if? Do the auditions, get offered a place and figure the rest out after that, if it is meant to be it will fall into place. Some schools have internal scholarships and bursaries that you don't find out about until the kids have been offered a place. Put feelers out to all friends and family who might have friends in the area who can offer a room either weekly or even just ocassionally. This is what we did. As an international student without a UK guarantor we could not pay student accommodation monthly they wanted the whole year up front. So we put feelers out through our friends and family and unbelievably they found us a host family who also have a daughter boarding at a different ballet school... things just fell into place.

 

The most important thing is to give your daughter the chance, once she has a place, then you try to move heaven and earth to make it happen. At least if it doesn't happen she will know you pulled out all stops trying but it just wasn't meant to be. On another note our son has also been travelling 1.5 hours a day each way to his normal school since year 8 ... again on the bus at 6:30am and home by 5:30... he doesn't like school and grumbles a bit... but they do get used to it, and all his homework gets done on the bus!!

Edited by macnatt
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Hi macnatt your post was lovely. It proves to me that it can be done and somethings are meant to be. You must be so proud of your dd ! she will make an excellent dancer within a company with the passion and dedication she has show. Good luck to you and your family i love happy endings x

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My dd commuted into London for 6th Form for two years (about 1 1/4 hrs door to door) and yes it was very exhausting for her but she used to use the time on the train to write up her class notes/ sew ribbon on shoes etc. Also it is worth remembering that while she is still at home your dd will not have to do all the things like shopping, cooking, washing etc. Once home there was a cooked meal waiting for my dd, dance clothes always clean, sandwiches made for her, she didn't even have to make her bed or clean her room! She also managed to work on a saturday night waitressing for some extra money. It definately wasn't an easy option but the commute was quite straightforward from where we live and she had her dad for company much of the time. Costwise however it only worked out slightly cheaper than living in London and that was because we only had to pay for travel during termtime whereas accommodation has to be paid for a whole year.

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