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The Northern Ballet School in Manchester (Note: Not the company!)


MeganReid
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I recently got offered a place at the Northern Ballet School in Manchester and I was really happy to find out that they could accept me into their school. On the day of the audition me and my mom went and looked around the school and the accommodation nearby and I thought it looked fantastic. What I am querying is what sort of level the first year ballet classes are because I didn't have a chance to see the first year's ballet, only jazz. I was also wondering if anyone had a dd who went or is at the school and could tell me a bit about the feel of the school and the nearby accommodation places? I really want as much information as possible if I am going to convince my mom to let me go! ;)

 

Thank you in advance!!

 

One last question: I am not sure if we can afford the fees as it is very expensive and I auditioned too late to receive a DADA as these had already been allocated by the time I auditioned (long story!) are there any companies or something that I could get in touch with to support me? I know some people offer to sponsor dancers but I'm guessing that is at the bigger schools like RBS which at the time (due to complicated circumstances) I was unable to audition for!

 

Thank you!

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Congratulations Megan on your place at NBS. I'll do my best to answer your questions but my experience is from my daughter's time there back in 2006 - 2009 so things may have changed in the years since.

The level of ballet abilities in the first year was varied as all students followed the same course regardless of whether they were intending to follow the classical or jazz focus courses in the 2nd and 3rd years.

My daughter had already taken her Adv 1 RAD and ISTD ballet exams but there were other students who were at Intermediate level. Ballet lessons consisted of free work, syllabus, pointe work and pas de deux. RAD was a compulsory lesson in whichever grade you were working towards. ISTD ballet was an optional extra.

I was impressed with the standard of teaching in all subjects, especially the ballet and my daughter had improved greatly when I saw her in the show at the end of the 1st term.

The principal made the overall decision on who did what in the 2nd and 3rd years based on the 1st year assessments.

My daughter was happy that she was able to do the classical course as ballet was her love. She did also get excellent tuition in tap, jazz, modern, contemporary and singing.

My daughter enjoyed her 3 years at the school and found it to be a very warm and caring environment. The teaching staff were all very supportive and the principal had an open door policy to all the students.

The school had a high graduate destination success rate but very few students managed to secure classical contracts so if you are hoping to be a classical dancer, this should be borne in mind. The majority of students secured contracts for cruise ships.

My daughter rented a flat in New Medlock House and stayed there for the duration of the course. It is very secure there with key fob access to the main gate and to the individual blocks of flats. It wasn't luxurious but it was adequate. It's also only a few minutes walk from the school and across the road is the free bus which takes you into the city centre. It's about a 15 - 20 minute walk into the centre so the bus is handy when laden down with shopping bags!

I'm not too sure about sponsors but would imagine that these are hard to come by especially in the current economic climate. It may be worth doing a google search for bursaries for dance/arts although in my experience there is a very strict criteria as to who can apply and the amounts, if successful, tend to be very small so it would be time consuming trying to cover the fees with this. I'm not sure whether child benefit and or housing benefit is still able to be claimed if you are between 16 - 19 but this would be worth looking in to.

I would say though that whatever the fees are, you need to factor in more as there are always hidden fees for things which you don't necessarily think of at the outset. Eg, extra pointe shoes during classical shows/rehearsals, show tickets, hotel/travel costs at show times (2 or 3 each year) if home is a long way from school.

I wish you well and please feel free to PM me if there's anything else you think of. I'll do my best to help.

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I found the school to be very nice during my daughters audition. The principle appeared to be very proud of her school and the students. I have seen some of the Northern ballet student at dance x change in Birmingham and have found them to be of a very high standard. My daughter has chosen to go to Central school of ballet but we still found Northern to be very nice.

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