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London Russian Ballet School vocational upper school

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Hello! I'm new here so not quite sure if I'm actually in the right place and I've seen a similar thread but thought it might be easier to start afresh...

 

Just wondering if anyone has had any experience of the senior vocational training at LRBS? Thinking about auditioning but still just looking into it. I've heard lots of mixed reviews...

 

Has anyone had experience of moving from RAD syllabus to Russian? From as far as I can tell it seems quite different and for someone who has trained in purely the RAD syllabus would it be possible to adjust to Russian (or just a waste of training time which could be spent developing further in RAD styles ?) - this is all speculating whether I would even get in haha! More out of curiosity rather than thinking too seriously at the minute I suppose.

 

Anyway, please do let me know of any experiences with their upper school! I can only seem to find more about their adult classes and junior training :)  

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When I auditioned, the headmistress informed me "We can't offer you a scholarship because you haven't previously trained in the Russian style, RAD is nothing, it isn't even really ballet"!!! Also, just to warn anyone who may be thinking of auditioning- the man who taught the class spoke entirely in Russian- except for a few very offensive insults which he managed in English! I felt as if I wasn't able to dance well because I didn't understand what he was asking for, and had to rely on the others- who were all beautiful dancers. I don't wish to appear publicly critical of the school- my audition experience there was very negative, but im sure that other people like it there. Feel free to PM for more info x

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I don't have any experience of the upper school, but I have been to their adult class. Same as Swanprincess, I got told that 'RAD is not ballet'. The woman also said, 'There is no such thing as Vaganova ballet, in Russia ballet is just ballet!'

 

Also personally, I wasn't too keen on the actual class. I found it difficult to understand what the teacher was saying and he spend the entire class focusing on one girl, who I assumed was a vocational student. He raised her legs to way above her ears for each extension but it appeared she did not have the strength to hold it there yet but she got her thighs slapped and got yelled at for these 'faults' anyway.

 

So same as Swanprincess, my experience of the school has been negative. As it has been mentioned already, there are people who love the school and these are just my observations.

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I'm really sorry to hear that Swanprincess. And in my opinion a bit of a dumb thing to say!!

 

Of course RAD is ballet ......it's just a system ....like others ....to acquire at a reasonable pace the steps etc of ballet.

If you look at a grade one girl and an advanced two girl who have only done RAD ballet you will definitely see the progress!!! So you can definitely learn ballet with RAD method!!

 

By the time one reaches about 16 though...... or say at RAD advanced one level .....I think it's time to be open to other styles whichever way around it is and it's not impossible in my view to pick up the Russian style especially if doing class every day......many things are pretty much the same....may have slightly different names which could take a while to pick up.....but a sympathetic teacher would help!!

 

There is a more advanced class that adults can do at London Russian which is often taken by the senior teacher there and where sometimes vocational students may be present but he probably wouldn't suit beginners. He has also been in UK for some time now so should have picked up some English ......especially ballet phrases by now!!

 

 

One week the beginners plus group were combined into this class and I got shouted at for drinking some water as I hadn't realised that he only allows water to be drunk outside the class!! I did feel like a rather naughty little girl as I slunk out with my bottle but I didn't experience this in any other adult class there.

On another occasion we did have a teacher straight from Russia who could speak some French but he was a real sweetie definitely no slapping around!!

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We don't have experience of the new vocational upper school but our experiences at London Russian tie in with those quoted above. DS attended classes there for a couple of terms. They wanted him to go there exclusively and offered that he could stay there (before they had formal accomodation) and suggested we arrange private academics for him so he could then attend all their classes. For a while he stayed overnight with the 2 other teachers who lived in so he could do friday and saturday classes without having to travel all the way home to Sussex inbetween, but the arrangement was (like the rest of the school) somewhat chaotic. He would turn up to find the room he had been allocated was full of performance clothes so he had no bed to sleep in, there was never any food unless he went alone to sainsbury's and the teachers he was with stayed up all night watching unsuitable (for DS) films and then stayed in bed until class at midday leaving DS wandering around like a spare part. Classes would be cancelled or times changed at short notice etc.

We decided against DS attending as there were simply not enough other boys (or anyone) training at his level, and we thought the whole arrangement was not well thought out. Also our experience of the general chaos was not very comforting.

 

As for the classes, he did like the male teachers but the senior mens teacher was (I thought) quite a prima donna and didn't even give us lowly parents the time of day. The manager/headmistress of the school was endlessly and viciously scathing about all english dance training (including the Royal) which I didnt think was terribly professional, and there seemed to be frequent fallings out between staff and students, resulting in students being removed.

 

After DS decided to go to vocational school elsewhere they seemed willing to maintain friendly relations (although having offered DS free classes up to that point they then suddenly presented us with a huge bill so we had to renegotiate that). We asked if DS could come to some classes whilst home in the vacation and were told he would be welcome. He then attended on one occasion and was welcomed with warmth and open arms by the manager/headmistress. However the next day we received an email from her sayingt the senior teachr had said he should not attend any more. No explanation, just a really brutally bald email, and no further response to our reply querying what the problem was.

 

So.

I guess our general feeling was the classes are well taught, but everything else is just insanely unprofessional and chaotic. I don't honestly know if they have become more organised but this was only 4 years ago so if the same people are there I find it difficult to believe they have completely changed....

 

I know however some people on this forum have DKs there and have been very positive, perhaps they might also comment.

Edited by CeliB
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DD has attended two of the adult/drop in classes on a Thursday morning.  I did find the admin a bit hit and miss,   The premises are lovely - except the girls toilet which I think is next on the "to do" list (this was Easter last year).  The gentleman teacher who took the lesson gave corrections which dd loved and tried to improve her turnout which dd didn't love. He did take the time to try and converse with me at the end of the lesson but not sure what he was saying.  DD enjoyed the lessons and doesn't speak a word of Russian and is RAD trained. Another member of staff who also attended one of the lessons was very welcoming she wanted dd to come and watch their show.  

 

We are in Sussex and it is quite an expedition to get there and we got confused over which days they were open, which is why we only went twice.  

 

Perhaps try a drop in lesson to get the feel?

 

Edited for clarification

Edited by porthesia

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My daughter did some lessons here a number of years ago. I have to say that the male teacher was an excellent teacher and really does get the best out of the students my daughter made a lot of progress with him. A lot of students at this time would do Royal Ballet Associates and then come across to this school. His English is far from perfect but I could understand him perfectly. The owner is not a teacher and does say some odd things. In answer to your question about learning other methods of course you can. None of the professional companies follow any syllabus.

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I can only echo the comments above, most of CeliB's post could have been written by me as her experience was so similar.

DC trained with them around 5 years ago for a few months aged 14 or 15. The unyielding and extremely vocal insistence of the 'administrator' that DC must train there and only there (other prestigious schools would ruin physique, posture etc.) was too much to deal with in the end. Such a shame as DC loved training there.

Fantastic teaching - I can't stress that enough. Corrections were often less than tactful but water off a duck's back in light of the amount of learning being soaked up and DC's thick skin. The school was very generous, friendly and welcoming on the whole.

If they think you have what they're looking for they won't be shy about letting you know.

 

Edited to add: DC had no Russian training before going there, just RAD.

Edited by BankrollingBallet
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I have to say that my daughters experience of other Russian training in Bristol was outstanding. They were more about being positive and giving lots of praise whilst having high expectations of the student. They were very positive about other vocational schools infact they have both guest tutored at RBS and ENBS schools. Russian teaching is usually hands on but my daughters legs were never smacked at either school. Bristol I would say never pushed the body too far regarding turn out and elevation but managed to get the body to reach its potential.

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Wow thank you all for the wonderful responses! I guess I'll have to weigh up whether quality of training or 'pastoral' (does it come under that?!) matters more and thanks Porthesia I may drop in for a lesson to try - I never even considered that...! Primrose, I often go into Bristol so maybe I'll look at doing some classes there before trying for LRBS to get a better feel for the Russian style...

 

Thank you all so much! Very interesting to hear so many points of view on it! Guess I'll just see what happens !

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Look at graduation lists. At the end of the day you are training for a job.

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Pastoral care can make or break a dancer. A student needs excellent training aswell as excellent nurturing pastrol care.

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Havnt been on forum for long time since my 2 daughters stopped ballet but having read this thought I would tell our experience! My 2 attended LRBS for 3 yrs had done RAD and ISTD before eldest had done quite lot of dancing but younger DD didn't start ballet till she was 11 as used to do gymnastics. We only went to LRBS as both my daughters wanted to do more ballet so went along for trial lesson they both loved it and started going everyday after sch and on Saturdays ! Both improved loads we had 2 and half yrs where they couldn't wait to get there my eldest was one of the first students to start full time training along with doing 2 A levels which she found hard as not an academic girl but she had plenty of encouragement . They did wonderful shows in London and we were on a very good scholarship which meant we could afford it there was no way we could of afforded dance training with 2 daughters without the help we received from LRBS . Was all going well until last year when eldest put on little weight she is small boned girl only 5 ft 3 but was no way fat but I'm afraid and still feel upset about this that the main teacher there started calling her names !! At first she took it but then was coming home upset I tried to talk to the Director about the situation up until this point I had always got on with her and at times she tried very hard with my girls but she told me that she couldn't tell him what to say and this is the Russian way ! My daughter have up she told us she had lost her passion since she left she told us that she hadn't been eating properly and never wants to ever put leotard on again . Younger DD left as well but only because she didn't agree with her sister being treated like that , she got accepted at BTUK but after going to summer sch couldn't bear to live away from home she didn't dance for long time but recently started dancing again but not at LRBS and is starting a 1 yr commercial course in sep in Ldn . I have to say I still feel the training At LRBS was excellent and they have some wonderful dancers there but it's not for everyone !

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Meant gave up just noticed my mistake ! Also my younger daughter has been going to a lovely Russian ballet teacher who teaches at dance attic in Fulham Broadway. Very good hands on teaching and everyone gets attention as small classes . Forgot to say that quite few students leave LRBS and most get into good schools , I know of 2 that have gone to Perm in Russia !

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Pastoral care can make or break a dancer. A student needs excellent training aswell as excellent nurturing pastrol care.

ESPECIALLY when they are in their teens!

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Are they overseen/ regulated in any way either as a private school providing academic education (ISI) or by one of the dance regulatory bodies?

 

Much as I fint always agree with OFSTED/CDET/ISI they do exist to provide a safeguard

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Not that I was aware of !! They do whatever they like! One thing I liked about sch was that they went out to local schools And performed to give children a chance to see ballet .as far as I know they were totally independent so didn't have to answer to anyone !

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They don't have a safeguarding policy or much regard for this, which is what gave me cause for concern. I won't say any more here but anyone considering the school feel free to PM me.

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Well I can say that it is not the Russian way to degrade students by calling them fat. How awful for the silly owner to say that it is.

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Yes Primrose the new teacher who is Russian said to us that the way he behaved is not Russian !! It's just him !! Don't think he has any understanding of the damage it can cause to a young girl .

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We would like to remind posters that in line with the Forum's AUP, highly critical posts should be made under your real name, not an anonymous username. If doing so would risk identifying your children then you may wish to modify your post prior to posting, to ensure that it does not identify individuals at a school, be that staff members or students.

 

Many thanks,

 

Anna

On behalf of BalletcoForum Moderators

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