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WAAPA- any thoughts or experience?


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#1 Thyme

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 09:40 PM

HI everyone- does anyone have any experiences with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth WA? I am interested in their model of producing dancers at the ripe old age of 20 or so vs the 'get them out there by the time they are 17' view. Am also of course interested in any other comments or insights. I already asked this question in a post on boys and girls but if the moderators dont mind, placing it out for the wider audience to comment on seems to make more sense. Thanks in advance.

#2 Miss Persistent

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 05:16 PM

I have seen student graduates of WAPPA from the classical stream who have been very lovely, however none of my own students have attended there (different state). I think, it depends what you are after. Firstly which stream of the program are you looking at? The upside is that the student comes out with a degree which is nice, but is also the reason that they don't graduate until atleat 20-21. If a student is highly classically talented at 16-17, they might benefit career wise by trying to find a place at a company school - but obviously that has implications of possible moves interstate or overseas. If they want opportunity to go to university and train classically then WAAPA has produced the best university classical dancers I have seen. There will be arguments on both sides as to whether it would help or hinder a students chances of getting into a company/school at 20. What are their career plans?

#3 Thyme

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 05:28 PM

Thank you Miss Persistent- I see you are Australian too! nice to hear a local voice. My 13yo son is a few years away from decision making the exact details but WAAPA appeals to me for the reasons you have mentioned (age, degree). We are in NSW. We have had WAAPA in our minds for awhile but I have been recently told that waiting to such an 'advanced' age as 21 isnt realistic and that he needs to hit the road after full time study from age 15. At this early stage, my son would like to try working o/s, his love is contemporary dance and we are told this is all realistic for him. That is about the extent of the 'plan'. I am glad to hear such positive feedback on WAAPA. Inspite of only being 13, it seems these paths need to start being traced out in advance.

#4 Miss Persistent

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 07:35 AM

There are a few of us Aussies hanging around here actually ;)

I wouldn't get too hung up on mapping out career paths just yet at 13 - he would still have so many options. Wait until he hits about 16 and then see what's going on. If he really wants to persue a classical career he may still be better at ABS or another fulltime program if he has the technique. Some of the fulltime schools offer atleast Cert IV's or diplomas in dance too - it's not a bachelor's but it's still something and might be worth looking in to. VCA and Deakin in QLD also offer a bachelor's, similar to WAAPA (I haven't seen any of their students though) I would steer clear of UWS Nepean's & UNSW's dance and Wesley - not enough classical foundation for a company career in my opinion.

#5 Thyme

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 04:25 PM

thank you Miss Persistent- no I am not literally mapping career paths just trying to get together my response to a studio owner who is trying to sell a full time program instead of high school. I need to get my facts right and stave this off. you have been very helpful and affirming, thanks!

#6 Miss Persistent

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:23 AM

Hmm... I wouldn't be going full time at 13 - bit too young for my liking!!! Let him grow up a bit :) Full time at 15-17 would still not be too late for a talented boy, they can often develop well a little older.

#7 Thyme

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 04:35 AM

Sorry I didnt mean to suggest he is wanting DS at 13, he wants him at 15 or so. My quesiton is can he wait and do a program like WAAPA or does he need to go full time and get out there by 17?

#8 Miss Persistent

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:33 AM

Oh!!! Ha ha! My apologies - I misunderstood :)

Opinions will vary wildly on the "right" age on going to full time or out on audition tours. It is such an individual thing for each student. It is not impossible at all to launch a professional career at 20 or older, and maturity can sometimes be an advantage. However, sometimes a few years of intensive training under the belt by 17 or 18 can be wonderful and students can then head off to audition the world over with much success.

I can only give you my personal opinion, but I think a little bit of maturity is often an advantage. I don't like to see students leaving school at such a young age, particularly before completing year 10 atleast - I don't think many have the maturity or self control to really benefit from intense training at that young age. A little older and a little more focused can sometimes bring the same results of training longer when younger. I think it is much more a case of assessing a child's maturity to see how they will cope with intense training at any age.

You could certainly consider it at 15, but it would not curtail his career prospects at all if he did not take up full time at that age. Even though dancers often have short careers, they are not light speed! Steven Heathcote and David McAllister had long, successful careers into their late 30's and 40's - Colin Peasly still danced with the AB in his 60's! Good talent will prevail no matter the age.

#9 Thyme

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:29 AM

Hi Miss Persistent- thought I should fill you in on our decision since you have been so helpful and generous with your thoughts. We have decided to stay at our quiet studio and not join the big studio with the full time program. In the end we just dont want their 'product' so there is no point joining and then having to fit the flow. We woudl rather our DS finish his HSC, go to WAAPA if he wants and then have a go at the professional dance world (if he wants and can). I think that when life is considered from the broader perspective it is important to go to school, read Hamlet and learn calculus even if you dont want to. The general view seems to be that a dancing boy has a bit more time up his sleeve so we are going to capitialise on that. Thank you again for your time and thoughts- it is so valuable to hear someone else's views who has nothing to gain from your decision. :clapping:

#10 Miss Persistent

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 07:19 AM

Sounds like a good plan to me :). I've had to use math I never thought I would have to as a ballet teacher...!