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soft_blossom_c

Auditioning- Young age for Residency Program

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soft_blossom_c

:D Hi everyone

 

I'm writing from Australia.

Four weeks ago our daughter attended The Australian Ballet School Summer School where a number of children had a chance to audition for the, so called, Interstate Junior Programme for the children all over Australia, which, if they are accepted allows them to take classes whenever they are able to visit Melbourne and to be observed in their progress in doing so.

It is a known fact, only very few are selected.

Our daughter is nine years old. She loved the school and improved in her work in such a short time. The audition was on the second last day of the school, but as she said they were watched by the Head of the Junior School during the class on other days as well. She was placed in the youngest group and all the girls in that group were eleven and twelve. She felt she got very good attention by the teachers, she struggled a bit with picking up things because they moved really quickly in steps, but she managed nicely at the final concert.

She auditioned and didn't get in.

I know this has been said over a thousand times and mostly by the mums, she truly does love her ballet and her potential has been noticed and commented on, on numerous occasions by different people in the "industry".

She is a child who has worked very hard, I believe for her age, to achieve all those beautiful things they are looking for.

 

Was there not enough turnout ?

Does her left foot need a bit more work?

Are her fingers long enough?

Is she talented enough?

Is she musical enough?

Was she simply too young?

 

Who knows, they never tell you.

In the letter they told her to continue with her studies in classical ballet and that they would be happy to assess her progress in the future, at least that was something.

 

We all got over it in couple of days, she got over it before everyone else.

I feel guilty in a way to have allowed her to audition.

Before and during the summer school she was living a dream and she looked like it. The not getting in was a kick in the guts.

The other children at the school told her they didn't get in either, but they will keep trying.

Do you think this is just another chase of a dream?

Even though they look lovely and work their little hearts out, it will never be enough for the final judge.

 

Have I done the wrong thing in allowing her to audition so young?

 

Some response or similar experiences would be much appreciated.

 

Kind regards

 

soft_blossom_c

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Mel Johnson

Nine is a little young for the audition mill, even if this is an external programme, not like an audition for an intensive or a residential school. I don't know the particulars of this specific course of study, but it sounds to me as though she's welcome to try again and again and again, so next time, there won't be as much pressure, and she'll be that much more proficient. Meanwhile, avail yourself of the invitation to future assessments. It's a good school, and certainly worth taking advantage of a good offer.

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fendrock

In this metropolitan area, nine is not too young to already be auditioning for pre-professional programs and to be included in professional performances.

 

Although it is tough, it is impossible to be considered at all for these opportunities without risking disappointment. It is a very adult lesson they learn at an early age.

 

And, as you point out, there is no silver lining to the cloud, as they generally do not provide any feedback.

 

It is amazing how quickly the young ones seem to bounce back from disappointment, but, as a friend of mine pointed out, "the world is still their oyster."

 

Your daughter is able to learn and improve at a tremendous rate right now. When they are young, there are so many variables between individuals, for example physical rate of growth and attention span. So there is no reason to take this as any kind of word about your daughter's ability and potential.

 

Consider also that different schools have different methods of teaching and supporting students. Sometimes the most selective, name schools know that they have a very large pool of potential students. They therefore may not provide as much support and encouragement to individual students as some of the smaller or lesser known schools.

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Guest drval01

One thing I think we parents get confused about: In the end it is their motivation that will determine the outcome, not ours. And there is often a fine line between pushing and facilitating. Follow your daughter's lead, but be aware of when your desire overwhelms hers.

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Guest Clare

In my experience younger children bounce back much more quickly than older ones, probably partly because they know there are lots more opportunities ahead. My daughter auditioned for Saturday associate classes at the Royal Ballet School when she was nine but was rejected and again at 13 with the same result. She was then accepted at 14 but rejected for a full time place at 15. She got over the disappointment very quickly the first two times but the final one was much more difficult because she knew it was her last chance. In fact, although she is very happy at her second choice school she still harbours some resentment towards RBS!

 

Are you that it isn't possible for your daughter's teacher to ring up and ask why she wasn't accepted? Many schools here won't correspond with parents but are happy to talk to teachers. Worth a try anyway, I should think.

 

Clare

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balletbooster

Does anyone have experience with teachers contacting programs here in the US to ask the reasons for their students being rejected? I've not heard of anyone doing this and just wondered if our "big name schools" would be amenable to receiving such calls. It would seem that they might be more precise in their discussions with a teacher than they would be with a parent (who they can rightfully assume, in most cases, does not fully understand the issues involved).

 

I was in a discussion recently with some moms who were wondering about the appropriateness of this "tactic" as they prepared to enter the dreaded Audition Season. There was much discussion about how intimidating it is for moms to contact a school and wondering about how the schools would react to such a call if it came from a teacher instead. I know that group would love to hear about any experiences you might have had (good or bad) with teachers contacting programs on behalf of students.:eek:

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fendrock

If the audition was for a children's part with a professional company, I wouldn't expect to be able to find out anything.

 

If the audition were to get into a program, and there was a personal relationship between the student's teacher and someone in the other organization, I might considering attempting it.

 

I don't get the impression that there is much communication between organizations in regard to individual students, however.

 

For example, one seldom sees staff from one school attending a performance at another school.

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balletbooster

The particular discussion I was a part of was moms wondering about a local teacher (who knew no one at the other program) contacting the program to find out the reasons a student was rejected for their summer program.

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LRS

Is the Interstate Junior Program that you are talking about like the Select Schools or Sports Schools in Australia? I correspond with a friend in Australia and she is always talking about getting into these types of schools. From my understanding of the school system there (and I don't know if it applies to this program) things are very competitive at a very young age for children.

 

Instead of wondering if you let her audition too early, I would focus on what she learned from the process of the audition. If other children at the school auditioned and are the same age then maybe it wasn't too early- it just depends on the situation there. There are TONS of important life lessons to be learned at any audition.

 

I am always amazed with my young daughter after an audition. At her age I could have never done what she is doing. You have to have a lot of courage and self esteem to stand up in front of a large group with a number pinned onto a leotard and put yourself out on the line.

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soft_blossom_c

Thank you everyone.

 

LRS, yes the situation is very competitive at a very young age.

When I was watching the final concert of this particular Summer School it was obvious that these children not only had loads of talent, wonderful teachers, but the kind of will to realize their dreams which is clearly seen and felt in every movement, every expression and every attempt.

We hoped, if she got accepted, she would have the unique opportunity to attend the Australian Ballet School classes. Her progress at the summer school in such a short time was clear. She was delighted with the way in which teachers, as she said, 'explain things'. They are, after all, the best teachers in this country.

Fendrock it is exactly as you said, right now being the time for her to improve, we hoped with the wonderful teaching of the ABS, but it wasn't ment to be. They say they like to get the children while they're young and put them 'under their wing'.

Maybe another time.

 

Thanks again everyone

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balletmom311

Your post reminded me so much of our personal experience. My daughter auditioned for our National Ballet School when she was nine years old. The audition was open to parents and it was obvious to us what they where looking for in the students. Our daughter was musical, had a nice physique, however she was not flexible and her feet needed work. The students they accepted pretty much had it all.

 

Our daughter was devastated, it was the first time in her life she had faced rejection. I felt I had failed her and that her disappointment would spoil her love of dancing.

 

Later the same day when her tears had finally stopped that nine year old asked me to drive her three hours to the next stop on the audition tour. We knew then that she would survive her experience; it also confirmed how much she wanted to do this. We didn't drive her to the audition, we explained that one day really wouldn't change things and suggested that she work on her flexibility and try again next year if she still wanted to. So she worked with a gymnastic coach and her flexibility improved dramatically. When she auditioned the next year it was obvious that they liked what they saw. Our daughter was rewarded for her hard work and patience with a spot in the summer program. So from a very painful experience she learnt the value of hard work and perseverance. She now attends our National Ballet School full time, it was a rough road getting there, but she is thriving and we are so glad she had the courage to try again.

 

Good luck to you and your little one!

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tutu14

Our experience is similar. Daughter auditioned for NBS when she was 9 and was not accepted. Went back the following year and was accepted into the summer program but not into the fulltime. Re-auditioned the next year and was not even accepted into the summer program.....cried for 2 hours after that one.(as balletmom311 said the parents are in the audition room...at the end the staff call out the numbers of the students they wish to accept and the rest are left standing there) The following week was accepted into another professional school and went there for 2 years. Auditioned again for NBS and RWB last year and had to make the decision of which summer school to attend. She turned down NBS and is now at RWB full-time. In the case of our daughter there were some alignment issues when she was younger that made it the "wrong" time to be auditioning. The experience of auditioning with success or without is a valuable one. Kids change quickly....if you don't have what they are looking for one year, you might the next.

 

Leslie

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soft_blossom_c

balletmom311 and tutu14 just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experiences. It is very comforting to know that some of the stories, and there are so many of them, have the outcome we all hope for.

All the best for the future :(

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dancemomCA

Hello everyone!

 

I have been following this site for a few months now and have decided to comment on the audition process. My 13 year old son auditioned for and won a place at Canada's NBS summer program last year (2002). He absolutely loved it. However, due to a lack of hip flexibility he was not accepted into the full time program. This I was told at the end of the final class of the summer, by his teacher, who also told him point blank that he would never have a career in classical ballet. I watched him visibly shrink in front of her and me and then he ran off. I found him later in his residence room sobbing uncontrollably on his bed. It was a very, very, long ride home that evening.

 

He spent the next two weeks hiding in his room, listening to music and did not see one of his friends (mostly girls, as most teenage boys still cannot grasp the concept of boys in dance). I spent hours agonizing over this outcome, and blamed myself for letting him audition in the first place. He had such high expectations and unfortunately, was brought down to earth with a resounding crash. We weathered the crisis however, I let him wallow for a week and then told him that it wasn't the end of the world - he was young and still growing, his body would change again and there were other ballet schools to audition for next year. He has worked very hard on his turnout and flexibility this past year and has gained new leg strength after spurting up quite a few inches.

 

Well, it is next year now and he is off to the RWB school for the summer and I think better mentally prepared for rejection. I told him that no matter what the outcome, what he learns during July is fantastic and he truly improves so much each and every time he takes an intensive course. He attended a master class a few weeks ago given by Annette av Paul (Director of the summer dance program at the Banff Centre), who stayed to talk to him after class and told him that she would have taken him for the summer too. She reminded him that he is still young and growing and not to give up on his dream of classical ballet because it was only one opinion at a certain point in his life. He left that studion feeling great and I was very grateful for her kind words of encouragement.

 

Sorry this is so long, but I have been a single mother for years, supporting my children in their dreams, and it is so great to finally find support and similar stories from other parents.

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Mel Johnson

Welcome, dancemomCA, to the Moms and Dads' forum here at Ballet Talk on Ballet Alert! Online!:D

 

I sorry you had an unhappy experience at the National Ballet School. They have, over the years, acquired a reputation for hardnosedness and the undiplomatic, and your experience seems to bear out that they're still at it. Humiliating a thirteen-year-old like that in front of a parent, out of the clear blue, is just reprehensible. It is substandard educational practice. I didn't develop much flexibility until I was eighteen. I had placement, and the positions were just a tad above waist high and correct, but no outstanding flexibility or extension. What I had were turns and beats, and I could lift almost anything (and frequently did!) Then, after one summer course, suddenly - bang, eye-high quatrieme devant, an à la seconde that crossed my knee with my elbow, and a six o'clock arabesque. The placements were still correct, but the flexibility just seemed to arrive all by itself! I laid it to hormones or something.

 

Make sure that he takes Ms. av Paul's wise and educationally sound advice, and keeps at it! Show him this post, if you think it will do any good.:D

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