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Possible move

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Well, I currently live at home with my parents in London and attend a well-known full time pre-professional school. I have just turned 20. Just to give you an overview of my training, at school we take between 3-5 1.5 hr classes a day, are on pointe a least once a day and have two pas de deux classes a week. I am in my second year of a three year course.


My father has been offered a job in Los Angeles, CA. My sisters are at points in their education where moving would work out fine, so my parents are seriously considering moving. There are several things that I am unsure about. Firstly, I know that I am 20, but I have never lived away from home, let alone on the other side of the world from my family- we're really close. I appreciate that once I get that elusive contract I will almost certainly have to move away, but that is a different thing. So I would consider moving to America.


But I have a few questions about the training. 20 in the sort of school I am at is not exceptionally old, many many people finish their A' Levels before starting at a full time conservatory. My course graduates with a BA (Hons). But mine and many courses like this, are very much focusing on a performing career. I have got the impression that dance courses in American universities, are less likely to lead you to a company contract. Would I be able to transfer to a suitable course?


Secondly, at 20 is it too 'old' to be considered for a residency programme, from what I've read, the system in the states appears very different from ours. Even in the final years of training, students seem to take one or two classes a day in the US. Is this accurate?


I would also really appreciate recommendations of schools or programmes near, or near ish to LA, where I could get good training to in a years time be company ready.


Sorry for the length post, I am a little confused.... any suggestions or words of guidance would be really helpful. :angry2:

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20 is a bit old for post-grad programs in residential ballet schools here in the states...


Have you ever been to any European company auditions to see where you stand?


If you have good prospects where you are, I would suggest staying with your current course of action, unless you are in fact, company-ready, in which case you would come here and begin the company audition route.


Perhaps others will have different advice? :angry2:

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Thanks for the speedy reply!


I have never been to a company audition, but from where I stand in relation to the auditioning 3rd years at my school, I think that I could be auditioning, but it is not really the accepted route in the UK. Often adverts for European companies stipulate to have finished 3 years professional training...

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Rmc, if possible, you might want to consider staying at the school you are right now as it provides excellent training and has a very good reputation. You are half way through your BA (hons) training which will open a variety of possibilities once you have finished it, i.e. performing, postgraduate studies...


I am sure you have made some good friends at your school - you might want to consider sharing a flat in Richmond - and LA is just a flight away. You will see, your final year will pass very quickly.

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Dance Scholar's advice sounds awfully wise.


R.Mc., if you are, as I understand, what we here in the states would call a junior year college student - you'd have to apply and audition to any university or college programs pretty quickly if you were going to attend here in the USA this coming September and I don't know if that is feasible, you'd have to do a great deal of research quickly to find out. The same would hold true for any residential ballet programs and then you'd have to factor in your college academics to see if you'd be able to continue your studies in a suitable college or university, as well.

Edited by BW
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Thanks for all the advice guys. I really appreciate the help.


BW-I have very good academics, and have in the past been offered scholarships to several well respected American universities, however, this was for an academic degree, nothing to do with ballet. I'm not sure how it works in the US, do you have to be accepeted by the university on your academic merit and then be accepted onto the dance course as a separate process?

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I'm pretty sure that is correct. You know, I'm going to move this into the Higher Education general discussion... Read through some of the threads about the colleges - especially the ones you were accepted by or are currently thinking about.


My only concern is that it is a bit late in the game for some colleges as they have deadlines, etc., for applications, etc., but perhaps there are exceptions and some have rolling admissions, etc. You'd need to start making phone calls as soon as possible, I'd think.

Edited by BW
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I totally agree with DSL here. You are at a world-class institute, and are very very near enterring the professional arena. You are with teachers who know you, and can assist in coaching you through the final phases.


That said, as someone who has lived away from home for quite a while, I understand the challenges that it presents, and the emotional toll it takes. Trust me, the amount of time I spend homesick, I totally understand. I myself am trying to figure how when I can move back, just to be closer.


In which case, BW is, as usual, right - you'd need to get a move on. However, to put this in some perspective - are you sure you'd end up in/want to be in LA? And even in LA, you're not going to find public transport like you do in London.


I went to university in the US, before coming here as a post-grad. Door to door flying time, it takes me *less* time to get home from here than it did while I was there! It's a big country and if you don't get a direct flight... (well, and yes, my folks were living in Idaho at the time...). With my calling card, it's even cheaper for me to call them from here than it was from there!!! Amazing.


And don't forget, you'd have all of us around to keep you company! :) Seriously, I know that there are a lot of other ballettalkers doing the UK-US extended family. It's hard, but possible. I actually feel like it's more possible because my family is really close - we all take care to support each other.


Whatever you decide, my thoughts are with you! Let me know if you want to chat or, should you decide to apply there, want some help or a quick proofreader or whatever, okay? You've been very supportive of me in the past, so don't hesitate to come knocking! :)



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HI R.Mc. can I third D_S_L and Ami - from what I remember you really are at one of the best dance training institutions in the country, and it would be a very high risk strategy to move! Look, 20 is quite a good age to separate from your family, and in your 3rd & final year of university, you'll find you'll be so busy that you may not have time to miss your family too much! I left home to go to university just before I was 18 - you can fdo it, and your tutors and college will offer lots of help as wsell. As a university lecturer, I see the adjustments students make all the time, and they all cope. London is a great base for auditioning - please think serioiusly about staying where you are, and see how your fdamily can support you to do so. I hope your family realise just how prestigious the institution at which you're training is. Certainly the company attached to the school is one of my very favourites! It'd be lovely to be able to say in a couple of years's time "Oh, I ""know "" that dancer!! " :thumbsup:

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Regarding acceptance to American universities academically vs. the ballet program, it depends on the school. Some universities allow everyone to take dance classes and merely hold placement auditions so they can put you in the right level; others require that you audition separately for the dance department. It's probably worth seeing if you can audition via video.

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RMc- The top level ballet university programs are not within easy driving distance to L.A. So you'd not be living with your family should you come here. And nearly all programs require an audition to the dance program and the usual college acceptance process.


Plus, the US university course toward a BA is 4 years long (usually). Many times university credit gets lost in transit (i.e., disallowed) when one transfers schools.


For all of the above reasons, you may very well be better off finishing in the UK. But it wouldn't hurt to contact a few of the top US college programs (Butler, Utah, etc.) Best of luck!



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aww, guys I am touched by all the supportive replies.


I think that I have made a decision. I really want to stay in London, which is a fantastic city. I love my school, would be luckly to find training like that in the states (especially for free-I have a scholarship currently). I was thinking of moving out anyway in the 3rd year year, so I will be amongst my friends who are also auditioning, more independence etc. but I didn't realise how far away my family would be. My parent were even talking about keeping our house and renting the rooms out to my friends, so I could stay there. It's always a struggle to find housing, so I think they would all appreciate it. Also, after a 12 week intensive term who wouldn't want to be flying to LA for thier holidays!


I'm not even sure that I will apply to college programmes, I want to finish my BA and I wouldn't be able to in the states. Even if I joined a suitable course, I would not want to stay any longer than a year before I started auditioning, thus I wouldn't graduate.


Ami- weren't we just having a grump about London transport the other day! hehehe

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I'll add my two cents worth as someone who emigrated with his family including children across the world - leaving one, a couple of years younger than you, who refused to come. This was England to Australia which is an even bigger (and more expensive) return trip than London to LA.


A teenager and young adult is learning and making their place in the world. It is a time of intense social engagement and intense educational and professional development. Change in this period is extremely disruptive, both socially and professionally. At the moment, you will be developing all sorts of social interactions and skills and so on in the setting you are in - you will be working hard to survive in this and rise high. The contacts you are making now will probably determine your professional career. Imagine now doing this in an alien environment, having to learn all sorts of new social rules and so on, as well as doing your main job of competing in an incredibly competitive professional area where now the unspoken rules will be new and strange to you.


I agree with Redbookish that at 20 you should be old enough to not be with your parents (particularly if they are leaving behind a supportive situation and can afford the return trips for you). Lots of people are away from their parents at that age. Travelling is different once you are established, and the initial battle of professional development is behind you. Then you will be ready to tackle the next stage.



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