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Australian Ballet School

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I've done several searches but couldn't find a thread for this school, so...Does anyone have first hand experience with the upper levels/divisions? According to their website they take international applications via DVD. And I've found reference to the possibility of having residence facilities, but no time line has been established (at least not on their website.) Any experiences greatly appreciated.


(Sorry if there's another thread!)

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According to their website their audition tour is during our summer months, so I think now would be the time to submit a dvd. I looked into this school for a summer placement for my daughter several years ago and felt kind of dumb when I remembered that their summer was flipped from ours and their Summer School occurred around Christmas/January. :lol: They did respond promptly to my email and sent a nice brochure all about their summer program that occurred during the winter finals period for us here in the States. :)


The trainee program has a lovey website!


They do list a contact email on the audition page of the website, so I would suggest sending a note. I think they will be very courteous and prompt.



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Thanks. We had noticed that the deadline for DVD submissions is June. Wanted to know of anyone's experiences there, though. There's a post in a different thread that made us wonder if the men's program was very strong. We have a possible chance to move on business, but to Brisbane. Seemed logical to explore options at this school (he'd obviously have to live in the city.) DS isn't convinced it would be good for him - so I would have to sell the idea.

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A member of my family trained at the ABS. It's the national school and extremely competitive for entry to the full-time course. Although there's no organised hall of residence, there is a lot of pastoral support in helping to match students to private accommdation -- eiher boarding with a family, or flat sharing.


It's also around 1700 kilometers between Brisbane and Melbourne (please, try to pronounce as pronounced MELb'rn, not MelBORN :yes: ). It's a 2 day drive, or several hours on an aeroplane.


There is excellent training available in Brisbane -- if you're going to be based there, I'd be looking at that rather than the ABS.


Here are some links to mentions of Australian training:

Queensland schools


Starting off


Full time ballet or school?

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Oops, Cheetah! I now see that your mention of no timeline was in reference to their dorms, not the audition schedule. Duh. :yes: Sorry about that. :cool2:


I"m glad that Redbookish had more relevant information to share!

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Thanks Redbookish. We'll check into those links. He's in a residency school and would be looking at finishing off for a final year before auditioning. Obviously it would be easier if he were on the same continent with us! He has decisions to make soon, so we're doing as much research as we can. Unfortunately we won't know our situation for another month.

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My first hand experiences with Australian Ballet School are 15 years old, but although the staffing has changed, the school continues upon the same route as far as I know. It coninues to train dancers who work internationally and nationally. It is an excellent program, in a lovely area, with a great facility, in a fabulous city. :yes:

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My daughter attended their summer school this January, it was only for a week but that is what most summer programmes are here as there are only 6 weeks in the holidays and Christmas/New Year takes up a chunk of that.


There are 7 studios, all a decent size, with lots of room to move. Two of the studios can be made into one massive one. There is a cafeteria onsite. The site is very secure and very central.


They have lots of emphasis on holistic welfare and health and also dance dynamics to get the best of what the dancer has.


It is very competetive. The national audition tour starts now, but you can send a dvd. Out of the group that entered level6 (senior school) only a couple were not from their Junior program, but some were from overseas.


I would chek out the schools in Brisbane as there are some notable ones up there who's students achieve good things on the international audition front.

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Well, I live in Brisbane, and though there are some very good teachers, who have produced excellent students in the past, I think if you are looking in Brisbane for something more serious than a suburban studio that sometimes gets a good student, there is only one set of options (in Brisbane) for someone hoping for a professional career - the courses hosted by the local ballet company, Queensland Ballet. You can find out about their educational program here:




Of course, I've no idea of your DS's age, and am just saying this off the top of my head at the moment, but I can ask my teachers the position next week, and I hope come up with something more definitive.


Melbourne is a 2 1/2 hr flight (not several hours) from Brisbane, but still its a cost and a disincentive.



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Thank you very much for all the feedback. My DS is 16, but would be 17 when the term starts next January. He's danced several years and his acceptance rate into most programs are pretty impressive. Not a flshy dancer (tricks) but very clean. Tall and lean. His ability to find an acceptable studio in Australia will impact our decision whether or not to move. We may go ahead and submit the video/DVD now just in case.

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Your son may be fine, but of course you know that the ABS is THE national ballet school in Australia, and is the feeder training school for the AB -- a major international company -- so acceptance into US SIs may not automatically qualify him for ABS entry ...


You could also look at the Victorian College of the Arts, which has a secondary school programme

VCA Secondary School


although that's still in Melbourne at a great distance from Brisbane! Also have a look at the Macdonald School of Dance in Sydney -- the daughter of a colleague of mine trained there (and we also danced together at a local professional studio so I saw what the training was like) and went straight to a London dance job. There are a number of schools in Sydney I'd recommend -- look at Ecole Danse, or Tanya Pearson's Classical Academy, or the studios run by Joan & Monica Halliday (who are legendary in the Australian dance world! I've been taught by two of their top students when they stopped dancing professionally).


In spite of what jimpickles advises, I would have a look at studios in Brisbane -- there are several dancers from there I know who trained in Brisbane, but I'm racking my brains to remember the names of their studios other than called "The Queensland Dance School of Excellence" which I know has trained dancers to high professional standards.


I'd second jimpickles' recommendation to look at the Queensland Ballet's Professional Training Year. One of my old teachers in Australia trained with Harold Collins (founder & guiding spirit of QB) and went on to dance at Sadler's Wells etc, so QB is an excellent organisation, and much closer than Melbourne! You might also look at the

Australian Dance Performace Institute but I don't have first-hand experience of that, except that it's teaching staff include some highly respected & qualified Australian teachers.


I suppose I'm just saying that the ABS is like the RBS, or NBS in Canada -- it is the peak national training school -- I don't think you have an equivalent in the US, but think SAB + SFBS rolled into one, maybe? There are many more auditionees than places (when I've watched girls' class there, there've been two classes of 12 students each), and I would advise not putting all your eggs in one training basket in terms of enquiries, research, and audition videos. There are a number of excellent options in Australia -- in the industry, it's got an international reputation for producing dancers with extraordinary physicality, energy, and attack.

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Thanks redbookish. It's good to know there are a lot of different options. From what I had gleaned, you aspired to ABS if you wanted to be a professional. From what you've indicated, that may not be so. We've passed on the info to DS and will let him start making decisions. Ultimately he has to be comfortable with the schools he wants to try and get into. At this point, he doesn't think ABS would be a good fit for him, though I can't get him to verbalize why he thinks that. Thus my search for information before submitting a DVD. Regardless, we are committed to moving as a family (he could easily stay at his current residency) or not moving at all. I personally would love to spend the next few years there. But given his age, and hoping for only another year or two of training, we'll postpone the move if he doesn't find a good fit for ballet.

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It does sound like your son would be what the ABS is looking for. With so many looking for a spot there it is often commented that body shape and type plays an impotrant part of acceptance there.


Other places may be to consider would be National College of Dance in Newcastle NSW. They did YAGP this year with one girl placing in the top 12. Run by Marie Walton Mahon well respected in Oz. Majors RAD examiner. Does have boys training.


Prudence Bowen Atelier is a small but amazing program on the Gold Coast. She is an RAD major examiner and well respected both in Oz and internationally. Not sure if she has boys though.


Australian Conservetoire of Dance in Victoria is well respected and run by the parents of Benjamin Ella who is at Royal Ballet School and won silver at YAGP.


Also Tanya Pearson in Sydney.


The problem with these programs is that they are fulltime training instituions which means you train all day. There are no academics attached that are the equililent of graduating high school. This may not be a problem for you given what appears to be the flexibility of the US academic system with the ability to complete courses by correspondance and online, but is, from experience, difficult for Aussie dancers who wish to complete their academics and train to a high level.


Hope this helps

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The VCA programme is high school + intensive training; there are arrangements at the ABS for students to undertake correspondence study for the HSC (the Higher School Certificate --national matriculation exam -- equivalent to UK A levels or the IB) & dance is a recognised subject for that exam. Australia is pretty well set up for correspondence pupils given the very remote stations (farms) in the bush & outback!


I'd second all those recommendations for training locations -- there are some excellent dance educators in Australia. Also look out for where Christine Walsh and Kim Traynor are teaching -- I've watched them in action teaching just about to graduate pre-pros (who went on to good jobs) & they are very talented teachers. Ms Traynor ran an elite training school with Kelvin Coe until his untimely death.

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I'd second the comments that there are several other good schools available, as well as the ABS. A male student from the studio I attend is currently at ABS, and is really enjoying it.


Something to note is that the yr 12 certificate that they do is the VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education), as Australia doesn't have a national yr 12 certificate. As a teacher who has taught bothe VCE and IB, I'd say that VCE is easier than IB, but I don't know how it would compare to your son's studies in the US.


It is arranged so that the subjects they do fit in well with their ballet studies- they do dance & anatomy as part of their course load, but they also have to do another 2-3 subjects. The other point to remember is that the Australian school years runs from Feb to Dec, due to being in the Southern hemisphere.


I took lessons with Harold Collins in Queensland several years ago, and he is a lovely and inspirational teacher.


Christine Walsh is based in Melbourne and her school has a fantastic success rate (although it has changed name in recent years- I think that it is called the Melbourne or Victorian Conservatoire nowdays?).


Ecole, Tanya Pearson and Alegria in Sydney also have very good fulltime programmes.


Hope that this is helpful, wembley

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