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Australian Ballet School

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Thank you very much. We would have my DS finish high school via correspondence. He only needs maybe one or two more classes and is, well, not exactly inclined to pursue academics to a very high level at this point in his life. Academics are mostly an annoyance for him. So programs that don't provide academics are actually ideal for him. I think his biggest concern is that he is Russian trained - not RDA. The names provided are great, though, and we'll pass them on to him.

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  • Redbookish


  • Miss Persistent


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Academics are mostly an annoyance for him.

Just have to grin :D at that, although I'm sure that you sometimes feel :angry: about that attitude! but he'll have his brains for many years yet, whereas the ballet body is a young person's game!


I think his biggest concern is that he is Russian trained - not RDA.

Do you mean RAD (Royal Academy of Dancing)? Most of the top professional schools in Australia may follow that curriculum, but not exclusively -- they also use the Cecchetti syllabus (the Hallidays, for example) or their own.


And there is a very solid and quite venerable Russian foundation in Australian ballet pedagogy going back as far as the early 20th century and the Ballet Russes deriving from the many visits made by Ballet Russes and the Borovansky Ballet in the early to mid 20th century, as well as the Australian born dancers whom they picked up along the way. Indeed, the Borovansky Ballet provided the foundation company which became the Australian Ballet.


The ABS and other professional schools have Russian teachers on staff or teachers who have experience of dancing in Russia eg David McAllister & Christine Walsh are 2 that I know were invited to perform with Russian companies, and I also watched the late Rita Dubrovsky teaching both at the ABS, and for Kim Traynor and Kelvin Coe's specialised training school (Kim & Kelvin also used a lot of the Vaganova syllabus, something that has been recognised in the dancers they've produced who've worked in Europe).


Robert Helpmann was part of the early days of Borovansky, and then later I saw the Panovs dancing -- I think they went into teaching. I've been fortunate to sit in on a coaching session run by a Russian teacher for Tanya Pearson (Ms Pearson was translating for the Russian master teacher whose name I cannot now remember), pre-Perestroika. Indeed Ms Pearson's academy would be a strong recommendation maybe for your son, as she has many active contacts in the ballet world in Russia and speaks Russian, if I recall correctly.

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Thank you. Actually this is great information for him. So, at this point we'll just do our research. We want know more until the end of June, but would not expect to move until January - which would be great timing for him.


As for academics - I can't begin to express our frustration. But we know that eventually he'll go to college - or find something other than ballet that is a good fit for him. For now, we just hold our breath until he finishes high school!

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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.


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?).


Christine Walsh is Benjamin Ella's mother, so both the above posts refer to the same school, in inner Melbourne.


The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet is run by Christine Walsh and her husband, Ricardo Ella. She had a long and distinguished career as a principal dancer with The Australian Ballet, she features on a number of their DVDs, and she was awarded membership of the Order of Australia.


Christine Walsh has her own syllabus, also called "The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet". It's Vaganova-based, and a number of other local schools also teach it, and share a small pool of external examiners. (I attend one of those schools.)


The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet has a very good reputation, and I have attended some of their performances in the Victorian Arts Centre (Hamer Hall). They were very professional productions, in a theatre which isn't booked for any old ballet school's recital.

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A post was removed per BT4D policy because it contained only second or third-hand information.

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Guest Blossoming ballerina

Auditions for the ACB can be arranged through the secretary. Daniel.via email.


It has great facilities and close to transport into the city.

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If you're interested in auditioning at the ACB then I may be able to help you with their audition process as DD auditioned there and was offered a place, she just chose to take an offer elsewhere that she felt better suited to.


She did a private audition, as suggested by the staff, and says of all the auditions she's done it was by far the toughest. She watched a little of a class before warming up and being assessed by several of the teachers, she then sat through an interview with me present. I can tell you just by looking at her that it was tough and she'd worked hard!!


There are plenty of excellent full time programs available in Melbourne these days, have a look at as many as you can and decide from there :)

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There are plenty of excellent full time programs available in Melbourne these days, have a look at as many as you can and decide from there :)


That is very true! Unless you have your heart set ONLY on dancing with The AB, there is no reason not to look elsewhere - there are schools in Melbourne I have seen turn out beautiful dancers.

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Guest Blossoming ballerina

Totally agree Miss Persistant.


The rigor of ACB classes is tough. I have friends there. After 12 months they are truly beautiful.

My dd was offered a spot after attending a holiday workshop. She auditioned during class time.

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It's great to keep this thread updated with information. :) But, you all realize the post asking for auditioning tips was from 4 years ago??

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  • 4 weeks later...

Does the Australian ballet school consider students for a place during their holiday workshops?

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ABS Summer school students can audition for a full time place but not at the Winter school. I think this is because the Winter school is held in the middle of the ABS national auditions and the audition panel members are usually away from Melbourne. This certainly was the case a few years ago when my DD went to the Winter School in Melbourne and then had the ABS audition immediately on her return. My DD has friends who successfully auditioned at the Summer School and then started at the ABS a month later.

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Thank you! How are the audition classes structured, is it like a typical class with barre, centre and pointe work or do they look very closely at body type, flexibility ect first?

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I'll have to double check with DD but my understanding is that there is a warm up followed by a typical class watched by the audition panel and then the auditioners ask you to see your feet. The class varies depending on which level you are auditioning for. In my DD's experience most of the students selected for the level 4 full time positions around 13-14 yrs (girls anyway) are in the ABS interstate programme. It seems to be much harder to get a full time place in level 5 and upwards unless you are already in full time training and are exactly what they are looking for as the only places available are the result of students being assessed out or they will always make a place for you if you are truly exceptional

Having said that, my DD found the experience of auditioning very worthwhile. First time (around 8 yrs) she was terrified and hated it so much she didn't audition again until she was 14 when she made it to the final ( a week long assessment at the ABS in Melbourne). She loved her week there but didn't get offered a place and was devastated. However it was a turning point for her and she was fortunate to gain a place in another excellent school which has probably worked out better for her for many reasons.

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