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Ballet Talk for Dancers

When it all starts to go wrong...


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My DD is 15 and has just auditioned for 5 vocational schools having danced every day after regular school for several years. As well as classes with her regular dance school she attends extra classes at weekends with a well known full time ballet school in the UK as an associate pupil. We thought she was in the running for a place at all 5 schools, her teachers said she has the perfect ballet physical proportions and potential even though she is hypermobile and has always had problems with core strength, we thought it had greatly improved. she did the prelims and got through to the finals easily, then, disaster....she has not got into a single school so far ( we are awaiting one more result). I have asked for feedback and one school has said this: she needs to work on strengthening her feet and allegro, co ordination and placing in the air... My daughter is devastated, her hope of a career in dance has been crushed and I am now desperately trying to find an answer for her but at the same time wondering if she should just give up now. I am struggling to understand how schools are not really looking (certainly in the UK) at the potential of prospective pupils and are not willing to work with pupils who are lacking strength as they do in other countries, it seems they just want 'ready made' dancers instead regardless of how they look aesthetically. If anyone has been in this situation and can advise further, it would make me feel a lot better :thumbsup:

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Dear annadu, I don't have any specific advice or suggestions for you as I'm not familiar with the schools and options in the UK (the opportunities, choices, and availability of studios and schools seems to differ quite a lot from what we have in the US), but I did want to offer you a shoulder and an understanding cyber hug. :thumbsup:


I'm so sorry this audition season experience has been so disappointing for your daughter and you. Hopefully, the remaining school's news will be better. We have seen it happen before--it only takes one acceptance. :)


Hopefully, your fellow UK members will be able to offer more relevant advice and suggestions about which way you and your DD can turn given this particular fork in the road.

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Annadu, I really feel for you and your daughter. It must be very disappointing. My DD has been auditioning too this year and we know what I hard time it is. She did not make many finals, but has an offer from one school and is waiting to hear about funding. Also we are waiting for one other result too.


The only people who can decide what is best to do are your daughter and you, with input from her teachers. If it is any consolation, we know of girls who didn't get offers to start at Vocational school straight after their GCSEs, but who tried again the following year and did get places then. In one case a girl waited until after A levels and then got a place at a school that had rejected her previously. It seems that it is only the schools that have a 6th form that limit intake to after GCSEs. All of those that run the BA degree courses, such as Central, Rambert, Studio Centre etc. can be applied to in later years.

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Annadu, I don't know if you DD auditioned for any degree-granting programs (if so, probably at the FdA-level), but it is important to consider that the academic maturity and potential also weighs in. This does not mean that a rejected student is not talented--it may well be, as Doubleturn has pointed out, that the student is accepted in the following year. If you are interested in a particular school, I strongly recommend that you audition for their associate program. While there is no guarantee that you will get in at a later stage, this should give you a good feel for what is expected and the level of the (entry) standard of the school.

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Another Mom here not having to deal with the British system. However, when it comes to the critique your daughter has received, my DD was in a similar situation once, for her all was on the line and certain aspects of her dancing were not where they were needed to be. For her it was suggested that along with class she needed to add Pilates and as much Pilates as she could fit in. She needed strength and extension improvement among other things. So, we found a teacher who knew the demands of ballet well and she had classes every other day and worked independently on the days inbetween. The changes she made were amazing and they came quickly. Strength in feet we have always addresses with Thera bands and the myriad of exercises they offer. I understand the devastation you and your DD are feeling but it's not over yet. Are there mid year audition or is it possible to audition again next year?


The ballet world is a hard one and it can be brutal on the emotional well being of a young person. To be told all that is wrong with you is agony, but, at least you know why the rejection letters are coming and if your DD is willing to work and you have people there to guide you in finding solutions she may yet achieve her goal. If she wants this do not give up. Years ago one of my DD's teachers chastised a whole class of dancers for being lazy. All little beauties. She said laziness and relying on talent would stop a career before it started. The kid with a dream and a heart that kept pushing her forward was the kid who would get a company job above the dancer with natural talent and facility who thought they had it made. Have faith and stay supportive of your child. I know for a fact that a supportive and positive parent can make or break a child's desire and ability to move through these hard times. Good Luck!

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