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Ballet Talk for Dancers

BRIT BOYS


puddle

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Is there some particular information you're searching for, such as which residential programs they might gravitate towards? Or curriculum that might match what they experience in the UK? It's really hard to say what nationalities are represented at each program.

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There are very few options for residential in the UK.......the RB lower sch only takes 12 boys, leaving 3 other schools. My DS is 12 and we're looking @ all options available.........given he is quite young to be so far, I wondered whether any other young brits had headed across the pond. Any personal accounts of the Rock School for Dance and Kirov would also be appreciated.

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ifnotwhynot

I would certainly explore the local options before looking overseas! I do know that all the schools except RBS tend to have fewer boys than girls and there is no reason why you can't audition to join higher up the school.

 

Even if there are other English students at any chosen school in the US, there is no guarantee that they will get along and you cannot underestimate the impact of having a child away from home, even if he takes well to boarding. When choosing a school for my daughter, an important consideration was how long it would take me to reach her in an emergency - and they were all in the UK!

 

Another thing to consider is that just because there may be more places and opportunities on offer in the states, that does not mean that it will be any easier to gain a place as the available pool of talent is so much greater over there as well.

 

Have you thought about applying for summer intensives at some of the schools you might be interested in? It is probably a bit late for this summer but that would give you a chance to see the environment for yourself and for the schools to gauge whether they may be interested in offering a full time place.

 

Good luck with your decision!

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You might also just spend some time reading the threads dedicated to the residential programs that interest you. I don't know of any boys from the UK that attended Kirov, at least not in the last several years. But I can't speak for the entire time the school has been around. And I don't believe there have been any at the Rock, but again, no guarantee. There may have been some at SAB and JKO. There are also some very good programs in other European countries. My DS is now dancing in Europe and we've been surprised at how many Brits have gone to train at other European schools, including those located in Germany, Switzerland, and Holland.

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He is already at one of the other 3 schools, but it's not for him; he didn't want to apply for one other having looked around; only leaving one more.......of which he's on the waiting list. Therefore, options totally exhausted!!! So it's where to go from here. Boarding is not a problem to him. His sister started boarding @ 8 (non-dance) and it takes me approx 6hrs to get to her, but worth it as she adores the sch. There are overseas students with her, who came over at 8, which gave rise to my thoughts of exploring further afield.

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We certainly know of students that left home - and went thousands of miles - as young as 12 for some residency programs. But it really would be good if he could experience a program by attending a summer program. The programs here are very diverse not only in terms of ballet syllabus but also education, the type of non-dance support, medical programs, etc.

 

You said your son is 12, so that actually presents some limitations, which is why I recommended you look at the different threads on the schools. I know Kirov takes students at 12, but thought the Rock waited until older. Plus they've changed a lot of their boarding program since my DS first looked at them. Those two alone are very, very different in just about everything they do and who they are. At such a young age, you'll also have to give thought to the educational component, though, and how his current education would fit into the new school's program. Residency programs that provide a public middle- or high-school education might prove a bit more challenging - you would have to do research into that. Schools that have in house programs might be a better fit.

 

And as I mentioned, there are certainly options other than the US, many of which might be much more financially attractive. Bolshoj and Vaganova both have taken British students. Not sure about the age requirements for Bolshoj. The youngest at Vaganova was about 15. You can check out the schools in Canada, too, though I'm not sure which ones begin taking at that age. I know that National Ballet School takes international students as young as 12 - or they have in the past. I'm not sure about Royal Winnipeg, though we have had some members on board whose sons have attended. The specific threads will have more information.

 

Tanz Academie in Zurich had some information on their website about changes and enhancements to their boarding program. I don't believe we have a thread on that particular school, though, but if you end up wanting more information than you can find on their website I might be able to get it for you. (It would be second hand via my son so I can't post it here though!)

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Personally, I would exhaust all European options before heading "across the pond", since he is so young. However, each family must do what works for them! Boarding schools here are listed under Pre-Pro Schools/Residencies, some of which have dormitory-style housing and an attached academic school; some of which offer an online school with a dormitory; some of which leave you on your own for education but do have some sort of housing; some you're on your own for housing and schooling.

 

You'll need to do some careful reading and if at all possible, schedule a visit that encompasses trips to each school where there is interest. Some thing to take into consideration can include how well your son can handle himself in not-so-great neighborhoods- The Rock is not in the best area of town- and how he might handle public transportation, cooking for himself, washing his own clothes, and the temporary loneliness that joining an established clique of friends can cause. Might it be better for him to experience these things where he is but a train ride away from you, rather than an ocean?

 

Sometimes, it's about more than the training, and sometimes, if a child has a gift, then training at the best possible local facility can be just fine for a few years, perhaps revisiting training options when he's 15. :P

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Thanks for the replies/advice. I will look @ summer schools for next year - buying time for 'thorough' research for the longer term. When I'm a fully fledged member and allowed to private msg, it may be that I can ask more specific questions. :P

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You can ask just about anything in public, if you are comfortable. It would be best if you posted those questions on the threads for each individual program you are looking at, though. Only parents of male dancers can access this forum. Some of the parents of girls might very well have some good input for you - they just need to be able to post the answers your questions!

 

My reluctance to give more information on a particular school is because it would be second hand information, which we aren't allowed to post! All I can do is ask my son, who would ask people he knows that attends the school. Then I would have to give you information on their behalf. That type of information isn't allowed since it isn't really "first hand" and, therefore, subject to all kinds of possible misinformation! Hope you understand.

 

I can, however, answer questions regarding schools he has attended. But answers to those questions may already be in the individual threads!

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Yes. Please feel free to ask whatever you wish. Just understand that we do not permit gossip or second-hand information, and we do ask that the information stays organized as Cheetah has already stated.

 

We're not purposefully withholding any information- quite the opposite. We're trying to help you with a decision that affects the rest of your child's life, as well as his life as a dancer.

 

If you sense any reticence on our part, it is only because we do tend to discourage having children leave the nest until it is absolutely necessary. We do support residency schools, and do understand that it is sometimes quite necessary for families. We hope to be a support system for those who are trying to navigate the ballet world.

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moddydave

My DS had a good experience at SAB in New York. They have a very strong, well-run residential programme but I don't recall what the lower age limit is. You can check their website. They welcome overseas students.

Do Elmhurst, ENB and Tring all offer residential possibilities?

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Thanks everyone. Moddydave - ENB ..... he's too young and their Youth Ballet doesn't offer fulltime; he didn't want to apply for Tring and he's on the waiting list for Elmhurst. He currently attends another residential school - but a very low intake of boys. He would like to be around more boys, hence more diversity. This is the problem for young male dancers.....fine if the small pool of boys have a reasonable amount of shared interests outside of dance, but can be isolating at times if not.

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I think you will find a similar problem in the states, though - small amounts of boys, especially at the younger end, in residential programs. We found that this was primarily a logistics issue - there were only so many rooms allocate to the males, who had to be kept physically separate from the girls. When my DS was at his first residential program he was 14 - he turned 15 within the first month or so. That was a good age - there were several other boys in the 15 - 17 range. But the number of boys they could accommodate wasn't big to begin with. There were a few on the younger side, perhaps age 13. If I recall correctly there were 2. So that means only two boys younger than my DS. There was a big gap in maturity level between those younger boys and my DS and his "group." The next year they had a group of 12 year olds, but by "group" I mean 3 or 4.

 

Another thought is to look even further south towards Italy. I recall we had someone a while ago - Gremlin - whose son was doing a program in Italy. He was about 12 or 13 at the time and very, very happy there. I'll have to try and search for the information. I don't think it was La Scala, but that's another place to look at. I know that Paris Opera takes international students, too, because they have a US boy there this year. I can't recall his age, though. But definitely older than 13.

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