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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet schools in Australia - Newcastle NSW

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Yes I agree with Redbookish. DS trained with 3 different syllabus (syllabi??) over a 10 year period. No problem. In fact probably helpful. Off topic comment I know. 

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She is only young and got exemptions to sit the exam last year and got the top mark. She is the youngest girl in her grade (always been) and in extention class but she works hard and she is very determined little thing... The absence of RAD syllabus would mean she would be placed in a group of her age more likely as I questioned and was told she is very young still and sometimes it is better not to be with older children...I am not sure she would be happy with that...If she would be older I think it would be easier actually:) but thank you - I will keep all your recommendations in mind

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I'd say the best school is where she is happy and progressing.  Once you are established there you will work out the best answer even if not right first time.

In a few years time if she is still very keen she can top-up her training through holiday intensives local/interstate.  Also, associate programs with the larger Sydney ballet schools and/or with Australian Ballet School or Queensland Ballet Academy.  

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I’d advise caution - be careful not to be dazzled by a child studying at a higher level than her age. It’s far better to go slow and steady in ballet training as the body AND mind need to develop together to make a safe firm foundation. I know of several child “phenoms” who could do the tricks but burnt out or were injured. 

Dancers start every class everyday with pliés and tendus. As they say “the first things we learn and the last things we master” but we never do them perfectly - and faults in dancers set in early. Far better to go slowly and not fall into the potential danger of judging your DD’s talent or achievement by being “ahead” of her age in the grades/exams she sits. These don’t necessarily mean she’s going to be a “successful“ dancer. It’s tough, if she can do more advanced work, but at age 8 she’s at the very early start of the formal learning of ballet.  Syllabi are simply a way of organising pedagogical material for teachers in an indicative programme for the young dancer. 



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Olymp, I don’t believe anyone is trying to offer “judgment”, rather experienced parents are offering cautions and generally accepted concepts that are often not understood at the beginning of training.  It is not unusual for parents of the young dancers to be anxious that their children be challenged and progress quickly.  Only later do many come to understand that ballet training is “slow boil” for a number of reasons.  The more you nose around the Board, the more you will understand, I think, that the posts you have been receiving in response to your own comments are not offered in “judgment”, but rather in a community spirit of perspective, experience, wisdom, and a genuine desire to “pay it forward”.

Yes, do trust your daughter’s teachers, but also learn about the broader aspects of ballet training.

Best wishes in your quest to find a pre-professional school in your area that meets your daughter’s needs, wants, wishes, and desires.  :)

We look forward to getting to know you as you progress in this amazing journey and hope that you will participate in other areas and forums.  Welcome!


Now, back to the subject at hand:   First-hand knowledge of pre-professional ballet schools in the Newcastle NSW area of Australia!  

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Hey Olymp!  I can say that I have known a couple of Newcastle girls since they were 9/10 years old,  through summer schools and Sydney eisteddfods.  As the years go by they have continued to progress well with their ballet.

Edited by balletfan
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As someone who parented in the Newcastle studio world for 7 years may I tentatively add some more reflections? Newcastle prides its self on being a rich dance training ground. Tessa Maunder ran a strict old fashioned school which became the standard. There are many graduates from her school who now teach in the region. Being one of graduates seems to be their main claim to fame. Be careful. You may be offered private classes. Be careful. I agree that NDT and National College of Dance are the most serious studios. They are extremely different cultures and approaches. Only you can decide which is best for your dancer. 

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Miss Persistent
On 9/9/2019 at 10:01 PM, Redbookish said:

Thinking about great teachers and the people they trained - when I lived in Newcastle (Australia) the studio which produced stunning dancers eg Lisa Pavane who now directs the ABS, was Tessa Maunder’s studio. But I’m not sure if that is still going after Miss Maunder’s retirement.  Ms Pavane had a rather less romantic dance name when she trained with Miss Maunder!

The other place to consider is Marie WaltonMahon’s studio. Ms Walton-Mahon is the developer of Progressing Ballet Technique, and her National Dance Academy produces beautiful dancers.  

Marie now heads up the Juniour division of Tanya Pearson's in Sydney - she left Newcastle a number of years ago.

Olymp, there are dozens and dozens of RAD schools in Newcastle and surrounds (all the way up the Central Coast). At Grade 2 level just find a school where there is good solid technique and she is happy.  You can look at some more of the Full-time schools as she gets older, I certainly would not stress about it now.

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  • 1 year later...

I have a dancing child who is currently training at National College of Dance and has previously trained at a school with directors trained by Tessa Maunder.   

In our experience National College of Dance (previously Marie Walton McMahon) is a professionally run studio, focussing on ballet and contemporary training from tiny tots through to fulltime training (Cert 3 through to Diploma). 

National College of Dance (NCD) sets itself apart from the majority of studios in Newcastle as it has a comprehensive male program taught by 3 ex-professional male dancers :-Brett Morgan; who performed principal roles and solos with Australian Ballet and Sydney Dance Company, Tim Gordon;  who performed with the Australian Ballet, the Nederlands Dans Theater and William Forsythe’s Ballet. Mr Gordon has also taught for Béjart Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Stuttgart Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and school, Royal New Zealand Ballet , and Tokyo Ballet. Jake Burden; who performed with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boca Ballet Theatre, Magdeburg Ballet in Germany, Leipzig Ballet and Singapore Dance Theatre.   

This is beneficial to the female ballet dancers as they experience partnering classes.

All teachers at National College of Dance are qualified and hold several certifications and diplomas as well as Examiner qualifications.  The syllabus studied is Royal Academy of Dance.

The fulltime course provides the students with a well rounded education in dance and has an excellent rate of students obtaining scholarships and contracts with overseas and local companies.  There is also a resident qualified dietician at the studio helping students with practical advice and tips.

They have won many awards for their choreography and are currently developing a Youth Ballet Company in Newcastle presenting original works.

Tessa Maunder's studio was sold and is no longer in existence, although she is the matron of Newcastle Dance Academy.  There are many studios run by directors who were trained by Tessa Maunder in the Newcastle area as @thyme has mentioned above and I would reiterate their caution.  Tessa Maunder is truly a legacy for ballet in Newcastle and Australia

Mr Ted Miller (Edward Miller) still occasionally teaches at Ablaze Dance Academy.

Newcastle, the Hunter and Central Coast is blessed to have an abundance of dance studios that can provide good technical training for any dancer.  It is a matter of deciding what is your best fit for you and your dancer!

I hope this helps!


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