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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Video Auditions


redvelvetcake

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redvelvetcake

We have just heard that DS11's audition for a performing arts high school is now going to be an online audition.  As well as a short video interview, DS will have to present "a 2 minute solo in Modern Contemporary Style or Classical Ballet  or a 1 minute solo in Modern Contemporary Style or Classical Ballet and a 1 minute solo in the style of his choice"

Of course classes in studios are all cancelled at the moment and he is doing online classes via zoom on our landing using the banister as a barre!   I will ask his teachers for advice on how to go about this but I also wanted to seek some general advice about video auditions.  I was thinking that it would be better to do a 1 minute classical ballet solo and a 1 minute contemporary solo to show versatility but will the shorter time be enough to show skills etc?

The assessment criteria are: "demonstrated dance skills; technical skill and performance quality and strength and control of a range of locomotor and non-locomotor movement".

Parents and teachers I would appreciate your guidance.  I am absolutely thrown by this as the audition was originally meant to be DS participating in a two classes, one ballet and one modern.  Now we need prepared dances and other than training over zoom, I am not sure how to go about this.  In terms of the classical solo would they be looking for certain steps performed well, like pirouettes and tour en l'air? In the contemporary solo what should he try to include?

Any suggestions will be gratefully received!  

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vrsfanatic

I have found it difficult to get passed DS11 going into high school. Am I understanding this correctly?

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Fraildove

Our son took his Placement testing at 11 and began his freshman year of high school right after turning 12. So perhaps he will be 12 by the time he starts? Or perhaps it’s JR high/ high school like some other performing arts schools? Just a thought. It is possible to be very young and in high school. Just very unusual.

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redvelvetcake

Sorry all, 

I should have explained that we are in Australia.  DS is in currently in year/grade  6 and will be turning 12 later this year.  He is going into  year/grade 7 next January and in Australia that is the start of high school.  We don't have junior high or middle school.  We have Primary School, (Kindergarten, then  Years 1 to 6) and High School (Years 7 to 12).  Our school year runs from the end of January to mid December.

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Fraildove

I find other systems fascinating. As a side question, for ballet schools in Australia and maybe the U.K. if it’s the same, upper school is the last 3 years of training. What academic grade would that relate to, especially since I know that Royal’s upper school usually starts at 16. I’m assuming year 11, but then does it continue beyond the traditional academic school grade 12? I’ve always been curious but have never really thought about it since my own son’s schooling situation is very different than ‘traditional’. 
 

As for your video, most male classical variations run about a minute long, with a handful longer. My concern would be having the space and flooring to safely perform it for video. Also, does he have a classical and contemporary piece prepared? If not, that would also be very difficult to get ready given the current circumstances not just in learning, but building the stamina needed to perform them well. We have a student that is dancing professionally and needed to put together some current class work to combine with her performance clips for a company audition. We ended up hiding a key to our studio so that she was able to go in and work full out, then her mom went with her and filmed so that no one else was around. She sent us the video and we were able to advise that she leave a few things out that weren’t really necessary. Perhaps your son’s teacher would be willing to do something similar? 

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lacetree

Re school in the UK - Ballet upper school starts in Year 12 and lasts three years. Simplifying somewhat, normal primary school is from Reception (age 4) to Year 6, ending at age 11. High school (normally called secondary school) is from Year 7 (aged 11) and ends typically in Year 13 (age 18). Major national academic exams are in Year 11 (age 16) and Year 13. Pupils are not compelled to remain in school after Year 11, but must be in some sort of training scheme or education. Ballet upper schools use the natural break at the end of Year 11 to start their three-year course in Year 12. All dance courses are at least one year longer than a normal academic school and finish in what would be Year 14 (age 19).

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dancemaven

Thank you, lacetree!  😊. That is the clearest, most succinct explanation of the UK system I’ve seen.  For years, I’ve tried to figure it out and always ended up more than a little confused.  LOL

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Fraildove

Lacetree, thank you so much! I’m with dancemaven in that somehow I never really got it! Now I do. So appreciate you explaining it and now it makes perfect sense! Actually a lot of sense. In so many ways I wish that the US would adopt this method, even partially, as a way to do away with all of the ‘trainee’ programs that have cropped up. But that is a subject for another thread. Once again, thank you!

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dancemaven

Members, please remember that this is a restricted forum for Parents of Boys.

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Hi redvelvetcake- my advice on your situation is do exactly what they ask, dont do something different as this could give them a reason to cull your application before they even look at it. Secondly, at your son's age, I would imagine that the adjudicators are looking for qualities that they consider to be those they can work with. At 11 years old, he is very young so I expect them to look at him in terms such as 'is he a mover?' and 'does he has some innate musicality'. Preparing a good video audition is not straightforward and if you can get a teacher or senior dancer to help him in studio space, that would be really good. If you can't then just do your best with what you can. The adjudicators will be able to spot qualities that you and I can be quite oblivious to. I think it is extremely unlikely that they are going to judge him on ballet technique at his age. Of course this is only from my experience as a parent. Hopefully one of the teachers here will give you some more expert advice.

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Clara 76

Totally agree, Thyme. Sorry I haven't any words of wisdom, but what I can say is that as a teacher, I can tell within the first minute or 2 of pointe shoe fitting/class/rehearsal/any movement that I am observing whether a dancer has obvious musicality, innate talent, and whether they have had decent training or not. Since this is a video audition for a vocational high school in Australia, I would have to defer to teachers or others who have gone this route previously for advice. 

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redvelvetcake

Thanks everyone, your replies have given me a lot to think about.  DS does not have any solos already prepared.  He had a few from last year but does not think they will demonstrate all the gains in strength and technique he has made in the last 6 months, so we thought starting from scratch would be better.

I spoke to the director of DS's studio and one of the teachers will choreograph the solos with him and he will have to learn them over zoom.  Practicing/filming in the studio is out as the director would face a huge fine if anyone other than staff were in there due to the covid-19 restrictions on gyms and studios in Australia. 

We have another space we can film if restrictions have not been lifted by then.  It has a 6 meter by 6 meter concrete floor though, so I will have to explore the various options of putting something on it to make it safer.  It think I saw other discussions on this forum about how to cover a concrete floor with some sort of rubber matting before putting down the Tarkett (that is what Marley flooring is called in Australia).  The space is not huge but is larger than what is in our house and I am afraid it is going to have to do.

I am trying not to think about the costs of all of this (private lessons, flooring etc).  I have explained to DS that he will probably have to drop some of his regular lessons to cover the costs of this all, as the budget can only stretch so far.

 

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Have you contacted the school to discuss this? We lived in Australia during my DSs schooling and also applied to a performing arts high school. I wouldn't have gone to the lengths you are describing for them. I just wonder if they can help you gauge the amount of preparation you need to do given how young your son is. 

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redvelvetcake

Hi Thyme, 

The school in question gets many dance applicants each year as it is a public high school so no fees.  Each year the competition gets tougher (as the price of private school fees goes up) and not many boys seem to get through. I don't feel confident to choreograph anything for my son or even judge if it was being performed well, so I thought I should leave it to his teachers. 

The safety of the flooring is all me.  Last year DS injured his foot (start of a stress fracture) after training for a cross country race on concrete.  His school teacher had the kids out running several laps every day on a concrete playground as the oval was not available.  It took months of rest and physio to heal, all just before his Aust. Ballet School ITP Audition.  It was a pretty stressful time and made me more conscious of the surfaces he dances on or exercises on.

I realise that there are absolutely no guarantees that DS will get into this High School. We have talked about just doing his best and having alternative plans for high school if he doesn't make it through.

 

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