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No personal experience, but the West London School of Dance is run by Anna du Boisson, who is also principal of Young Dancers Academy, a highly-regarded vocational ballet school, with a very good success rate. Quite a lot of her students go on to train at the Royal Ballet School.
My daughter started at The Ballet School just shy of her 3rd birthday and now aged almost 10 is still going strong. Vanessa is wonderful and has taught my DD since day one. DD has just started the associates programme at the RAD.
My children (boy and girl) have attended the Ballet school for 2 trimesters in Notting Hill and Hammersmith. Whilst most teachers are delightful, we had an very unpleasant encounter with the owner, who is also a teacher. Whilst all other teachers had always managed to make my sometimes shy child feel comfortable, Miss Vanessa, at a workshop cast my 4,5 years old aside after she felt he had not practiced enough to do the mini performance. Yet, my son told me he wanted to dance. When I complained, I was told that she felt I was pushing him for my own benefit. It was very upsetting for me to watch my son very rejected. It was not an audition, only a small performance put in front of parents. There are not that many boys doing ballet, so I would have thought that they would make more of an effort to include them. As soon as we said that we would look for another school, despite the next term being paid in advance, they took the unilateral decision to delete both my kids from the register with immediate effect leaving us no time to look for an appropriate alternative. If the leadership doesn't care/accommodate for the children's feelings, is this the best place for them?
My daughter attends The Ballet School's Wandsworth branch and the classes are absolutely amazing!! She is completely captivated by them and talks about her classes all the time. Whilst not being much of a natural, her teacher is commited and captivating and DD is always keen to get back. The Ballet School offer Musical Theatre and tap classes too, and one on one classes for tap, theatre and ballet. They also offer holiday workshops which DD has attended and thoroughly enjoyed. I couldn't recommend the school more highly!
Just found this thread and thought you might be interested to know that The Ballet School have recently introduced a Musical Theatre Club which incorporates singing, jazz and tap. The teacher is supposed to be great - ex-West End star! The Ballet School is an RAD registered school and The West London follows its own syllabus but both cater for younger and older children. Think The Ballet School is slightly more relaxed with lots of emphasis on enjoyment but with very high standards (mostly Distinctions for all exams). My daughter (also 3 in September) has been going to the Brook Green branch of The Ballet School for a term now and loves it! Has been practising her first positions and plies all holiday!! Maybe try a term with each and see whch she likes best??
I would go and visit both classes. They are both RAD schools by the look of it so will be following the same syllabus/class structure. The RAD pre-syllabus and Pre Primary classes are lovely for young children.
If you are sure that your dd will only ever want to do ballet then I would go for the ballet school. However for most they end up wanting to do more so I would go for the other one as they offer jazz, tap etc as well and you would end up having to move her to a school like the other one..
My dd is 8. She started off doing ballet at aged 4 with a teacher who went into school alongside Stagecoach. She now attends a dance school that offers more subjects and is starting tap and modern in September as she is starting to take it seriously and her dance teacher at Stagecoach says the breadth will stand her in better stead when she is older.
I'd prefer her just to do ballet for fun but when an 8 year old startes telling you what vocational colleges she wants to audition for at 18 then you sort of have to go with it!
Yes, you've identified something I felt but had not articulated, thank you. The costs are similar, actually. One class could be much more convenient but is on a Monday when she tends to have playdates with her friends from my antenatal class, so we'll end up travelling. The people from the ballet school have been lovely so I will probably go with them if no one has any experience of either of them.
The first sounds more focussed on younger children. Ask to observe a class at each and see whether you like the style and discipline of the session and if it would suit your dd. How much does each charge ?
If you had a choice, would you advise us to go for the ballet school, or the west london school of dance? My daughter is three in September and desperate to do ballet, having seen an episode of Tikkabilla where they showed a ballet class!