Royal ballet school junior associates

(84 Posts)
MaisyMoo123 Wed 08-Jan-14 22:25:30

Hi, have raised this on a different thread but thought I'd start a new one specifically on this topic. My 8 yr old dd's ballet teacher has suggested that she audition for the royal ballet school junior associates programme. I'm really not sure what to make of it. Clearly we're very proud of dd as she's obviously showing some promise and I can see it would be an amazing opportunity but it also fills me with fear as it is a completely alien world to me and one I'm sure would be viciously competitive and require huge time and financial commitment. honest! Has anybody got any experience of this? I'd really welcome views and opinions to help me get my head round it! Thanks!

dodobookends Tue 05-Jul-16 16:02:29

It would be best on the whole to audition as soon as she is old enough as the first year is the one with the biggest entry. If she waits another one or two years there are hardly any places available, as there will already be people on the scheme moving up. Places in the next year group will depend on people leaving/being assessed out and are very few and far between.

It is all on potential at this age, and if a teacher spots someone they think RBS might be interested in, they will suggest an audition, even if that pupil has only just started lessons.

Which centre would she be auditioning for? The odds are slightly better for the regional ones rather than London, but probably still only about 10/1. Slightly better odds for boys since not so many attend the auditions.

jodens Tue 05-Jul-16 11:03:24

I do wonder also when I hear of somebody having joined a dance school, never having taken a class before, and only weeks later being asked by the school to audition for JAs. I heard of a case of somebody being accepted under such circumstances years ago, and two more recently (though it was via their outreach scheme), I think it must be a rarity. One of my teacher friends says it is more likely boys to be successful in such circs and mainly on potential etc.

jodens Tue 05-Jul-16 11:01:27

She's seven. So of course only just old enough to audition next year. I think that's why she is considering, torn between hope that she may gain confidence if she waits a year or two, and the teacher who says to try to gain a place sooner is better.

dodobookends Tue 05-Jul-16 08:57:18

How old is she?

jodens Tue 05-Jul-16 00:59:10

Yes of course, and they tend to come from the same group of schools so the training must be excellent.

A friend of mine is considering, with teacher encouragement, letting her daughter audition next year. She has beautiful feet and technique and in festivals her future potential is often mentioned, but she is quite shy and not the natural performer. I wonder if this sort of person would be overlooked at audition.

dodobookends Tue 05-Jul-16 00:30:57

jodens possibly they are successful at the auditions for much the same reasons that they are successful at festivals. As well as a trainable physique and being a good performer (and the confidence that comes with success), there's probably also quality training from an excellent teacher, rhythm, musicality, balance, co-ordination, grace, charm, style, natural talent, the potential to benefit from further training and an indefinable quality that no-one but RBS can put a finger on!

jodens Mon 04-Jul-16 23:07:03

That was to Marina, back in March I realise now

jodens Mon 04-Jul-16 23:05:19

I don't know if just the right physique is enough. I was in similar situation with my daughter, she had only a moderately arched foot and that worried me (it was a no for us).
I noticed lately that some of the people who win first place all the time in the ballet sections at the festivals and championships seem to have had success in gaining places at RBS JAS, so I wonder if they're also looking for an all-round polished performer also. I really don't know.

If her teacher has made the suggestion then it's certainly worth a try.

HollyCat Sun 03-Jul-16 20:02:55

Hello, I realise your thread is a couple of years old now, but I'm just wondering what happened in the end. Everything you describe is what I am feeling - my Dd is 8 but has only been going to ballet classes for a few months and her teacher has asked her to audition.

Marina68 Tue 08-Mar-16 09:39:07

Hello, my dd's ballet teacher has recommended that she applies for the JA programme at the RBS because she absolutely has the right physique for it. My dd will be 8 in November and has danced since she was 4. In the past year she has also started attending extra classes and has taken part in 3 festivals. I am aware of the level of competition and I would love her to give it ago next year but I am concerned about the shape of her feet. Her arch is rather flat (flexible flat) and I am not sure that she will have a chance at all even if her body shape is the right one...what do others think?

MaisyMoo123 Wed 04-Jun-14 18:03:59

Hi peggydoll and everyone else! Yes, my dd did go to the JA audition in the end - last week in London. I agree with everything you say about it - it was really nicely done, everyone was so friendly and it was a really positive experience for dd. She absolutely loved the lesson and wasn't really that daunted by it at all - I think I got more nervous sitting and waiting for her to come back!! I'm pleased your dd enjoyed it too. Now the wait is on. Who knows what magic ingredients they're looking for and whether anything will come of it but it was a wonderful experience which dd loved every minute of and is still reeling from now, and for now, that's all that matters.

Peggydoll Sun 04-May-14 22:13:59

Hi Maisy

My DD did her audition last week. It was a lovely day out as a PP said. We took her best friend too: only the 2 of them were recommended to audition by their dance school, so they had each other to help with any nerves, but tbh they seemed quite calm and were beautifully behaved, whereas some were a bit showy offy while we were waiting.

It wasn't too "precious" at all, although one mum said how nerve wracking it was. Tbh I'd been more anxious about not getting lost and getting DD's hair to stay in a bun and as I have NO expectations at all I wasn't at all bothered beyond DD having a good time.

I thought the RBS people were lovely and gentle with the children. The intro talk reminded us all how most of them would NOT get a place "if we don't think you're ready yet, don't be disheartened and please try again next time because we do so love to see how your dancing has progressed". I'm not sure if we'll bother again, and the 2hour round trip would make me think twice should she be offered a place by some miracle....!

Anyway they all seemed happy when they came back from the session and DD is now the proud owner of a Ballet Bear souvenir bought at great expense ;). The experience will likely boost her confidence for years regardless of outcome: "Me and BFF had a day off school and I danced at the Royal Ballet and then we went to McDonalds " is her summary of the experience ;)

I hope your DD has a good experience too.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 31-Mar-14 17:40:42


Well done to your dd just for auditioning.
Good luck, and hope she has fun grin

MaisyMoo123 Mon 31-Mar-14 17:35:28

Hi dancergirl. Yes, I did post on balletco forum too. As you can probably tell, this has completely baffled me so felt I needed to get as much advice and as many views as possible to inform my thinking! It's all been very helpful.

Dancergirl Wed 26-Mar-14 09:45:34

OP, are you also on the Balletco forum? I thought I read a similar post on there!

Anyway best of luck to your dd. Hope she has a great day at the audition.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 25-Mar-14 20:18:52

Thanks Devon. She's definitely very excited by the prospect of it whatever ends up happening in the end!

devoniandarling Tue 25-Mar-14 13:10:01

Good luck to your dd!! I am sure she will enjoy the audition process, most of the children I know that have auditioned have loved the process.

MaisyMoo123 Sun 23-Mar-14 21:39:41

Well, after much deliberation (helped by discussion on here, thank you!) dd's audition photos have been done today and we'll be posting form off in next couple of days. We decided to take it one step at a time and that the audition alone will be an experience in itself. Dd has been amazingly mature about the whole thing but is excited as anything about the audition now. Who knows where this journey will take us but as my dd herself said "we'll never know unless we try"!

taxi4ballet Fri 14-Mar-14 15:18:29

RBS is not the only vocational school to run an associate programme. Among others there's Elmhurst, Tring and Central too, and many of the dance schools run workshops and short courses.

Lstar Tue 25-Feb-14 14:13:29

HI Maisie,
My dd auditioned successfully for JAs and just wanted to say that the audition experience was lovely, none of the kids seemed nervous and were put immediately at ease it was very friendly and a lovely opportunity to see inside the RBS even if nothing comes of it. A really great fun day out! I have been genuinely surprised by the nurturing atmosphere of the classes which she attends for 2 hours every Saturday. Teaching is incredible and my DD has made lots of new friends already. Also, the chance to attend dress rehearsals etc to see the company in action are amazing.The other mums I have encountered are very grounded, some more stage mum than others! It's a great way for your dd to decide whether vocational ballet is for her if she is successful. I feel that one day a week at RBS is a price worth paying for a brilliant opportunity to be trained by a world class ballet school at the age of 8! She can always leave if she doesn't love it after a term or two, no pressure to commit forever. You should be very proud that her teacher is keen to put her forward, one thing I will say is that the passion for ballet certainly has to come from the child as those classes are hard work and plenty of concentration required! All the best whatever you decide.

Peggydoll Sun 23-Feb-14 15:40:04

Hi Maisie
I've just found the form at the bottom of a big To Do pile and remembered I'd left a message here! We're an hour+ from the nearest centre so it would be a big commitment. I've phrased the audition to DD as a "fun dancing day" rather than "audition" that way we can see if she likes it without undue stress on the day or afterwards and then decide whether to go forward in the unlikely event of her getting a place- IF we decide to go for the audition. I'm not sure....

MaisyMoo123 Tue 11-Feb-14 22:46:58

Hi Peggy. Good to know I'm not the only one finding all this quite alien! It sounds like you're feeling exactly the same as I did when dd's teacher first approached me about it too! It came completely out of the blue - for us too and it didn't even know about junior associates until then. It's hard for you given that your dd has only just started ballet too - she's probably not in a real position to know how much she loves it yet!? We still haven't made a decision on it yet. I've spoken to dd and she was very excited by the idea and clearly thrilled about it - unsurprisingly but we had a very frank discussion about it and she could understand the commitment involved. How close are you to a JA centre? We would need to travel 2hrs each way to get to lessons and that's a major factor in my considerations. Lots of friends have suggested she do the audition and then delay the decision until we know if she's lucky enough to get through but I'm not sure I could turn it down if she were to get a place so feel we need to weigh it all up before we commit to the audition even.

Peggydoll Tue 11-Feb-14 16:55:32

This is interesting reading and like the OP it's completely alien to me. I've just dropped DD1 (8y3mo) off at ballet and her teacher has handed me a RBS Associate audition form. This is DD's SIXTH lesson! To say I'm taken aback is an understatement! Not sure what I'll do, but will talk to DD. I know her best friend (same ballet class) will be auditioning. I suppose at such an early stage in her dance experience we have nothing to lose....?

MaisyMoo123 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:31:08

Hi madrigal. I might be completely wrong but I don't think you need a teacher to recommend a child for audition. From what I saw on the RBS website you can download the application form etc straight from there and send it off independently - although I guess you might need a signature from a teacher? Having said that I would assume the teachers know what they'll be looking for so are well placed to recommend or suggest if it might be more of a long shot.

Madrigalgrey Fri 31-Jan-14 10:32:37

Is permission from dance teacher needed to apply? I think I remembered reading last year that it is not?

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