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Royal Ballet School Junior Associates

(41 Posts)
KatyCustard Mon 30-Jan-12 22:58:38

Hi, I was wondering if any other parents of ballet dancers would be able to help me. My daughter began ballet lessons in September (she will be 8 in April). Her teacher has moved her up a class this term and wants her to take grade 2 next term (she hasn?t done any grades yet).
I?m assuming she shows some potential if the teacher wants her to go straight to grade 2, or is it just that the grades are linked with age? I really don?t know anything about the RAD grades, or much about ballet for that matter.
I haven?t had a chance to talk to her teacher yet because it?s always a bit hectic at the end when the classes change over. However she was given a book about ballet by Darcey Bussell for Christmas and has become obsessed with the idea of going to the Royal Ballet School. I know there must be plenty of little girls out there who dream of this, but whilst looking at the RBS website I read about the Junior Associates. I understand that it is incredibly hard to get into, and she probably isn't anywhere near ready, but I was wondering - can anyone tell me a bit more about the JA and what experience you need to audition? Should my daughter be having more than one lesson a week?
I don?t want to sound like a pushy mum, but I really want to support her in this. She has a tough time in school because reading and writing don?t come easily to her, but when she dances she takes my breath away.
If any of you have any tips I?d be really grateful.

stickchildren3 Tue 07-May-13 12:28:19

Hi OP, I've seen you on another forum now but thought I'd reply here. My dd had her audition last week and as promised I thought I'd post regarding her experience. She absolutely loved it! She was very nervous as soon as she saw all the other girls (lots of which were showing off their extreme bendiness - v off putting for a not v flexible child!) but as soon as she went off with the teacher I could see her relax and she came back having had a wonderful time.

Before they are taken off, the JA official person comes and introduces the panel (her and two others), pianist and teacher (5 in total) and explains that all the children are good dancers, otherwise they wouldn't be there etc etc, but only a few get in etc etc, then they are whisked away....

the following is what I gleaned from her on the way home:
they stand in lines which alternate and take it in turns to dance
they do stretches such as the froggy one on their backs, touching toes while sitting and box splits sad, and some others I think
a couple of exercises having taken off their shoes and socks
very basic exercises in centre and some at the bar (which threw my dd a bit because she hasn't got to bar work in class yet)
we don't find out the results until July shock

they didn't have to dance alone at all or make up a dance to an unheard piece of music at this audition.

Like I said, my dd thoroughly enjoyed it, and is realistic about the outcome but she says she'll know exactly what to expect next year.....hmm shock and grin !!

good luck to your dd!

Babyangelfairy Mon 20-May-13 23:58:58

Hi there,
I've been reading this thread with interest this evening, my daughter has an audition with the JA this week and I can honestly say I am going in blind! I had no idea how huge it was or indeed, competitive. I've obviously heard of The Royal Ballet yet never the JA until earlier this year and didn't realise you could board etc or anything from such a young age. It's all very new to me, so it's good reading that other Mums are nervous about auditions etc. I also didn't realise there would be more than one audition! Eeek!

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 21-May-13 00:14:48

Hi Baby

Junior Associates are from age 8 and there is just one audition at one if the regional centres.

If a child is accepted they undergo yearly appraisals. Classes are held on weekends with the odd special workshop.

In Year 6 children then audition for Mid Associates. On the audition form there is a box asking if they also want to audition for full time school at White Lodge. For this there are the initial auditions then a select few are invited to final auditions.

Babyangelfairy Tue 21-May-13 16:30:07

So for the JA there is just one audition followed by a yes or no? (Do you actually hear anything if they didn't get through?)
Eleven still seems awfully young to board, if you choose not to us that the end of the JA at 11yrs old?
Chances are my daughter is a very small fish in a huge pond and possibly won't make it through (can always hope?) yet it's still good to be clued up smile
Thanks for the info!

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 21-May-13 17:53:39

Yes just one audition. Everyone is informed about the outcome.

After JA (junior associate) at 11 it goes on to MA (mid associate) then SA (senior associate). You have to re audition for these at the appropriate age

Only 12 boys and 12 girls are chosen at age 11 for full time school at White Lodge (I think it's 12 or maybe 14)

Sparklymommy Tue 21-May-13 18:01:21

They don't HAVE to audition for white lodge. Eleven is a standard age to go to boarding school.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 21-May-13 18:03:44

Yes sparkly is right. As u said upthread there is a box on the Mid Assicuate application form for if a child wants to be considered for White Lodge.

Sparklymommy Wed 22-May-13 09:02:02

We have several JAs at dds dance school. 4 are currently y6. 2 JAs and a couple of girls that aren't JAs auditioned for white lodge. 1 girl got in this year. As far as I am aware she is the ONLY girl to go to white lodge from our dance school in the last 10 years, possibly ever (dance school has been run for nearly 20 years). That said a lot of our girls (and boys) go to Elmhurst at 11, or Hammond, or Tring. Many more wait until they are 16 or 18 and then audition for dance colleges (there is more choice then!). Every year we have a good half dozen going away to school on scholarships.

Fusster Sat 08-Jun-13 15:14:42

Hi. My daughter has just had a letter from the RBS for the JA programme in Bristol, she is 10 years old. It says that she is on the short waiting list. What does this mean exactly?
I'm new to this and don't know much about it.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 08-Jun-13 15:26:33

It means that if anyone declines their place between now and September the next person on the list will be offered a place.

Fusster Sat 08-Jun-13 20:12:09

Thank you.
So she has a slim chance of getting a place.
That's good enough for me smile

balletmum42 Tue 11-Jun-13 08:09:16

Just to add to this for anyone thinking of going for it in the future. You absolutely DO NOT need your teacher's "permission". There is a box on the form for them to sign but they WILL see you without all that information. Our teacher refused so I just sent a letter explaining this with the application and they were fine about it. DD starts this Sept (after getting "short waiting list" last year).

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 12-Jun-13 09:26:03

It's a real achievement to even be offered SWL so well fine to your dd.

H7607 Tue 13-Aug-13 23:22:10

Hi. Daughter starting rbs ja September. I haven't a clue about dancing. Feel bit out of our depth but daughter quite happy! Anyone who attends already, any friendly tips to help would be appreciated!! Thanks

stickchildren3 Thu 15-Aug-13 07:30:07

Hi, read your post with interest as my dd on the swl for JAs ( and we remain ever hopeful confused)! Try you will get many responses if you post on there. Not a huge amount of traffic on here for ballet ime.

H7607 Thu 15-Aug-13 23:22:42

Ah that's great I will try that! Thanks! And hey good luck !

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