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At what point does it stop being 'Extra-curricular' & what does it become then?

(79 Posts)
KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 20:38:01

Is it vocational?

I mean DD hit that about 12 months ago; but I still don't really know what to call it. And I have those stupid conversations with people about how much she dances, & why she doesn't go to guides/youth club/parties/PE at school and yes actually she does intend to do it for a living

How do you describe your DC's activity?

ALthough today I was asked if it was fair letting her compete in Sports Day (at Dance) as she was practically some people understand wink

chauffeurmummy Thu 11-Jul-13 21:09:13

How old is your daughter? Mine is only 6 so we are still firmly in "extra-curricular"!!

KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 21:13:33

15 with the intent to move to Performing Arts School at 16......14months from now

If she is good enough

InViennaWeWerePoetry Thu 11-Jul-13 21:35:42

I was talking to my mum about this the other day actually. We decided once you hit the stage at which you're not just doing it for pleasure anymore and you intend to make it your career, it becomes something other than extra curricular. 'Training' works, but then I have a cousin a few months older than me who was doing 15ish hours rowing training a week by 14, he was never aiming for GB squads or anything like that, that's just the amount of training you have to put into rowing if you want to compete even at recreational level. At the same time, I was doing close to 20 hours dancing a week, and I was intending to do it professionally. But the level of commitment he was putting into what he would describe as an 'extra-curricular' activity was not far off what I was putting into 'vocational' training IYSWIM. The difference is that 'recreational' junior rowing training is almost always 4-6 days a week training, whereas 'recreational' dancing at the same age can be as little as 1 day a week.

When I then changed my mind and decided I wanted to go into acting instead, I was probably only doing 4-5 hours maximum outside drama GCSE/A level etc at school on a regular basis, if you exclude rehearsal hours which weren't consistent. I was probably dancing about 10-12 hours a week but it was for pleasure rather than because I wanted to be a professional dancer, so most weeks my 'vocational' activity was taking up less than half the time my 'extra curricular' activity was, and my cousin's recreational rowing by this point was probably taking up the time of vocational drama and recreational dancing for me put together. The key difference was that when it got to exam season, the rowing hours and the dance hours were dropped to make room for revision. The drama hours were unaffected.

So by my definition, an 'extra curricular' activity becomes something other than extra curricular (vocational maybe?) when it becomes training for a future career rather than just for pleasure, and can't be missed or cut down on hours wise in order to prioritise anything else. But whether that makes any sort of sense or not is debatable grin

How is your DD getting on Katy?

KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 21:46:37

She is fine; I'm agonising over where she goes to 6th's a nightmare & all my conversations revert to it boring

KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 21:47:11

It's not about hours I guess

DD does 18+ hours a week

InViennaWeWerePoetry Thu 11-Jul-13 22:00:00

Definitely not about hours. Don't know if you're familiar with the US competition dance scene (which is more rhythmic gymnastics without the apparatus IMO, having taught dance there briefly) but this is a reasonable example of what the top level petite dancers (age 8 and under) on the West Coast are doing. The Prayer This little girl and the children she competes against will be doing around 10-14 hours dance per week, but very few of them will intend to go on to dance professionally, few will still be doing those hours when they hit their teens and those who do go on to dance professionally as adults will be extremely unlikely to perform the 'trick' elements of dance on a regular basis. But the number of hours they do per week aren't far off what a child tipped for an Olympic career would be doing at the same age in their chosen sport. That makes it seem as if it's more about mindset than anything else.

She will be fine, wherever she goes. I'm a big believer in everything happening for a reason. Sure I've asked this before but has she got an idea of the sorts of places she would like to go to and her long term goals?

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 11-Jul-13 22:00:15

Gosh this is scary (& I knew this would be you Katy). I almost posted an identical thread title a couple if weeks ago

I guess dd aged 11 hit that point earlier in the year when she auditioned for full time vocational dance school for Year 7 and also decided that trampolining was too dangerous, family holidays could be better spent in summer school & year 6 leavers party was less important than being in the final show rehearsal.

KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 22:28:05

Great minds hey Pictures or fools seldom differ

Umm Urdang (visited) is her favourite, Bodyworks (end of August) is mine (Cambridge vs London) - Millenium (visited) is good for both of us

Performers, The Centre, Northern Ballet, Tring, Masters are being considered

Arts Ed, Italia Conti (plan B colleges) also under consideration

Stella Mann, Stageworks, London Studio Centre (only from 18 but if she does plan B this is a favourite for afterwards) have been rejected

But open to other suggestions plus more solid plan B colleges.........

InViennaWeWerePoetry Thu 11-Jul-13 22:44:29

No personal experience of musical theatre courses but a couple I danced with went on to do musical theatre at the Brit School, has she considered there? Not sure whether it would be a plan A or B option for her though.

KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 22:47:06

It's a Plan B (BTEC level 3) & incredibly difficult to get into; but it is on her list (I just forgot)

Bird & Laine are on the no list too (I forgot them too)

KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 22:57:10

I think the plan is:

Try for a level 6 & a DADA
If you don't get a place or funding try for a level 3 & a scholarship (plan B)
If you don't get a place or a scholarship cry (plan C)

InViennaWeWerePoetry Thu 11-Jul-13 22:59:14

Ah OK. FWIW it's good she has a decent number on her list she's considering (that's the mistake I made first time round blush ).

InViennaWeWerePoetry Thu 11-Jul-13 23:05:12

Sounds like a good plan, but can I suggest the following amendment

Plan C: if no place/scholarship keep calm, breathe, assess what she's good at and what needs improving, enroll in more pre-vocational courses for September 2014, maybe find a part-time job for the time being and re-audition the following year smile

KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 23:11:54

Yeah, that might work for DD - but me? I'll just cry

KatyMac Thu 11-Jul-13 23:13:47

DD's favourite quote atm is "it's not a hobby, it's a lifestyle"


InViennaWeWerePoetry Thu 11-Jul-13 23:23:56

That's only natural, my mum was more upset than I was when I failed to get a drama school place first time around. I think it's actually harder for the parents to cope with disappointment than the child experiencing it first hand, I remember feeling hugely disappointed but I picked myself up very quickly.

Love that quote! My ballet teacher used to work through stress/disappointment/nerves etc 'one pirouette at a time' grin

KatyMac Fri 12-Jul-13 08:44:27

The thing is (& I have said this before about other children) the teenage years are not really a good emotional time to make decisions about the future

I've always been an advocate of letting teens work until early 20s before they make life decisions; of course that's not possible with dance

InViennaWeWerePoetry Fri 12-Jul-13 13:32:15

I couldn't agree more, even the teenagers who know exactly what they want to do aren't often mature enough to come up with reasonable back-up plans and be realistic about their chances, I was a brilliant example of that at 17. One extra year made a huge difference to me, but like you say, much harder to do in dance.

This is where I think in some ways, the US competition scene actually has the right idea. Think Blackpool ballroom in terms of the makeup and the costumes, which I'm not completely sure I agree with. But the plus side is that all involved are expected to commit similar hours a week to gymnastics in the UK, I've taught 8 year olds out there who were doing 3 hours of ballet, 2 hours tap, 3 hours jazz/lyrical combined and that was just the technique classes. The advantage is that the hours children like your DD commit to dance are 'normalised' in a sense, you have a similar situation to rowing where the hours the kids aiming to be professional are doing don't have to be too far off the recreational kids. It's not so much about the hours you're doing as it is about how hard you work in those hours and natural ability, which in theory means anyone in a 'serious' studio is doing enough work to be a professional dancer. That means they can do it purely for enjoyment into their teens and then decide they want to go professional- they've already got the training basis. It also means high level training is more widespread, eliminating at least to a point the crazy hours of travelling dancers like your DD have to do just to get the training they need.

The disadvantage of the US dance scene is that you get pushy parents failing to see that yes, their child can do 3 back handsprings and a la secondes into an illusion, but they have zilch musicality or technique and are unlikely to make it as a professional dancer, plus are unlikely to be needing those in the real world. It becomes more and more a technical battle, because everyone can do the extreme gymnastics tricks with varying levels of technique. But that's another story for another thread.

KatyMac Fri 12-Jul-13 14:23:06

Yes DD was both awed and horrified by that clip - the flexibilty & the skill vs the repetitive nature and the almost disconnectedness of the dancer

I just don't know at this stage if DD will go at 16, I wish she had gone at 14 or even 11 as then this stage would be much more predictable.

I wonder how many 16yos get in first time of auditioning

mummytime Fri 12-Jul-13 14:39:48

Well the thing to also remember that she will probably be "retiring" from her 1st career at the end on her twenties to mid-thirties.

KatyMac Fri 12-Jul-13 14:41:31

I keep pointing that out to people who think I'm mad letting her go

She will be a mature student from 23 & learning is lifelong imo so starting again at 28/32 is just 'one of those things' & no different to me starting a business at 35 or completing my degree at 43

InViennaWeWerePoetry Fri 12-Jul-13 15:40:45

You almost have to look at it as a completely different genre. Much more like rhythmic gymnastics with some tumbling and dancing thrown in IMO, and I grew up doing a lot of this stuff (although on a lesser scale to what the US competition dancers are doing now). What's happened is that over the years dance studios have become more and more desperate to win, so they're upping the hours of technique classes they require their minis to do before they even let them compete and introducing more and more 'trick' elements to their routines. But what's required of professional dancers has remained essentially the same, which means when these kids get too old for the competition scene, their only real options if they want to use their multiple turns and tricks professionally are becoming a competition choreographer or a dance teacher. Although I wouldn't be surprised if that all changed in the next 10 years or so. What I have noticed watching Vegas Nationals clips this year is that while there are 10 year olds in California who could blow British professional dancers out of the water skill and flexibility wise, few of them have the emotional range and connection with their movements the British dancers have. A lot of the American stuff is rhythmic gymnastics with modern music and no apparatus, not dancing in the traditional sense.

But not everyone is ready to go emotionally at 11 or 14, I know I certainly wouldn't have been. Some children go at 11 and burn out by the age of 16, by which point they've sacrificed their teenage years to train for a career they don't even want anymore. It's swings and roundabouts. I know of two I danced with, one got onto musical theatre at 16 and the other onto dance, both first timers. Both were glad they left it until then rather than going earlier, which would have meant a move to London 5 hours away from their families. If she has the ability they won't hold it against her that she hasn't been in a specialist school up until now.

KatyMac Fri 12-Jul-13 16:05:28

She did look at it as a different genre; she was complimented recently by someone who thought her ballroom/latin experience would affect her Ballet & Modern negatively - she pointed out they were different and why would she mix them

I think she is ready skill-wise now but whether she is emotionally I have no idea

InViennaWeWerePoetry Fri 12-Jul-13 18:46:52

I think people in the dance world tend to (unfairly) turn their noses up at ballroom and latin though, don't they? Interestingly one of my dance teachers was an ex-ballroom and latin dancer trained in the states, and trained in both 'competition' dance and ballroom simultaneously, competed in west coast dance competitions and Blackpool Dance Festival. Your DD is spot on, it's just different styles, so you approach them differently.

I think to a point you just get on with it though, she knows if she wants to be in West End shows she's going to have to get the right training, and that means moving away from home. She might take a few weeks to settle in but she'll be OK. It'll be harder for you than it will be for her! How did she get on at her audition by the way?

I'd be very interested to know what your DD thinks of this: Vienna This girl is thought of as a protege on the US dance scene, she's been undefeated in dance competitions across the US since the age of 7. Again, a very different style to over here. The sad part is I really don't know what she's going to be able to do with all her tricks and turns career wise, besides teaching. By pure coincidence the track in this video I also danced to around her age at my parents' wedding and it's been one of my favourite songs ever since, you'll see why I'm mentioning that to start with! grin

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