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DD off to Ballet School for 6th form in September, but now thinks she wants to Act

(16 Posts)
NigellasGuest Sun 25-May-14 21:01:26

i've told her it's fine, keep going with the ballet as far as it takes you, as you have a place at a ballet school, and branch into acting later if that's what you still want to do at 18 yrs.

have I told her the right thing?
Where would an 18 yr old ballet trained girl go to get acting experience or training? is this feasible??

WilsonFrickett Sun 25-May-14 21:10:09

Is she any good at acting? Does she have any experience? (I'm guessing dance has taken up most of her time up to now?)

Her best bet IMO would be to do her sixth form and similtaneously try and get some experience through youth theatre, classes, workshops and performances. Again though I'm not sure how feasible this will be while doing her other course. Then think about drama school further down the line, but competition is of course horrendous for places and she will be up against people who have specialised in drama. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing if she's good - and her dance experience will be looked on positively. But she's not going to get into a good training programme with no experience, unless she's amazing.

Do you think this is more about cold feet about going away/ballet in general, rather than a burning desire to act?

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 25-May-14 21:47:52

Did she consider somewhere like Hammond where you do a common first year (classical ballet combined with other dance forms & musical theatre) then specialise in either Dance or MT?

Or Tring?

Is she on a DaDa? If so I'm guessing its too late to change at this late stage but she could always do the first year then consider options. Transferring into the second year of another institution could be a possibility.

Is the school she going too pure classical ballet like RBS, Central or Elmhurst or do they provide acting classes as part if the course?

OnlyOnSundays Sun 25-May-14 22:21:56

Cherie Lunghi, Jane Seymour, Neve Campbell, Cyd Charisse, Sarah Jessica Parker, Audrey Hepburn, Charlize Theron, Caroline Quintin, Jenny Agutter, Helen Baxendale, Fiona Fullerton, Hayley Mills, Juliet Mills, Hermione Norris ... all went to ballet schools (Arts Ed, RBS, Elmhurst, etc.)

saintlyjimjams Mon 26-May-14 07:26:37


saintlyjimjams Mon 26-May-14 07:29:42

What sort of acting? Theatre/film/musical theatre?? I would have thought her dance training would help, especially for theatre/MT in that there are plenty of actors who can't dance, not so many who can. Can she sing as well?

Is there an opportunity to do acting (either at her college or through youth groups) while she's doing her dance training?

spudmasher Mon 26-May-14 07:29:44

Could she audition for something like NYT? She would get some good experience there in the holidays. A lot of ballet is acting- I should think they will get acting classes as part of their package?

saintlyjimjams Mon 26-May-14 09:28:15

Yes I was going to suggest NYT next year. Or could she do LAMDA or Trinity Guildhall acting exams as well?

NigellasGuest Mon 26-May-14 12:51:19

Well the school she is off to in September is mainly classical ballet but does a little contemporary, singing and drama too. It is well known but I won't say the name so as not to identify my DD. She is not on a Dada as she is doing a dance HND with a 3rd year to do the BA Hons degree (so she does get student finance). Perhaps if she still likes acting after the first 2 years she could move somewhere to specialise in drama for the degree year?

I don't believe the sudden interest in acting is because of cold feet about going away, because she is still absolutely desperate to go away! It's just that after her GCSE drama exam went so well she has realised she has a talent for drama as well (I had several phonecalls from the school telling me how talented she is but what do they know) - she doesn't NOT want to dance, she is a natural mover and has danced all her life pretty much. She has had drama experience prior to starting GCSE drama - she had a glowing report from her drama teacher at Tring Park Associates when she left (he called her "a real talent" and underlined the "real"). She left there to focus more on her ballet because that's where her talents lie.

Sorry to sound so garbled, and apologise if I sound like I'm crowing about her, I'm sure you know I'm not really as you are all parents of performing kids and you know what it's like!!

WilsonFrickett Mon 26-May-14 14:05:30

In light of your update, here's what I think.

Scratching a living from any kind of performance is precarious - you both know this I'm sure. The more strings you can have to your bow, the better. Classical ballet is time-limited, in a sense - you can't turn round and decide to train as a ballerina when you're 30. Drama is very different - a lot of the good drama schools love mature students, there are parts for all ages (although maybe not so much for older women but that is another thread!).

What I'm saying is, she has a fantastic opportunity in front of her now which she should grab with both hands. I'd also imagine at the end of two years she'll know where she stands wrt the world of professional ballet, ie she'll know if she'll be able to make a career in ballet. Time enough then to take stock and decide if she wants to transfer, continue or whatever.

The only thing I'd counsel is to not be - or appear to be - half-hearted in anything she's doing. Even if she wants to act later, she has to throw herself into what's in front of her now. As I say, training in dance can't hurt her chances of doing anything else.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 26-May-14 14:18:30

I have a feeling I know where she is going to - but won't say - the reason I asked about funding was that it would he possible to transfer to a more all round school even at this late stage- but not necessarily with funding.

My dd at age 11 knew her ambition lay in MT & not classical ballet so although she's at a big 4 school it's one where they get lots of drama, singing & other dance styles alongside the classical ballet.

It would be a huge risk to your dd to give up her place & risk the audition rounds again but I agree with Wilson about having as many strings to your bow as possible.

One option would be for her to do the HND then apply for postgrad somewhere that covers drama as well.

Best of luck to her.

NigellasGuest Mon 26-May-14 14:19:39

thank you Wilson, that has been my gut feeling. And I think hers too. To take the ballet as far as she can, wherever that is, and then rethink if necessary. She will throw herself into her ballet training I know she will.

NigellasGuest Mon 26-May-14 14:24:22

One option would be for her to do the HND then apply for postgrad somewhere that covers drama as well.

Yes Pictures I think that would be ideal because after 2 years at ballet school she will have more of an idea anyway. She would not want to give up her place and do audition rounds again now. She desperately does want to go away ASAP, and I think she is aware the acting could happen for her a bit later on perhaps. Yes I think you do know where she's going because I have a feeling I have had contact with you a few months ago!

Any recommendations for postgrad that covers drama? Do you mean grad year, rather than postgrad IYSWIM?

WilsonFrickett Mon 26-May-14 14:47:44

I'm actually quite excited for her smile I would love to have that time again, even though I did drama rather than dance.

saintlyjimjams Mon 26-May-14 16:07:53

Good advice from others & good luck to her!

NigellasGuest Tue 27-May-14 14:42:21

Yes, thank you for the best wishes!

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