Stage Schools- the right thing to do?(15 Posts)
My11 year old daughter has been dancing since she was 2 and is very keen on joining the italia conti stage school. She is advanced and does ballet 5 times a week and jazz twice a week. She also does singing and is currently doing grade 3 LAMDA. She is sure that Italia Conti would be the right place for her but my husband and I are worried about the amount of academic education she would get and if this would be the right thing to do. We know that she would be able to cope but are not sure if we should let her audition for it.
Any advice we would be grateful to.
I wouldn't! We looked at a few stage schools for our youngest and the general impression was poor manners and behaviour of the children in academic lessons and an over-familiarity with the staff. Most of the famous schools have afterschool lessons for the general public if you live close enough. If you do choose to go down this route I'd suggest Arts Ed in Tring. But I don't think it's necessary and in fact these schools tend to produce one type of actor. Look at the really famouse or respected actors. They often went to good independent school followed by good unis (often Oxbridge) before becoming actors.
I replied to your other thread, but just remembered that actually I went to a good independent with someone who went to Uni and has then become a UK household name - long stint in big soap. She acted in the school plays.
Don't use a stage school in place of a regular secondary education.
A friend of mine in the 70's (oh God am I that old) was talent spotted by the Royal Ballet she was only a little older than your daughter and offered what I suppose in those days was a scholarship. She lived for ballet and was unbelievably talented even to the untrained eye. She was not bustingly bright and I suppose had little else to offer. Her rather unpleasant father would not let her go; she never got over it.
I know nothing about the school you mention or stage schools in general but i've never forgotten that girl.
Hi, this is such a tricky one. I am a dance teacher and am often asked this question. It really does depend on the child so obviously I can't give any advice on your daughter. The only thing I would say though is that I would not let my own daughter go at 11 as I feel you can go to normal school and put in the hours after school and at weekends to compete with those who go full time. I also feel that the academic achievements may suffer and so you close doors for the future. I am lucky, went to dance school at 18 and am teaching now. But most of my year are all retraining to do something else which involves retaking a'levels first. The other question is can you afford it? There are so few bursaries out there at the moment. Also are we talking about a branch of italia conti or the main one? For me Arts Ed at Tring or Royal Ballet School would be the only two I may consider. Hth
If she is at all academic then I would avoid them until later on , or look at Tring and Arts Ed Chiswick which are more focussed as schools rather than as theatrical agencies until GCSE age at least.
Unless you want her to actually start her professional career while still a school girl, I would ensure her education is adequate. Many people want careers in the performing arts and you have to be a) lucky, b) talented or c) know someone in order to make it. It's more sensible to make sure they have another way of making a living if they are none of hte above.
If you are considering boarding school have a look at Abbots Bromley School for Girls. They have a ballet school within the main school and a number of their girls go on to dance professionally. Their academic exam results are good too - usually the best in the county.
Brit School www.brit.croydon.sch.uk/page/default.asp?title=Home&pid=1 has good reputation .
Friend of my Ds goes there and seems good from what I know of her experience .
If she has serious talent in ballet then as others have said, consider that.Otherwise, to be honest, Italia Conti is a school for pushy parents and mothers who want to see their children's names 'in lights', a training ground for cruise ship cabaret acts, etc. Nothing wrong with being a dancer on a cruise ship, of course, but that can be achieved with regular out of school activities until after GCSEs. If she is interested in 'serious' stage or music work again stay at a mainstream school - maybe one that offers music lessons or a music scholarship, BRIT school would be a possibility later on, but most professional actors and musicians do mainstream ed then drama school or music college, Guildhall or the like. Or one of the dance schools such as Laban - and concentrate ion a professional level of a serious art form.
Independent school is completely not a necessary part of the mix, either!
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Hmm. I'm a bit less against them than other posters here, if the child's talent is mainly in singing and dancing. The IC pupils really do work hard at both, and it's from these schools that the West end tends to get its choruses. These schools also often put children up for auditions for West End shows so they get experience on stage. If that is absolutely her heart's desire, you could at least look at it.
I know a few children at Italia Conti. They work really hard. Not much of a life outside the school, but then if dance is your passion, you don't want one anyway.
But if she's keen on acting... imho, I'd steer clear. Stage school acting is quite distinctive. She'd be better off going to Anna Scher or similar at weekends, and trying out for the NYT in the holidays.
I also know children from Arts Ed. The ones I know are academically bright. Get lots of academic work - quite equal to their peers in other schools. Could be a good balance.
have you spoken to agents with a view to getting her work? I just wonder if you could send her to a local school and further her professional experience with acting work etc?
Im of the same view that if she is academic at all then she can make great contacts etc at uni so no real need to send her to a stage school full time
This is a ghost thread bumped by someone trying to promote a particular school.
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