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School for a talented dancer - Help!

(61 Posts)
yogamatcalling Fri 08-Dec-17 17:39:46

I think I might be looking for the impossible, is there an independent school including boarding schools that can cater for a talented dancer who is strong academically? I don't want to narrow her options too early and send her to a vocational school at 13. She is passionate and committed to dancing, (ballet, modern, tap, street and latin & ballroom) she also sings and acts. We've looked at Hurstpierpoint college but they don't seem to be able to cater for G&T dancers, although have dance GCSE.
Any current parents of Legat school? I don't quite understand how this school works with Bede's.

OP’s posts: |
Fekko Fri 08-Dec-17 17:40:58

Where are you?

DrSeuss Fri 08-Dec-17 17:42:31

user1508013898 Fri 08-Dec-17 17:45:56

The Arts Educational
The royal ballet

Zodlebud Fri 08-Dec-17 17:59:34

Tring Park is definitely worth a look. Sure it’s a vocational school BUT their academics are excellent, albeit the options at GCSE and A-Level are limited.

They have previously had students leave after a-levels and go to Oxbridge but many stay in the industry. One has just gone to the Juilliard!!!!

That said, I personally would wait until your daughter is 16 before focussing so heavily on her dance (unless her speciality is ballet then she should be at the RBS). If she currently receives dance tuition of a high standard then she will be fine staying where she is until 16. The reality is that even more mainstream schools known for dance do not do enough at a high enough level. I would encourage participation in a wide range of Masterclasses during holidays etc in the meantime.

I work with children in performing arts and Tring Park and RBS are the only places I would send a child dancer, even before considering the academic side.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 08-Dec-17 18:05:43

I have knowledge of Hammond School. Their academics are very good if you compare them with good local state schools but not on a par with academically selective schools (saying that I just removed Ds from one such school)

There is also Abbots Bromley School, I was very impressed when we went to an open evening & audition there.

My dd personally didn't like Tring but I know children who are happy there.

Chocolatear Fri 08-Dec-17 18:12:07

Hurt wood House.

LIZS Fri 08-Dec-17 18:15:04

Hurtwood house is 6th form only. Bedes/Legat isn't overly academic. Is Brit School an option? Tou should probably be looking at vocational schools rather than all rounded ones.

yogamatcalling Fri 08-Dec-17 18:21:05

We are in Surrey, she's not just a ballet dancer, so have discounted RBS already. We liked Tring, but for her at 16+, we also like Hurtwood House. I'm looking for a school where she can do her GCSEs, has great dance, drama and singing opportunities but not a Performing Arts school, we will look at PA schools for sixth form.
Zodlebud do think she would be better staying at a local independent school and continuing all her grades at dance school after school? She's currently year 7 and just taken grade 5 exams across the board dance and singing. Which Masterclasses would you recommend? She's done English Youth Ballet a few times, pantomime every year at regional theatres, Leads in British Theatre Academy Musicals.

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AlexanderHamilton Fri 08-Dec-17 18:48:18

Abbotts Bromley fits your criteria the most I think.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 08-Dec-17 18:51:01

THe problem we found was accessing enough local training to allow Dd to compete for 16 plus places (non syllabus classes are a must in my opinion) & also the homework workload at the independent school she went to.

Fffion Fri 08-Dec-17 20:25:24

Hurst Lodge in Ascot?

luckylavender Fri 08-Dec-17 20:26:03

How about Brighton College?

Zodlebud Sat 09-Dec-17 08:40:02

It would totally depend on whether her current school is supportive of the arts. Do they allow time off to attend auditions, do they value the extra curricular as much as the academic etc? Does she feel she could set up her own extra curricular clubs if she sees a gap in the offering e.g. choreographing numbers for younger years. If it’s a struggle then I would consider moving her - school needs to be on board, not making it difficult. She also needs to be treated as an individual, not just a product of the school.

The thing is, unless she is at a specialist school, she is unlikely to progress or really gain very much from a move. Nobody in the world of performing arts is going to base offering you a job because you have GCSE dance or drama. It’s about how you perform in an audition - that one off chance on that very day.

I would recommend the holiday classes at Urdang. They do one for dance and one for audition technique. I also think the training and courses offered by the National Youth Music Theatre are excellent (audition entry), although concentrate on all of MT, not just dance.

She should take classes in as many diffferent genres as possible. Can she do Street / hip hop / popping and locking etc? She needs to be adaptable and able to pick up choreography in an instant. Attending classes with as many different teachers as possible so she is used to different ways of teaching. Head to Pineapple at a weekend and see what’s on offer. She should work also on strength, conditioning and stamina. Technique needs to be a given.

So you see, it’s all about working towards auditions. Be that entry at 16 to a college or for a job. Apart from having potentially a nicer time doing things she loves at school, a move doesn’t really help her on this path. Instead, fill every moment with different dance experiences, including watching live performances.

Hope that helps!!

BubblesBuddy Sat 09-Dec-17 19:12:47

Queenswood School have everything you want. They are at Brookmans Park in Hertfordshire.

Pythonesque Sun 10-Dec-17 20:13:07

I don't know much about dance so can't say anything about standards and training etc, but superficially your query makes me wonder whether St Edwards in Oxford might be of interest. It's a traditional boarding school starting from year 9 equivalent, and certainly has significant dance and drama programmes available alongside academics and serious sport etc. Good luck finding the right environment for your child to pursue their interests without losing the backup of a solid education.

yogamatcalling Sun 10-Dec-17 20:37:43

Thank you everyone for your suggestions, I am looking into to them all.

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homebythesea Thu 14-Dec-17 10:10:36

Don’t dismiss Hurtwood- Better to get her GCSE done and continue her performing extra curricularly then get fully immersed 16-18 with excellent academic provision on top. Tring Park cannot compete academically. Hurtwood has an excellent summer school, as does Laine in Epsom which may be of interest

yogamatcalling Thu 14-Dec-17 10:32:41

homebythesea, this is exactly what we're going to do, keep it all going outside of school and then Hurtwood at 16, with Summer & Easter courses to top it up.

Thank you everyone, you've been very helpful.

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Ess123 Thu 14-Dec-17 10:45:23

Just looked up Hurtwood House. The fees are astronomical.

Does your DD do anything else I.e. singing and drama as jobs that are pure dance are very limited and don't really have longevity.

Scabbersley Thu 14-Dec-17 10:47:07

Millfield has a dance scholarship

homebythesea Thu 14-Dec-17 11:34:58

yogamat please feel free to PM - we have been in exactly your position and now at Hurtwood

SueSueDonahue Thu 14-Dec-17 11:48:08

Abbots Bromley or Bede’s would be perfect. Both have almost the same set up (AB traditionally ballet, but now also musical theatre, Bede’s not strong on ballet but stronger at the moment in musical theatre) and the two of them are absolutely unique together in the UK. There are only those two unless you want a vocational school.

Not St Edwards! Or in fact any traditional boarding school that just does dance as an extra (even substationally).

AlexanderHamilton Thu 14-Dec-17 22:59:59

I agree Sue. Any traditional boarding school except those two won't offer the level of dance classes needed for a child to audition at 16. A local dance school is the much better option in that case.

SueSueDonahue Fri 15-Dec-17 21:52:26

@alexanderhamilton the problem we felt was local dance schools have to use evenings and weekends (and at a distance...) when students are more tired. The main advantage of those two schools are that the dance is in amongst the school day, plus they can do it instead of sport and (for sixth form) instead or alongside academic work.
Saying that though, my eldest (who doesn’t want to dance professionally) should still leave her ultra traditional boarding school with advanced one, so a trad boarding school isn’t terrible for dance, just not perhaps for those who want it as a career.
My youngest is happy at one of the two above mentioned schools 😉 Dammit, I’ll have to make change again before too long!!! Way too outing.

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