Career development plan- Start Ballet Training After A levels?

by Freya
(Manchester, UK)

Career development plan- Start Ballet Training After A levels?

Hi Odette, I am currently 14 and attending 3 lessons a week at my local ballet school along with 1 lesson of tap. I really enjoy ballet and aspire to be professional one day, but I don't want to miss out on schoolwork and boarding schools are too expensive. Ideally I want to leave my current school with GCSEs and A levels. My dance teachers say I could train to a high level if I want to and I am already on pointe, but most schools say that they accept students between 14-16 years of age so I am not sure if it's worth applying and auditioning when I'm past the recommended age boundries. Could I still join a corps? And which would be the best dance schools to apply at.
Many Thanks


Reply by Odette
To:- Career development plan- Start Ballet Training After A levels?

Hi Freya,
Thank you for your message, it's great to hear from you. Ballet dancers start training more seriously at all different ages and some even as late as 16, such as Melissa Hamilton who is now a professional in the Royal Ballet. You should read into her inspiring story and see how determined she was to make it as a professional.

I trained full time in ballet and still managed to achieve my academics up until I was 18, which included GCSE's and 3 A levels. Especially in the UK, there are vocational ballet schools that allow you to keep on top of your school work as well as reaching the highest standards of ballet.

Personally, I would say you should study more seriously at a vocational ballet school at some stage of your training before joining the corps. It is very tough to become a professional ballet dancer and there are high expectations from ballet companies.

The ballet schools in the UK like Royal Ballet and Elmhurst School for Dance give a chance to develop young dancers into professionals, whilst also focusing on academics. Although they accept dancers from the young age of 11, you don't necessarily have to be this age in order to become a dancer.

As you rightly say, they accept dancers between the ages 14-16 so it's not too late if you are 14 years. However, it does mean you have to be at an already strong standard to join and ready be further trained into a professional. There is also English National Ballet which trains dancers from the ages of 16.

Keep enjoying ballet and remember that passion you have.

Best wishes,

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