The Royal Ballet School Mid Associate audition

The Royal Ballet School runs weekly classes for children at a small number of venues across the UK. They run Junior Associate classes for children in Years 4, 5 and 6, Mid Associate classes for children in Years 7 to 9 and Senior Associates for Year 10s and above.

Regular readers will know that my daughter is a talented ballet dancer, so we were very excited when her teacher recommended that she audition for the Royal Ballet School Mid Associate course. We knew that the chances of getting in were ridiculously small (something like one in a hundred), but we were just happy that my daughter’s teacher thought she was good enough.

The application process starts in October, for the following September. Sadly, we’d missed the boat for entry in Year 7, so we had to focus on Year 8. As well as filling in an application form, you have to provide photos of your child in a number of ballet poses, which is easier said than done.

‘My leg is too high.’

‘My arm isn’t the right angle.’

‘My feet aren’t turned out enough.’

‘My head isn’t up high enough.’

‘My tummy isn’t tucked in enough.’

There is A LOT to think about when you do ballet. All of these things and more have to come together at the same time. But eventually we got the photos right.

Ever the optimist, my husband was convinced she could do it. And that rubbed off on me a bit too. We know the odds are stacked against my daughter, but we always allow ourselves to think ‘what if?’. We only know one person who has got into the Royal Ballet and I can honestly say she is a better ballet dancer than my daughter. But she has had a lot more tuition. Would my daughter be as good if she’d spent a lot more time in classes? I think maybe she would.

My daughter feels she is a better dancer than she was when she auditioned nearly three years ago for Junior Associates. She’s learned much more about using her face as she dances. But I’m sure the other girls are better too.

Her teacher gave her one word of advice – smile. That makes the panel notice you. Obviously they need to notice you in the crowd, or you really have got no chance.

Royal Ballet, Royal Ballet audition, Royal Ballet mid associates audition, Daughter

We were excited when we arrived in Birmingham for the audition. But my heart sank a bit when I saw all of the impossibly teeny tiny girls doing impossible stretches. In the real world, my daughter looks slim. At the Royal Ballet, she looks big built and very, very tall. I felt a bit crap.

My daughter didn’t feel crap. She wasn’t fazed at all.

She did some stretches herself and I was reminded yet again of what a brilliant dancer she is.

She attached a number to her leotard and ran off to her audition class, head and shoulders above most of the other 27 girls.

I felt a bit sick. It was raining and very cold. I wandered aimlessly around The Bullring, then went back to the venue to read my book, until the other parents got too noisy for me to concentrate. Sometimes, an hour and a half goes very slowly.

But suddenly they were back.

My daughter had done well. She’d done exactly what her teacher had advised. On the first exercise, she’d smiled, and she was the only one who did. The judges watched her. And they watched her several more times. With 28 girls to look at, it would be very easy for them to miss some of the kids.

There was an exercise where they were required to hold their balance. Some kids had to hold it for longer. She was one of them. They wouldn’t make them hold it for longer if they weren’t interested, would they?!

My daughter was very happy with what she’d achieved. She knew she’d done her absolute best and nobody can ask any more than that. She knows it’s very unlikely that she will get into the Royal Ballet, just because they want so few kids.

But there is still that small glimmer of hope and I couldn’t be prouder of her.

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Sounds like your daughter did brilliantly. She did her best and you can’t ask more than that and being good enough to audition is a huge achievement in itself. Will keep my fingers crossed that she gets in but either way it sounds like that was an audition to be proud of x

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    • Thanks very much, that’s exactly how I see it. I’m very proud of her, whatever the outcome. X

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    • Thanks very much, we’ve got everything crossed for her!

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  2. Sounds soooo exciting and I really hope she gets in. How amazing would that be…I now want to go watch ballet somewhere. Best of luck xx

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    • Thanks very much, it really would be amazing! We’ve got everything crossed for her. x

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  3. It sounds as though she did everything she could and did her absolute best, so you can’t ask for any more. fingers crossed, I really hope she is successful

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    • Thanks very much! You’re right, she really did give it her all and we couldn’t ask for any more.

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  4. Lovely post to read, I’m so excited and confident for her! I am sure that her size and stretchiness isn’t what they were looking for, she is a wonderful dancer and it sounds like she really stood out.

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    • Thanks very much, I really love your confidence in her. I think they do care about size to a certain extent, but not as much as they did back in the day. x

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  5. I really do have everything crossed for your beautiful daughter. She is such a determined little soul and I love how much she is a trier. Whatever happens, I know you will be proud of her xx

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    • Thanks very much, what a lovely thing to say! I definitely will be proud of her, she’s amazing! x

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  6. Will be keeping everything crossed for her and lovely that she felt she did her very best. That’s all we can ask of our kids isn’t it, and I really hope it pays off for her x

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    • Thanks very much, that’s definitely all we can ask! I was just very proud that she even had the opportunity. X

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  7. What a great experience being there. I know in my class I was a good dancer, but against others at the level some younger children now dance, I’d have been nowhere near them.

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    • My daughter really shines in her class, always gets distinction in her exams and is already in the oldest class at her ballet school (with girls up to Year 13!), but I still don’t know how she compares to girls her age who have had a lot more training than she has. But we were just very happy that her teacher even thought she was good enough to audition.

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  8. I am reading this while thinking about this for my own daughter and would love to know what her result was. Thank you! !

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    • Funnily enough, I’ve posted about this again today. Sadly, she didn’t get in. The competition is very tough and they take very few kids, but don’t let that put you off if your daughter is talented!

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