This is a difficult one to answer, and we are often asked by our pupils and parents - "Where do you think they should continue their studies at 18?"
The Reigate School of Ballet & Commercial Dance have given much advice to past students about their chosen paths, and the first and fundamental question is - Do they go the academic or performers route? If so, which colleges are best for the career path they want? Teaching, pure dance performing, or overall theatre/West End performing, and so on. This is extremely important, as this decision will influence their career.
DANCE INTEREST CAREERS
We have had many students who have loved their dance training and want to continue to have a connection with dance, without going into the performing or teaching world. Some have become physiotherapists specializing in dance injuries while others have become fitness instructors with dance being one of their specialisms.
DANCE UNIVERSITIES / DEGREE ROUTE
Most universities will cover a broad range of dance styles and and you will learn much about physiology and become an overall performer. Candidates will get a degree after 3 years, and those who don't perform mostly go into teaching or advisory careers. Some universities provide specialities in certain dance genres while others offer all-round training. Generally they give you an "educated" dance performance training. Some perform, and others teach or enter other career fields.
If you want to perform and only perform, dance colleges offer a great way into the industry. Many of them do offer degrees also. Although on paper some of these colleges offer all-round training, some are known more for their specific dance genre training. The teachers at the Reigate School of Ballet & Commercial Dance have collectively an extremely wide knowledge in all fields of dance careers, and you need to speak to many of them to ask questions about your ideas. We are here to help!
Musical Theatre is a popular course and there are numerous colleges out there at the moment. A handful of colleges produce students who perform in theatres up and down the country and London's West End - they have longevity and working experience of what the industry wants. These include Laines Theatre Arts, Doreen Bird, Arts Educational School, London Studio Centre, Performers, Mountview, Guildford School of Acting (GSA musical theatre) to name but a few.
The Royal Ballet School, English National Ballet School, Elmhurst, Tring, and Central School of Ballet offer excellent balletic training. Our past pupil went to Ballet West to study dance and ended up dancing on worldwide cruise ships and she loves it - seeing the world and being paid for doing something she loves is the best of both worlds for her.
There are other colleges which specialize in Contemporary Dance which offer outstanding training and doesn't necessarily limit you in that field. Street/Hip-Hop schools are equally rewarding.
Make no mistake - dancing as a career is tough, but for all the poeple who have danced professionally, they find it one of the greatest career they could wish for. Your hobby as a career - perfect.
We advise to learn as many styles as you can as a child and "enjoy" it. Going to concerts, shows and watching live performances is also part of the learning curve. Having a strong ballet background is important in becoming an all-round dancer while embracing and experiencing more commercial styles. Educate yourself and remain current is the key so that you enter the performing route (or teaching route) being as adaptable as possible.
Most of the colleges mentioned will give you an all-round training for you to be able to adapt. Talk to your teachers and really listen to their advice. Try talking with other professional dancers or college graduates and absorb their advice and knowledge. The more homework you do, the more rewarding the experience will be for you in the future.