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  1. Kate_N

    RAD Intermediate Exam

    That looks like a reasonable amount for solid training with a chance at vocational school - it's what the professional ballet dancer in my family was doing from 12 to 15 when they went away to full time training. The main thing is to keep the nutrition up - lots of protein (I remember a lot of small meals of steak or chicken|). I didn't study ballet so intensively, but did class 2 nights a week and on Saturdays. Plus Girl Guides once a week, and my horses needed an hour a day, 6 days a week, minimum. With the horses, we had Pony Club most Sundays, and a riding lesson each week. So we were all out of the house at pursuits 6 days a week. The main family meal was always a sit down breakfast!
  2. Kate_N

    Pointing toes in ballet

    You need tights - they keep your muscles warm (ish).
  3. Kate_N

    Questions about Upper School auditions

    That's being very successful, in my eyes!
  4. Kate_N

    Questions about Upper School auditions

    This is such good excellent wonderful advice. My cliché is that we all get where we need to go, but maybe not by the route we thought we'd take. A ballet friend of mine in the USA trained at the Kirov (USA) and then SAB (nearest equivalent in the UK is probably RBS) - both top schools. But as a male dancer he was just too short for mainstream companies. He now owns and runs a serious pre-professional training ballet school in his home county which has just received a real accolade from his city. Edited to add: I often have to have the same sorts of conversations with final year undergrads, who think they "have" to achieve a First Class honours degree. I ask them why - they answer because they've tried so hard, and put in such an effort, and they believe they are good enough. These are really difficult conversations to have - I blame the X Factor et al. Sorry for going a bit off-topic. And heaps and heaps of good luck, strength, and growth to you, Arucaria!
  5. As others say - perfectly normal. Notice how other dancers are wearing just socks or warm-up bootees, not ballet shoes (soft or pointe). It's whatever works for the individual dancer, what performance roles they're preparing for, and so on. Edited to add: Thank you for giving us this link - I"m so enjoying watching this class (in between boring paper work) - the barre work is really interesting, seeing Ms Ichino's teaching approach - it's a class that looks so lovely & juicy for dancing bodies - I find myself wanting to do it with them!
  6. Kate_N

    Taking Ballet Exams as an adult

    Huge congratulations, Viv. You are inspiring! And great results, too.
  7. Kate_N

    Assessments / reports

    Gosh < blushing > thank you. It comes from long years of dealing with undergrads who think we are telling them they are inadequate people when we mark a performance at 58%.
  8. Kate_N

    Assessments / reports

    Oh and the other thing to say ... (gosh, I am full of advice today !!! 😋 ) is that it's particularly tricky examining & assessing performance. Performance is often very closely connected with a sense of self - it's about one's body, one's voice, one's feelings as expressed in performance. Students getting a 55% for an essay, students will often say "Oh well, that's fair enough, I wrote it the night before." Whereas, a 55% for a performance is interpreted as a slight against them as a person. But it is not. Marking is always about the work. Not the person. The difficulty is that "the work" is the pupil's own body - and their sense of self. So could your DD start to think about her body as her tool or instrument, and feedback is about how to use that better? It's not that she is an insufficient person, but that her teachers believe she can improve how she uses her tool of communication. And that her aim as a performer is not to show her feelings, but to perform in such a way as to make the audience feel? Take away the personalisation. Assessment isn't an expression of personal feelings - teachers really don't have the emotional energy to hold strong feelings about individual pupils.
  9. Kate_N

    Assessments / reports

    I always advise my students (undergrads) that 'Comparison is the thief of joy.' We mark & assess individuals according to a set of criteria - we don't mark/assess individuals by comparing them to others.** Individuals are marked differently because well - they're individuals and all different! And the other thing to say - from the point of view as an examiner and assessor of performance - is that we often give the same mark for very different reasons. I'd advise you DD to look at the narrative feedback, not the number. A number (on what scale? 1 to 10? 1 to 5?) is a fairly blunt instrument - even a percentage mark (ie out of 100). The written feedback is the important thing, not the number. The further thing I say to students is that "Feedback is a gift" - it's up to the receiver to decide what to do with it. If we are never told what is deficient, as well as what we're good at, how can we improve????? I'm currently doing some fairly intensive personal training at the gym. I "fail" regularly - I can't do a full body-weight pull up (yet!) and with heavier weights I sometimes fail at the 4th or 5th repetition (getting stuck at the bottom of a heavy back squat, oh boy). My trainer persistently reminds me that it's the point of "failure" which is the training point: it's where I learn my current capacity, and the point at which I need to train, so that it becomes my starting point, not my failure point. **The educational technical language for this is 'criterion-referenced assessment' The comparative method of assessment is "norm-referenced assessment" eg the infamous "bell curve" distribution model)
  10. Kate_N

    RBS Junior Associates

    On this one - ballet isn't the only field which is tough & requires dedication beyond the normal hard work required for a specialised profession. I'm an academic. It's similarly a tough career to get started in, long hours for relatively low pay - particularly compared to others with lesser or equivalent qualifications (eg medical doctors). Most people with a PhD who want to go on to work full time as a university lecturer spend 5 to more years in part-time, or temporary university work, on precarious contracts. There's a huge drop out from those who don't have family support at that point. There are many more people with university degrees now and that filters through to those doing PhDs - but the squeeze at the end of that training - the academic equivalent to graduating from a senior high school ballet training such as the Royal Ballet School - is extreme. The professional ballet dancer in my family and I have often compared the level of talent, dedication, and luck required in ballet & academia. I'm sure there are other professions where the requirements go beyond the normal requirements of hard work, dedication & talent, not just ballet. And the skills acquired from aiming for this success are useful in the second or third careers that ballet dancers can have.
  11. Kate_N

    Cecchetti grades as compared to RAD / ISTD

    My experience of studying both syllabi (although I've never bothered with the exams) is that Cecchetti is more "dancey." I've had teachers who don't know me (eg in open classes) pick me as "Cecchetti trained", although when I travel & do classes in the US, they always pick the "English" training. I think that's the RAD influence in British training - very upright and somewhat more controlled, compared with the extended lines of, say Russian-style training, and the more fast & furious style that influenced in the USA (via the popularity of Balanchine). BUt I do find the Cecchetti work more interesting & challenging. But I think the grade levels are meant to be pretty much interchangeable. I wonder if in recent years, the RAD has stretched out their curriculum because in the UK it is almost the "default" syllabus and needs to meet the needs and education of a much wider variety of dancer skills & abilities.
  12. Kate_N

    Taking Ballet Exams as an adult

    Toi toi toi, BalletGremlin! A quick jog (about 3 minutes around the room) in your warm ups, and a few squats & body swings - big all-body movements to literally heat up the main core of your body and your large muscle groups always works for me in a cold studio. Big free swinging movements - won't harm you, and will get the blood moving & your body temperature up a tiny bit - literally 'warming up.'
  13. University of Glasgow, Fri 30 Nov: "Critical Reflections: Dance and Words" Dear all, You are all warmly invited to Critical Reflections: Dance and Words, a conversation between The New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay and screen dance artist Katrina McPherson, on Fri 30 November, 6.30pm, at the University of Glasgow. The conversation is part of the Writing Dance Weekend, presented by The Work Room in partnership with Katrina McPherson and Theatre Studies at Glasgow. Please see further details about the event and booking below. We hope to see many of you! Critical Reflections: Dance and Words A conversation between Alastair Macaulay and Katrina McPherson Friday 30th November 2018, 6.30pm James Arnott Theatre, Gilmorehill Centre, University of Glasgow General admission is £5 via Eventbrite. For more information and tickets see: https://theworkroom.org.uk/opportunities/writing-dance-weekend-with-alastair-macaulay Alastair Macaulay has been the chief dance critic of The New York Times since 2007. Prior to that, he worked in New York as guest dance critic for The New Yorker in 1988 and 1992. He is British, however, and most of his career has been in London. He was a junior dance critic for The Guardian from 1979 to 1990; and between 1988 and 2007 he reviewed theatre, music, and dance for The Financial Times, serving as its chief in the years 1994-2007. In 1983-88, he was founding editor of the quarterly Dance Theatre Journal; in 1996-2006, he was chief dance critic to TheTimes Literary Supplement. He also taught dance history at BA, MA, and other levels at various colleges between 1980 and 2002; in the years 1987-2002, he was chief examiner in dance history to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. He is the author of the short biography Margot Fonteyn (1998) and the extensive book of interviews Matthew Bourne and his Adventures in Dance (2011; first edition 2000). Katrina McPherson is an award-winning screen dance artist, whose creative, scholarly and educational work is at the forefront of the international field. She has collaborated with many performers, choreographers and artists and the resulting single, multi-screen and on-lineworks have been presented at venues and festivals world-wide. Katrina is the author of Making Video Dance, a step-by-step guide to creating dance for the screen (Routledge, 2006), a new edition of which was published in September 2018. www.makingvideodance.com
  14. Glad you enjoyed being back in class, RuthE. And isn't muscle emory a wonderful thing!
  15. Hurrah! Have a great time. If you find your way to drop-in classes other than a Tuesday, I'd really recommend Hannah Frost's 4:30pm classes at Danceworks on Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays. If you've done ballet before, her class will help your body remember; if you've not done it before, she gives lots of advice and hands-on corrections (a rarity nowadays!). As a fairly experienced ballet student, I find her classes are also a really useful tune-up and her corrections are really spot on & very helpful. She has an eagle eye & a great dry sense of humour.