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Viv

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  1. Intermediate Foundation as an adult

    According to my teacher, performance under the RAD is judged using four criteria, which she makes us remember under the acronym 'EPIC'. They stand for (I think) expression, projection, interpretation and communication. That helps me realise that performing isn't about smiling more, but demonstrating a connection with the music and the movement. If you have a week before the exam, start practicing now. Listen to the music without the steps and think about how it makes you feel, what emotions you can express. Can you come up with a story? I know you're not doing intermediate foundation, but for the port de bras the music made me think of being on a boat on the river, floating in the sun, and how still the water is before and behind me. If I could see that story, keep that feeling in my mind, then I could start to portray it. Listen to the tempo of the music and try to match that with your movements. Is it a jazzy tune that's asking you to really attack the movements? Is it something a bit slinky? Work all this out now, because performance takes as much practice as technique does. Just remember that by the time you're sitting the exam, you know the exercises well. Really really well. Have confidence in yourself and in your teacher that the technique and the memory are there. You'll naturally be a little keyed up going in to the exam. Use it! Get the adrenalin pumping right from the plies and use it in your dancing. Don't forget to perform the barre as much as centre, if you start performing early on in the exam, it's easier to keep it going. And have fun!
  2. Discovering Repertoire Programme

    To compliment the earlier discussion about who would do this program and why, Dance Informa Australia has written an article about the new program which has some nice quotes from people who have trialled the program and what they enjoyed most about it - http://danceinforma.com.au/articles/rad-launches-discovering-repertoire/ There's also a video on the RAD facebook page about 'my favourite part of discovering repertoire'. It even features some of the Elmhurst dancers from the DVD! (I'll try sharing it but I've never posted a facebook video before so I don't know if it'll work...)
  3. Has anyone tried any other dance styles?

    No, it's not freestyle. More like grabbing your stomach with a pained look on your face, then doing fouettes to obnoxiously depressing music. Make the expression even more pained as you take 32 counts to developpe your leg, add a side aerial and then collapse on the floor because the existential despair of being 13 is all too much for you. Graham, Cunningham...those I would like to learn, that's what comes to mind when I think 'contemporary'. I think of this more as 'showy, miserable jazz'.
  4. Has anyone tried any other dance styles?

    Last year I started tap, which I am bad at and hated at first, but have grown to really enjoy. I find that I can't do counts in tap, or tell myself 'okay front slap, then ball change...' I just have to go 'buh bada buh!' and somehow my legs get the message and do what I want? Which is kind of awesome I started jazz this year, purely because all I do is work in turnout and I've started to walk like a duck... and I have done 2 classes of 'contemporary', which I don't think I like very much because it's very 'competition' contemporary, dance moms style involving multiple turns and high legs and throwing yourself at the ground in a variety of acro-ish tricks. The 14 year olds all love it and I struggle in the back feeling very old and sorry for myself.
  5. Intermediate Foundation as an adult

    Congratulations @JCS and @BalletRocks1 that is fabulous! I hope we can keep up this thread now, to discuss Intermediate, Grade 7, Advanced Foundation and I believe someone may have been preparing Advanced 1 at some point? I've found it really great to have this community of fellow 'mature age' exam takers supporting each other.
  6. RAD Grade 4 Exam - etiquette advice please

    If the teacher hasn't spontaneously volunteered to run through these things yet, I think you would be completely appropriate to ask her to go through it. Perhaps she doesn't even realise that the students are nervous about this. I know before my first exam, when we hadn't gone through all of this, I was incredibly paranoid about all the etiquette requirements. When you're nervous about the exam, you don't need the added stress of 'where do I put my shoes and am I allowed a water bottle'. I think it would be best to clarify with the teacher because every school does this slightly differently. At my school, we line up outside the room in exam order, with our character skirt draped over our left arm (ribbon side facing out) and our character shoes held by the elastics in our left hand. This leaves our right arm free to do a proper curtsy. For grade 4 they will not be allowed water. We then stand in the middle of the room, the examiner says 'good morning' and we say 'good morning Miss/Mr X' with a curtsy to the right, and then 'good morning pianist (Miss/Mr Y)' with a curtsy to the left. The examiner asks each person their name, starting with Number 1. She then asks us to put our things down, which we do in the prearranged boxes on the side of the room. We then wait at the side in the order we've practiced, in first or fourth position with hands clasped loosely in front. When the examiner is ready she asks us to run over to the barre. We practice all of this for the whole term leading up to the exam, we do everything in our exam groups so we get used to the back of the head we'll be looking at in the exam and the precise order of the exercises. At the end of the exam is normally a short reverence, and then the examiner says thank you and you may go. The examiner sometimes talks to you during exams, asks if you have to go back to school after you've finished, that sort of thing, so encourage the girls to be polite and answer her questions with a smile. She's just trying to put you at ease. It's really not the big scary thing we build up in our heads, but it's nice to be prepared
  7. Discovering Repertoire Programme

    What is gained? Besides the ability to maintain secure technique while giving yourself purely over to the performance side? Besides gaining an understanding of ballet history and the way movement has developed through certain time periods? Besides the ability to challenge yourself to do something knew and different from standard technique classes? Besides the joy of walking into a theatre and watching someone perform on stage, and excel at, the same variation you've been pushing yourself to learn? Besides gaining slightly more of an understanding of the process of learning classical works and not just exercises? No you're right, I'm doing this for the petty bragging rights... As far as male and female pointe specifications, as this is an entirely flexible syllabus and it merely says 'pointe is optional', I wonder if that equally applies to male candidates, or if they can only do the male variation. I would actually hope that there would be a lot more freedom to choose your variation in this syllabus, even if it's just in training and not in examining the different form. Both men and women can gain a lot from breaking the traditional roles of ballet, if not in their regular syllabus work then hopefully here!
  8. Discovering Repertoire Programme

    I might be a bit of a weirdo, but I actually love pointe...precisely because it's more of a challenge! I'm not very good at it and I severely lack in confidence, and that's precisely why I would want to learn this variation en pointe. I can never get better if I don't challenge myself and I want to develop both my pointe skills and also my performance quality. I have neither the desire, nor the aptitude, to make dancing of ANY kind a career, but I do enjoy the challenge that variations en pointe present. So it's not just serious, vocationally minded students who would want to do this... I don't really feel the need to categorise the types of people who will want to 'discover repertoire', particularly en pointe. Surely every person will have their own reasons, the same as they have for dancing in the first place. I also don't really see the point in giving bonus marks for completing it en pointe. I do the syllabus because it's the best thing I've found to make me a better dancer, the marks are just a byproduct of that. The process of learning en pointe is reward enough for me, I don't see the need to incentivise it. If it's not something a student wants to do, of their own accord, learning for learning's sake, then why on earth should they bother? Do what makes you happy
  9. Discovering Repertoire Programme

    @Bluebird22 Do you mind me asking which variation is studied in level 3? On youtube I've been able to find versions of the Coppelia one for level 2, and the Swan Lake for level 4, but the level 3 one escapes me. It'd be nice to see what I might be progressing towards
  10. Discovering Repertoire Programme

    I started learning the Level 2 Coppelia variation for this today. It's so beautiful (and fun!) and the development exercises seem really well designed. My teacher and I are going to be doing it in a fortnightly private lesson to try and work on exploring artistry, without sacrificing technique. Has anyone else started learning this yet?
  11. Balletdadblog

    I think if the writer had said that the teacher saying 'I love you' was inappropriate, particularly in the context of not complaining, I would certainly agree with that! What the writer actually said though was that any adult, who is not a child's parent, telling that child that they love them, is not just inappropriate but is abusive...I'm sorry but that I certainly do not agree with. Maybe this is a cultural difference, as saying 'I love you' here is, in my experience, very common. If the writer was concerned about the teacher gaslighting the child, that could be emotional abuse. But any adult, ever, saying I love you, to be classified as abuse, is honestly absurd. And unfortunately it is that tendency to dramatising, emotionally weighted language that leads me to take the blog with a grain of salt. Despite that, I hope this blog and others like it encourage other people to have the courage to speak out and, hopefully, make a change for the better in vocational schools in general.
  12. Balletdadblog

    I am finding the discussions of vocational schools and ofsted etc fascinating. I agree that it seems a hard place to flourish, if you are constantly worried about being assessed out and who is better than you, who is going to replace you. The whole notion of supply and demand in selective schools is very true, but I do wish that there was more oversight to protect the interests of the children attending. However, after reading the blog...I don't know, maybe I'm missing something. I don't have children myself so maybe that's colouring my view. I found some of the conduct the dad spoke of to be moderately inappropriate (the phone call on speaker, the telling a girl she looks sexy) but a lot of the other complaints were very over the top to me. An adult who is not a child's parent should never tell a child they love them? Ever? What about 'I support you'? 'I value you'? 'I see something special in you'? What is it about 'I love you', regardless of your previous relationship with a child, that instantly makes an adult a pedophile? I also disagree that there is anything inherently inappropriate about twerking. Maybe some of you will disagree, maybe it's my age, but having kids in a dance school do a popular move just for fun, in the privacy of their own studio, which has the added bonus of releasing the hips and the lumbar spine, just does not seem like a fireable offence to me. How is it, really, so different from the RAD Project B dance including dabbing? If the kids felt embarrassed, then that is a valid feeling and I hope they are supported by their teachers in that response. Again however, I choose to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt. By joining in they were demonstrating 1) the move and 2) that it's nothing to be embarrassed about, it's just a bit of fun. I also found the letter he linked to be completely innocuous and a standard response letter when the complaints procedure has been engaged. It is not too dissimilar from letters we send out at my work. I did not see anything 'threatening' or 'demeaning' in the letter itself. This is the only objective evidence of the school's behaviour that we have, and the spin put on it by the dad is completely, in my opinion, unjustified by the contents of the letter itself. This leads me to believe that, while I'm sure the boy was deeply upset and that is a valid response, and I'm sure the dad really did feel that the school's response was wholly inadequate, the dad's response to a lot of things may be simply blown out of proportion. A blog worded in such emotional terms, while it does tug at the heart strings, is clearly told from the point of view of an unreliable narrator. Clearly, the family could no longer trust the school and the child should be withdrawn. This comes down to a matter of trust, who you are leaving your child in the care of is of the utmost importance! Fundamentally, I agree with the report of the Directors (again, as reported by the dad) - the school's behaviour in allowing the phone conversation to be heard, in the teachers then addressing the son about it in front of the class, were fundamentally wrong, and this needed to be addressed at an institutional level. As for the rest...I think I would need a little bit more objectivity before coming to a conclusion on that.
  13. Ballerina attire

    In my classes, which are with girls your age, underwear is a personal preference. I like to wear underwear personally and I just go to the normal shops and find ones with a high leg line. You don't need to find special 'dance' underpants, just find some that are cut high enough that they won't show. I used to wear normal undies and just hoik them up a bit but it stretched the elastic out. I used to wear a bra under my leotard, but when the uniform changed at my school that wasn't possible. I now wear a flesh coloured bodysuit made for going under leotards, and while it is less supportive, it still does the job. All up I wear underpants, tights, bodysuit and leotard for every class because it's what I prefer, other girls wear just the leotard and tights and nothing else. See whatever feels comfortable to you, just try not to let things show. If they do show occasionally, it's not a disaster, it's just underpants!
  14. How did it all start?

    My first attempt at ballet was when I was 5, my cousin was going so of course I got sent along too. About the only thing I can remember is that it was in the rec hall of the tennis club and I was bored to tears most of the time. When my cousin quit I struggled on for a bit longer but actually quite agreed with @Cara in NZ's mother - ballet was just a lot of hopping about! Throughout high school I was involved in drama, choir and theatre work, both onstage and backstage. When I was 15 I remember being involved in musical theatre as part of the singing chorus, and they tried to make us join in with the dancers...it was a disaster! But I watched the 'proper' dancers and I have never been more jealous in my life. I wanted to do what they could do (I still wish I could do what they could do) but I thought that it was one of those things, if you don't start it as a child then you've missed your shot. I gave up the idea of dancing. When I was 19 I got diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition, where my brain sends the wrong signals to my muscles and vice versa. I was in a lot of pain, and quite spastic for a while because my muscles simply would not do what I was telling them to do! The medication I was on was awful and I was looking for anything I could do to improve my quality of life. I came across a scientific journal that had experimented with 'dance therapy' for older people with my condition and had reported good results. There was no 'dance therapy' in my city, but there were adult ballet classes. After about a year of umming and ahhing, I finally forced my sister to go with me to a class. From the very first lesson, I was hooked. My pain decreased, my coordination increased, and I have dropped my medications from 10 pills a day to a mere 3! My sister quit after the first 6 week term, but I'm still dancing 4 years later. 2 years ago I moved from doing 1 class a week at my 18+ studio because I found I wasn't getting pushed. There would always be people coming into the class who had danced seriously as children, quit for a few years before coming back, and they were always so gorgeous to watch. I realised that if I wanted to look like they did, I had to do what they'd done. I found a syllabus class at a local studio for children and started dancing with the 12 year olds in Grade 5 twice a week. As of now, I am doing Grade 7, Intermediate and Advanced Foundation, culminating in 8 hours ballet a week. I picked up tap last year and bought my first pair of jazz shoes today! It's definitely gone far past what I intended as a physical therapy class, and sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to dance with a disability, especially in the vocational grades, but I never want to give it up. I love the girls I dance with, even if I find myself giggling at some of the things they talk about - you couldn't pay me to be 14 again!
  15. Exams

    I didn't faint in my exam last year but I did fall down and I very severely sprained/re-dislocated my ankle. I was about 60% of the way through the exam when it happened (the 'turns' exercise in Grade 5), I crashed into the piano and landed on my face directly in front of the examiner... The first thing I said was 'I want to keep going!' and the examiner said she wasn't sure that was a good idea haha. She asked if I was sure, I said absolutely, I couldn't think about anything other than finishing the exam I'd worked so hard for. At the end of every exercise she asked if I was okay, if I'd like to sit down, or if I'd like to finish the exam. I completed the rest of the exam, trying not to throw up or pass out from shock. According to the girls I was in the exam with I looked absolutely ghastly but I managed not to cry until I was out of the room when I completely broke down thinking I'd failed. I actually managed to scrape a pity distinction though! If it's a true faint, it's unlikely to last more than a couple of seconds before the person regains consciousness. Depending on the examiner, it's likely they'd be allowed to finish the exam if that's what they wanted or they'd be allowed to leave if that's what they wanted. I imagine if they were unconscious for longer they may be removed from the room and not be given the opportunity to continue the exam in that sitting. I don't think they'd receive any marks for sections of the exam not completed but I'm not 100% sure about special consideration (I didn't receive any). I'll defer to Pictures on that one!
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