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  1. The_Red_Shoes

    Taking Ballet Exams as an adult

    Huge congratulations, Viv! What an amazing result. You should be extremely proud of yourself.
  2. The_Red_Shoes

    Taking Ballet Exams as an adult

    Best of luck BG! I think there must be an optimum season for taking exams - maybe late spring and early autumn. Keep your warmups on as long as possible and make sure you are fully warmed up before you go in. I'm sure staying warm won't be too much of a problem once you start dancing.
  3. The_Red_Shoes

    RAD Intermediate Exam

    Many years ago we only had full sole soft ballet shoes with a fairly stiff leather sole. This was before the days of the more flexible chrome leather soles which I think appeared around the late 70s and initially the RAD didn't allow. The sole had some depth to it and finished underneath the heel in the same way that the sole on the pointe shoe does - so it needed working hard in order to point the foot, was uncomfortable if your weight was dropped too far back and there was a slight feel of being slightly raised off the level of the ground. So working for years in those shoes was much more similar to working in pointe shoes than modern split sole or even a modern full sole soft shoe. Demi-pointe shoes didn't exist and once we had a supply of used pointe shoes that's what we used to wear all the time in class. The old exam regs for RAD used to require the wearing of soft pointe shoes. Eventually the shoe makers found a market for a shoe that prepared the dancer for working in the stiffer pointe shoe. However the exam specifications don't say that the student must wear "demi-pointe shoes" - it still specifies "soft pointe shoes", so I assume students could still wear old pointe shoes.
  4. The_Red_Shoes

    Rad discovering repertoire classes

    All RAD exams can be repeated as many times as you like. I have come across several people who have repeated an exam that they have already passed once. There are some videos on Youtube of an adult student who seems to have retaken Grade 8 a number of times, choosing different options each time. Doing the DR variation units twice over once on demi and once on pointe seems to me to be a reasonable idea, allowing for a lot of personal development. I'm hoping to do DR Level 2 next, after my Grade 6 exam. I would do all the units on demi but I have been thinking that the Coppelia unit on pointe would not be beyond me and I'd like to do that later on (ie not in the same exam session).
  5. The_Red_Shoes

    Taking Ballet Exams as an adult

    I have RAD Grade 6 coming up in March (if the dates are like last year it could be the very beginning of March). However this depends on my making a speedy recovery from the eye surgery I'm having this coming week. I'm hoping to do better than in my last exam (RAD Inter) which I passed back in June. Partly because I trust I've improved with further work, partly because that was my first exam experience in nearly half a century, partly because I'll be taking it alone in my home studio rather than in the Manchester RAV with a batch of unknown teenagers and most of all because of the greater emphasis on performance in the higher grades. I'm setting myself a target of at least 1 mark higher in every section.
  6. The_Red_Shoes


    That's a good idea, the mental splitting up of the exercise. Actually I have a kind of love-hate relationship with it. When it goes well it's absolutely exhilarating, and I do think it's beneficial for technical development since it throws in absolutely everything required in the turning department at that level.
  7. The_Red_Shoes


    I've just checked in the RAD technical handbook The Foundations of Classical Ballet Technique and it says that for pirouettes en dedans the eyes focus on 1 during preparation, remain on 1 at start of turn and refocus on 1 as soon as possible.So it seems that the RAD prefers spotting to the front as a general rule in en dedans pirouettes. However posé turns spot in direction of travel.
  8. The_Red_Shoes


    When doing this I think how far distant your spot is makes a difference. (Here I'm imagining a diagram like in a schol physics text book with a little stick person and a line showing their line of sight). If your low spot was just a metre or two away then your head would be tilted downwards, but in a large space if you spot to a distant floor level point then your head would still be level. I think any tendencies as to which direction you are more prone to mispositioning your weight make a difference too. I tend to get my weight too far back, so consciously work on keeping eyes lower as well as controlling ribs etc.
  9. The_Red_Shoes


    RAD Advanced Foundation pirouette enchaînement ! --Take a steadying breath, try to focus my eyes and into the second side hoping it will counter the effects of the first side. At the finishing position I do my best impression of a driver who is over the limit trying to convince a police officer that they are perfectly sober.
  10. The_Red_Shoes


    I've been taught that you shouldn't spot any higher than eye level as it will push your weight back. However the teacher at the RAD summer school advised taking a slightly lower spot and when doing posé turns (on quite a long diagonal in a big studio) we were told to spot on the pianist's shoes! For en dedans pirouettes my teacher tells us to turn the head to the finishing corner as soon as we take the preparation. "Your head is already there, just move the body under it" and she is very keen on "See the corner!" in all turning movements. However in the summer she did a Balanchine style course and there they spot to the front. I don't know grade 5, but in the RAD Inter en dedans exercise the BMN shows the head quarter turned which would mean facing 1 and in the Grade 6 book it shows head half turned, so facing finishing corner. Ultimately I think it depends on what works for you.
  11. The_Red_Shoes

    Taking Ballet Exams as an adult

    I have just been notified that I'm having eye surgery the week after next. I thought I would be on the waiting list for at least six months. On the one hand this is great because my eyes have been a big problem for some time and it's not easy dancing with a visual impairment (it's one of my excuses for bad pirouettes, ha ha). However after the op I will not be allowed to dance for six weeks. That brings it up to Christmas, so in fact it will be more like eight weeks of no ballet, which is absolutely depressing. Getting through the summer break was bad enough. I will have to delay taking my Grade 6 exam from March until the summer as it would be a mad panic to get back into shape, finish learning the last few exercises and polish all to exam standard in just two months. The available information about exercise after the operation is very vague. It's not like it's abdominal surgery - however it's important not to raise pressure inside the eye until it's healed, or to do anything that might jar it, irritate it or cause an infection. "Gentle walking" is encouraged - but does that mean a one mile amble or what I would call an easy walk which would be 8-10 miles that don't involve any actual mountain summits? I know I shouldn't bounce about or bend over but how do they define "strenuous" as opposed to "gentle"? I think that tendus or slow rises should be no problem. Or the kind of PBT exercise where you do ports de bras while sitting on a swiss ball. "Lifting heavy weights" is not allowed though "lifting light weights" is permitted after two weeks so would arm exercises where you stand on one end of a theraband and pull on the other be ok? I shall try to grab one of the physios who do the same class as me and ask for any suggestions that they have. Any suggestions from anyone who has had experience of maintaining fitness or getting back into shape after a medical procedure also very welcome. With the difference in energy output I'm also going to have to watch my diet otherwise I'll have turned into a small hippo by January!
  12. The_Red_Shoes

    Adult Ballet: The Ballet Retreat 2019

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have attended three retreats so far (and have signed up for the next London retreat in January) and I have always enjoyed every minute - despite my advanced age. I think they are worth every penny. I always ache like mad but manage to keep going to the end.
  13. The_Red_Shoes

    RAD Advanced Foundation Music

    Gallo Ciego by Agustin Bardi.
  14. The_Red_Shoes

    Rad discovering repertoire classes

    Oh yes, I think DR provides enrichment at each level rather than a single basic structure for learning. I think it would be difficult to make systematic progress by doing only the DR syllabus, and a level is a much greater step than a grade (more like three years or more of work). Maybe this supports the point that the RAD often make that examination work shouldn't be the only content of a class, even a syllabus class.
  15. The_Red_Shoes

    Rad discovering repertoire classes

    I should add that many enthusiastic beginners and post-beginners seem to be particularly keen on repertoire work as they are frequently attend rep workshops, bravely tackling some challenging variations.