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Intermediate Foundation as an adult

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There are only a few of us, but my teacher loves teaching this class, says it's the high point of her week. I assume we're  subsidised by the very popular classes like Primary or Zumba.

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Congratulations @The_Red_Shoes I thoroughly enjoyed the video of you :) 

 

I have officially been entered for Grade 7, Intermediate AND Advanced Foundation in October. Not sure if I will be lucky and do them over three days, or whether I will have to do two in one day. It's been a real struggle to get me ready for Advanced Foundation, I'm still not sure I am ready! But my teacher wants me to do it and I don't argue with her. Recently I've been rewarded with comments such as 'that was almost a brisé' and 'one day soon that will look like a grand jete en tournant' so I must be improving... At least I have two more months to keep working and hopefully by October I'll actually feel ready.

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23 hours ago, The_Red_Shoes said:

There are only a few of us, but my teacher loves teaching this class, says it's the high point of her week. I assume we're  subsidised by the very popular classes like Primary or Zumba.


i think a lot of teachers(principals) take that attitude , that  as long as they either cover the pay (  if someone  else teaches and it's a premises they control )  or covers the  room cost ( if  paying for rooms)  then they are happy  to run  the class at that kind of level   ...   you get a keep an adult  student  then potentially they are a steady source of income for the school , advocacy for  school and  for dance  for the foreseeable ... 

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On 10/08/2018 at 09:10, The_Red_Shoes said:

I've been too embarrassed previously to share the film they made,,,

 

I don't know why you were it's lovely & I'm sure it'll inspire others to try or return to ballet, congratulations ❤️ 

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Thank you so much Sophie. It's just that I felt so very visible and  in such a permanent form! But the response has been so positive and, yes, with lots of people saying that they're inspired. My teacher is starting both an evening Adult Beginner class and a daytime Silver Swans next term, so I hope I've acted as a good advert for her teaching. And I'm hoping that, since I am this walking advert, she will continue to find the time for my private lessons so that I can go on with my next step - either the Higher Grades or DR.

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Congratulations, @The_Red_Shoes. I love watching other adults dancing ballet. I wish more people were aware how accessible ballet is to all ages and that it's not just flexible teenagers who can do well.

 

My teacher's putting my in for my Intermediate Foundation exam in November. Was feeling okay about it until I had to start dancing in soft blocks. I also haven't done pointe properly since March and I need to do a lot of work to get that up to exam standard.

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I hated my soft blocks until I got really rough with them - pulled out all the spongey inner sole, repeatedly squashed them in half in both directions until absolutely flat, steamed them over the kettle then squashed and massaged the block until it felt really soft, then steamed them again and wore them while they were cooling and drying so that they shaped to my foot (repeated the steaming a few times until I was satisfied). The end result is like an old worn out pointe shoe only not so grubby and tattered. Now I really like them because they still look really pretty but are comfy to dance in. However soft blocks aren't compulsory for IF.

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Sounds like I've got some work to do! RAD don't make soft blocks compulsory for IF but they are for my dance school - I'm going to have to wear them if I take any further vocational exams anyway and they'll help strengthen my feet so I don't mind so much. It's just an adjustment from dancing in my soft shoes.

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On 11/08/2018 at 14:12, Viv said:

Congratulations @The_Red_Shoes I thoroughly enjoyed the video of you :) 

 

I have officially been entered for Grade 7, Intermediate AND Advanced Foundation in October. Not sure if I will be lucky and do them over three days, or whether I will have to do two in one day. It's been a real struggle to get me ready for Advanced Foundation, I'm still not sure I am ready! But my teacher wants me to do it and I don't argue with her. Recently I've been rewarded with comments such as 'that was almost a brisé' and 'one day soon that will look like a grand jete en tournant' so I must be improving... At least I have two more months to keep working and hopefully by October I'll actually feel ready.

I am finding it rather hard to take it in that a teacher would want a student to take 3 exams in one go!!!!  First of all remembering all three and not muddling them would be a nightmare!  Second of all it's not fair, because it's too much stress and pressure and exhausting.  You are the one that's paying for all this Viv and you CAN say no way!!!   As a teacher I would suggest that you take Grade 7 and Inter together because they're a similar level, but very different in content, so you can separate them easily in your brain!  Advanced Foundation is far far more difficult and you can't get away with "almost a brise" or indeed with anything else not up to  scratch.  I would definitely leave the AF until the next session and if that's a year away, then start learning Advanced 1 and don't worry about the AF exam, which is not compulsory to take before continuing with Adv 1 after Inter.  

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I agree Dance*is*Life. Or better still, save the AF until next year & do it with Grade 8. (For Advanced 1 you have to pass EVERY section individually to pass the whole exam, but I don't think you do for AF any more).

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I tend to agree with staggering your exams as I think you will enjoy the whole experience more.....if they are all done at once it may leave you feeling bereft with not having something to work towards for what will then be a much longer period perhaps? I know that since taking my Inter & not having had any classes all summer I am feeling utterly lost & aimless....there may be a chance to work towards DR syllabus but I really want to continue challenging myself so hope to persuade my last exam partner & our teacher to start AF....some say go straight to Advanced 1 but the way I see it is if I do that then that only gives me the Adv 1 & 2 exams to do (well.....there' always Solo Seal of course - ha ha ha!) so in perhaps 2 years I'll have no new thing to push on for....

BTW, I'm not familiar with the numbered RAD grades...is there a point to taking these in addition to Voc grades do people think?

 

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13 hours ago, Peanut68 said:

 I know that since taking my Inter & not having had any classes all summer I am feeling utterly lost & aimless....

I know what you mean. I did the RAD Summer school and the Ballet Retreat,but otherwise it was a bleak and ballet-less stretch of time. Well, I enjoyed having a rest initially and the lovely weather...but a huge chunk of life missing. Now I'm excited that the new term is beginning.

 

I'm not sure that I feel up to tackling Advanced Foundation, mainly because of the pointe work (although the pointe teacher at the Ballet Retreat very unexpectedly said nice things about my pointe work). I'm planning on doing Grades 6-8 next and DR if I can persuade my teacher. I think if I do keep on with pointe work I could do the Coppelia Variation on pointe more easily than Advanced Foundation, so it might be a sort of halfway house.

 

The higher grades are at about Inter level but very dancey and performance based. And a lot less technical. No pointe work! No double pirouettes! No brisés!

 

 

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I teach Grade 7 between IF and Inter. As The_Red_Shoes so acurately put it - no pointe work , double pirouettes or brisés in the exam! And I would add to that no free enchainement!  It's a beautiful syllabus and a charming way to teach my students about the Romantic period in ballet.  I find it also matures them before they tackle Inter after IF.  Of course I continue to work on double pirouettes and pointe work throughout the year as well as other skills that they will need for Inter, but the exam feels more like an exhibition class than an exam, because it's so important to show the right style and quality as much as clean technique.  I hold a demonstration class for the parents just before the exam and they are always thrilled with the "performance"! I don't teach Grade 8 and only rarely 6, but I never tire of teaching Grade 7.

 

With the old vocational syllabus I used to skip AF, but it is an exceptional student nowadays who can take the new Advanced 1 without first studying AF.  AF is really very hard and a challenge in it's own right.  

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On ‎06‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 20:20, Peanut68 said:

.some say go straight to Advanced 1 but the way I see it is if I do that then that only gives me the Adv 1 & 2 exams to do so in perhaps 2 years I'll have no new thing to push on for....

 

Yes that's exactly how I tend to approach things too Peanut68 - which is why I don't get why anyone would want to start DR at level 4, because then there's nowhere to go afterwards!

Edited by youngatheart

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I think there is also a good point to attempting an exam with the intention of aiming for the top marks. 

For people dancing at recreational level I don't see the point of putting yourself through an exam just to aim for a pass!

If you aim for high marks then you may not get a distinction or honours but you will definitely get more than a pass.

So,probably better to take it a bit more slowly ( there's no hurry if you are an older recreational dancer anyway) and achieve something to be proud of.....if you want to bother with taking exams etc that is.

 

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The above post is really about 30-60 year olds!! I am always surprised 60 plus dancers want to do exams! 

Once you hit that 60th decade things are definitely different.

Everything is harder especially getting a good height in arabesque ....and particularly doing a decent penchée.....penchées don't really work unless you can hold your leg at 90 in arabesque as you just cannot get a good line if the leg is lower than this. You can do a reasonable arabesque if the leg is between 45 and 90 and the extension is good and arm line good etc.

 

Jumping gets more difficult .....to accommodate beats and do things like brisees you need more than a couple of inches off the floor!! 

And doing steps like grand jetes en tournant have to be approached with caution because of getting the height but landing on one leg!!

 

Most 60 plus have some degree of age related erosion in hip and knee joints .....it doesn't stop you dancing but you have to monitor yourself more carefully than a younger person.....and remember when in class that some people will be 20/30/40 years younger and you cannot compare to them on the technique level at least (dance quality and musicality are different of course) 

 

I don't know what the marking rules are for much older people taking RAD exams etc. But if they are applied exactly the same way as to a teenager taking the exam then it would of course be much harder for a post 60 year old to get really high marks. A Merit would be their Disticntion I think!! So aiming just for a Pass is okay in that age group if you are attracted to do exams! 

Personally although I came back to ballet at 62 and could have been exam fit by 65 I decided not to go that route in the end because I didn't see that I could get the marks I would have wanted and felt frustrated by that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 07/09/2018 at 22:05, Dance*is*life said:

I teach Grade 7 between IF and Inter. As The_Red_Shoes so acurately put it - no pointe work , double pirouettes or brisés in the exam! And I would add to that no free enchainement!  It's a beautiful syllabus and a charming way to teach my students about the Romantic period in ballet.  I find it also matures them before they tackle Inter after IF.  Of course I continue to work on double pirouettes and pointe work throughout the year as well as other skills that they will need for Inter, but the exam feels more like an exhibition class than an exam, because it's so important to show the right style and quality as much as clean technique.  I hold a demonstration class for the parents just before the exam and they are always thrilled with the "performance"! I don't teach Grade 8 and only rarely 6, but I never tire of teaching Grade 7.

 

With the old vocational syllabus I used to skip AF, but it is an exceptional student nowadays who can take the new Advanced 1 without first studying AF.  AF is really very hard and a challenge in it's own right.  

My DD has just taken her Grade 8. That was truly a lovely grade to finish on. Very performance focused with each dancer leaving the studio whilst each entrant performed on their own. The only downside is that some size of studios can truly limit the performance abilities of the dancer for Grade 8. 🙆‍♀️

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I agree that Grade 8 is lovely too - I never really had the opportunity to teach it, because we only have one exam session a year and I tend to concentrate on the vocationals, so I never really learn it properly.  Shame, I know!  I am so glad that they haven't done away with the higher grades!

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On 07/09/2018 at 22:05, Dance*is*life said:

I teach Grade 7 between IF and Inter. As The_Red_Shoes so acurately put it - no pointe work , double pirouettes or brisés in the exam! And I would add to that no free enchainement!  It's a beautiful syllabus and a charming way to teach my students about the Romantic period in ballet.

 

I couldn't agree more, when my exam journey began my teacher started me at inter foundation this was after about a year of a general adult class, it gave me a great technical grounding we've now moved to Grade 7 which is just so beautiful & has given my dancing so much more quality, the two together have been perfect for an adult beginner like myself.

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I itvseened wrongly presumed the numbered grades were the technical ones & the vocational more performance.... looks like I have a new journey to look to begin! I do want to remain challenged so what level would you recommend? (Just did Inter)

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In my dance school the usual order of exams is IF, Grade 6, Inter, Grade 7,then posssibly AF...doesn't usually carry on any further after that as the teens have generally headed off either to vocational school or uni by then. Grades 6, 7 and 8 are all Level 3 exams, like Inter. I'm looking forward to doing Grade 7 as it's so beautiful but I'm planning on taking Grade 6 first just to have enough exams to keep me going for a few years. If I do Grades 6, 7 and 8 and three levels of DR that would be a good few years' worth of fresh challenges ahead of me!

 

Grade 8 is purely performance based, consisting entirely of four solo dances danced as if they are stage performances (after a short barre and a polonaise entry which are not marked).

 

The higher grades have a really elegant and flattering uniform too, wide choice of colours and a floaty mid-calf length skirt.

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Yes Peanut68, you did have it the wrong way round! The numbered Grades up to and including Grade 5 come first, then the pathway splits into the Higher Grades 6-8 and the Vocationals (and now DR). Intermediate Foundation is the first vocational, often studied alongside Grade 5 for those going down the Vocational route. if both pathways are studied concurrently, the order of taking the exams after grade 5 is frequently the one listed by The Red Shoes. However some schools prefer everyone to finish the numbered Grades first before starting on the Vocationals, in which case Intermediate Foundation may be skipped and the Vocationals begun at Intermediate. There is no "right way", a lot depends on if/when the student is ready for pointe work, as the Vocationals require it but the Higher Grades do not.

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On 10/09/2018 at 16:15, The_Red_Shoes said:

In my dance school the usual order of exams is IF, Grade 6, Inter, Grade 7,then posssibly AF...doesn't usually carry on any further after that as the teens have generally headed off either to vocational school or uni by then. Grades 6, 7 and 8 are all Level 3 exams, like Inter. 

Only last June (2017) my DD took Grade 6  whilst still in ye10 but with US looming on the horizon we had a quiet word with her teacher. Grade 7 was taken at Christmas then Grade 8 and Inter taken in June with a two day gap sandwiched between GCSE’s. Certainly not recommended but as you say, so many don’t make the top Grades as they literally run out of time. Which must be a shame for the teachers. 

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Having said above that I'm not so interested in doing classes in order to take exams ...in the summer I did some taster classes for the new RAD Rep course. 

I really enjoyed these classes and am hoping to start a new class in this Rep at level two....with two very enjoyable variations from Coppelia and Giselle.

However the level two barre is VERY easy!! 

Apparently you can mix and match barre levels and variation levels if you want to actually take an exam. ...As the level three barre seems more appropriate for the level two variations it seemed to me ....although where centre work is concerned this is aimed at doing exercises which support the variation you are attempting which is good. 

If the class does start up am still not sure will eventually take the exam but might just be tempted in this case because it's much more performance based than technique based( though of course you have to be able to pull off all the steps in the variations well for it to look good) 

I liked the level three variation we did ( one of the Bluebird variations from Sleeping Beauty) too. 

We did not touch much on level four on this course just tried some of the steps....eg "lame ducks" with pose turns ...quite tricky rhythmically to do well ...but first things first! I suspect the level four ones will be difficult! 

It is interesting that you can take these Rep. Exams on pointe or just on Demi. Perhaps a nod to older dancers like myself? But I think those on pointe should be marked differently ( eg two separate exams) as it is mostly harder on pointe....except perhaps for faster chainees turns!! 

 

Just on a point another poster made if time should "run out "for a student in their current dancing school because they are off to Uni/college  etc then they can always look in the area they are moving to in case it's possible to continue with their training in another local RAD school etc. Quite a lot of RAD ...but not all...do separate adult classes now but if not joining some older teens in local classes would be okay for a Uni student anyway I would have thought. 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, LinMM said:

However the level two barre is VERY easy!!

 

The "class" unit at each level is much easier than the other syllabi at the same level as well as being more straightforward, in that the exercises aren't generally so complicated, mind-bending or leg-twisting. I'm not sure why the designers of the syllabus decided to do it that way - unless it's to help ease mature dancers gently into taking exams.The centre maybe somewhat less so than the barre (see Allegro 3). The actual variations however contain some steps that are more difficult than in the corresponding grades, eg cabrioles, entrechat trois, entrechat cinque and sauts de basque in the Giselle variation. And the series  of little jetés turning, which used to make a regular appearance in  classes in my youth* (maybe old-old-old Elementary?) but which I haven't done for years. But they are all thoroughly prepared for in the development exercises.

1 hour ago, LinMM said:

Perhaps a nod to older dancers

 

I think they've put various measures in place to make these exams more appealing to older students - the modular structure, the very structured practice of steps in development exercises, options that don't impact at all on marks (eg pointe or flat, speed of chaînés, beat or don't beat) as well as the mark scheme which allocates a greater proportion of marks to musicality and performance than in other exams. For the variations there are two sections of technique marks each worth 10, with the more technical Correct Placement, Control and Line separate from Coordination, Space and Dynamics which seem to me to relate more to quality.They also mention " show awareness of correct technique" which suggests to me that they will give credit for showing that you understand and are trying to apply correct technique even if you don't manage to carry it off. I think the fact that the development exercises are marked as well as the variation also allows the chance to demonstrate technical command of the vocabulary in a simpler setting as well as fully embedded in complex choreography.

 

(*As far as I recall in ancient times we used to do a far wider variety of turning steps on the diagonal,  on demi/pointe but particularly jumped, than I ever seem to do nowadays - petits pas de basque sautés en tournant, petits brisés en tournant (oh, the horror!), relevés passés  devant with a turn alternating en dedans and en dehors, a step that I think was called emboîtés en tournant with a relevé passé devant with a half turn, replacing the supporting foot with the other while continuing to turn in the same direction - all particularly gruelling because they don't travel much so it takes an age to cover the diagonal! Do any other "old" dancers recall steps, whether favourites or not-at-all-missed, that don't appear often on the menu nowadays?)

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Mark Kimmitt had us doing emboités on intensive week. Like half a coupé turn combined with a little jump and then immediately switching feet on the other side. ecch.

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After saying I hadn't come across those emboîté turns for donkeys' years, we had them in my open Adult class today. The teacher had evidently been reading my mind (or is lurking here). She agreed that they used to be in the old RAD Elementary (I recall them in BBO Elementary)  but maybe have been shifted elsewhere over the years in syllabus revisions. I checked and found them in the pointe section at Advanced 1 where they are calling them relevés passés by half turns en diagonale. Still takes about 20 of them to get across the room and very dizzy-making.

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I love emboité turns. Really lovely feeling of moving and turning and jumping, all at once. I prefer them to some big jumps.

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Yes, I too found the new Discovering Repertoire a bit of a puzzle.  I can't figure out the right levels for it.  The class work is really easy, but the dances on pointe are on a totally different level. I had thought to teach it to my students who passed Intermediate last year, but in the end I decided to work on Advanced Foundation instead.  I agree that it seems geared more for adults, who would be more likely to attempt the dances in soft shoes.

 

I really think that the Higher Grades would be a great choice for adult dancers.   I like to do Grade 7 between the vocationals IF and Inter, as technically it fits in well and it develops their artistry as well as enlarging their vocabulary.  I also like the fact that it allows the students who are not physically suited to classical ballet to do well in an exam, because there's also character and free movement, which means that less points are awarded to classical technique - probably another factor that would encourage adult students. The exercises are long and interesting and dance quality is very important as well as an understanding of the romantic period style.  I think they need maturity to do justice to them. 

 

 

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I will look into the RAD grade 7 then ....just to follow the syllabus not do an exam......as I really love character dances and it does seem....from what people say....to be a nice dancey grade!! 

I know there is a class in London taught by Michelle Harrison but unfortunately it's on a night I can't do at the moment....without staying up in London for three days!! 

There could be a class locally but when I looked into this before a few years back now when I first returned to ballet I couldn't find any RAD adult grade classes at that time so I switched to BBO instead. Have done grade 4,5,6 and grade 7 in BBO ( just syllabus not the exams) and then decided to have a break from syllabus classes....so quite a while now since I've done one. 

Since then Ive had three teachers who I mainly use for really focussing on technique and used the other time for Performance based groups etc. 

Im thinking this will be my  last year of performing so may do more syllabus again plus attend workshops for choreography experience.

The RAD rep combined with Grade 7 sounds perfect! 

 

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