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About Dance*is*life

  • Birthday August 15

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    My family, ballet, theatre and musical theatre, music, books,films etc etc.

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  1. I have a male student at the moment and have trained quite a few others, one of whom trained at Elmhurst upper school and turned pro. My current one was one of the few in his class who simply couldn't cope with zoom. However, unlike the handful of girls who refused to do zoom, he came back, which has shown me that he is keen. Boys seem to take longer to mature and develop strength and co-ordination, but get there in the end! I would wait and send him at 16. I'm sure he'll be ready then. I was told about Saturday all boys classes at London Boys Ballet School in Finsbury Park. Something like that would be wonderful for all those lone boys in all girl classes!
  2. The RAD have introduced many overall concessions due to Covid, such as not having to prepare exercises on both sides - these have become teacher's or candidate's choice of sides. The special consideration is individual and not Covid related.
  3. I go back all the way to the '60s in turning dead pointe shoes into soft shoes - no ready made demi-pointes! In addition we only had lamb's wool to pad the pointe shoes -:no ouch pouches or whatever they call them. I always took the shank out to soften the inner sole as much as possible - it gave much more flexibility for allegro in particular. I would say that if you're using demi-pointes for regular class work, then do what you wish, but if it's for exams, I would take out the shank.
  4. In our school we found that kids who were not particularly talented and danced for a hobby, because they simply enjoyed it or because their friends went or whatever, discovered during the pandemic that there were other ways of spending their spare time than dancing every day after school and so gave up. However, the more serious students have kept going - I suppose Covid divided them up into two natural groups of those for whom dancing is the same as breathing - a necessity- and those who dance because their mums sent them to ballet class when they were little and they just stayed. So in answer to your question I believe that the pandemic has not significantly affected those students who would apply for Associate programmes and that they will still apply for them. However it may well be that it has affected the standards of technique - at least I can see it has in our school. Hopefully this can be revereed over time..........?.
  5. Thank you so much everyone! You've been really helpful ! I know that his mum is taking him on a tour of the Opera House, but haven't yet heard if they managed anything else. Anyway, I shall take note of your recommendations for other students. In the course of my enquiries, I discovered London Boys Ballet School. Unfortunately their trip wasn't over a Saturday, so he couldn't take classes there, but I see that they have a summer school. I know it's a pretty new school, but they apparently have about 150 boys currently training there. So incredible for all the normally lone boys to actually dance in a class of boys! Does anyone have any info about the summer school? That might be something very special to recommend to our few brave boys! Now that travel is opening up more - next summer might finally see us sending students away to a summer school!
  6. Would they be suitable for a boy of RAD IF standard?
  7. A 13 year old male student of mine is flying with his mum to London next week for a few days. Does anyone know of a drop in class he can take or anywhere that would allow him to watch a boys' class? He has a Covid recovery certificate. I've recommended that they do a tour of the opera house. Any other suggestions? Would the RAD centenary exhibit at the V & A interest him? They will be staying in the Covent Garden area, lucky them! Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
  8. Our Grade 1s do twice a week 45 minutes, which goes up to an hour twice a week in Grade 2. We tend to add on other genres gradually so that by Grade 5 they have 2 x 90 minute ballet, modern, jazz and flamenco. You do have to be careful not to overload growing bodies however much they love it and they do need to have playtime too! The quality of the teaching is more important than the quantity!
  9. If they seem to be taking a long time it might be worthwhile contacting them. We did and then discovered that they hadn't received all the forms! We resubmitted a couple and once that was done they did try to speed things up. We got the results eventually after about 10 weeks. I'm not holding my breath for receiving the certificates!
  10. I think it all depends very much on the school and the demands of the students. I am always rather surprised to see one hour ballet classes even at RAD headquarters in London, but I gather this is the norm in the UK. On the other hand, the UK has the excellent associate schemes and of course vocational schools for the serious students.
  11. It's not just all on the boys either - the girls have to coordinate their moves to help the boys. There's a lot of timing and coordination to be developed. And trust! I wish there were more pas de deux courses for those who don't normally have the opportunity. Most pre vocational students hardly get to see a boy let alone start partnering!
  12. Some of my students have joined Laetitia's workshops on Zoom and they adore them! She is very clever at adapting the rep pieces for smaller spaces and explains really well. Having taught on Zoom for 6 months I know how difficult it can be. We are now back in the studio, but I was happy to give them permission to miss my class, so that they could participate in her last workshop on Zoom! They glow when they talk about her workshops! Wish I weren't too old and decrepit to join these adult classes!
  13. Not a mother of a dancer, but a grandmother now, who has spent her life from age 3 1/2 until today within the ballet or dancing world. I will always be grateful to my late parents for supporting me all the way through training, a performing career and teaching. I wouldn't change anything in my life even though I never became the second Margot Fonteyn that my family predicted for me!!! Sticking at dance training - especially in today's world gives a child so much -the strength of character and work ethic it builds, will stay with them for life whatever happens. People often say that they envy me for working in a field that I love so much and which at the end of the day has filled my life with beauty and given me great satisfaction. Yes your children are missing out on certain things, but that's their decision. This epidemic has shown us that for those who are not totally dedicated a glimpse into another life without every spare moment being spent dancing may push them to give up - our school has lost quite a few pupils because of this. Therefore if your child truly wants to continue down this path, your support is a blessing for them, even if in the end they choose a different career or a different career chooses them!
  14. I have seen both versions and enjoyed both very much. The students danced beautifully and if you didn't know and hadn't seen the original cast, you probably wouldn't have noticed anything different, but I had, so yes obviously the professional dancers were better. It's a really lovely version, beautiful choreography and very enjoyable to watch. Loved Clara and Fritz in both versions. Preferred the Sugar Plum Fairy in the first cast.
  15. I personally think that the top vocational schools probably wouldn't accept someone who was only Intermediate level. However there are some excellent vocational schools around who probably would. You are doing a fair number of weekly hours of dancing - that's a good start! I would definitely recommend getting the Intermediate exam at least before applying. Good luck to you - I hope your determination pays off!
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