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  1. I’m sure there is more chance for a Y7 place simply because that is a new intake of students as a year group, rather than hoping that a Y9 place will be available. In addition, a student hoping to enter WL or any vocational school in Y9 will need to be technically proficient enough to join a class of students who will mostly have been training at WL (or another vocational school) since they were in Y7. A less experienced and less technically proficient student who has talent, musicality, the ‘right’ physique and a burning passion for dance may be successful at audition for Y7 however as to some extent all new Y7 entrants will go back to basics and will be trained in RBS style.
  2. I thought Ian McKellen - a masterclass in acting a song, Steven McRae - also great at putting across a song in just the right manner, embodying his character completely and of course absolutely fabulous dancing, and Laurie Davidson (the actor playing Mr Mistoffelees) were much the best things in the movie. Much as Francesca Hayward has an expressive (and very beautiful) face which the camera loves, I felt it would have been better for her to have done the bare minimum in terms of singing and certainly not to be given the new song - which is instead sung by Taylor Swift in the credits - and for the role to be more as in the stage version, ie for a dancer. I really hope that both Hayward and McRae stay with the Royal Ballet and that he makes a full recovery as soon as possible.
  3. I agree, Fonty - I also trained at a good amateur dance school and as far as I remember our choice was between Gambas and Freeds. There was no discussion about widths/platform size/profile/vamp lengths etc. So thank goodness for the developments in pointe shoes and the wide choice now available, with advice as to which features of which shoes would suit individual dancers, especially as ballet itself has developed and different kinds of choreography place different demands on dancers.
  4. I couldn’t agree more, Anna C. Pointe shoes have developed so that dancers can now almost always find shoes which suit their feet in every respect and can choose different shoes for different roles if they so choose. Whether or not the audience consider that the shoes are the ‘prettiest’ is absolutely immaterial. Furthermore, the wider, more square-looking shoes are not being worn to make balancing easier (DD, only ever an amateur dancer, was quite clear that the size of the platform did not affect her ability to balance once she had danced in the shoes for half an hour or so) but because they are the right shoes for the dancer.
  5. How awful for the studio owner to treat you like this, Viv! I assume that your ballet teacher only teaches at this studio? Is it worth asking her advice as to how to proceed and explaining how you feel about the studio owner’s behaviour towards you? Obviously she may not be able to offer any solution but may be in a position to have some influence with the studio owner, especially as you say she has a state-wide reputation for her teaching and presumably the studio owner wants to keep her on.
  6. I would have said from these photos that the platforms of these pointe shoes range from the smallest being Naghdi’s and the widest being Osipova’s. Naghdi’s certainly are not ‘colossal blocks’ and indeed the largest blocks of these three seem to be Osipova’s.
  7. On thinking about it further, I remember that when my daughter first wore Grishko Vaganova pointe shoes, she said that their very small platform required an initial adjustment period of a couple of lessons but that after that she was able to balance in them just as well as she had done in shoes with wider platforms because they suited her feet with their long vamp etc. She was never aiming to dance professionally, so I would think that Osipova or Naghdi or any Royal Ballet principal dancer would have no difficulty adjusting to and balancing in pointe shoes with a wider or narrower platform if required? Some pointe shoes do look much more square than others but presumably every dancer wears the shoes which suit her feet best - and might wear different shoes for different roles with different requirements?
  8. Are Yasmine Naghdi’s pointe shoes somehow different from the norm? Other than different shapes of block, lengths of vamp etc in different brands and models of pointe shoes and different dancers’ preferences as to how softened their shoes are for various roles, I hadn’t appreciated that some shoes have ‘colossal blocks’ as you say that Naghdi’s do? I think I have read that she wears Bloch pointe shoes but haven’t read anything about their being anything out of the ordinary.
  9. Nothing ventured, nothing gained 😉 if your DD treats the audition as an extra class, in lovely studios and with a pianist and a new teacher who may have a different approach to her usual teacher/s, she will learn from the audition in itself even if it goes no further. I’m sure if she relaxes and demonstrates her love of dancing, it will make up for any steps of which she may be unsure, if there are any. Our teacher always reminded the students that even if they haven’t done a step which is requested during an audition, their attitude towards having a try in any event can go a long way; technique can be taught and built upon whereas talent and the love of dance can’t! Wishing your DD luck and an enjoyable audition class!
  10. I would also ask at dancewear shops, especially if you are looking for posters like the Bloch one above.
  11. I have no personal interest in this as DD’s exam days are over, but at the risk of sounding unnecessarily grumpy (I’m having a bad day 😉) I really don’t see the point in this. It would have been much easier to add the mark received to the certificate, as I remember used to be the case (but isn’t now) on Associates Board music exam certificates - or for the RAD to advise that it is perfectly acceptable to confirm the mark received when confirming the ‘band’ eg when completing application forms. There is still a considerable difference between the highest and lowest mark of the new ‘High Distinction’ and (less so) of the new ‘High Merit’ (and those new band titles sound vaguely G&S-ish to me 😉.) In addition, I’m unfortunately certain that there will be some people referring to the new Merit and Distinction as ‘Low Merit’ and ‘Low Distinction’ - and to be fair that would make sense.
  12. I would echo the suggestion that you may want to visit other shops too while you are in London. Freed may be the best shoes for your DD but she won’t know that if she doesn’t try others. She can always note down which shoes are recommended at each shop and then compare how they each felt before making the final decision and returning to buy whichever shoes she feels are best for her.
  13. Absolutely agree, Kate_N. And never let the audience catch you acting - you should be portraying the character as though it wasn’t a written/choreographed role but something coming to you as you act/dance/sing.
  14. This was 12 years ago now so it was the previous children’s grades syllabus grade 3 and on observing my DD’s older friends in the class, on one occasion along with a qualified RAD teacher friend who was considering moving her DD to the school as she was giving up teaching - she chose not to do so - it was not at all clear that absolutely every child did indeed require at least 18 months if not 2 years in grade 3 as we were all told. There were students who did need additional time, as there are in every grade, but there were also students who had attended all the classes available plus unset classes, who picked up the new work and then the syllabus work quickly and were clearly frustrated at being told that they could not take the exam until they had had at least 18 months of classes and that no individual consideration of individual students’ readiness would happen. The teacher’s later ‘confession’ of her motivation for keeping everyone in the one grade for at least 18 months made me feel that moving DD to a different school was definitely the right decision.
  15. My apologies, for some reason my post has only just been sent and is now out of date - as you have been told that she may not miss her primary exam and may not move to grade 1 and she has reacted as might be expected to the news that she has to stay in primary for even longer, I think the only option is to move her to a different school. I agree with the advice to try out all of the possible schools, regardless of syllabus and to go with your gut feeling - and that of your girls - as to where they are best suited to progress. Lots of luck x
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