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  1. It doesn't sound to me like you're in an absolute beginner's class, FlowerPower. So the problem is not with you (trust me, it's absolutely normal for a beginner to struggle with all those things!), but with the level of the class being higher than you're ready for at present. In no way would I expect there to be any "lengthy sequences" with both arm and leg movements given to a true beginners class. The answer to your question in the final paragraph is that, while there are certain defined positions of the body such as ecarte, efface, arabesque, attitude etc, the teacher is free to set whatever they like in a class situation, either incorporating those positions or not. Especially at the barre, there are many different arm movements, or none, that could be set. (In a beginners class, however, normally the arm would be held in second throughout, or even kept on the hip, in exercises like tendus, glisses etc., to allow the correct technique to be developed in the feet, which is the whole purpose of those exercises.) If this is the only class available to you and there are no absolute beginner classes that you could join, either instead of or in addition to this one, I would certainly think it would be fine for you to ask the teacher if it would be ok for you to forget the arm movements and just focus on the feet, especially at the barre and in allegro - EXCEPT for in the port de bras, where the reverse is the case, i.e. the focus needs to be on the arms rather than the feet because that is the purpose of that exercise.
  2. Adults ARE allowed to join the regular Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1 And Advanced 2 classes at RAD HQ so long as they have passed the previous level i.e. Intermediate in your case https://www.royalacademyofdance.org/classes/our-dance-school-in-london/adult-dance-classes/class-descriptions/ (so you will need to look for these under "Children's syllabus classes"!)- however the timetable for September is not up yet. Compared to most dance schools they are generally very very late at releasing it - 2 weeks before the start of term I believe! (Really annoying when you are trying to organise your schedule, as many of the possible alternatives will already be full long before then!) Also Central do them on a Sunday https://www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk/radclasses.php on a drop-in basis (the only caveat here is that they will soon be relocating to the South Bank but no date for this has yet been announced.) The Cariad Ballet website is here: https://www.cariadballet.com/classes
  3. Yes Grade 3 seems to be a common starting level for adults as it is the first grade containing dances that are not specifically aimed at children. Grades 4 and 5 have "rolling on the floor" as compulsory elements though that may put a fair few older adults off - or restrict them to doing a class award where these parts are optional. However after Grade 3 the Level 2 Discovering Repertoire class unit would be accessible as an alternative, which could then lead on to Intermediate Foundation if pointe work is a possibility.
  4. Yes, unfortunately correct "spotting technique" is expected in ballet exams (not just RAD) especially at vocational level. Re the skaters - I believe that what they do is known (in some circles anyway) as "soft spotting", i.e. they do not use a head action, just focus their eyes on the spot every time they come round to face it, and let them relax and "blur everything out" for the rest of the time. Personally I find that doing it this way makes me much less dizzy than "ballet spotting" does, so there must be something in it! However for ballet it simply does not "look right", so I guess you'll just have to persevere if you want to take exams, EmilyR.
  5. The "minimum" age is just that - the lowest possible age at which you are permitted to enter. It is NOT meant to be the "recommended" or "average" age - on the contrary, only a truly exceptional student would be fast-tracked to that extent. The current ISTD higher grades (5 and 6) are intended for teens who have the maturity to interpret them, rather than just execute the movements. (The minimum age for the vocationals is probably a throwback to the old graded syllabus, which had only four grades, not six, meaning that the vocationals would have been reached much earlier.)
  6. In ISTD, Grade 6 is the last of the graded exams anyway, so if you are doing it this summer and wanted to stick with ISTD, you should be looking for an Intermediate Foundation or Intermediate class. If you wanted to move to RAD I would make the same suggestion - the RAD Higher Grades 6-8 are totally different from what you are used to - more dancey, all set, and less technical. Hope this helps.
  7. Grrr I really hate this one-size-fits-all approach! MummytoIzzy, I'm glad you have managed to find another school that seems much more suitable for your daughter. I am pretty shocked at the casual way that you were treated by bumping her up to G2 with no prior discussion or explanation, when you had specifically enrolled for G1! (I would have expected something along the lines of "I'm really sorry, but we actually haven't had enough enrollments for G1 to be able to run the class this term. It may be possible to fit your daughter into either the Primary or the G2 class. I would suggest attending a trial class of each so that we can decide together which, if either, might be the most suitable - alternatively I can offer you a full refund now so that you can look for somewhere that can accommodate your needs better than I can right now.") Her behaviour is a big red flag and IMO you have made the right decision.
  8. The syllabus should be available to download from the ISTD website and you can buy the syllabus book from their online shop
  9. Actually Viv I do agree with you! I was just trying to think of a reason. I guess the other point is that the variations only have some of the steps on one side, whereas the development exercises have to be shown on both sides. Most people who have tried DR so far seem to have plunged straight into learning the variation itself (which is, of course, what the "main attraction" of DR is in the first place!), whereas I would imagine that the pedagogic intention would have been to start with the development exercises and get these fully mastered before then learning the actual variation last. Can't see many classes being that patient though! 🙂 I will be interested to see what standard of dancing would be required in practice to pass....
  10. I can only guess that the point is to show the examiner that you have the correct technique during the development exercises, and then the variation can be all about the performance because (s)he already knows how well you can do the steps..... And as Sophie Rebecca said above, they are not always exactly the same step as in the variation - sometimes they are the "pure" step from which the choreography would have been derived.
  11. Not saying otherwise - just that you couldn't do it by going straight from level 2 to level 3 and level 4 in the same way as you would Grade 2 to Grade 4. Level 4 is very advanced!
  12. I think the target market is squarely the second option, i.e. the adult returners. I can't imagine an adult complete beginner being able to work straight through this syllabus to Level 4 (without doing a lot of hard work outside it, anyway.)
  13. I believe they already did change it following the original trial in response to feedback, so no, this is the "final finished version" and they won't be changing it again now for the foreseeable future. A shame you're not enjoying it, Sophie, as I recall you were really looking forward to learning it before? I totally get what you mean about the development exercises being different from how it is in the variation though. Another problem is that with the modular structure, what are you meant to do for barre and centre once you have passed that unit? Presumably you could easily find yourself in the position of wanting to study the Level 3 classwork unit alongside the level 2 variations.... while others in the class would still be on Level 2.
  14. Hi yes Primary or Grade 1 would be the only real options for a 6-year-old - and if she has already done a year of dance she should not have any problems starting in Grade 1. In RAD Primary is mainly done in parallel and they do not start the formal barre until Grade 2, so she will not have missed out on anything. Although I am strongly opposed to the principle of grouping pupils by age rather than ability, and believe Grade 3 is the highest level at which it is appropriate to start even an older beginner off in (in RAD) there are always exceptions to every rule, such as the girl in NZ mentioned above.
  15. I guess since this work is so new, no-one really knows what the examiners are looking for yet? Viv I agree, the barre is very very basic (but a good solid barre for an adult beginner looking to go on to Inter Foundation afterwards) - but to me this could have formed a barre for a new "Level 1 Preparatory Vocational" exam rather than for Level 2 DR. The centre work seems to jump up to the correct Level 2 however with the pirouettes etc. And yes it is the development exercises that prepare you for the variation, not this. TBH I don't really get the point of the classwork unit at all - why not just do as you say and have barres and centres tailored to each variation?
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