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  1. Oh thanks for finding all these, Sophie. Hmm, I'm very tempted by the York Ballet Seminar but given that I'm doing the RAD summer course I don't think it would be feasible. I'd like to do Chelsea Ballet summer school but not sure I can justify hopping to and from London every week or two (as it is I'm already doing the London Ballet Retreat shortly before the RAD). Doing something in August would be good to spread the summer activity out a bit. (Goes away to count the pennies/look for cheap train tickets.)
  2. That's the tricky one, isn't it, because when going full out for the best expressive performance it's easy to overlook the technical aspects. I suppose we just have to get the required technical details so ingrained and automatic that they stay there even when we are not directly concentrating on them. My highest technique mark is (unsurprisingly) for the Barre section as that's where I can directly focus on placement and control. However Space, Dynamics and Coordination are all part of the technique marks and they do relate directly to dance quality.
  3. When you watch Royal Ballet videos of their daily class, you notice how they all have that sort of "Oh no" grimace on their faces when it comes to the calf rises. My teacher has replaced the middle of the class free stretch time with calf rises in our advanced class - and everyone groans. Especially when people are very flexible, stretching is a lovely pleasant feeling and relaxing thing to do whereas strengthening exercises are always torture - but all the more necessary! I've added The Rises to my regular at home exercise routine. I try to make that focus on alignment feel calm and meditative - rather than desperately muttering "just another 8 to go" through gritted teeth.
  4. Progressing Ballet Technique. There is a Junior level and some introductory exercises for even before that. As I said, my teacher introduces the first few exercises in her Primary classes..
  5. Have you and your teacher identified specific things to work on that will make a difference? My feeling is that the biggest difference I can make to improved technique overall is to continue to develop stamina to maintain lightness and oomph and to improve my turnout and 5th position throughout. They are things that I have been working hard on over the last year, and there has been an improvement, but there needs to be more. I will also be working very hard specifically on pivoty things, as there's a lot in Grade 7. I also think that if I got a 7 for Musicality and Performance I should be able to get 8s as they are not limited by my physical/technical shortcomings. I do a lot of mental work on the musicality and EPIC side of it - kind of analysing the music and the choregraphy and working out the flow, phrasing and emphasis and how I will express that in my dancing.
  6. I would add PBT exercises. They mainly use a big yoga ball, some theraband and smaller ball work. In my dance school it is introduced right from Primary, although there isn't time to do it regularly all through the year and we are encouraged to continue at home with the exercises introduced in class or my teacher may recommend a particular exercise to support a technique. If they don't do PBT at your daughter's dance school, a DVD and online videos are available on the PBT website which give progressions of exercises, music and clear demonstrations. Again, the issue is doing the appropriate level* for the individual and performing the exercises correctly, although the videos do give very detailed explanations. *NB the students on the video are terrifyingly strong and competent and I find myself mainly working at the little kids level!
  7. Grade 6 result today -a Pass with 53, so 2 marks away from a Merit and I met my personal target of getting 10 more than in my Inter last year. A bit disappointed to only get a 4 for centre as that was a section I was expecting to do well in. I think I was nervous at the beginning of the centre and gradually settled down as I definitely wasn't expecting to do better in allegro at my advanced age. However I was chuffed to get a 7 for musicality and performance. So now I know where to focus on improving for Grade 7 and a target of at least +2 is doable.
  8. I have a similar problem - a lack of strength and control in adage type movements when the right leg is the supporting leg and the left is the working leg. I think it's very much related to the "dominant leg" question on another thread with one side being more flexible and the other more strong. I'm concentrating on strengthening the supporting side and on using the torso and spine to control the hips. I can really feel the difference between the two sides. If I stand on my left leg and put my hand on my waist I can feel a wall of super-strong corsetry that just isn't there in the same way on the right hand side. So I'm working on building strength and control in the lats, back and abdominals equally on both sides. I definitely think of it as a problem mainly of the supporting side rather than of the working leg. And I'm trying to work equally on both sides. I realise that if I practice or mark a movement it will automatically be on my "favourite" side and I'm sure that has an effect over time.
  9. I started work on the Grade 7 syllabus today - learned all the barre except for the coupé fouetté raccourci. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I'm allowing a full calendar year to work on it (i did Grade 6 in 6 months). I want to build up my stamina and also to be as confident in the Free Movement and Character as in the Classical. I feel that I didn't allow enough time to fully master those sections while preparing for grade 6.
  10. Did my Grade 6 exam this afternoon. I didn't embarrass nyself - I don't think I made any outstandingly dreadful mistakes. I was a bit trembly with nerves. The examiner was very nice and she gave me plenty of little rests - just as well as I was doing the exam alone so there were no moments of rest when somebody else was dancing! I think I did the barre and port de bras quite well, in the pirouette exercise the connecting steps could have been neater but turns were fine, adage some slight wobbles but generally ok. I've done the allegros better but don't think they were horrendous. Dance was ok, as were free movement and character. The important thing is that I do think that I managed to perform/project/communicate at least most of the time. Despite having the driest mouth I ever had. When I had a drink of water it didn't seem to wet it at all - positively desiccated.
  11. One week to go to my Grade 6 exam! I was feeling quite unready and anxious up to a couple of weeks ago. I had missed a number of weeks before Christmas after I had surgery and was worried that I hadn't been able to put in enough time to replace the missing lessons.However quite suddenly something switched and I felt calm and prepared. in general. Apart from this week deciding that the waistband of my skirt felt uncomfortable and buying a different one that turned out to be a slightly different colour. However, it feels really good on and the specs say that the skirt should be "matching or toning" and although a different shade it does look beautiful with the leotard - so that panic is over. Now I'm going around perpetually humming the first few bars of the Classical dance 6/8 time and mentally chanting "and 1 and 2 an-tic-i-pate". You have to be fast off the starting blocks with that dance! The other evening I was marking through the port de bras in the kitchen while waiting for the kettle to boil (as one does) using my reflection in the window to check my lines when I noticed that a neighbour was standing at his window staring at me, obviously thinking "What on earth is she doing?" Oh well, I have confirmed to the world at large that I'm bonkers, can't be helped.
  12. Congratulations and good luck with seeking funding! Sometimes there are very localised foundations that can give bursaries that are well worth hunting for - they may be quite obscure. For instance when one of my daughters went to agricultural college without a grant she had funding from a seventeenth century charity that was set up to "educate a poor boy" from the area (they evidently widened their criteria at some point in history) and if I recall rightly it was not the only only one she applied for. My local parish has a (small) educational grant available too that anyone who lives in the parish can apply for. My other daughter had a local authority grant for vocational school, but that was a long time ago and I doubt that local authorities can find the money nowadays.
  13. I have recently reverted to wearing leather ballet shoes rather than stretch canvas for this reason.
  14. I find the poshest, best quality tights are the ones that tend to squash my toes and the most comfortable are the cheaper ones as they are softer and stretchier. I usually buy own-brand multi-pack from Move and I make sure that they are a big enough size.
  15. I find that if my tights are of the very strongly elasticated kind they squash my toes together and then I can't spread them to give a wider platform for balance.
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