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Istd senior ballet awards in March


balletmum20
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Yes, DD due there for the 4th time in March, having done Grade 3, Grade 4 , Grade 5 and now the Grade 6 / Inter F. classes in sequence. Which grade has your dancer been entered into?

 

The classes (can be 1,2,3 or 4 for each grade, depending on entries) are all set free enchainements from the syllabus for their grade on stage by an experienced ISTD teacher. There will be rows of competitors on stage, with maybe 5 of 6 in a row, 5 or 6 deep. After each enchainement has been taught (by giving the steps by name, along with brief demonstration by the teacher in the lower grades), the competitors get a chance to dance it through as a group to practice, then they dance it lne by line, with each line coming to the front in turn. A new line comes to the front for each new enchainement. The class finishes by the competitors coming onto the stage in small groups to dance the set dance for their grade. This link: http://www.hudsonpicturesphoto.com/istd-senior-awards-2014.html may be helpful as some of the 'panoramic' pictures give you an idea of how it is set up.

 

The whole thing is watched by a panel of judges. Competitors from all classes for the same grade come back to the stage and the numbers of competitors who will go through to the final are called. The final may follow immediately or within the same day, and is of exactly the same format, though some of the enchainements are occasionalkly extended for the final.

 

Whether your child will find it 'hard' depends. It is very high intensity. The competitors have to know the terminology to pick up the enchainement quickly with minimal rehearsal or explanation (though if someone is obviously concerned, the teacher may give some additional guidance), and then dance it 'fully' with commitment and good technique. However, there is no 'solo' work, so in that sense it is 'easier;' than other competitions such as festivals, and my understanding from DD is that there is a good deal of cameraderie backstage.

 

The venue is nice - a big theatre, decent cafe etc. Your child disappears backstage well before the class into the care of the ISTD, so there is very little opportunity for ballet-momness.

 

I find it terrifying, but DD finds it less scary than dancing at e.g. a festival because it is more like a standard ISTD ballet class and she doesn't have to remember 'her own routine', just do what she has been instructed to do.

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The other thing to bear in mind is that EVERYTHING that your child does is judged, not just the final performance of the enchainement. DD has always been told by her teacher that even when marking / rehearsing the enchainement for the first time, she should do so as fully as possible, with the best possible technique, rather that the 'minimal movement' shorthand marking that she might do in a normal class.

 

If you say to your DD that it is like a very long series of the 'free work' sections that she has done in every ISTD ballet exam, she'll probably have a good idea what to expect in terms of content. In Grade 4, IME, the teacher will still do some demonstration as well as names for each step, and is also likely to stay on stage for more of the time. Last year's grade 5 was a little disconcerting as the teacher basically spoke through the steps and then pretty much disappeared while the competitors did them, then reappeared for the next enchainement!

 

Oh, and the grade is arranged  are in strict height order - basically the first number and the last number in the grade will be the shortest, then the second and the penultimate, all the way up to the tallest in the middle (DD is always one of those, although she's very young for her grade). Imagine every competitor from the entire grade ranged across the stage - the idea is that they form a perfect wave up from the shortest, to the tallest, then back again. So tell your DD not to worry if she's completely separated from friends or others from her dance school.

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It's a great experience and always been a lovely day out. The dancers make life long friends here. My DD has many from the UK and Italy from the awards and is now at vocational school with a couple! Enjoy it and I look forward to hearing about your day!

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Is anyone going to the Ballet Awards on Sunday, 6th March?

 

Our DD will be taking part in the Intermediate class first thing in the morning and it would be nice to meet anyone there from the forum.

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The other thing to bear in mind is that EVERYTHING that your child does is judged, not just the final performance of the enchainement. DD has always been told by her teacher that even when marking / rehearsing the enchainement for the first time, she should do so as fully as possible, with the best possible technique, rather that the 'minimal movement' shorthand marking that she might do in a normal class.

 

If you say to your DD that it is like a very long series of the 'free work' sections that she has done in every ISTD ballet exam, she'll probably have a good idea what to expect in terms of content. In Grade 4, IME, the teacher will still do some demonstration as well as names for each step, and is also likely to stay on stage for more of the time. Last year's grade 5 was a little disconcerting as the teacher basically spoke through the steps and then pretty much disappeared while the competitors did them, then reappeared for the next enchainement!

 

Oh, and the grade is arranged  are in strict height order - basically the first number and the last number in the grade will be the shortest, then the second and the penultimate, all the way up to the tallest in the middle (DD is always one of those, although she's very young for her grade). Imagine every competitor from the entire grade ranged across the stage - the idea is that they form a perfect wave up from the shortest, to the tallest, then back again. So tell your DD not to worry if she's completely separated from friends or others from her dance school.

What would be regarded as very young relating to her grade PT?

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I believe that the maximum ages for this year's event are now lower than in previous years.

 

The ISTD website has a page giving details of maximum ages and other useful information. Sorry I can't post a link here.

 

For Grade 4, it says 'under 13 yrs with the age being as at 1st Sep, 2015.'

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There have been a few changes of regulations this year, and it will be interesting to see if it has a noticeable effect on the age of dancers.

 

The maximum ages have come down I think, AND the dancers have to have taken the relevant grade within the last 18 months. Previously DD has chatted with a few girls much older than her, who have taken the exams a long time previously, and now taking much higher graded classes - just perhaps not taking the exams, or maybe taking other exam awarding body exams, so as to still qualify for lower grades at the ballet awards. Not common, but definitely a few.

 

DD's experience - of always being the youngest of those around her, though she has always been above the minimum age for taking that exam - is perhaps not typical, because she is very tall. This means that where there were three classes, she was always in the middle, tallest group, and thus the whole group has tended to be older. The ages of those at the shorter ends may have been, on average, much younger IYSWIM?

 

DD is in the Inter Foundation / Grade 6 class - minimum age will probably be around 10-11, because although the minimum age to take Grade 6 is 9, that for Inter Foundation is 11.

 

Youngest for other grades will be in line with youngest ages for taking the exams, given in the syllabi:

7 for Grade 3

9 for Grades 4 and 5.

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Ballettwoshoes, I don't know, because there is no Advanced Foundation in ISTD, just:

- Inter foundation: Minimum age 11

- Intermediate: Minimum age 12

- Advanced 1: Minimum age 14

- Advanced 2: Minimum age 14

 

In DD's, reasonably serious but non-vocational, ISTD-taking dance school, taking Inter foundation at around 13 is 'normal'. Of DD's cohort, the youngest taking it recently was 12, the oldest just turned 14.

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Oh I see, she was invited to the ISTD awards last year after getting very good marks in her Intermediate exam, so she must have only just been old enough. I realise they don't really mean that much in the ballet world of course, but we just go along with what her school enters her and her dance friends into.

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 we just go along with what her school enters her and her dance friends into.

 

Exactly! Me too. DD has ended up doing, on average, a ballet exam a year, at the point when the school recommends it - sometimes after 2 terms in that grade, sometimes after 3, once after 4 - and is where she is. The ISTD ballet awards are a bit of a tradition at her school, with anything from 6 to 12+ people taking part in the various grades, and we go because DD is given the forms! She's not going to do ballet vocationally (I've read the 'where does it lead to' thread with interest - for DD, the other things she does very well at lead to more likely and productive places) but for her it is part of the whole 'experience of the dance world' that will have been an important part of her childhood and adolescence.

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I'm am totally exhusted after a long day at the awards, my dd was in the grade 4 - lovely day what I was quite shocked about is the age difference, my dd is 10 years old, most the girl were a lot older with the oldest being 15, and of course a 15 year old is a lot stronger than a 10 year old! But a lovely day but a very long day xx

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Just a note for reference - if your child studies RAD as well as ISTD that may affect whether or not they can enter.  My daughter has been restricted from entering the past couple of years as her RAD grade is higher. 

 

Although it is an ISTD competition they consider all ballet exam board achievements.

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Just a note for reference - if your child studies RAD as well as ISTD that may affect whether or not they can enter.  My daughter has been restricted from entering the past couple of years as her RAD grade is higher. 

 

Although it is an ISTD competition they consider all ballet exam board achievements.

This affected my DD this year, first time shes not done the awards for 5 years.

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Website and the rules sent to us with our application form say 'under 13 on 1st September 2015', so the oldest a competitor in the Grade 4 class could now be is 13 if the rules are interpreted literally (ie 'under 13' on that date, not '13 or under').

 

Perhaps there were a lot of competitors who would have fallen foul of the age rules this year so they were relaxed after the website / forms were created? One of DD's school - not dance school - contemporaries was in Grade 4, and she would either be 12 or just turned 13.

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Website and the rules sent to us with our application form say 'under 13 on 1st September 2015', so the oldest a competitor in the Grade 4 class could now be is 13 if the rules are interpreted literally (ie 'under 13' on that date, not '13 or under').

 

Perhaps there were a lot of competitors who would have fallen foul of the age rules this year so they were relaxed after the website / forms were created? One of DD's school - not dance school - contemporaries was in Grade 4, and she would either be 12 or just turned 13.

 

Its unusual for the ISTD to 'relax' rules - they made a huge change to Janet Cram age/exam criteria last year which meant a lot of dancers with birthdays earlier in the school year were suddenly unable to compete.

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I do believe, though, that the different ISTD faculties work quite independently of one another (hence occasionally clashing dates etc). The fact that the MT faculty (I suspect with many more candidates, as while for ballet many schools will do RAD, for MT ISTD has fewer large competing boards) is very strict about rules, does not necessarily mean that other faculties will be.

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