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What Grade Ballet Shoud My DD be in?


BalletTutu
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My DD1 is 11 and has been doing ballet and tap since she was 3 and modern since she was five. In may she is doing her grade 2 istd ballet and in july she is doing her GRade 3 istd modern. Also she is studying for her Grade 2 istd tap. At the moment she does 2 1/2 hours of ballet a fortnight. 1 3/4 hours of modern and 3/4 hours of tap a fortnight. Are these grade average for her age?

PS: she is quite a serious dancer.

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Hi, I'm not too familiar with the istd grades but If I had to compare to the RAD grades I would say the grade 3 modern is about right but maybe she should be a little higher for ballet (taking her grade 3) if you say she is a serious dancer. I hope you don't mind me saying but if you say she is a serious dancer, I don't think the hours she is doing a fortnight is anywhere near enough. 3/4 hours of tap a fortnight? And does she attend associate classes weekly or monthly on top of these hours for ballet?

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Welcome to the forum, Ballet_Girl. :-)

 

Good questions from LovetoDance - I also wonder when you say she is "quite a serious dancer", does she have aspirations to dance as a career, or to apply for full-time training in the future?

 

I'm not sure about ISTD Ballet but in RAD, if I remember rightly my daughter was Grade 5 and also Intermediate Foundation aged 11 (going back a few years!) but she was also an associate. She was dancing four days a week then though so doing significantly more hours.

 

Is there any opportunity for your daughter to take more classes?

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I agree with LovetoDance and AnnaC, I think the ballet level should be higher, perhaps grade 4/5, even 6, for someone serious about ballet, though there's no hard and fast rules. The age your DD started dance doesn't really matter so much, as "serious" dance training doesn't really begin to kick in before age 8/9, and lots won't even have started before this age.

 

There's some similar threads you might want to look at:

 

http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/441-rad-grades-and-age/

 

http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/860-istd-modern-gradesages/

 

http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/4283-idta-gradings-and-age/

 

http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/980-average-age-in-ballet-grades/

Edited by rowan
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It really does depend on how much time your dd wants to put into dance and where she would like it to take her. 'Average ages' for grades are tricky as some children don't start dancing until they are 9,10 or 11 years old, although being older they tend to progress more quickly once they do start. If dance is for fun and recreation then there probably isn't a 'right' answer, provided your dd feels that she is progressing at a rate that suits her. Though I would agree with the earlier comment that more lesson time would be beneficial - at least 2 hours a week for ballet. If on the other hand your dd is thinking she might want to go to dance college when she is older, its never too soon to start looking at their websites to see what the expectations are.

 

If you look at summer school requirements for example ENB they accept from 11 years and expect Grade 5/Intermediate Foundation, Central from 12 years and Intermediate.

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Welcome to the Forum,Ballet_Girl. You say your daughter has been taking ballet lessons for about 8 years yet is at Grade 2 level. Do you mean perhaps that she has been taking ballet lessons that are mainly not syllabus based ?

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Ballet-girl, I suspect that I have replied to your question on a forum elsewhere - but welcome to this one!

 

I do know the ISTD grades, as DD is taught by one of the ISTD Classical ballet faculty committee members.

 

I think Lisa's question is perhaps the key one - it has taken your DD quite a long time to get to Grade 2, and there can be any number of reasons for this - lack of hours, few opportunities to take exams, lack of peer group to progress faster, a focus on non-syllabus work (though with ISTD having a large element of free work from the beginning, this is perhaps less of a feature of ISTD training), a teacher who is very 'recreationally' focused. If your DD is to progress to vocational school within the next few years, or dance college at 16/18, then the rate at which she progresses will need to increase, perhaps through finding more hours of really high quality dance teaching.

 

DD started ballet skipping round a village hall at 3, and started her current 'serious' non-vocational school when she started Reception at 4. She took Primary Class Test at 5, Primary at 6, Grade 1 at 7 and Grade 2 at 8. When working towards Grade 2 she started doing 2 hours of ballet per week, one hour of Grade 2 and one hour of Grade 3, with an extra 45 minutes or an hour per week one term a year in the run-up to exams. By 11, she was doing 3 and 3/4 hours per week routinely, 4 and 3/4 in exam terms - and this was in addition to tap, modern, stretching, a private lesson and at least 2 hours of troupe work per week. She took her Grade 5 at 11, Grade 6 at 12 and Int Foundation at just turned 13. Her progress through the lower grades was at a 'normal' pace for her dance school, her progress through the higher ones a little faster - her age peers are mostly taking Grade 6, with a few in Grade 5.

 

It was normal, at 11, for all the 'reasonably serious' dancers at DD's dance school to dance at least 4 nights a week, usually 5.

 

She is regarded by her teacher as 'on track' for dance college at 18, the normal exit point for her dance school - although a few do go to vocational school earlier to be classically trained, most go on to Arts Ed, Laines, Bird, London Studio Centre etc. She is not 'good enough' at ballet - though she does OK at things like the ISTD Ballet Awards at Crawley each year, and gets high Distinctions in all exams - to consider 'ballet only' vocational training at this point, though i think if we hadn't lived so close to a good non-vocational school we might well have had to consider a more 'all round' vocational school for her to be able to dance as much as / at the level that she does now ((14+ hours this week)

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My daughter is 12 (year 8)

She goes to an ISTD school. 

She is in grade 4 ballet 

grade 5 tap

grade 5 modern

 

3 ballet classes a week 

2 tap

2 modern

 

She is a 'semi serious' dancer. She's certainly not going to be a professional ballerina. She doesn't do enough ballet and doesn't do associate classes etc. She has though done a few extra things such as  English youth ballet and local performances.  She has hopes of a career that is somehow linked to performing arts but not specifically ballet. 

Hope that helps. 

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I don't think the grades really matter as long as there is enough training at the right standard but if it helps when I was 11 I was doing Grade 6+7 ballet and intermediate (RAD) and grade 4 tap and modern. I was doing about 9 hours of ballet a week and 1 hour tap modern contemporary and Pilate's. I am quite a serious ballet dancer so do two associate schemes. I hope this helps but again if your DD is happy and doing enough training at the correct level then I don't think grades really matter.

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As another possible indication, looking at the ISTD Ballet Awards (open to those who get higher Merits / Distinctions and entered by their ballet teachers):

 

Maximum age for those who have TAKEN Grade 2 = 10 years in the September before the Awards are held in the Autumn term (so if your DD is 11 or12 when she takes Grade 2 in May, she is already 1-2 years older than the maximum)

 

Maximum age for those who have TAKEN Grade 3 = under 12 years in the September before the Awards are held in the Spring term (so if your DD 12 before September, which I seem to remember she will be, she is also too old for the Grade 3 awards that year)

 

While, as others have said, as long as she is familiar with the steps and technique for higher grades, the actual exams taken are not an issue - and good technique but a lower grade is preferable to poor technique at a higher, she is older than the ISTD would consider 'normal' for their 'serious award taking dancers', if that makes sense (though the age limits were tightened this year and did catch quite a lot of schools out, particularly those that move slowly through grades, perhaps due to frequent shows or festival work taking up lots of teaching time or fewer dancers at higher grades).

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There's lots of good suggestions above. I hope you're not frightened off, Ballet_Girl, if reading this makes you think, "DD is way behind!" IF your DD has the technique/knowledge to dance just at Grade 2 level and not at a higher level, you've still got time to improve things, if she wants. Remember, some will only be starting ballet at this age.

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Don't forget things can change, a lot of it depends on the work dd is putting in. 2 hours of not trying maybe be much less useful than a good 45 minute class. Last year I felt I was way behind, only doing my Grade 6 and Intermediate Foundation (aged 14) however this year I only auditioned for Central and got a final audition and am on the waiting list. Don't let DD be discouraged by where she 'should' be! x

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Every school and every teacher is different, but our DS did his ISTD Grade 2 when he was just 7 (he is now in Year 7 at a vocational ballet school) and our DD will be doing her ISTD Intermediate later this year, at the age of 14.

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My dd is 11, ballet since 3, tap and modern since 5. She's grade 4&5 Rad, interfoundation and intermediate ballet. I don't know how that compares with ISTD.

 

She's G5 ISTD modern, grade 4 tap, and has done bronze, silver & gold Jazz.

 

But ... It sounds like she's done a lot more hours compared with your dd, 1 hr each of modern and tap per week.

 

There's a guide on the RAD and ISTD website that shows recommended hours per grade so that might help you work things out based on the teaching hours and practise hours your dd is doing.

 

I would say don't worry about grades but unfortunately we've been put off from doing things in the past where minimum grades were required ie; Panto or show auditions. Just being honest. I don't believe in racing through the grades without putting the hours in but it's something to be aware of for things where minimum grades might get stipulated ie; workshops etc

 

:)

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