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Free enchantments


annaliesey
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DD's RAD teacher has said this is an area where DD needs to focus on currently for interfoundation and intermediate.

 

I think it's the bit in the exam where they get a sequence of steps given in French.

 

I've looked on RAD website and there is a document with vocabulary but it's not really a sequence.

 

Has anyone got any advice, tips, resources for this please?

 

TIA

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I am loving the idea of free enchantments :) . Don't do RAD syllabus but can ask around for you on less interesting topic of enchainements if you like.

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Does her teacher set a free enchantment during her lessons? It was always a part of the vocational exam class at my dd old school and is surely the only way for the students to become confident in this exercise. I know my dd found those set by her teacher much harder than she encountered at the exams.

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Any open class at a professional studio is made up all the time of free enchainements (I think we have to create the enchantment for ourselves <grin>). so if your DD is old enough, she could do class at a studio like Pineapple or Danceworks, or Dancexchange, or KNT Dance - any open studio, really. She'll get lots of practice in picking up choreography.

 

Good guides to steps areGail Grant, Technical Manual, and Gretchen Warren, Classical Ballet Technique (the latter has gorgeous photos of ABT dancers demonstrating).

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As far as I remember, there are no 'set' steps as such, they are chosen and set by the examiner from steps and vocabulary known already (from that grade and previous grades), they then tell the candidates what is required during that part of the exam.

 

So really the practice needed is for the teacher to ask students to do random enchainements during their normal class that are different from the set work, so students can get used to being asked to do unset steps, for the dancer to learn how to pick things up quickly and remember the terminology.

 

No different really, from going to a workshop, course or audition, where the enchainements wouldn't be familiar to the dancers either.

 

Hope this helps :)

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When you've looked at the RAD website you will have found the steps (and relevant vocabulary) that can occur in the free enchainement section of the exam.  These are all steps already learned for the grade but the point is that there is no set exercise being examined.  It is unset work that the examiner will make up and they will mark through and then perform.

 

As taxi says, the teacher will no doubt practice this in class by doing some unset work with them but if your DD attends any associate scheme or has done any workshops, it is in essence something she has experienced already.  My DDs always found free enchainements in the exam a lot easier than those practised in the home studio.

 

The only advice/tip I can give for your DD is to listen carefully to what she is being asked to do and to make sure she does know the names of the steps in her syllabus and not just how to do each exercise.

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I am loving the idea of free enchantments :) . Don't do RAD syllabus but can ask around for you on less interesting topic of enchainements if you like.

I was going to edit the title to "enchainements" but I rather like "enchantments"! :-)

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I was a teacher observer at a recent Inter class run by RAD in Bham. They mentioned free enchaînements and said that the examiners have a bank of approved ones that they pull from. The enchaînement will have one or two of the focal steps and these will be put with the linking steps (as detailed in the front of the syllabus books or specification). The enchaînement won't be hard to remember or pick up if the dancer knows what all the steps are called.

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My DD has also commented that free enchainments in exams are easier than the ones her teacher sets for practice. I think students often do get anxious about this particular of the exam, but generally it doesn't seem to be as bad as they expect. I don't know if it's changed with the new syllabi, but certainly in the old RAD exams there was no "unseen" work until the vocational grades, so I think free enchainments become a big thing in some students minds because they think they haven't done it before. But as others have said, they effectively do the same thing all the time in non syllabus classes, workshops and auditions etc, but without the same "label" being applied.

So my advice is to try to relax about it and remind your DD that it's not really something new, just a different name for something she probably does all the time without thinking. And the examiners don't pick fiendishly difficult things - or at least I have never heard of one that does.

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I am loving the idea of free enchantments :) . Don't do RAD syllabus but can ask around for you on less interesting topic of enchainements if you like.

Oops thank you autocorrect!!! I meant enchainments but enchantments sounds much better! Haha

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Does her teacher set a free enchantment during her lessons? It was always a part of the vocational exam class at my dd old school and is surely the only way for the students to become confident in this exercise. I know my dd found those set by her teacher much harder than she encountered at the exams.

Yes but I don't think the teacher is getting through as many as she would like to get through, and they all seems to have sieve like memories in this area! :)

 

I've been sitting at the back of the hall for the last 6 weeks (usually on this forum haha) and even I can hear what she's asking for but the group just seem to go pinging off doing different things every now and then :)

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Any open class at a professional studio is made up all the time of free enchainements (I think we have to create the enchantment for ourselves <grin>). so if your DD is old enough, she could do class at a studio like Pineapple or Danceworks, or Dancexchange, or KNT Dance - any open studio, really. She'll get lots of practice in picking up choreography.

 

Good guides to steps areGail Grant, Technical Manual, and Gretchen Warren, Classical Ballet Technique (the latter has gorgeous photos of ABT dancers demonstrating).

Fantastic! Thank you, you're a superstar.

 

We have a half term pineapple timetable planned :)

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When you've looked at the RAD website you will have found the steps (and relevant vocabulary) that can occur in the free enchainement section of the exam. These are all steps already learned for the grade but the point is that there is no set exercise being examined. It is unset work that the examiner will make up and they will mark through and then perform.

 

As taxi says, the teacher will no doubt practice this in class by doing some unset work with them but if your DD attends any associate scheme or has done any workshops, it is in essence something she has experienced already. My DDs always found free enchainements in the exam a lot easier than those practised in the home studio.

 

The only advice/tip I can give for your DD is to listen carefully to what she is being asked to do and to make sure she does know the names of the steps in her syllabus and not just how to do each exercise.

Ok, thank you :) appreciate that

 

I think she might be getting the direction and the size of thing (big/little) in a muddle too

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My DD has also commented that free enchainments in exams are easier than the ones her teacher sets for practice. I think students often do get anxious about this particular of the exam, but generally it doesn't seem to be as bad as they expect. I don't know if it's changed with the new syllabi, but certainly in the old RAD exams there was no "unseen" work until the vocational grades, so I think free enchainments become a big thing in some students minds because they think they haven't done it before. But as others have said, they effectively do the same thing all the time in non syllabus classes, workshops and auditions etc, but without the same "label" being applied.

So my advice is to try to relax about it and remind your DD that it's not really something new, just a different name for something she probably does all the time without thinking. And the examiners don't pick fiendishly difficult things - or at least I have never heard of one that does.

Yes she is worried. Exam due in six weeks and having a wobble and just wishing she had a dance to learn instead.

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From what I remember it is a very small part of the exam and in my dd experience the examiner sets the steps then allows them to mark it a couple of times before examining it.

My dd also commented that she has had examiners marking the steps with her feet under the table.

Remember examiners are human and do want the candidates to do well.

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ISTD has unset work as part of the exam from Grade 1 onwards, based on the steps for that grade and any below - so if you happen to have an ISTD-taking school locally, then classes there might very largely consist of work set by the teacher.

 

If I happen to listen through the door to DD's Intermediate or Adv 1 ballet classes, for example, they might practise 1 or 2 of the set exercises then do a wide variety of unset enchainements, then finish with another couple of the set exercises. The steps might not be exactly identical to the RAD syllabus, but the process of being given a string of steps followed by having to dance it would at least give an opportunity to practice?

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The RAD used to have unset enchainements in every grade from ?Primary onwards back in the 70s/early 80s. This then changed and I think candidates do worry too much about unset enchainements in the vocational grade exams as they haven't previously had to do these in an exam.

I understand that the RAD have always made it clear that they do not expect their teachers to use only the set syllabus, but to teach using their own enchainements rather than only the exam work. Obviously as exams approach then the 'polishing' of syllabus work reaches a peak and perhaps the free work takes a back seat?

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My ds original ballet teacher never did unset work until 1 week before their Exam! Total disaster - and very poor teaching. Children used to get distinction for the majors but were terrible at free work and came a real cropper in open class and auditions. When ds moved dance school at 13, his new teacher was horrified and we discovered he and his friend that moved with him didn't know the names of the steps either. They had to go over all the IF work aswel as the inter work again learning the names of steps. The new teacher did free work every lesson and they were very stressed with it initially. Thank goodness ds ended up at Tring as that soon sorted him out as there is only one syllabus class a week.

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ISTD has unset work as part of the exam from Grade 1 onwards, based on the steps for that grade and any below - so if you happen to have an ISTD-taking school locally, then classes there might very largely consist of work set by the teacher.

 

If I happen to listen through the door to DD's Intermediate or Adv 1 ballet classes, for example, they might practise 1 or 2 of the set exercises then do a wide variety of unset enchainements, then finish with another couple of the set exercises. The steps might not be exactly identical to the RAD syllabus, but the process of being given a string of steps followed by having to dance it would at least give an opportunity to practice?

Yes, this was another reason why she has been overlapping intermediate with intermediate foundation to give a bit more opportunity to practise things in both exams.

 

We changed dance schools in Jan and it's been a bit tricky getting settled into new ways. All good but this has been a bit of a funny area with new teacher assessing what she knew or didn't know and what she could and couldn't do etc.

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The RAD used to have unset enchainements in every grade from ?Primary onwards back in the 70s/early 80s. This then changed and I think candidates do worry too much about unset enchainements in the vocational grade exams as they haven't previously had to do these in an exam.

I understand that the RAD have always made it clear that they do not expect their teachers to use only the set syllabus, but to teach using their own enchainements rather than only the exam work. Obviously as exams approach then the 'polishing' of syllabus work reaches a peak and perhaps the free work takes a back seat?

Yes I think it's because she hasn't done this in an exam before and just feeling a bit anxious about it.

 

But yes I think the 'polishing' is a big focus in the weeks leading up to the exam. DD's teacher has mostly students in her class that she has taught since babes so she knows them all very well as far as enchainments and everything else goes whereas I can see she's really watching my dd to check where she's at with things.

 

I've booked a couple of private lessons with dd's teacher for over the half term as she and I thought that would help (and not take too much attention away from her longer serving students :) )

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I'm sitting my Intermediate exam in a few weeks (as an adult). On the one hand, I find this section of the exam intimidating because I'm so used to learning by watching my teacher demonstrate, not by having the steps called out. On the other hand, I find this is the only section of the exam where I can let go and enjoy dancing because I don't have any predetermined worries about a particular step going wrong etc. I'm *almost* looking forward to it!

 

On a practical level, I used a free flash cards app to help me learn the individual steps. It had a French language setting which helped to distinguish dessus and dessous!

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My ds original ballet teacher never did unset work until 1 week before their Exam! Total disaster - and very poor teaching. Children used to get distinction for the majors but were terrible at free work and came a real cropper in open class and auditions. When ds moved dance school at 13, his new teacher was horrified and we discovered he and his friend that moved with him didn't know the names of the steps either. They had to go over all the IF work aswel as the inter work again learning the names of steps. The new teacher did free work every lesson and they were very stressed with it initially....

I think that's kind of similar to where we are at after changing. Dd's teacher is very respectful and careful with what she says and how she says it, but I'm picking up on areas where she seems to be a little "surprised" shall we say :)

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I'm sitting my Intermediate exam in a few weeks (as an adult). On the one hand, I find this section of the exam intimidating because I'm so used to learning by watching my teacher demonstrate, not by having the steps called out. On the other hand, I find this is the only section of the exam where I can let go and enjoy dancing because I don't have any predetermined worries about a particular step going wrong etc. I'm *almost* looking forward to it!

 

On a practical level, I used a free flash cards app to help me learn the individual steps. It had a French language setting which helped to distinguish dessus and dessous!

Good luck for your exam :) and hope you really really enjoy it!!

 

Dd seems to live her life via apps haha ... Do you know the name of it as sounds fab :)

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ISTD has unset work as part of the exam from Grade 1 onwards, based on the steps for that grade and any below - so if you happen to have an ISTD-taking school locally, then classes there might very largely consist of work set by the teacher.

 

If I happen to listen through the door to DD's Intermediate or Adv 1 ballet classes, for example, they might practise 1 or 2 of the set exercises then do a wide variety of unset enchainements, then finish with another couple of the set exercises. The steps might not be exactly identical to the RAD syllabus, but the process of being given a string of steps followed by having to dance it would at least give an opportunity to practice?

 

That is why I love ISTD.

There is so much more 'free' work. Even from Grade One children are expected to pick up steps that are joined together on the day by the Examiner. By the time they reach Intermediate level all free work becomes second nature and your pupils are SO quick to pick up enchainments :) It really is a bonus....especially in any audition situation ;) 

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Which exam is she doing IF or Intermediate?  There are different focal steps for both levels.  What she needs to learn off by heart are the names and meanings of all the focal steps and linking steps.  I quiz my students on these before actually working on an enchainement.  They are printed in the teacher's syllabus book, so you could take a photo of that or try and find it on the RAD website.  In IF the focal steps are  jetes ordinaires, sissones sideways (de cote) and assembles and each focal step will have different linking steps (glissades with assembles and pas de bourees with sissone for example). Intermediate has pas de basque saute, sissone forwards and back (en avant/en arriere) and assemble battu and porte, again each one with different linking steps.  They are kept quite simple, but you have to do them four times over without stopping and that is hard even when it's simple!  They get several chances to learn the enchainement and practise it and most of my kids were surprised that after all the hassle they found it quite easy!

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Thank you Dance*is*life .. She's doing IF exam but doing both classes currently (risk of confusion so might stop intermediate for a few weeks)

 

I'll get a copy/photo out of DT's book I think and have a chat with her at private lesson when we do that. I'll show DD the info you've given so she can do a little practise before the lesson

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That is why I love ISTD.

There is so much more 'free' work. Even from Grade One children are expected to pick up steps that are joined together on the day by the Examiner. By the time they reach Intermediate level all free work becomes second nature and your pupils are SO quick to pick up enchainments :) It really is a bonus....especially in any audition situation ;)

That's really good to hear. As a non-dance person, I do sometimes wonder whether our accidental stumbling on an ISTD for everything school (albeit a very good one) has been a disadvantage to DD compared with a RAD training in ballet.

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