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IDTA syllabus, going from Grade 2 to intermediate ballet? pointe class query?


terrimarie24
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Hi there

Im after some advice please

So my daughter was in a grade 2/3 ballet and tap class, with her teacher teaching from the Idta syllabus. due the principal leaving my daughters ballet and tap teacher left too, the new principal then decided my daughter was to be put in an intermediate ballet and tap class (shes 12) although she hasnt done any grades in between this nor done any exams. she teaches this class. She has also said, any of the intermediate class need to consider joining the pointe class, my daughter didnt think she was ready, also some of her friends that have never done ballet or tap before hand have been put straight into the intermediate class and the pointe class?

Should this really be happening? The principal is new to running a dance school and i'm a bit concerned to how things are being run since she took over.

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Grade 2 to intermediate is a big jump, and in my experience only the very strongest 12 year olds are in intermediate. On the other hand, grade 2 does seem a bit low for a 12 year old! I suppose grade 4 would be typical. Perhaps the teacher is intending for them to spend a long time in the intermediate class ‘catching up’ before actually being prepared for the intermediate exam? At dd’s school a dancer who has done all of the grades would usually take about 18-24 months to complete the intermediate syllabus - maybe your teacher is looking more at about 3 years spent in the intermediate class? That would make sense!

 

Nobody new to ballet should be put straight onto pointe, regardless of age. Are all of the girls in the pointe class actually doing pointe work? I think it is quite common for dance schools to encourage girls to start attending pointe class at around age 12, although many may spend quite some time on demi-pointe or in soft blocks.

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Thank you BlueLou. my daughter is the youngest in the class, the others are around 14. But she had been in the grade 2/3 for over 2 years before this, they dont offer any grades in between? Most of my daughters school friends the same age as her are in the grade 2/3 but as she had done most of it she got moved up. She hasnt been to the pointe class so cant comment, she was put off that some of the girls in her intermediate class were already being offered the chance to do pointe when they have no ballet experience. im not too sure why theres a jump as the grades inbetween are not offered? it is a small school  so wasnt sure if this was the reason?

Thanks for the reply

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its the syllabus!  she said the intermediate exam is 'more intense' but only my daughter in the class has ever done a  ballet or tap exam ( my daughter did at a previous company) she has therefore incresed the class from 1 hour to one and half, and offered a 30 min pointe class.. which has 2 girls in, both 14, one who did grade 2/3 for 18months and one who only started 3 months ago.  im not crazy to think this is a bit odd then?

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its the syllabus!  she said the intermediate exam is 'more intense' but only my daughter in the class has ever done a  ballet or tap exam ( my daughter did at a previous company) she has therefore incresed the class from 1 hour to one and half, and offered a 30 min pointe class.. which has 2 girls in, both 14, one who did grade 2/3 for 18months and one who only started 3 months ago.  im not crazy to think this is a bit odd then?

No you're definitely not crazy to think this odd. I'm no expert & have no experience of the intermediate exam but that is an enormous leap for any child. I would love to know her reasoning behind such a big gap between 2 classes

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Thank you BlueLou. my daughter is the youngest in the class, the others are around 14. But she had been in the grade 2/3 for over 2 years before this, they dont offer any grades in between? Most of my daughters school friends the same age as her are in the grade 2/3 but as she had done most of it she got moved up. She hasnt been to the pointe class so cant comment, she was put off that some of the girls in her intermediate class were already being offered the chance to do pointe when they have no ballet experience. im not too sure why theres a jump as the grades inbetween are not offered? it is a small school  so wasnt sure if this was the reason?

Thanks for the reply

It's not you (as the saying goes), it's them, and your dd is very sensible to be put off by this pointe class. There are beginners in it who have practically no ballet training? Downright dangerous. :o

 

I'd run a mile if I were you!

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Is it actually intermediate work they are doing or is it just what she's named that class for that age group, eg juniors, intermediates, seniors? If it's intermediate work it sounds like a big jump but they're probably going to be in that class for quite a while.

You might well have actually answered the question from a different angle. 

 

Whereby we are all thinking Intermediate grade this could well be Intermediate Level. A general name given to the overall class.

 

New principal may well be thinking more MT style of school where there are Juniors,........ etc  

 

A 12 yr old that has attended ballet on a regular basis may well be in a position to begin the transition on to pointe, slowly and steadily as they would have gained strength and technique through regular classes over years. 

 

A non ballet dancer no matter what age should NEVER go en pointe. It's not an automatic right just because you have reached a certain age, it's something that dancers work hard at for many years to achieve. 

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But nevertheless going onto pointe after only 3 months of ballet doesn't sound right to,me.

 

If it's a small school perhaps it's for convenience etc?

 

Can you air your concerns with this teacher....is she approachable and so on?

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I would have thought that any recognised syllabus (and I mean with CDET and Ofqual) would have a syllabus that gradually builds through the grades for a reason so there would not likely be a gap between grade 2/3 and Intermediate.  I don't know much about IDTA but there's a good table on their website http://staging.idta.co.uk/members-hub/qualifications/ofqual-dcells-qcf/

 

I've heard of classes in small schools being referred to as "level 1" "level 2" etc where actually the teacher is teaching several grades combined because of financial constraints and low pupil numbers (ie; it would not be financially viable to hire out a venue and pay a salary based on two students for 45 mins or whatever). 

 

But the term "Intermediate" in syllabus whether IDTA, ISTD, RAD, etc usually refers to the first level of serious/professional level ballet that you hear people refer to as 'the vocational grades' so I would imagine a pretty big jump from grade 2 of any syllabus. 

 

Having said that, some schools don't bother with the voluntary grades of Intermediate Foundation and just go straight into Intermediate with a view that the students will be in that grade for quite a long time. I think the recommended study hours are available online for other professional bodies but I couldn't see anything for IDTA but might be worth a look or a phone call. 

 

It could also be that in a small school joining a pointe class doesn't mean going out and buying pointe shoes all of a sudden but rather learning point steps in preparation for being put on pointe. Certainly clarify that with the teacher and if she/he suggests your DD actually going on pointe now then run away!!

 

I have to say, as an aside, I saw an advert for an organisation (can't remember who) offering "IDTA Teacher Training" in 1 1/2 days or 2 days recently on facebook and thought to myself that that seemed crazy and ridiculously fast-track to actually teach someone how to be a qualified dance teacher in 2 days! It certainly put IDTA down on my mental list as a parent of syllabus and teachers to be wary of as I cannot see how anyone can become a qualified teacher in a weekend. Even though the advert said there was some coursework, it really didn't come across to me as being as credible as a teacher who goes through dance teacher training with one of the other organisations. Sorry but this is just based on a personal view that this gave me that perhaps it's seen as a quick and easy route to being a qualified ballet teacher for some people out there. 

 

Good luck

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its the syllabus!  ...

 

Hmm, looks like it goes grades 1,2,3,4,5,6 and Intermediate, Adv 1, Adv2. (So Intermediate is the lowest vocational grade with no foundation grade as a pre-requisite). 

 

Taken from IDTA website....

 

Graded qualifications
Ballet, Tap, Modern Jazz, Theatre Craft, Ballroom, Latin, Classical Sequence and Freestyle
 
Grade QCF Level QCF Award/Certificate/Diploma QCF credits
1 1 Award 7
2 1 Award 7
3 1 Award 7
4 2 Award 10
5 2 Award 10
6 (Ballet only) 3 Certificate 13
Vocational graded qualifications
Ballet, Tap, Modern Jazz, Theatre Craft
 
Grade QCF Level QCF Award/Certificate/Diploma QCF credits
Intermediate 3 Certificate 28
Advanced 1 4 Certificate 33
Advanced 2 4 Diploma 38
Attainment bands for all the above examinations are Unsuccessful, Pass, Merit and Distinction.

 

Edited by annaliesey
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I am sorry to read the previous post with concerns regarding the IDTA - I have been following this thread and am distressed that it may lead to such thoughts. I am sure that there are good and bad teachers within any organisation. The OP said that the former principal "taught from the IDTA syllabus". Is the new principal also qualified with the IDTA and to what level? Is this in the core Theatre genres including Ballet? I would advise checking the teaching qualifications.

I am a Fellow of the IDTA, specialising in Ballet. Currently I am teaching 2 classes which both happen to have 12 year old students. However, due to their different backgrounds one is a Grade 2 class where the students came late to ballet and are working alongside younger girls. While in the other class where the students have been attending since baby ballet classes, we are about to begin some pointe work as we prepare to work on the Intermediate syllabus alongside girls of this age or slightly older (up to 16 years). I would not think of mixing the two as there is a world of difference in technical requirement/ development between the grades.

For information: The Syllabus currently ranges from Preparatory, Primary and Grades 1 to 5 (we have had a syllabus change to remove Grade 6 as part of Ofqual/QCF accreditation). In transition between the Grades and Intermediate we offer our "Classical Ballet Award 1" syllabus and between Inter and Adv 1 there is Classical Ballet Award 2.

I agree that training as a teacher cannot be achieved in such a short space of time!

 

RK

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I don't know IDTA I'm afraid, but if I equate it with RAD, I would say that for a 12 year old to be working at grades 2/3 sounds too low, but on the other hand to jump to Intermediate from there sounds far too much of a jump!  How many years has your daughter been learning ballet and tap? It may be that she was previously placed too low, but still this strikes me as being too much too soon. 

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Thank u all for the responses

so my daughter attended a school before this one, and she did 2 exams a  year like a tap grade, and a ballet one 6 months later. im sure tap was always a level up from ballet ( or the other way around)

 at the school in question, they used to be UKA so we did Uka exams but they didnt offer tap and ballet, until they got a teacher in to teach a joint 2/3 class, she then left not long after the old prinicipal. the new principal now teachers majority of the companys classes, the ballet classes are one after the other, and state on the timetable,  idta grade 3 ballet and tap, idta intermediate ballet and tap, adult tap. The teacher when i asked her just said that the intermediate exam was worth more points, however i think the minumum age for this is 14 so she then said the whole class besides my daughter would be entered for it next year. Havent a clue about her teaching qualifications, but she is only 22 so doesnt have any experience.

I have another post up as my daughter has just left, and the principal has therefore said that her youngest sister is no longer welcome to attend the company anymore either...

Hope ive managed to answer all the questions.

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I agree Dance*is*life!

 

To expect to put a class of beginners and people who have jumped from G2/3 to intermediate in for the exam after1 year - really?

 

I guess they are now doing 4-5 hours of ballet a week then?

 

And to choose Inter because "it is worth more points"?

 

Only if you actually pass....!

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Thanks youngatheart.

Exactly why my daughter herself has done ballet from a young age, not a natural but kind of understands how its meant to work.. she even said herself she didnt understand why she had missed grades, and also she wants to do the exams

They only offer ballet and tap as a mixed class, so around 45 minutes a week for each..

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I've never heard of a combined ballet and tap class even at beginners level.

I have - a school local to us does them for the pre-schoolers (40 minutes split 20 mins of each). The classes are separated from Primary upwards though.

Edited by taxi4ballet
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My first dancing school in Stretford, Manchester used to do this. She would give us all a ballet lesson [NATD] holding on to the backs of chairs for about 40 minutes. Then she would see that most people were getting fed up, so she would shout, "Alright everybody, tap shoes on". At which point all the kids would cheer and rush to put their tap shoes on. At which point it was the end of the weekly lesson for me.

Edited by Lisa O`Brien
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It sounds like a Dolly Dinkle school to me, Lisa. That is an American dance term for a teacher who teaches tap, modern, ballet, cheerleading, gymnastics, disco etc, often in the same class.

She's been dead a few decades now I think. But one of her daughters is a  qualified NATD teacher somewhere in the North West. Yes, my mum took dancing lessons for about a year with a dancing group called the Merry Dots in Chorlton Upon Medlock, Manchester. She joined when she was nine, and was put straight into pointe shoes on her first lesson, after high kicks and splits. I've two photos of my mum at that age; one where she is standing balancing on one leg, holding the other out to the side by her foot, and another photo of her with another female ,but the other girls was dressed as a boy in shorts. I also have a Programme sheet which lists my mum dancing with the Merry Dots school, dated 1933. My mum used to tell me when she put her "toe shoes" on her toes used to bleed. There were no actual pointe work exercises. She had to run across the floor en pointe ,feet in parallel, bending forward and hands behind her back, then turn around and do the same thing the other way. I was given a spare pair of pointe shoes by my dancing teacher. She told me to go in to the cupboard and find a spare pair that fit. I had to wear this old spare pair for about a month until I got my own pair. Kept asking my mum to pay for me to go to the Northern Ballet School, which she eventually did, three years later when I was 12. It took Northern almost a whole year to correct my posture and all my faults my old teacher hadn't noticed.

Edited by Lisa O`Brien
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