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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.

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Congratulations Red Shoes!! You should be feeling really proud of yourself on your wonderful achievement!   

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Posted (edited)

I have my grade 5 next month and achieving distinction in this one means more to me than anything in the world. I’m 30 years old, having started ballet for the first time ever at 26. I’m decent en pointe, and got a very strong merit (69) at grade 4 after just over 2 years. But I’m a perfectionist and I have my heart absolutely set on Distinction this time. It’s silly, but it’s how I feel. 75 will mean the world to me ❤️

Edited by DeveloppeD
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On 03/05/2019 at 23:21, DeveloppeD said:

 But I’m a perfectionist and I have my heart absolutely set on Distinction this time

 

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.

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On 05/05/2019 at 10:29, The_Red_Shoes said:

 

Have you and your teacher identified specific things to work on that will make a difference?

 

It was mainly my technique in my dances that let me down last time. My performance and music are good - i got three 8s and a 7 last time for them between the main section and the dances. 

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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.

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I’ve been going to grade 5 for over a year and a half, most recently for 2 and a half hours per week. I know the majority of the syllabus inside out, back to front, in my sleep, standing on my head..... if only that was enough lol. I’m going to do my very best. But I’m scared it won’t be enough. I’ll be so sad if all the effort turns out not to be good enough. 

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Some things such as turn out are pretty difficult to improve on after a certain age .....as this comes from the hips so there will always be a natural limitation there for most dancers especially those starting ballet as an adult.

Other things are easier to work on especially the feet and legs being fully stretched .....developing strength to hold a nice arabesque or developpe .....working on good placement for attitude....being able to transfer weight with control .....good position of feet and legs in the air when jumping....nice control in pirouettes on a proper full releve etc and the general carriage of the body ....placement of the arms through enchainements etc .....keeping the shoulders down and so on......quite enough really!! 

 

Regards to knowing the syllabus really well.....this can be one of the problems with over familiarity.....that one doesn't dance it with any freshness! 

It may be hard I know but try to imagine that you are performing a set piece for the first time and really listen to the music( even though some bits may have been driving you mad for months!) 

I don't know whether you can get to open ballet classes where everything will be new including the music to re awaken this freshness and you have to be more alert generally .....it may get into your Grade 5 hopefully!

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I think the tidiness of both going through when required and landing in a reasonable 5th position when jumping or even in linking steps ( eg glissade -assemble - Sissone - pas de bourree etc in combinations is more important than the actual degree of turnout. 

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I have my grade 7 exam in a few weeks so my teacher's got me to watch Le Sylphide (Royal Danish Ballet version) for the style, arm and posture etc.

 

I'll hold my hand up and admit complete ignorance in regards to ballet style and history but I thought it was awful. It felt like it was at least 80% mime and the corps did hardly any ballet at all. Is that just of its time/Bournoville choreography/I've spoilt myself with flashier clips from other ballets on youtube?

 

I watch ballets for the pretty dancing and not the plot but why did James accept the scarf from Madge and why was Effie so keen to marry Gurn 30 seconds after she thought she'd been left?

 

 

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1 hour ago, balletgremlin said:

I have my grade 7 exam in a few weeks so my teacher's got me to watch Le Sylphide (Royal Danish Ballet version) for the style, arm and posture etc.

 

I'll hold my hand up and admit complete ignorance in regards to ballet style and history but I thought it was awful. It felt like it was at least 80% mime and the corps did hardly any ballet at all. Is that just of its time/Bournoville choreography/I've spoilt myself with flashier clips from other ballets on youtube?

 

I watch ballets for the pretty dancing and not the plot but why did James accept the scarf from Madge and why was Effie so keen to marry Gurn 30 seconds after she thought she'd been left?

 

 

 

I'm preparing for Grade 7 too and I love that version of La Sylphide. You can identify all the parts of the set exercises that echo the choreography eg the adage at the barre quotes the big corps de ballet adage in Act II. I watch it about once a week, and also the Royal Danish Ballet videos of the Bournonville class and feel that they have really helped me to grasp the nuances of the style. It is a historical piece and the Danes have had it in continuously in their repertoire forever. The Danish style is very unflashy - but just look at the precision and their amazing allegro, notably the lightness of their jumps. The Danes are famous for their use of traditional balletic mime, which I think they carry off in a remarkably naturalistic way.  When this was choreographed pointe work was brand new and  the ballerina was showing off this new technique so the corps only get to do a few bourees whereas that one supported arabesque on pointe at the end of the big pas de deux would have been a show stopper at the time. I think the role of the corps de ballet is very similar to that in Giselle, of a similar period, although Giselle has been updated more over time or evolved along with balletic style while Sylphide is more of its time.

 

James accepted the scarf because Madge said it would allow him to catch the sylph. She didn't tell him that it would kill her. I've never been entirely sure either why Effie marries Gurn so quickly. I've theorised (a) longer than a day has passed while James is in an enchanted state in the forest or (b)she was marrying James in an automatic way - marriage is what you did then at age 21 and ultimately Gurn would do just as well as James. Actually Gurn seems to me a generally nicer person than James. (I'm doing my family history at the moment and it's remarkable how many people remarried literally weeks after the death of a spouse - they must have arranged for the banns at the same time as the funeral!)

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How are you getting on with the character section? I think that Cabrioles and Quick Letjos will be the death of me!

 

I saw your port de bras video. Looking good.

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Thanks The_Red_Shoes, you explained it all very well. If it was right at the start of pointe work I can now understand why it was so limited. The Danes might be masters of mime but the second they started doing allegro I was like "yes, this is more my cup of tea - you are fantastic dancers after all". It was also very strange hearing the music and matching it to the exercises.

 

As for character, I'm pretending it doesn't exist at the moment. Both the cabrioles and retires exercises are so quick that I rush through them and don't think about any technique/epaulement/performance and just try to get to the end without dying. I struggled with character for grade 6 too and shortly before the exam it clicked and I ended up getting a 7 so I'm hoping the same thing happens this time round.

 

How are you finding the rest of the syllabus? I love the centre work and thank to private lessons I've recently started my teacher's really been able to pick me apart and make it look so much better - it's amazing the difference relaxing my shoulders and changing my eye-line achieves (she tells me off for both regularly). Have you picked a dance? I'm ether doing the classical dance which I do okay but has a lot of running which I'm bad at (I like to hunch my shoulders) and is knackering or the free movement one which I've only just started doing again (it's the one I chose when I danced as a teenager) and has moments where I look great and then moments I look god-awful but I love doing it so I'll see if I can iron out the rough spots.

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10 hours ago, The_Red_Shoes said:

How are you getting on with the character section? I think that Cabrioles and Quick Letjos will be the death of me!

 

I saw your port de bras video. Looking good.

 

I'm getting closer to my G7 exam now too after 2 years or doing it in my weekly private lessons & in Jan I joined the G7 class of youngsters, we've only recently started doing the character & also feel it will kill me! I've kicked my shins & stood on my own feet in the heel'd character shoes which hurt like hell :D

I've also got the Royal Danish performance on DVD for some inspiration but I think we've become a bit spoilt in recent times as the physical abilities of dancers seem's to be getting pushed higher all the time.

 

Personally after starting at Inter Foundation level I'm loving G7 for giving my dancing so much more quality, IF was a great technical base & G7 is the icing on the cake of the performance / arms, I'm doing the classical dance but I've learned both as I think the majority of the other girls are doing the free movement dance.

We were looking at exams in early Feb but I'm away in Jan performing in America, we've got our show at the end of Feb, I'm also learning Discovering Repertoire Level 2 Variation 2 & Level 3 Class & Variation 1 as well as getting married in March so realistically I think it'll be mid next year before I take the G7 exam.

Talking of exams I think I neglected to post that back in June I took Discovering Repertoire Level 2 Class & Variation 1 exams & got a Distinction & a Merit, can't say I'm a huge fan of DR but at least I've got a couple more certificates 😉 

 

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Incidentally, am I right to read the G6 notes as saying you only need to perform one of the three dances in the exam? 

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Coleman - yes, for grades 6 and 7 you just pick one from classical, free or character.

 

Sophie - congratulations on your merit, distinction  and upcoming wedding! You sure are fitting a lot into the early part of next year. I completely agree about how much nicer grade 7 is to dance than the vocational stuff, even if I'm currently sporting a lovely bruise on my foot from kicking myself with my character shoe.

 

I hope to take Intermediate early next year - my technique isn't where I want it to be but I've been working on it for so long I want to get it over and done with before I get completely bored with the syllabus. I've also started DR classes again recently so maybe an exam or two of those late next year.

 

I don't know if any of you have heard but RAD are changing (or at least thinking of changing) the mark scheme so 55-74 which is currently merit would be split into merit and high merit (65+) and similarly 75+ would also be split and have distinction and high distinction.

 

 

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First of all huge congratulations Sophie on recent achievements AND dancing in America again AND upcoming marriage.No wonder  I haven't seen you around for a while - you've had/got/will have a lot going on.

 

I really love all of Grade 7 with the possible exception of the character which I may come to like when I can actually do it properly. I like the look of the Hungarian style but, yes, two out of three exercises are murderously fast and I keep kicking myself while still not managing to get clear, audible heel clicks. I like the free movement, which I didn't at all in Grade 6, but I have bruised shins from all the kneeling (I think I'm either very thin skinned or I have strange ultra-bony shins). I wear doubled over leg warmers to try to preserve them. Of course, in the actual exam I will just have to put up with the pain. I'm doing the classical dance. I'm still building up the stamina for it, as it is a killer but my teacher thinks it really suits me. Yes, lots of running, in fact the whole exam has rather a lot of running. We're taking the time in my private lesson to really get all the use of space spot on. Things like the last phrase of the classical dance - cover the whole diagonal with  élan (Bournonville is all about  "joyous élan" ) but don't end up with finishing pose too far into downstage corner.

 

I think the Danes are just different to most other companies in the things they do well. It's not that they are at all technically inferior, but the things they do are so very subtle and they can still do things that other people have forgotten even existed. If you watch the Bournonville classes, or the 50 Bournonville enchaînments  - the batterie, the long technical adages, the sheer strength and the calm ease with which they do the most difficult things...  I think this video  of Johan Cobborg coaching Royal Ballet's Marcellino Sambé is very illuminating:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoXJPFqmOKA

 

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I adored Grade 7. I was getting bored of it in class towards the end of last year, but when I was in front of the examiner with a live pianist it was like I came to life, I don't think I have ever danced better than that exam. And the character does slowly become more manageable 😆

 

I am sitting Grade 8 in exactly one week! I was actually aiming my sights high for this one, wanted to beat last years score by 5 marks and get my first (and only) 90! Nice to have a dream haha.

 

Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle 8 weeks ago really badly. Two high grade ligament sprains, a suspected fibula fracture (thankfully ruled out) and a low grade high ankle sprain (this is the only real issue, it has slowed down my recovery significantly, but currently it looks like I will get to avoid surgery). I spent 2 weeks in a moon boot and have been mostly out of dancing since August.

 

I thought I was well out of the exam which seemed like such a shame, I was so ready for it and I won't repeat grade 8 next year (don't have time in my schedule since in November I will finally be a certified lawyer!) so I would have to leave my graded exams unfinished. However, after talking to my physio on Saturday, she has cautiously cleared me to do the exam. Apparently it will hurt like hell but is unlikely to actually do any more damage since after 9 weeks the ligaments should be almost fully healed, if still tender. If it was any other exam I wouldn't be doing it, but grade 8 has no pointe, no double pirouettes and the dances I have chosen I have barely any jumps. Because it's a performance exam I can make up marks in the upper body and face. My teacher, physio and I have had a big discussion and decided to go for it, accept that my mark won't be as high as it might have been (goodbye 90 😣) but I will be able to finish the grades with my girls, most of whom will not be continuing with ballet after this. Would I recommend this to anyone else? No. Am I endangering myself and ignoring medical advice? Absolutely not! I cautiously attempted the full exam yesterday and got through it all with only minor discomfort, so I will just do everything right between now and next tuesday, then cross my fingers and hope...

Edited by Viv

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Oh Viv, what unfortunate timing. Wishing you all the very best for your exam and hoping that you will still attain your longed-for mark.

 

Which dances are you doing? I'm guessing from your description of hardly any jumps: Demi-caratere, Dramatique and Danse Russe.

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@The_Red_Shoes thank you, and I am wishing you the best in your grade 7 preparation as well!

 

I am doing Demi-caractere, poetique and dance russe. Dramatique has the turning temps leves in the middle section which I would not be even allowed to attempt at this stage! The biggest jump in the poetique is the parallel pas de chat (commacht? I can't spell it...) which thankfully isn't in turn out and I can bring the second foot down quickly to take some of the force into it. There are some longish balances that I am concerned about but if it doesn't work out, that's just how it is. I am currently 'lilting' my jumps in demi-caractere while I build up my confidence, I will aim for slightly more height (at least so I can fully point my feet) over the next week.

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Thanks Viv. I had eye surgery last week so I'm taking two weeks off and then concentrating on the barre, port de bras, adage and free movement for a few weeks as I'm not allowed to "exert myself". Well what is or isn't exertion kind of depends on what you usually do, doesn't it? Getting out of breath and full forward port de bras is definitely not allowed for six weeks as it raises pressure inside the eye. So I'm cutting out pirouettes for a couple of weeks and jumps for a few weeks longer than that and then should be back to normal by mid-November. My exam isn't until March so it's not a big problem.

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FIngers crossed for a speedy recovery for the pair of you. It's always so hard to cut back on dancing even when common sense tells us it's the right thing to do.

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On 15/10/2019 at 11:28, The_Red_Shoes said:

First of all huge congratulations Sophie on recent achievements AND dancing in America again AND upcoming marriage.No wonder  I haven't seen you around for a while - you've had/got/will have a lot going on.

 

Thank you The_Red_Shoes, I've been here lurking, I've had an amazing year but always feels a bit self indulgent to post about my travels, I was back in the USA in August, LA to be precise dancing again which was another amazing experience, I've been invited to dance in Cuba / China / Russia in the future but they're all 3 places that I'd be nervous to travel to, when I go back ti Missoula I'll be working with Charlene the choreographer on the next instalment as she want's it to be a trilogy but this time I'll get a lot more input so it should be rather emotional & I really want to push myself physically too.

I hope everything went well with your eye surgery & wish you a speedy recovery x

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How wonderful, Sophie.

 

My eye is doing very well, thanks, and I'm looking forward to getting back into dancing. I'm already doing bits of adage in the kitchen and managing to restrain myself from pirouettes. Half term next week and I'll be back to my private lesson the week after where I can do a full lesson doing only those things that I am medically allowed to do. I'm thinking that I'll go back to one of my other classes where I've already paid a term's fee which otherwise would just be wasted and just do the bits I can.

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I had Grade 8 today. I think it went well, the ankle held up and is feeling much better after some ice. Grade 8 is a tough one to predict though, it's marked so differently from the other exams, 50% for performance! So while I feel like I did alright, I'm not sure what they're actually looking for or whether or not I've achieved it. I didn't have the feeling of pure joy I did in the grade 7 exam so I worry the performance was a little forced, but I was trying to hide and compensate for the things I can't do too well at the moment. I suppose I'll know in 6 weeks time.

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Congrats Viv. I'm sure you've done fabulously. It's so easy to come out of an exam and remember all the things that didn't go perfectly or could have gone better rather than thinking of the positives. Fingers crossed for you.

 

A couple of questions for you all:

  1. Has anyone successfully thinned out the sole of demi-pointe shoes/made any other modifications to make your feet look nicer while keeping all your fingers intact?
  2. When doing a battement lent on my left leg, why does it look like I have perfect turnout when my turnout is actually far from wonderful? My teacher's checked I don't have tibial torsion and I'm not twisting or lifting my hips or doing anything else weird with my posture.

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Well done Viv, glad your ankle held up. Best of luck that you get the result that you are hoping for.

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