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Ive always been quite Pleased that dd has not rushed through the grades. She took her Grade 1 when she was just 8 ( as the oldest in her school year most of her friends in the same class were still 7 and she took her Grade 2 18 months later when she was 9.

 

She is at a summer school this week and she says that everyone in her group of 9 & 10 year olds is either about to take or has taken Grade 4. Dd is 11 in the autumn and hasn't taken grade 3 yet. They started the new syllabus last term do I'm guessing will take the exam sometime next a academic year.

 

I asked her if she felt she was keeping up and she thinks she is. Is this quite low for her age (she began ballet at 4) or is it just a case of different teachers doing things differently.

 

The seniors who have just left to go to Uni have just taken adv 1 exams so I guess this is the stage they aim them to get to by 18.

 

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I wouldn't worry too much, my dd is 12 and only took Grade 4 this year. This is partly due to the fact that she didn't start ballet until she was 9 and also because the dance school she started at only did one exam entry a year, as they are such a small school. However, she does take extra classes at intermediate level now, but will still work through the grades. She is also at summer school at the moment and is having no problems keeping up with the other children her age and older. :)

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I wouldn't worry - my daughter is 14 and will be taking grade 5 this christmas - she was lucky enough to be offered RBS SA this year and a place at Tring CBA - so we feel the lack of higher grades has not held her back so far. The important thing is that she loves to dance and doesn't want to rush for the sake of rushing. She has also attended summer schools and has not felt disadvantaged alongside her new found friends. :)

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Ive always been quite Pleased that dd has not rushed through the grades. She took her Grade 1 when she was just 8 ( as the oldest in her school year most of her friends in the same class were still 7 and she took her Grade 2 18 months later when she was 9.

 

She is at a summer school this week and she says that everyone in her group of 9 & 10 year olds is either about to take or has taken Grade 4. Dd is 11 in the autumn and hasn't taken grade 3 yet. They started the new syllabus last term do I'm guessing will take the exam sometime next a academic year.

 

I asked her if she felt she was keeping up and she thinks she is. Is this quite low for her age (she began ballet at 4) or is it just a case of different teachers doing things differently.

 

The seniors who have just left to go to Uni have just taken adv 1 exams so I guess this is the stage they aim them to get to by 18.

I would try not to focus too much on worrying about grades, my DD is 9 and grade 3, she managed to get into ja's as a year 4 and was still grade 2, they certainly werent too concerned about what grades the DC were even though its on the application form. Our dance teacher only does 1 exam a year, I am aware some of my DD's friends of the same age are doing 2 grades at a time, I am not sure what the rush is. I thought ballet was also about developing technique and strength not how many exams DC can do in a year. I would just go with what is right for your DD and as long as she is enjoying her dancing that is the main thing.

Ax

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its easy to get caught up in the whole grading pressures and keeping up with the dancing jones but I would always say don't worry about it, grades are indicators of progress but in reality it is WHAT a dancer can do not necessarily what GRADE they are, if you notice many vocational schools stipulate that they don't require specific grades and this is what auditions are for and when the dancers go to London or the like to audition no one really cares what they have on paper they simply want to see what they can DO :)

 

Some students seem to be far ahead of others because they are a much higher grade but this could simply mean they have been taught to the exam assessments and its not necessarily an indicator of how good a dancer they are. I would much rather a dancer progressed through the grading system slower and had the foundations of dance firmly in their grasp than show up with a bunch of certificates and then I have to take them back to the basics, you would be amazed how many turn up brandishing their graded pieces of paper and when it comes down to it those who are much lower on paper are stronger dancers, if she is keeping up and enjoying the school and if she is happy with the rate she is progressing then that is all that matters :)

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My DD started vocational school at 11 having only done RAD grade 3. Grades evidently didn't matter to the school, as they chose her and they don't pay any attention to grades. Buy others in her year had done G6, and Intermediate Foundation, and it did make her feel she was behind. It shouldn't have - but it did. She was generally less experienced I guess - others had also done dance festivals, been JA's etc which she had not. It's not great starting on the back foot but for some it can be the spur to greater determination and achievement. By Y9 all the girls were on an even playing field and doing Intermediate - those who were ahead initially had to mark time a little. But grades play little part at vocational school really - it's one quick class on a Saturday.

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the school my daughter - aged 12 (and older son when he is home from vocational school) currently go to do no grades whatsoever. One of the two schools they went to in London did no grades at all.

 

They're doing alright without the grades and actually enjoy the lessons more. They also don't have the stress of the gradings.

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My son has done ballet since age 4 and I'm told he's good at it. He will be doing Grade 2 just before his 10th birthday later this year. Meanwhile he's been accepted as a JA at the Royal Ballet for year 5, so I don't think grades matter all that much really.

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Hi,

 

If her teacher has switched to the new syllabus this may well be what is slowing her down (TBH I really don't see the point of switching at G3 myself, as the new G4 & 5 won't be out for ages yet, so anyone like your DD who was already in G3 and close to doing the exam would have been much much better off sticking with the old syllabus!) Having said that, the new G3 contains harder combinations than the old one, so rest assured that she will at least be progressing in terms of the work, if not in terms of grading.

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all children are different and learn at different paces at auditions it is the whole package that matters not what grade you are in. However scholerships are different this is when grade experience can come into the equation as dancers need to perform and pick things up quick due to a little amount of time, they dont have long to prove themselves and they have not been working week in week out . I was told Grade five ballet is a must if at an older age you want to be considered for any kind of dance or theatre work.

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I have been told that grades whilst an indication of achievement cannot be solely relied upon.

 

One teacher said that she sees girls who look good on paper but in the studio do not have the technical competence of some of those who perhaps have not cantered through the grades as quickly.

 

So I suppose this is why auditions are so valuable to show each dancers strengths and weaknesses regardless of which grade they may be on or which exam board they have taken. I understand that many countries concentrate less on graded exams and more on just dancing and pure technique.

 

So don't let your dd feel she is behind as this may not necessarily be the case.

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My son has done ballet since age 4 and I'm told he's good at it. He will be doing Grade 2 just before his 10th birthday later this year. Meanwhile he's been accepted as a JA at the Royal Ballet for year 5, so I don't think grades matter all that much really.

Congratulations to your DS!!

Ax

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To me, it's all about finding a natural balance, because IMHO rushing through exams is no better than being (or feeling) behind. My dd is the youngest in her Intermediate class by between 3 and 5 years, but it's not because she's been rushed through. Her teacher is very good about entering each child for an exam when they are completely ready, even if that means only one or two children ineach session.

 

For me, it's more about quality of training, but balancing that with having a certain level of dance vocabulary, particularly when auditioning for 16+ places. For 11+ places I think potential is more important so it must matter less which exams you've taken.

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When dd auditioned for EYB in the 12+ age group, she said the level was about Grade 6 / Inter.

 

I agree, it is far better to take exams when you are absolutely ready and have a really good technique, but it also helps to have had a go at steps in the higher grades too, so that you can understand what you are being asked to do at auditions etc.

 

My dd has a tendency to get bored and lose interest if she is in one grade for too long, so she has been taking classes in her grade plus the one above since grade 3 and she really appreciates the challenge.

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A teacher friend who is currently training to be an examiner (I think ISTD) has been told that in a general, non-audition entry, non-vocational dancing school a teacher should be looking to get approximately an equal number of pass, merit and distinction results in each exam session and should not hold pupils back until they are more likely to get the higher results as this is likely to demoralise less-able pupils more than passing an exam with a lower mark and staying in the same class as their peers. For those of us whose children dance more seriously i am sure we have looked at those schools with a high percentage of distinctions as probably 'better' schools whereas perhaps we should have considered the whole set-up. This is completely academic for me now but did make me think!

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And the other thing to consider is that you may work for a couple of years towards an exam to make sure you're as polished as possible, then be ill or below par on the day and not get the mark you were expected to get! It really is just a snapshot on one day.

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For me, it's more about quality of training, but balancing that with having a certain level of dance vocabulary, particularly when auditioning for 16+ places.

How much dance vocabulary should somebody auditioning for sixth form places have? I really want to audition but can't help feeling that I would be too far behind and with no hope :(

 

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Pointytoes, if you decide to go ahead, you're really going to need her help and support to prepare you!

 

To be honest, if it would be good for you to audition then your teacher needs to know, but on the other hand if auditioning for sixth form is unrealistic for you then someone who knows your dancing well such as your primary teacher would be the person to let you know. It would be better to know wouldn't it?

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At the end of the day, even if the worst happens, you can decide whether or not to take your teacher's advice. Obviously you'll need her support and hopefully she'll help you prepare for auditions, help with application photos etc.

 

But it will be your decision - and your family's - if you audition and how many auditions to try. It's much much better if you have your teacher's support though. :-)

 

Are you at any Associate Schemes or at a CAT? Although there are no guarantees that if you are, you will get a post 16 place, they usually provide excellent non-syllabus training and are a useful additional indicator of how you're doing.

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