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2 years between exams???


Babyballerina
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My DD is nine and has just taken RAD grade 2. She attends a small school held in a village hall with just one teacher. We have just had an email telling us her result and telling us that her next exam will be 2019. I have clarified this with the teacher as I thought it was a typing error. Is this usual for RAD exams to be 2 years apart. My DD is a royal ballet JA and elmhurst as well. Seems a long time to me. Anyone had any experience of this

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Yes. The RAD recommended learning hours for Grade 3 is 90. So if a child is attending Ballet only once a week for a 30 week year they could conceivably be doing it for 3 years. 

However the average gap I find is two years. 

But your dd is clearly talented and is probably able to do the exam very much sooner. I have had students do well after only two terms but they are those who come several times a week. 

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My DD is nine and has just taken RAD grade 2. She attends a small school held in a village hall with just one teacher. We have just had an email telling us her result and telling us that her next exam will be 2019. I have clarified this with the teacher as I thought it was a typing error. Is this usual for RAD exams to be 2 years apart. My DD is a royal ballet JA and elmhurst as well. Seems a long time to me. Anyone had any experience of this

thanks 

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I personally think exam spacing should be determined individually for each child rather than a class plan.

However as your dd is at 2 high class associate programmes she will be getting plenty of teaching elsewhere. 

I would seek the opinion of your associate teachers.

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Interesting questions as my DD is in a similar position in that she can only take 1 lesson a week at her dance school but they only organise exams are every other year.  She is just about to take grade 2 at age 10 and was in grade 1 for 2.5 years waiting for the school to organise exams.  I wondered if, with exams only organised every other year, she will get through all the grades.  And, if she can only do 1 class a week will she need 2 years to prepare?

 

If your daughter is a JA then she must be talented and is doing more than 1 class a week so will progress more than the other girls at your local school so I agree you should ask the opinion of her teachers at the school and at JAs?  It is really tricky with some small, local schools if you have a DD that wants to do more ballet.  I am unsure what to do about my situation as we love our dance school, but want more ballet?

 

 

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If the foundations are laid, slow and steady, and there's good progress at associates schemes, then maybe relax about the exams? 

 

I think sometimes people start to let "the tail wag the dog" if you see what I mean. Without meaning to, we can start to see exams as the aim. But we do know really, that doing exams isn't the aim of learning ballet. Exams are simply a formal measure of progress. Your DD can progress without exams at all! Lots of schools (more usually in the USA, for example), don't do ballet exams at all.

Edited by Kate_N
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1 hour ago, Kate_N said:

If the foundations are laid, slow and steady, and there's good progress at associates schemes, then maybe relax about the exams? 

 

I think sometimes people start to let "the tail wag the dog" if you see what I mean. Without meaning to, we can start to see exams as the aim. But we do know really, that doing exams isn't the aim of learning ballet. Exams are simply a formal measure of progress. Your DD can progress without exams at all! Lots of schools (more usually in the USA, for example), don't do ballet exams at all.

There's slow and steady... and too slow! It is possible to progress without taking exams at all, but only if you are in a suitable class for your level of ability and are allowed to progress upwards without being constrained. But here it seems that the dd is being constrained by the teacher's exam structure. Taking additional non-syllabus classes and maybe doing the grade class one above the one you are in would help. If you are talented, then being held back in the same low grade for two years would be inadvisable and quite possibly detrimental to her chances.

 

When you have a dc who has natural ability, it seems odd to me that they should be prevented from reaching their full potential because the teacher holds them back. Normally, for vocationally-minded students, they will be starting inter foundation when they are about 11 or so and in about grade 5. At this rate the OP's dd won't be taking her grade 5 exam until she's 15.

 

 

 

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That is my worry taxi4ballet. All her peers in the JAs seem to be romping ahead. Whilst I don't want to compare her against the others I'm worried she'll be left behind and therefore she won't get the same chances as the others. My DD is getting bored. She was upset when she realised she'll be in Grade 3 until she is 11. Her teacher is lovely and ex professional but I do feel it's too slow. She does 45 min twice a week because the teacher won't allow her in anymore classes and she must stay with her peer group regardless of ability.

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58 minutes ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

If your Dd is serious about her dance & the fact she is a JA shows she has ability then I would seriously consider moving her.

So would I.

 

Not being allowed to do any more classes and staying in the same class with her recreational peer group regardless of ability is not what your dd needs. She needs to keep up with her associate peer group.  Yes, they will romp ahead, and when/if she auditions for full-time vocational training, she will be at a huge disadvantage.

 

If you are paying for dance training, then you want to be paying for what is best for her right now - and that is not what she's getting at the moment. She's bored and upset, and will soon become demoralised and stop trying.

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2 hours ago, Babyballerina said:

 She does 45 min twice a week because the teacher won't allow her in anymore classes and she must stay with her peer group regardless of ability.

 

Sorry but this is a huge red flag! This is the approach of a purely recreational school and totally unsuitable for an ambitious JA. Her progression needs to be based purely on ability, and NOT by age.

 

Are there any more serious schools in the area you could consider moving her to?

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Absolutely not helpful or appropriate. When the RAD syllabus changed my dd's old dance school encouraged all the children who wanted to progress through the grades to start taking two classes per week. This was explained as being  because the 'new' syllabus takes a lot longer to master. More able students who could cope were encouraged to do 2 grades in parallel to progress faster. This is not about one up man ship, its about staying at the same level as your peer group. I did worry a bit when dd started IF at 10, in parallel with Grade 5, however when she applied to vocational summer school the following year we realised that this was the minimum standard expected. She would not have been able to keep up without doubling up on classes. Similarly if you think your dd might ever want to go full time say at 16 - Intermediate is the minimum standard to audition and most of the girls were Advanced 1 or 2 standard at 15 years old. None of this would matter so much if your dd was happy at her school, but clearly she is bored and upset. I would definitely look at other schools that are better geared up for serious dancers and do it now. Wishing you and your dd all the best.

 

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We had a similar situation with my Dd, for different reasons.  

Does the school add more classes as they get older for Pointe work etc? 

We ended up staying until age 12 as dd did gymnastics too so it suited her.  She has moved on now to a wonderful new dance school. Dd attended 1 grade class a week a grade, they moved up one grade a year, they also offered one non syllabus, and tap and modern but she insisted she wanted to attend gymnastics instead as she absolutely loved it! And then in year 7 or 8 (if a new starter etc) students moved up to interfoundation.  It was a lovely school.  But, dd wanted to do more classes than they could offer eventually !

 

Students were never allowed to move up faster than peers at her old ballet school to make it a fair and non competitive environment for everyone to just enjoy dance without pressure.  I don't think all school can offer training for girls who want to make a more of a career from dance for practical reasons sadly, not always because they don't want to help...! And when I say a career, I don't mean necessary a job as a dancer when they are older, but as a journey getting more involved in the dance world etc. Maybe have an honest chat with your dds teacher would help? 

 

We were reassured at auditions, if your Dd wants to audition for full time training 😂 the schools mostly look for potential, and are very good at spotting natural potential rather than how advanced students are, but I think being better prepped would give a student confidence and you don't want your child feeling demoralised.  And it's always nice to feel you've given something your best shot!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Snowflake said:

We were reassured at auditions, if your Dd wants to audition for full time training 😂 the schools mostly look for potential, and are very good at spotting natural potential rather than how advanced students are, but I think being better prepped would give a student confidence and you don't want your child feeling demoralised.  And it's always nice to feel you've given something your best shot!! 

 

I agree, the schools do look at potential, but when you are up against 1,000 others for a few dozen places, then there will be those who have huge potential and are also much further along in their training. 

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I would be looking elsewhere I think. In my experience, the thing that puts young people off any activity most is boredom. There's no logical reason to assume that any cohort of children will learn things at the same rate or in the same way merely because they were all born in some arbitrary time period, and this method of teaching surely runs the risk of the most able students losing interest, which would be a real shame.

It's nice to be loyal to a school/teacher, but ultimately parents are the paying customers and if the service they are getting is not what their child/ren need then it's fine to look elsewhere. It's amazing how many of us go through immense guilt in this kind of circumstance, but we really shouldn't have to.

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57 minutes ago, Babyballerina said:

yes youngatheart  we have ks dance and Shelagh Elliott Clarke about a 20 min drive from us.

 

 

If that's the area you are based in then there are lots of really good dance schools who will help your daughter progress according to her ability & inclination. There are also lots of showy pushy ones too but we'll ignore them. 

 

The strength & conditioning coach from KS Dance posts on here. They have a very good reputation. 

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1 hour ago, Snowflake said:

 

 

We were reassured at auditions, if your Dd wants to audition for full time training 😂 the schools mostly look for potential, and are very good at spotting natural potential rather than how advanced students are, but I think being better prepped would give a student confidence and you don't want your child feeling demoralised.  And it's always nice to feel you've given something your best shot!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am sure that this is often the case for entry at 11 years. The 'major' schools often want to take their students back to basics and teach them 'their way'. However for audition at 16 + I must respectfully disagree. Here schools have only 3 years to get the students 'company ready' and in a massively over supplied market they are going to take those students that will most readily reach that goal.  Also for vocational ballet schools that like to enter students for competitions such the Molly Lake Award and the Genee, here candidates must have Adv1 and be under 17 years and Adv 2 and be under 19(?) years to take part. I appreciate that the OP's dd is still quite young and this is all some way off and indeed may not be her chosen path. But realism always a good thing.

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We're in a similar situation, DS has been dancing for 2 years, he was moved up from grade 1 to 2 because of his age, but never did his grade 1 exam. I know exams aren't everything but they are important rites of passage to the kids I think. Who wouldn't want a shiny medal at 8??

Hopefully he will be able to take his grade 2 this year, then move up.

Heard good things about KS dance if you can get there...xx

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I think it needs to be personal to fit your child, the communication between you and the teacher is vital so that your child is training at the right pace for them and their body.

 

Now I can look back I feel so blessed that mine went to such a supportive church hall ballet school that gave her an incredible foundation and sent her on her career path.

 

If you live near KS then ask to visit, let your DD catch the atmosphere, see the other children at work and ask Miss Simmons for advice. 

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The only "negative" I've heard from KS dance, is my friend was told to drop associate places namely Royal as it was a money making scam designed to support the company. Not sure whether it can be strictly viewed as a negative as it could well be true, but I think the training on said money making scam is pretty good! To be fair my friend thoroughly enjoyed her time at the school and the only ended up auditioning for KSD upper school, she has done a brief stint as a professional ballerina and now teaches.

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Wow that's quite a negative Bluebird 22. Associates and Scholars' schemes can't be that much of a money maker as they are often heavily subsidised. I wonder if that is still the case as KS faculty members have also taught at Scholars schemes in recent years?

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We had this, in particular in relation to one grade where everyone was told (in the older grades system) that at least 18 months or more likely 2 years plus was required for ANYONE wanting to take the exam, regardless of age/previous training/number of classes taken/ability etc. It turned out that the teacher for said grade didn't teach any higher grades and was basically maximising her income from teaching this last grade....

Your DD is obviously talented and keen - RBS and Elmhurst JAs, wow! - and I can't believe that she should be kept with her peer group at all times. Yes, it is sometimes difficult if students are dancing with older ones (although DD loved it ;)) but most able and enthusiastic students can manage and need to be given more of a challenge. I second the advice to chat to her teacher and would also ask advice from her RBS and Elmhurst JA teachers re alternative dance schools they would recommend (maybe after asking other JA parents for any suggestions?) Better to have the JA teachers' backing for any new school - or you may even find that they have no problem with the slow progress your DD will be making at her current school if her teacher/s there are respected. However, even if they are happy for your DD to stay where she is, I would suggest you see what other classes she may be able to take because she will certainly become bored and possibly even fall out of love with dancing if she feels she is being held back (which she does seem to be). At her age she could be starting a pre-IF class (in flat shoes) and as a talented dancer she should certainly be capable of achieving at grade 4/5 level even if she isn't ready to take the exams. If she remains in her current grade until she is 11 she will definitely be overwhelmed and quite possibly lose confidence in classes/auditions when she is with her JA peers. 

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I've also heard that KS don't allow pupils to attend associates.

 

If true it's a bit odd as one of their teachers runs BBO North Ballet Scholars  (or did until very recently ) and the Cecchett Northern Associates are held at their studios!!!

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Yes I can see the logic in that Bluebird and Miss Hurst is fabulous.

 

It is interesting that Centre Pointe do not have the same policy (maybe because Miss Wright is a RB Associate teacher!) and their success rate with getting into vocational training is high.

 

Maybe KS have a similar success rate but do not advertise it on social media in the same way? Personally I think my dd benefitted hugely from the exposure to different teachers, non syllabus classes and meeting other like minded dancers at Associates. This isn't because she received better teaching than at home dance school (her home teachers were fabulous and knew her best) but the angle is a bit different with a different population of pupils many of whom apply for vocational training. It is also great experience for auditioning etc.

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