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Vocational grades


Lemongirl
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Can someone please explain to me how these work? My dd does RAD and has been working through the grades, she has just done Grade 3.

 

Is there a point where you switch to the vocational grades or do you also do the normal grades as well?

 

Is inter foundation the earliest vocational grade? Then what?

 

I'm sure you knowledgeable people can give me some info! Many thanks.

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Intermediate foundation is the earliest vocational grade but like advanced foundation is not compulsory- that is you can progress to the next level without doing the exam.

 

Schools vary but where I teach students tend to start the vocatioal grades at around grade 3/4 and continue studying the other grades as well (which go up to grade 8).

 

Vocational grades are; inter foundation, intermediate, advanced foundation, advanced 1, advanced 2, solo seal.

 

These exams are not necessary qualifications for getting into vocational schools but you should be about advanced 1 level at auditions for such places. Intermediate is the minimum standard required in order to start teaching qualifications which are pretty tough as they require extensive knowledge of not just correct classical technique but safe teaching practises as well- mere syllabus knowledge is a very small aspect!

Edited by hfbrew
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Hi Lemongirl,

 

Vocational Grades can be taken alongside the Graded exams. Some - like Inter Foundation - are optional.

 

In order, the RAD Vocational exams are:

 

Intermediate Foundation (optional)

Intermediate

Advanced Foundation (optional)

Advanced 1

Advanced 2

Solo Seal Award

 

To take Advanced 1, you must have passed Intermediate. To take Adv. 2 you must have passed Adv. 1.

 

It used to be that "recreational" dancers took the Graded exams while dancers with professional aspirations took Vocational exams.

Nowadays many dancers take both.

 

At our school you have to be invited to join the Vocational classes. For my dd this happened when she had taken her Grade 4 but she worked on Inter Foundation for almost 2 years before taking the exam. There are minimum age limits for taking the exams.

 

Historically, I think the Vocational marking has always been a little tougher than the Graded exams.

 

Hope that helps!

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We were posting at the same time, hfbrew. :-)

 

Incidentally, where you mention being at Adv. 1 standard for auditioning at vocational school, I'm guessing you mean Upper Schools!

He he yes I did!! Can you imagine 11 years old having to do advanced point work!!
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Curious - although some teachers call the vocational grades Majors (which is what they used to be called) or Senior ballet so it might be listed under that on your dance school's timetable. Are they mostly older girls, or lots of younger ones like your dd?

 

DD's friend goes to a local village school where everyone gets to go on pointe when they start Grade 6. :wacko:

 

As far as I know, the teacher puts most of the children in for presentation classes and rarely enters any for grade exams at all.

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At my school we do both vocational and graded exams. I did the higher grades whilst doing the vocationals and it was a lovely way to just dance as the vocationals were so technical. We do a lot of free work as well as having to learn syllabus, it keeps our brains very switched on and its great for making us develop our musicality!!! With pointe work, at inter foundation the students do at least a year of pointe preparation with bands and set exercises. We weren't put on pointe at a certain grade but individually when the teacher said we could - there are quite a few pointe classes available each week and for different levels. The prep work was well worth it - we also had to wear soft pointes in class to make our feet work. I didn't take inter foundation but moved on to intermediate and took that instead :)

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I think the marking for vocational is tougher. Many who have whisked through grades with distinction get a shock at their first vocational.

 

Also with the vocational exams one often has to travel to a centre to do them. We had to go up to Battersea for them when he was at local school. Due to a massive muck up by Elmhurst we had to go to Bristol for his Advance1. some people do find it intinidating taking an exam in an unknown venue,

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Incidentally, teachers can now apply for Inter Foundation and Inter to be taken at the same time as graded exams at the school but only if the studio/hall is suitable. Graded examiners have had extra training and now examine IF and I.

 

So much of dealing with grades/vocational grades is down to the individual teacher and their philosphy (and I think it's a good thing). I've heard of all children being offered VG classes but told that it doesn't necessarily mean they'll do the exam, I've also heard of schools who invite pupils, or audition pupils for VG classes.

 

Some do pointe only if pupils are doing VG's - other schools will let any pupil train for pointe once they get to a certain grade (I would hope that this is after some pre-pointe training!). Some schools start IF classes alongside grade 4, I've seen some doing it with selected pupils as young as grade 2, some it's grade 5.

 

If I owned a school that did syllabus work and exams (which I don't, yet!) I would insist on every student doing the grades, all the way to grade 8, as I agree that the free movement and character is good for all-round training, and the higher grades have a bit more context to them in that grade 7 is stylised to ballets such as La Sylphide, and you can see the character steps in ballets such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

 

If pupils had the desire to progress further with their ballet, I would then insist on a minimum of 2 additional classes per week, one based on the syllabus, and another non-syllabus, as well as pre-pointe/pointe classes.

 

The RAD recommend that students preparing for VG exams should be taking at least 2 classes a week at IF level, increasing as they progress through to higher levels.

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Grade 2!? That seems incredibly young to be starting on Vocational Work. Gosh.

 

DD will start Grade 7 work in September at the same time as continuing with Intermediate. The Grade 7 syllabus sounds lovely. Whether or not she'll take the Grade 7 exam, I'm not sure, but even doing the work will be a nice contrast to the rather more technical Inter syllabus.

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Julie 2 Milner, without a doubt the vocationals are way harder on the marking. I got 18 marks more for grade 7 than I did for Intermediate, which is a lot of marks. I felt much more stressed doing intermediate than grade 7, I think because we had to go to the RAD at Battersea for the exam and we also had to do the 5 weeks of Sundays up there - our teacher insisted :)

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Yes grade 2 was a rareity, even for that school, and it's a school that really pushes young dancers that show talent. Having said that, they do produce some amazing ballet dancers!

 

Most places it seems to be grade 4 or 5...

 

The reason why the marking seems to be tougher is that in VG's all marks out of 100 are for classical technique, music and performance whereas in the grades, the 100 is split between classical technique, free movement, character, music and performance. In the grades if you're a bit weak in one area of classical technique you can often bump up the mark by excelling in free movement and/or character but in the VG's there's less places to hide, as it were!

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The reason why the marking seems to be tougher is that in VG's all marks out of 100 are for classical technique, music and performance whereas in the grades, the 100 is split between classical technique, free movement, character, music and performance. In the grades if you're a bit weak in one area of classical technique you can often bump up the mark by excelling in free movement and/or character but in the VG's there's less places to hide, as it were!

 

This is really interesting, as dd's weakest areas are free movement and character, which might explain why she got a higher mark for inter foundation than for her last grade!

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I also have had some students who do better at vocational grades. When looking at suitability of students for exam entry at this level, I don't look at the overall mark for their graded exams but just at the "classical" marks. If these marks are consistent with a good merit or distinction then I will consider them for vocational exam entry if they so wish. (and my if boss agrees!)

 

Generally though the standard required for the vocational examinations is very high and it is a shock to some students who are used to sailing through with high marks when these are not achieved at vocational level. But students should not be disheartened or think its going to reflect on their future one way or another. I know of students who have consistently got high marks because their teachers knew exactly what boxes to tick as far as the criteria were concerned but who will not make it as professionals. And I know people such as myself who managed to get every mark possible (including "unsuccessful"!) who became professional!

 

I do like students to take exams because I find that many work better if they have a goal to aspire to and if their performing opportunities are few then at least they can perform for an external examiner.But I try to stress that the journey to get there is what matters and if the student has really worked 100% then I am proud of them whatever the result which is afterall subjective on one particular day for one particular person. To be even considered good enough to take the exam in one of the large schools I teach at is achievement in itself!

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This is really interesting, as dd's weakest areas are free movement and character, which might explain why she got a higher mark for inter foundation than for her last grade!

 

Yes of course it works both ways with the grades - some children are 'too classical' as it were, for the weight, suspension and relaxation needed in free movement technique, so do better in purely classical exams!

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