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How to increase "Performance" in exam syllabus?

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My dd has just done her first RAD ballet exam, Grade 4 and did well but seemed to fall down a little on the performance scores.

 

She has another exam in two weeks time and is worried that she is missing something in the performance area but just doesn't know what exactly :/  We don't come from a dance background so we're of no use to her.

 

We'd love if all you pro's could share some tips on exactly HOW to perform more - her teacher keeps saying "you need to perform more" but is not telling her exactly what she is supposed to be doing to achieve that!

 

All help gratefully received :)  Thank you

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One tip my DD was given years ago, was to imagine that there was an appreciative audience behind and just above the examiner, and to dance for them. Apparently this helps you project more, and keeps the eyes up whereas focussing on the examiner tends to constrict things somewhat. Hope that makes sense - I know what I mean but am not sure I've explained it properly!

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Smile and try to “show out” which really means to show your personality either through dancing or acting.

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Yes facial expression and positive body language.

 

I used to tell dd to show the examiner/audience how much she loves dancing. It comes naturally to some and in others develops with maturity. If the dancer is finding the dancing technically difficult it will be harder to 'perform'.

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My Dd has also had this 'perform' more when younger. 

Dd was told to watch you tube - srarch novice dancers and professional dancers and see which was more interesting to watch - then asked to say why

 

Dd has never been a show off but has learnt that posture and emitting confidence to whoever is watching is key - not always a cheesy smile but getting your eyes to show you really enjoy what you re doing. 

 

Good luck

 🍀 

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Ok that makes more sense in my head lol!  I thought that the RAD syllabus was quite rigid that you couldn't put in flowy movements and such - for example, dd's teacher said that one of her endings was "too flowery" and to keep it simple.

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Well I have just asked my dd who is 9 and had to laugh, she said she imagines the examiner as a 'banana' and it always makes her smile and less self conscious! 

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I think the face is really important in showing performance - a big smile showing you are loving what you are doing, but also recognising and presenting the ‘right’ face for the exercise when a big grin is not appropriate. Eyeline is also a big factor- keep it up and out. Looking confident and happy to be there makes the performance enjoyable from the audience/examiner’s perspective. 

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The performance marks in RAD exams are examined under factors such as "communication,  expression,  interpretation and projection". The tip of an imaginary audience is one I use with my students, but don't forget to include the examiner in that audience from time to time. Also, things like having 'an important face' for certain exercises, not just a big smile. Ask your DD to think about what the music/movements make her feel like, try to come up with imaginary stories or situations for each exercise which may help with interpretation and expression. 

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I agree with Dr. Dance. She doesn't want to just have a fixed smile throughout the whole thing, as this would just look silly. In quieter, slower adage, a look of thoughtfullness and expression should come across. Think of Giselle in Act two. How mad would she look if she were grinning?!!

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It’s what makes us want to watch a dancer ‘ on stage’ more than any other!

I think it is a combination of things..use of facial expression, eye line, use of head, line extensions and for the dances/ variations in RAD...understanding and telling the story behind the choreography eg in G4 the neoclassical dance is about water! 

 

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There were a couple posts discussing this in the 'intermediate foundation as an adult' thread which you may find useful.

 

I find that performance goes beyond just facial expression, although that is a very important component. The best performers I watch dance right to the end of the fingertips and fill the entire space they're in. Even something simple like lifting the sternum a little bit (without displacing the ribs) can give a better sense of projection and confidence. If she's looking to a corner, make sure she turns her whole head and not just her eyes, it's quite common for young dancers to have their eyes looking one way and their head still facing the front. Not only does it look weird, it shows a lack of coordination and it's harder for the audience to connect with the dancer if their eyes don't feel focused. Listen to the music for each exercise and try to come up with a story for it - is she at a picnic with her family? At a disco with her friends? Lying on her back in the sun? Ask her to remember that feeling when she dances and try to convey that story to the examiner. Last point, I said it in the other thread and I'll say it here, practice performance as much as technique! Do you think you can have floppy feet in class and then remember to point them in the exam? No! Performance is the same. Practice now! It'll also give her teacher the chance to give feedback on her interpretation of the music and communication of the story.

 

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