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So I started learning ballet for the first time in my mid 20s and have absolutely fallen in love with it. My dream is to study the RAD CBTS with a view to becoming a teacher myself. 

My question is, am I being unrealistic? I’ve so far achieved two very good merits at Grades 4 and 5. But my latest merit (72% at grade 5) has thrown me a bit (actually a lot). If I can’t even get Distinction myself then how can I expect to be accepted to teach others? 

I absolutely have the drive and determination to fight to become the best teacher I possibly can. But sometimes I wonder if I’m kidding myself, if I just started too late. 

The entry requirements on the website say “hold an Intermediate certificate”, which I’m currently working on. Do you think not getting Distinctions in the previous grades will hinder me when I apply for the course? 

Confused! And determined 


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I would go for it if you really like the idea of teaching.

To be a good teacher you don't have to achieve a distinction in an exam.

You have to know the syllabus inside out and understand the striving for the very best which you have experienced already and then can help to encourage and bring this out in your pupils.

Every teacher just about is sooner or later is going to be presented with pupils who are more highly talented than themselves and I'm sure you will love helping these students achieve their distinctions!! 

But anyway who knows you are not finished yet a distinction for you may still be on the horizon 😊


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I am a Mentor for the CBTS. Absolutely no need for distinctions, after all exam marks are just what an examiner sees on the day. And that merit mark is very good! 


But do take, and pass your intermediate! Much easier than having to submit video footage which you will have to do if you don't. 


In the meantime do as many classes as possible, watch a variety of teachers and also go to performances. 

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Thank you all, that has cheered me up a lot 😊 

I’ve been told by at least 3 separate people that the younger students look up to me and that other adults admire what I’m doing with the exams and shows as my love of ballet and dedication shines through apparently ❤️

I guess I just put a lot of pressure on to somehow ‘prove’ myself and I feel like I’ve let myself down a little by not managing to achieve the distinction. 

But I just need to pick myself back up again and keep training hard. Next week I’m starting Grade 6 and level 2 Discovering Repertoire. I’m also joining beginners ballet but doing it en pointe, and continuing with Intermediate. It’s time to step it up a bit and make some more progress 😃

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Wow that sounds great a nice lot of variety there! Hope you have a good year. 

I can't remember if they mark the Discovering Repertoire in exactly the same way as the Grade exams but if they do I reckon you could work for a distinction in this.....or the equivalent of top marks.  It's a nice programme and if you take your time with it I think its possible to do really well in this exam. Best of luck 🍀 🍀🍀 

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  • 1 month later...

It's great to be aspirational - take as many practical classes you can, watch as many teachers teaching as you can, and see if you can get regularly assisting experience.  As a teacher, your own demonstration is absolutely crucial as your students will mirror what you show them.  You don't have to have perfect technique, but you have to be able to demonstrate accurate and well executed technique.  Correct posture, placement, alignment, deportment and a sense of performance are more important than beautifully arched feet, 180 degree turn-out or high extensions.  You also need to know how ballet technique progresses from one level to the next, and the ballet vocabulary. (I'm amazed that so many ballet students these days can't give the name of the steps they are performing!).  You need to have all of these skills I've outlined before you even start teacher training proper.  It's by no means impossible to become a teacher as a later starter, but it will take time and perseverance.  Good luck!

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1 hour ago, Michelle Groves said:

Correct posture, placement, alignment, deportment and a sense of performance

Aside from not knowing what deportment means (I will google it as soon as I’ve posted this!), luckily for me my result enquiry report from the RAD for my latest exam mentions my posture, alignment and performance regularly in a positive way. Sadly it seems my inability to maintain my (decent) turn out and lack of fondu has let me down. 
I still have a lot to learn on the technique side. I know the names and the steps and what I’m supposed to do, what it’s supposed to look like. But I haven’t quite managed to make my body catch on in some ways. Yet!! 
Ballet is my absolute passion and I will do everything I can to help others find the happiness that it has brought me 

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Old or young, some students will always have turn-out and plié/fondu limitations.  There are many conditioning exercises you can do which will enhance what ability you do have.  Ask your teacher for exercises she would recommend.  There is also a lot of information online about body conditioning exercises, but you really need to know how bodies work, and how your body works, so that you perform the exercises in safely.

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