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If you knew then.....(lighthearted!)


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I am sure those of us with older/grown up DCs have lots of things that if we had the ability to travel back in time with our current knowledge, we would do differently, and some of those will be quite big, serious things. I know there's plenty I would change. But as something of a counter to the sad and serious world we are living in at present, let's stick to less major things and share some of the "if I knew then, what I know now.." learning points that might help newbies, or just amuse people.

For me, it's ribbons. For years I struggled to sew, and to tie that awkward, stiff, 1.5cm or so wide ribbon that seems to be commonly sold as ballet shoe ribbon for flat shoes. I often wondered why it was so weird, but never questioned it as everyone else did it and I just accepted it was "the ballet way". Until that is, DD did EYB for the first time, and they wanted pointe shoe ribbon on the flat shoes. What a revelation! It proved far easier to sew, lots easier to tie, matched the colour of the shoes better, looked nicer (in my humble opinion) and DD said it was more comfortable. I never went back to the other stuff, even though some of the other mums looked shocked that I dared to defy convention! 😂

So I incite revolt....throw off your narrow ribbons and embrace pointe shoe ribbon for all ages!!

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I think we were lucky as when our two dds had ribbons on their flats the ballet school told us to use pointe shoe ribbons. They were in flats with elastic from Primary to the end of Grade Two and changed to ribbons on flats  until they were put en pointe. 

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Ours move to wide pointe shoe ribbon when it doesn't look too 'big' on their ankles !!!! 

 

I wish when we'd started festivals/competitions that I'd realised that the adjudicator can't tell if you've sewn on each embellishment really neatly or if it is just tacked on! 

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I hate ribbons! Can never get the knot to lie flat either. I started just using elastics for festivals in the end and it has never been commented on yet. So much less stress!

 

My DD has a crazy high instep as well so ribbons that are tight when she points her foot look really baggy when it's flat. I did use elasticated pointe shoe ribbon in the end before I just went rogue and stopped using it altogether 😆

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20 minutes ago, Pixiewoo said:

wish when we'd started festivals/competitions that I'd realised that the adjudicator can't tell if you've sewn on each embellishment really neatly or if it is just tacked on! 

Same with hair! I used to panic about bits of plaits coming out or hair going into the bun that wouldn't lie flat before I realised you really can't tell on stage.

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Heading off for a hotel stay the night before  one of dds final auditions for lower school, I thought it would be nice to buy her a new fleecy onesie - they’d become all the rage and I’d seen a few girls arrive at auditions in them which seemed really sensible as the auditions were in the late winter. 
I thought it was a nice little treat and would take her mind off her nerves. 
what I hadn’t allowed for was that it was really, really fluffy! We carefully  coiffed her hair, put on her new tights and her favourite leo and off  she went in her onesie feeling quite the part. When we arrived at the school and the time arrived to warm up, off came the onesie and to my horror she was covered, neck to foot in fluff! Not the look we were going for! 

Edited by Bex does ballet
Fat fingers
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DS went to an audition for the BRB Nutcracker a few years ago and when he was getting changed we realised he had no white socks! He auditioned in his Navy tights and furry Chewbacca socks and it worked! He was cast as an understudy... 😂😂😂

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Another festival panic I had was the first time DD got a bit of make up on a costume. Then I made it worse by trying to clean it off with baby wipes. I was distraught, thinking that it would look terrible and the costume would never be usable again. But I sat in the audience and realised that if I couldn't see it (and I was looking for it!) then the adjudicator definitely  wasn't going to spot it. Or indeed care, even if they did. I later noticed how many marks there were on lots of the older dancers' costumes when you saw them close up, and how completely unfazed everyone else was about it. Is strange what you think is important at times!

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I would have booked accommodation literally next door to RAD HQ and taken with me a case full of antibiotics, Calpol/paracetamol, glucose tablets and a portable aircon unit.  

 

Quite literally, *every* single vocational exam dd took there was scuppered by illness (ranging from chest infection and perforated eardrum for Inter Foundation to hypoglycaemia and heat exhaustion for Advanced 2), transport problems (like the bus being diverted and dropping us 30 mins walk away in the middle of a housing estate) or extreme heat (35 degrees outside on Adv 2 day when the exam was held in the studio with a huge wall of windows and no aircon).  

 

It became something of a joke in the end. I’m not sorry we don’t have to do that any more! 😂

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15 minutes ago, alison said:

30 mins' walk?  Oh Anna, you poor thing :(

 

Definitely wasn’t ideal - took me a few days in bed to recover from that one! 😳

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We had a near disaster at RAD HQ too, for DD's Adv 1. In fact the forum helped save the day! Things weren't great from the outset as DD had been injured and shouldn't really have been doing the exam to be honest, but it was the very last sitting of the old Adv1 syllabus and she desperately didn't want to miss it, so we'd had some emergency physio a few days previously to try to get her well enough to do it. We'd travelled down to London on the train the evening before, but part way down she developed a migraine (stress I suppose) and spent much of the night vomiting and being unable to see. I didn't think she would be able to dance, but next morning she felt better, had breakfast and said she wanted to try. The exam was in the early afternoon so we spent the morning wandering around Covent Garden, thinking that our problems were over.

We got the bus to Battersea in plenty of time, intending to allow enough time to grab a light lunch in one of the nearby cafes. All seemed well. But no. There had been an accident and the roads were totally gridlocked. The bus went off its normal route in an attempt to get through but it was no better. Time was ticking on and I knew that not only would there be no time for lunch but we might miss the exam. DD was getting distraught. I contemplated getting off the bus but a taxi would have had no more prospect of getting through the traffic and it was too far to walk, not to mention the fact that by this time I didn't know where we were!

I tried to phone the RAD to at least let them know what was happening, hoping they might let her go in later if there was space, but nobody answered. Then I had the idea of posting here, as I had an idea that other members had said they were going on the same day. And indeed there were! I ended up exchanging messages with another Mum whose DD was in the same exam, and they let the RAD know. Whilst they couldn't move DD's exam they did say that if she got there before the exam had actually started, even if the other girls had gone in, she could do it. Somehow just having the other Mum to communicate with took the pressure off and made me feel better. DD got changed under her coat on the bus, and we literally ran into the building just in time for her to go straight into the studio and start the barre work.

She got a good Merit. Not the highest mark she ever had but possibly the one I am proudest of, given the circumstances.

So the lessons are to leave a lot more time to get from central London to Battersea than you think you need, and don't forget the magic of this forum in your hour of need!

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I think quite a few people were following our plight Fiz! I know it sounds a bit nutty but I could physically feel the support from forum members that day. Even though nobody could actually do anything practical to help,just knowing that other people cared, and "got" why it was so important for us to get there made a huge difference. (As opposed to my husband who said "Ah well, never mind, its not the end of the world" or some similarly helpful comment!)

It is one of the really special things about this forum. Yes, there are a few disagreements, but the vast majority of members are totally supportive of others for the vast majority of the time. You don't get that in many places, real or online. The people here really show what nonsense the stereotype of the pushy, selfish "dance mum" is. 

 

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If I'd known how many attempts it would take to get decent audition photos back in the 90s and early noughties, I'd have taken a course in photography.

I shudder to think how much money I spent getting photos developed only to have to throw them away and start again due to a leg dropping mid shot or part of a foot or hand out of camera range.  

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Although the digital era does mean the phone gets snatched away as the subject scrutinises each image & so ensues dramas & fallouts & tears & tantrums (the latter from me usually!! 🤣)just yo get those 4-5 shots.....

Oh how I’ve cursed RBS (in particular) for not holding auditions for their intensive courses! Not just to save on the photo dramas but to actually feel the young people get something out of the process & we parents get some value for the endless application fees we shell out on! 

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