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Dance exams


Lilac
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(Apologies if this has been discussed before!)

Am starting to wonder whether my DD is some way behind others of her age in terms of exams taken, and whether this could have a negative effect in the future as she is verty serious about dance. She is just coming to the end of Year 9, and was 14 in January. Her latest exams passed were: Ballet- Inter Foundation and Grade 6, Modern - Grade 5, and Tap - Grade 4! I only moved her to this dance school in the autumn because I felt the quality of teaching especially in ballet was the best available locally. I still feel that, particularly in ballet which is her greatest passion. However I do get frustrated that exams keep getting put back, and than meet parents at auditions, associates etc whose girls are much futher on, so thereby learning more complex work. Her associate teacher thinks she should do Intermediate Ballet soon, but I can't see that happening while the Tap and Modern exams keep being postponed! It's only a small dance school with just two teachers, so I realise there's a limit to what can be accomodated at any one time!

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Is this RAD Lilac?

 

You may find it interesting that I think just recently RAD are making either a minimum age for some of the more advanced exams or a maximum time spent in the grade(sorry not sure which) so pupils can't be rushed through the system unnecessarily fast.

 

My friends daughter who was 13 in March is at RAD Advanced one foundation. In theory she could be ready to take the exam at end of July but may have to wait till January under the new rules.

 

It does sound like a good idea in some ways so teachers are not just teaching pupils to pass exams (would also be appropriate in the non ballet world!!)

If she could at least go into an Intermediate ballet class now I would think she is still on track.....probably good to have passed an exam in.....or have good knowledge of Advanced level by 16 but there is no hard and fast rule and depends of course how much she wants to concentrate on a classical ballet career. But often if girls are just a little bit older when getting into vocational level grades they are also stronger physically and so can cope a little better with the material.

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If she's considering training full time at 16 most students auditioning for ballet schools will be at around advanced 1 standard (though there are obviously various factors at play). So if she's hoping to do that then I would say she is a bit behind, intermediate takes about 2 years and so does advanced 1 so you really need to have passed intermediate foundation by about 12. (Not that exams are actually required, I'm just talking about levels really).

 

If she's interested more in musical theatre then a sound intermediate level should be fine, though again, lots more factors to consider eg somebody with an incredible voice could get in with hardly any dance experience!

 

If she's nearly ready for the exam could she perhaps attend a higher level class too so that she's working on those steps? That way it might take less time to get through that exam. A lot of students at dd's school take their own level plus the next one up.

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I think it also depends if your DD is doing anything outside of exam work.  If she does take her intermediate exam soon, she should have a sound knowledge of advanced 1 by the time of auditions as you say she is only in year 9.  My DD did not do tap at all and it was not in any audition.  Modern in auditions was unlike anything DD had done in class and I would have thought your DD has a good a foundation as anyone else.  I deliberately mention auditions as when it comes down to it a place at vocational school depends not on exams or levels passed but on how she performs in auditions.  She needs to be as secure in technique as possible, whatever her grade and hopefully yes have knowledge of advanced 1, even if she is not yet secure at that level.  But she also needs to be able to listen to instruction, to understand the instruction so that she can do free or non-set work in an audition.  That is why I ask about classes outside of exam work because associates, day work shops, summer schools etc all help with this.

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Lilac if your daughter is considering vocational school try not to worry because it really does not seem to be the main concern what grade they are on. My DD was offered a place at Tring and has not done an exam since she was 10 other than the internal exams at her school. If she is working at intermediate level then she is just fine. The auditioners will be able to see her potential.

 

Don't worry!

dramascientist

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I don't think it's about what grade you have taken an exam in - the level of learning should be broader at any exam level than the exam itself which is a snapshot of the learning at that level - or should be. The prelims for 16 entry are not outlandishly difficult - intermediate/ advanced 1 level, however for finals, the level is raised and some of the schools state in their information for finals, to expect the audition to be at a more advanced level. If its classical vocational schools then although there is an element of potential being looked at there is also the student being at a comparable competitive level.

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For entrance into a good ballet school at 16 most students are above intermediate (old elementary) level but if there is enough potential then a lower level would probably be considered.

 

You don't say when your daughter took inter foundation, has she just passed it or is she nearly ready for her intermediate exam? Like I said, it's about levels rather than exams anyway, but they're a good guide.

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My dd had just taken her Intermediate ballet exam & Inter foundation modern exam in the June before she started at vocational ballet school in the September at age 16. She was accepted at 2 vocational schools at 16 and got to the final for a third school! So it really is all about potential and not what grade you are on! Your dd is doing fine on the levels she is on Lilac and on the same levels as my students of a similar age who are on track for vocational auditions at 16.

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I do think that IF/Grade 6 is a bit behind for 14.  The average age is normally 11 to 13.  However, if she can take her Intermediate and start working on Advanced 1 before she's 16 that would be fine.  What I understand from your post is that she only joined this school about 7 or 8 months ago.  If she hadn't done RAD before it would make sense that the school would want her to start at IF level to give her a better grounding for the new vocational exams.  I entered students for the new Inter this year and they found it incredibly difficult to accomplish, because they had only done the Higher Grades and had no follow through for the exercises.  The girls who took the new IF last year and are working towards Intermediate next year are finding it much easier. 

 

Can you increase the number of lessons she takes a week?  The amount of training hours makes a huge difference in strengthening technique.  Additional lessons would push her on a lot.  When schools ask for your exam level it is really only to give them an idea of where you are in your training - the real test is in how well you do in the audition class, so obviously the wider the vocabulary of steps a student has the better, because it makes it easier to pick up the more advanced enchainements and do them well.

Edited by Dance*is*life
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At dds first dance school (teacher retired now) there were several girls that got into dance schools at 16 with IDTA grade 6 - the dance teacher stopped doing the higher exams a few years before. Dd doing IDTA grade 4 and RAD inter foundation age 12

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If your DD is pretty quick at picking things up then ask if she can skip to a higher tap grade. She does not have to go through them all. We had a similar problem with small school and very slow to do exams but DD started at a different school and went straight on to grade 5 tap - no problems at all and has enjoyed it more too. She also skipped up to inter modern with absolutely no difficulty. Now this might not work in ballet but your DD is not that behind especially if she is on intermediate now. She could also try getting a few extra tap lessons if she feels she needs it but I bet she would be fine.

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Hi Lilac,

I had similar worries about my dd, although she is younger at 10. There may be some replies from my post on a similar topic worth reading in relation to your own concerns! http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/3309-inferiority-complex/ I think sometimes we worry too much as Mum's but it's hard not when you see and hear of children who are so advanced for their age! 

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