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Split soles for RAD ballet exams?


Lemongirl
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I've heard different opinions about this. I know the RAD allow them now for exams but I've also heard they're frowned upon. It's for Grade 4.

 

Dd would prefer to wear split soles for her exam but not if it possibly means marks being knocked off!

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Normally the teacher would decide what shoes the students should wear. Technically marks can't be knocked off for it but if you get an examiner that doesn't approve of the new rule it might not help her frame of mind when she's marking!

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Vocational or graded exam, Lemongirl? Some of the students in dd's school have worn them for higher graded exams but despite the new rule, they still wear full-soles for Inter Foundation (perhaps because they take it at HQ). Obviously for Intermediate and above they have to wear soft blocks anyway.

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One of DD's teachers is an RAD vocational examiner. Her comment was that split soles were now allowed but that she and other examiners would much rather that they were not - they cannot deduct marks but I suspect, as Aurora said, it may not improve their frame of mind when marking! (NB this has not been stated by DD's teacher)

 

Her face when DD's friend asked whether split sole soft pointe shoes could be worn (if a pair could be located!) was a picture...and her comment was along the lines of 'just because something can be done does not mean that it should be done...' ;-) Again though, she did confirm that split sole soft pointes are now allowed for RAD exams and marks cannot be deducted if they are worn.

 

She is also adamant that split soles are not a good idea for class, other than occasionally for most students, as the increased resistance of a full soled shoe (and of course of soft blocks for vocational students) gives additional benefit to every movement - and helps to prepare for class done in pointe shoes. Her view is that split soles are 'cheating' - I suppose in the same way that some people regard Gaynor Mindens as 'cheating'. And DD is specifically not allowed to wear split soles as her teacher has said that her feet are quite arched enough without the extra help of split soles! (she wears them for auditions though - would be the odd one out if not!)

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I should add that there will presumably be other RAD examiners who are fine with split soles; I didn't mean that she has said that ALL other examiners share her view. But don't panic that marks will be deducted if your DD's examiner dislikes split soles, because this will not happen.

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Examiners CANNOT mark down for shoes. The criteria is crystal clear, they are marking elements of technique, music and performance. If the RAD allow split sole shoes, then the examiners should expect to see them - end of story. Their personal preferences should not come into it. If the examiners as a whole had a problem with split sole shoes then it would have come up at the examiners' yearly seminars, where I'm sure it was discussed.

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I personally don't allow my students to wear canvas split soles as I really don't think they give enough support or resistance and they wear out very quickly.  I do allow them to wear leather split soles, but I only teach from Grade 5 up.  Bloch has a split sole with just a diamond of material under the instep and the rest is leather.  You can hardly tell that they're wearing split soles.   I have actually had students wear these shoes for exams, before it was allowed.  If the leather split soles were the only shoes in the child's size available and that's what they have been wearing all year, I am not going to ask them to get new shoes for the exam, which is expensive enough already.  No examiner has ever said anything and it has certainly not affected their marks.  I would let your daughter wear what looks good on her, what feels comfortable and what her teacher allows.

Edited by Dance*is*life
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I note with interest that white canvas split sole ballet shoes are the ones required on the Elmhurst boys uniform list !

 

My DS has never worn either canvas or split sole before as leather full sole have always been required by his ballet teacher and I had presumed by the RAD examiner .

Edited by Billyelliott
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quote from the RAD website.

 

 

Can split-sole ballet shoes be worn for RAD examinations?  

 

Split-soles may be worn for Graded examinations.   

 

The RAD Examinations Board has reviewed its policy regarding the wearing of split sole shoes for 

Vocational Graded Examinations. The new policy, effective from 1st June 2012, is that split sole shoes 

may be worn for all Vocational Graded levels at the candidate’s/teacher’s discretion. This applies to 

soft ballet shoes, soft pointe shoes and pointe shoes according to the Specification requirements.  

 

Whilst this is a change in policy, the RAD does not advise that split sole shoes should be worn for 

examinations or during training, and their use remains discouraged. 

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I have to say that I am concerned that dd will be required to wear split sole canvas shoes after years of her RAD teacher saying they should wear full sole.

 

Saying that another teacher at her studio said that full sole leather don't suit the shape of her foot as they look baggy due to her high instep. I explained that badly but she showed me what she meant.

 

She suggested satin but when I told her about the uniform list agreed canvas would look nice.

 

Looking nice is good obviously but will it encourage strength? I guess they know what they are doing.

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Do split soles really make that much of a difference?

 

My DD wears split sole canvas for class but if required for exams will always go for full sole as the split soles tend to look baggy around the arches.

Yes.  I envy students now- I would have loved splits soles as a student.

 

BUT, and I am talking as a teacher here about female students. I have found that generally vocational level students are just not as strong in pointe shoes if they are doing all other classes in split soles and I seem to remember saying this on a similar thread a while back.  Just the very act of standing correctly is different between the different types of shoes just as there is a difference in bedroom slippers to ordinary footwear!

 

For young men though I think splits soles help because generally male feet are not as flexible, especially when they are fully grown. They should wear full soles whilst young to encourage full use of the feet (my ds had to wear hard soles for a while at WL to build up strength) but as they get older it definitely makes sense to wear shoes that are as flattering as possible. Unlike female classical ballet dancers they have not got the constant change whilst dancing from allegro for example to pointe.

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There is an article by Moira McCormack, head of physiotherapy at the Royal Ballet, in the June 2012 Focus on Exams on the RAD website (in the examinations section, I'm afraid I'm too inept to post a link) on why she and the RAD discourage the wearing of split soles. Very interesting reading and a very heavy recommendation for full soled shoes and in particular broken down/soft pointe shoes for all class work at the appropriate skill level in order to build strength.

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If the RAD really doesn't like split soles they should make full soles compulsory for examinations, not least to avoid speculation about how students wearing split soles will be regarded by examiners. Lemongirl, if your dd normally wears split soles then (IMO) she should stick to them for the exam; her teacher should not have allowed her to wear split soles in class and then worry her and you that this could adversely affect her in the exam. Btw, why are split soles more acceptable as the student moves up the grades (after all, surely the demands on the feet increase) and acceptable in auditions (does that include associate schemes and vocational schools?)?

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Aileen, I agree and I did ask DD's examiner teacher why the RAD now allows split sole shoes for exams when it continues to make it clear that it does not recommend them. She explained that the RAD is a worldwide examining board and was very conscious that students in countries where split soles are the norm and students in any country for whom ballet is already an expensive enough pursuit should not be obliged to buy full soled shoes just for an exam.

 

My opinion on the prevalence of split soled shoes among older students is that they see that many professionals wear split soles and think that they too should wear them as they move up through the grades! If teachers don't express a preference and explain why they may prefer full soled shoes, then most teenagers will choose the easier option ;-) As it is much easier to point the feet in split soles, they are a very appealing choice for auditions etc, when everyone seems to want to appear to have Zakharova feet!

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In France, if you are serious at ballet, you use split soles but pointe shoes are always full soles. I have never heard of pointe shoes with split soles! What a strange concept!

 

I think the idea of split soles here is that, contrary to what I read on the forum, split soles help in getting your feet stronger because one uses the floor much more and feels it much better...

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I wonder when they refer to split sole pointe shoes (which is a wierd concept to me) if they are talking about the practise of slicing off part of the sole of the pointe shoe close to the heel or splitting it in that position in order to stop the backs breaking.  Otherwise I really can't understand it, because once the backs go I find that my students (unless they're really, really strong) can't work in the shoes. 

 

I agree about boys being OK in canvas and we have found anyway that once they get into the adult size feet range, you can't buy anything but canvas split soles.

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I wasn't suggesting that professional dancers wore split sole pointe shoes. I was referring to them wearing split sole ballet slippers. I had always assumed that they wore pointe shoes in all classes and rehearsals.

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We've got a little off topic, but to answer your question aileen, whenever I've watched company class, almost all the women wore split soles for barre, then most changed into pointe shoes for centre work.

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Sorry Aileen I was referring to the RAD allowing split-soled pointe shoes and my not having a clue as to what they are.  I was speculating as to whether or not they mean pointe shoes with part of the sole sliced off, but I honestly have never heard of them before they were suddenly allowed by the RAD!

 

In the company I work with as character artist, they all wear soft canvas split soled ballet shoes for the whole of class and pointe shoes are kept for rehearsals and performances.

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