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Progressions: New RAD Advanced Syllabi


Anna C
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Did anyone else watch the launch of the RAD's new Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 syllabi yesterday? I watched online and was very impressed. The RAD seem to be trying to make the new Vocational syllabi much more "dancey", where each exercise is like a mini-enchâinement incorporating several different steps.

 

The jump from the new Intermediate to the new Adv 1 seems to have widened in terms of strength and technique required, which makes me think that more students will now do the new Advanced Foundation.

 

Nice that girls can now wear a practice tutu for Adv Foundation variations. And the new music is so much more inspiring.

 

I'd be interested to hear what others thought, especially our "resident" teachers. :-)

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I really like the tutu and the music.

The work looks really nice but has very fiddly choreography! I think that those who aren't at dance school full time might find it difficult to get enough hours to learn the work and train to a high enough standard. The levels are most certainly harder than the current levels but that was always going to the case in light of the other syllabus changes!

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It certainly seemed to be well received on Twitter - with most comments praising the 'danciness' and the music for the new syllabus. There was also some comment about "listening to the music rather than counting"? 

 

Any thoughts on the Adv Foundation male exercises spannerandpony? It's something I've been tempted to perhaps try in the future so would be interested to hear what it's like. Also, does anyone know when the Advanced 1 and 2 male syllabi will be refreshed? (Or if they will be refreshed at all?)

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I only really saw the male allegro David - looked great, very energetic and I love that it used the whole floor. Did make me wonder whether that will be a solo exercise to avoid traffic jams!

 

No, no update yet on the launch date for the new Adv 1 & 2 male syllabi.

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I think the new work is lovely to look at and paired with some gorgeous music choices, but think that the RAD has now created an elite syllabus from Grade 3 upwards which is geared towards the (potential) vocational child. The Advanced work particularly is not going to be possible on 3 classes a week and even then I think it will only look good on very talented students, it will also need extremely talented teachers ( that can still dance and demonstrate full out ) to teach it. The fact that they used Royal Ballet company member Anna Rose to demonstrate says it all !!! Quite honestly I don't even think the vocational schools will have the time to get through the syllabus and fit it into already busy schedules. 

 

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What little male work they showed was to my eyes demanding but enjoyable- certainly would have suited my ds and I am looking forward to teaching it to my senior boys. Definitely worth a try DavidW!

 

I too am delighted that girls can wear tutus again. I also liked the progression through from the new intermediate too.  Some of the choreography is going to lead to interesting interpretations though.....

It certainly seemed to be well received on Twitter - with most comments praising the 'danciness' and the music for the new syllabus. There was also some comment about "listening to the music rather than counting"? 

 

Any thoughts on the Adv Foundation male exercises spannerandpony? It's something I've been tempted to perhaps try in the future so would be interested to hear what it's like. Also, does anyone know when the Advanced 1 and 2 male syllabi will be refreshed? (Or if they will be refreshed at all?)

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I agree with spannerandpony about the new syllabi being possible for non-vocational students who receive enough hours of quality ballet tuition, including non-syllabus work.

 

I understand your concern, Sadielou, but my experience has been that RAD ballet has always been considered a syllabus for elite and capable students, even when I was an RAD pupil 30 years ago. There are less technically demanding routes available for ballet students who don't want to or can't cope with RAD work. I have a friend whose dance studio follows a different syllabus but her talented ballet dancers are encouraged to take the RAD vocational exams.

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I think the new work is lovely to look at and paired with some gorgeous music choices, but think that the RAD has now created an elite syllabus from Grade 3 upwards which is geared towards the (potential) vocational child. The Advanced work particularly is not going to be possible on 3 classes a week and even then I think it will only look good on very talented students, it will also need extremely talented teachers ( that can still dance and demonstrate full out ) to teach it. The fact that they used Royal Ballet company member Anna Rose to demonstrate says it all !!! Quite honestly I don't even think the vocational schools will have the time to get through the syllabus and fit it into already busy schedules. 

 

This was made last year when Anna-Rose was still at RBS Upper School, so she wasn't a company member then. All the other students are from Elmhurst who have a long history of demonstrating the RAD syllabus. I assume they used Anna-Rose to demonstrate some of the Adv. 2 because there was nobody at Elmhurst at that level? Don't forget it is entirely voluntary at vocational school and many stop after Adv 1, so there was probably only a tiny number of students to pick from for Adv 2 who were available. It doesn't mean it's too hard for anyone else. RAD Advanced exams are only meant for vocational students anyway.

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I really enjoyed watching this video and found it enchanting to watch and very intersting to hear how the new syllabus has been created.

 

Do watch it Ribbons and you will see that ADV 2 was demonstrated mainly by Elmhurst students. Anna Rose did both Allegros and the pointe work enchainemant (beautifully). The commentary on the Adv 2 variation tells how the inspiration for the choreography came from the music and the artistry of Eri Nishibara, an Elmhurst student who graduated this summer. Having watched her dance in Elmhurst shows, and competitions she truly deserves that accolade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

edited for typos..must get that spell checker sorted....

Edited by Nana Lily
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How many students reach Adv 2 each year then? Several students at our local ballet school did Adv1 and 2 this year and all got merit or distinction. If these exams are only for vocational students, and it is true as Ribbons says that not many in vocational school take Adv2, then I see that is quite an achievement!

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I really enjoyed watching this video and found it enchanting to watch and very intersting to hear how the new syllabus has been created.

 

Do watch it Ribbons and you will see that ADV 2 was demonstrated mainly by Elmhurst students. Anna Rose did both Allegros and the pointe work enchainemant (beautifully). The commentary on the Adv 2 variation tells how the inspiration for the choreography came from the music and the artistry of Eri Nishibara, an Elmhurst student who graduated this summer. Having watched her dance in Elmhurst shows, and competitions she truly deserves that accolade.

 

Yes I missed out a word - i meant to say  'nobody else' at that level. I saw that there were a couple of Elmhurst girls demonstrating Adv 2 but as with the other levels, they probably wanted a few different people to demonstrate. 

 

It's not that they aren't able to do Adv 2 at these schools, it's just that only a few choose to do so either because they are not eligible (i.e. haven't done previous exams) or they have too much on and don't have the time. 

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I haven't had time to watch this yet so cannot comment on the content of the new syllabus but from what friends have said it sounds quite a challenge.

 

At my dd's vocational school RAD is compulsory, they all start at IF( unless already passed) regardless of previous exams taken and progress through the grades, I assumed all the vocational schools followed a syllabus of some kind as well as free class work.

My elder dd has not taken Adv 2 yet but this was not a conscious choice, she only had one RAD lesson a week .

 

I was always told by our local dance teacher that the vocational exams were for students who wanted a career in dance not just for students in vocational schools.

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I was always told by our local dance teacher that the vocational exams were for students who wanted a career in dance not just for students in vocational schools.

 

Yes the vocational exams are meant for vocational students i.e. those that aspire to a career in dance, wherever they study.

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[quote name="HAIRBELLES" post="59438" timestamp=

 

At my dd's vocational school RAD is compulsory, they all start at IF( unless already passed) regardless of previous exams taken and progress through the grades, I assumed all the vocational schools followed a syllabus of some kind as well as free class work.

My elder dd has not taken Adv 2 yet but this was not a conscious choice, she only had one RAD lesson a week .

 

I was always told by our local dance teacher that the vocational exams were for students who wanted a career in dance not just for students in vocational schools.

 

Although that now seems to have increased to twice a week from IF onwards.

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I thought the new work was absolutely spot on and suitably challenging for children of this age group.  I like the honesty at the beginning where Lynn Wallis admits they still are working to catch up with increasing expectations of the dance world.  I do think that those pupils who don't wish to take the exams or find it a bit of a stretch can still follow the work and enjoy the love of dance without the stress of exams.

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Hairbelles:

 

"At my dd's vocational school RAD is compulsory, they all start at IF( unless already passed) regardless of previous exams taken and progress through the grades"

 

Can't do a proper quote whilst sitting on a hovercraft using my phone!

 

Hairbelles, my DD is at the same school as yours if I remember rightly. She joined in year 8 after having not done RAD in year 7 at Tring (they start at Intermediate in a higher year if I think). She hadn't taken an exam since Grade 4 but was skipped up to Intermediate with another couple of girls who they also felt would be more suited to that grade.

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From what we were shown at the launch, it seems to me that the new syllabi are drastically different from what we have had before from the RAD and are going to be really difficult to teach. As I am going to have to teach all the new vocabulary first, I won't have any time left to start teaching them the very complicated choreography of the set enchainements and variations, which means that with the two syllabus classes a week I have them for, every grade will need 2 years. In the past the new vocabulary was actually introduced in a fairly simple set exercise, so once you'd taught it to them you just needed to work on it to prepare for the exam. Of course once they had mastered the new step, you could use it in your own free enchainements for the students, but that was your option.

 

Another problem I see is that there is very little pointe work in Intermediate, but in Advanced Foundation they have introduced two very long and difficult pointe variations. This is supposed to be the stepping stone to Advanced 1- not a two year struggle. Most students at regular schools don't have enough training to cope with these levels, but we were still able to teach the old syllabi to our most talented students, and from the little they showed us, I don't see that happening with the new work. Anyway, the exams are far too expensive for the average family, so I think most people will give up exams after Inter and that will be it. Of course the Advanced work was never easy, but it was accessible - I shall reserve total judgement until after we have had the official course in it, but my feelings about it are tinged with scepticism, I'm afraid.

Edited by Dance*is*life
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It's a good point about Adv Foundation being a stepping stone to Adv 1 - and let's not forget it's still an optional level as far as I know - i.e. to take Adv 1 you must have passed Intermediate.

 

For teenage students who have not been to Vocational School but still aspire to a 6th for place, I think the new Advanced Foundation is a good and logical next step from Intermediate but I hope it won't be a "two year struggle".

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From what we were shown at the launch, it seems to me that the new syllabi are drastically different from what we have had before from the RAD and are going to be really difficult to teach. As I am going to have to teach all the new vocabulary first, I won't have any time left to start teaching them the very complicated choreography of the set enchainements and variations, which means that with the two syllabus classes a week I have them for, every grade will need 2 years. In the past the new vocabulary was actually introduced in a fairly simple set exercise, so once you'd taught it to them you just needed to work on it to prepare for the exam. Of course once they had mastered the new step, you could use it in your own free enchainements for the students, but that was your option.

 

Another problem I see is that there is very little pointe work in Intermediate, but in Advanced Foundation they have introduced two very long and difficult pointe variations. This is supposed to be the stepping stone to Advanced 1- not a two year struggle. Most students at regular schools don't have enough training to cope with these levels, but we were still able to teach the old syllabi to our most talented students, and from the little they showed us, I don't see that happening with the new work. Anyway, the exams are far too expensive for the average family, so I think most people will give up exams after Inter and that will be it. Of course the Advanced work was never easy, but it was accessible - I shall reserve total judgement until after we have had the official course in it, but my feelings about it are tinged with scepticism, I'm afraid.

I agree with you entirely well said, I have some talented pupils that come to class twice a week and I know that there is no way that they could do this work in any less than two years if at all, some have just passed their Advanced 1 but can't see how they are going to ever reach the technical standard of the new Advanced 2. I am glad you pointed out the expense, it has put a lot of my pupils off, I hate telling parents the cost of the exams (even the grades) when I know a lot of them are struggling. Seriously thinking about dumping the exam system all together.

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Many students at my DD's school reach Adv2 RAD and go on to pass their exams. It's not a vocational school.

The same at our school, in fact we have had three distinctions with a mark of 88 in the last session, one at Inter Foundation, one at Advanced 1 and 1 at Advanced 2 at the age of 16.

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A question on the vocational qualifications and their value. Is it right you need at least Intermediate 'in order to teach'? And do the higher levels also bring any associated rights, or benefits - not sure what to call them. I understand the exams have a value in themselves as milestones, internationally recognised levels of achievement, etc, but I just wondered. (suppose UCAS points is one example). Would be interested in the answer as far as the teaching route is concerned. Thanks!

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Isn't that the point though? I thought that these new exams are supposed to take longer to achieve the strength and technique required for the standard and are designed to be taken at an older age. 

 

At the moment there is an expectation that the next exam is taken a year later than the last one and we regularly get 13 year olds getting distinction in Adv 1 with an expectation that they will take Adv 2 a year later, which they are clearly not ready for. 

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