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Not really "doing dance" but.....


Pups_mum
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I hope the mods will forgive me, as I am sure the other year 11 mums will understand!

DD got her GCSE mock results today and whilst they are not brilliant (a mixture of As and Bs except maths which was a C) they are rather better than we expected.

She's not auditioning for anything this year but she's been very heavily committed dance wise in terms of exams, and she's also started working towards dance teaching qualifications. Since she prefers dancing to studying by quite a long way......well, let's just say that the balance of how she spends her time has been a bit skewed! She got into a bit of a state just before the exams and had managed to get me pretty worried about it all too! I breathed quite a sigh of relief to find out that she seems to be on track for a decent set of results despite her hectic dancing schedule. I think it might be sensible to cut down on lessons a little as the exams approach, but at least her Dad's threat to replace ballet with wall to wall maths and physics has been withdrawn for now! It is difficult though isn't it? I know that she does need to spend more time with her nose in the books, but she also needs to dance. She becomes a bit of a monster when the studio is closed for a couple of weeks in the school holidays. It's almost like she needs her "fix" of dancing to be happy enough to do other stuff, so cutting back too far on the dance could actually be counter productive. It's a delicate balance and I'm not sure I'm getting it right at the moment. It doesn't help that all her older friends did modular GCSEs, so their workload was more constant and they kept their dance commitments fairly stable too. But DD is doing linear courses with the "sudden death" exams at the end so these next few months are going to be a lot more intense than the rest of her last couple of school years, which I'm not sure she has fully grasped. When i mention cutting back she protests that none of her friends did, but of course their circumstances were a bit different. Can anyone else relate to this, or offer any words of wisdom?

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I am not sure how you can say a mixture of A's & B's is not brilliant, it is all relative to the young person and I would say well done to her! Like you say she has the potential to improve these grades further still over the next few months.

 

You say she is not intending to audition this year for dance courses so what are her long term goals? Surely that should determine the balance between her dance and academic studies and how much she spends on each :-) . Dancing can be such a relief from the academic pressures that are put on young people these days.

 

My dd is doing her AS levels this year and is still torn between a career in contemporary dance or a French degree!! We and her CAT course tutors are looking at opportunities for her to audition and study dance in a French speaking country!!! Allows her to pursue her two passions!

 

Good luck to your dd and every other yp taking exams this year :-)

Edited by Kitschqueen_1
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I'm not sure I can advise on the dance bit and how much she should do but I do sympathise with her situation!

 

I have a friend in Eastbourne whose son is about to take his GCSE and its this year they have changed it back to an emphasis on the exams. Although he too is quite bright he is Also quite arty...likes music.....was recently in an orchestra but gave this up....and art as well as academics etc but just recently threatened to not take any of his exams and leave home as soon as he was 16......which is soon!!!

My friend was very worried indeed about all this a few weeks back but suddenly he has calmed down because last week he had a very successful interview for sixth form college and has decided to do Art and photography and Business Studies. He got on really well with the Head of Art and suddenly is really looking forward to next year so looks like his imminent threat of throwing in the towel has now subsided. My friend suspected it was exam nerves and that he didn't really intend to carry out his threat but you just never know with teenagers do you......they can be so dramatic at times!!

However it does show what stress these youngsters are under with exams and maybe because the exam system is different again this year perhaps some teachers are under a bit of stress with it all too.

I do hope your DD can get a happy balance with her studies and dancing if she can just at this stage best to keep up the academics maybe by the summer she will be much clearer about exactly which direction she wants to go in. If she is planning on possibly teaching dance as opposed to trying to take up professionally as a performer then there should be slightly less pressure at this point or do you think she does harbour ideas of performing as well??

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DD is in year 11 & taking only a few GCSEs this year (she has Geography, Science, Spanish - (all at C), Music (at B) Btec Dance (D*D*) already)

 

At the start of half-term we got together & set out a revision timetable, including most of her subjects (we have dumped one) and her Arts Award - 2 versions one for term-time and one for the holidays.  It's set out in 15 minute chunks as that is how long her attention span is (plus there is some research about short bites rather than hour long sessions) & around & between dance classes & on trains.  Term-time she does 9.5 hours and holidays about 22.  It has redundancy built in so she can do less than she can & still complete her target and it also has sacrificial sessions, so if she gets behind she loses a dance class or tea at a friends or a lie in.......but it's her choice.

 

So far it is working well - and since HT the teachers have noticed the difference in her work already.  I think, for my DD, empowering her has been the right thing to do. - it's now her choice

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I fully understand where you are coming from.  My DD always needed her "fix" of dance also and although its nearly 2 years since she took her GCSEs she had 11 subjects, all with exams at the end as her school did not do modular exams.  Our approach was similar to Katymacs.  We reminded her that GCSEs were a one off - a short period of intense pressure and study - a bit like doing a show when rehearsals would take priority - and we assured her that we wanted her to miss as little dance as possible as we knew how important that was to her.  We also got her to plan a proper comprehensive exam timetable and explained the importance of getting each week completed, even if she swopped orders of topics etc around.  Some weeks she reluctantly dropped dance classes, others she had a full dance timetable - it depended on how her revision was going - hers was organised by topics rather than time slots.  Talking to her dance teacher did actually help her a lot - the realisation when she apologised for missing class - that the teacher fully expected her to miss some classes and understood.  She never dropped a class but would try and share her absences out for dance and she prioritised some classes (exam prep) but keeping the lines of communication open between us whilst giving her the responsibility worked for her.  Good luck to your DD and you for the coming months.

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Pups-Mum it sounds as if your DD is doing very well!  We started the year thinking we would cut back on festival committments, classes and competitions etc., and focus more on school work but it isnt working out that way - if anything she has taken more on!  Including dance exams, although we have persuaded to put the ballet one off until the summer :) 

To be honest I have come to realise that just because she isn't in dance class doesnt mean to say she will be hitting the school books - far from it, she strops, huffs and puffs and starts getting herself worked up.  She is far better sticking to her normal schedule which she knows is demanding and has to find the extra revision time elsewhere - somewhow it seems to be working.  She stays at school for an extra hour each night to make sure some revision gets done daily, she has made up a revision timetable which she integrated with her dance timetable so can instantly see if she has a clash or if the priority needs to change. 

She has her exam timetable now and her last exam is on the 13th June - she can see its a short committment to GCSE's then dance can take a priority again. 

 

She doesnt respond well to nagging (adult encouragement!) but I find a cup of tea and chocolate cake keeps her at the kitchen table a little longer studying :-).  Best of luck to everyone who has a child going through exams this summer, it will be worth it in the end!

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My oldest ds did his GCSES last year. He not only dances but club swims and plays alot of rugby ! I envisaged that this was going to be a problem in relation to revision time !! Then he broke his base of 5th metatarsal in the September and then his base of 5th metacarpal in the January !! These unfortunate sporting injuries turned out to be the best thing that could have happened !! Unable to do a lot if sport he did revision instead and gained 2 As, 8 Bs and 3 Cs !! All above his target grades !! I don't think he would ever have achieved this had he continued with his sporting commitments !! And the other positive was that in taking a break from a grueling schedule allowed him to grow !! Now he is approaching his AS level exams in a mature and organised way !! Ballet is still high on his agenda but the other sports have been reduced to provide revision time !! And so far no more broken bones !!

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Thanks for all the replies.

I think that part of the problem is that she doesn't really know what path to follow right now. I think there is something of a head vs heart battle going on. She is fairly bright and if she applied herself I think she would do very well academically, but nothing holds her attention like dance does, even the subject she says she would choose to study at university. I wish I could slow time down a bit and put the decisions off for longer!

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