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ISTD Ballet Awards 2014


BankruptMum
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Thank you BankruptMum, I was very pleased with her as she was one (if not the) the youngest in the final of her grade.

A lot of teachers hold their students back from doing their exams in order for them to compete in a lower grade. DD's teacher does not do this so she is always young in the grade she competes.

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Its a great achievement, there are quite a few schools who take part in this competition and Cram who 'hold dancers back'.  Our school has always pushed them on to make sure they are working at the right level for their ability. 

 

Unfortunatley my DD couldnt take part this year becuase her RAD grade is much higher than her ISTD this prevents her competing  until her ISTD has caught up.  It was a shame as its a lovely competition to do but a very fair rule. 

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Thank you BankruptMum, I was very pleased with her as she was one (if not the) the youngest in the final of her grade.

A lot of teachers hold their students back from doing their exams in order for them to compete in a lower grade. DD's teacher does not do this so she is always young in the grade she competes.

 

The ages had changed this year which I think should now help prevent this.

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Hi Liquorice, I still don't think the age limits are low enough. This year my DD who is 12 could still have done grade 3, an exam she took at 8, as do most girls at her dance school (at least the ones likely to enter these awards, as in those with balletic tendencies). Next year at 13 she will be in Intermediate with the 18 and unders. Admitidly she is fairly advanced in her grades for her age but only by a year or so in her dance school. So her and her 14 year old friends will be in an under 18 section, sorry but this doesn't seem right to me. Surely 16 and under would be more realistic?

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I don't know anything about the ISTD awards and DD does RAD, but your post struck such a chord with me, Loulabelle. We have also found that grade 3 is usually done by talented ballet dancers by age 8 or 9 - certainly DD would have been bored to tears if still in grade 3 by 12! Yet we know several girls at different dance schools and doing other syllabi who are still in grade 3 at 12. Usually we are told that this is because the school concentrates on festivals and they are also usually doing all manner of different dance forms rather than concentrating on ballet and perhaps contemporary, which I understand - but still think that if the students were particularly balletic, they would also be bored to tears with grade 3 at 12 - and surely if they consider that they are working at a higher level in ballet, they could miss several grades so that exams taken were not held back by festival/other dance forms commitments? (My cynical view is that some dance teachers seem to suggest that grades must all be taken in order and without missing any out in order to maximize their revenue.)

 

Are you saying that the ISTD intermediate award is open to dancers of 18 and under? As you say, surely 15 or 16 and under would be more appropriate? Or is 18 the maximum age for competitors even in Advanced and they are treating intermediate and advanced dancers in the same way?

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It says on the ISTD website that students have to be under 18 as of the day of the competition to compete in the Intermediate class, so students in year 13 college, or sixth form, born after the beginning of March could still compete in this level.

To be in the Advanced class students have to have passed Advanced 1 but there doesn't appear to be a minimum or maximum age set.

 

Grade 6/inter Found age limit is 16 and although there didn't appear to me to be any almost 16 year olds in that grade last weekend, there were certainly some year 10's as we knew a couple of the girls so easily some 15 year olds.

 

This year DD's friend (from associates) won an award at 13 years old that my DD won when she was 9! I'm not saying that to boast or in anyway take away the achievement of a DD's friend as we were very pleased for her. Just to illustrate how some schools do hold their students back to the maximum age they can be to compete and do well. This seems to defeat the object of the awards which is supposed to provide a snapshot of how the students are working within the grades.

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How is Grade 3 done by 8 year olds when the minimum age for Grade 1 is 7

 

At dds old dance school the average age in her old grade 3 class was 10-11. They didn't do festivals but didn't just do syllabus work, there seemed to be free work incorporated.

 

Dds old teacher didn't like to rush them though the grades & exams were optional so it certainly wasn't about money. She wanted them to develop secure technique & have the maturity. She subscribed to the view that the work in each grade prepared dancers for what was to come regardless if whether the exam was actually taken.

 

Dds class was behind a bit (if she'd stayed she would have been 12 when she took the exam) but that was due to a syllabus change

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The minimum age for taking Grade 3 is 7, for Grade 6 it's 9.

 

I'm not suggesting that teachers do rush their students through the grades, the complete opposite in fact and I haven't mentioned it being about money at all. All ISTD grades have free work incorporated into each grade and at the Ballet Awards all the work apart from one set variation from the grade is free work that should be at a grade appropriate level.

 

I am merely stating that there are huge differences in age ranges in these award classes and that the top age limit in each grade appear (to me) to be set very high in comparison to where most dancers realistically are in their grades.

 

For instance as the minimum age for taking Grade 6 is 9 years old and the maximum age in that grade at the Ballet Awards is 15 years 351 days as of the day of the competition then there could potentially be 5 years (ish) difference between the youngest and the eldest in the class. Thats a big difference in maturity and technical ability.

 

I realise that most students don't take grade 6 at 9 but I'm not querying the minimum exam age, I'm querying the maximum age to compete in the Ballet Awards classes and whether students are purposely held back from taking their exams when they are ready so that they can compete in these classes as the most mature candidates. It doesn't see to encourage teachers to put their students through their grades in a timely manner.

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Just joined.

 

DD did this last weekend, went through to the final (her definition of total success) but wasn't placed. She has just turned 11, and took the relevant grade exam at Christmas. The maximum age for her grade was something like 14? Certainly when she and the others from her dance school were chatting with competitors from other dance schools she was amongst the youngest - though as a very tall and growing 11 year old, it is probably lucky that she dances a little ahead of her age!

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I don't think what age you are on a certain grade makes any difference ,my current grade 3's (ISTD) are aged 10-13 and the 10 year olds are actually stronger dancers than the 13 year olds!! Just because you are older in a grade doesn't necessarily mean you would be a stronger dancer. Thinking of the content in grade 3 ISTD i think passing at age 8is amazing, I've got some 8 year olds in Primary!! I guess all dance schools do things differently I don't go slow with my students they all work at a pace that suits their individual capability and attending ballet classes and training a dancer isn't all about taking exams!

Well done to your DD's Loulabelle & Parent Taxi for their success at the awards!

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Thanks Julie!

 

I've been thinking about Flowedew's comment, and entirely agree that 10 year olds can be stronger dancers than 13 year olds. I do think it can be intimidating, though, for dancers who are confronted with VERY much older competitors in their grades, especially when a younger dancer is e.g. the only child from their dance school in that class.

 

The thing DD commented on about the older ones, tbh, was not their age per se, but the length of time since they took the class grade. For her, the gap between taking the grade and competing was a couple of months, For some of the others, it was over 2 years - presumably 2 years in which they had carried on training, learned more etc etc. Good experience for her to face that - she's not going to 'be a dancer' as far as we can tell, but the mental toughness will come in handy in future job interviews, where she may well face those with much more experience than she has but will, with luck, have the courage to say 'but that doesn't mean I don't have a chance'!

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