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Age Groupings and Categories at Festivals


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Hi everyone, 

At a recent festival i was doing the 'classical ballet' section and there was a girl in a flowy short dress, barefoot who did a lot of greek style arm movements and even rolled to the floor at one point, correct me if im wrong but does this really come under classical ballet where the rest of the girls are in full boned tutus and pointe shoes? This has happened a few times and there's always confusion between 'stylised' ballet, 'modern' ballet and 'classical' ballet especially nowadays when they often merge in professional works. Also when people enter a lyrical in a modern section or vise verse.

Im 16 so when i do festivals i'm in the 15+ group, which is often extremely large (30+). the rest of the age groups go up year by year so why do they cut off there? you can make big improvements in a year or two especially on pointe and i dont think that its especially fair that i can be against 21 year olds, thats like me against an 11 year old.

Would love to hear peoples thoughts on the age groupings and categories and any funny stories you may have!

Thanks!!

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Yes ages can be funny! My DD is year 10 aged 15 in January and yet does festivals in the age 14, yet her friend born in December does the 15+ like you. Not looking forward to joining that group as you say it covers such a massive spread of ages. Don't know why they can't still separate the years. Discouraging for the younger end as very hard to be placed! We have also met the Lyrical in modern and often they do better as you seem to be able to put more into a Lyrical dance.

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If the festival is affiliated to All England, then I think you will start to see changes in age categories because All England is changing the age groups to match academic years, i.e. from 1st Sept to 31st Aug. Not sure by when this will fully come into force. Doesn't solve the issue of massive classes although a number of festivals have rules which say they can split large classes if they wish. Not sure it happens that often, though.

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We have 2 festivals danced in calendar years (in which DD, a Ddecember birthday, is always young) and 1 danced in school years (in which DD is obviously much older) each year.

 

Until recently (she's 11) it made a BIG difference - she always walked away with a clutch of medals from the one in which she was older, and nothing from the other 2.

 

However, the last few years have seen a much more even split - as dancing progress becomes less and less linked the chronological age, I suppose. At the moment, because she is unusually tall for her age and is starting to develop, she feels much less conspicuous in classses where she is the youngest - she will be taller than at least half the girls even in an 11-12 2-year group class, in which she will usually be the very younest girl competing.

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That dance shouldn't have been in a classical ballet section. Lyrical has a specific technique and you do see a lot of "lyricals" that really sh9uld be in modern - lots of adjudicators pick up on this.

 

Re ages, some festivals have 15/16, and then 17+, and some also split sections over 30 on age lines. Tbh though quite often the 15/16 section is stronger than 17+, as apart from those few who go onto full time training at 18, by 17+ some of the dancers have gone off the boil a  bit. maybe more focussed on academics and other things.  

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In the midlands where I did my festival competing there were separate lyrical and modern sections, and classical duets/trios/groups were also separated out into ballet, Greek, national. Character and then more recently contemporary and modern/stylised ballet were also introduced. Split sections were common, ie if there were more than 20 competitors they were randomly split into two groups and adjudicated separately. My first teaching job was towards the south east of the country and things were so different! Classical was all lumped in together, where character things tended to do better against pure classical ballet or national, but cabaret was split (s&d, tap and modern) but there were no lyrical sections for anything :-( even the age groups were called different things - where I was so comfortable with baby, A, B, C, D, E categories these letters meant nothing to anyone and split sections didn't really exist.

 

It always wound me up because at regional level you'd struggle to get a Greek or pure ballet dance placed (and therefore qualified) as it was against character or contemporary dances. But when you get to All England finals the dances that weren't solo were split into their separate categories!

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