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is DD studying the wrong syllabus?


shygirlsmum
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DD attends an associate class and appears to have potential but it has been mentioned that her regular ballet syllabus is not the best one. She studies BBO and is pretty happy with the current arrangements. She has had numerous comments about her excellent technique so her current training can't be so bad. Its not the first time that BBO has been pooh-poohed, but she is happy at the studio and leaving her friends at 10 years old is not something either of us would be happy with. Does this criticism of BBO have any merit?

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Our dance school is within walking distance of home and lots of the students attend the same primary school so very convenient. It is not considered to be a serious school which has never been an issue as the principle aim is to have fun but as time has gone by DD's attitude has changed and is becoming serious about dance.

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We did have a few comments at JAs about the fact that dc did BBO and wasn't aware of some terminologies. My understanding is that the BBO is quite a technical syllabus. But RAD is in a large majority it seems. ..

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As a mum, and having chatted to many other parents over the years, I think perhaps it may depend on a number of different things:

 

Where you live - round our parts the vast majority of schools teach either RAD or ISTD imperial, with a smattering of Russian, IDTA, and Cecchetti. there aren't any BBO schools that I know of. In other parts of the country the mix can be quite different.

 

The individual preference of associate teachers - they will like a certain style and some may well be teachers/examiners in a particular syllabus themselves.

 

The talent and expertise of the dc's dance school teacher - whatever syllabus they teach (or indeed their own method in some cases) the quality of their teaching is what counts (IMHO). They are all ultimately teaching classical ballet, whichever method/syllabus they choose.

 

The number of classes taken each week and how far/fast a teacher likes to push their students. Also, if the children go to lots of workshops and courses, youth ballet companies such as EYB, or participate in festivals, they will probably learn vocabulary and terminology sooner than those who progress steadily through grades and don't have any other experiences.

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Thank you for your comments. DD has been referred to as a very technical dancer and consistently does well in both exams and dance festivals. Other "dance mums" have also turned their nose up at BBO which I had ignored putting it down to snobbery.

The conversation was not actually with a ballet teacher but I believe that she had studied/possibly previously taught RAD and she had also intimated that there are other issues with our school :(

It was also recommended that DD takes a modern class as she is highly flexible and needs to build the strength to control and avoid injury. Our school doesn't offer a modern class so I do need to look into this too.

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In pure syllabus terms it really doesn't matter between BBO or RAD but it may matter between different Dance Schools and who runs them. Some people just like what they know and tend to downgrade things they don't know!!

It is important however to find a serious dance school whatever the syllabus I think.

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A syllabus is a set of exercises worked out and written down by a panel of experienced teachers.  Even if  teachers are aware of the original intent of the creators of the syllabus, they will still use their own methods to turn it into a living thing and interpret it, In my opinion it's how the teacher passes it on to the student that matters, not the actual content.  We used to have RAD vocational exam rehearsals together in my area, ie each teacher would bring his or her students and they would do the class together.  It was pretty easy to see the differences in the way that they had been taught, because even though they were all dancing the same steps, in many cases it appeared otherwise!   Some were very weak technically, some strong, some had flowing dance quality, some were stiff and lacking in flow. Etc etc. A talented dancer, who is well taught, will shine whether she learns Vaganova, RAD, Cecchetti, BBO, whatever.  However, the amount of classes IS important to a dancer's development and certainly the seriousness of the school is paramount.  You can't advance properly, however good the teacher is, if you only have one combo ballet/tap lesson a week for example.

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If your child does well at festivals, exams and has got into an associates and told she has good technique the teacher must be doing something right!!

 

Why don't you ask the associates teacher for her opinion? Maybe also chat with your teacher about the benefits of doing modern. All my dc love modern but the JA teacher was only concerned about ballet not other dance forms so maybe if the ballet is up to scratch it's not as important? Does your ballet teacher offer pilates?

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It appears your daughter is getting good training up to now for her ballet , that coupled with associate programmes and good summer schools will be hugely benificial. As I said earlier vocational schools do not follow any set syllabus. They are taught good strong technique at the bar and then in the centre. A good teacher will change the exercises to keep their students alert , fresh and on their toes, so to speak. It seems your daughters teacher is training her very well and already know that your daughter is passionate about her dancing. Ask if the teacher will be able to offer your daughter more classes when the time comes she will need them.

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Well said Tulip!  Whenever one of my pupils joins an Associate scheme I always warn them, pupil and parents, to be very careful about what they might hear in the dressing room and if in doubt to clarify it with the teacher there or with me.   Sometimes there can be misinformation by accident - something misheard or misunderstood but repeated and embellished, and sometimes sadly it would seem there are intentional put-downs.

 

Every Associate scheme is keen to work with pupils' local teachers and keep them informed.  Very occasionally I have heard of cases where an Associate is advised to change their local teacher, but this is rare.    

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