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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:17 am 
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DD is taking her grade 5 exam in June. She always just misses out on a distinction by a couple of marks and is desperate to get one. I never did ballet so I am not much help to her. Can anyone more knowledgeable give us some advice please. I think it is character that lost her some marks last time and they don't seem to do that much in her class. What makes the difference?

She has been going to a class in a community centre that just comes there once a week and I was wondering if we should try a more "professional" dance studio type class as she is a keen dancer. We have moved quite a distance from where the lessons take place now and it is a bind to get to anyway so might be a good time to change.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:44 am 
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Not an RAD expert (about a term of RAD sometime in Grade 4, I think.) I did ISTD Imperial and my children do Cecchetti and neither of these boards include character in their classical ballet syllabus. If you're looking to move schools and your daughter doesn't enjoy character it might be worth considering choosing one that teaches an ISTD course. In the middle to higher grades there doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference (character dancing aside) so she wouldn't need 'catch up' time. Last term my DD's dance school took over a small dance school that taught RAD and the 4 girls that came into her Grade 4 class have fitted straight in.
For the June exam - have you checked out the RAD website? There's good information there and details about workshops and masterclasses that your DD might be interested in (depending on whereabouts you live and how rich and generous you're feeling. :D )
Bear in mind - nearly distinction is still very good but I do understand her frustration. DD and DS both got near misses (A is the top grade in Cecchetti) last summer in Ballet (which they love) and this year got high 'A's in Jazz which neither of them work half so hard at.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:04 pm 
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My daughter is only 6 , so I don't have lots of experienced advice , but changing to a more professional dance school might help.My dd was taught baby/ prep ballet by a young girl who is great, but now she is studying towards grade 1 , next year, her new teacher is the principal of the dance school and has an impressive background of training ...performing in the Royal Ballet ....west End Musicals and tv ( actually, I think that was in The Russ Abbot Show...so we'll discount that one !) and the difference is amazing.She really gets them to connect with being in character rather then just performing the steps. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:26 pm 
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By grade 5 a serious dancer should be having two lessons per week with the majority of one lesson being dedicated to character. There is no way that one lesson per week can fit everything in. I also would not give up character.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:31 pm 
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Waiting_For_Godot wrote:
By grade 5 a serious dancer should be having two lessons per week with the majority of one lesson being dedicated to character. There is no way that one lesson per week can fit everything in. I also would not give up character.

:shock: Really? Majority of one lesson to character? Folk dance and folk influenced dance has it's place in Classical Ballet but if you consider how much else needs to be covered at this level ...
I learned National Dance as a separate class myself (oh so many moons ago!) but DD's dance school doesn't offer character at all (a Cecchetti school) and they have produced their fair share of dancers.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:09 pm 
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WFG DD does 45mins grade 5, 45mins intermediate and 15mins pointe in one evening but do you think it would be better to do another grade 5 lesson? DD does want to apply to dance/musical theatre college (somewhere like Bird) so she is serious about continuing (hence the wish to get the best grade - if it was just for fun I wouldn't bother too much) She also does tap and modern but always does very well in these exams.

thanks all.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:15 pm 
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The length of time on one evening seems a bit much imo and it would be better to have it split between a minimum of two days. It would also be better to be doing 30 mins point work but depending on her age it is better to spilt it, so warm up folliwed by 15 mins point and another 15 mins at the end. It depends how many pupils are in the class as 45 mins is not 45 mins if it is a large class. If she wants to be a dancer then depending on where you are based it would be worth joining the RAD in Battersea or an equivalent school around the country but four times a week is a minimum for anyone considering dance school. I trained with the Scottish Ballet, hence my knowledge on the subject, but I have a lot of ballet baggage so I tend not to discuss it too much.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:13 pm 
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I would definitely agree with Godot that your daughter would benefit more from having a two shorter Ballet lessons on different days rather than a hour and 45 minutes all at once and then nothing the rest of the week. Certainly, if she hopes to be a professional Ballet dancer then several lessons a week would be appropriate at this stage. My eldest sister (the only truly Classically trained member of my dancing family) was having 5 Ballet lessons a week by age 11. However, it sounds as if her interest is more in musical theatre and dance/drama so I would have thought 2 Ballet backed up with a variety of dance disciplines, drama, and singing would be better preparation for further education. The 'triple threat' is often what is looked for at performing arts colleges. I trained at a stage school myself and did suffer from the stigma of being unable to carry a tune in a bucket!
A lot depends on how old your daughter is and when she would be looking to move to a dance college. Only the last grade taken ever really counts and even that doesn't matter nearly as much as a good audition. Maybe start looking at the colleges she's interested in and finding out what their average entry requirements are - and what dance schools are their predominant feeder schools?
Good luck to your daughter - dance is a hard career but it can be amazingly rewarding.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:42 am 
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Thanks for the insight PPM and WFG.

Unfortunately the long session is because the class is in a community hall and the teacher only comes in to do ballet classes there one day per week so nothing else is possible there. I think there is a bit of faffing around between sessions so I don't think they are working for the whole time and I must say I get abit annoyed that they always seem to finish early! (but that is probably because I'm counting the cost). This is one of the reasons I am thinking of changing to a more professional dance school. We used to live round the corner from this hall so my DD started going there when she was 2. All the other girls she started with (including DD1) dropped out over the years but DD2 has hardly missed a lesson and she is now 12. When we moved she wanted to continue there (probably for some continuity) but it is bind to get there from school..probably 40 min drive. I have left it because exams were coming up. The date for these has dragged on and now will be in June. We also hike back there for tap and modern on a different day..again exams were supposed to be happening and these are also in June. This would seem a good opportunity to change.

I have found a local (to new house) school but it doesn't offer RAD grades, I think it is ISTD? and is very tiny. DD has been going there on a Sat morning for some extra ballet and tap. She also does street dance there and her grammar school has a dance club and does dance as part of the curriculum in addition to PE. DD is in Y7.

Although she does love ballet I think she is more of an all rounder and can sing well. PPM did you go to a stage school at a young age? Do you have any experience of 16+ or 18+ training?

WFG I will look to see what other schools are reasonably near. We are near Gloucester so Battersea not an option although I know RAD do summer schools. Thanks for your help you must really know the ballet world with your background.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:18 pm 
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And people think rugby is complicated and takes a lot of dedication:lol: :lol:

Sorry to butt in but this thread is really fascinating - I am amazed at the level of dedication at such a young age. Hats off to you all... makes all my muddy fields seem easy :lol:

I'll go away now and continue to read the updates.


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