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RDA adjudications


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#16 Kathleen Sinclair

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:09 PM

Yes, that is one of the most challenging parts of the adjudication process: showing a shortened but comprehensive class for the adjudicator to be able to judge the dancers' technical level!

Although as you know, the trained eye can tell a lot from the first plie and tendu combination....
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#17 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:11 PM

The problem is that sometimes they want a class that has not been given to them before. Now, I'm not talking about a rehearsed class, but, if I don't give them the class the night or two before, it would take to long to do it. I don't see any reason why they cannot have at least seen the combinations once before. Not all of the adjudicators ask for this, but some do. I can get so much more into the class if I don't have to teach them each combination more than describing or showing it once before they do it.

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#18 cakers

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 11:29 AM

We just had our adjudication this past week, and in speaking to our adjudicator beforehand, she said she was doing 21 companies in 16 days. Whew!
The AD brought her in a little early for a small reception, so that we could meet her and talk with her, but from the time the class started to the time she released the dancers was probably right at three hours. I kind of assumed that the class and adjudicated numbers had to be completed in a set amount of time, but the time the adjudicator spends afterwards talking to the dancers was "off the clock" so to speak.

Since, apparently, some of the moderators have also been adjudicators: what's the deal with not allowing parents to watch?? Granted, this is only our 3rd time through the process, but the first time that we were completely shut out. We've always been able to view in some manner before. I completely understand not having the distraction of parents actually in the studio, but we have viewing windows above the studio that we were not even allowed to observe from. In our studio/company, it is the Moms who do all of the work outside of actually teaching class and choreographing numbers. And of course, PAY. The moms paid for and/or made ALL of the costumes, we planned and prepped for the reception beforehand, and of course, provided all the food. It is the moms, via the Ballet Guild, who do all the RDA planning and arrangements, and then to be told we couldn't even observe the culmination of all our efforts was a little frustrating and insulting. I tried to imagine signing my son up for Little League and then being told I couldn't watch his tryouts, and BTW, I have to buy a ticket to watch his games!

As I said, it's only our third time through the process and already the parents are getting frustrated at the lack of predictability in the process and the COST!!!
But I guess that's another thread.....

#19 Kathleen Sinclair

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 01:39 PM

Each RDA company director makes the decision on who views the adjudication process. Some companies hold their adjudication in a theater and can invite many observers if they wish. If the adjudication happens in a studio setting, space can be limited and observers cannot be accommodated. Some directors may feel their dancers would be more comfortable not having extra observers. And yes, every year may have a different scenario as directors put their dancers first. It is not to shut out parents but to make the process the best for the dancers and director/s.

I am sure your company does public performances where you can view all ballets that were evaluated and take pride in your dancer's accomplishments. Your director does appreciate all you do to help the company succeed but I can tell you it doesn't come close to the time, effort and concern the company director and artistic staff put into the process. RDA adjudication is for the director/s, artistic staff and dancers not parents.
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#20 cakers

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 03:04 PM

[quote name='Kathleen Sinclair' date='Feb 21 2011, 01:39 PM' post='477303']
Some companies hold their adjudication in a theater and can invite many observers if they wish.

Yes, this was the case last year, and as mentioned, this was the first year we were shut out.

I am sure your company does public performances where you can view all ballets that were evaluated and take pride in your dancer's accomplishments.

Yes, that we are expected to buy tickets for. After we're done selling refreshments, flowers, programs, and ushering of course.

RDA adjudication is for the director/s, artistic staff and dancers not parents.

Well.....okay....I get that. But, if you're going to rely on the parents to do all of the non-dance related work, then I would think that at least you might be interested in not losing those parents. And that's what's happening. Parents are quickly becoming disenchanted with work, work work; pay, pay, pay, but don't expect ANY benefit from it?? I really do try to view these decisions from all sides, but when it's different every year, it's hard to figure out.

#21 Mobadt

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 03:24 PM

May I add my thoughts on this cakers? Our company has been an RDA company for a long time. The whole process is very detailed and so much goes into making it a positive, and special event for the dancers IMO. As a parent, I understand your frustration in putting all that time and effort into it and then not being able to watch. We as volunteers pick up, transport, and provide food for the adjudicator, teachers, and board, set up everything, and run the dressing room. We never get to witness the end product as it happens. As a parent, it's sad. But I look at it this way. First of all, I don't think my daughter, or any of the other dancers would particularly want us parents to be watching at that particular time. It is such a special time for them. They are pampered, catered to, given everything they need to make sure the adjudication and class goes beautifully and they are able to perform to the best of their ability. They want to concentrate on doing their best, and maybe even knowing we are there watching could affect that. I think personally, it would interrupt the flow of the whole process to have the parents walking in and out, because you can only stay and watch and then, say if you are helping in the dressing room, you would have to run back to help the dancers change into their next costume. It also wouldn't be fair to any other parents who aren't helping or there at the time and have children performing. Do you ask everyone to come in? Sure, I would think it belongs to the individual studio to make the decision on how to handle this, and surely the adjudicator as well - as sometimes they prefer to not have anyone watching. I for one think it's a wonderful experience to just help in any way I can, give my dancer all the love and well wishes I can, and be happy she is able to participate. I know I have a great time sharing the experience with the other moms and feel privileged to be allowed to help. I have an enormous respect for all those involved, and feel they only have the dancers best interests at heart. So yours is not the only company that does not allow watching, and yes, I sometimes feel disappointed, but certainly understand our company's decision to follow that rule. As Ms. Sinclair says, we get to watch the pieces performed at a later date anyway.

#22 cakers

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 05:24 PM

If my entire dissatisfaction with the RDA adjudication process came across as being unhappy because the parents weren't allowed to watch, then I didn't do a good job of conveying the message. We (the parents) have no problem following the rules, we just wish we knew what they were, because they're different every year. I also do not need to be told that it's not for my benefit. Believe me, I'm well aware of whose benefit I'm doing this for.

I was one of the chief advocates for having the company join RDA. I was the one who paid the observer fee to accompany our AD the year before she applied for membership. I was a founding member of the Ballet Guild established for the express purpose of raising funds for RDA costs, and I was the one who helped the AD convince other parents that this was a worthy pursuit. I still believe that. The dissatisfaction I'm expressing is not strictly my own, but those of other parents also, who are already expressing a desire to drop out of RDA because of not knowing what to expect from year to year in terms of time and money. It makes it hard to plan when you don't know what you're planning for. The Guild established our budget and set our fundraising goals based on prior year costs, only to have fees double this year, meaning we were well short of our fundraising goals. We are simply too new to have established any kind of monetary "cushion" yet, so this means throwing in additional fundraisers in a very short time, or coming up with more money out of pocket. For some families, especially in this economy, that has been difficult.
Because I DO hope that the company remains in RDA, the point I was trying to make is that the AD needs to be careful to not alienate the parents to the point that they drop out, as we simply cannot afford that. Arbitrarily excluding the volunteer moms from observing adjudication did not help that cause, but only served to fan the flames of discontent.

#23 Mobadt

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 07:15 PM

I apologize cakers. I definitely got the impression watching was a big issue. However, I can honestly say that I have no experience with things changing that much, if at all, from year to year. I have no recollection of things changing at the last minute. At our studio, we have always been aware of the costs involved, and knew when this season started that the cost was going up and all the parents were made aware of this. To my recollection, if it has gone up in the past 3 years, it's been a small amount. This year was the largest increase, but I'm not sure it was astronomical here. As far as time goes, I'm not totally sure what you are referring to, so I'll just say that we have always committed a great deal of time to rehearsing, choreography, and costumes and we try to start working on things in the summer prior. Other than that, I'm indeed sorry if I upset you. I imagine I can't relate to what you are referring.

#24 Momof3darlings

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:44 PM

I got the same impression from your original post as Mobadt did cakers. So I'm glad you clarified. While it's important to note that each region does things differently, what Ms. Sinclair has stated is in line with the experiences we had and that is that the home school determines if the adjudication is viewed by parents or not. Therefore, the "beef" as it were, is not truly with RDA but with the home school. At least that was the case during the years DD attended RDA events. Our studio as well used the studio some years and a theatre others. On the theatre years, parents were allowed in and on the in studio years, we were not. I think it helps to put what the adjudication (evaluation/judging) process is. It is not a performance, it is the preliminary evaluation/judging of the pieces prior to the performance. So I understand that I was able to watch DD perform most shows but rarely was able to watch rehearsal or auditions. The rehearsal/auditions would be more in line with what adjudication is than equating it to a performance.

As well, in our region. Our home teachers always went to RDA meetings and would come back with some details about the next year's festival. So they always seemed to know when one year might be a more expensive one than the year prior early enough for our parents to begin raising funds or for our parents to break up the payments into a longer term plan. While we may not have known how much the exact kits were to be until later, there was always a good idea in well enough time to work out a plan of action. With the economic climate of tighter donation ranges, I'm sure over the past few years it has been harder for many a RDA location to get the donations they need themselves to keep costs down. Everything has gone up in cost, so it only figures that this would cause problems with this type of festival as well.

Where I think things have gotten askew is that I find cakers frustrated with RDA for things that really appear to me to be in house. It is not RDA's requirement to have parents do the costuming and all the work, that is the school itself who does that. (and it sounds like not in a productive fashion) It is accomplished by different companies in different ways. For some it's a struggle and for others a plan is in place that makes it seem less so. RDA was the one of the highlights of my DDs years at her pre-pro. It was hard work and alot of money, but worth it. However, our particular studio worked parents to the bone for Nutz and Spring Show. RDA seemed easy after that and since only Senior company attended, the parental group much smaller and intimate to help get it accomplished as well.
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#25 marigold

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:45 PM

It's so much about what one is used to as a parent. Our studio has been busy rehearsing for adjudication, which takes place for us in a few weeks. It will be the first time we use a theatre, as opposed to our large studio space. Chairs have always been set up and parents of participating dancers have been invited to watch each year. I believe our AD wants her dancers to feel they have an audience in front of them and finds it a benefit. It has always been a fairly intimate affair, given that we are all together in this space, without stage lighting or a great distance from the dancers. Our AD also invites the adjudicator to see a class beforehand, since she is in the studio. For the class, special leotards are purchased and dancers are expected to be at their best and also their most welcoming. Refreshments are served after the adjudication. Without the costs of renting a theatre space, the adjudicator has always been able to get an upclose and personal look at our dancers and our studio. We seem to do quite well and have been invited to perform three pieces for the last two years. It just shows every studio is different with how they choose to or are able to host!

#26 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:53 PM

Marigold, the class is a part of the adjudication. All of the studios showing works for adjudication do a class for the adjudicator prior to the presentation of the works they have rehearsed. I just finished teaching the class for the adjudicator for two different SERBA companies in our area, one today and one last Saturday. I have done that for several years now, since moving to this area, and have taught the classes for 4 different companies.

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#27 marigold

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:06 PM

I guess I was just describing our experience as a small studio and the fact that all is done in the same place on the same date. It has always seemed like a fairly simple presentation, despite all the weeks of rehearsing. A lot of hard work, mainly for dancers and choreographers for weeks on end, but a very enjoyable experience for all at adjudication.

#28 trythis

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:39 AM

Cakers, I do get what you are saying. The last minute announcements of changes in schedule and changes in expense are the things that make my husband crazy. Our adjudication was last night and ran over by an hour so it was a very late night. Luckily DD brought her homework into the dressing room and when it wasn't her turn to dance she got it all done. It wouldn't take much for your AD to say "Parents we will change the procedures this year and have a closed session with the judge." Since you got to watch in the past, I am sure you kept your schedule clear so that you would be available to watch this year and then you get there to find out you can't, that is dissappointing. As to the changes in the expense, once you attend and see all those companies with the matching leotards, and matching warm ups, and matching hair bows, you can see how it might get more expensive as she attempts to uniform a company. I don't know what to advise there. We contribute $200 to the uniform and for that they get their leo's, warm ups and accessories. Our AD is an amazing bargain shopper and finds these things at great prices.

At the RDA festival if you attend and buy a kit you can watch the classes and all the perfomances. DD is now telling me that she does not want me to come and watch. I am so frustrated with her because I really enjoy watching and like you said I am paying for it. I am taking time off work to chaperone. I want to see the fruits of my contribution-and her efforts! I hope she will come around!

As a founding member of the guild and as a parent who traveled with the AD, I would think your relationship with her might be strong enough that you could say that the parents were dissappointed in not having communcation about the changes in the policy this year.

#29 cakers

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:45 AM

I just finished teaching the class for the adjudicator for two different SERBA companies in our area, one today and one last Saturday. I have done that for several years now, since moving to this area, and have taught the classes for 4 different companies.


Do you mean that companies hire you as an "outside" instructor to teach the adjudication classes? I thought the whole idea of observing the class was so that RDA, via the adjudicator, could judge the quality of instruction the dancers were receiving? Shouldn't the AD, or regular teaching staff be giving the class? Or is it to judge the dancer's technique, and it doesn't really matter who gives the class? What is the advantage of having an outside teacher give the class (if that's what you are)?

#30 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 11:16 AM

Nope, not an outside teacher. I currently teach for two SERBA schools, and have taught for two others in the past.

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