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What is RAD?

Guest curiousgeorge

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Guest curiousgeorge


Since RAD is under four letters the BT search engine can't find it for me. It wouldn't surprise me if there is a description of this term out somewhere on Ballet Talk, and I would appreciate it if somebody could guide me to it.

I don't know what RAD stands for and what it entails.

Thanks for your help.

Edited by curiousgeorge
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RAD stands for Royal Academy of Dance. Its a teaching "system" for ballet that originated in England but is now taught world-wide. Tutumonkey

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Guest costumier

Hi curiousgeorge,


My DDs have done RAD right through so I can tell you a bit about it, although it might be a bit different in America. (?) It's a syllabus that goes right through from preschool to advanced. Girls and boys are usually taught in the same class for the earlier years, although they have some different exercises, different dances and of course different stylistic requirements.


There are two pre-grade classes called pre-primary and primary. These have an assessment rather than an exam, which basically means the little ones get used to an exam setting but there is no failure, they all get a lovely certificate and a pat on the back, and the examiner gives any negative feedback to the teacher regarding areas that need improvement.


Grades one through five are roughly age 6-11. They are a little more demanding, and there is a choice of an examination or an assessment at the teacher's discretion, for each child.


After grade 5 the students split into recreational or vocational tracks. Those doing recreational dance keep doing grades, which I think go up to grade 9 or 10. Boys used to have no grade syllabus after grade 5 (presumably most boys still dancing at that age ARE serious) but I've heard they have just introduced a grade 6 and 7 for boys.


Those on the vocational track do another set of exams that are a lot more demanding. The examiners are a lot tougher, so you actually do have to be pretty good to pass. These used to be called "majors" and a lot of people still use that term but I think officially they're called "vocational" now. Boys and girls in these classes are examined separately, and where numbers allow, taught separately. This is the Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced Foundation and Advanced classes. In practice a lot of studios don't offer classes enough times a week so a lot of these students do grade classes as well, concurrently, to keep their class hours up, although they may not do the exams for both.


The classes are carefully graded, with emphasis on a gradual development of turnout, and a pure "English" style. The dances are very pretty for the girls and manly for the boys. It also guarantees certain minimum standards in the teacher. (They have to pass exams to be certificated.)


On the negative side, some teachers stick very rigidly to the material that will be shown off in the exam so the students will be as perfect as possible, which I think isn't good for their overall development as dancers. But that depends on the teacher's approach, it's not a fault of the system. Also, the examiners they have been sending out have been giving WILDY different marks from year to year. It is easy to see in our studio that the kids are making steady progress from year to year, and yet their marks go up and down by 20-30% points! (That is everybody in the school going up one year, and everybody down the next.) It's very discouraging for a student to get 97% one year and then 65% the next, when they have actually improved. It wouldn't matter if they were always higher or always lower, if only they could be more consistent.


But overall I'd say it's been pretty good, so long as you have a teacher that supplements the syllabus with other material, especially as they get older.

Edited by costumier
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Guest curiousgeorge

Dear tutumonkey and costumier,


Thank you very much for the information you both provided. I really appreciated it. Thanks to tutumonkey I now know what the acronym stands for and thanks to costumier’s wonderfully detailed description I have a fairly good idea of what the program looks like in real life.


One thing is clear: the small dance studio that my children go to doesn’t follow this kind of approach.


I think it is wonderful to get a response from Canada and New Zealand in a forum like this. Thanks again for taking the time to explain RAD to me.



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