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Ballet Talk for Dancers

enough classes


Belle of the ballet #1

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i know there's other forum of people asking if they are doing enough classes to go pro, i just want to know if i am doing enough ballet to actually think about working towards my exam.

i'm currently doing 8 hrs of ballet classes a week (plus extra for tap, jazz and contemporary) of which 6hrs a week (3x2hr classes) is advanced 1, 2 hrs is grade 8, and sometimes we do unseen excercises in stead of syllabus in the advanced one. in advanced one, only 1/2 and hour is set aside purely for pointe, although we generally do at least 1.5 hrs a week and it's gradually increasing, hopefully sometime in the next few weeks i will be able to pick up one more 2 hr advanced class and be dancing 5 days a week).

i am hoping to be up to standard to do my grade 8 exam in august, and my advanced one next year (may-june)

am i studying enough to safely train at this level and expect to be prepared for these exams?

i don't want to live on false hope!

 

luv belle

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Belle, I think that dancers in both Great Britain and Australia are brought along a bit slower than they are here in the US, at least in the professional schools here. However, the training is usually very good, as long as it has enough free classes and not all syllabus.

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I do almost exactly the same as Belle, and I'm from Australia too...We do a 1.5 hr Adv One class on Monday, 2 hr Grade 8 (rad) Tuesday, Open Class for 2 hrs Thursday, 1.5 hr Adv One class Friday, plus half hr pointe. Another Adv One class is going to start on Wednesday aswell. And I do contempory. I wonder why Aussy and England are sort of behind?

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I think that it may have something to do with the frequency of classes that used to be given during the 1920s by the founders of the RAD in imitation of their teachers, who were people like Edouard Espinosa, Enrico Cecchetti, and others. The minimum that would get you through during the 1920s simply will not do today. And that is what a great many RAD schools do worldwide. They teach THE BOOK, but not the whole book, which encourages many free classes, and suggests a minimum of syllabus classes. They teach the minimum, but skip over the free class part.

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Of late, the Academy has been emphasizing that the practice described above simply won't do. They are aware, but real change comes slowly in such a widespread organization. We'll see what happens. It took at least two decades to devise a syllabus for grades 6 & 7 male work.

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it's good to know i'm not the only one danielle.

mr johnson, in our syllabus classes, we do all of the set excercises but also free excercises based on the steps listed that you need to know for the exams free enchaiments (sp?) our teacher still calls it syllabus class because it's working directly to the requirements of the exam. could this kind of count towards your recomended free classes, or should i be doing more classes completely separate to syllabus and exam prep?

 

belle

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I find that dancers trained only in syllabus classes have a very hard time if they audition for a program that does not do syllabus classes, which, at least in the US, means almost all of the professional schools. If they have not been trained in free classes they have learned almost only set exercises, which they do very well, but when given new material with movements put together in very different ways they are lost. This would seem to me to be a large problem in terms of a dancer picking up choreography quickly, which you certainly must be able to do in the professional world.

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I agree with Ms. Leigh about an overreliance on the syllabi. Another problem that the Academy faces when it tries to change comes from the consumer (largely the parents), who took ballet when they were young, and say, "Why do you have to take a class every day? I only needed two a week when I was your age." This is one case of where the frugality of British tradition works against an objective. We in the US have that in common with Australia.

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