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Ballet Training System in France

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Hi everyone

I'm really hoping that someone can help me with some advice. I am a New Zealander currently living in France. My eldest daughter (just turned 5) has just finished her first year of pre-ballet. It was a great success (I guess it's in the blood) and she absolutely loves it, which is probably what counts most at this age. However, we have just been to the end of year "Gala de Danse", and not to put too fine a point on it, I was horrified! Naturally we expect the little-ones to bumble around the stage, pretty much falling over each other- so cute, but what shocked me was the standard (or lack thereof) of the senior students. I really wanted to get an idea of the level one could expect from this teacher and ballet school. While one must expect a certain number of not-so-good students even in the senior classes (it's a wonderful form of exercise), I would have hoped for at least a few well trained and talented students. Unfortunately it was not to be. While some had some fairly strong pointe work, the rest was appaling. No suppleness, no musicality, no attention to detail at all ( feet not pointed, arms appaling, feet not closed in correct positions at the end of a move... I could go on and on)! I am really at a loss as to how to find a good ballet school here. While the teacher is lovely, I am forced to conclude that in the long term, she really isn't very good. Ballet schools in France do not allow you to sit in and watch classes, so I cannot decide for myself. Is there a nationally based syllabus followed in France? In NZ we followed the British "Royal Academy of Dance" syllabus, and had exams each year as a measure of progress. I cannot find any evidence of any across-the-board exam systems here, but I really don't know anyone qualified who I can ask. Can anyone who knows the French system make any suggestions for me? While I do not expect my girls to become prima ballerinas, I would love them to have the pleasure of dancing to a good level as I did. I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks in advance

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Hi ! I'm French, and live in Paris . There is no curriculum as such in France, unless you are in a "conservatoire" - a state school - where you can get lessons for amateurs as well as for future professionals.


where exactly do you live in France ?

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I'm French, too. Don't expect to find something similar to RAD here. And even in state schools that follow a graded curriculum, the results aren't necessary good. A lot private schools are better than this conservatoires. Except for a few schools, the overall level of the students is more heterogeneous and lower than in foreign schools with a graded system. The advanced students train also less: two to three lessons per week are the standard, and pointes work begin around 9-11, generally at 10. Many teachers aren't that careful on that point.


A low level doesn't mean the teacher is bad: you do what you can with the students you have.

I would avise you check carefully the school's reputation, and if necessary and if you're able, to make a change.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, I am French also, and now live in the U.S. I danced for 10 years there & then moved (at 15.) I went to a small, private ballet school in Vence (south east of France,) and though it was small it was VERY good. I got to a level where my teachers were pushing me to go to Paris to pursue it. I would have loved to, and to this day regret not having found a school here.

Point of all this being that you'd be surprised at what some of the small schools can do. The way we found it is through friends. I would keep and keep asking people, you are bound to find someone who is satisfied with their school. Maybe you could ask the other parents at your daughter's school and they have kids or know kids who do ballet and then ask those parents. That's really the best way. Good luck!

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, Esprit de Ballerine!!!


I hope that you are still dancing now.... please head to the Welcome Forum and introduce yourself. We have a few students from France, and I'm sure many others would love to hear more about the training there. :thumbsup:


Happy posting!

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  • 6 years later...

Hello, I'm a mum of two girls (11 and 8) who started at a local dance school in St Paul de Vence. I have been incredibly impressed with the teacher who studied at the National Conservatoire in Paris. Her attention to technique is excellent which has been rewarded with good results in competitions for both my girls. Yes, it is true that there isn't a similar system to the UK, Australia (where I am from originally) for yearly exams. I agree that this helps give a very good idea of the level for each year of ballet etc. However, the big advantage of going to a local or private school is that the teacher can progress your child as quickly as she sees fit, without the focus of passing an exam on a set syllabus. One way to ensure that your child keeps an equivalent level to other children is to do competitions (concours). Here the child has to learn a set variation for their age group...and here it seems clear at what level the child should be for their age. The conservatoires have a nationwide syllabus so that would give you some conformity. My oldest daughter has started 'danse-etude' at an Ecole Superior of dance. She studies her academic subjects in the morning (first year of highschool) and then dances each afternoon, doing classic and contemporary dance, as well as studying music and history of choregraphy. So far, I am very happy with the results....she can dance intensively and also do her schooling and it means there is less driving around for me to do too! For your daughter, I would find a good local teacher who has studied at a reputable school (conservatoire or superior school) with the Diplome d'Etat. And if she is serious about her dancing, investigate 'horaires amenager' programs at conservatoires or superior schools.

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