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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Teaching: Becoming an RAD teacher


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I was wondering how necessary it is for future ballet teachers to have grounding in more than ballet alone? I did Modern dancing when I was a child but I wonder whether or not it would be of benefit to start up again, considering some of the more modern choreography (i.e. "contemporary" ballet) that might come into performance pieces a studio might do.


At my ballet studio, I also have access to Spanish/Flamenco classes and access to private Modern coaching to help me catch up (there is no adults' class for Modern currently). Do you think either of those might be advantageous at some point, in terms of pursuing a career as an RAD ballet teacher?

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  • swantobe


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  • tara-balletgirl


Please can I ask some advice about the timing of doing the CBTS course. My country only runs the course every 2 years (not sure if that's the norm elsewhere?) and the next course starts at the beginning of 2012. My dilemma is two-fold: Firstly, I have just started my postgraduate studies and if I pursue a career in this field (my "day job" aside from ballet), I need to continue these studies for a number of years yet (this is a fairly new development, but at this point I am interested in doing this and my supervisor would very much like me to do so); the end of this year (2011) and the end of next year (2012) would be appropriate times for me to take a break from these studies. If I take the latter option, I would have to wait until the CBTS course starts again in 2014. I am reluctant to take a break from these studies but I may feel differently at the end of this year!

Secondly, I have only just started working on my Advanced 1 work and I know I have quite a bit of hard work to do; I will probably only take the Adv 1 exam in August/September next year. I feel like I am not advanced enough in my ballet studies to become a teacher (although I realise by the time I complete the CBTS course I will probably be working on Adv 2 work). However, my ballet teacher - who is an RAD examiner and very much involved in the CBTS course - has assured me that it is likely that I will be accepted to the CBTS course starting in 2012.


Ideally, I would want to continue my university studies until the end of 2012 but I don't think it will be possible for me to study for the 1st year of the CBTS, do my postgraduate work, do part-time work to manage money AND continue dancing so much...Taking my university course part-time will not really make a significant difference and would mean that my dissertation would be due at the end of the 2nd year of the CBTS course which I understand from current CBTS students would be a complete nightmare.


So, my questions are:

- Do you think it is advisable to achieve a higher level in my own study of ballet before doing the CBTS course?

- If you did the CBTS course, what did you do aside from it (i.e. work full-time/part-time) and how stressful was that?

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I am currently working towards RAD Intermediate Foundation. I started working towards RAD vocational grades, and also started on pointe in September 2010 - (at almost 16 years old), after dancing for about 12 years, 10 at my current school.


At the age of about 11 I was given the opportunity to begin pointe work, however although most of the other girls of my grade decided to take the opportunity, I declined. This was because at the time I was struggling with problems with my knees, regularly having physiotherapy and seeing multiple doctors. I was in a lot of pain, and dancing seemed to intensify the issue. In January 2009 the issue had reached a point that I was missing a lot of classes due to the fact at times I was struggling to walk. I completely quit tap lessons due to it being almost impossible.

When I was attending ballet lessons, I would often have to sit out by the time we reached allegro due to the pain being that much that there was no way I could dance through it.


These issues continued for some time, and I felt that I was falling behind in my graded ballet, which made me feel very pressurized and down heartened about my future in dance in general.


However, about January last year, the pain suddenly became a lot more manageable, until in about March I was back to all my dance classes (except tap), and working hard to catch back up. The pain comes and goes, but is very minimal in comparison to the past.


We never found out what caused the pain, many doctors struggled with my case. I am however very hypermobile which they thought could have contributed to, although not caused the problem.


I want to be a dance teacher, and my teacher said that I could have skipped straight to intermediate, I decided to stay to inter-foundation because there's no point jumping in at the deep end with my history!


A lot of background information, I do apologize!


My question is, have I made detrimental decisions in terms of a career in dance by turning down the pointe classes the first time around, and then again turning down the intermediate?



I apologize if this is in the wrong place, and for the large amount of information!


I would greatly appreciate any advice you could give me


Thank you in advance,


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With a career goal of being a teacher, and that seemingly in RAD, I don't think you've missed the boat on either score. Remember, there is no upper age limit on examinations.

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With a career goal of being a teacher, and that seemingly in RAD, I don't think you've missed the boat on either score. Remember, there is no upper age limit on examinations.


Thank you Mr. Johnson. :grinning:

Another related question, Ms. Leigh mentioned before about there being benefit in performance experience before pursuing a teaching career...how possible is this with my background/training, and what kind of opportunities should I be looking for? This would be something I should be looking into within the next 2 years, and I think I should start considering my options now! :shrug:

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It's possible, but I wouldn't use too much time in considering your options, but move immediately upon pursuing them.

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Using the cold-light-of-day inspiration, I want to help you speed up your consideration by suggesting using local outlets for performing to start, as with community theatre. In the US, there is a phenomenon called regional or civic ballet, made up of amateur dancers. In the UK, this movement is not directly mirrored, but do you see any parallels in your vicinity? I would also build into my educational planning university resources to further study and performance opportunities. Durham is, of course, the big venu for dance studies (Fonteyn was Chancellor),but I do know that others do exist. Are these useful ideas for you?

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There are a few amateur companies locally, within which I know people. I looked into joining one before, although the schedule of rehearsals clashed with my ballet classes. The other issue with the 2 I know of locally is that the focus is particularly on singing rather than dancing, and the few dancers they have are a little younger than me, and don't appear to have ballet training...although it would be something to look into!


The idea of planning towards university and performance opportunities there is interesting! I hadn't really thought about Durham, as I have my heart set on being in London, although these factors are definitely something I could begin to look further around the country for!


Thank you Mr. Johnson, you have inspired me to start looking around and get involved with these things!

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I'm glad I can be of some small help; and always remember, when you look for answers, look, then look again, no matter how many times you have looked before. Sometimes there is more information, sometimes old information changes, sometimes a new interpretation changes the way you understand something you had learned before. That's where the word comes from, "re-search"! :D

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Wise words once again from Mr. Johnson! Definitely something to keep in mind :D

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A re-inforcement of the concept of "re-search". :) A colleague (a Durham graduate) has contacted me regarding activities there. In 1992, RAD partnered with the university in its BA(Hons) Dance Education programme via Distance Learning. My correspondent informs me that although the university, starting in 1992, validated the degree, there is no dance presence on campus. It seems that in 2004, Durham was succeeded in its role by the University of Surrey. I would contact both the University and the Academy for more details on the present state of the undertaking. See, old information does change!


My friend further counsels researching the New Universities, especially the former polytechnics, for dance activities to be had under their jurisdictions.

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The simplest way to research what is available is to go on-line to the UCAS site. This is the umbrella body which handles all British University applications. You can do a "course search" which will tell you what is available and where. There are also a few Ballet and/or Contemporary degree courses where the entry is by direct application and audition outside the UCAS system. However the entry standard for these is very high and given your dance history as outlined in this thread, I do not think these would be suitable for you. Good luck!


Oops - sorry I have just noticed that this is the Young Dancers thread - please delete and use the information as appropriate.

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I think that I'm going to move this to Career General Discussion, as there are many UK posters here who are vastly more familiar with British educational practices than our standard Young Dancers Moderating Team. How about it, friends? What can you tell tara about gaining advancing in ballet in the UK, particularly through education channels, but any information is welcome.

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Thank you Mr. Johnson, I will be interested to hear anything from this board!

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