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Ballet Talk for Dancers

2010 info for RDA pacific??


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My daughter who will turn 13 in June has been invited to attend festival as a jr or possibly apprentice dancer with her school. She has not been choreographed into any of the adjudication pieces so she would not be attending as a performer. Money is VERY tight right now and while it seems like a great opportunity for her I need something more 'solid' to help sway hubby to spend the money. Is it a worthwhile experience for younger dancers? what is the benefit of being an apprentice vs a jr dancer if any? Is the RDA Pacific website due for an update soon? Any info is greatly appreciated!

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The Festival experience is the highlight of the year for most RDA dancers. The majority of the time at Festival is spent in master classes, seminars and watching other companies perform. There is plenty of opportunity for young dancers to network and find old and new friends. In the Pacific region, companies are allowed to perform once during one of the 3 evenings so although being on stage in front of a large audience is exciting, it actually is only one small part of the larger Festival experience. In my company, I encourage ALL dancers to attend performing or not.


Your director will determine whether your dancer attends as an apprentice or junior dancer. Junior dancers attend as observers but have the opportunity to take one/two technique classes a day at their level, as well as attend all other seminars and performances. Apprentice track is for RDAP company members that are either younger or less experienced. This track has 2/3 technique classes a day as well as seminars. Again your director will be the one to determine this for your dancer.


Festival information should be readily available from your director.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My daughter, who attended as a JR last year, is in one of the pieces being adjudicated this year, so if that number is selected she will be going as a performing company member. However, our director told me that this does not preclude her taking classes as an apprentice (she will be 13 in July so just barely makes the RDA deadline). If there are other JR members from your school going, I think it can be a worthwhile experience even as a Jr, although from a cost standpoint, you should be aware that Jr's actually pay more than full company members because there is an extra fee for them to take Jr classes. If you daughter goes as an Apprentice, I think the experience can be just as rewarding as a full performing company member.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My DD just found out that she was chosen for honors classes by the adjudicator but her AD says she is too young to take them. She will be 13 in July and the RDA website states "13 by Aug 31". I am confused - does the Aug 31 date not apply to honors classes?


We have been under the impression that dancers have to be 13 by the date of Festival in order to move up from Juniors classes. Is the Aug 31 date a new date?


By the way, my DD went last year as a Junior and it was a fantastic experience, even taking 2 technique classes a day. Every teacher she had was wonderful and insightful in a different way.

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According to the rules on the RDA website, the dancers must be 13 by August of the year of the festival. My daughter will turn 13 on July 30, but could possibly be performing if her piece is selected by the adjudicator. (The company adjudication was a week ago). If she doesn't perform, she will take the apprentice level classes, but either way the director has assured us that she won't have to take Jr. classes. Our company director called somebody with RDA to confirm this.

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In the Pacific region, the minimum age requirement for apprentice and company dancers is 13 by August 31st of the year of Festival. All dancers in the member company must meet this requirement.


Jr. classes have minimum age of 10 but no upper limit. There some 14-15 yr olds in Jr. classes as some member companies have a Jr. company in addition to their RDA group. These Jr. companies act as feeders into the main company with dancers not yet at the required technical level necessary for the main company.


Directors of individual companies make the decisions on placement of their dancers according to both age minimums and level of technique.


As for Honors class selection, there are several different ways for choosing dancers. The most common is having the adjudicator chooses one and the AD the other. Some directors have the adjudicator choose both. Occasionally an adjudicator does not want this extra "job" and leaves the decision to the AD.


SCB: I would honor your director's decision on the Honors class. He/she may feel that although your DD was chosen, the Honors class at Festival would not benefit her at this time. She has many more years of Festivals!

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Jr. classes have minimum age of 10 but no upper limit.


Hmmm..how well do they enforce that? My daughter took Jr classes last year at 11, and I think she looks young for her age (which is sometimes a problem). However, there were kids in her classes that looked much younger than her, as I was guessing they were around eight. I didn't know there was any minimum age for juniors though, so I didn't think anything about it. They were almost all from the host copany.

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Thanks Ms. Sinclair- That is enlightening. My daughter is the youngest in her level and after having a discussion with her AD, she has been working very hard for the last few months, taking extra technique classes etc. Although the adjudicator did pay her some individual attention during his review time, I bet her AD chose her and said it was coming from the adjudicator, just to give her a "reward" for all her hard work. I will continue to trust that our AD knows what is best for my DD :)

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It is the job of the AD to make sure their dancers meet minimum age requirements. As a long time dance teacher and AD, let me assure you that it can be very difficult to assess age by size. Especially in ballet! :)

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Yes, I'm aware of how difficult it is to assess age by size, since, as I noted, my daughter is subjected to that all the time due to her small size. Although I'm pretty confident in my assessment that there were dancers younger than 10 in the Jr. classes, it really doesn't bother me. The Jr. classes were small, and most were from the Host company, so it may have been that they were trying to fill the classes. I'm really more interested in the reverse question: if there is no maximum age for Jr classes, and it's entirely up to the AD to place the dancers in the appropriate classes, are you saying that a dancer as young as 10 could be placed in an apprentice level class if the AD thought that was appropriate for their ability? I was under the impression that unless the dancer met the "13 by August" criteria, they had to take Jr level classes.


BTW, I was talking to the Mom of one of last year's Jr dancers, and asked her if she was aware that there was a minimum age of 10 for Jr dancers, and she looked at me and laughed and said some of the dancers last year looked to be six or seven, so I was trying to be generous and conservative when I said they looked eight!

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A ten year cannot be considered a company member per RDA rules so they could not be in apprentice track classes. You are correct that a dancer MUST be 13 by August 31 to be in a member RDA company and take the apprentice or company track of classes at Festival.

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