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Presentation Class vs "Real" Exam?


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Hi, I am new to this forum. My dd is 9 and just started on grade 4 on the RAD syllabus. We have been with her current ballet school for a while as we love her Tuesday teacher and has just started classes on Sat as well at a different venue (same school) - the locations and times work for us. However, this school, while they teach RAD syllabus and make a big deal about "exams", do graded presentation classes rather than the full exam. I asked the head of the school about it and she strongly feels that the exam system is too rigid and out of date and that the training for this bores the kids. She has some pretty strong opinions...it seems that my daughter is doing well and has an aptitude for dance (she scores well on the presentations, although there is no concept of "distinction" etc) but I want to be sure I am not missing something based on the whim of one individual. (other local schools who follow RAD are doing the graded exam syllabus at this age). Any thoughts would be so appreciated!

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Welcome, BundleBrent!


I think you will get a variety of answers on this question, as we have many parent members of RAD students, and quite a few RAD teacher members as well. Personally, I do not believe in exams, nor in the amount of time spent on learning one specific class. If the student likes that kind of class and taking exams, AND the school presents open classes in addition to the syllabus classes, then that is better. But taking only a class that is working toward one exam is not, in my opinion, the best way to develop a thinking, versatile dancer.


Therefore, since your daughter is taking one syllabus class and one "open" class, I think that is a good thing. However, I would like to see her taking more classes per week, and 1.5 hour classes, by next year.

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Thank you Victoria, I very much appreciate your response. I was not very clear...both classes are meant to be for grade 4, working towards the grade 4 presentation class "exam" (as they call it at our school); there are not very many girls in each class so Tuesdays are now 50 mins (only 4 or 5 girls, I think) and Saturdays are 1 hour (different teacher, different girls for the most part, about 6 in total), but the same syllabus (in theory). DD is happy with the set up and seems to progress well (but honestly, I would have no idea). She gets good remarks from the teachers, and "competent" on all categories but one in her grade 3 report from RAD ("progressing" on free movement).


I just got a bit nervous as some of her peers at other ballet schools talk about getting "distinction" on their exams. If anything I was worried that the school was not exam focused enough, but it is good to hear someone else basically agree with the sentiments expressed by the head of our ballet school.

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