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Ballet Talk for Dancers

First RAD exam


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My daughter has only dancing for the last year and my son started 2nd term this year. I am so proud of them with there first ever ballet results. My daughter got 87% and my son 84%. They love

It so much that they have finally decided to quit gym to focus on their dance. I'm excited to see

How they progress over the next year

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Oh well they did brilliantly then! Must be some natural talent there and some great teaching as the new syllabus is very difficult!!

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Congrats in between!


BalletTeacherUK- could you elaborate please on the new syllabus particularly as it relates to level one? My Dk will be taking his first external/ independently graded RAD exam in the spring. Thanks!!

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I heard that. I think the average was high 70's

. We were all warned at the start of the year that anything in the 70's was really good so when we got our results back we were really happy. My daughter was the thir highest in her class and I think my son was about the same. The thing is they don't have privates and the kids that got the higher grades do.

So I was thinking maybe next year getting them privates, or maybe asking if they could do the grade above as well just for extension work. What do you think about that?

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Not really sure how to elaborate but the new work is certainly harder than the old syllabus. The exercises are longer with various different steps within 1 exercise whereas the old work would have an exercise for arms, a separate exercise for walks, another for petits jetes etc. so it's harder to remember firstly and also the transitions can be tricky at times. It is a lovely syllabus though!


There is a basic glissades in grade 1 now whereas they weren't introduced until grade 4 previously. Battements fondus are taken away from the barre but that's grade 2.


The children are assessed on posture, line, use of turnout, articulated footwork, spatial awareness, alignment etc etc - they were in the old work too but with the new syllabus there seem to be more places where every aspect must be shown correctly. More opportunity to get those marks would be the optimist's view, more opportunity to lose them would be the pessimist's view!!


I haven't actually entered any students for the new exams yet (grades 1-3), we've been building up to it over the last year and our first exams will be in the spring. So I really don't know what the marking is like but the work is harder so I assume it will be harder to achieve the same level of marks as before. I attended an examiner's feedback seminar who said that she felt the children could have spent more time getting to grips with the new work in order to show it as well as they possibly could. I took that on board and haven't rushed into the exams!

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I don't know why they made it harder as such (bringing harder steps in sooner) but the amalgamating of various steps within an exercise obviously helps with remembering steps, transitions and allows the children to 'dance' and perform a bit more rather than just repeating a step several times with only very small differences i.e. in alignment, direction etc. It's now much more like doing lots of little short dances which is certainly a better format.

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This is so helpful, thank you so much! I confess I had to look up a glissade on You Tube but we found a bunch of wonderful demo videos from the Royal Opera house. Yes, it is challenging but I can see room for great artistry and expression as well (from my novice vantage point). My DS will have his work cut out for him; I will make sure he makes up classes missed due to rehearsals.

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You're welcome :) I'm no particular expert on the new work but am RAD qualified/registered and have been on the training course for the new syllabus so I hope other teachers would agree with my interpretation :)

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I wanted to report back- one of my DK's ballet teachers said the school has not yet decided if they will have the Level 1's do the RAD exam this year with the external examiner, or do the exams in-house with the AD (who is RAD certified/registered). She said the new cirriculum is much more similar to the prior Level 3 and extremely difficult.


I do know the school has a very high RAD success rate so I'm guessing there are a lot of factors to consider. (They have high-scoring older kids who do go on to professional careers.)


Since my DK is so young I figure whatever the school decides is fine. (Plus I am not looking forward to trying to find character shoes ;)

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I don't understand how you can do an RAD exam "in-house" - this doesn't exist. Only an exam in front of an external examiner sent by the RAD itself is valid. Do they perhaps mean that the AD will look at the dancers and decide whether to move them on to the next level without taking the formal exam.

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Maybe. I am very new to all of this so perhaps the misunderstanding is mine.


My Dk will only be 7 at exam time so I'm not worried about the procedure just yet.

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Well my son just did grade 1 and has never danced in his life and manged to get a great score. I am assuming the examiners know that it is harder and maybe they are judging a little easier maybe? At our studio not one person got lower then a distinction so I'm wondering it that did happen

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