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Ballet Talk for Dancers

RAD exams and a few other questions

Molly Weasley

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Hello! I'm new here and have spent many hours absorbing the wisdom found in these forums...

DD has danced since age 3 at the Dinkliest of Dolly Dinkle studios. Competitions, 5 three hour recitals in a weekend, the whole 9 yards. She took " extra" ballet, amounting to 1.5 hours a week until age 13.'We then switched studios to a real ballet school, where she was placed at RAD Grade 4, encouraged to take lots of class, and offered extra class at Grade 4.5 and 3. The collective opinion of her teachers and the SO is that she has a beautiful facility, good instincts, takes correction well, but looks untrained. She had to go back to basics, like which way to turn at the barre, but is picking up quickly. She understands that muscle memory and precision takes years. My questions:

1. We had mixed advice on taking ISDT exams. One of her teachers offered an hour of private instruction a week on exam prep in addition to her classes, which will also prepare. The private work will focus on Grade 2 and 3 work. Her regular class schedule is 3 or 4 Grade 4/4.5 classes at 1.5 hours each, plus a jazz lyrical class and a stretch and strengthen class. DD decided to go for it, knowing she may not score well. She compared it to auditioning for a part: she needs to value the process over the end result. She is a fine arts kid and copes with the audition process maturely, so I feel like this is a reasonable route. Am I missing any drawbacks?

2. There is a decent SI affiliated with a professional company nearby. At her level, should she audition and see what happens, or take lots of summer class instead and wait until next summer? She will turn 14 right before this summer starts.

3. We took this year to build her ballet skill base and see if she liked it better than the comp/dance team/jazz work she's done in the past. She is hooked. There is a pre-pro school nearby, but our current studio does turn out pro dancers. Do we finish out this year at her current level of classes, or try to add more class immediately? She would need to add the pre pro studio for contemporary, variations, and anything beyond technique. According to all I've read here, she is getting good training currently.

Thanks for the help- I love the calm, supportive tone of these forums! It has helped so much already on our journey.

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