Dance syllabi- surely RAD isn't the only one worth doing?

(20 Posts)
cosmicstardust Fri 06-Jun-14 17:40:49

DD has recently started dance lessons, and so far is really enjoying it. I am totally a bit clueless as far as dancing goes. She doesn't go to a dance studio as such, but has lessons with a teacher who teaches ballet and jazz classes part time at a local aerobic gymnastics club- the aerobic gymnastics is quite a high standard but the dance is recreational, which is what we wanted. They do exams with ADAPT.

Since she started a few other parents with DCs who dance have remarked that RAD ballet is the best regarded syllabus, and the others aren't really worth bothering with. Given that this is meant to just be something DD does for enjoyment I'm not sure that's really an issue, but apparently RAD teaches 'proper' ballet and the other syllabi are more about having fun? Then again these are the same dance parents who told me DD was too old to start ballet- she is seven. Obviously it's very early days at the moment, but if this is something DD ends up enjoying and being vaguely good at, are there any benefits to RAD ballet that she's missing out on by learning another syllabus?

lecherrs Fri 06-Jun-14 19:33:46

I don't know loads about ballet, but my daughter dances and she does ISTD. Most dance schools around here are ISTD.I have known girls who have done ISTD who have got associate places at the Royal ballet, Elmhurst, Tring (full time place) and so on. So you can certainly go on to become a professional dancer with ISTD, and I believe it is a well respected exam board. Several People from my daughter's ISTD dance school have gone professional.

I suspect it may be a case of snobbery!

JulieMichelleRobinson Fri 06-Jun-14 19:47:43

Good technique will be dependent on the teacher, not the exam syllabus.

cosmicstardust Fri 06-Jun-14 20:27:45

I've never heard of ISTD blush It may be that we don't have it over here (abroad) although RAD definitely seems to be the norm here for ballet. ADAPT seems to be the norm for jazz, just not ballet. Julie that's what I thought, although apparently RAD has a better developed syllabus than other boards? No idea if there's any truth in that or not!

The whole thing is hypothetical anyway, as the other dance studios in our area would probably be quite difficult to get into as a seven year old with no experience. And DD is enjoying it where she is, which is more important IMO.

KatyMac Fri 06-Jun-14 20:36:35

RAD & ISTD are broadly speaking the same level

At summer schools/workshops they would be grouped together by grade (so grade 3 in either would be the same level)

I feel that in ballroom & latin for example higher steps are required for a silver in IDTA than ISTD but the ISTD need a higher technique (in my experience)

But I'm not sure about other exam boards

cosmicstardust Fri 06-Jun-14 20:56:02

She's in preliminary 1 for ballet and junior 1 for jazz, not sure how they correspond to grades. My only real concern then would be if she wanted to do some sort of summer school in the future, whether not having done grades would be a barrier? She's quite flexible and apparently has lovely feet, but I would have thought very, very unlikely to make dancing anything other than a hobby, so maybe that's not really an issue. Presumably it's fairly easy to switch between syllabi at a later point?

KatyMac Fri 06-Jun-14 22:03:06

Wrt not having grades they ask number of years training and set using that

I don't know about early grades as DD started at Grade 5 for Ballet & Modern and Grade 2 Tap. ISTD Tap has recently been restructured and the new grade 3 is a quite high exam compared to previously

JulieMichelleRobinson Fri 06-Jun-14 22:44:43

Well, the school where I work as pianist uses ISTD exams for ballet, tap and modern. They also used to do the RAD exams in addition, for ballet only. ISTD is pretty common in Britain, I think, and many schools use the ISTD modern/tap even if they use RAD for ballet.

There are differences between the syllabi so, for example, RAD grade 2 and ISTD grade 2 aren't the same, though they're supposed to be at a similar level. Traditionally, RAD may cover fewer steps and only require set work but is fussy about how they are done; ISTD syllabus introduces more steps sooner and includes free work in exams as early as grade 2 (children need to know ten allegro steps, but the examiner sets the enchainement), and allows for more freedom of interpretation.

Transfer students from other local schools, where they do RAD exams, have usually been placed either in the grade they just took or in the next grade up. So a girl who's taken RAD grade 2 would usually end up in ISTD grade 3 (first year) but an RAD grade 5 may be placed in the ISTD grade 5 class. Older beginners (e.g. 8 or 9yo) usually get placed roughly with others their age and tend to catch up - this isn't possible after about grade 3 though, and there is a range of ages in the higher classes anyway.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 07-Jun-14 18:26:34

For serious dancers doing RAD gives them access to some of the high level competitions/bursaries such as Genee & Phylis Bedells.

In RAD grades you do character dance which you don't in ISTD.

However ISTD is highly recognised & several dancers at dds full time school come from ISTD backgrounds.

Syllabus exams are not as common abroad & RAD is probably the higher profile.

cosmicstardust Sat 07-Jun-14 19:32:34

Exams definitely do seem to be the norm at least for ballet here, most of the schools near us do RAD or Vaganova (Russian style?) I haven't come across ISTD or IDTA though, but it could just be it isn't followed in our area- I know nothing about this! Most places seem to do tap and jazz exams with ADAPT or CDTA, although some compete seriously instead and only do ballet exams. A parent at DD's ballet class who lived in the UK with her DD for 2 years seems to think ADAPT preliminary 1 is about the same as RAD grade 1 and RAD is more technical while ADAPT puts a greater emphasis on flexibility. To be honest as long as DD's enjoying it, I'm happy. It's interesting that different boards all seem to do it differently though.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 07-Jun-14 23:56:27

I've never heard of ADAPT.

corecrest Sun 08-Jun-14 15:35:01

Our local vocational school teaches vaganova method, but has recently offered option of RAD exams in addition.

I prefer RAD, personally, but like also IDTA for musicality.

Interestingly, if you apply for junior associate programmes, they're not interested in the exam level or syllabus. They just want to know how many hours a week and/or how many years you've been dancing.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 08-Jun-14 17:03:06

Also a lit of full time vocational schools have now stopped using RAD exams. Dds school still does two RAD classes per week (they start in Yr 7 with Inter Foundation but don't do Grades) alongside their other classes (I'd say non syllabus but I'm sure they haw their own)

However I've recently been told that RBS & Elmhurst are no longer doing RAD at all.

I'm glad dd is doing them as if she wants to later get a teaching qualification she'll have the pre requisite level.

corecrest Sun 08-Jun-14 17:42:18

Yes, same with vocational school here, should have said. Starts only with inter foundation, not grades.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 08-Jun-14 17:51:10

Is that in the UK corecrest? Interested to know where teaches Vaganova as I've only heard of a couple of places. Natalia Kremen being one.

cosmicstardust Sun 08-Jun-14 19:08:26

Looking at the ADAPT website it looks like it's only taught in Canada pictures, so that could explain it!

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 08-Jun-14 19:42:49

Yes. I know ABT is very well respected in the US & there are a couple of Australian exam boards.

Dd has a couple of Australian / teachers who have worked in Australia & they apparently have developed some very good methods over there b

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 08-Jun-14 19:44:57

Yes. I know ABT is very well respected in the US & there are a couple of Australian exam boards.

Dd has a couple of Australian / teachers who have worked in Australia & they apparently have developed some very good methods over there

teacherwith2kids Mon 09-Jun-14 21:50:10

My impression (DD is at a 'serious' local dance school which does ISTD) is that the difference between 'well taught ballet' and 'not well taught ballet' is not necessarily syllabus but rigour, and that if a dancer is not taught 'rigorously' initially, it can be quite hard to retrofit that into their technique.

(Children transferring to DD's dance school from more 'casual' schools ahve generally progressed more slowly for quite a while, because of the need to revise / improve some of their very basic technique. They then progress in line with their peers - whereas older 'beginners' tauught only at that school tend to progress at a fairlty normal rate even if started in e.g. Grade 1 or 2 rather than primary)

So well-taught, rigorous ISTD / RAD / ADAPT / IDTA isn't an over-riding issue - the problem will come if your DD loves it, wants to take it serioously and progress further, but has been taught less rigorously IYSWIM? I believe that RAD and ISTD have 'accreditation' type schemes for teachers that would give some reassurance as to the 'quality' of training. if the quality is good, then the exam board is less important IYSWIM.

cosmicstardust Mon 09-Jun-14 23:38:12

I'm not sure if it's a 'good' quality class or not really- it's taken by a teacher who comes into an aerobic gymnastics gym, as I understand it the idea was that ballet and jazz classes would supplement the aerobic training. The aerobic squad competes to quite a high level, but those who do both are doing two hours a week max alongside scary hours of aerobic training. So difficult to say. DD loves dancing at the moment and 'practices' at home pretty much every day because she wants to. She realised in the second lesson she could almost do the splits forwards naturally (think they're assessed on it in ADAPT, possibly) so she stretched at home until she could get all the way down. We didn't encourage her, she just did it. But she's only had three classes of each, so the initial enthusiasm may well wear off! We'll see how she gets on with it first- the competition studios near us look a bit scary.

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