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Ballet - ISTD vs RAD

(39 Posts)
Strix Wed 13-Oct-10 10:46:08

DD takes a variety of dance classes, one of which is ballet. I was just wondering if veteran ballet parents might be able to shed some light on the difference between these exams.

I think that RAD is a bit more classical than ISTD but don't really know what that means.

I am not and never was a dancer. So, assume I know nothing.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 08-Feb-17 11:21:36

The only issue I have with vaganova is that it was a syllabus designed with a particular facility in mind. Vsganova itself selects children on physique. So if you don't have 180 turnout etc etc there can be issues.

DelphineCormier Wed 08-Feb-17 00:07:00

Another vote for vaganova. My DD does vaganova at a rhythmic school and the level of technique they drill into them early on is amazing.

dodobookends Mon 06-Feb-17 18:51:20

Agree with others - it doesn't really matter which syllabus (if any) you follow - the most important thing is the quality of the teaching smile

sewingjassy Mon 06-Feb-17 12:15:32

Also, just to point out that there are senior levels in ISTD beyond grade 6.

sewingjassy Mon 06-Feb-17 12:13:13

pleased no one has mentioned idta!

Now what does that mean? This is a later comment from a few years ago, so the poster may not be around. However, I do find this attitude towards IDTA ballet from some. When asked people (non dance teachers) have said they don't think it is as classical as some syllabi, or is not as advanced.

There are some very good successful IDTA schools, with some equally successful students being produced. With all syllabi it depends on the quality of the teaching I think, personally.

sewingjassy Mon 06-Feb-17 12:08:47

It is a good thread, I love dance talk (I'm on the ballet co forum too), but now I wonder, nearly seven years later, what the OP decided.

Socksey Mon 06-Feb-17 12:05:18

Might be a zombie but it's a good thread and good question.....
My DS loves dancing and we moved from the local RAD school (I wasn't impressed with the quality of the instruction) to a much better ISTD school...
Whatever you do... dance, karate etc... it is the quality of the instruction that is important... does the teacher understand how the body moves and how to get the best from their students.

sewingjassy Mon 06-Feb-17 01:45:31

I should read the thread first grin And it's a zombie thread!

sewingjassy Mon 06-Feb-17 01:43:37

compare to RAD, not ISTD

sewingjassy Mon 06-Feb-17 01:42:19

Dodo, I'd have said, just looking at the exercises that ISTD, and IDTA all seem to be 'ahead' of RAD by about a grade in terms of the steps and exercises used (think of the grades each does arabesque a terre, pas de chat, assemble etc etc). I guess they must catch up by inter level? And we've had students put in the grade below coming from RAD to ISTD or IDTA.

sewingjassy Mon 06-Feb-17 01:36:15

What syllabus is she studying at the moment?

ISTD (cecchetti) which my child does is really thought of as quite classical. I don't know how to compare it to ISTD though. Didn't Darcey Bussell do cecchetti?

I think RAD has a reputation for being more classical than other syllabi, but criticisms of it lately I've heard are that it is more performance based than it was.

My child does character (though we call it national) separately, and as dance solos for festivals, so not missing out. I don't think you asked that grin I might have picked up on it from the thread, which I only skim read

dodobookends Sun 05-Feb-17 14:03:07

Vaganova is harder grin

Mindtrope Sun 05-Feb-17 07:08:13

ISTD is a lot more demanding than RAD.

dodobookends Sat 05-Nov-16 16:51:13

Yes, you can change examining body and back again, and at the end of the day, it is the quality of the teaching that's most important.

RAD has Grades up to 8, and ISTD has grades up to 6, so fewer grades but each ISTD grade has a bit more in it so the end point is at the same level. So they aren't an exact match and she's actually kind of skipped up half a level or so.

ISTD Grade 4 is about equivalent to RAD Grade 4/5. The only real difference is that RAD has character work and ISTD doesn't.

Is it ISTD Imperial ballet or ISTD Cecchetti ballet that she's doing?

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 05-Nov-16 16:42:56

As far as I know concernmum they can swap between the two. She may not want to though. Our dance school does ISTD grades then RAD majors. They always get comments about how much better their technique is when they do the majors because of their background but that is highly likely more to do with the teaching rather than the syllabus as their teacher has taught both RAD and ISTD for many years.

However ISTD grade 4 isn't equivalent to RAD grade 4 from what I have been told, I have been given the impression that the ISTD grades are normally harder or higher level than the equivalent number RAD grades. Certainly people I know who have moved from doing RAD to ISTD have always gone down a grade when starting ISTD.

I am not a teacher though so this is based on experience and hearsay.

concernmum Sat 05-Nov-16 15:52:02

Hi, my DD has always been doing RAD and she finished her Grade 3 exam in April 2016. i was looking to enrol her in Grade 4 RAD when we moved to another place, this year but made a mistake in enrolling her with a teacher teaching ISTD grade 4 instead. Furthermore, there is not alot of choice RAD teacher where i live. My question is, if she does the ISTD exam in 2017, can she swap back to RAD grade 5 in 2018? Is there any restriction between the 2 examination board. is ISTD grade 4 equivalent to RAD grade4?

Annette2015 Thu 24-Sep-15 15:23:39

I work for NATD. They have been around since 1906,U.K. and overseas, offer exams in grades and medals across a range of genres including ballet, tap, freestyle, contemporary etc. recognised by Ofqual and CDET so standard is good, plenty of teachers around the country. They also do ballroom and Latin- patrons include Len Goodman, Craig Revel-Horwood and Angela Rippon.
Friendly , helpful staff. www.natd.org.uk. My children both enjoyed NATD dance classes. They have recently gone on to Facebook and Twitter too – www.facebook.com/NATDdance and www.twitter.com/NATDdance

LadyLech Mon 18-Mar-13 18:24:31

I know nothing about ballet, but I'd agree with the above poster. My DD went to a very good istd dance school who had girls who had secured places at a range of the top ballet schools - associates with the royal ballet, elmhurst, tring. Doing istd does not seem to have held them back one bit - so from an outsiders perspective, if you're going to take ballet seriously enough, surely any school that is good enough to get you in to one of the ballet schools above is good enough isn't it? Or is there something I'm missing??

Sparklymommy Mon 18-Mar-13 14:46:39

My DD is ten, and currently working at inter-foundation and grade 5 RAD ballet but also does an ISTD Grade 4 class every week. This is because she feels the RAD syllabus gives more technique and the ISTD syllabus is more performance based and "floaty" (her word not mine!). At the end of the day the syllabus doesn't matter, the teacher is what counts!

RubyrooUK Tue 05-Mar-13 17:52:28

Oh blimey this thread is old. Should have read the dates....blush

RubyrooUK Tue 05-Mar-13 17:42:17

I used to dance semi-professionally and did both BBO and RAD.

I don't know how widespread BBO was but to be honest, didn't have too much trouble moving between the techniques when dancing with different companies depending which moves were dominant.

I found RAD to be the most widespread ballet syllabus so I would probably go for that. (Although I always found BBO a bit more fluid and flexible.)

GraduallyGoingInsane Tue 05-Mar-13 17:21:30

My DDs were all in Year 3 when they auditioned and started in Year 4 I believe. I know DD1, who is August born, was only just 8 when she started. They take your age at the end of the academic year, but the application and auditions were a bit earlier.

Royal is/was a fab experience for them, but don't discount other more local programmes - we have a great programme near us that all 4 DDs are part of, which doesn't involve travel to London once they're over 12!

purplepenguin86 Thu 28-Feb-13 02:31:47

Junior Associates are aaged 8 - 10. It isn't a summer application though - you need to apply by mid March for September 2013 entry.

KingscoteStaff Wed 27-Feb-13 21:47:36

Gradually, can I ask you when your DDs auditioned for the Associates? My DD is in Year 4 and her teacher has suggested that she apply this summer, whereas another friend says that most children join at the end of Year 5.

GraduallyGoingInsane Mon 25-Feb-13 20:20:37

My DDs do RAD, and many years ago I did RAD myself so we are a bit biased!

Having said that, of all the boards I think RAD and ISTD are the most respected across the globe. RAD takes a lot of its syllabus work from the major ballets, like the inclusion of character as someone said.

My DDs have done a lot with outreach programmes such as the Royal Ballet junior associates, and various summer schools. The majority of other girls and boys there seem to be RAD trained, although I'm not sure if that is simply because its more common.

The vocational grades at RAD are certainly well renowned for those looking more seriously at dance, and as a mum I appreciate the very slow progression onto pointe with huge emphasis on strength, technique and injury prevention. I have heard it said by the DDs friends that this can make it more tedious, but I'd rather they learned safely and slowly. I don't know too much about ISTD but the same may be true of their teaching progressions.

All this being said, if you have a young one who loves dance and at the moment doesn't take it too seriously, leave them where they enjoy it, at least for now. Dance should be fun, even ballet!

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