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Any ballet teachers (or experienced ballet mums!) who can talk me through this?

(19 Posts)
feelingendoftermish Thu 05-May-11 19:46:55

Disclaimer: This post is going to make me sound like the world's most precious / blinkered / pushy ballet mummy. I know. This is why I'm posting it on an anonymous internet forum and not asking anyone in RL. But I'd really appreciate some insight. smile

DD (7 and a half) has just taken her RAD Primary ballet exam.

A week prior to the exam, I watched her dance in one lesson and I was really pleasantly surprised, she was (to my untrained eye) significantly more graceful / polished than the other little girls in her class. Several of the other parents commented on how good she was, and when the teacher was chatting after the lesson, she said (to someone else) 'oh yes, [my DD's name] is absolutely lovely'.

Anyway, she did the exam, and we just got the results. She got a distinction (77 marks), which I am really extremely pleased with, and obviously I've told her how enormously proud of her I am.

However, nearly all the others got distinctions too (several on 75 marks), and a couple who didn't (who you would have looked and and thought they were really nowhere near as good as the others) got 73.

And then one child, who in the lesson I mentioned earlier, was OK but nothing obviously special, got 85.

So if I'm honest, I'm now feeling slightly disappointed. Before the exam, I felt as though she was streets ahead of the others, and although I know this sounds super-precious, this was backed up by other people and the teacher. But now it seems that there was only one or two marks in it, and in fact another girl who hadn't been particularly noticeable, was way way better than my DD.

So if you've got a ballet background, can you put this into some perspective for me?

(Will sit back now and await the flaming that I probably richly deserve grin)

wotnochocs Thu 05-May-11 20:04:09

Ok well I'm not a ballet mum, but i'm a gymnastics mum, and your phrase 'untrained eye' is key. Grace and polish are important but the moves have to be TECHNICALLY right too
I hear it all the time when 'novice' mums are chatting watching kids learning basics they think child x (often not there own) is doing a wonderful move because they are so graceful but I (who have been around the scene longer) can see their shape isn't right!
I think the fact that your ballet teacher described your DD as 'lovely' rather than 'talented' or even 'good' was telling.

wotnochocs Thu 05-May-11 20:06:33

But your DD obviously turned in a very good performance and scored more highly than most of the others , so I hope this does not detract from your pride!

maggiethecat Thu 05-May-11 20:06:52

No ballet background other than fact that my dd does ballet. I remember she got distinction and did not think that she was very special when I used to watch her - thought she was ok and she looked so happy.

Quite possibly the other girl is very good technically although to your untrained eye you might not be able to see that?

Oakmaiden Thu 05-May-11 20:09:46

My understanding is that RAD ballet is VERY focused on technique and correct form. So she could look lovely and graceful doing it, but if her turnout isn't perfect or her back isn't straight enough she will lose marks.

At this age, though, I think graceful is more important. When children get older they understand more about the technique side of things and will either choose to make the effort to do it right... or not, if they aren't that bothered and are just having fun dancing.

electra Thu 05-May-11 20:11:55

Well.....I must say that a lot depends upon the examiner too. I did ballet for years. When we did our major exams (pre-elementary +) there was a girl who failed one week (our ballet teacher was baffled) and then got an excellent result about 3 weeks later - she could not have improved that much in 3 weeks!

Sometimes RAD examiners give higher marks to girls whose figures they consider more suited to ballet - or at least that's how it was in my day. Not fair at all but never the less.....

MarshaBrady Thu 05-May-11 20:12:41

Graceful is good, but other things like timing, turn out, line, all that sort of stuff will count. The other little girl might be technically better.

BeakerTheMuppetMuppet Thu 05-May-11 20:15:49

i did ballet (a very long time ago, granted, and with a different school) marks are given for (amongst other things) technique, turn-out (uniform), timing, and interpretation (that's as much as i can remember)

so much can differ on 'the day'.

maybe the girl with 85% danced into your DDs space and put her off wink

don't worry, your PFB is still the best in class. she's yours wink

feelingendoftermish Thu 05-May-11 20:22:46

Thanks everybody.

I guess it's probably down to all the reasons you've suggested (except perhaps Beaker's idea of the other girl dancing into DD's space!!), and the important thing is that it really doesn't matter - she's not going to make a career out of it (much too tall), and her enjoyment is the key thing.

And to be honest, had I not seen her dance before the exam, I would have been unbelievably thrilled by her getting a distinction. It's just after the world and his wife telling me how she was head and shoulders better than all the others, it's a bit of a shock for her to only get 2 or 3 marks more.

I am an appalling mother, I do realise sad

NurseSunshine Thu 05-May-11 21:09:33

Could I just venture the thought that perhaps the fact that your DD did very well and got a distinction is what matters rather than the fact that somebody else did better than her? Your DD did well in her own right regardless of how she "compares" to another child.

feelingendoftermish Thu 05-May-11 21:42:18

No, you're totally right, NurseSunshine, the rational part of me understands that. If I was listening to someone else saying everything I've just said, I'd think they were unbalanced sad

Oakmaiden Thu 05-May-11 23:17:16

feeling - not unbalanced. You are just saying out loud the things the rest of us think but are too afraid of other people's judgements to say :D

MrsShrekTheThird Thu 05-May-11 23:24:03

teacher signing in. Those who have commented that it's the technique that matters, particularly in ballet, have hit the nail on the head. At primary, the little dancers are at the beginning of a pretty long and often complicated path leading to techniques which become very very precise. A child who demonstrates such precision, or an aptitude which will easily develop into a particular element of technique, will score well for this. (oh goodness have I just written a pile of gibberish?) As indeed your DD has done. If she were mine - my own dd or a pupil, I would be very proud of her - as you are, and have every right to be smile

schilke Fri 06-May-11 16:28:01

Well, feel sorry for my little dd. She did her Primary ballet exam just before Christmas and she got a pass. The others in her group all got merits. In fact out of all the girls who took exams across the grades (about 40) there were only 2 passes - the rest got merits and distinctions. I felt upset for dd, but she didn't notice/care!

Like you I had watched the exam sessions and could tell no difference between them. I even thought she was slightly better than a couple of the others. She got 53 and the others got 57 and then 60s. The important thing was dd was happy. She had a certificate. She is not going to be a Prima ballerina - it is for fun as she has inherited my terrible posture! She is now in the grade 1 class and loves it. If I were you I'd be extremely pleased.

jgbmum Tue 10-May-11 09:26:45

And of course, she may have performed less well in an exam situation than she does in her normal ballet class.
Exams affect us all differently, other girls may have "outperformed" themselves on the day!

LadyWellian Thu 12-May-11 23:47:43

feeling you should have got a mark sheet with your certificate, which will show the marks your DD got for each of the elements being examined.

In fact you must have looked at it, as the certificate (if it's an RAD one) will only say 'Distinction' on it, and not the mark.

If you're worried (and I speak as the mum of a DD whose grades at primary to grade 3 have been Pass, Merit, Pass, Pass, so believe me I've looked at them in detail!) then studying the breakdown of marks will help you and your DD to focus on what she can do better.

neverforgethowmuchiloveyou Tue 24-May-11 14:37:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neverforgethowmuchiloveyou Tue 24-May-11 14:41:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Londondancelab Thu 16-Jun-16 11:15:20

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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