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ISTD Imperial Ballet Exams.?

(24 Posts)
DrOwh Sun 16-Mar-14 20:43:25

How hard is it to pass this exam?
I am asking on the behalf of a 8 year old who has being doing ballet for just over a year and this is her first exam.

Oakmaiden Sun 16-Mar-14 20:45:06

What grade? At 8 I would assume Grade 1?

I don't think it is hard to pass. I think her teacher wouldn't put her in for it if she thought there was any chance she wouldn't pass. I think you have to work hard to get a good grade though...

lottieandmia Sun 16-Mar-14 20:46:43

When I did ballet, which was a long time ago, ISTD was easier to pass well at than RAD. I don't know about now though. I am sure she will be fine otherwise the teacher would not have entered her.

Boomboomboomboom Sun 16-Mar-14 20:49:07

All the girls in my daughter's ballet class passed Grade 1 and Grade 2 recently, but the examiner was a little tough and only gave 2 distinctions, the rest had merits and passes I think

DrOwh Sun 16-Mar-14 20:56:14

Oh ok.
It is not my daughter, it is the neighbour's.
I have seen her playing dancing and she wasn't as gracious as other girls in her class or even younger girls who are in less advanced classes...
So I was a bit worried as she is so excited..
I am not sure what is the grade but she just turned 8.

chauffeurmummy Sun 16-Mar-14 21:08:32

Teachers are generally really careful about entering candidates. It's harder to get a distinction, but if she's been entered then she should be ok for at least a pass.

DrOwh Sun 16-Mar-14 21:10:14

I didn't know there were different marks.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 16-Mar-14 21:20:36

She could even be doing Primary at age 8. It's like anything, music lamda etc. the exams start off quite easy to pass & then get harder as you go through the grades.

lottieandmia Sun 16-Mar-14 21:25:25

Don't you mean graceful rather than 'gracious'?

lottieandmia Sun 16-Mar-14 21:26:06

RAD is much more difficult to get a distinction than ISTD. I'm sure she'll be fine.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 16-Mar-14 21:28:14

I wouldn't necessarily say that lottie. They are both rigorous exam boards

The marking is split into different categories so if a child is weaker in one area eg posture then they can make up for it in other areas eg footwork.

DrOwh Sun 16-Mar-14 21:28:39

Not a native speaker sorry.

I remember her mum mentioning Standard 1. Could this be Grade 1?

As for the exam pass, they have marks up to distinction? Her mum doesn't even speak / read English, and Ballet is all new for them and me

DrOwh Sun 16-Mar-14 21:29:53

So the kids receive a certificate with all the marks?

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 16-Mar-14 21:32:07

Dd did RAD ballet but ISTD Modern

Yes they get both a certificate stating their final
mark & a sheet with their marks for each element.

nonicknameseemsavailable Sun 16-Mar-14 21:35:32

If it is pre-primary or primary then they basically take an examined class almost where the teacher takes them in a class, teacher can't correct them but is there for moral support and leading them and they then get a certificate and I think a sheet of notes on how well they did or didn't do.
Primary can be class or proper exam and then from grade 1 they are all proper exams. At least that is how I understand it. still at preprimary stage here.

I am not sure different boards can be compared, they have different requirements and different children might find different ones easier than others.

If she hasn't been doing ballet very long I would think she is more likely to be doing primary than grade 1.

lottieandmia Sun 16-Mar-14 21:47:21

Yes but IME RAD examiners sometimes mark good dancers down if they don't have a typically 'ballet' body, which is a bit unfair IMO.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 16-Mar-14 21:57:12

RAD has always had the reputation for being very technical. However the new syllabus is apparently quite dancy

Dd is now only doing vocational grades so I don't know what the new graded syllabus is like.

KatyMac Sun 16-Mar-14 22:01:11

I think ISTD standard 1 is a class exam - the teacher is in with them and leads the children

I don't know if they get individual grades as it's not something DD has done & again I think the level is slightly lower than a Grade 1

LadyEnglefield Mon 17-Mar-14 10:53:54

My DD's are 8 and currently working towards their Standard 2 exams. They both passed Standard 1 at merit level, just missing a distinction by a couple of points.

DD2 takes her ballet more seriously and was invited by the teacher to try for the Grade exams. I was told that these are more technical. Due to pressure of homework etc we have waited until we got into a good routine at home but she has just started the additional lessons.

They are both taking part in the Christmas ballet production so will be focussing on that rather than exams for the time being.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 17-Mar-14 10:55:49

at a quick look online I think standards are the grades in the Cecchetti classical ballet style. it looks like they are after pre primary and primary and there are standards 1-6 so must be similar to grades 1-6 although whether directly comparable i am not sure.

I always thought that all boards were a bit 'body type specific' at higher levels to be honest lottieandmia, it is nice to hear that perhaps it is only 1 board that is like that then.

JulieMichelleRobinson Mon 17-Mar-14 14:08:40

As for RAD vs ISTD -

The old RAD syllabus used to require what is probably more precision in the execution of movements, exact position of arms and so forth. Students usually learn set exercises, repeat the same exercises in their lessons and for the exam, but are expected to do them nigh on perfectly.

ISTD syllabus requires students to learn steps rather than set exercises. It means that they begin to get "free work" - enchainements set by the examiner with no advance warning - from as early as grade 1 or 2. It means you have to use your "dancing brain" more.

Marks for distinction/merit are higher for ISTD than for RAD, so I don't know about it being easier - our dance school used to do both (before the change of syllabus), with students usually taking RAD grades before the ISTD ones (e.g. RAD grade 2 then ISTD grade 2 the following year, RAD interfoundation before ISTD interfoundation):

RAD Grades
40-54 - Pass
55-74 - Merit
75-100 - Distinction

ISTD Grades
Pass - 40-59
Merit 60-79
Distinction 80-100

Vocational exams (InterFoundation up) require higher marks to pass.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Mon 17-Mar-14 22:59:43

It is good experience for children to do these exams. It is confidence building.

Generally, teacher won't put them forward unless she thinks they will pass.

My Dd1 passed her Primary 2 exam a few years ago, even though she is not the most graceful dancer, and was sickening for vomiting bug, and was feeling quite weak. (We only knew she was off form, she started vomiting 10 mins after exam).

Her mark wasn't great, but good enough considering the circumstances.

Sparklymommy Tue 18-Mar-14 08:49:33

I agree with Mia, RAD are quite hard on dancers without the right body shape. That said my dd has still managed distinctions in her ballet exams. They also, in my opinion, mark harder than other boards.

That said most dance teachers would not put a child in for an exam that was likely to fail.

danceteacheruk Thu 19-Mar-15 10:27:33

First of all... I want to tackle the comments that the RAD mark down people who don't have a balletic body... NOT TRUE!!! The RAD marking system is very fair and does not allow for that. - However that doesn't take away the simple fact that some bodies are better suited to ballet than others.

But back to the question from the OP:

Nowadays, no dance exams are 'difficult' to pass. Yes they are challenging, and only very good children will achieve the highest marks, but all the exam boards are aware that the majority of children are dancing for recreation and are all shapes, sizes and abilities. As long as a child meets the minimum standard for each level, they will pass, and they don't have to be the next Darcey Bussell to achieve that.

The vocational exams (Inter, Adv1, Adv2) are more difficult to pass, but not because they are marked more harshly, but simply because the work itself is much more challenging, both in terms of technique and the artistry expected. That's because these exams are usually aimed at older children who want to take their dancing more seriously.

At the end of the day, you put your trust in the dance teacher to know when the children are ready to take the exam. A good teacher will only put a child in for an exam if they are confident they will pass. If the dance teacher regularly has children failing exams, then I would seriously question how much importance they place on good technical teaching.

As a last note, please remember that good dance teachers care about your child's exam result just as much as you do. We have all been in the situation of standing in front of a class the week before the exam and being convinced that everyone is going to fail. The good news is, when the day comes we're always proved wrong, the kids sail through the exam and everyone is happy... 100% pass rate intact!

(Ps. Just to clarify, I do not believe ANY exam board is harder to pass than others, RAD, ISTD, IDTA etc. Each exam board has their own marking system, so you shouldn't really compare the marks from one to the other.)

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