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Ballet Mums Exam worth doing?

(23 Posts)
fourtothedozen Sun 19-Jul-15 07:06:36

DD is swithering about taking her ISTD Intermediate exam. Up to this point she has been studying ISTD syllabus, although passed her RAD Inter foundation in April which she found easy.
ISTD exams seem much harder than RAD though.
All the other girls in her class want to pursue a career in dance, but not my DD. Is this too demanding an exam just for hobby level dance?

madwomanbackintheattic Sun 19-Jul-15 07:13:57

We only do RAD now, and dd1 is just starting the advanced syllabus - she has no intention of dancing professionally. I think they just get into a routine tbh - and enjoy the discipline? She hasn't done ISTD for years though, so can't comment on specifics...

fourtothedozen Sun 19-Jul-15 07:24:39

Thanks mad- yes it has been a routine until now, DD has enjoyed all her exams and has loved the discipline, but now is finding the ISTD route v demanding. She is also working towards her RAD Intermediate, but finds that quite easy.

HSMMaCM Sun 19-Jul-15 09:48:38

Why is she doing Istd and rad at the same time? It's probably better to concentrate on one.

dodobookends Sun 19-Jul-15 15:56:01

I think the ISTD vocational exams have more pointe work earlier on than RAD. Is there a reason she's doing both, and how old is she?

It might be worth carrying on with exams as you can earn UCAS points with them.

madwomanbackintheattic Sun 19-Jul-15 16:10:17

I think with RAD you get the two options, to keep going through the grades, or to go Intermediate Foundation etc etc - our dance school has both and the girls cnoose one - dd1 has been doing plenty of pointe with Intermediate, but maybe it is not examined until after IF? She definitely had pointe in her Intermediate, but I can't remember with IF. (Am not a good dance mum...)

I don't see any benefit to doing both ISTD and RAD, tbh, but then for kids who aren't intending to pursue dance as a career I'm fairly ambivalent about the UCAS points as well... (And exams as a whole once it gets to this level if I'm honest. But I see the rewards of dance as a discipline every day for dd1, so if she wants to work for exams and whatnot to stay focused, that's fine with me.)
Once she has the Intermediate under her belt she can take the vocational teaching stuff later if she wants to - that was the big thing about the last exam for dd1. And it does seem to be a bigger jump to the Advanced syllabus, so maybe that will give your dd the challenge she is looking for?

fourtothedozen Sun 19-Jul-15 16:18:38

Yes it does seem confusing to do both RAD and ISTD - and this is has only been introduced at this grade. DD is 15 and been dancing for 11 years.
The dance teacher feels that the RAD is worth doing as a "run up" to the ISTD exams which she feels are far more demanding.
But yes, great for UCAS points- the University and course my DD wants to do accept these exams for entrance qualifications, which is fantastic.

madwoman- yes there is pointe work in Interfoundation, both RAD and ISTD.

errorofjudgement Sun 19-Jul-15 22:42:17

I'm finding this thread really interesting. DD has recently changed dance schools from BBO to ISTD grade 6. Her new teacher has said the ISTD exam is a lot harder, and it's taking longer to prepare.
I wonder if others agree?

PandaNot Mon 20-Jul-15 04:03:53

It's worth doing the intermediate exam in case she wants to teach later. After that it's really not necessary unless of course she really wants to carry on taking exams for fun. They get really expensive through the vocational grades though!

Interesting that her teacher thinks the ISTD exams are harder than the RAD. The vocational ballet schools have their students take RAD exams.

madwomanbackintheattic Mon 20-Jul-15 04:16:49

Yeah - our dance teacher just qualified in the last few years with RAD so they switched syllabus and dd took the IF first - but they seemed to think it was a bigger deal... (We didn't have an RAD school in town)
Dd is a tapper really but she is back to adoring ballet again since she started pointe.
What course does she want to do? I've heard mixed things about it being accepted...

dodobookends Mon 20-Jul-15 15:21:36

ISTD and RAD exams are structured differently, I believe. ISTD goes up to Grade 6 and RAD to Grade 8, so grade boundaries are different. The style and the syllabus is different too, and some might find one easier than the other. I think ISTD contains more unset work for instance, so enchainements are set by the teacher and different ones done regularly rather than being set in stone in the syllabus. (Others will know more about ISTD than me though).

ISTD grade 3 would be at a higher level than RAD Grade 3 for instance, and more akin to RAD Grade 4+ level. ISTD Grade 6 would be roughly equivalent to RAD Grade 7-8 (if you get my meaning).

errorofjudgement Mon 20-Jul-15 18:14:24

Interesting! Any idea how the BBO syllabus compares?

dodobookends Mon 20-Jul-15 18:33:44

None whatsoever!

errorofjudgement Mon 20-Jul-15 18:34:18


balletgirlmum Mon 20-Jul-15 20:06:25

In(or rather dd) only knows about ISTD modern mot ballet but she is studying for both her ISTD modern Intermediate & her ballet Intermediate. Inter is quite a step up from IF. I think she finds both boards of a similar standard in the respective genres.

However dd only does 2 RAD classes a week. Her other 5 ballet classes are non syllabus so she is used to having to pick up different combinations (enchainements?) which is possibly the bit non RAD students find hard. RAD is very precise on technique.

Dunlurking Tue 21-Jul-15 16:43:53

I think Intermediate is a lovely standard to have reached before leaving school. Lots of girls at our dance school who aren't wanting to dance professionally try to get the exam before university.

I think there is a big step up from Inter foundation though, as said above. RAD is seen as the technique board, but if students have only ever done RAD then changing to other boards may seem difficult because of the increased amount of free work i.e. picking up enchainements. Also there may be more of the advanced steps in the lower vocational levels. Our school changed from RAD to IDTA for the vocational exams a few years ago in order that students would have a bigger dance vocabulary and be more practiced at picking up enchainements for dance and professional auditions.

My ds has just got distinction in his Advanced 1 IDTA. I suspect it would be merit if it was RAD because of a few techique difficulties he has (turnout and flexibility) but he is fab at picking up routines and has wonderful musicality, so he has benefited there. I know alot of people say RAD is the hardest but the universities give pretty well all of the ballet organisations the same UMS marks for Intermediate merit or distinction.

Dunlurking Tue 21-Jul-15 16:51:18

Oh and my ds doesn't want to dance professionally but loves knowing he is finishing school with this qualification. He's so proud of it. Funnily enough I'm feeling a bit bereft at the thought of no more ballet exams for him after 10 years of them.

fourtothedozen Tue 21-Jul-15 17:17:28

Dunlurking- I know what you mean. My DD has three more years of dance classes before University but dace has been such a huge part of her life for the past 11 years. She and the other students are very fond of their teachers, especially the principal of the school who has been a huge formative influence and a great role model.
I will be in tears when she has to leave.

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 22-Jul-15 03:37:36

Dd1 has two years left grin she's just started advanced, so will hopefully complete that before she leaves. Dun is right in that intermediate is the one to definitely pocket - it leaves the door open for teaching, so is a nice thing to have 'just in case'. Our dance school only run exams as an 'also ran' really, they are mainly focused on competition and performance, so not everyone bothers to take the exams. It's a bigger thing to get a principal role in the ballet, or which medals you pick up in the comp season. I sometimes miss the exam-based curriculum of the UK schools, it was so very proper... <sigh>

JemimaPuddled Wed 22-Jul-15 03:52:15

error BBO syllabus is less technically fussy (imho) than ISTD and RAD, so more of the recreational schools teach it. It has a bit more flexibility as to how enchainments and warm ups are developed through the grades, so more teacher input.

dodobookends Wed 22-Jul-15 13:06:50

I suspect that it is the quality of the teaching rather than the syllabus being followed that is the most important thing at the end of the day.

JemimaPuddled Wed 22-Jul-15 14:43:24

Spot on, dodo

teacherwith2kids Thu 23-Jul-15 11:38:49

To answer the original question, unless DD gives up dance over the next couple of years, she will almost certainly take Advanced ISTD as a 'hobby level' dancer, so I wouldn't see Intermediate as 'too high'.

She's doing Inter Foundation next term in Year 8, having already been doing Intermediate classes for a year or so. I can only imagine that her progress through levels will slow down a LOT (she's done an exam a year, on average, since starting ballet at 5), but even if she takes 2 years over Intermediate and 3 years over Advanced 1 [she will start going to Advanced classes in January, as they always do lessons for their next level + the level sometimes the level above that, but I mean Advanced as her 'next level', so 3 years once she's passed Intermediate], she'll still do Advanced 1 in or before the sixth form.

By which time she'll be about 5 foot 11, at her current rate of reason why she'll never make it past the 'hobby level'!

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