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Ballet classes but no exams?

(10 Posts)
lambakins Tue 20-Dec-16 23:31:12

My two DD's aged 8 and 10 attend ballet classes twice a week but the school do not offer exams. I really like the teachers and their methods ( vaganova mixed with RAD) and I can how much improvmentctjey have made in the year they have been going but the only thing bothering me is the absence of exams! I think it is a good way of knowing what level they are on and it is good for children to experience such exams. My question is should I take them out and go to a school which offers exams? Also is it strange that a ballet school would not offer exams? New to this sorry. To add, we only pay for one class and the other class is 'free'.

AmeliaPeabody Wed 21-Dec-16 12:52:51

I know of one ballet school like this, they don't seem to go through grades, just vague age/ability levels by way of grouping the students. They do, however, offer exams from 11 years+ for people wanting to do the intermediate foundation exam, inter, advanced etc (RAD). The pupils who leave have been very successful and it's a sought after school.

Do they offer exams at all? Do they do competitions or festivals or shows? Do they have students applying to associate schemes and vocational schools. How successful have past students been?

Sorry, just a few questions grin Just to see if it's a negative to all of them. Not all schools do exams, though that needn't matter (though for some summer schools like to know which level you're at, also competition entries for some of the more prestigious competitions).

carrotcakecupcake Wed 21-Dec-16 13:37:05

I grew up in the States where exams for things like dance and music are unheard of. Regardless - I managed to progress to a very high level in ballet mainly due to the opportunities offered (pre-professional company to perform with, and intensive summer programmes). One of my friends from ballet has recently finished her professional career and is now ballet mistress for a leading N American company (I chose the less glamorous, parent-pleasing Uni option). Without any firsthand experience of the RADA system I think you should be guided by how much your children are enjoying their classes and what they are gaining from them. If they are happy, learning and developing then that is a good sign! It could be risky to move schools to one that might not suit them just for them to experience exams.

dodobookends Wed 21-Dec-16 16:19:27

The Vaganova system is based on Russian training and is very highly regarded - there are a number of schools which teach it, and they don't usually do exams.

It is fairly common to find schools (especially those which teach Russian methods) which don't follow a specific syllabus which leads to exams, and it is nothing to worry about.

Unlike in the UK, many countries have far less reliance on taking exams - they aren't necessary. At the end of the day, as long as you have a good teacher, the students will learn what they need to learn; and for the vocationally-minded, get to the level they need to be at if they decide that there is a possibility that they want to pursue a career in dance.

Yolande7 Wed 21-Dec-16 22:03:12

I did a lot of ballet when I was younger and reached a very high level. Several of the girls in my class became ballet teachers, dancers and one became a musical star. None of us ever took a ballet exam.

My daughers are 9 and 10 and took their grade 2 exam this summer. I found it utterly useless. They didn't enjoy it and we are certainly not going to do it again. I can see the point in music exams and they have propelled my children forward. The ballet exam did nothing of the sort.

bojorojo Thu 22-Dec-16 00:33:56

My DD did Cecchetti and did exams. She did well and enjoyed the exams. Cecchetti is perhaps more expressive than RAD. If they are doing a mix of two dance styles, is this why they are not taking RAD exams? Other dance influences may affect the RAD syllabus.

Exams really depend on what you want to achieve. I doubt there are many professional ballerinas without exams (it is usually a requirement of joining a ballet school) but if they are doing ballet for fun, let them enjoy it. My DD also did tap and modern exams too!! Would they like to extend their dance into these areas and take exams?

GraciesMansion Thu 22-Dec-16 09:06:26

There is no requirement to have passed any exams to go to ballet school. Many students there will never have taken any.

OP it sounds like you have found a good school which is interested in producing dancers rather than just pushing them through exams. I'd stick with it. It is the quality of the teaching which makes a good school, not exam results.

dodobookends Thu 22-Dec-16 14:29:38

I doubt there are many professional ballerinas without exams (it is usually a requirement of joining a ballet school) No, actually it isn't. The schools are not interested in paperwork, they assess the applicants at an audition and will take whoever they like irrespective of whether they have taken exams or not.

Many professional dancers have not taken exams at all, and the vocational dance schools in the UK do not have this as a requirement. I know this because my dd went through the audition process for several schools and is now training at one. About half of her fellow students are from overseas, and few of them have ever taken an exam.

The bonus to having taken some of the higher-grade exams with certain examining bodies (Grade 6+) is that you can earn UCAS points. You can also qualify for entry to competitions such as the Genee, and bursaries etc.

lambakins Thu 22-Dec-16 22:17:22

Thanks all. Things seem a little clearer from reading all your replies. Thanks for taking the time to reply. The teachers Have mentioned in the past that they are more interested in producing true dancers rather than exam dancers. Still I would not object if they offered exams! My girls love their teachers and always aim to please so will continue on with them. They get to do a show once a year so getting the performance value out of it combined with excellent tuition in a very small class size so that can not be sneezed at. Plus the fact they get two classes for one I it's it's a no brainier. Thanks to everyone for making me see things a bit clearer! Yolande thank you for your insight especially! Very interesting reading.

Mindtrope Sat 28-Jan-17 06:54:27

I do think exams help maintain standards in dance schools thought.
Many parents sending their children to dance school know nothing of the dance school- there are a few very popular but highly dubious dance schools near me- exams are not offered and although the kids have a great time jumping around I doubt they are learning much serious technique.

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