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Children dancers -- tell me what course one might encourage

(20 Posts)
AtheneNoctua Fri 30-Oct-09 17:36:26

I'm wondering if anyone out there has a child (or knows a child) who has done something like the Royal Battel School. DD is 6 and has taken dance rather casually since she was two. She started with Ballet/Tap once a week, and now it is three classes back to back on a Friday (ballet, tap, modern). The teacher has a couple of times remarked to me that DD is a natural and wants to put her forward for exams when they come up. So I'm starting to wonder if I'm dropping the ball here. If DD really does have a talent should I be encouraging it? The thing is I don't know squat about dance. I was never intrested in it. I think I took ballet for about two weeks when I was 8. I postively hated it and never looked back.

So, I know nothing. What sorts of options do young dancers have? The Royal Ballet School loks lovely, but it is unlikely I could afford it. And, she might not be THAT good.

She is also rather petit, which I understand is just the build for a ballerina.

Anyway, does anyone have any advice for me?

deaddei Fri 30-Oct-09 17:43:11

If she likes it, and is fairly good, let her do an exam. I have friends who do it- but it does get hard/more lessons/expensive.
It depends how much other stuff your dd does too. It does begin to take up time.
I wouldn't worry too much about Royal ballet School at this stage!

EccentricaGallumbats Fri 30-Oct-09 17:43:13

RBS starts at 11 so you have some time. They also do an assosciates programme for different ages. ask her teacher if she thinks she is good enough to be put for audition.

Exams through her dance school are a good idea of how good she is and gives ballet obsessed children something to work for.

Have a look at the royal ballet school website for their prospectus and what classes they offer. There are other dance schools if it is something she ends up wantig to do.

Also here has lots of information and discussion boards.

glinda Fri 30-Oct-09 17:46:31

Just keep it fun at this stage. What exams does your dance school take- ISDT, IDTA, BBO RAD?
My daughter does IDTA exams. All the children at her dance school take these. It isnot a sign of any great talent. (I think the school makes money out of them)

AtheneNoctua Fri 30-Oct-09 18:00:11

Message withdrawn

AtheneNoctua Fri 30-Oct-09 18:03:13

oh and the exams are IDTA... I think? Does that stand for Imperial Dance Teachers Association?

glinda Fri 30-Oct-09 18:23:42

IDTA is the Tnternational Dance Teacher's Association. It doesn't sound like IDTA as they award Honours, Highly commended Commended etc. rather than A, B, and C level passes.
As I understand it (and I am no expert)the royal ballet school look for physical ability, potential and attitude more than prior learning.

AtheneNoctua Fri 30-Oct-09 18:42:06

Is this helpful:

"Imperial Society Teachers of dancing"

Pinches from the web. As I recall the certificates do have a description next to the letter..

I'll hae to look when I get home.

EccentricaGallumbats Fri 30-Oct-09 19:02:06

sigh. I miss being a ballet mum. DD1 still goes (grade 6) and enjoys it but has given up her hopes of being the next Darcy and discovered boys and make up instead sad

glinda Fri 30-Oct-09 19:11:40

My dd will never be a dancer either! She is Grade 5 ballet, Grade 4 tap, competitive freestyle, national finalist at Rock and Roll and beginner at Latin but it is all secondary to her singing and acting, She is a Musical Theatre Fanatic!!!!!

mimsum Sat 31-Oct-09 09:07:15

I think there's a huge gulf between having a natural talent for dance and being the next Darcey Bussell wink

If she's truly outstanding her talent will show itself in the next few years, without you having to do anything in particular tbh

Being put forward for exams is not in itself a sign of innate brilliance - my dd did her first exam at 5 and has her next one in two weeks' time - let's just say the Royal Ballet talent scouts won't be beating a path to our front door anytime soon grin. The exams are hideously expensive, and I think are a money-making exercise for all concerned (apart from the parents obviously ..)

One of my best friends was a Royal Ballet dancer, and from the things she's told me about the school and the company afterwards it's not something I'd push a child into unless they had such a burning passion for it that they couldn't be diverted

Docbunches Sat 31-Oct-09 10:24:17

I would also be looking at the actual percentages your DD has achieved in her exams.

My DD, now 12 and in RAD grade 6, has quite often scraped achieved an A or Distinction with around 75%, and my DD would admit herself that she's not the greatest at ballet. I know of some very talented girls who get near perfect marks in ballet exams and I guess they are more likely to be RBS material (although I seem to recall that Darcey B wasn't top of the class to begin with, so who knows).

Like a previous poster, DD still enjoys her dancing but is definitely more interested in make-up and boys!

BrigitBigKnickers Sat 31-Oct-09 10:54:40

Be aware that some dance exam boards are considered more highly than others if you are looking at dancing long term.

Our DDs dance teacher told us that ISTD and RAD were the exam boards to go with. There were a few she said were not rated by the higher echelons in the dancing world.

The ISTD do give a grade but they also have a rating. A- Distinction, B Merit, C- Pass

glinda Sat 31-Oct-09 11:37:53

I was told that ISTD and RAD were more technically demanding whereas IDTA put more emphasis on performance and musicality. No idea if this is true or not!

MillyR Sun 01-Nov-09 00:13:04

My DD is 8. She has done 2 exams - preprimary and primary with RAD. She got a merit in primary. Only one girl in her class got a distinction.

I think the classes and exams are very good - it gives dance classes a structure and purpose. She also does a creative dance class just for fun.

seeker Sun 01-Nov-09 14:18:42

If it's possible to find a class where they do exams without too much stress (some are very pressured) then I would encourage her to do exams. My dd has been dancing since she was 3, and I deliberately chose a school with doesn't do exams as I wanted her dancing to be fun. Which it was and is - she still goes and loves it at 13. However, she is starting to wish she had a few bits of paper to show for all the work she's done in terms of contributing to GCSEs and CVs and application forms for colleges and things.

Tinuviel Sun 01-Nov-09 19:20:52

Having 3 children who dance - 2 DS and 1 DD - I would say that the RAD exams are more demanding (and more finickity about little things) than BTDA/IDTA etc. I don't know about ISTD as I've never done them although I have heard of them.

We do IDTA exams in Ballroom and Latin and they mark children within the school, so if a school has a higher standard than another, the same child would score lower in the one with the higher standard IYSWIM!

I would also agree with a PP that RAD are more highly thought of in ballet circles as they only do ballet, no other types of dancing.

The dance school we use do exams right from the start but it is always optional. I like them to do the grades as you get useful feedback on how to improve but medals are up to them and they often don't bother.

We've had the odd distinction but I'm not expecting any of them to make a career of it - more an enjoyable hobby.

AtheneNoctua Mon 02-Nov-09 11:32:55

Thanks everyone. She takes the exams through her Dance School. When the teacher recommends some exams for her, I generally follow her lead. She has been at this dance school since she was 2, so I'm not keen to leave it.

As for RSB, she is probably not really RSB material. I think she is good at dance and if she had an unstoppable burning desire for it she could do it. But, I don't think she has that burning desire. So, probably, we'll think of it as a hobby. And if that changes in the next couple of years I might have a rethink. Even if she did want to make a career of dancing, I don't think ballet would be her chosen type of dance.

I think she's more of the Rock n' Roll rebellious type. grin When I asked what instrument she'd like to play she said "electric guitar" shock Nothing wrong with the electric guitar... but maybe not at age 6.

Akiko Thu 12-Nov-09 11:52:46

I am interested to know about dence schools or classess that di modern or latin dance. I have been trying toi find one for my daughter aged 8. Please, advise.

Tinuviel Thu 12-Nov-09 13:13:01

Try the IDTA or UKA websites - they may list schools in your area.

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