Every year dance schools are faced with advising parents on whether or not to enter their children for a ballet examination. At The Dance Centre Peregian Springs we do not spend the entire year working towards an examination and are not restricted to any one ballet syllabus so that taking an examination is not such an issue as at the dance schools that operate solely under a one syllabi system. However, we do like to weigh up the pros and cons of taking examinations on an individual level every year.
At The Dance Centre we offer both Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and Vaganova syllabi but there are many more dance organisations that offer examinations for various levels and age groups and at differing standards. They are very difficult to compare as the standards as well as the syllabi vary greatly from organisation to organisation. A pass mark in one organisation could be a high distinction or similar titled award in another.
The RAD is globally the largest dance organisation offering examinations and it guarantees world wide standardisation. Most RAD students love entering the various types of Examinations, Solo Performance Awards, Class Awards and Presentation Classes and even if a student has to change dance schools, as long as they find another RAD school, they will immediately feel at home practising the syllabus they know.
From a parent's point of view dance examinations can be used as an accountability tool with the overall results reflecting the standard of teaching at their dance school. For the students involved examinations can mean much more. They can raise self esteem and bring an enormous sense of achievement. Practising the syllabus raises their technical accomplishments, considerably boosting self confidence levels and heightening a general feeling of fulfilment unique to dance. Moving to inspiring music, staying in top physical condition as well as improving ones technique go hand in hand with examination preparation classes. For all ages of students the Examination Day means a chance to rise to the challenge and perform with joy and to end with a sense of elation and pride.
However, not all students relish the idea of being examined and judged on one particular occasion or having to learn a syllabus or having the pressure of performing alone. For these students, either an Assessment Class or Class Award where a small group of students accompanied by their teacher perform a class in front of the examiner is an option in the RAD system. Dancing is all about the joy of movement and dance examinations can dampen that feeling for those students who may suffer from low confidence levels.
Dance schools that solely teach a set syllabus the whole year round can squash the spontaneous uplifting sense of dance for a student in their weekly dance class. Examination preparation should form only a small part of the year's class planning in a well-run qualified school. Dance training is about continually changing the sequence of steps, learning new combinations and expanding the young dancer's brain. Doing the same exercise to the same music every class is deadening to the senses and dulls the mind. It can also reflect badly on the teacher's ability to give well planned Open Classes on a regular basis.
At The Dance Centre Peregian Springs entry to ballet examinations is a reward for hard work and a privilege and on Examination Day our students are treated as special stars. Perfect exam attire, beautiful hair and grooming all go towards making these ballerinas feel very special. The atmosphere is relaxed, excited and supremely happy thereby building confidence for other types of examinations and events in the students' future lives.