I’m thinking about training at the Royal Academy of Dance for a vocational examination.

First of all I wanted to do a repertoire course with a performance at the end – but that was prohibitively expensive. Also there’s a weekly repertoire class starting in September where I am, but I’d have to make a financial decision about that too…

So, as an alternative, I started thinking about syllabus classes. Which has led me to think about the motives behind wanting to be examined. An exam would scare me way more than a performance. I know performing! I kind of like academic exams too, to tell the truth, but let me tell you I am nowhere near as good at grande battements as I am at writing an essay.

One part of me thinks, I don’t need to hold myself up to a standard and be tested in something which I do just for the joy of it. And I find great comfort in dancing and not having to worry about anything – whether I’m good or what.

On the other hand, there’s something satisfying about knowing that you are performing at a certain level.  I know it will be hard work, in something that doesn’t come naturally to me, and there is a satisfaction in that too.

I haven’t come to firm decision, yet. Any thoughts over here?


8 thoughts on “Examination

  1. I would love to do an examination of some kind in dancing but on the other side I’d think it would put too much pressure on me.
    I love doing a good job in class and if I have a bad day in class, well so what. If I would have a bad day on the day of an exam I would get SO freakin’ frustrated… I think it would take the joy out of dancing.
    And maybe I would be confronted with the fact that I’m actually not as good as I hoped I’d be, haha! It’s your decision in the end! Go with your gut.

    • I hear you!
      I think what I’m going to do is take a short summer course at RAD and see how it goes, have a chat maybe with the teachers.
      I’m very wary of “taking the joy out”, as you say. But finding it inexplicable why I want to do it so much! Thanks for your thoughts x

  2. After 1,5 years of Haller I am now preparing for the RAD Grade 7 examination. I’m really excited but also a bit scared since the exam takes place in 2 months… I think studying the syllabus in depth over a longer period of time enables a new understanding of the exercisses + solos which I enjoy a lot. Personally, I’d recommend this to everyone who enjoys ballet + wants to progress to a higher level in their dancing. At the moment im not putting too much pressure on myself (might still change before the exam…), but I’d recommend taking your first exam on a level where you already feel comfortable, (not entirely new exercises, things you didnt do before, because that just makes things more difficult)…
    Let us know how it’s going!

    • Oh thank you, it’s great to hear from someone who’s doing it themselves! I was talking to a non-dancer friend the other day and they said it would be really positive to get recognition for all the hard work you put in to dancing, in the form of passing an examination, which I think is right. I’d love to hear how you are getting on!

      • I´ve just had my exam! Don´t know about the results yet though (it will probably take another month or so…). Looking back, what I benefited from and at the same time struggled the most with was working on “unpleasant weaknesses”. I think every dancer knows in what areas he/she should improve, however we always select a weakness we like admitting/working on more than others (in my case: flexibility, pirouettes, turnout, tendu,…). What I had never been forced to work on (apart from the weeks before performances) on a day-to-day basis is (I don´t want to say artistry) expression. During class, technique seems more important than “fooling around”, trying to evoke emotions in the spectator…So doing this exam really forced me to work on all weak areas, not just the ones I preferred since I would recieve marks on all aspects of my dancing. Despite all I gained from taking the examination, I really enjoy taking normal technique classes again.
        I hope I didn´t make too many mistakes since English is not my mother tongue… How are you getting on? Have you decided to take an exam?

        • Thanks so much for checking back in, and your English is excellent!
          I like your phrase “unpleasant weaknesses”! I totally get what you mean. i will do some thinking about which are my unpleasant ones…The exam process sounds like a really great challenge, and fingers crossed for your results.
          I’ve got some exciting classes coming up in the summer and still thinking that I do want to do an exam.
          Great to hear your experience. How did you feel coming out of your exam?

          • It was actually quite strange, because the exam itself didn´t feel like a normal technique class (pianist, no corrections, not your usual teacher). It was closer to a performance in a way, but without the audience, scenery, props etc. I found it hard to “think myself out of the room”, the exam, as my teacher likes to put it. Some exercises went better than others, and I was glad when the ballet part was over. I´m very happy that I made this experience, and I´ve learned that you don´t have to be a perfect dancer (which kind of used to be my opinion before…) to take an exam.
            Keep us updated about your progress!

  3. Pingback: Talking about Examinations | Entrechat Quatre

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