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 Post subject: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2000 2:33 pm 
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Location: Australia
in another Cecchetti-oriented thread, <B>tiff</B> posted, asking what syllabi our readers here use.....<P>i would just like to add, at the outset, that we have had some very worthy discussions about how 'any syllabus is only as good as the person who teachers it'; and we have also had other discussions about who prefers working to a syllabus and who doesn't (advantages and disadvantages). please do a search, if you would like to read those, and feel free to reinvigorate those threads by adding to them, if you want to.<P>THIS thread is for people to compare notes on what syllabi you use, so please, if you don't use one,or you don't think people should, or something.....i think you get my drift?! Image .....then obviously this thread would not be one for you! Image<P>tiff, i will kick it off by stating that i principally use the syllabi of the <A HREF="http://www.ballet.org.au" TARGET=_blank>www.ballet.org.au</A> australian institute of classical dance (AICD); there are 2 streams - one is set (it's called borovansky), the other is for the teacher to set, according to guidelines as to appropriate material for each level. AICD provide external examiners nationally in australia to assess these students. (I am a senior examiner.) however, i also use material from other syllabi, and coach students for RAD Elementary. i was initially Cecchetti-trained, then 'Vaganova-based' training (not the fully russian version!). i never did any RAD exams, so the students i coach for that exam, must be entered for the exam by other teachers.<P>

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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2000 2:47 pm 
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I am not a teacher, i just help out a friend who is sometimes. She uses ISTD, thats Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. its not cecchetti, but it comes from the same organisation in the UK.


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2000 3:33 pm 
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Location: Balldale NSW 2646 Australia
I use RAD classical, ISTD modern, jazz and tap and SOBHDA for highland


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2000 5:19 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I am not going to post here, since I do not use a syllabus, however, I would like to welcome you Rixont to the board - nice to have you join us.


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2000 6:03 pm 
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Location: Australia
thanks tanya! Image <P>ISTD modern is very popular in england, even with the RAD schools - i guess because RAD don't have anything similar. RAD are now planning to develop a contemporary dance syllabus, according to an RAD examiner friend of mine who should know. this comes in response to the big survey they just did. and angelica, i assume yours/your friend's is what they call "Imperial Ballet" of ISTD?

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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2000 2:43 am 
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Yes, ther are some changes planned at the Royal Academy of Dancing they intend to hange their name to the Royal Academy of Dance and introduce some other work...as far as I know thewir planned changes have not yet been offically announced.


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2000 3:44 pm 
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just adding another thought here - the RAD is obviously picking up adherents in the USA, and has been a very popular system in the UK and the 'colonies' (esp. australia and south africa) for many years.<P>i believe that the ISTD can lay claim to being the 'largest' international organisation - which would presumably be because they cover other dance genres besides ballet (they have ballroom, tap, modern, greek, etc...), but the RAD is perhaps the most VISIBLE internationally - partly because they put a lot of work -and money- into international promotion.<P>where does that money come from? ah-hah! good question! the RAD seems to be the most expensive of the syllabus organisations, and their membership, therefore, supplies the funds which enable it to have this high profile. i bring this up because its cost also (inadvertently? or deliberately?) confers a certain elitism to it. <P>as with anything, more money means they CAN invest more in their product, and in my opinion their syllabus is by far the best for purposeful ballet training. it may not be quite so suitable for some very 'recreational approach' areas....<P>- but that's just the syllabus. to my mind, the rest of the set-up puts people off - and may even be intended to do that in certain subtly ways....in order to re-inforce that 'elite' status...<P>certainly they are very publicity conscious, and their recent survey shows open-ness to change. many people resent their seeming attempt at 'world domination' of the ballet teaching market...there are good reasons to feel both ways - i am supportive of it's syllabus, but NOT so supportive of some of the practices behind it, and around it...<P>not meaning to turn this into an RAD debate, but just to list some points about why it is popular with some, and also why it is not so popular with others..... and even why it can be BOTH (!) with someone (me, for example..)<P>but it cannot be ignored! Image

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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 12:01 am 
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Location: italy
I agree with you grace, the RAD is rather expensive and for this it can be said to be elitist. But of course a lot of money is needed to organize the examinations around the world and this money comes mainly from we teachers (annual memebership and teaching courses) and our students (examination fees). <BR>The RAD is now in dire straits as there's been a sensible reduction of entering of candidates for the examinations in the last years due to the expensive fees and the marking system. They're trying to face all these problems (the marking system is going to be changed next year) and I hope they can reduce the fees (even if I think it will be very difficult). <P>I'm not sure that the RAD tries to reinforce its elitist aspect, it wouldn't be the right attitude if their main purpose is to be a worldwide organization with as many members as possible. But of course when there's some money involved things are always difficult! <P>As far as the syllabi, I think that they're very good even for "recreational" students (of course I'm referring to grade syllabi, not major). <BR>I never force my students to do the examinations, it's not a rule in my school, it's up to them (and their parents) to decide. All the students in a course do the same syllabus, whether they are going to take the examination or not. In this way I try to make the RAD syllabus accessible to anyone. antoP.


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 3:36 pm 
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i DO agree with your points, antoP - and nice to hear from you again! Image i was unaware the RAD are in 'dire straits' - can you tell us any more? interesting....<P>i take it you are saying that there has been a significant reduction in candidate numbers for grade exams internationally? is that right?<P>i agree with you that there is a conflict between my suggestions, that (excuse my paraphrase) on the one hand they seem to want world domination of the ballet teaching market - but on the other hand, they DO seem to want to preserve an 'elite' image....it's always a balance to be struck between quality and quantity....<P>and i DO agree that it is a fine syllabus for the recreational student, EXCEPT where they are VERY VERY recreational! i.e. where the focus and discipline is just not what's suited to that particular community.....and such communities DO exist.... Image<P><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited December 27, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 4:31 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
very interesting thread!<P>Of course I can only comment from a parent's perspective...but I can say that I did notice quite a significant difference in exam prices last year between my younger daughter's RAD and older daughter's Cechetti. Some parents at the RAD studio had assumed the cost was so high because the teacher was adding on profit for herself...<P>For my younger one the RAD seems to be quite a nice syllabus as there is a little bit of everything. I will note, however, that when she attended a summer program at my older daughter's school last summer her RAD canvas character shoes fell apart within the first 4 or 5 days. I spoke to the teacher who chastised me ever so gently for sending her with these shoes...the teacher is ISTD (did I get the letters right?) trained and felt that the RAD shoes were not nearly strong enough for what the students were doing in her class. She went on to say that the RAD character is not nearly to the standard of the ISTD....Grace, you might have some thoughts about this? <P>As my older daughter lives away from home I don't see her doing syllabus class (which is only one small part of the dance program) so I am unable to say anything about it from even a parent's perspective.<P>I am curious as to how the Major Syllabi from the various methods compare...


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: ottawa, ontario, canada
On the topic of RAD exams my daughters school had only 8 grade three and 2 primary doing exams. They usually go to another school for exams but they had no one this year that was taking exams.<BR>charlene


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 5:14 pm 
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interesting, charlene....<P>mom2 - Tuk would be the best person to comment on the relative merits of the character syllabi, however, what i would say is that the RAD character work is very good for underlining/improving the ballet technique (which may be its real purpose - or at least one of them). i know i have had a conflict over one part of it, wondering about the appropriateness of one of the qualities asked for, but i'm sure they've researched it more than i have, so i accept their version.... Image<P>you ask "how the Major Syllabi from the various methods compare". a big topic - we could start a new thread, but i don't think we have enough representative members of the various major international syllabi to do it justice at present.<P>my own answer would be that each is equally good when well taught - that it is HOW it is taught, that it even more important than WHAT material is taught....<P>how it is EXAMINED is another matter altogether, and there, it cannot be denied, that at present the RAD are setting by far the highest standards in the major exams - many argue that it is too high, and i believe that feedback is being condsidered by the RAD. <P>however, what we really all need to look at there, is that Major exams were always intended to be for professional aspirants, and over time a gap has increasingly appeared, between who could pass these major exams, and who could get a job as a dancer.<P>the RAD has quite rightly sought to redress that situation; i support that clarification - but it is a message which hasn't quite got through to parents, i think - and studens, and many teachers - that the recreational (once or twice a week) ballet student does not need, and cannot possibly attain the standard of execution required of the vocational student, from about the age of 12 upwards....

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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2000 11:18 am 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
thanks for your thoughts about the Major Syllabi, Grace. Your comments were interesting to me...I know a young lady who at 13 received Honours in Grade 6 RAD yet Pass Plus in pre-elementary. I know she dances more than twice a week, but not sure how many days/week were devoted to each syllabus. It was her first year studying a "major" syllabus.<P>My personal opinion (such that it is!) is that twice a week isn't really sufficient once a student reaches 8 or 9. Unfortunately I seem to be the only parent with this opinion hereabouts...but I have seen others rush to add another competition class and then wonder why the teacher is requiring that they have 2 ballet classes a week. That should read parents adding the competition class and parents wondering why the teacher would require 2 ballet classes. The kids go along for the ride.<P>Enough of my soapbox. Sorry for the off-topic ramblings.<P>I also wonder how common it is for professional schools to have their students examined? I know that some do and some don't, but don't have a sense for proportions one way or another. What are the advantages/disadvantages of studying a set syllabus in addition to other daily work? I should think that a mix would be good (i.e. syllabus in addition to daily technique, rep., etc) but would welcome other's thoughts and experiences.


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2000 1:04 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I would respond to you, Mom2, with my thoughts and experiences, but Grace asked that this thread be only for those members who teach syllabus - and I don't.


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 Post subject: Re: What Ballet Syllabus do you use?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2000 2:23 pm 
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Location: italy
grace, I'm afraid I don't understand when you write about the very very recreational students. Can you explain exactly what you mean? I think that learning ballet is learning a discipline, even when it's just for personal enjoyment. I teach mainly recreational students (two lessons a week) but I try to let them know what learning ballet means. If they are not interesting or if they find it too much difficult they can always give up and start another activity. Maybe I sound too much strict but this is my humble point of view. Of course I'm talking of students who don't have special needs! <P>As far as the problems of the RAD at the moment, maybe I've used the wrong expression (it happens when you don't write in your language Image). I don't know if they are really in dire straits but I know that they have some financial difficulties due to the fact that in the last years they have suffered (internationally) a sensible reduction in candidates for the examinations. I don't know exactly why this happened. Elitism? Too much expensive? Too much British centered? Now they are trying to cope with this problem and this is why they are changing a lot of things. Of course they want to reach as much schools and teachers as possible.<P>Organizing a session of examinations is a very hard and expensive job. Most schools (unfortunately) don't have lessons with a pianist and don't even have a piano. So teachers have to rent it and to pay a pianist in order to make the students accustomed to live music (which is always very different to the one played by a cd). Then there's the examination fees (about 35-40 pounds). Then there's the cost of the uniforms (which are very expensive and change according to the grade presented) and the character shoes (which can be good or not, it depends on the manufacturer) and the skirts for the character work and the additional lessons (usually not paid but are an extra work for the teacher!).... Prepapring candidates for examinations is always a good way for the teacher to go on diet! But it's all worth while. I've noticed till now a lot of improvements and a lot of committment in my students. It's a very important moment in their life as dancers even if they are recreational. I would never stop thanking the day in which I decided to enter the RAD teacher programme and I find it invaluable. I don't know anything of other syllabi and surely they are as good as the RAD.<P>I agree with you grace, the character work is a good way to improve the ballet techinque and it's a real fun for the students. There's also the part of examination called "free movement" which is a first approach to modern dance. For all these reasons I find it a good syllabus all round <P>As far as Majors I think that they must be selective and that the standard must be very high as they are intended for students who want to become professional dancers or teachers. There's no continuity between grades and majors. A student can gain top marks in all his/her grade career and fail in his/her major. The standards are completely different! If a student wants to study a major syllabus, he/she must attend at least three classes a week.<P>Woops! what a long reply Image! antoP.


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