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Ballet exams are an exciting way to work towards a goal while developing a strong ballet foundation. They also set standards and reward achievement.
At Dynamic Dance Company Inc. we teach the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) discipline of ballet. The Royal Academy of Dance is known as one of the world’s most influential dance education and training organizations. It was established in 1920 by five exceptional European dancers to develop standards needed and to maintain a certain artistic and technical standard which is recognized internationally.
There are two sections in the RAD, Graded Examinations and Vocational Examinations. Students may go through the graded examinations and switch to the vocational examinations when they are at the required level or continue with graded exams. Exams are available to both male and female candidates.
Graded Examinations help to develop technical skills, musicality, creativity and performance. They incorporate ballet, free movement (based on contemporary dance) and character (based on Hungarian, Polish and Russian folk dance). Graded examination levels are from grade 1 to grade 8, and are not available to students under the age of 7. Presentation classes are available at the Pre-Primary and Primary levels. Students may take any grade without passing the previous level as long as they meet the minimum age requirement.
Vocational Examinations continue developing technique, musicality and performance skills at a more in-depth level, geared towards a more serious study of ballet. Pointe work is also added for female students.
Vocational examination levels are from Intermediate Foundations to Advanced 2 and for those students who attain a mark of distinction, the Solo Seal Awards. Students must take examination levels consecutively (with the exception of Intermediate Foundations and Advanced Foundations which are optional) and meet the minimum age requirement.
How often exams are held is based on when the students are at a technical standard to successfully pass the level they are in. We aim to hold exams every year and a half. The RAD holds two exam sessions a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The fall session has exams between mid November and mid December and the spring session has exams between the beginning of March and mid May. Graded exams are held at the studio with students from the same class whereas vocational exams are usually held in Toronto with students from other studios as well. In any level the maximum amount of students seen at a time is four.
Results are received in the form of certificates and result forms about four weeks after the exam session has finished. Passing marks are pass, merit or distinction based on the mark attained. Students will receive a results form that breaks down different parts of the exam and gives a mark out of ten for each section. These sections are for technical ability, musicality and performance in both barre work and centre work as well as either free movement and character or pointe work, depending on the level of exam.
Requirements for Exams
To participate in ballet exams, students must be taking two ballet classes a week. This is to ensure that they are comfortable with the syllabus and are at a technical level that is expected. For graded exams, students are required to wear ballet tights, coloured bodysuit (colour dependent on grade level), ballet shoes, and have their hair in a bun. They are also required to have character shoes and a character skirt.
For vocational exams, students are required to wear ballet tights, a black bodysuit (either spaghetti strap or tank style), ballet shoes, and have their hair in a bun. They are also required to have pointe shoes.
Exams are conducted with a pianist. Because of this, we conduct mandatory mock exams where the students have the opportunity to practice with a pianist and experience live music. On exam day, students are required to be at the studio one hour prior to the exam time to warm up and make sure they are prepared.
For more information on the RAD and its examinations, or to answer any questions you may have on the examination process please contact us at Dynamic Dance Company Inc. or speak directly to one of the ballet teachers during your classes. You can also visit the RAD website directly at www.radcanada.org.