Not sure exams are legitimate?

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Kazmama
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby Kazmama » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:01 pm

francescasmum - I'm not sure what you mean? I know the BDAF stands for british dance arts federation but not knowing a whole lot about dance etc I just assumed when we signed up 18 months ago that it was a well known organisation, particularly as the principal kept bragging about the students all passing with top marks the majority at merit/distinction so of course to someone who has no idea about these sorts of things it sounds impressive and like a good school.

lyndahill - It's not so much me worrying about her making friends but her worrying, she was really nervous on the way but I reassured her it would be fine and that she was just as nervous about the place she goes to now but within weeks she had a few good friends and within a couple of months she was good friends with everyone at the school.

Again I had no idea about grades etc when we first signed up and trusted the principal/teachers knew what they were doing and were putting her in an appropriate class. Since being on NAPM I have learnt alot and I've been wondering for a while now about the grades and how fast the kids seem to move up. I think alot of the drive behind the kids moving grades is to do with her agency, I know one boy who went for a part in one of the west end shows (matilda or charlie can't remember which) didn't get very far because he didn't know the basic steps properly (that's what his mum said) despite supposedly being grade 2 jazz/ballet, now he's in grade 3. I don't understand why they've all moved from grade 2 to grade 3 in the space of 6 months with no exams etc, it seems she makes it up as she goes along. The kids who are doing grade 3 jazz/tap/ballet are aged 11-13 which seems very young to me. As I said I don't fully understand the grading system but it all seems very random there. For example when DD decided last April to take up ballet the principal wanted to put her straight in grade 2 but said she may struggle as she only speaks french in that class, I had other reservations as DD had not done ballet since she was 5 so I said would it not be better to put her in a lower grade so she can learn the steps etc.

There is someone on here in my area, her DD went to a summer school at that particular stage school and she's having the same problem finding a good school so we are swapping info about local schools/experiences.

riverdance - My comment about the exams (her being there 18 months and not doing any) wasn't in a rushed why can't she be in a higher grade way, it was just based on what I've seen at this school. Every other kid at the school has taken exams but right around the time DD would have been put in for them I had the massive falling out with the principal and DD was the only one who didn't take an exam. I asked why she wasn't taking any and was told because she hadn't been doing it long enough...yet there were kids who started after her taking exams, there's a little girl doing her first drama exam in a few months and she only started a few weeks ago. So it was more a why has she done nothing and everyone else has, either the principal purposefully excluded her from them or she thinks she's awful and not ready. I would rather DD had the right training and was training for a long time so was confident in her technique then rushing through just to get a higher grade, that won't benefit her at all.

Thinking about it some of the other parents had moved their DC from other schools and said they learnt more at this one in 4 months then they had in 3 years at the other places...but I do wonder if it's all being rushed to make the school look better..i.e Oh look grade 3 ballet/jazz/tap and they are so young, must be a great school.


Her try out at the other school went well, she said it was fun and she's really excited about the performance they are doing, it's something to do with monsters and all the other kids wanted to play children but she would love to be a monster. The drama teacher was nice as was the principal (and one of the other teachers I've been messaging) and the whole feel of the school was a vast improvement on where she is now. We've decided she can have a go at all the classes she would do if she signed up properly for the next month or so and then decide what she wants to do, if she doesn't feel she can settle there we will try somewhere else.

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riverdancefan
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby riverdancefan » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:13 pm

all really positive so far - thats excellent!! \:D/
"Tall and proud my mother taught me, this is how we dance" - RIVERDANCE

eleanorrigby66
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby eleanorrigby66 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:24 pm

My DD's always done musical theatre training, but we signed up for proper ballet classes about four weeks ago. Like you, my DD is 8 and was put straight into a Grade 2 RAD class (the children in the class are all older than her; in Year 4 and 5 as opposed to DD in Year 3). However, I got to go and watch the class today and it was amazing how fast DD had picked up the routines and was performing them to the same standard as the other girls. I really liked the teacher - she was firm, she corrected them throughout, told them off when they were doing it wrong, but never in an intimidating way. Overall I came away feeling really positive about the whole thing.
We didn't push for her to be put into Grade 2 as a way to rush exams - it was the teachers idea that she'd be suited to that group - but I think the fact she skipped Grade 1 gave her a big boost of confidence, and dancing with older girls has pushed her.
Just my pennies worth anyway.... I think you're right about it not being a race and about taking time to get good rather than rushing through exams. On the other side of it the West End shows like CACF and Matilda are now asking for kids who are Grade 4+, which puts the pressure on a bit for those of our kids who really want a shot at auditioning.

Kazmama
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby Kazmama » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:58 pm

riverdance - yes it was really positive, there was an incident with some of the little ones whacking each other which concerned her but I asked her if she would bat an eyelid if it was at her current school and she said no. So I helped her see that it was just little kids being silly and they are not going to be violent it's just more intimidating when it's kids you don't know, they'll probably be totally different next week, she's keen to go back so she must have really liked it.

eleanor - That is very interesting about CACF & Matilda, that would explain why the kids with her agency are whizzing through the grades, I've just checked and the tap class is now grade 4!

I think some kids can pick up dance styles quite easily and may do fine skipping a grade, I think in DD's case that was true for tap she picked it up very very quickly. I think if the teachers can be trusted to put your DC in a higher grade then expected that's fine, the problem for us is that this school seems to make it up as they go along so I don't know if she really is up to grade standard of the classes she's in.

DD was telling me about/showing me some of her steps; 2 and 3 beat riffs, shuffles, time step, paradiddle, toe heel/heel ball, step ball change, spring hops, spring tap, flaps, does anyone know if that's grade 2 work?

JayLou62
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby JayLou62 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:53 pm

The other thing to bear in mind is how many classes they take. When my dd2 was dancing in her first dance school the then ballet teacher said there was something special about dd (she was 4 at the time and I just thought naively that that was nice :oops: ). Then aged 7 dd said she wanted to be a ballet dancer when older and again, I just thought she'd grow out of it :oops: At 9 when she hadn't changed her mind, I spoke to the dance teachers and they suggested dd upped her classes from 1 ballet, tap and modern class a week to 2 classes of each plus a Stretch class. This meant she did go through grades quicker because she was dancing more often. She then did festivals, which again upped her levels and then she started at a new dance school and dancing increased again by adding Inter-foundation and Beginner pointe work.
Dd2 wasn't rushed through exams and gained distinctions in the exams she has taken (RAD ballet and ISTD tap and modern).

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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby Flosmom » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:03 pm

JayLou62 wrote:...then she started at a new dance school and dancing increased again by adding Inter-foundation and Beginner pointe work.



Oooh...hope you don't mind me asking about this. Sorry.,,it's a bit off-topic...when does pointe work start? Flo has started o talk about it now she is taking her dance a bit more seriously, and it scares the hoolies out of me. So I'd love to hear other's experience...maybe I should start a new thread?

Deb x

woody
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby woody » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 pm

Flosmum, perhaps start a new thread about pointe?

cupcakephoebz
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby cupcakephoebz » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:57 pm

Pointe starts at grade 6 xx
One day everyone will make it, but for now I'm still waiting http://www.starnow.co.uk/phoebespence1

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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby Flosmom » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:45 pm

woody wrote:Flosmum, perhaps start a new thread about pointe?


Thanks - I will!

And good luck to Kazmama - you've had some great advice here and it sounds as though both you and your DD have your heads screwed on, so I'm sure it will all turn out for the best.

Deb x

Kazmama
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby Kazmama » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:42 am

Sorry to bring this up again but I am absolutely fuming! DD did not want to go to her weekend classes but wouldn't tell me why, just said she was feeling a bit ill(which was odd because she was fine at the other dance school yesterday). I knew there was more to it but didn't want to push her too hard, but eventually she caved and told me why.

DD was meant to be taking part in a local drama festival at a school in a major city (it's really low key and a useful way of getting them used to competitions etc), she signed up initially for prose reading and group acting (a group of 3 of them, one little girl who is the principal's favourite has many many lines, DD and the other little girl have maybe half a dozen lines which consist of 2/3 words). All was fine but then DD's agent setup a casting workshop which is going to be a very good experience for her so we signed up.

I asked the principal what dates/times DD was meant to be performing as she has the workshop to go to and we would have to pull out of the festival if the dates conflicted. I was told she did not know that info yet, then a couple of weeks later she sends a huge email detailing the dates/times and also puts a nice little passive aggressive remark about if you pull out then your application fee will not be refunded and if you are in a group you have to re-imburse the other people's application fee too. I knew it was aimed at us because she's never said anything like that before over this festival, of course the dates conflicted so I said sorry to let you down but we will have to pull out of the group acting(prose reading is okay as different date).

That was Monday, DD went to tap on Wednesday and the mother of the principal who does all the admin/reception work etc was talking loudly to the parents of a new kid at the school saying how the principal was having to give extra tuition because someone pulled out last minute letting the others down and she laughed and said to my husband "didn't they?!", he just smiled at her so she said to him "it's not funny!" so he said "well stop laughing then". He told me about this, what he failed to mention was that DD was sat next to him waiting to go into class. She cried her eyes out telling me and that's why she has been avoiding classes (particularly the ones with the 2 other girls in) because she feels really bad about letting her friends down and upsetting the principal etc, of course I was fuming about it, how dare she make DD feel bad when it's not her fault!!

Now the principal posted on facebook asking parents if X date was okay for exams, various parents saying yes fine asking if their DC is taking singing exam and being told those ones would not be until X date. So I ask if DD will be taking exams this time and whether it's BDAF or LAMDA. She wrote back that the teachers will be assessing/deciding in a fortnight who is ready to take exams and who has grasped what they have done this term/attendance/techniques and then basically saying LAMDA is harder so not many do that.

So I know where this is going, in 2 weeks time she will either say DD is not ready to take her exams based on what the other teachers think(despite DD being regularly commended by the other teachers/receiving house points) Or she will say DD has missed too many classes to take her exams.

I am so angry at this woman, how dare her and her mother be so vindictive against my DD, I want to pull DD out right away but I'm not sure if she will want to do that, I'm very interested in what BS reason she will come up with for why DD can't take them yet again.
Last edited by Kazmama on Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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riverdancefan
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby riverdancefan » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:00 am

Just leave
Don't give that woman another minute of your time or another penny of your money
I feel for you I really do, we have experienced so much that is similar.
It's not going to change and can only get worse
Get out ASAP

Sending love to you x
"Tall and proud my mother taught me, this is how we dance" - RIVERDANCE

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TotallycluelessMum
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby TotallycluelessMum » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:15 am

I put some people in for LAMDA exams...which ones are they preparing for?

Having said that it sounds like you need to get out of there before you part with any exam entry fees!

Kazmama
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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby Kazmama » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:04 am

I asked DD if she would consider leaving but she's really reluctant to just go, I think she wants to feel settled elsewhere before leaving completely, I'm keeping everything crossed that the classes she's trying at this other place she will love and be keen to leave the old school behind asap. I think that's why the comments before the tap class upset her so much because, as nasty as the principal and her mum have been to me / OH as far as I'm aware they have never said things/acted differently towards DD so it must have been quite shocking to be spoken about in such a way. I think that's another reason she isn't as desperate to get out of there as I am, because she hasn't been on the receiving end of all that nastiness before so has been pretty unaware of it, she's seen the principal having a tantrum before (literally; getting in a strop and shouting at her mum for not doing what she wants) and heard the two of them complain about other parents / kids so she knew she had a nasty side but it had never affected her before (other then around this time last year when they were rehearsing for the west end and the principal was screeching at them they would not be leaving until they got it right...I said if she ever did that again we'd leave but as far as I know she never did it to DD, she did with other kids when they were training for IFDPA in disneyland).

The whole thing with the exams that annoys me is that all the other parents asking if their DC is doing an exam get a nice friendly reply of "oh yes she /he will be doing X" and I get the above reply. I asked DD if she's often told she's not doing the technique properly and she said no she's normally praised and she often comes out of her tap class and is awarded a house point for doing so well, so I can't imagine she will say that is the reason. As for missing classes she missed this weekend for the above reason, she missed last weekend as we'd already made arrangements to go away during half term before she decided she would keep the weekend classes going. She's been ill once or twice and missed ballet / street dance but it's only been the last 2 weekends she's missed her Sunday classes.

Thinking about it she told one mum that her DC would be doing a street dance exam, yet last summer when they were arranging exams she told me DD was not doing any because she hadn't been doing ballet long enough(she'd only start in the april) she needed to have done tap for at least 12 months for grade 2 exams and that there are no exams for street dance....and I believed her :roll:

I have no idea what kind of preparation they are doing(other then a specific routine), the principal told my OH that we needed ribbon for DD ballet shoes for her exam a few weeks ago, so he asked if we could just get ribboned ballet shoes...nope we have to cut the elastic off her current shoes and sew the ribbon on (and then swap it all again after the exam). So she indicated DD would be doing exams a few weeks ago and now it's all 'we will decide in 2 weeks' {evil}

I also asked DD this morning if she'd been told anything about exams and she said she'd mentioned ballet & tap, the principal also asked DD if she wanted to do her LAMDA exams and DD wasn't sure what it involved so said no, when I explained to her what they were she was annoyed because she would have said yes if she knew for certain what they were. So again the principal intended to put her forward for exams and now it's all undecided...she's probably waiting to see how the group acting goes on Saturday before she decides DD's fate.

I just can't believe someone would be so vindictive...but I should have seen it coming after the drama last year over DD not signing up to her agency.

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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby 2dancersmum » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:38 am

I agree with the 2 posters above - don't part with any money for exam fees - you need to get your DD out of that environment as soon as possible. I don't know if you pay weekly, monthly, termly or whatever but just finish where you have paid up to and leave. If DD is put in for exams you will be committed to the school until the exam and you do not want it to get any worse for your DD. If this woman is vindictive and undermines your DDs confidence (as well as making her unhappy) she is unlikely to do as well in an exam anyway as she might do entering a little later at a new and supportive school. Good luck with it all.

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Re: Not sure exams are legitimate?

Postby suesmith » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:58 pm

I agree with all the above - get out asap, you are unhappy, your dd is unhappy, there are lots of lovely caring dance schools out there with fantastic staff, parents and dc! Your dd is still young she will pick up easily and you will feel a huge weight lifted from your shoulders - I speak from experience - woke up one morning thought i cannot do this anymore (had just turned 50!!!) never looked back :D Easier said than done I know - but you really won't regret it, but may regret staying longer, end of term may be a good natural break? Good luck xxx


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