Here are a few things as teachers that we have to consider…
Class attendance and punctuality. If children are missing from class, they are missing the syllabus that has been taught that day, which they will be examined on. This makes it very hard for us to enter students for their exam if they have missed a number of lessons.
Effort, focus and discipline shown in class. If your child finds it hard to focus in other areas of their education, it is often echoed in their dance class. Dance is perfect to help develop focus and concentration but it might mean they are not quite at exam standard at this point in time. It doesn’t mean they are not good at dancing.
The personality of each student is very important. Some thrive to be pushed and challenged to exam standard and others would find it takes the fun out of their experience resulting in them wanting to stop dancing. Exams can make students gain confidence and a sense of achievement whilst for others it would be best to wait until the next exam session as the pressure can be too much.
There are minimum age requirements for some grades set by the ISTD. If your child is in a grade for older children they cannot be entered for their exam.
There are differences and imbalances between dance genres and skill levels. Primary Ballet has a high expectation from the examiner and is significantly more challenging than Primary Modern. Therefore your child might be ready for the Modern exam but not their Ballet.
Children attending just one weekly class tend to take longer to develop correct technique. 45 minutes a week in term time only does not always allow the teacher enough time to teach the syllabus in depth to exam standard. If you are keen for your child to progress more rapidly through the exams it is a good idea to increase the number of classes during a week.
Sometimes we work towards a show which means classes can be dedicated to show work. Therefore classes will delay their exam for a term.
We follow a rigorous syllabus from the The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) which have lengthy requirements. Other dance societies offer different types of medals / exams / tests and the requirements can be very different. Therefore if friends at other schools are taking regular exams it is likely to be a very different quality of syllabus.
Please be assured that the teachers at Just Dance understand the requirements for each grade, in each dance genre and will ensure that children meet these before being put forward for an exam. We want the children to feel confident and happy entering the exam so it is a positive experience. We do not want to enter children who might fail their exam as this could be a huge knock to their confidence.
If your child is not taking an exam, we are always very considerate to all children in an exam class to ensure that they feel no different to those taking an exam. Those children not taking an exam still prepare in the same way with the rest of the class. They stay in the same class with their same friends and move up to the next grade with the rest of the class when their friends do. Certificates are also handed out to all the children regardless if they take an exam or not.