Royal Academy of Dance Exams

The video here shows a snippet of what happens on exam day at the Royal Academy of Dance. We send our dancers to be examined at the Academy HQ in Battersea, as we usually have less than three hours of exams in a session. If you have three hours or more, you can apply to have an exam session at your studio space. I like to take our dancers to the HQ so that they have a chance to dance in lovely big studios with perfect flooring – the floors there are sprung and covered with a specialist dance flooring, just like most professional stages. The examiner in the short film, Jackie Ferguson, has examined me three times – once as an 11 yr old and twice between the ages of 14 and 18! Dance keeps you young!

It shows how neat and tidy the dancers are expected to be in class, right from the youngest to the oldest girls.

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RAD Intermediate Foundation – support

Dancers stand in front of the examiner in the following way:


4 3 2 1

RAD Intermediate Foundation

These are videos available on the Internet. I have watched them all to make sure they are correct. I discovered someone has already done a video glossary, which is most useful of the steps you need for the free work. Shown in isolation, you can practice them and perhaps link some.


All the barre work in order –


Ports de bras –

NOTE –  these dancers do a slight spring to the side on the “forward, side, back” (open pas de bourrée over – Dessus) In the book, it details ONLY Pose, which means ‘step’. There is no spring, but you should make it flow.

Centre Practice and Pirouettes –

This is a really nicely controlled example.

Pirouettes en dedans –

This class show a solid example of the exercise.

Adage –

Absolutely correct to the syllabus book.

Allegro 1 –

This adult dancer has lovely feet, this is what you are working towards – feet and bounce.

Allegro 2 –

Allegro 3 –

Free work – focal steps and linking steps –

Variation 1 –

From the RAD DVD.

POINTE WORK – I was unable to find good pointe work videos. The exercises are below, for memory.

Rises – 3 rises, tendu to second, transfer of weight through demi plie to the other foot and close. Repeat.

Echappes releves and courus – releve 5th, echappe releve to second changing feet 2x, releve in 5th, stay up and hold, couru to change feet, straighten knees on 5, lower 6,7,8. Repeat starting with the other foot.

Echappes releves and classical walks – repeat the releve section above, plu 3 classical walks, starting with the back foot, close on 8. Repeat.

Exam Day – what to expect –

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Here are some videos of Grade 4 dancers, taken from the Internet, which show the exercises from Grade 4. Use them to practice with, to watch and remember. Watching the videos regularly is a valid way of revising your work and activates ‘muscle memory’ in the same way as actually dancing, so it will help enormously if you watch them each day.

Dancers line up for examination like this:


4 3 2 1

 RAD Grade 4



The dancer misses the first part of the plie exercise, so below is a video of the full exercise:

Plies –

Battements tendus and battements glisses

Battements fondus and ronds de jambe

Developpes –

Grands Battements

Centre work

  1. Ports de bras, 2) Centre Practice, 3) Adage –



Video is out of sequence and repeats:  1)Assembles, 2) Grande Allegro, 3) Turns, 4) Sautes, echappe sautes and changements, 5) Jetes ordinaires and pas de chat, 6) Assembles and temps leves –

The correct sequence of exercises is:

Sautes, echappe sautes and changements,

Jetes ordinaires and pas de chat,

Assembles and temps leves


Grand Allegro

RAD G4 Dance B – rain –

RAD G4 Dance C – stick dance –

RAD G4 Dance F – Tarantella –

Exam Day – what to expect –

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Dancers line up in front of the examiner in the following way:


4 3 2 1

Here is a useful set of videos of other dancers, taken from the Internet, which show the exercises from Grade 3. Use them to practice with. They usually use our choice of music. I think you will agree, these dancers are trying their best and working very hard. Enjoy practising!


Exercises taken in the correct order:


Battements tendus & Glisses

Battements fondus & developpes devant

Grands Battements devant

Grands battements to second and derriere


The video below contains the Ports de bras, Transfer of Weight, Adage, Turns and a version of the reverence.

Centre work taken in correct order – ignore the dance at the end!

Ports de bras

Ronds de Jambe a Terre

Transfer of weight


Sautes and changements

Glissades, sissonnes & assembles

Poses and temps leves – no video, because we make up our own exercise for this.


Grand allegro

Dance C

Dance D

Reverence – No video as we do our own version.

Exam Day – what to expect –

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News for Half Term February 2018

Goodness, it’s Half Term already!! It feels as though we have only just started back after Christmas!

The School has grown since Christmas and we are now at a point where most classes are full. I am going to be starting a Waiting List. I am SO pleased we have become this popular!

An exciting piece of news is that International Dance Supplies has been listening to teachers and working with them to make the experience of finding dance kit much easier. They have developed a Shop Front program for Dance Schools which allows parents to order direct from IDS and not have to wait for the dance teacher to remember to make the order! Ordering and returning kit will now be in your control. I have set the relevant pages up with the uniform we use and it remains exceptionally good value for money. I am very impressed with the service we get from the company – orders made before 2pm are sent out that day and often arrive by first post the day after ordering. You can find the link on the Uniform Page.

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I have a day and a time for the Adult Dance Class: Mondays from 7 – 8pm.

The first class you do is free, whenever you join us. After that, the fee is £8 per hour.

Please let Amanda know if you have any health issues or injuries that need to be taken into account for the teaching. We will be exploring several styles of dance, using Ballet and Cunningham Contemporary Dance as a basis.

Wear something comfortable, the hall is warm, so layers are a good idea. Bring some socks and be prepared to work barefoot as well. Please always bring a bottle of water – there is fresh water available to refill bottles.

Tell your friends and bring them along as well!

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Starting Pointe Work

This is a huge and exciting moment for all dancers. Here is a general (not necessarily complete) list of what dance teachers consider before allowing a dancer to go “en pointe”:

The student has the required core strength in the body

Demonstrates correct posture and alignment in positions and while moving

Maintains turnout while dancing

Shows awareness of proper ankle and foot alignment, avoiding sickling or rolling-in

Effectively uses plié while dancing

Stretches or points the foot while dancing

Can piqué passé with a straight leg

Can perform repeated relevé in the center without tiring & while maintaining alignment

Can balance on one foot with the body correctly positioned over the supporting leg

Coordinates movement well, particularly in regard to varying approach to relevé (from plié, from straight leg, stepping or springing into, etc.)

Attitude and work ethic play a large role in dancing at an advanced level. Students must display dedication during class and a strong commitment to the art form at all times.

For a useful video about preparing your pointe shoes, click this link:

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Best Hair Styles To Improve Balance

When someone mentions ballet dancing, we immediately think of the ballerina in her white tutu, hair pulled back into a bun, standing on her toes. We tie our hair up this way for two very important reasons: a) long hair flaps into the face, even when in a pony tail and disturbs our focus; b) hair tied close to the head help us to balance, especially when standing on one leg, either to show an arabesque line or more importantly when turning in pirouettes.

Long hair is heavy and a child with long hair needs to become accustomed to both the hair style and their altered balance as they are training before considering taking a ballet exam. If a child only has their hair up for their exam, their balance can be thrown and this will have a negative impact on the mark they ultimately achieve.

Please could all dancers have their hair in a bun every lesson so that we can help them gain a good sense of balance and they can focus on their technique. It also makes them FEEL like a ballerina. The best round bun style looks a little like a cinnamon roll – flat to the head, much like having very short hair. Below are two styles I have used successfully for myself – the plaits across the head is my preferred style for Albion Dance School. In the weeks before Easter, I will be showing the children how to do their hair – if you are unsure about how to do hair, do ask and I am happy to demonstrate for you.

Hair for Primary Grade, Grade 1, Grade 2 Ballet & Tap - Grade 1 & Grade 2 Modern Exams Hair Grade 3 & up Modern & Tap Exams

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Verrucae are persistent things and can be no trouble at all and disappear by themselves. Sometimes though, they can be extremely painful, especially on weight bearing areas of the foot and require determination to get rid of.

Verrucae are a type of wart. The NHS Choices website gives this information:

“Warts aren’t considered very contagious, but they can be caught by close skin-to-skin contact. The infection can also be transmitted indirectly from contaminated objects or surfaces, such as the area surrounding a swimming pool.

You are more likely to get infected if your skin is wet or damaged. After you become infected, it can take weeks or even months for a wart or verruca to appear.

Most warts are harmless and clear up without treatment.

The length of time it takes a wart to disappear will vary from person to person. It may take up to two years for the viral infection to leave your system and for the wart to disappear.

You might decide to treat your wart if it is painful, or in an area that is causing discomfort or embarrassment.

Common methods of treatment include:

  • salicylic acid
  • cryotherapy (freezing the skin cells)
  • duct tape
  • chemical treatments

Treatment for warts is not always completely effective, and a wart will sometimes return following treatment. ”

Whilst the dance studio is generally not a wet floor, the children do get very hot and feet get sweaty. This is a great environment to pass verrucae on, so please check your child’s feet regularly and treat any verrucae you spot. Please send your child with a pair of socks to save spreading the virus.

Over time, I have had verrucae several times. The best remedy I have found is the following:

Use Salicylic acid (the Schol Gel one has worked for me) – clean the foot and remove any dead skin. Apply the gel and allow to dry fully. Cover the verruca with a tiny disk of duct tape – you will be smothering the verruca. Then cover with a plaster and leave at least 24 hours. If you can successfully cover leave a treated verruca around 3 days, you will be able to see a big difference quite soon. Again, clean the foot and remove all dead skin. Repeat the treatment process on a daily basis if the duct tape / plaster fall off – or on a 3 day basis if not. Keep going until the verruca has got the message and gone!

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Welcome to Albion Dance School

I hope everyone had a good half term and you are raring to go!

All dancers must bring a bottle of water with them to class. We have access to fresh drinking water to refill bottles, but there are no cups available at the hall.

In the first week we will go over the fire drill for the building and have a practice. After this, there will be an unannounced fire drill once per term. The children do the same in school and whilst it may disrupt one lesson, it is vital that everyone knows what to do in the event we have to evacuate in emergency.

Please remember to let me know if your child’s medical status has changed, or if your child has had a recent injury, so that I can adapt my teaching appropriately. If your child has had a cold, flu or any diahorrea or vomiting bugs please allow 48 hours before bringing them to class.

DANCE IS NOT JUST FOR THE KIDS… Come on, break out those leg warmers…

I want to start adult dance classes on Thursday evenings from 7 – 8pm. If you are interested in having a go at Ballet, Tap & Modern, Contemporary Dance and other styles too, contact me via the email box on the contact page. We will start by exploring different dance styles to see what suits us – there will be an aspect of body conditioning as well, with the main intention being that we Find Our Feet and DANCE!

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