'Capitalising the I' -


What's the 'I' and what's the big deal about capitalising it ?

In the UK  the term Intermediate has a VERY loaded meaning in relationship to dance classes  especially ballet. To the point  where  we have 'absolute beginner', ' beginner' , 'improver' and 'improver plus' classes taught by various teachers to avoid using the term Intermediate for a class which doesn't  meet the  specifications of the Intermediate  Vocational Graded Exam (VGE) syllabus of awarding bodies, such as RAD and other CDMT accredited bodies. but provides a progression of training and experience  or adult dancers who aren't going to be following the ordinary graded exams  that are typically seen as  children's exams.

the RAD say the following about VGEs 

  • Vocational graded examinations (Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1, Advanced 2) provide an in-depth study of ballet and prepare students for a career in dance (age 11+) "
 So what's the big deal?

The 'female' assessment in a VGE includes pointe work, I've written about the politics of pointe recently here, so this adds a level of complexity and controversy to the topic regardless of who you are as an adult dancer and for young people if you are masculine presenting. And while for Inter Foundation and Intermediate itself the pointe work isn't that complex (pirouettes en pointe are in Advanced Foundation for RAD) it's still pointe work and it's still none trivial. 


Add in the expectations of understanding class structure completely, being able to pick up quite complex combinations quickly and mastery of double pirouettes in your flats or soft blocks... You can see why  it's a bit of an intimidating  thought to move from the nursery slopes of 'beginners' classes, even if labelled as Improvers ...

It's something I'm teetering on the edge of... Katie doesn't label Lady Bay Ballet's Wednesday 7:30pm and Friday 1pm classes with any particular label, but the barre and centre combinations are increasingly challenging and as I mentioned in Giving Yourself Permission...  There is the 'permission' to go for double  pirouettes regardless of how scrappy they are...  and those classes  are paired with a pointe class that covers work very similar to that in Intermediate Foundation and Intermediate RAD

Elsewhere a defining factor of ' improver plus' over 'improver' classes is to gain that elusive double pirouette.

A ballet friend who also does martial arts said that they thought it was a bit like moving from doing the coloured belts  which are definitely learning the art  to being a first  Dan black belt - you mastered  the basics now you are really learning

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