'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
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