We have held a dance show every year since 2018 - including 2021 when, after restrictions were lifted, we filmed our students' performances and then screened the production at a local cinema.
Children work together in their regular classes in the term leading up to the show to prepare a class dance to perform. The awareness of choreography and stagecraft they get from this process is an important part of their dance education.
Photoshoot: We try to hold a studio photoshoot before the show so students have the opportunity to have a posed photograph in their costumes.
There is a dress rehearsal during the weekend before the show. We hold 2 performances of the finished work to give our students ample opportunities to perform at their best.
The show experience creates very special memories for our students and their families. It provides an important benchmark with which to measure students' growth and progress.
Royal Academy of Dance External Assessments
We offer Royal Academy of Dance Class Awards and Examinations from Grade 1 upwards.
Pupils are only entered for an exam/class award at the discretion of their teacher.
On average we expect a pupil to be in a grade between 3-5 terms.
The teacher does not accompany the students into the exam. Candidates are expected to demonstrate the entire syllabus and two solo dances to a high technical standard.
The RAD marking scheme is stringent with grade boundaries Pass, Merit & Distinction. Therefore it is our policy that students must attend ballet classes twice a week, and be willing to prepare by practising at home, in order to be eligible to be entered for an examination.
The teacher accompanies the students into the assessment. Candidates are expected to demonstrate the majority of the syllabus and one dance as a duet. The marking scheme is less demanding, with students receiving a report on their performance. There are no grade boundaries. Therefore, it is our policy that students attending ballet classes once a week take the Class Award.
Students doing either an Examination or a Class Award receive a certificate and medal.
We use the Exam/Class Award preparation period to help students build self-discipline and confidence. This is useful in building long-term resilience, coping strategies, and work ethics, useful in preparation for GCSE and A-Level examinations.
There is not a focus on marks achieved in exams (although as a school we maintain a high merit and distinction average, this is more important to reflect the standard of teaching).
Some children benefit from the pressure of exams and assessments, but equally appreciate the stress and anxiety they cause other students. We emphasise that our students are not competing against each other for better marks. All children are valued equally, regardless of which exams/class awards/marks they have.
Our aim is for the exam process to be an enjoyable experience so that when they watch a dance performance they are able to appreciate just how much hard work has gone into it!
Bury St. Edmunds Ballet School chooses to offer an internal examination at Pre-Primary & Primary level. We sometimes also offer this at Pre-School level before before children graduate into Pre-Primary.
This gives the teacher freedom over what they wish to cover in lessons and the process towards preparing for assessments is more holistic and child-friendly than what external exam boards can necessarily offer. We believe that this prepares children more effectively to meet the demands of Grade 1 but also gives them an idea of the exam experience and a formal finish to the level they have been working at.
The assessments are done with the class teacher present, but children are encouraged to demonstrate the work without assistance. The assessment is carried out by a local RAD teacher and participants recieve a medal, certificate and verbal feedback.
The ballet school regularly runs Days of Dance, Acro Intensives and themed-workshops during school holidays.
These allow students the oppourtunity to focus on skills and ideas seperate from syllabus and regular class work, plus they provide an excellent quality and stimulating childcare option.
These are normally open to external children who do not attend ballet school classes, please keep an eye out on social media for details of upcoming events.
We love a good catch-up at Bury St. Edmunds Ballet School! We regularly hold various events seperate from dance classes.
In the past, these have included theatre trips, laser tag, picnics, Sunday brunches, Christmas meals and during the COVID pandemic - dances in the park!
These are always for Ballet School students and their famillies, so keep an eye out in emails for various events.
From 2021, the school has offered a second annual performance oppourtunity for its students.
In December 2021, the school piloted a production of the ballet-favourite "The Nutcracker" with a small selection of students.
This is a different experience from our annual show where dances are performed by class. Here, students will audition and rehearse for corps-de-ballet, solos, duets and small group roles to create a narrative ballet and create a production accessible to our local community.
Taking part in this production is a considerable commitment as it is intended to offer high quality performance and company experience.
Those from Grade 1 upwards are eligible to audition.