It’s taken nearly two months, but finally my daughter’s Grade 2 ballet result is in.
I’m pleased to say she got a distinction.
Of course she did. I wouldn’t expect anything less of my super-talented dancer.
But, when I looked at the percentage, I must admit my heart sank a little bit. Because it was ‘only’ 77%. I didn’t say anything, but I knew my daughter had clocked it. It wasn’t good enough for her.
‘I scraped it.’
‘It’s not as good as my modern.’
She didn’t ‘scrape’ it. The threshold for a distinction is 75%, so she is actually 3% into distinction. The whole point of distinction is that it’s supposed to be something special, a big achievement. Not many kids get them and you’re not supposed to get 85 or 90%.
But she got 88% in her modern exam.
The modern exam is with a different exam board. Generally it’s recognised that the Royal Academy of Dance, the exam board she did her ballet exam with, is the toughest. The threshold for getting distinction for modern is 80%.
She didn’t rush to tell everyone she’d got her result. She kept it quiet. She clearly didn’t think it was good enough. It was distinction, but it wasn’t a good enough distinction.
All of the girls from her class who took the exam are talented dancers, which is why they’re now being fast-tracked to Grade 3. I’d always assumed they would all get distinction, but, seeing my daughter’s mark, I wondered if maybe one or two of them had actually got merit.
There was another, scarier, prospect – that one of them might have actually got a higher percentage than my daughter. My daughter is the best dancer among this talented bunch, but who is to know what happened on the day – maybe something didn’t go quite as right for her, maybe one of the others really pulled it out of the bag, maybe the examiner missed things my daughter did or saw something special the others did.
Seeing the need for further reassurance – I gently told her that this could have happened. But it’s ‘just’ an exam. It wouldn’t mean they were actually better than her. I’m no ballet expert and of course I’m a bit biased, but I genuinely think she has the edge over the others.
But I needn’t have worried.
My daughter came out of her first class after the results and told me all of the others had got a merit. For some of them, that would have been their first ever merit. It would have come as a shock to them, just as my daughter’s ‘low distinction’ came to her.
Suddenly, her distinction was good enough after all.
She was the only one to get a distinction. And she didn’t ‘scrape’ it. Finally she realised how well she had really done. Finally she felt able to tell people about her result.
And I felt very proud of her. What an amazing girl.