Grade 2 ballet exam

My daughter recently took her Grade 2 ballet exam.

I had feared she would have to wait until autumn this year to do it, two years after her Grade 1, which felt like too long a wait. So I was very pleased when her teacher announced just before Christmas that a small group of them would be doing their Grade 2 in March.

The girls were all given a CD of the exam music to practise at home. Once the panto and Young Voices were over, my daughter was able to focus on her ballet exam and practised two or three times a week at home.

Her strength and poise were incredible. Ballet really does take a lot of strength and control and it’s brilliant to see that developing. We went to see Swan Lake the other day and you can really see that what my daughter does is just a simple version for that. The Grade 2 syllabus is laying down the foundations for being a fantastic ballet dancer.

Doing an exam means extra lessons once a week for six weeks, so pretty much every Wednesday this term she’s had an extra ballet lesson. These extra lessons are just with the exam girls, rather than the whole class, so they can really focus and improve. The only downside of these for us is she’s missed nearly a term of street dance classes and has actually only met her street teacher once! But she can always catch up on street dance. It’s important that she passes her exams and makes progress in her ballet.

Daughter, Hair, Ballet, 365, 366

The Grade 2 exam includes two dances, both worth 20% of the final mark. The teacher emphasised the importance of facial expression for these dances, which tell a story. My daughter’s expressions were absolutely brilliant – surprise, curiosity, excitement and nonchalance were all written across her face.

On the last lesson before the exam, parents were invited in to watch the children. I was pleased to see my daughter was every bit as good as I’d hoped she’d be. I had no concerns whatsoever about the exam.

Appearance is everything in ballet. My daughter’s leotard was a bit big, so my mum had to take it in so it fit perfectly. I ironed both her leotard and her character skirt (this is a big deal because I never iron anything). She had a brand new pair of ballet socks and her hair was even more immaculate than ever. The house was a fog of hairspray, but she looked perfect. They’re not even allowed to wear knickers for an exam! The girls also had to wear satin ballet shoes, borrowed from the teacher’s huge selection. My daughter found a pair that felt a bit tight, but OK, but the teacher thought they were too loose when she pointed her toes. So she had to go even tighter. Ouch!

Silent Sunday, My Sunday Photo, Daughter, Ballet, Ballet exam

The result was four immaculate, matching girls. They were even shown exactly how to carry their character skirts and character shoes through to the exam room.

The other girls had gone to the toilet 10 minutes earlier, then at 9.29 (the exam started at 9.30) my daughter decided she needed the toilet. I stood with the other girls holding her character shoes and skirt carefully, then the examiner rang a bell. My daughter emerged from the toilet with her hands soaking wet! When appearance is everything, it doesn’t do to walk into an exam with dripping hands.

At 9.31, the girls walked into the exam, leaving the parents to listen to the music and picture the moves.

When she practised at home, the whole exam took about 15 minutes and she was usually quite out of breath at the end from doing one routine or exercise straight after another. In the exam, they do the two dances on their own, so they can be properly assessed. It turns out they did most of the other moves in pairs rather than as a four.

They were gone for a whole 40 minutes.

Then four, red-faced, excited, out-of-breath girls emerged.

My daughter said the examiner was a bit ‘mean’ and really stared. She needed to stare, otherwise how could she assess them? Even though it’s a very strict environment, examiners in the past have always put them at ease. Maybe this one was more strict or maybe because it’s Grade 2 examiners are supposed to be less friendly.

But, the good thing is, my daughter thought the exam went very well. I don’t doubt that for a moment. She felt there were two occasions when her back leg wasn’t as straight as it should have been, but, other than that, she was very pleased. I’d be willing to put good money on her getting a distinction. It will be a few weeks until we get the results.

There’s something quite sad about saying goodbye to the old syllabus and routines after they’ve been such a big part of your life for a couple of months, but onwards and upwards!

The class were straight onto their Grade 3 syllabus in the next lesson.


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Her commitment is so admirable, at only 9. She’s obviously very passionate about it. Best of luck to her, I am sure she has smashed it with flying colours. The mean assessor made me smile. She does indeed need to stare:)

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    • Thanks very much! I’m sure she will have smashed it. I can’t wait for the results!

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  2. Wow that is amazing and it is lovely to see how committed she is. I’m sure she has smashed it, she works so hard, she deserves to.

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    • Thanks very much. She really is extremely committed! I can’t wait to see her results.

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  3. That’s fabulous news, I’m so glad it went well for her. My two both do ballet but it’s really not their thing at the moment. Libby is going to carry on with stage performance and start rhythmic gymnastics instead of ballet.x

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    • Thanks very much, it went really well. They’re very long to be deciding to do ballet. My daughter didn’t even start until she was 6. Stage performance and rhythmic gymnastics sounds fab! x

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    • Thanks very much! I can’t wait for the results. I never thought Brownies looked like much fun! I did ballet when I was very little, but I was dreadful. I don’t know where my daughter gets her skills from.

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  4. Clearly 4 very talented girls! Amazing. I am also willing to bet that she got a distinction. Well done her! My eldest did the ‘character skirt’ exam then gave up. Such a shame but she was better suited to gymnastics with more energy required – she was a fidget bottom in ballet!

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    • Thanks very much! The character skirt got its first unveiling in Grade 1. I think ballet doesn’t suit everyone and there’s no point continuing if it’s not right!

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  5. No knickers! Wow no wonder I never did ballet – too much of a prude! I am sure she will have done fantastic. The wait must still be nerve racking though!

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    • The no knickers always makes me laugh, but to be fair they do always stick out! It seems like we’ve been waiting forever already, but it could be a lot longer.

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  6. Glad it went well, hope she gets the results she wants! She obviously works really hard and shows a lot of dedication. #SSAmazingAchievements

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  7. A lot to be proud of already! There’s so much hard work that goes into these exams that it seems like even getting to them is an achievement in itself. It’s funny the way there’s no hanging about afterwards – straight on to the next level. Fingers crossed for a distinction.

    I think we may have a budding ballet dancer in Kara. Well, she likes Angelina, anyway, Mind you, so did Isaac.

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    • Thanks very much, I’m really hoping for a distinction. She certainly deserves it for all her hard work and she dances beautifully!
      I do hope you have your own budding ballet dancer too. Our family has really embraced ballet and grown to love it over the last couple of years – and I really didn’t expect that!

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  8. I love how seriously she takes her ballet. It is an amazing art form. I hope she gets the results she wants, it sounds like she did really well.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

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    • Thanks very much, she really did! I’m looking forward to seeing her results. x

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  1. Small Steps Amazing Achievements – 23/3/16 » AutismMumma - […] and lastly  a very committed ballet dancer took her Grade 2 Ballet Exam with @sarahmo3w” […]

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