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Discovering Repertoire: a classical ballet performance programme

08 Mar 2017

Discovering Repertoire: a classical ballet performance programme
Discovering Repertoire is an innovative new concept in training and assessment from the RAD.

Suitable for students from ages 12 through to adult, the three levels cater for those with some prior ballet experience (1–2 years of study, equivalent to Grade 2/3) through to those of a more advanced standard (upper grades/vocational grades). Uniquely, it includes well-known classical repertoire, meaning students will learn and dance choreography that they have seen on the stage, set to music that they know and love.

Learners have the option of taking regulated examinations recognised at the following levels on the UK qualifications framework:

  • Level 2 (equivalent to Grade 5/Intermediate Foundation standard)
  • Level 3 (equivalent to Grades 6–8/Intermediate & Advanced Foundation standard)
  • Level 4 (equivalent to Advanced 1 & 2 standard)

The variations studied are taken from the following ballets:

  • Level 2: Coppélia, Giselle
  • Level 3: Paquita, The Sleeping Beauty
  • Level 4: Nutcracker, Swan Lake

The variation choreography is tailored to the different levels, e.g. Level 2 will offer a modified variation, while Level 4 will offer the full variation.

Flexible, modular learning and assessment
The programme is based on modular assessment, to enable students to learn at their own pace. Each level is made up of three units:

  • Unit : Class - barre and centre
  • Unit : Variation 1 – development exercises and Variation 1
  • Unit : Variation 2 – development exercises and Variation 2

To promote a sense of achievement and progression, students will be awarded a certificate for completing each unit, while those successfully completing all three units will achieve a qualification at the corresponding level.

The marking criteria includes an emphasis on the music and performance criteria, maximising opportunities for all to succeed. Female students can decide whether or not to dance en pointe, giving greater flexibility in how the work is approached and executed.

What did the trials show?
There was a fantastic response from volunteers to trial the new work as it was being developed (over 300 responses from teachers worldwide). In total, 150 teachers from 28 countries have been involved, and the feedback has been constructive and overwhelmingly positive. ‘Creative’, ‘challenging’ and ‘inspiring’ were among the commonly held views. This feedback has led to much greater definition of the target audience and the levels at which the material is pitched.

Who will Discovering Repertoire appeal to?
The social, health and wellbeing benefits of dance are well documented across all age groups. Along with increasing the accessibility of dance for all, the modular structure of Discovering Repertoire offers an inclusive and flexible opportunity suitable for a wide range of abilities and ages – but most importantly it will make real the aspiration of many to dance classic ballets such as Giselle and Swan Lake.

Alternative for vocational and non-vocational students
Discovering Repertoire will give teachers multiple ways in which to grow or extend their business. It will extend the interest of students who otherwise might stop dancing once they realise that ballet is not going to be their vocation by giving them a fun and creative alternative to the RAD’s graded and vocational syllabus. For vocational students, the modular approach provides an opportunity to enhance and refine technical skills in the class module and gain strength if preparing the development exercises and variations en pointe.

Challenging and engaging adults
Adults of all ages are coming back to ballet: for fitness, for social reasons, or because they have rediscovered their passion by seeing their children dance. Our research also shows that adults want to be challenged, to progress, and to feel a sense of achievement. Discovering Repertoire will deliver this satisfaction, enabling them to learn and dance the ballet repertoire that they know and love, and be assessed in smaller, more manageable and less intimidating units of work.

The programme is expected to launch globally in early 2018. More information will be available in the June 2017 issue of Dance Gazette.

Photo: Elliott Franks courtesy of The Royal Ballet

Kimberley Stewart says:
09 Mar 2017 12:22
Discovering Repertoire sounds great and I certainly will have pupils (from 12 up and including adults) who would be interested. I will look forward to teacher training courses in due course.
Zeynep Tuzcular Vural says:
09 Mar 2017 13:41
DISCOVERING REPERTOIRE: A CLASSICAL BALLET PERFORMANCE PROGRAMME
This seems a wonderful opportunity for both students and teachers to learn and enjoy our classical heritage. I would love to learn more about it.
Erin Madsen says:
09 Mar 2017 14:48
I would love to get more information and be noticed when it is available for purchase!
Clare Marie Nicholas says:
10 Mar 2017 15:49
This sounds like a great opportunity from a teacher's perspective and also as a performer what a great syllabus alternative!😃 Can't wait to hear more about when it becomes available! Very exciting!
Lindy Pfeil says:
10 Mar 2017 16:32
I am in Vancouver, Canada. I would love to know more about this please. Thanks!
Bonnie Hayman (ARAD) de Beer says:
10 Mar 2017 16:36
I would love to get more information and be updated on "Discovering Repertoire". Would it be done (examined) in an exam session in your studio?
Ria Sarantaridou says:
13 Mar 2017 10:59
Hi Bonnie,

Once Discover Repertoire is launched (watch this space for more information), examinations will take place in the normal examination sessions either in the teachers' schools or a RAV centre.
Pauline Farren says:
10 Mar 2017 18:35
I would be very interested to find out more .
Tracy Signorelli says:
11 Mar 2017 04:53
I am very interested in this programme and feel it would be something for many of my students. The link between the classroom and the stage is motivating.
Carol Hart says:
11 Mar 2017 21:01
I am so excited to be able to start teaching this program. Can't wait to see and hear more.
ALICE CHOW says:
13 Apr 2017 07:31
A different approach than Solo Performance Award. Much looking forward to this.
wendy burns (life member) says:
19 Apr 2017 01:18
What a wonderful way for dancers to understand the artistry in the classics and to be taught by the most highly qualified. Best wishes for the new programme.
elisa says:
30 Apr 2017 15:52
Well, Although I find the idea interesting and challenging - and surely fun to teach/learn! - the entry level of required technique is "underestimated". Level one, the one I am working on with my current adults, does not correspond to a grade 2/3 level: they have to turn "real" pirouettes, sustain leg extensions in adagios, perform some batterie (!!) and jump extremely complex choreography, for example for the 3rd allegro.
Ria Sarantaridou says:
02 May 2017 11:47
Thank you for your comments Elisa. It looks like you are one of our trial teachers, so if you have not done so already, please make sure you supply this feedback when requested as part of the trial. From the trial teachers' feedback, adjustments to the more complex movements throughout the content are being made.
MARY JANE BELLIA says:
07 May 2017 10:20
WE ARE TRIALLING THE REPERTOIRE SYLLABUS AND AS WE PROGRESSED OVER THE PAST MONTHS THE STUDENTS HAVE FOUND IT VERY INTERESTING AND HAVE UNDERSTOOD THAT IT IS A DIFFERENT APPROACH FROM THE NORMAL VOCATIONALS. ALTHOUGH ATTENTION IS ALWAYS GIVEN TO TECHNICAL DETAIL, IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOME RESEARCH ON THE FAMOUS CLASSICS AND TO BUILD UP ON THE INTERPRETATIONS OF THE VARIOUS MUSICAL EXCERPTS. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING PARTICULARLY ON THE MUSICAL PHRASING, DYNAMICS AND MOOD OF EACH PIECE OF MUSIC ALSO TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE ERA OF THE PARTICULAR BALLET (EXAMPLE: ROMANTIC ERA) AND INTERPRETTING IT ACCORDINGLY. I AM ENCOURAGING THE STUDENTS TO LOOK UP VIDEOS OF THE ACTUAL BALLETS AND TO NOTE THE BODY AND FACIAL EXPRESSION AND ALSO THE QUALITY OF THE MOVEMENT. WE THEN DISCUSS THIS IN CLASS AND APPLY IT TO THE VARIOUS EXERCISES.
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