The first half of the summer term was all about focusing on our annual assessments in each of the dance forms in which we train; classical, pas de deux, variations, contemporary and character. The five weeks leading up to the exams were of full-on preparation, but coming from the Lower School I was familiar with the appraisal procedure as I have been through it for the past five years.
A set class is created by the teacher of each dance form that includes the required and expected abilities for our level of training. The exception is for our variations assessment where we choose a solo to perform that is best suited to us personally. We rehearse and perfect the material daily coached by our teachers, who ensure we are fully prepared to perform it in the school’s studio-theatre. The judiciary panel consists of the school’s senior staff and guest former dancers.
I am often asked how I thought the assessments went but it is hard for me to give an answer. I find it difficult to judge my performance in a dance exam situation as often how something felt compared to how it actually looked is very different. I do know that I had better control over my nerves this year and didn’t get as tense as in past appraisals. There are always things that could have gone better, for example turning; you know you can do it but sometimes it just doesn’t go right on the day. However, the unpredictable effect of adrenaline meant that other things went well. One thing I know for sure is that I most enjoyed the pas de deux appraisal. Thanks to the strong partnership my partner and I have developed, we complimented each other well and were simply able enjoy the dancing.
Exams are over, including my A Level French that took place during the same week of our dance assessments. Now we await the marks and confirmation of our progression to 2nd Year training from September – the results will arrive during our summer break. Before then, my favourite part of the year will come. We are leading up to performance time and the Upper School has lots of repertoire in progress. As always, our end of year performances will be at the Royal Opera House during the first two weeks of July.