Dance Advice

Examination Tips 2 by Jacqui Johnson, Triple Examiner

Stand in Line – The Big Day
Well the big day has arrived! 
Whether the occasion is an Examination or a Performance, Preparation and Presentation are, as always, Paramount!

We have dealt with the ‘Preparation’ in a previous issue and now we come to the ‘Presentation’.

Sleek Lines – Your Grooming
Immaculate grooming and a sleek appearance overall are essential aspects of your presentation. Your teacher would be fully aware of the guidelines and regulations in regard to the particular dance style you are showing. However, the following tips would apply to any genre.

Your hair should be neat, with no fringes or ‘bits’ to distract the eye or detract from your demonstration. It should be absolutely secure when you move, especially in pirouettes, turns and leaps. It is a good idea to do a test run in the waiting area to prevent the possibility of hair pins and grips becoming potential airborne missiles when you embark on a series of chaine turns.  An embarrassment to be avoided at all costs.

Sightline – Your Dance Gear
The examiner’s first sight of you should create a good impression. Remember the saying “first impressions count”.
Leotards – should be in excellent condition but should have been worn in class to ensure a good fit and comfort when moving.
Tights – Again these should be in excellent condition (no ladders, holes or pulled threads) but should have been washed and worn in class. It’s advisable to pack a spare pair in case of unexpected snags or ladders.
Dance Shoes – Make sure that these are clean and well fitting. They should also have been worn previously in class. Neat laces in jazz and tap shoes and secure tap plates in tap shoes are a must.
Pointe shoes – Again these should be clean, not new, and should definitely have been well “broken in”. Ribbons should be securely attached to the shoes and drawstrings tucked in at the vamp. After tying the ribbons, it’s a good idea to lightly wet the knot to prevent it from loosening. Tuck the ends in securely; again wetting the ends can assist with keeping them in place.

Sideline – Your Dance Bag
You think your Dance Bag is a sideline but it is important to compile a check list for your dance bag and cross check the items when packing your gear the night before the examination. Include a small sewing kit (with scissors and safety pins) in case of emergencies, together with the regular items, tissues, hairspray, hair grips, small towel, bottle of water etc.

Cross check the scheduled time for your examination on your appointment card together with the time you are expected to register or check-in. Always check the timetables of any transport you will be taking on the day. Allow PLENTY OF TIME for the journey and include an allowance for possible delays. Have contact numbers for the examination centre and your teacher handy in case of unexpected eventualities.

If you have carried out all the foregoing tips you can rest assured that you have followed the motto ‘BE PREPARED’ and you can now approach your examination with confidence!

Next in Line
In future issues I will be giving tips on Exam Etiquette and other topics relevant to the examination process.

Line of Work
Jacqui Johnson, F.C.B.A. C.I.C.B., Cert. IV., F.I.S.T.D.
A Senior Examiner of the Cecchetti Ballet method for over thirty years, and a Senior Triple International  Examiner and lecturer of classical ballet, modern jazz, and tap dance for twenty years. Jacqui is also a Registered Teacher with the Education Department in South Australia and has written dance courses for implementation in educational schools. Jacqui, a former ballet company principal, television and musical theatre dancer and choreographer, performed extensively in Great Britain and Australia prior to returning to her hometown Adelaide to dance and choreograph for television. Together with her husband Kenneth Norman, Jacqui established and co-directed a ballet company “Ballet for All” which presented programmes designed specifically for children during the biennial Adelaide Festival of Arts. The company also subsequently toured the programmes to country centres throughout South Australia. For many years she has travelled constantly throughout  Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand examining teachers and students of all ages as well as conducting lectures and courses. During the past twenty years she has made numerous visits to Taiwan to teach and examine, having introduced teachers to examination syllabi in classical ballet and modern jazz dance. Jacqui is Co-Principal of the Tenison College of Dance, a comprehensive dance school which she founded with her husband, Kenneth Norman in 1966 in Adelaide, South Australia.
Top photo: Students from National Theatre Ballet School’s Onstage Summer School
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