Ballet exams are a part of every dancer’s journey to becoming the best dancer they can be. A ballet exam is an opportunity for you to perform all the exercises and dances you have been practicing and refining over the past year. It is the culmination of all your hard work and long hours of training in the studio. For first timers who are not familiar with the process, it can be scary going for your first exam.
Here are 7 tips to prepare for your ballet exam to ensure you are able to dance your best and reduce nerves.
Make sure you have everything you need (or think you might need) for the exam. Pack your dance bag the night before so you aren’t scrambling right before your exam because you forgot your leotard at home.
Here is your dance bag checklist:
- Correct exam attire:
- Ballet shoes
- Pointe shoes (and all accessories such as toe pads, tape, etc)
- Hair kit (brush or comb, hair pins, hair net, hair elastics, etc)
- Any warm-ups you like to wear while stretching
- Sewing kit and extra ribbons
- Water bottle
Present Yourself Well
In addition to arriving prepared and your dance bag filled with everything you will need, ensure you look neat and professional for your exam. This means leotard without stains or discoloration, tights with no runs or holes in them, hair tied securely into a bun, and no jewelry or bright nail polish. Check all your attire the night before when packing your dance bag. Always bring a spare of all items in case there is a last minute accident. Be sure all undergarments – bra or underwear – are hidden underneath your attire. You don’t want the examiner to see your panties peeking out of your leotard – it’s embarrassing and unprofessional. Lastly, all shoe ribbons must be securely tied and knots tucked in. It is unprofessional to have your ribbons come undone during your exam, not to mention dangerous if you trip on them! Try to prevent this by sewing the knot of the ribbon in place.
After you get dressed, warm-up before your exam. Take 10-15 minutes before you enter your exam to warm up and do some light stretching. Your muscles should be warm before you start your exam. Use this warm-up time to also mentally prepare yourself. Go over the order of exercises for your exam so you know what to expect. It should go without saying to know and understand every exercise thoroughly so you can dance at your best!
Greet your examiner politely with a smile. Make eye contact (sometimes, not all the time) with your examiner while you are dancing so you acknowledge him/her. Stand in position while waiting. Have good posture. Thank the examiner after your exam. All these things show you are professional and respectful of the process and the examiner.
Keep a Positive Attitude
If during your exam you make a mistake or forget a step, don’t dwell on it and move on. Remember, everyone makes mistakes! Try not to let one slip up affect your whole frame of mind and your dancing. Pick yourself up and keep pushing forward.
Practice Terminology (as well as your syllabus!)
If you are not so confident in your exam exercises, practice at home until you know each exercise inside and out. This includes both your legs and feet and arms and head! Try going over each exercise with just the legs and feet, and then with the arms and head separately. This way, you are familiar with all parts of each movement. Don’t forget about counts! Knowing each exercise thoroughly will help you dance each exercise your best, and pick up each exercise and carry on if you do make a mistake. Finally, if your exam requires a free enchainement exercise, be sure you are familiar with all the correct terminology for this section of the exam.
Smile and Express Yourself
Finally, be sure to smile during your exam! Smiling can help boost your confidence if you are nervous and show your examiner you are enjoying the process. Express yourself in each exercise by remembering where your focus is. Use your head and eyes! Immerse yourself in the music and use that to showcase your feelings through each movement. Let your personal expression come out when you dance!
Good Luck! Merde! Break a Leg!
As a result of the COVID-19 virus, all TBA students will be doing videotape examinations this year!
Examinations will occur as planned on 15th and 16th April 2020.
Students, please check your exam letter for your correct exam date and time.