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Are you thinking about taking dance seriously as a career? We've got advice from the experts to help you in Careers.

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We thought you might want to hear from people who have actually taken exams so here's the thoughts of some young dancers.

Want to share your thoughts on exams?
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I've been dancing for 10 years now and still get nervous in exams, I think its more to do with the dance  school I was with before I was rushed through exams and didn't do very well and then feel bad because I let my teacher down.
 
Now I'm in a new dance school which I love and I'm just about to take my exams my Modern and Tap and propebly Ballet and I'm really scared I've been working really hard as I don't want to let my dance teachers down. Also my exams now cost so much my friends is taking her grade 4 Modern and Tap and its costing her £70

Kaylie (aged 16) Hampshire

I did ballet from the ages of 3 and I adored it and worked hard. I made it to grade 3 with top marks then had to stop. I have been doing highland dancing since I was four and although I am not necessarily that good I live for the exams because they challenge me. I am glad that I have because I always pass and have run out of room for awards. Dancing rox and I do freelance stuff at school.

Kerri (aged 14) Scotland

Hey! i'm taking my first majors on saturday! my itermediate tap and inter-foundation modern! i'm so exited! i love going into the exam room and showing the examiner what i've learned and spent so much time trying to perfect! i know i'll be nervous on the day but its so worth it!

Ceri Winrow

I love my dance exams!! There soooo much fun. I am a young Ballroom and Latin dancer and i see it as a chance to show what I can do. I suppose I have extra support though because I have to dance with my male dance teacher! I have been very successful in all my dance exams because I've went in with a big smile on my face and knowing that I am a great dancer (this may sound big headed but I see it as a coping stratagy!) I think the best advice to anyone just starting exams is to just have fun and enjoy the experience.

Joanne Newall (aged 16) Scotland

"I'm doin an exam on sunday. I've been dancing for 9 years and Im 11 years old. Ido loads of things in dancing and I think exams are cool. I've won more then 500 trophies!"

Jemma Page (aged 11) Mansfield

"I have been dancing for 5 years and I have done 18 exams, the experience is nerve racking and exciting simultaneously but I have managed to come out with top marks in 16 exams!"

Michaela (age 11)

"I have been dancing since the age of 4 and up untill the age of 9 I did Tap, Ballet and Character, Disco, Rock and Roll etc which resulted of 3 or 4 examinations a year. Now I do Disco, Ballroom and Latin American and Street Jazz examinations. I do 2 exams a year and I enjoy them very much. I do get nervous sometimes but I try not to worry because the examiner is always very nice and once its done its over! My dancing is my life and nothing will ever change it and I know that exams will always be the way to success!"

Kirsty Samwell (age 15) Kent

"I take ballet and tap exams all the time so I don't get nervous about them any more but i took my first modern exam the other week and got really nervous it turns out I got top marks so now I know what its like I won't get nervous anymore. I also do linedancing competitions! I've been doing them years now so I don't get nervous but I didnt get nervous at my first competition either because i know all i can do is dance my best and if the judges don't like it then thats up 2 them but so far the judges have liked the way i dance! im also a urdang academy associate and im in the English Youth Ballet! and i did a show for urang the other day in a west end theatre and i didnt get nervous because im a confident person. So my advice is be confident dance your best and dont worry what other people think your a good dancer in your own way and go and have fun enjoy yourself! "

Charly (age 13) Nottingham

"I recently did an exam and my mouth went dry, when I had to say good morning it came out as a bit of a croak. I've taken about 10 exams but I get nervous everytime. I always get good marks so I know I don't need to worry. All the examiners are really nice so my advice is try to stay calm and enjoy doing what you do best. I also do festivals and get nervous at them too but when I get up there I really enjoy it so have fun!"

Charly (age 12) Portsmouth (Tap, Modern, Ballet and Jazz)

"I know a lot of people also worry a lot when they are taking the GCSE and AS exams because they are also challenging like most performance exams. Theory is the most differcult to master but once done, is quite an effective tool. The trick is, when you are writing in the exam, remember - to refer back to past repetoire from choreographers and dance companies, examine ALL aspects of the dance including costume, set, lighting and characters, use SIMPLE sentence (marks aren't lost but aren't gained if you babble on) and remember to enjoy what you learn. What you write in the exam, shows what you've learned and that you are committed! Good luck in your written exam everyone."

Alex, Colchester, Year 12 AS Dance (Contemporary)

"Exams are kind of scary, as you don't know what it's going to be like. You don't know the examiner. I took my first exam (pre-bronze medal) in rock n roll back in November and I passed with honours and a mark of 96. Exams aren't scary when you've been there before, you know what to expect. So I can't wait till the next one. So if you are thinking about taking an exam, just go for it, the only thing holding you back is your imagination of how scary they are. When you have passed that level, it gives you something to do until the next level exam, work towards it. Good luck."

Sam

"I took an exam, from grade 5 to grade 6, about 2 weeks ago and I really enjoyed it! The examiner was really nice, and in one exercise our whole grade started frappes in 1st instead of 5th, but because our whole grade did it, she didn't mind and she corrected us and didn't take any marks off, because that's what we had been taught. She said it was obvious to her we knew the work and that we were good and ready to go on pointe next year. I was really thrilled at her saying that."

Hayley (age 13)

"As long as you enjoy dancing and know what you're doing you'll do great. When I was younger my dance teacher rushed us through exams and I got so nervous I would always forget was I was doing, and end up with 'pass-plus'. However, since moving to my new dance school, Ii feel that I enjoy the lessons so much more, and have got 'honours' in my last four exams! Practise is the key, and if you know what you're doing, as soon as you step into the room, you'll feel fine. Just make sure you perform your best to the examiner, and don't forget to smile! If you look like you're enjoying yourself, your grades will increase, trust me!"

Jenny, Surrey (age 15)

"Taking exams is scary but once you start dancing for the examiner your nerves go away. I always enjoy exams because you don't have a Ballet teacher shouting at you and you just do it the best you can! I have just taken my Grade 5 Ballet and I was really nervous especially as I was at the front of the barre, I was worried about forgetting something! I now think that being at the front is best because the examiner knows that you can't be copying anyone else and that you are confident in the syllabus! Just do the best of your ability and ENJOY yourself!!"

Sophie Ford, Kent (age 12)

"I think exams are good because it gives you experience and confidence! I am about to take my Grade 1 exam for Ballet and Primary Tap exam. Exams also make you feel you have achieved something for all the hard work and effort throughout the year. I get nervous at exams but you have to dance your best. Once you have started you start to enjoy it and take no notice of the examiner watching and writing about you. Just show them what you CAN do."

Chloe (age 8)

"I really like taking exams. I think it's fun. I took my last exam on my own at a different school than mine, it was a bit scary at first but once I got started it was OK. I did well and passed with an A. I am looking forward to taking my next exam, it will be Grade 2 Tap."

Helen Goddard (age 10)

"I think exams are really scary but some people don't let exams get to them. I have taken lots of exams in Ballet, Modern, Tap and Jazz but I also do extra lessons like Greek and singing. I also do lots of local festivals and I enjoy doing them. The thing about exams is don't let them get you worried, just think there's no-one else in the exam with you and dance the way you want to dance, don't try to do the same as the person in with you just let them do their thing! Good luck to everyone doing exams, hope you just enjoy yourself."

Luisa, Brighton (age 13)

"I am just about to take my grade 5 exam in ballet. I still get really nervous because I always want to improve on the result I got the time before. Sometimes I get so nervous I start thinking I've pulled a muscle in my leg and it is really painful to walk, but recently I have moved ballet schools and my teacher said that it is a psycological thing. It's like when you really don't want something to happen, your body makes it feel like it's happening so I have to take lots of deep breaths and splash my face with water. But when I get in there I'm fine and I really enjoy it! So anyone who is really worried about their exam, don't be, you will be fine. Just enjoy it!"

Bryony Carpenter (age 14)

"There is no reason to be scared/worried about exams. All you need to do is take a deep breath, go in and dance your heart out. Even if you are nervous try your best not to show it by smiling and charming your examiner. I can't remember my first exam because I was only 3! I have just taken my RAD grade 4 ballet exam and am waiting for my results."

Bethany (age 12)

"I have taken so many exams that the nerves don't seem to bother me as much as they used to. A few nerves is a good thing though....it gets all the adrenaline pumping, and helps u to work your hardest to impress your examiner. I find waiting for the results is almost the most nerve racking part now, as i'm waiting on my modern exam results now...fingers crossed for anybody else taking an exam or waiting for results."

Suz, London (age 16)

"I used to get really scared when I took my exams in Ballet. I used to keep imagining myself messing up completely and feeling like a real dummy! I am now 13 and in my exams I don't get nervous at all. I just treat it like a normal Ballet lesson but work a bit harder than I usually do. I think the more you are nervous, the worse mark you will get because you would be thinking too much about what mark you would get. So, don't worry about the fact that you are being examined, just dance your best - that's all you can do!"

Christabel (age 13)

"I am now thirteen and have taken exams in ballet, tap. modern, national and Jazz. I was five when I took my first dance exam. It was ballet and I was so nervous! My Mum had forgotten the 'wand' for the dance and it arrived at the last minute! Not the best start but the exam went well. However, the more exams I have taken, the easier it has become. It is great to be able to show the examiner how hard you have worked. Even if the exam does not go as planned it is important that you feel that you have done your best."

Danielle Meehan, Holyhead (age 13)

"I like taking exams because it gives you a chance to perform to the best of your ability. When you take exams it's a very nail-biting moment. When you are waiting, all that goes through your mind is that you hope that you get the exercises right. When the examiner rings the bell you instantly smile and put on your dancing mode. All the time when you are in the exam, the examiner is staring at you head to toe pleasantly, while she is writing your results. By the end of the exam you are very worn out and hot. When the music plays for the curtsey or bow, you say thank you. The examiner smiles once again, as you run out of the room. When you are in the changing room your dance teacher is asking you whether the exam went well or not, or did you go wrong, while you are sitting down resting. Then you have a target to reach for your next exam."

Jessica Pye, Norwich (age 12)

 
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