With ballet exams around the corner, it's completely normal to be feeling a little nervous. Although they can feel scary, ballet exams are an excellent tool to gauge your progress and to receive feedback that you may or may not have heard before. You can treat your ballet exam as a performance. You wouldn't want to be unprepared for a stage performance and a ballet exam is no different! Let's explore some tips on how to prepare to do your absolute best during your exam.
Know Your Exam Class Work
This is one of the most important tips in order to be adequately prepared for your exam. Your teacher will have started working on the material a few months before the actual exam to ensure that there is enough time to learn everything - we won't lie, there are usually A LOT of exercises! Make sure when your teacher goes over the material that you actively engage your brain in order to learn. Find the choreographic pattern in the steps and try and memorise the combination. If you are struggling to remember, sometimes writing down the combination or recording yourself dancing it to come back to later can be helpful. Take time outside of class to go over the exercises - you can even do this in your head!
Once you know your work backwards and forwards, it will be easier to focus on technique and artistry. Your muscle memory will kick in and you can truly perform during your exam rather than struggling to remember what step comes next.
Take Corrections and Remember Them!
Dancers can sometimes take corrections personally and feel that they are not doing well in class if their teacher is on their case. Your teacher wants you to succeed and giving corrections is all they can do to help you do your best in your exam. It's important that when a teacher gives you a correction that you try and apply it. If you do not understand the correction, ask for further explanation. It's also important to listen to corrections given to other dancers in your class. Perhaps your teacher is saying something that you can apply to yourself as well!
You may want to consider starting a journal, keeping track of the corrections you get in class so that you do not forget them. Writing a correction down can help solidify it in your mind so that the next time you perform the exercise, you are working on making the change your teacher requested.
Set yourself a goal or a few goals for your ballet exam. Maybe that's to consistently have good posture during the entire exam? Maybe you want to achieve a clean double pirouette or maybe demonstrating artistry is most important to you? Setting goals like these can help you focus your efforts, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by all the material.
Practice, Practice, Practice
In order to know your exam work and to apply corrections, you must practice! Like anything, the more you practice for your exam, the better it will go. Of course, more studio time is not always an option - this means that you should take it upon yourself to work on your exam material on your own time. If there are any steps or exercises that you are struggling with, take extra time to break them down and work on any elements that may be difficult. You wouldn't go into a test or exam at school without studying during your own time and your ballet exam shouldn't be any different!
Everything we discussed here will help lead you to success during your ballet exam. Les Petits Ballets wants all of their students to succeed and we know that with a little (or a lot) of hard work, everyone can excel and perform beautifully the day of their exam! Keep an eye out for a future blog post about what you should do to prepare yourself on the day of your exam. Happy dancing!