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Author Topic: Ballroom medals and medal exams  (Read 1271 times)
phoenix13
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« on: May 09, 2013, 02:13:29 PM »

I was just reading through one of the many interesting blogs in the bloggy spot, when the subject of medals came up.  It's really fun, but in all the PDO threads I've read so far, I've only seen two people mention medals, directly or indirectly, and both were medals in New Vogue.  this made me curious.

Do/have any of the people here participated in a medals program?  If so, which one?  Was it a teacher or a student certification?  How useful or not useful do you think medals are? And how do they work where you are?
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elisedance
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2013, 02:41:53 PM »

Initially I thought you meant those metal discs we hang round our necks to show off our 5th place out of 5 couples Cheesy

I've never come accross medal tests either here or back in MD though I've read about them and one of our members - in Australia - used to report on her expolits trying to pass her medals.
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phoenix13
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 10:42:39 AM »

Here, a lot of franchise studios have internal medal exams to validate their students' progress.  With independent studios,it's entirely up to the pro, who has to jump through hoops to arrange for a visiting examiner to come and administer the medal exams. ETA:  There are several examiners in the US, but not nearly as many as one might thik, so long distance travel is often required.  For example, the last time I checked, the closest USISTD examiner was about 400 miles away from here.

 I've taken some student exams through the USISTD, which also offers teacher exams.  In retrospect, I'm not sure that the student exams really accomplish much, but, if I were a teacher,  I would definitely pursue teacher certification.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 12:00:27 PM by phoenix13 » Logged

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phoenix13
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 12:02:14 PM »

I should add that I would seek teacher certification from a partial external body such as USISTD.  Even though franchises have internal exams and certifications for their staff, I would want credentials from an externally recognized body, in case I wanted to become an independent instructor, at some point.
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phoenix13
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 12:08:27 PM »

I suppose I should stay on the topic of this thread -- student certifications.  I found the ones  I took at a franchise studio to be largely useless.It ws a foregone conclusion that you were going to pass the exam.  You had to demonstrate your part of the dance patterns.

The ISTD exams were a totally different ball of wax. The examiner was an experienced adjudicator with a serious ballroom resume. It was by no means  a given that everyone would pass. And you had to actually dance at the level, with styling, footwork, etc,considered in your grade.

Overall, though, I think the real value came in the preparation for the exams.
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phoenix13
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 12:37:41 PM »

Wow.  I just checked.  There are only nine examiners in the US, of whom only three administer theater arts exams. 
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phoenix13
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 01:40:57 PM »

And I should add that seven of the nine examiners live on the East Coast.  This is relevant to the costs of the exam, btw.   The exam itself is either free or there's just a nominal charge.  But any travel costs of the examiner have to be defrayed somehow.       That's why the studio where I took my exams made a fairly big deal out of it.  The examiner would come fairly infrequently -- only when a largish group of students was ready.  This was also usually combined with teacher training and/or certification. 
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elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 04:18:41 PM »

wow the P13 topic!  Or maybe there are several P13s on PDO - that would explain the number of postings Roll Eyes

Whats invovled in a medal exam? Knowing basic steps or more?
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phoenix13
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 04:56:11 PM »

I told you I can chat with the best of 'em.  Wink  And I actually haven't had to start many topics; there are so many good ones already. Smiley

What the exams involve depends on whether you're a teacher or student.  The student exam is pretty easy, if nerve-wracking (sp?)  You have to dance an amalgamation of the prescribed patterns at a given level, showing proficiency in tehnique and styling for that level.  Problem?  You're doing it in front of a household name ballroom legend whose been doing this type of thing for decades.  For example, one of the examiners is Frank Regan.   For those who don't recognize the name, here's his bio page.

http://frankreganchoreographer.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=2

I took my exams from Miriam Ellis.  Couldn't find a bio, but here's some information about her.  She's a very nice, encouraging lady, but her exams are no joke.

http://www.examiner.com/article/miriam-ellis-one-of-only-6-us-appointed-istd-examiners-is-an-orlando-resident

The teacher's exam is much more stringent.  You have to demonstrate proficiency in lead and follow parts for the level, know all the precedes and follows, and do a practical in which you demonstrate teaching at that level.  IIRC, there's also a written component.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 06:08:57 PM by phoenix13 » Logged

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elisedance
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 07:49:16 PM »

wow.  I don't know if I can stomach any more exams at this stage - something I finished at 22...
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QPO
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2013, 04:06:51 AM »

medal exams are popular in Australia and if you don't have a partner it is a great way to learn about the dances and improve your technique. The societies run the medal examinations but they must be approved by Dance sport Australia. There are as you would expect pros and cons and I have found that not many if any fail an exam? and I have see some of their performances and I would question that they would be at a standard of the examination passes. ie Bronze, Silver etc.


I have found our dancing has improved since we have started competative dancing and dont think if we had done medals we would have achieved the same results. But if I was single I think I would have gone though the process. Wink
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phoenix13
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2013, 11:13:49 AM »

Yes. I think that medals are largely useless if there's a foregone conclusion you're going to pass, regardless.   But anything that creates a goal-oriented structure can be good, if a dancer chooses to use it that way.
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mummsie
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 01:26:04 AM »

As QPO mentioned medal exams are very popular in Australia.  I have done all but 2 of mine.  They are a very good way of learning routines especially when you don't have a partner.  It also gives you a lot of confidence.  Both my kids have also done extensive medal tests ranging from 5 years old and upwards.  The kids think its great getting a medal or sash and it is good for their self confidence. 

If you do a teaching exam that is a whole different kettle of fish.  You do it privately - just you and the examiner.  That is very scary.  MM
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elisedance
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 02:04:25 AM »

I certainly like the idea of an award system for kids... less of an incentive for adults perhaps
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
phoenix13
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 05:22:44 AM »

I found dancing in front of an ISTD examiner very  ... incentivizing. lol  Other people at my studio opted not to take them at all.  Some people thought medal exams were ridiculous.  Other people stressed out over doing them perfectly. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.    *shrug*  I think they're just one mre tool in your arsenal.  If they motivate you, go for it. If not, no big deal. Smiley
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