Repertoire Reflections

The Ballet School in Caboolture reflect on their first experience of Discovering Repertoire.

The Pilot

In 2018 RAD Registered Teachers were invited to trial Discovering Repertoire in their studio. One such teacher is Jennifer Back, Principal of The Ballet School in Caboolture, Queensland. Jenny who wanted to take part in exams, as well as teach the programme to her students, said they all loved the programme so much they just had to share their experiences with others. The Ballet School took their first Discovering Repertoire exams in 2018 and were the first school in Queensland to do so.

As Discovering Repertoire exams became widely available in 2019 we look forward to hearing many more stories from Discovering Repertoire students and teachers.

A Teacher’s Perspective

“Our experience of the new Discovering Repertoire syllabus has been a wonderful new addition to our Royal Academy Program at The Ballet School Caboolture in South East Queensland

My students here enjoyed the excitement of being part of the worldwide pilot program and the journey toward our historic first-ever Discovering Repertoire examinations in Queensland. We are very proud of this achievement especially as it involved such a wonderful cross-section of our students from less experienced to our advanced girls ranging in age from 12 to 59 years of age.

For me after a break of more than 30 years since my last examination, this was a huge and exciting challenge, and one that left me with an enormous sense of accomplishment and joy having taken the examination alongside my own students…especially the challenge of Unit 3 alongside my Advanced students. There were wonderful memories created on this very special day, it was indeed a very uplifting experience that further empowered us physically and mentally.”

A Student’s Perspective

Daihna – RAD Advanced Foundation Student Aged 13

“I am really glad I was given the opportunity to complete all 3 units of the Discovering Repertoire program. I feel these exams were really beneficial for me as a dancer as it enabled me to rediscover and fully understand certain techniques so I could apply them to my training in class to better me as a dancer. I have really enjoyed performing the Discovering Repertoire this year and exploring different genres of ballet within the 3 units.”

Le Houston – Adult Student Aged 30-Something!

As an adult student Discovering Repertoire allowed me to realise my childhood dreams.

The program was challenging mentally and physically but above all it was fun! And I feel like I have grown so much as a person and dancer because of the program..and I have to say I appreciate ballet dancers a lot more! It is really not easy to perform in front of others! 

Delene – Adult Student Aged 59 Years

“The Discovering Repertoire program is lots of fun to learn and enjoyable to perform. A little less jumping and turning at my age would make it easier but it wasn’t a big deal in the end and in hindsight, I enjoyed the examination experience after all the years being away from it.”

Corina  – RAD Advanced 1 Student Aged 14 Years

“This year having the opportunity to participate in the Discovering repertoire exam was truly an amazing experience and I can’t wait to continue with the syllabus. The whole experience gave me the chance to further my technique and performance skills as it broke down each and every step. Overall it was a privilege to be one of the first-ever students to be involved and examined with this program.”

Revisiting Repertoire

Having completed levels 2 and 3 of the programme as a student, teacher Jennifer Back took advantage of some extra time during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to continue her studies and complete Level 4.

“In 2020 with all of its challenges and restrictions my Advanced students had to apply all of their energy into their Advanced 2 preparation, so this meant if I continued with the Level 4 that I would be doing it alone. The Level 4 units involved performing the Odette Swan solo, and the Sugarplum Fairy solo which I knew would demand a very high level of technical proficiency .

It has always been a dream of mine to perform the swan solo (isn’t it every classical dancers dream?) so this fuelled a determination in me as never before. My 55years became irrelevant, and no excuse, and I committed myself to training 3 to 4 hours 5 days per week for the entire year to prepare myself.

I took great care of my body and health throughout the entire journey and on November 28 and 29 I was examined in all 3 units of Level 4 by our visiting examiner Miss Annette Roselli. I believe I was the first (and the oldest J ) to do this and for this I am  immensely proud being a Royal Academy student and teacher my whole life.”  Jennifer Back, Principal teacher of The Ballet School Caboolture in Queensland Australia

Read Jenny’s full account of her experience here