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Day 18 I love their positive attitudes

Last weekend the girls had their annual ballet exams. They practice ballet and jazz purely for the end of year concert. They both enjoy dancing but at the moment it is not their life ambition or anything.

Sitting their exams is not compulsory. In fact I am yet to work out why they are even scheduled as you can advance each level of ballet each year whether you pass, fail or don’t even complete the exams. I wasn’t sure how miss i and miss e would feel about the exams. Two years ago miss i received a high score and went on to be a finalist in the Medal Class. Last year however her examiner failed her by one point. Go figure. And when I say she failed by one point, the pass mark was 40/100!!!! In fact all the girls who sat (?) their exams last year had very low results. Our dance teacher made complaints and was quite outraged but the girls and I shrugged it off and I was more than impressed with miss i’s mature approach to the whole thing. We had a laugh at the examiner’s expense and wondered how he slept at night giving a 9 year old a mark of 39. I mean we needn’t have been rocket scientists to have accepted the fact that a pass mark of just 40 on her report would have told us that she should be discouraged at that point for trying out for the Australian Ballet! Instead it had the potential to bruise her self esteem and discourage her from dancing at all.

Miss e sat her first exams last year also. She barely passed, but it seemed he was a little more lenient on the 7 year olds. She was very nervous about being expected to perform at a greater level this year, and potentially failing.

I left the decision to enter the exams up to them and they both accepted the challenge head on. It makes for a full weekend in the heart of the city with every hair tacked back to within an inch of its life, clean leotards and tights and ballet skirts sewn onto the leotard at the last possible minute (no chance of going to the toilet once sewn in).

The mock exam went for an hour and a half on Saturday and the real exam for an hour each on Sunday (with four hour gap between). They got to sit in the inner city cafe for iced chocolates and muffins with their dance friends and had the best time.

Me however, I got to sit in the Green Room (no viewing exams) and listen to the nervous ranting of a couple of high pressure Ballet Mums who put the future dancing careers of their 8 year olds onto this one exam. They even snuck their girls (set of twins and a singleton) out to the auditions for junior dancers in the upcoming WA Ballet Sleeping Beauty between exams. If I had to hear once more how the one lesson miss R missed through a cold, or the fact that miss E and miss G had private lessons to make up for the two lessons missed while holidaying, I was going to commit hari kari. It was tough work on my part!

 We snuck into the dance studio for a quick photo shoot once the exams were over. The results will take up to a month to be sent out but I love that both our girls are resilient, accept challenges head on and are realistic about their abilities. Most of all, I love that they hang out with like-minded girls and treated it like the fun, girly weekend it was.

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