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ARBTA offers Ballet Examinations from Preliminary to Advanced II and aims to support teachers throughout. Following the Vaganova and Legat training systems, the ARBTA Russian Ballet programme of study provides teachers and dancers with a progressive, classical education. The syllabus offers a curriculum for all levels. From the absolute beginner to professional. The programme of Study is a guide for teachers to compose their own examination or assessment class to be prepared 6 weeks before the event. This encourages versatile, perceptive dancers equipped for future industry demands. Candidates should be able to perform all required movements specified for their level and teachers should ensure these movements are arranged in suitable exercises following the class format. ARBTA offers teachers two forms of assessment:
- The General Graded Examinations in Russian Classical Ballet are available for Grades 1 to 8 and are accredited by the Graded Qualifications Alliance (GQAL). GQAL is an Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) regulated awarding organization. Examinations are examined by an ARBTA examiner.
- The Class Assessments, available for Preliminary to Grade 8, are led by the teacher and assessed by an ARBTA examiner. The General Graded Examinations and Class Assessments follow the same Programme of Study for each level. For examinations, certification of the qualification is awarded by GQAL based on the ARBTA Programme of Study. For class assessments, certification is awarded from ARBTA based on the ARBTA Programme of Study. There are no set exercises for either schemes of assessment.

This page offers members resources to help with examinations as well as teaching the syllabus. Simply click on the subject below and you will find answers to any questions you may have. If you need further guidance on any subjects, please do not hesitate to email

Accompaniment – Although we all love a live pianist, ARBTA understand this is not always possible. Therefore teachers may use recorded music for classwork and examinations. There are a range of wonderful ballet class albums for all levels available on a number of different apps. Teachers may use their own choice of music for classwork and examinations, appropriate to the level and understanding of the grade. It is expected that musical understanding develops parallel to the progression of the grades and teachers are encouraged to use a wide range of time signatures, tempos and styles. Teachers must ensure they possess the PRS (Performing Rights Society) and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) Licenses to play music for their dance classes and examinations in the UK. For teachers overseas, please ensure the equivalent license is obtained. Set music from other examination boards is strictly prohibited.

How many candidates can be entered in an examinations This depends on whether you are taking the ARBTA/GQAL Examinations or the ARBTA Assessments. For Grade 1 to 8 examinations, there must be only 3 candidates per a group. If there is an odd number, 4 candidates may be entered in a group. However, this is an exception only (for example, if there are 12 candidates entering Grade 3, this should be divided into 4 groups and not 3 groups. If there are 13 candidates, the 4 th group may contain 4 using the exception). For class assessments up to 6 candidates may be entered into one group. However, this depends on the size of the studio.

How will my examination be marked? Examiners - Whether you are doing examinations or assessments, these are all assessed in the same way by ARBTA trained examiners. ARBTA examiners train throughout the year to ensure all candidates are marked fairly and in line with the Regulated Qualifications Framework requirements. Standardisation is used to ensure standards nationally and worldwide are adhered to. Level Descriptions – Levels descriptions are a guide to the qualities and level of performance that candidates achieving a particular grade are expected to demonstrate. They remain the same for both examinations and assessments. The overall achievement necessary to match these descriptions will have been demonstrated by a candidate awarded Ballet Updates - The ARBTA Ballet Preliminary to Grade 8 Programme of Study is available to purchase – use the blurb from the syllabi and specifications page for now on any ballet aspects - We could also put updates on her on performances or useful programmes that are available a Pass. Candidates achieving a Pass with Merit or a Pass with Distinction will have matched and exceeded the qualities of performance described. Candidates achieving 95% and above for either a Class Assessment or General Graded Examination will be awarded the ARBTA Distinction with Honours Certificate.

How do I compose and examination or assessment class? The ARBTA examinations and assessments are not based on set work. This means there are not specific exercises for each level for students to learn and perform. However, teachers must abide by the requirements set in the programme of study. Each grade lists the required steps for each exercise. Teachers will then compose their own exercises based on these steps. Class Composition - Teachers must compose their class to include all requested steps for the relevant grade. Teachers may include other steps from previous grades but should not compose exercises using movements from higher grades. All exercises must be relevant to the grade and level of exam. Using the programme of study, teachers may create their own exercises to demonstrate the syllabus requirements. It is advised that teachers do not set work until six weeks before the examination. Teachers are required to submit a written or recorded example of their class they intend to present to the examiner six weeks before the examination is to take place. When you are composing your class, please keep in mind the level and ability of all students taking the examination or assessment. Do not make the exercises too long as they may exceed the timing allowance for that specific examination. Also, it may be too demanding for the student. The class should be composed to able to the student to perform at their optimum level. Intricate and complex choreography can disadvantage the student as they will focus more on remembering the combination rather than their technical requirements. Students do not gain extra marks for harder steps. They are marked purely on the requirements for that grade. There are no bonus points! Each grade suggests steps that may be combined into an exercise, amalgamation or enchaînement. These are simply suggestions and teachers are free to combine other appropriate steps when composing their class so long as all steps have been included. Each grade also stipulates how many exercises, amalgamations and enchaînements should be used for each component. When composing their class, teacher should adhere to the specified demands for the three Examination Components (or Areas of Study) in the General Grade Examinations in Russian Classical Ballet Specification. Area of Study Barre Exercises may be shorter and more specific to a particular step, performed with barre support. Some steps may be combined where appropriate. Centre (Au Milieu) Amalgamation of steps without the support of the barre. More steps may be combined which may decrease the number of amalgamations but increase the length of each one. Dance Enchaînements and compositions with increasing demands, including combinations of steps from the third section of the grade. When composing their class, teachers should recognise that the Examination Components are not weighted and therefore are of equal importance in terms of their assessment. The Beginning and the End - At the beginning of each examination or class assessment, candidates should line up in numerical order and be introduced by name to the examiner. At the end of the examination, candidates should remain in position (line) until dismissed by the examiner, exiting with a curtsey or bow to the examiner. All candidates should be clearly numbered in accordance with the published timetable. Candidates should enter and leave the examination room in an orderly manner.

What age should my students be to enter examinations or class assessments? The programme of study and specification are designed for candidates from four years of age and onwards. Entry to the grades is not age related and is open to any prospective candidate who has the physical capability to safely undertake the study requirements. There is an expectation that the quality and artistry of the work will increase along with the complexity of the exercises as the grades progress. Teachers and candidates are required to follow the rules and regulations for examinations maintained in the ARBTA & GQAL Handbook and Specification.

Class Assessment or Graded Examination? As a teacher you are able to pick between these 2 ways of assessment. Both use exactly the same programme of study and marking system. The expected standard for class assessments and graded examinations is exactly the same. We would advise teachers to enter the graded examinations where possible and use class assessments for specific cases where a candidate may need more support or guidance. The General Graded Examinations in Russian Classical Ballet are available for Grades 1 to 8 and are accredited by the Graded Qualifications Alliance (GQAL). GQAL is an Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) regulated awarding organisation. Examinations are assessed by an ARBTA examiner. The 8 grades cover Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) levels 1 to 3. Teachers must adhere to all requirements in the General Grade Examinations in Russian Classical Ballet Specification, the ARBTA & GQAL Dance Handbook (Teacher & Centre Handbook) and the ARBTA Ballet Programme of Study for Preliminary to Grade 8. The Class Assessments in Russian Classical Ballet are available for Preliminary to Grade 8. These are led by the teacher and assessed by an ARBTA examiner. Teachers must adhere to all General Graded Examination requirements unless specified below. For General Graded Examinations candidates are expected to know the exercises the teacher has composed and must be able to perform the exercises without prompting. Teachers may accompany candidates into the examination room to present their class but may not interfere with the process of the examination in any way. Teachers are not allowed to correct or prompt candidates in any way. This includes musical prompting. Therefore, all a teacher may do is to introduce each exercise verbally. For Class Assessments Teachers must still adhere to the General Graded Examinations regulations in relation to the composition of the Class Assessments. The Programme of Study, Areas of Study, Level Descriptions and requirements regarding accompaniment remain unchanged. However, candidates will not be expected to know all the exercises the teacher has composed to the same extent as the General Graded Examinations. Teachers may accompany candidates into the examination room to present their class and may prompt candidates with counting or exercise content. Teachers may also practice some exercises without music, but must keep in mind the maximum duration of the assessment. Teachers may not interfere with the process of the assessment or correct candidates in any way.

How long should the examinations or assessments be? It is important to stick to the timetable on the day of the examination. Duration of Examinations - When composing their classes, teachers must keep in mind the time limits for each grade.


The ARBTA Ballet Preliminary to Grade 8
Programme of Study is available to purchase

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