Q&A with Monique Hrouda, examiner and Academy Director
Why do kids medal? Without medals testing and advancement, helping students become proficient dancers is like trying to create a jello without a mold. It provides a strong framework upon which they can build. Its a matter or learning the basic language of an artform. The test measures their progress and kids thrive when they make goals and achieve them.
Any other benefits? Yes! It really prepares them to dance and compete in competitions around the country.
Is the test different for each level, Bronze 1, Bronze 2, Silver, and Gold? Yes. Students perform more dances for every level they go up. In our classes, students learn all ten dances in every class, but they tested on just just the waltz and quickstep, cha cha and rumba for Bronze 1. In Bronze 2 they are tested in tango, foxtrot, samba and jive, with spot checks on the other dances, to be sure they are retaining what they have learned. In Silver they are tested in all eight and are required to know two sides of the ballroom in standard instead of just one side that repeats. In Gold they are tested on all ten dances, including the Viennese waltz and Paso Doble. They have been learning these dances all along, but are finally tested at the gold level.
Why is Bronze split into two? The first medal from Bronze 1 to Bronze 2 is split because if the large body of content, which is very new for the kids at that level. There are multiple dances and a lot of discipline.
Can anyone take the tests? Students must be recommended by their syllabus instructor in order to take the test.
What organization regulates these tests? The United States Terpsichore Association, which is an English organization, but has a branch in New York City. There are numerous associations that offer amateur and professional testing for credentials, but the USTA is an excellent choice for our studio. The organization is well represented by credible dance professionals across the country.
What does “Terpsichore” mean? It actually means “delight in dancing.” Terpsichore is actually a Greek goddess. She was one of the nine Muses and the goddess of dance.
How did you become an examiner? You have to be nominated to become an examiner. I was nominated in 1999 and finished my last exams 2001 right around the time my daughter was born. There are only about 15 of us in the United States.
When did you start offering tests for PBD students? Before I worked here [at Pacific Ballroom Dance}, Lynne Boudreau, who was the Academy Director, invited me in to do testing for the kids. I actually gave Lynne exam, and she wanted to get the kids the same opportunity, to help them feel motivated. She wanted to build structure for them and motivate them to improve.