About | Curriculum | Performances | Trainee Program | Faculty | Summer Intensive | Children’s Summer Programs
Western Ballet’s graded program is designed to take young students from their first dance experiences to performances of a pre-professional caliber. The students advance according to their individual development following the school’s methodology and syllabus. Students in Ballet I – VIII are required to participate in a final examination ballet class each year. The grading of the students is based on the final examination at the end of the school year, which is comprised of the final ballet class (memorized) and a written portion on the history of ballet. In this examination, the students’ progress is measured based on their understanding of some elementary concepts, as well as on their knowledge and execution of the ballet steps for their current year. The examination also considers work ethics and presentation. The examination results will also include attendance to class and rehearsal for the year and an informal artistic evaluation of the previous show. The examination is performed by the Artistic Office and the main instructor. It is not unusual for a student to remain in Ballet V for more than one year – this is done for the safety of the student to prevent injuries due to the technical level required, and the pointe work proficiency demands of this ballet year.
The Introduction to Ballet through Pre-Ballet IV years aim to stimulate young students, and maintain their interest in the art of classical ballet. These preparatory years give the students the foundation for the more rigorous pre-professional program – by introducing them to musicality and rhythm, some basic foundation positions and steps, group pattern routines, the language of ballet, and gymanstics for ballet for flexibility and strength. This foundation is essential to make a successful transition to study in the pre-professional environment.
Ballet I through VIII offers an intensive training program designed to channel talents of the serious student along a professional route from the studio to the stage.
Students in the graded program are placed in the corresponding ballet curriculum year (I – VIII) most appropriate for their age, as described here. Each year is designed to meet the instructional needs of students’ development according to the school’s syllabus and methodology. This ensures that the teaching of technique and the building of stamina and discipline parallel the physical and emotional readiness of the student.
When students develop through the school’s curriculum, there is an increase in commitment from both the student and faculty. The performing opportunities increase, and the students receive the attention and training required from the instructors and ballet masters. The upper division (Ballet V – VIII) of the program integrates classical, neo-classical, and contemporary styles of dance in the performances, which contributes to the development of a well-rounded artist.