Students are placed in the Ballet most appropriate for their age. Each division is designed to meet the instructional needs of students according to their Ballet of development. This ensures that the teaching of technique and the building of stamina and discipline parallels the physical and emotional readiness of the child.
Introduction to Ballet
(Ages 3 – 4, One class per week, 45 minutes)
This class is designed to develop basic motor and musical skills through exploratory and creative movement. Students are also introduced to classroom behavior typical of ballet class. Class length is specifically designed for the behavioral development and attention span of the 3 – 4 yr old. Must be potty trained.
(Ages 4-5, One class per week, 45 minutes)
Introduces the young student to dance, music and basic tempos. Teaches the students the relationship between body and movement, introduces concepts of spatial relations while moving, basic dance movement, pantomime and storytelling.
(Ages 5-6, One class per week, 45 minutes)
Young students continue their introductory work in learning about dance, music, and basic tempos. Emphasis is placed on the further understanding of spatial relations while moving, basic dance movements, and using pantomime and storytelling to encourage creativity.
(Ages 6-7, One class per week, one hour)
Introduces the young dancer to his or her first dance experience. Musicality, rhythm and Ballet terminology are introduced. Stretching exercises more specific to muscle groups are introduced
(Ages 7-8, One class per week, one hour)
Introduces students to the discipline and structure that the program will offer. Emphasis remains on rhythm, musicality, ballet terminology, stretching exercises specific to particular muscle groups. Work at the barre is introduced. Children must be at least 7 years old to enroll in this Ballet.
For Pre-Ballet II – IV (Ages 5-8) and Ballet I – IV (Ages 9-13)
One class per week, 45 minutes
This class exposes students to gymnastics exercises and stretches in order to help to strengthen and increase flexibility. This will help students to make greater progress in their ballet technique.
Ballet I – First Year
(Ages 8-9, Two classes per week, Tuesday, one hour, and Saturday, one hour and fifteen minutes)
Rhythm, musicality, flexibility, and discipline continue to be emphasized but learning proper alignment working at the barre with two hands is the primary focus at this Ballet. Work at the barre with one hand is introduced in the second semester.
Ballet II – Second Year
(Ages 9-10, Three classes per week, one hour and fifteen minutes each)
The primary focus is alignment, balance and strength. Many new steps and positions are introduced, and students continue to work on refining technique and flexibility, and developing a sense of work ethic. Proper leg and arm placement and their integration with movement are developed.
Ballet III – Third Year
(Ages 10-12, Three Classes per week plus introductory pointe)
Quality of movement is introduced. Students learn the art of dance, and the commitment required to excel at the art form. Students demonstrating sufficient maturity, dedication, strength, technique, and proper body alignment will be eligible to begin pointe work when notified by the instructor.
Ballet IV – Fouth Year
(Ages 11-13, Four classes per week, technique, pointe)
A significant increase in dedication, self-discipline and time commitment is required. Integration of all aspects of ballet occurs in this Ballet. Students are expected to arrive early to prepare and warm up prior to class. There is continued development of strength and technique, and attention is directed to adagio and pointe work. Students are expected to remain after class to implement corrections noted during class or to work through difficulties experienced with a certain exercise, combination, or area of technique.
Ballet V – Fifth Year
(Ages 12-14, Five Classes a week, technique, pointe, contemporary, character)
Quality of movement, understanding of proper placement and alignment, strong work ethic, self-motivation, and self-discipline are required. Advanced technique and pointe work continue. Ballet V is a transitionary, two year stage. The first year the students are placed to work and perform with the older advanced student of the school. Their roles are limited to corps de ballet for the entire year in order to develop the group dancing skills and strengthen their technique. In the second year the students are given the opportunity to learn and perform group variations. They are also invited to take the Monday contemporary and repertoire class.
Ballet VI – Sixth Year
(Ages 14-15, Six classes a week, technique, pointe, contemporary, character)
The refinement of technique, consistency, increased strength, and artistic development are emphasized. Performance quality and development of a dancer’s art are encouraged and refined.
Ballet VII – Seventh Year
(Ages 15-17, Six classes a week, technique, pointe, contemporary, character)
Special coaching and training assist the dancer with the details and nuances of roles and performing. This Ballet pushes the student to build the strength and skills required of a professional dancer.
Ballet VIII – Eight Year
(Six classes a week, technique, pointe, contemporary, character)
Ballet 8 is an honor grade for students that have met the qualifications of maturity, technical skill, artistic merit, and volunteer contributions to Western Ballet.