Level Requirements and Ballet Syllabus

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We annually evaluate students with a three page summary of their technical and artistic abilities, their strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, vocabulary proficiency, and level placement for the next school year. It takes meticulous consideration and time, so there is also an annual $40 placement fee. The extensive evaluation is incredibly beneficial, and encouraging to students. It gives parents some objective understanding of level placement, and it adjusts the students’ short-term and long-term goals so they can effectively target their weaknesses and develop their technique and artistry. The evaluated qualities include:

Technique | Alignment | Artistry/Quality of Movement | Teachability/Humility | Musicality | Flexibility | Strength

Individualized notes on areas of strength | Observed barriers to success | Additional feedback from the Directors

Novice Division

Pre-Ballet

  • Prerequisites: Age 3-4 years old, potty trained.

This is our most popular beginner ballet class! Pre-Ballet is an introduction to dance for toddlers. It is an hour long and begins with stretching on a yoga mat. We use fun teaching methods to provide cross brain integration and develop awareness of space, time and weight. Our goals and catch phrases include: “focus my eyes, focus my mind, focus my body,” “let’s walk in a circle. How can we walk lightly? Heavily? Small? Big? Fast? Slow?”... learning to count 1-8 in French, learn to listen and respond quickly to directions (ie. if you can hear me, touch your nose!), learn the positions of the feet, walk in a straight line (balance), and pattern recognition. Along with these competencies, we use connective imagination to incorporate aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Our curriculum offers multiple platforms to engage in fine motor movement and develop gross motor skills. It is a fun way to impress the value of discipline, the joy of dancing, and to reward good listening skills. Children this age function well with a routine, so we introduce concepts slowly, and have several repetitive exercises to look forward to at the beginning and end of every class. The class begins with creative, meditative deep breathing exercises and ends with an energetic game or free dance segment.

*Additional comment from the directors: We value punctuality to respect our clients’ time and to promote the safety of our students. However, we also know that toddlers are unpredictable and it can be a ridiculous feat getting them anywhere on time. This class will start five minutes late to allow for life’s cruel ketchup disasters, potty accidents, and itchy sock meltdowns, because toddlers and parents deserve understanding when life throws its poorly-timed lemons.

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Junior Amateur Division

Ballet I

  • Prerequisites: 5-6 years old

Our dancers in this class begin with a traditional bow to the teacher and a few light stretches. We transition the students from the Pre-Ballet routine by incorporating challenge and rewards: first they learn a step from the essential vocabulary of ballet: plié, battement tendu, dégagé, grand battement, retiré, soutenu, chaîne, relevé. Their focus is rewarded by playful opportunities: to “melt into a puddle,” “take three monster steps,” or “jump over a crocodile.” Once they have completed the building blocks of ballet, the class spends the leftover time in a creative game (ie. “freeze dance,” “amazon escape,” or in using props, ribbons, or jump ropes). This age gets lots of variety to keep dance interesting and fresh. We conclude with a formal bow.

Ballet II

  • Prerequisites: Age 6+

This class has more expectations, but it remains as fast-paced as Ballet I. Expanding the students’ ballet vocabulary, we remind them of the names of each step and ask them if they know the French and English meaning. They should master all six basic positions of the body, and be introduced to the first three port de bras and épaulement (subtle use of head and shoulders). Vocabulary increases to include: petite battement, pas de bourrée, échappé, sauté, passé, pas marché, pas de cheval, pas de chat, développé, glissade. Introduction to directions of the room and the body: croisé, devant, derrière, écarté, de face, en face, en arrière, en avant, a terre, en l’air, en dehors, en dedans.

Ballet III

  • Prerequisites: Age 7+

This class aims for consistency in elemental vocabulary: first arabesque, battement tendu, dégagé, plié, port de bras, détourné, frappé, fondue, rond de jambe, grande battement, petite battement, pas marche, basic pas de bourrée, balancé, développé, retiré, pique, chaîne, chasse, changement, sauté, pirouette, port de bras 1-4. Ability to recognize directions of the room and the body: croisé, devant, derrière, écarté, de face, en face, en arrière, en avant, a terre, en l’air, en dehors, en dedans.

Ballet IV

  • Prerequisites: Age 8+ Transitional level to intermediate.

Class goals are to know elemental vocabulary, temps lié, pas de cheval, epaulemente, tomber, master the directions of the room and the body: croisé, devant, derrière, ecarté, de face, en face, en arrière, en avant, a terre, en l’air, en dehors, en dedans. Familiar with all four Vaganova arabesque positions and Cecchetti third arabesque. Learning intermediate jumps and turns: pas de chat, pas de basque, glissé, jeté, assemblé, temps levé, grand jeté, russian pas de chat, chinese changement, increase complication: double pirouette, double pique turns, petite allegro en tournant, balancé en tournant, port de bras 1-6. Dancers will learn and be expected to remember the difference between Romantic and Classical Ballet and name at least one famous ballet.

Ballet V

  • Prerequisites: Age 9+  Must know ballet vocabulary through Ballet IV and have a minimum of one year ballet education. Required to have their right, left, and center splits. Additional enrollment in Pre-Pointe, Beginning Pointe, or private lesson once a week is required.

Adage: promenade, développé, fondu, promenade, arabesque penché in center. Turns: pirouettes en dedans and en dehors, pique en dedans and en dehors, fouetté, emboîté, increase pas de bourrée vocabulary. Intermediate/Advanced Jumps: Introduce beats into jeté and sauté, ballonné, ballotté, pas de basque, saut de basque, tour jeté, assemblé en tournant, grand jeté, saut de chat, petite allegro changing directions, introduce brisé, and variations.

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Pre-Professional Division

  • Prerequisites: Minimum three classes a week. Additionally required to enroll in Pointe, Pre-Pointe, or a private lesson once a week.

Ballet VI

  • Prerequisites: High intermediate. Dancer must be able to listen and repeat combination steps without needing any demonstration, know ballet vocabulary through Ballet 5, and have right, left, and middle splits.

We introduce technically difficult steps: temps de cuisse, temps de flèche, rond versé, brise volé, faille assemblé, sissonne, fermée, jeté entrelacé, gargouillade, grand jeté en tournant. Pirouettes en dedans and en dehors in several positions: raccourci, a la second, attitude devant, attitude derrière, arabesque, tear drop, fouetté turns and jumps. Increase difficulty for: pointe work, grand allegro and adage.) Variations from famous ballet repertoire.

Ballet VII

  • Prerequisites: Age 13+ Advanced - Proficient in French vocabulary through Ballet VI, required to take one pointe class a week.

Learn to listen to French vocabulary and repeat steps without demonstration, begin reversing combinations without assistance, practicing ballet technique in soft and pointe shoes, learning romantic and classical variations.

Ballet VIII

Prerequisites: Age 15+ Advanced Pre-Company - This is aimed at students who want to be professional dancers. Ballet VIII participants will be expected to audition for summer intensives; not expected to attend them.

This group will be pushed and corrected with more intensity than Ballet VII. Dancers in Ballet VIII will be required to execute full ballet terminology. They will learn difficult pointe technique, partnering, and will often be encouraged to study or examine extra curricular education: stage makeup, injury prevention, athlete nutrition, cross training (swimming, martial arts, weight lifting, etc.), contemporary or modern dance, performance opportunities, master classes, auditions, or teach the Pre-Ballet classes. We also extend the offer of an exit interview, letters of recommendation, and suggestions for career placement.

Pre-Pointe Students wishing to participate in the intermediate and advanced levels of ballet need a guided transition into training in pointe shoes. This class is for students in Ballet IV and up (or by personal invitation) to prepare for pointework. Through 3D anatomy and muscle images, props, and specialized exercises, our teachers educate your child on proper technique for flexion, extension, and use of their muscles to help them safely dance. We spend a portion of class time on yoga mats using therabands, drawing circles with our ankles, doing core/abdominal exercises, etc. We continue with a relevé sequence, practicing calf raises and achilles tendon stretches to develop healthy ankle and lower leg muscles. We spend the last segment of class discussing pointe technique, anatomy of a specific muscle, or learning a variation to practice the principles in the center. This class requires multiple tools to build strength through pilates and physical therapy exercises. Required tools: blue theraband, small t-hand towel, yoga mat, tennis or lacrosse ball.

Our students do not go en pointe until parents have consulted with one of our directors. When we determine that a student is old enough, strong enough, and has the desire to train en pointe, we make a fitting appointment at Queen of Hart’s Dancewear. Their professional shoe fitter and our Pre-Pointe or Ballet Technique instructor are both required to be present at the fitting.

Beginner/Intermediate Modern

Prerequisites: Age 8+

This art form originated from Isadora Duncan, Doris Humphrey and Martha Graham. We begin with warmups in the center: “paint the room,” isolations, and by rolling through the spine to increase back mobility. Modern dance is very grounded, connected to the floor, and utilizes pedestrian movement. We practice a variety of walks, runs, slides, and floor work, triple step, turns, tilts, leg swings, laterals, and structured choreographic expression. Using the principles of Fall and Recovery, and Contract and Release, our dancers get a fantastic sample of modern technique. We participate in annual recitals, so we learn choreographed sets involving not only the execution of steps, but also incorporating basic partner work, formation changes, and musical principles, i.e. canons and crescendos.

Advanced Contemporary

Prerequisites: Age 13+ | Expected to have already taken one year of Modern Technique

This is an advanced class that incorporates modern technique with ballet vocabulary. Beginning with exercises from Horton technique and Countertechnique, the dancers build onto their Graham and Humphrey principles of  Fall and Recovery, and Contract and Release. The bulk of class time is spent practicing floor work and in learning choreographed sets, or combinations, in order to become more versatile in their technique and ability. Several ballet companies require the ability to dance “contemporary” pieces, and it is a highly subjective prerequisite. The baseline for these students is to be able to learn quickly and “just go for it” with combinations that feel unnatural or outside the ballet box.