We have many requests from beginners, intermediate and advanced competitive dancers, skaters, and other sports professionals for classes in “Ballet Technique.” We wish to clarify the intention and outcome of these classes.
We do not refer to our classes as “technique classes” as we incorporate technical training in ALL our classes. Nor do we teach classes in “turns and leaps” exclusively as proper training for ALL turns and leaps MUST include strengthening and training in posture, balance and footwork for proper landings.
“So called technique classes or dance camps and seminars tend to be short lived, lacking in focus, and the results are short-lived. When the “dance camp” is over, the students revert to their previous habits. We recommend the following course of study.
We recommend private lessons, when your professional, intermediate or beginner has a specific routine or try-out they are working toward that needs to be perfected. Each one-hour private lesson includes a 15 minute warm-up to insure injury-free training, and 20 to 30 minutes instruction. ($15.00 registration for new students, $50.00 per session). Special classes for groups can also be arranged.
We recommend a try-out class (free of charge) and placement in an appropriate class. To begin ballet training the student MUST be placed in an appropriate class by the teacher OF BALLET. This will be appropriate to the student’s advancement in BALLET, but may not correlate AT ALL with their expertise in competitive dance, hip-hop, jazz, gymnastics, skating or in whatever other sport they have become proficient. Students usually advance very quickly through the levels of Ballet if they have a high proficiency in other forms of dance. However, we often recommend that they begin ballet at the beginning levels for several reasons:
- The use of French for terms and steps
- Formal barre work with which they need some familiarity
- Ballet positions, arm port de bras which is basic to ballet only
- The foot turn out which again is basic to ballet and not other forms of dance. Students are taught control over foot, ankle, and hip alignment.
- The body stance, or holding the back and body over the toes in a “ready” position, with the back straightened
- Ballet steps and combinations in general
- Expression and improvisation: Ballet is the form of dance in which a story is told through body movement, told to music. Often this is new and students are “embarrassed” to express themselves if they have not acted on stage previously.
- Corrections at the moment the student starts a bad habit, not after practicing it. To the student it seems that the class is slower than other classes where they learn a routine and perform it without there being corrections and individual instruction about movements.
- Sessions of classes continue for longer periods of time, which encourage good dance habits, rather than a private or two, after which the student may fall into old patterns again.
It is difficult for the older student to begin Ballet as an advanced dance student, but we have seen remarkable progress made after a session or two of Ballet. We recommend, of course, that students begin at an early age, and continue, along with whatever other dance or sport they prefer, whether or not they continue with their main interest in Ballet.
Those students who decide their main interest will be in Ballet, we recommend classes twice a week after age 8, and entrance into our Kinderballet whenever they feel more comfortable performing. Try-outs are held each September.
We hope this information will be helpful to all students in making their dance training choices.