Course Descriptions & Curriculum

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CHILDREN’S DIVISION :           

The Children’s Division is designed for young students ages three to six.
Classes are offered by age and are carefully developed in accordance with a child’s physical and cognitive abilities. Children are placed in a safe and nurturing environment, and parents are invited to watch class four times per year. Placement is at the discretion of the Ballet West Academy director.
Summer classes are available for all levels.

Dance Discovery
Age 3  (As of Sept.) One class per week.
                        
Dance Discovery is an interactive class where children and can discover the joy of movement. We believe a child’s (and parent’s) first experience with dance should make a positive and lasting impression. Students have fun in a safe, creative and nurturing environment.

Pre-Ballet
Age 4 (As of Sept.) One class per week.        

Pre-Ballet is a creative movement class with a ballet emphasis. Classes are designed to encourage students to explore the elements of dance with a focus towards ballet in a fun and nurturing environment while setting the stage for future training.

Ballet Basics
Age 5 (Kindergarten)  One Class per week                    
Ballet Basics is an exciting introduction to classical ballet techniques. Boys and girls gain an awareness to ballet basics through a creative process that allows each student to experience their passion for dance. Activities vary weekly and focus on developing fundamental motor skills, strength, rhythm and coordination. In a creative setting, children learn self expression, self discipline and respect for others.

PREPARATORY DIVISION:

The Preparatory division is for students ages 6-11
Classes are offered by age and are carefully developed in accordance with a child’s physical and cognitive abilities. Children are placed in a safe and nurturing environment,
and parents are invited to watch class several times per year. Placement is at the discretion of the Ballet West Academy director.
Summer classes are available for all levels.

PREPARATORY 1                        
Age 6 (first grade) One class per week.

Preparatory 1 is the bridge between a creative format and a more formal structure to ballet class. It is in this level that we begin the systematic approach to classical ballet training defined in the Ballet West Academy syllabus. Basic ballet terminology and music awareness are introduced . Students continue to explore creative expression, refine motor skills and gain strength and coordination. Children are encouraged to practice self discipline, resulting in a respect and safety for self and others.

PREPARATORY 2                
Age 7 (second grade) Two classes per week.

Preparatory 2 defines the formal structured approach to classical ballet training.  The student identifies and demonstrates knowledge of the body as an instrument by refining movement skills and coordination. Students gain a basic understanding of French vocabulary (ballet terms), a simple anatomical awareness as it applies to ballet, and nutritional (“food for fuel”) concepts. Structured body conditioning and flexibility exercises are introduced as well as an expanded knowledge of syllabus exercises. Students continue to explore musical awareness and learn simple elements of Character dance.

FOUNDATIONS 1
Ages 8-10 Three classes per week.

Foundations 1 is the introduction to the fundamentals of classical ballet technique building to levels of advanced beginner skills. The focus during these formative years of training is on traditional classical ballet techniques as defined in the Ballet West Academy syllabus, which must be demonstrated in the form of a simple evaluation at the end of the school year. Students improve their understanding of ballet terminology and increase their awareness of anatomy, posture and correct alignment (proper terminology is encouraged). We begin to emphasize musicality, and further develop strength, coordination and flexibility.  Students participate in the Ballet West Gala event in the Fall season as well as the Ballet West Academy Spring production.


FOUNDATIONS 2
Ages 9-11 Four classes per week.

Foundations 2 is a continuation of Foundations 1.  After successfully demonstrating the required elements to progress to Foundations 2, students now focus on expanding their knowledge and perfecting the skills that they have acquired. Students begin a more in-depth exploration of locomotor skills and gain control of posture, alignment, strength, coordination and flexibility. During this progression, students become aware of the long-term goals inherent to classical ballet training. We foster each child’s natural abilities and encourage their continued passion for dance. Progress at this level is rated by an evaluation demonstrated to the Academy faculty at the end of the school year. Because of the age span of this level, it is not unusual for a student to repeat Foundations 2. Students participate in the Ballet West Gala event in the Fall season as well as the Ballet West Academy Spring production.

MIDDLE DIVISION:

The Middle Division is designed for students ages 10-13. Placement is by audition which can be arranged with the Ballet West Academy director. Promotions are considered on an individual basis and determined in part by an examination demonstrated at the end of the school year and evaluation by the Ballet West Academy director and principal faculty. Students in this division can expect to spend more than one year in each level.

ELEMENTARY 1
Ages 10-12  Five classes per week. (four days per week)

Elementary 1 is the first level in the middle division of the Ballet West Academy. Training at this level intensifies as students prepare for the rigors of daily classes. Upon placement in Elementary 1, students begin to experience the satisfaction of a more comprehensive knowledge of the Ballet West Academy syllabus, and the ability to execute it’s principles. The emphasis in this level is the development of the “whole child”. Along with continued progress in their physical development, students enjoy a more detailed curriculum. Weekly classes in Character dance and body conditioning are offered. Pre-pointe exercises are introduced and boys continue with boys class. Seminars are also offered in health and nutrition. Students participate in the Ballet West Gala event in the Fall season as well as the Ballet West Academy Spring production.

Students in this level are highly encouraged to participate in the Ballet West Academy summer pre-intensive dance camp. Summer camp affords the student the opportunity to take multiple classes several days per week. Ballet technique, pre-pointe, boys, classical variations, jazz, modern, conditioning, ballet history and stagecraft are some examples of summer camp classes.  

ELEMENTARY 2
Ages 11-13 Six classes per week (five days per week)

Elementary 2 is the top level in the middle division of the Ballet West Academy and prepares the serious dance student for entrance to the Upper School. Students in this level begin to understand a commitment to excellence and the desire to achieve their “personal best”. It is at this stage in a child’s training that we begin to see them emerge as young artists. We continue to build on each student’s natural abilities while emphasizing strength, stamina and technical accomplishment. In addition to technique, character and conditioning classes, the students add jazz and repertory to their program. Boys continue with boy’s class while girls at this level are carefully evaluated and typically placed on pointe. With support and guidance students progress at a pace tailored to match their individual needs. Students participate in the Ballet West Gala event in the Fall season as well as the Ballet West Academy Spring production.

Students in this level are highly encouraged to participate in the Ballet West Academy summer pre-intensive dance camp. Summer camp affords the student the opportunity to take multiple classes daily, directly impacting a student’s readiness to progress to the Upper Division. Ballet technique, pointe, boys, classical variations, ballet repertory, jazz, modern, conditioning, ballet history and stagecraft are some examples of summer camp classes.

UPPER DIVISION

The Upper Division is designed for students ages 13-18. Placement is by audition which can be arranged with the Ballet West Academy director. Promotions are considered on an individual basis and determined in part by an examination demonstrated at the end of the school year and evaluation by the Ballet West Academy director and principal faculty. Students in this division can expect to spend more than one year in each level.

Summer dance training is an integral part of the serious student’s curriculum. Several options are available to the student of the Upper division and should be discussed with the Academy director.

INTERMEDIATE LEVELS
Ages 13-16 (exceptions are at the discretion of the Ballet West Academy director)

Intermediate 1 and 2 make up the academic levels of the Upper Division. Upon completing the elementary requirements of training and successfully demonstrating appropriate skill level and maturity, students are ready for a more intense and challenging course of study. Female students at this level must show a structural capacity for pointe work and all students must possess ample strength and stamina. Intermediate 2 students add yoga, and variations to their schedules. All of the classes in our comprehensive curriculum are designed to best provide the skills necessary to pursue a career in dance. We believe in a healthy and nurturing approach to the development of each student. As the level of difficulty increases, so does the passion for the pursuit for excellence. As a result, every student’s advancement through the program is based on their ability rather than their age.  Students participate in the Ballet West Gala event in the Fall season as well as the Ballet West Academy Spring production. In addition Intermediate 2 students perform in the Ballet West Academy Winter Invitational.

ADVANCED LEVELS
Ages 13-18 (exceptions are at the discretion of the Ballet West Academy director)

Advanced 1 and 2 comprise the top levels of training at the Ballet West Academy. Students refine their classical ballet techniques, pointe, Pas de deux and men’s techniques as well as contemporary movement themes. Students become fluent in the French vocabulary and gain an in depth understanding of anatomy and it’s application to dance especially in the prevention of injury.  Students understand and practice healthy nutrition. In addition to a high proficiency in technical skills, students demonstrate a working knowledge of ballet theory, explore musicality, expression and freedom of movement. Students also have the opportunity to test their choreographic ideas in various workshops and may experience assisting in conditioning class. Unique to the Ballet West Academy is the opportunity for advanced students to take classes and receive personal coaching from the artistic staff of Ballet West.  Students participate in the Ballet West Gala event in the Fall season and Ballet West’s The Nutcracker. In addition advanced students perform in the Ballet West Academy Winter Invitational, as well as the Ballet West Academy Spring production.
Students are evaluated yearly in the form of an exam demonstrating their progress and potential to the Ballet West Academy director, principal faculty and Ballet West artistic staff.

PROFESSIONAL TRAINEE DIVISION

The Ballet West Academy Professional Training Division was created in 2009 by Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute for the purpose of extending a dancer’s formal training post graduation. This elite and talented group of young dancers experience an expanded schedule of technique classes, rehearsals and coaching in addition to regular Academy classes.
It is the intent of the Academy director, faculty and artistic staff of Ballet West to provide the highest caliber training with a universal approach to insure that each dancer is prepared to take their place in an ever changing dance world. Upon completion of the Trainee program these dancers posses all of the qualities necessary to dance in Ballet West II or many other outstanding dance companies around the world.

Trainees participate in Ballet West and Ballet West II rehearsals and tour with Ballet West for Children, participate in the Ballet West Gala event in the Fall season and Ballet West’s The Nutcracker. In addition trainees perform in the Ballet West Academy Winter Invitational, as well as the Ballet West Academy Spring production.

Trainees are selected by audition and at the invitation of Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute. If you are interested in being considered, please contact Ballet West Academy to arrange a time to audition for the program.