Under the direction of Henry Berg, the Ballet Studio's approach to teaching ballet for children is based on the foundations of the Vaganova syllabus. Agrippina Vaganova was responsible for codifying Russian ballet in the early 20th century. Her model fuses French, Italian, and Russian styles, and emphasizes musicality and adherence to the principles of classical ballet.
The simplicity of the Vaganova method allows teachers to develop a curriculum using a coordinated system of instruction. By removing idiosyncratic styles and focusing on ballet foundations, this method enables students to develop their strengths in a classical discipline. As a result, it is highly successful in reaching young children and fostering their artistic development.
Guest teachers also periodically teach extra classes. Topics may include character dance, Flamenco, dance conditioning, and drama techniques, including musical theater. Classes run in twelve-week sessions in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. We also offer a special six-week summer session, designed specifically for young dancers.
Please note that the Ballet Studio does not assign children to classes based solely on age. Instead, our staff individually meets and assesses each new student during the first class to determine which level will be the best fit.
Our children's curriculum begins with our Pre-Ballet class, which introduces very young dancers (beginning at age 4) to the creativity and expressiveness of dance. Our Pre-Ballet class encourages imagination, musicality, improvisation, and graceful movement. Children practice basic ballet stretches while learning class etiquette and how to follow instructions.
Our Level 1 class is the beginning of structured training in the fundamentals of classical ballet. Children begin to expand their awareness of their own bodies, learning proper posture and alignment. They learn small to medium jumps, and work with both hands on the barre. Students begin to develop “turnout” positions, and gain strength, flexibility, and focus.
In level 2, children add new dance skills, working with just one hand on the bar and adding in arms. They begin work on refining their form and simple technique towards the achievement of precision. Students begin more advanced technique work in their barre exercises and combinations. Girls begin to work on pointe while boys practice “menswork”. Emphasis is placed on consistency and precision.
levels 3 / 4
Advanced students practice advanced pointe work and partnering in a rigorous environment. They begin to explore choreography and learn repertory from famous ballets.