Pre-Ballet Classes of Music and Movement
We accept children from four and a half years of age for these classes as a happy introduction to ballet and dance. Classes encourage a sense of rhythm and musicality to improve co-ordination and attention skills. Children learn and participate through games, action songs, mime and expressive story telling. The class atmosphere is joyful but good manners and listening skills are developed. Children learn to enjoy responding to instructions whilst being kind and considerate to those around them.
From the age of 5 years classes contain more structured movements with dance elements. Children now are encouraged to understand and maintain good posture, to stretch their legs and point their feet. Children listen to more and varied rhythms. By the age of 6 years, classes are recognisably more formal. Movement techniques are given to better prepare the child for a proper ballet class. At this stage children continue to learn simple combinations, from natural movements, such as skipping and galloping. Elements of folk and character dance, naturally enjoyable for all children, are taught with changes of directions and different patterns. These movements are enormously beneficial for co-ordination and discipline, not to mention being fun and challenging for the child.
From roughly eight years of age children are now able to show greater discipline and respect, to take pride in their work and to gain more from each lesson. It is now possible to begin assessing individual capability and suitability for ballet, taking into account the child’s personality, motivation and desire to dance. At this age children with both potential and enthusiasm may be invited to join the pre-vocational programme. Teachers at the school will always advise on the most suitable class for your child. The school staff are eager to encourage happy interest and participation to whatever degree matches the desire of the child. The system is not rigid and there is always opportunity at different ages for all children.
In accordance with the Russian system, children’s classes start on the floor with ballet technique, essential for strength and flexibility. Class then moves to the barre, for the structured technical movements which build posture and accurate placement, whilst the Russian port de bras develops the distinctive poise and supple upper body associated with Russian training. Centre follows the barre where simple combinations develop co-ordination and rhythm. The centre work finishes with jumps essential to the young balletic body.
Open Level Teenagers
These classes are suitable for teenagers and older children who cannot or do not wish to commit to the intensity of the vocational programmes. Such students want to continue ballet recreationally for pleasure and well being. These classes are designed specifically for those only able to take class once or twice a week, standards are not compromised and the opportunity to make progress remains for a sense of satisfaction and motivation. All students are encouraged to have an understanding of and to take joy in these classes. Older children and teenagers are welcomed at any age and regardless of experience.