Curriculum

Academy of Dance 2021-05-20 _ Image 23_ Low res Final edit copy_edited
Academy of Dance 2021-05-20 _ Image 23_ Low res Final edit copy_edited

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Elementary 2 dancers on Costume Day, 2020
Elementary 2 dancers on Costume Day, 2020

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Creative Movement as Diamonds in The Stone Flower, 2018
Creative Movement as Diamonds in The Stone Flower, 2018

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Academy of Dance 2021-05-20 _ Image 23_ Low res Final edit copy_edited
Academy of Dance 2021-05-20 _ Image 23_ Low res Final edit copy_edited

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Elementary Program (ages 3-8)

Our elementary program, comprising Creative Movement and Elementary 1-2, is designed to prepare students for formal ballet training by building strength, flexibility, coordination, and musicality in a safe, age-appropriate format. Classes are structured to include improvisation and learning through play while teaching the seven basic movements of ballet: plier (to bend), éntendre (to stretch), glisser (to glide), relever (to rise), tourner (to turn), and élancer (to dart).

The weekly class requirements for each elementary level are as follows:

 

Creative Movement (ages 3-4): one 30-minute class

Elementary  1 (ages 4-6): one 45-minute class

Elementary 2 (ages 6-8): one 60-minute class

Students in Elementary 1 & 2 are welcome to take a second class each week.

Autumn Leaves rehearsal for The Seasons, 2019
Autumn Leaves rehearsal for The Seasons, 2019

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Dance of the Hours in Coppelia, 2021
Dance of the Hours in Coppelia, 2021

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Ballet F (now Level 5) dancers, 2019
Ballet F (now Level 5) dancers, 2019

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Autumn Leaves rehearsal for The Seasons, 2019
Autumn Leaves rehearsal for The Seasons, 2019

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Ballet Program (ages 8 and up)

Classical ballet technique is the primary area of study at the Academy of Dance. Our program is designed to train students to the highest levels of technical achievement. Students in this division take classes in ballet technique, body conditioning, pointe, and variations. Additionally, we offer elective classes in jazz, contemporary, character, and modern improvisation for students in our ballet program.

The weekly class requirements for each technique level are as follows:

Ballet 1 (audition required): two Ballet Technique

Recommended Enrichment classes: Jazz, Character

Ballet 2 (audition required): two Ballet Technique, one Conditioning

Recommended Enrichment classes: Jazz, Character

 

Ballet 3 (audition required): three Ballet Technique, one Conditioning, one Variations; pointe work is incorporated into technique class

Recommended Enrichment classes: Jazz, Character

Ballet 4 (audition required): four Ballet Technique, one Conditioning, one Variations, one Stretch; pointe work is incorporated into technique class

Recommended Enrichment classes: Contemporary, Character, Modern Improvisation

 

Ballet 5 (audition required): four Ballet Technique, one Conditioning, one Variations, one Stretch; pointe work is incorporated into technique class

Recommended Enrichment classes: Contemporary, Character, Modern Improvisation

Other Required Classes

Conditioning

Our body conditioning classes are designed to reinforce the principles of proper alignment and correct muscle usage while developing strength and mobility in the whole body. These classes are informed by our faculty's background in Pilates and kinesiology.

Variations

In Variations class, students learn solo choreography from classical repertoire as well as other works. The study of variations helps students develop their artistry and individual aesthetic while building on the technique they learn in class.

Level 5 student in stretch class, 2021

Enrichment Classes

Character

Character dance is a codified technique largely based on various European folk dances that were adapted into classical ballet. Character classes are open to students in technique levels1-5.

Jazz/Contemporary

In today's world, versatility is an valuable skill in every field, and this is especially true in dance. Jazz and contemporary offer dance students the opportunity to utilize their core technique while pushing outside the bounaries of the classical aesthetic. Whether it's Broadway-style jazz or the modern/ballet fusion that is contemporary, our aim is to challenge and engage students while also having fun moving to the music of today. Jazz is open to students in technique levels  1-3 and Contemporary to students in levels 4-5.

AOD dancers in the Mazurka from Coppélia, 2021

Modern Improvisation

Modern Improvisation is a class designed to expand students' creativity,  personal movement style, and understanding of the elements of dance. Rather than  teaching a codified technique, Modern Improv focuses on using improvisation  techniques to guide students in movement exploration. Modern Improv is open to students in technique levels 4-5.

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AOD alumna in a modern improvisation lecture/demo in 2020

Pointe Policy &  Requirements

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Family members watch students get professionally fitted for their first pair of pointe shoes, 2019

At the Academy of Dance, students must pass an assessment in order to begin pointe work. Starting at the beginning of their second year in Ballet 2 or first year in Ballet 3, students are assessed and given an individual progress report showing where they are in their pointe readiness. It is important for students (and parents) to be patient during this process. Children develop at different rates, and pointe work is a specialized discipline that can be dangerous if done with insufficient preparation. Our policy was designed to ensure that every student is well-equipped to start pointe work confidently, with minimal struggle.

 

Parent permission must be obtained before a student starts to wear pointe shoes, and the student must be professionally fitted for their shoes. The Director must approve a student's shoes before they can wear them in class.

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Here are the specific criteria that a student will be required to meet before

beginning pointe work at the Academy of Dance. Our criteria are informed, in part, by renowned dance physiotherapist Lisa Howell.

 

• The student must be age 10 or older by January 1 of the school year in which their pointe training will begin. 
• 
The student must be able to fully point the foot in a straight line, without curling the toes and with the knee fully stretched

• The student must consistently show the following in their syllabus work:

   - correct alignment of the spine, foot, knee, and pelvis

   - natural turnout

   - stretched legs and feet

   - a pulled-up and engaged core

• The student must consistently meet the above criteria in the following steps: fondu to demi-pointe, piqué to demi-pointe, repeated relevés on one and two feet, extended balance on one foot on demi-pointe, and temps levés on one and two feet

 

Please remember that this policy has been instituted to ensure your child's success in pointe work. There is nothing more disheartening than a young dancer who is struggling valiantly to get on pointe, but not succeeding in spite of a lot of effort. It is far safer - and more efficient - to spend extra time preparing for pointe work than to start early and have to keep returning to the basics due to a lack of strength, mobility, or proper placement.