Ballet NYAB offers ballet instruction using a graded level system. Safe work habits, personal responsibility and concentration are emphasized in all divisions. Students begin by attending classes once per week and can expect to spend more time in the studio as their dance studies continue.
Preparatory Division (PD)
The Preparatory Division offers classes for children ages 3 to 5. The program is a prelude to formal ballet instruction and introduces children to music and movement through a structured progression that stresses creativity and group interaction. Students are introduced to the basic shapes, positions, postures and traditions of classical ballet at the same time that fine and gross motor skills become more refined. This is an excellent and fun introduction to classical ballet and fine arts for any child.
Classes meet for 45 minutes once a week. Children must be three years old by September prior to registration for the fall semester.
Children's Division (CD)
The Children’s Division is the beginning level for learning ballet technique. Through this graded course of study, the students will learn the basic ballet positions, the progression of a standard ballet barre and learning the French vocabulary that defines all of the steps in ballet. Center work away from the support of the ballet barre will begin.
Students progress through these levels similar to grades in an academic school; however, all students move at different rates. Some spend more than two years in one level while the mind and the body learn to work together; some may progress much faster. When the student has learned the ballet technique appropriate for each level and when the student’s body has
become strong enough to accomplish those movements, then at the discretion of the Artistic Director, the student is moved to the next level. Advancement is based on ability, not age. In this way, the student begins to assimilate the layers of knowledge that form the foundation of ballet. The primary levels are the most important levels in ballet as they solidly prepare the student for the rigors of performance.
Within the Children’s Division there is a recommended number of hours per week for each level in order to keep up with the class. The more hours devoted to study each week will generally increase advancement through the divisions more rapidly than those devoting less time to study; therefore, the minimum age requirement can be waived for any given level at the discretion of the Artistic Director.
CD Level I: Students must be six years old by September. Appropriate classroom behavior and etiquette will be expected to foster an environment conducive to learning the start of a classical ballet syllabus. Classes meet for one hour once a week.
CD Level II: Students must be seven years old by September. Knowledge of proper body alignment is required to begin this level of training. Classes meet for one hour once a week.
CD Level III: Students must be eight years old by September. Knowledge of and proper execution of basic barre exercises is required to begin this level of training. Classes meet for one hour once a week.
CD Level IV: Students must be nine years old by September. Knowledge of and proper execution of a complete barre is required to begin this level of training and the student must be physically strong enough to begin working on basic ballet steps in center. Classes meet for one hour once a week.
CD Level V: Students must be 10 years old by September. Knowledge of and proper execution of basic ballet steps in center is required to begin this level of training. The student must be physically strong enough to begin work on combination exercises in the center. Classes meet for one hour once a week.
Student Division (SD)
Students enter the Student Division after successful completion of the Children’s Division syllabus. Repetition and slow careful work is still emphasized with more challenging work being introduced when students are ready to progress. Work continues on body placement, strength building and flexibility. Pointe work is introduced at this level as appropriate. Students will progress to the next level when they have mastered the vocabulary and physical understanding required in the syllabus of their current level. This may be more than a one year process since some students take longer to fully master the material and gain the strength needed in any given level.
Students must be 11 years old by September to enter the Student Division. Basic knowledge and proper execution of a full ballet barre and basic center combinations is required. Classes meet for 90 minutes twice a week. An additional pre-pointe class will be added for those students ready for pointe work as determined by the Artistic Director. Depending on commitment by a student, advancement through the Student Division may or may not take three years.
Advanced Division (AD)
Students must be 13 years old by September to enter the Advanced Division. Development of physical strength and aerobic endurance will be emphasized to support a more advanced step repertory. As dancers progress through the Advanced Division there is an increased emphasis on style development and performance technique. Classes meet for 90 minutes three times a week with two additional one-hour pointe classes.
Pre-Professional Division (PPD)
Students must be 15 years old by September to enter the Pre-Professional Division. Pre-Professional Division works to continue the technique from Advanced Division, however it works more on more technical steps and the artistry and emotion with classical and contemporary ballet.