Class offerings at the Southwest Academy of Ballet Arts are suited for both the professionally aspiring dancer and the vocational student seeking an enjoyable exercise outlet. These classes meet weekly between September and early June and perform in the annual student Showcase in May. Students also have the option of performing in Theatre of Ballet Arts’ “Nutcracker” production.
PROFESSIONAL BALLET LEVELS
Ballet Basics is the beginning of serious training for the young dancer between 6 and 8 years of age. It begins work on turn-out and control. Basic ballet moves from the Vaganova syllabus are begun through exercises at the barre and practiced in the centre. Jumps and movement across the floor complete the class.
This class builds on the basics of placement, flexibility, terminology and mastery of Year-One of the Vaganova syllabus. Students are introduced to movements with clear explanations of their execution. Slow work on these movements develops strength and precision.
Work on placement, flexibility, terminology and strength building is continued with Year-Two of the Vaganova syllabus. As students demonstrate mastery, more difficult movements are introduced and coordination of head and arms is increased. It is expected that students will take two or three years to master this material. Pointe work for qualified students begins in late January for 15 minutes at the end of a class.
Students work more on epaulement poses and artistry by properly utilizing head and arrm coordination and adding more upper body movement. Exercises at the barre on demi-pointe are increased. Pointe work is expanded to 20 minutes at the end of a class with occasional exercises added to the end of another class. Tempos are increased and jumps with beats introduced. Material presented is expected to take 2-3 years for mastery.
Exercises increase in tempo with emphasis on precision and control of the body. Students continue blending artistry with placement and strength building. Exercises en releve in the centre are introduced. Mastery of this material is expected to take a minimum of two years.
The focus of this level is to perform exercises quickly and precisely in epaulement positions. Centre work is executed en releve with combinations increasing in complexity and tempo. Multiple turns will be encouraged and difficult turns introduced. Grand allegro combinations emphasize height and solid landings. Students can expect to work a whole class en pointe and centre in others. To ensure strength and ability, a minimum of three classes a week MUST be taken.
Youth Show Time
Youth Show Time is a choreography class for seasonal students meeting the minimum age of 7 who are ineligible for the App Ens and would like to hone their technical and artistic skills through an alternative performing experience. A variety of dance styles will be utilized and taught to age/level-defined groups of students. This class requires commitment and an additional costume cost. At least one performance a month will be scheduled beginning as early as mid-December.
Apprentice Ensemble is open to students who are enrolled in three ballet classes of Level III or higher and working in pointe shoes. AE rehearses on Saturdays with students learning variations and excerpts from classical ballets as well as jazz, character, and contemporary choreography to be performed at parades, community events and other public appearances or performances as scheduled by the director.
INTRODUCTORY and SPECIALTY SESSION OFFERINGS
Dance with Me
This half-hour class is for age 3 dancers and a parent. The intent is to teach students to listen and follow directions, and to develop basic motor skills, body awareness and coordination. It strives to awaken an interest in movement and music within the students. This is accomplished through music requiring students to listen-and-do and allowing creative dance with props. Only a few very basic dance moves are taught. The accompaniment of a parent serves to provide comfort and assurances to the student which encourages them to be bolder in their participation in the class.
Pre-Ballet is for students between the ages of 4 and 6. This introductory class establishes the basis upon which the students may pursue serious training when they’re old enough. The class includes barre and centre work in addition to creative expression. The development of spatial awareness and body control is the focus of the class. It will teach taking turns, listening and following directions. Simple ballet movements and stage work are also introduced. To help overcome stage fright, and to develop stage presence and confidence, an informal demonstration is held on the last day of class.
Musical Theater is for students aged 7 through 10 who are not old enough for the jazz class or who would like to experience more movement in class. Using basic dance movements, the students will work on patterns and combinations common to musical theater choreography.
Jazz (classical) is offered to students at the minimum age of 11 who are interested in training in this discipline for diversification. The Luigi method (grounded in ballet) is taught with influence from the Giordano technique. Basic jazz movements, body isolations as well as strength building and flexibility are worked on in class. NOTE: this is NOT hip-hop jazz.
Ballet Body Fitness
Ballet Body Fitness is a class for adults who would like to have the tone and strength of a dancer without training in the discipline. Exercises composed of ballet technique and other strengthening drills will provide energy and posture as well as strength and form.
Teen/Adult Ballet is a beginning level class for students aged 14 and up interested in exploring this beautiful art form and to gain from the benefits of this training. It allows participants to use this athletic fine art to shape and define their bodies. Students will be given exercises at the barre and in the centre to develop strength, posture and grace. Across the floor movements will round out the training.
Soft Shoe Rhythm
Soft Shoe Rhythm is a style of dance that is like tap dancing but does not use taps on the toes and heels. Rhythms from tap dancing are taught and put together in small combinations. Focus is placed on the exactness of sound and movement technique. Students can wear character or jazz shoes or ballet slippers. This class is open to all ages.
Ballroom dance classes will cover dance styles that include the waltz, foxtrot, tango, and swing, as well as Latin dances like the merengue, cha-cha and salsa. “Practice Parties” are scheduled after class to allow students to work on lesson material with others in the privacy of the studio. Additional “outings” are scheduled to allow students to practice in public and continue honing their lead and follow skills.