Tiffany's Dance Academy

THE APPROACH to teaching classical ballet at Tiffany’s Dance Academy is based on work developed by Mabel E. Todd in her book, “The Thinking Body” [1938], which is recognized as “a profound study of biomechanics, anatomy, kinesiology and physiology, all brought to bear on a study of movement education.” Todd’s work is further advanced in books by Sally Fitt and Lulu Sweigard, two prominent movement analysis specialists. Rather than restrict, limit or inhibit a teacher choreographically and creatively [as strict adherence to syllabus teaching can do], this approach expands a teacher’s ability to create classes that are challenging and motivating for the student, classes that are truly movement focused rather than picture and pose based. This approach places emphasis on how each individual student can achieve the (most) desirable results with the least amount of (wasted) effort and tension based on the individual student’s natural kinesthetic awareness [movement awareness] and physical assets with corrective attention paid to a dancer’s limitations, or physical challenges.

Coppelia Doll
Choreographed by Polly Sutton
Beginning Ballet
June 7, 2008

What follows is a brief description of work covered in each level of the classical ballet program at Tiffany’s Dance Academy.

This level emphasizes correct postural alignment, principles of turn-out, balance, control and elementary barre exercises with special emphasis on the body directing and releasing the movement of the arms, legs and head. Center work consists of a repetition of barre work, port de bras, develope [adagio], temps lie, releve, eleve and positions of the body in relationship to the eight points of focus [four walls and four corners] of the room/stage. Special emphasis is placed on how movement produces the shapes of classical ballet – – shapes do not produce the movement. Emphasis is also placed on artistic expression which dancers at TDA begin developing as young as 2/3 years old. At TDA, our staff will never lose sight of the fact that we are helping in the development of the creative individual.

Includes all barre work from Ballet 1 with exercises becoming more complex and of a longer duration, adding more work on the 3/4 pointe to increase strength and flexibility. Increased study of the coordination of the head/eye, arm and leg movements. More complexity to center practice, reviewing all material from Ballet 1 and increasing the complexity and duration of combinations.
Special emphasis is placed on the dancer’s ability to connect and link steps for fluid movement. At this level we encourage the dancer to examine the combinations and plan ahead for self correction.

At this level there is a marked developmental leap, both in the technical aspects of class and in the seriousness with which training is taken by the dancer. This is the age when the young dancer begins to seriously evaluate past experience in dance, and to question whether or not a career would be desirable or possible in this difficult profession. Training intensifies to match this period of self-evaluation. All past work is repeated in more complex combinations increasing strength, endurance, stamina and ability to link steps together in a fluid manner. Understanding of motivation, movement goals, imagery and presentation are stressed with a better understanding of the development of artistic expression becoming more visible in the dancer.

Reviewing and strengthening all of the work from previous levels. From this level forward the plasticity, coordination and smooth connection of movements of the arms, legs, feet, head and body is the primary developmental goal. Rhythmic patterns are emphasized and attention is given to aiding the dancer’s ability to “tune in” to muscular feelings. Emphasis is placed on greater stability and complexity in study of adagio and developing the smooth, graceful and subtle qualities in movement. Study of turning in open positions is part of daily routine at this level, as is the study of battu and petite allegro which will in turn facilitate the development of elevation in grand allegro. Regular and repeated reference will be made as to the dancer’s understanding of movement goals and ability to “self correct”.

Int/Adv Ballet Ages 9-11
Choreographed by Rhonda Rooker

The Real Me
Choreographed by Tiffany Henderson
Advanced Ballet/Lyrical Ages 9-11