THE BALLET SCHOOL at Tiffany’s
The Ballet School at Tiffany’s Dance Academy is structured to provide dancers with a solid base from which they can grow in an informed technical environment. With a focus on understanding how ballet shapes and forms the body, as well as releases tension to allow dancers to move efficiently, dancers are prepared to approach the varying range of dance styles offered at TDA and beyond. The ballet faculty draws from the Vagonova, Ceccetti, and French Ballet traditions as well as knowledge gained from years of study in the American dance world where these traditions are blended to produce dancers who are unaffected by a particular style. TDA offers several performance opportunities including the annual Nutcracker, Spring Recital, and Regional Dance Conventions and Competitions for those who join the Performing Company. Dancers trained in the TDA ballet program have been accepted to various summer and year-round programs including the San Francisco Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, as well as collegiate dance programs including The University of Arizona, the University of California, Irvine and UC Santa Barbara.
Pre- Ballet and Creative Movement Ages 5- 7 – The Pre-Ballet program fosters musicality, body awareness and movement potential in a format that encourages individual artistry. Inspired by the work of Rudolf Von Laban and Irmgard Bartinieff, the class explores the elements of dance; Body, Space, Force, and Time, through creative exercises that are movement focused rather than story focused. The knowledge gained in these classes prepares the student for the attention to detail required in the study of formal ballet training. Research shows that children who begin training with informed creative movement classes are more successful when placed in a traditional technique class.
Basic Ballet- Age 8- 10 – *Prerequisite: Pre Ballet and Creative Movement
This level emphasizes correct postural alignment, principles of turn-out, balance, control and elementary barre exercises. Center work consists of a repetition of barre work, carriage of the arms, and positions of the body in relationship to the eight points of focus of the stage.
Ballet I- Ages 9-11 – * Prerequisite: Basic Ballet
Building on the foundation set by Basic Ballet, barre work exercises become more complex and of a longer duration to train muscle memory and increase flexibility. Special emphasis is placed on the dancer’s ability to connect and link steps for fluid movement, memorize patterns, and move through space while maintaining proper alignment. At this level we encourage the dancer to examine the combinations and plan ahead for self-correction. This level is typically repeated.
Ballet II – * prerequisite: Ballet
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 evaluate past experience in dance, and to question whether or not a career would be desirable. 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 in order to develop better artistic expression. Pre- pointe is introduced at this level.
This level is typically repeated. Evaluation for full pointe work is conducted at the end of the 2nd year.
Ballet III – *prerequisite Ballet II
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, petite allegro and grand allegro. Regular and repeated reference will be made to facilitate the dancer’s understanding of movement goals and ability to “self correct”.
Ballet IV/ V – The upper levels of TDA ballet students are self-motivated and take ballet technique classes up to 5 days per week. Levels IV/V are sometimes combined and other times separated as needed by the dancers to best challenge and refine technique. Advanced dancers are encouraged to wear pointe shoes when requested by the instructor.
Boys Ballet – With a strong male ballet faculty, TDA offers Boys Ballet technique classes in order to build the specific strength and skills required for male dancers. Boys technique classes focus on upper body strength-building required for partnering, grand allegro and covers all male-specific jumps and turns.
Pointe work at TDA – All students at TDA will be evaluated by the Ballet Director and dance medicine specialist Dr. Selina before they graduate to full pointe work. Pointe classes are offered separately from regular ballet technique classes in order to safely build the strength required for full pointe work. Pointe Levels A, B and C may be repeated based on the specific needs of each dancer, and advanced dancers are encouraged to wear their pointe shoes in all technique classes.