A magical and exciting art form, ballet is an evocative theatrical dance created by the movement of the human body. Enhanced by vibrant costumes, scenic design, and atmospheric lighting, ballet often tells an interesting story or is used to express thoughts and emotions. At Roydon Academy of Performing Arts, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, our ballet tutors prompt pupils to nurture their expressive skills through creative ballet classes.
Specially designed for children aged between 18 months and 3 years, our preschool ballet classes are suitable for young children not yet comfortable being in a class alone. Each child is joined in the class by the parent or caregiver, who will be the child’s dance partner. Our patient professionals introduce the young to the joys of creative movement in a fun, musical setting.
During the preschool ballet classes, we explore the elements of creative movement, introducing sequence-related exercises. These floor-formations allow the children to remember their place in the room. Our devoted ballet tutors demonstrate how to practice gross motor coordination and simple locomotion, which enhance the mind-body development of your child. The classes also include practicing basic ballet concepts such as first position, as well as movement exercises that emphasise:
Straight Legs – Pointed Feet – Posture – Placement – Stretches
Our preparatory ballet classes bridge a student’s transition from preschool into a more structured class environment. The young learners are introduced to an increased level of formal training, which consists of coordination and balance, as well as the focused placement of feet and legs.
Exam preparatory ballet extends a student’s transition from preparatory ballet into a stricter environment. Our ballet tutors introduce the pupils to an increased level of formal training, which consists of barre and centre work. This class also emphasises the posture, placement, and comportment of classical ballet. The pupils will also practice exercises to improve alignment, flexibility, and coordination. This allows them to develop strong physical and cognitive understanding, a foundation for classical ballet training. Additionally, second position, plié, relevé, and petite allegro are introduced.
Exam primary builds on the exam preparatory class. During the class, our ballet tutors will prompt the child to develop posture, placement, and classical ballet vocabulary. This increases the child’s knowledge and ability to progress to grade one. Although we advise the pupil attends two ballet classes per week, this is not compulsory.
Exam grade one is designed for children who have completed primary ballet. While we welcome new students entering grade one from another school, we expect them to be familiar with the posture, placement, and comportment of classical ballet. Grade one reinforces the basic elements of correct postural alignment, and weight transitions, as well as small, medium, and large ballet poses. This concludes with the basic steps of jumping, also called allegro. Vital in establishing a firm base for future training, this very important grade sets the foundations for the grades that follow. Although we recommend two ballet classes per week, including core strengthening and stretch, this is not compulsory, but may take longer to reach exam standard.
Exam grade 2 ballet class includes the basic steps continued. However, it offers further emphasis on linking steps together, with more repetitions. Additionally, the class includes added emphasis on the coordination of all parts of the body. As well as this, our ballet tutors increase the tempo for many basic steps. Although it is advised you attend two ballet classes per week, including core strengthening and stretch, it is not a requirement.
Exam grade three elaborates on the basics of posture, weight transference, and increased use of the demi-pointe. While we recommend two ballet classes per week, including core strengthening and stretching, it is not compulsory to attend these.
Exam grade four introduces en dedans and en dehors pirouettes. Following the preparatory work of grade three, this level also introduces the study of pointe exercises to female students. Additionally, it includes the concept of beating the legs together in allegro, and batterie. Although we recommend two ballet classes per week, such as core strengthening and stretch, this is not required.
Exam grade five equips pupils with more advanced skills. During the classes, our ballet tutors select pupils who demonstrate the potential to take part in additional weekly ballet classes. Although in the previous grades it is not compulsory to attend two core strengthening and stretch classes per week, it is required with exam grade five.
Our ‘mummy and me’ class is designed to develop listening skills, memory, co-ordination, and basic motor skills through creative movement. An early introduction to ballet and tap, mummy and me creates a place where your little ones can transform into frogs and birds, and even enjoy an exciting train ride. Sharing the first dance with your child is a magical experience. Mummy and me is aimed at children up to two years who are able to walk confidently. After completing our class, your child is invited to progress onto one of our baby classes.
Having completed all the levels, pupils will be recommended for entry into examination. Those who possess strong technical ability will progress onto classical ballet exams. Additionally, students training in modern jazz dance are expected to have completed all levels in ballet. However, for modern jazz students, ballet exams are not compulsory.
Perfect for pupils aged 14 and above, exam intermediate prepares students for major examination syllabus work created by International Dance Teachers’ Association™, Imperial Society of Teaching of Dancing™ and Royal Academy of Dance™. In exam intermediate there is increased, thorough emphasis on classical ballet vocabulary, anatomical knowledge, and the physics of dance. Additionally, it includes secure placement of the legs and feet, turning on the demi-pointe, and en l’air in allegro steps. It also includes focus on the flow of movement and port de bra from the various learned poses. In exam intermediate, the steps begin to link in more complex and expressive ways. As with grade five, attending two core strengthening and stretching exercises is a requirement for exam intermediate.