Students will be placed in the appropriate class for their age group. However, if their skill level is significantly above or below those in their age level, they may be moved to a different class at the instructor’s discretion. Class levels are decided based on the grading system organized by the Royal Academy of Dance, based in London, UK. For those unfamiliar with RAD, here is a short introduction from their website, www.rad.org.uk,
“The RAD has a long history of improving dance training standards. It was founded in 1920 to re-invigorate dance teaching within the UK; however, over time it has expanded its influence and activities internationally counting currently more than 1,000 students in full-time or part-time teacher training programmes. With our examination syllabus being taught to more than a quarter of a million students worldwide, we help and encourage our teachers to perfect their teaching skills and pass on this knowledge to their students.
The Academy's patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Today the RAD has a presence in 79 countries, with 36 offices and approximately 13,000 members worldwide. We support our membership base of professional dancers, students, teachers, benefactors and friends through the knowledge, support and technical expertise of our highly qualified staff and the social interaction of like-minded enthusiasts at RAD conferences, workshops, training courses or summer schools.”
Ballet Levels are as follows:
This level includes creative movement, introduction to musical interpretation, basic ballet positions, spatial and body awareness.
This level is for dancers with enough coordination to balance on one leg, skip, jump on both legs, etc. Also includes musical interpretation, introduction to ballet technique with regards to body placement, and spatial awareness. This level includes focused energy on remembering combinations of steps to be able to repeat exercises without help from the instructor.
This level is for dancers who have achieved an understanding of correct body placement, display basic knowledge of French terms and positions, and have a sense of musicality. At this level, students are able to remember and repeat a combination of steps without help, as well as start to self-correct placement (body awareness).
This level is for dancers that have graduated from basic positions and steps to more complex combinations. Students should display a developed vocabulary of French terms and steps, good spatial awareness and musical interpretation, and correct execution of intermediate steps such as single pirouettes, relevés, arabesque, attitude, and intermediate allégro. This level includes pre-pointe.
At this level, the dancer exhibits individual style and solid technique throughout barre and centre exercises, as well as shows dedicated attention to practicing difficult exercises on their own. This level of student should be able to reverse a combination when only given one side or direction. This level includes pointe, double pirouettes, beats in medium allegro (i.e. echappe saute battu ferme, or assemble battu over), grand allegro with correct placement, and control of port de bras (arms) throughout difficult exercises.
At this level, the dancer shows refined technique, broad dance vocabulary, and individual artistic expression and style. Advanced technique includes fouetté turns, double and triple pirouettes (on demi pointe and en pointe), grand jetés, tour jetés, medium allégro with battu, etc. The advanced dancer shows exceptional control and fluidity of movement. At this level, the dancer should be able to do everything from Ballet IV en pointe.
Pre-Teen/Teen Beginner Ballet (ages 8-16)
Beginning ballet technique includes basic positions, posture, musicality, and the introduction of style and musical interpretation. This class will include barre work, jumps (allégro), and center work.