What is ballet?
Ballet is an art form created by the movement of the human body. It is theatrical–performed on a stage to an audience utilizing choreography, costumes, scenic design and lighting. It can tell a story or express a thought or emotion. Ballet can be magical, exciting, provoking or disturbing.
Ballet was originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary based on French terminology.
Becoming a ballet dancer requires years of training. The Ballet Conservatory is here to work with both the students who wish to dance as a fun after-school recreational activity, as well as to train young ballet dancers who are hoping to become professional ballerinas one day.
What style of ballet is taught at Ballet Conservatory?
The Studio style is based on the traditional Vaganova method with influences from methods of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB). Our syllabus yields a solid classical ballet technique, which is the best base a dancer can achieve. CPYB has developed a curriculum that is focused on building technical strength, stamina and flexibility, as well as nurturing artistic development. The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas closely follows the CPYB curriculum.
LEVEL PLACEMENT QUESTIONS
I do not understand the level placement. Why are the levels not arranged by age?
Our youngest students are grouped together based on age because it is scientifically proven that during specific age ranges, certain abilities, both mentally and physically either have or have not been developed yet.
During Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet and Primary Ballet, we have a base curriculum to teach and guide our students according to the abilities of the whole class. We will never hold a child back simply because of age. However, age does not play a part in the process of being able to move to the next level of ballet. Ability of both the body and the mind is very important when graduating to the next level.
In the Intermediate and Advanced levels of ballet, the developmental speed of every person is different, and we base our levels solely on ability. We split levels up this way in order to protect our students.
If you have a concern, you are always welcome to approach her teacher, who will help you and your child understand their level placement and what they might need to work on.
Why is my child repeating a level?
Being asked to repeat a level can be frustrating, but it is always in the best interest of the dancer. It is common for students who have repeated a level to become discouraged. This does not mean the student is not talented or gifted. The decision to not promote a dancer is based on what the instructor feels the student still needs to achieve. Working at a lower level helps the student make steady progress and sometimes these students become better in the long run.
Here are some valuable points to remember in your child’s ballet study:
- The teacher is acting in your child’s best interest. The teacher wants your child to be successful, progress steadily and become the best they can be.
- Strength and repetition are crucial to developing a strong technique– it takes time to become an advanced dancer. And ballet technique is a constant study.
- There is always something a student can learn in ballet, even at the lowest level. The strongest dancers are frequently those who can absorb information and apply it in their dancing. In the end if you are concerned about your dancer’s class placement, request to meet with your teacher.
My child is 12 years old. Why doesn’t my daughter automatically get her pointe shoes?
Pointe shoes are awarded to students who have developed both their bodies and their minds. Each student takes her own time to develop.
We cannot rush into pushing our children into pointe shoes simply because of their age. Injuries occur most in students whose muscles, bone structure and minds have not matured or strengthened enough to handle the grueling pains of pointe shoes. Not only does a child’s understanding of ballet terminology and execution of the steps need to be very finely tuned and consistent, but their muscles and bones need to have developed correctly as well.
For a young dancer to progress into receiving her pointe shoes, she must be in ballet class more than five or six hours a week and she must do it for more than just a recreational activity. The execution of ballet steps needs to have become second nature to her so that when she puts her pointe shoes on, the shoes only enhance instead of hinder her movements.
By being able to observe a student’s body several hours each day, a teacher gets to understand how the student is developing, can work through weaknesses and help the student strengthen both her mind and her body. “Twelve” is merely an estimate of when a person’s body might be mature enough to handle the stresses that pointe work places on muscles and bones.
BALLET CONSERVATORY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
What is the dress code and why is it required?
Yes, we do have a dress code, and it can differ from level to level. For more information, please review our School Divisions, which detail the specific dress requirements for each of our programs.
Classical ballet training demands correct body alignment and placement, from the earliest stages. The only way an instructor can see this alignment is with the student attired in form-fitting clothing, including tights and leotard (or close-fitting t-shirt for boys).
The hair is worn up in a bun and off the face and neck, not only so the steps can be executed properly (i.e. head can move freely without hair flying in the face), but also so the instructor can see alignment of the head and neck, which is also important.
We enforce our dress code for the benefit of our students. By following the dress code, a student will most likely become more familiar with her body and the way it moves. If a student’s hair is down draping around their face and neck, it is a distraction during the execution of the ballet steps.
If your child has any special needs, please inform the staff so that our teachers will be prepared to make necessary accommodations.
Is there a recital/performance where we can see what our dancer has accomplished?
Each year in May, we present our Academy Showcase. Our performances are held in a nearby San Antonio theater, so parents can clearly see their child and classmates perform.
We also offer two Parent Observation Weeks during the year, one in fall and one in spring. Any and all classes can be observed during these weeks. We encourage every parent to come see his or her child at work.