Youth Ballet Program
Classical ballet for students ages 7 and up. The curriculum focuses on proper skeletal alignment, posture, strength, and stretch of the legs and feet, fluid arm carriage, flexibility, and musicality.
Students progress through the levels as through grades in school. However, all students move at different rates. While some may spend more than two years in one level as the mind and body learn to work together, others may progress much faster. It is only after the student has learned the ballet technique appropriate for each level and after the student’s body has become strong enough for these movements that the student is moved to the subsequent level at the discretion of the instructor. Advancement is based on ability, not age. Indeed, the primary levels are the most important levels in ballet and should not be rushed through.
The entry level into the UIYB Program. Students in this level are seven years old, or older. In this class, they learn the basic ballet positions, the progression of a standard ballet barre, and the French vocabulary that makes up ballet. These students also move into beginning center work, away from the support of the ballet barre. Class meets for one hour per week.
A continuing level, building upon Level 1A concepts. This level is designed for second-year ballet students and older beginning students starting their study with UIYB.
Students must be able to stay focused for the duration of this 75-minute ballet class. They should not be a distraction to others and be able to understand and to perform with greater consistency and proper alignment at the barre. This class meets twice per week for 75 minutes.
At this level, students are beginning to use port de bras and head movement (epaulment) to refine earlier material. In addition to the incorporation of more ballet jumps and center vocabulary. This class meets twice per week for 90 minutes.
Levels 3A and 3B
Level 3 contains two subdivisions, Level 3A and Level 3B.
Level 3 begins with Level 3A students who have completed level 2B or have undergone a placement class. Moving into level 3A implies that the dancer has a strong sense of ballet alignment as well as their standing leg. They should be able to maintain placement during the entire class. Dancers should also show greater independence in taking corrections and applying corrections and are moved to Level 3B when the instructor observes the appropriate artistic development, work-ethic, and consistency in the student's dancing.
In levels 3A and 3B ballet sculpts the body and dancers begin to feel greater confidence in the fundamental principles of dance. It is a level of achievement. Progressing through Level 3A and 3B can take up to 4 years working diligently in at least three classes per week of year-round study.
Pink belts will be worn by level 3A students and white belts by the 3B students.
Levels 4 and 5
Placement at these levels is earned through hard work, determination, and discipline over many years. Students at these levels should have sufficient technical knowledge and confidence to attempt execution of more advanced/complex steps and stylistic details (i.e. multiple pirouettes, extended balances, petit allegro with beats, and head/arm coordination and expression). Five classes per week are recommended and 4/5 students should demonstrate an ability to work thoughtfully with multiple teachers the way a professional dancer would. Students at this level invest a minimum of six hours of ballet training per week in UIYB technique and conditioning classes (in addition to any pointe classes or rehearsals), and train year-round.
Floor Barre to Standing
This class is for Level 4/5 dancers to work on refining in professional-level detail the most fundamental elements of ballet movement. It takes an advanced approach to the simplest movements and asks the student to be curious and make connections between the somatic practice and the ballet movement vocabulary.
- Rise out of, and alight on the floor with active toes and by opening spaces in the joints
- Access the most rotation possible initiated by breath, and alignment of the sacrum and pelvis
- Recruit intrinsic muscles of the feet to prevent injury elsewhere
- Elongate the spine, and build sensory awareness
Students also learn to use equipment such as wobble boards, massage balls, and elastic bands, which illuminate technical concepts and help students build functional strength and prevent injuries. This class counts toward the performance requirement for Level 4/5 Ensemble performers.
Those students who have achieved technique and upon recommendation of their instructor may participate in pre-pointe class. Pre-pointe students take the pointe class in their ballet shoes and meets multiple times per week. This is a one-hour class.
This class follows the Ballet 4/5 class three times per week. It is recommended that pointe class is taken at least twice a week to maintain strength. This is a one-hour class.