Curriculum

Pre-Ballet, AKA "Twinkle Toes"

Potty trained three and four year olds will enjoy learning to move to music in a class specially designed just for their developmental needs. This class is structured, while allowing little ones to express themselves. Ballet Petit’s youngest dancers will learn to follow simple movements, based on the primary fundamentals of classical ballet. Our highly structured productions provide opportunities for these dancers to join us on stage, performing learned choreography, as they embark on their future as young dancing artists.

Beginning Ballet Levels 1 - 4

Dancers will develop their classical ballet skills through a series of classes. These classes will progress in finesse and difficulty as the dancers develop mastery, while keeping track of their physical development as children. Weekly classes develop skills in the basic ballet barre exercises, along with appropriate upper body strength, ballet head positions, and port de bras (corresponding arm positions). Dancers will be promoted in half steps through the levels as they progress in skill and maturity.

By Beginning 4, dancers may wish to consider attending the Oakland Ballet Company Boot Camp, hosted annually right here at Ballet Petit for 2 weeks each July.

Suggested Age Guidelines for Beginning Levels 1 - 4

Please use these suggested ages only as a guide. They will vary based on frequency of actual attenDANCE in classes, the focus and progress level of the dancer, and other factors. Periodic changes in the individual dancer’s physical development will also affect progress from time to time as their bodies grow and change.

Beginning 1 Ages 4 - 6
Beginning 3 Ages 8 - 10
Beginning 2 Ages 6 - 9
Beginning 4 Ages 9 -14

Ballet for Boys - Young Boys, Teens and Men

Ballet is pleased to offer a program for young boys, teen boys, and adult male dancers. Young boys and Teen boys will participate in our regular mixed classes, as well as in specialized classed designed to meet the demands of the male dancer. Male dancers of all ages will develop their classical ballet skills through a series of classes appropriate to their age. These classes will progress in finesse and difficulty as the dancers develop mastery, adding classes in jumps, turns, and virtuoso technique as appropriate for each boy’s level of achievement. As with all ballet classes, weekly classes develop skills in the basic ballet barre exercises, paying particular attention to the upper body strength male dancers need to support female dancers in Pas de Deux (dancing for two) work, etc. Special series of classes just for the boys are held throughout the year. Pas de Deux classes give the Teen boys the opportunity of working with female dancers. This class is crucial for the male dancers learning the ballet curriculum.

At Ballet Petit, we also know that Pas de Deux class is a wonderful way for young boys and girls to develop healthy and respectful ways of working with one another. For this reason, we schedule as many pas de deux opportunities as possible for them.

Ballet for Adults

Ballet Petit has a thriving ballet program for adults of all levels of interest and skill. We offer mixed level adult classes, as well as beginning and intermediate adult classes. Adult ballet students are taught the same curriculum as the children, but the presentation is made to suit the needs of the adult mind, body, and purpose. Adult dancers with children in our school qualify for the 20% family discount if they register for classes, as their children do. Adults may chose to pay for their classes through regular registration, by purchasing a Dance Card valid for 45 days from the Adult Class instructor, or they may pay the Drop-in Class Rate. There is no dress code for the Adult Classes, but ballet shoes and comfortable clothes for movement are required. Adult Classes are for both women and men interested in having experience learning classical ballet.

Transition Intermediate Ballet

As dancers begin to master classical ballet’s basic curriculum following Beginning 4, their development as young artists takes on a new level. At this point of their training, they are placed in the Transition Intermediate classes. These classes are attended in specified pairs of days. Dancers continue to develop their basic ballet skills as they additionally focus on artistic aspect of this beautiful classical art form. Now that their minds and bodies have arrived at this stage, they are prepared and able to deepen the sophistication of their dancing with more challenging class combinations and stage choreography. A few may also be ready to study pointe work. Dancers are now required to attend a specified pair of classes. They may attend additional pairs, but may not split them. They will attend Beginning 4 classes in the case they cannot attend the specified pairs for this level.

Intermediate Ballet 1 - 3

Dancers will develop their classical ballet skills in a required minimum of two classes per week. Training will include more challenging combinations emphasizing flexibility, precision and attention to detail, musicality, increased artistry, and correct classical technique . As dancers develop finesse in incorporating multiple facets of their training, the difficulty increases. Dancers will be promoted in half steps through the intermediate levels.

Once dancers reach Intermediate 2, they are required to attend 2 technique classes on at least one of their two days each week. This extended period of dancing time will develop stamina necessary to handle the progressively challenging curriculum and performance expectations now available to dancers at this level and above. The two classes must be on the same day, though they may not be consecutive. This requirement continues through the rest of the program’s levels. Pointe classes do NOT count, as they are of a different structure and accomplish different goals.

Dancers may apply each Fall to Ballet Petit’s Junior Company once they have been placed in any Intermediate Level AND are in Pointe 2. To apply, dancers must also commit a minimum of three days per week of consistent attendance. Dancers reapply each year. Junior Company participation will further enhance the technical and performance skills of dancers.

Master Classes with visiting Master Teachers will be offered as those opportunities arise. Workshops in Modern Dance, Contemporary Ballet, and other related dance forms will be offered throughout the year, often on Saturday afternoons in 5 week series. Intermediate dancers should also consider attending the Oakland Ballet Company Boot Camp, hosted annually right here at Ballet Petit for 2 weeks in July.

It is expected that serious students avail themselves of these classes to broaden their training from here on up through future levels. Pointe instruction will begin, usually, at the beginning of the intermediate levels. Dancers will be notified by the school administration with an invitation to join pointe classes. Dancers should not wear pointe shoes before being invited to study pointe, nor should they practice in pointe shoes at home.

Pointe Instruction – Levels 1 - 3

It is often the dream of young girls to dance en pointe. It is truly an exciting time when this training begins, but it must be looked upon as a serious endeavor. Dancers will progress through a series of levels where they initially learn how to execute proper pointe work at the barre, with simple exercises in the centre. As they progress in their training, they will be promoted to higher pointe classes when staff deem they are ready. Pointe 1 focuses on introductory pointe work. Pointe 2 allows dancers to learn choreography and to perform on stage en pointe. Pointe 3 assumes basic skills are mastered, hence the class focuses on learning multiple classical variations. Dancers must be placed in Pointe 2 to apply for Ballet Petit’s Junior Company, where they will receive further technical and artistic experience.

Pas de deux Instruction

It is essential to classical ballet and to our repertoire that male dancers continue to train and participate. Many important classical ballet stories involve dances for a male and female pair, called Pas de Deux. Contrary to some popular misinformation, ballet training for both males and females is an athletic endeavor in addition to being an artistic one. Male dancers must have incredible upper body and general strength. One of our male teachers likes to compare himself to his male athlete friends. He says that they can do feats requiring great strength. He offers that he can also do similar things, but has to make them look effortless. The male ballet dancer cannot grimace, grunt, and growl to show his prowess. Rather, he must support and lift the ballerina, often over his head AND with one arm while smiling as if “it was nothing.” Ballet Petit dancers and guest young men have had the privilege of Pas de Deux classes with Laura Alonso, originally of the National Ballet of Cuba, as well as numerous experiences provided by Ballet Petit staff.

Transition Advanced

Dancers will continue to develop their classical ballet skills in a required minimum of three classes per week. More challenging training will prepare dancers for the upcoming advanced levels, usually in the coming year. Flexibility, precision, attention to detail, musicality, increased artistry, and correct classical technique should start to look second nature as skills are mastered and artistry is clarified. These dancers are expected to notice and attend to a broad spectrum of skills and detail presented to them in their classes. Class times continue to lengthen, as they are expected to have built stamina by now. Serious dancers will apply annually for Ballet Petit’s Junior Company. Junior Company participation enforces a three days a week of class attenDANCE per week minimum.

These dancers may start to consider auditioning for Summer Intensives across the country in the programs of professional ballet companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Nutmeg Conservatory, Ballet Arizona, San Francisco Ballet, The Rock School, the Kirov Ballet, Ballet West, among others. Ballet Petit dancers have been accepted into and have attended all of these programs, and more. We know of the quality of these programs and can recommend them without hesitation. It is suggested, however, that parents and dancers check with administration regarding choices of potential programs for their specific child, as some are more suited to certain styles for dancers. Some programs are more worthwhile than some not listed here, as well. As a great alternative closer to home, dancers should consider attending the Oakland Ballet Company Boot Camp’s highest level, hosted annually right here at Ballet Petit in July for 2 weeks.

Advanced Level Classes

Dancers will continue to develop their classical ballet skills with challenging training and additional opportunities. Advanced level classes will continue to develop dancer flexibility, precision, attention to detail, musicality, increased artistry, and correct classical technique. Dancers are expected to consistently demonstrate a broad spectrum of skills and detail in their work, as this has been presented to them in their classes over the scope of their training. Class times continue to lengthen and expectations rise. These dancers should attend periodic auditions for Summer Intensives across the country as a way to monitor their progress on a broader scale. The programs of professional ballet companies such as Nutmeg Conservatory, the San Francisco Ballet, The Rock School, the Kirov Ballet, Ballet West, Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Arizona, offer audition experiences that can be utilized as Master Classes. Since Ballet Petit dancers have been accepted into, attended, and have benefited from attendance at these programs, these programs have been endorsed by our staff. Such experiences can often push dancers and increase inspiration. Advanced Ballet Petit dancers should consider attending the Oakland Ballet Company Boot Camp’s highest level, hosted annually right here at Ballet Petit in July for 2 weeks, as well as all Master Classes and Workshops.

Every few years, Miss Peggy is able to accompany a select few dancers to Copenhagen, Denmark where they will participate in the Royal Danish Ballet Summer School in Queen Margrethe II’s Danish Royal Theatre School. This unique experience avails these dancers of an international experience, as they train among dancers from all over the world, most trained at the expense of their governments. Miss Peggy also participates in these classes alongside the dancers, thereby availing her of critical information which helps her continue to provide the high level program offered at Ballet Petit.

Our Pre-Professional Program

Dancers attending advanced level classes who have consistently demonstrated over many years special talent and skill in classical ballet are often capable of pursuing classical ballet or other forms of dance into their futures as careers. There are two paths these dancers may wish to consider. At the point when they are nearly ready to be considered as such, dancers may have declared to staff a desire to embark on a professional career, to dance professionally in a company. Staff may have suggested this to them, as well. Dancers may have decided to continue their path of study into university level ballet programs such as Cincinnati University, Indianna University, Butler University, University of California at Irvine, University of Utah. Note that dancers wishing to pursue dance in university programs must audition to the dance departments in addition to gaining university academic acceptance. These are serious decisions to be made with established high levels of dedication, open eyes, and a strong desire to work hard into the future.

Ballet Petit is pleased to be able to prepare such dancers in these ways to achieve their dreams. It goes without saying that Pre-professional dancers have consistently availed themselves of multiple opportunities while having demonstrated a consistently superb work ethic in class, in rehearsal, on stage, and elsewhere.