Understanding the importance of the support of the parents as well as the dancers, both of these performance experiences are also structured to provide parents optional and voluntary opportunities to learn about what it takes to create a classical ballet. Peggy firmly believes that together, the dancers and the families are capable of accomplishing great things.
"It's an environment where everybody supports each other and you can really get involved in the studio. I was able to do things like help out with choreography and make costumes, which taught me a lot of leadership skills that I didn't expect to gain at a dance studio."
-- Junior Company Member
"My experiences at Ballet Petit are very special that you can't find at other places."
"Ballet Petit is amazing. Miss Peggy not only teaches our kids discipline and dedication, but also makes a point of including the family in the journey. Ballet Petit is not only dance school, it's a family of dancers and parents."
-- Ballet Petit Dad
"Ballet Petit is not only a dance school, it's a family of dancers and parents."
"As soon as I met Miss Peggy, I knew we wanted to be here. Miss Peggy is so easy to talk to and it is obvious she cares about each dancer and family. We immediately felt at home. We first enrolled during the fall so we were swept away with Nutcracker preparations and it was exciting!
I've told many people about how special Ballet Petit is because it's not everyday you find a place like this."
-- Ballet Petit Mom
"We immediately felt at home."
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 Summer Dance Intensive, 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
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. 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. Dancers in Transition Intermediate will also be offered pre-pointe classes. A few may also be ready to study pointe work.
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 satisfy the two class requirement, 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 may be offered as those opportunities arise. Workshops in Modern Dance, Contemporary Ballet, and other related dance forms will be offered throughout the year. Intermediate dancers should also consider attending the Oakland Ballet Company Summer Dance Intensive, 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.
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's Summer Dance Intensive, highest level, hosted annually right here at Ballet Petit in July for 2 weeks.
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's Summer Dance Intensive 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.
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.
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.
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.