Winged Victory Arabesques

The Kingston School of Dance Ballet Program is grounded in the Russian classical style, and taught according to the tenets of what is referred to as the Vaganova method. Our ballet program offers the best of classical ballet tradition, combined with the best of the latest in dance science/medicine and education. The Vaganova method is the standard for ballet education in many of the world’s foremost pre-professional and professional dance companies. Using the Russian classical style as its foundation, and enhanced with with recent advances in anatomy, kinesiology, sports imagery and injury prevention, this approach offers flexible, developmentally-sensitive, scientifically-informed ballet training.

Our teaching approach reaches beyond steps and exercises to educate dancers about their bodies and the rich artistic legacies of classical ballet. The goal of the Vaganova method is not to create replication or uniformity, but to encourage a breath and depth of ballet training that gives students the tools to develop their own unique identities as dancers. The syllabus that we teach is pedagogically and developmentally sound. However, rather than relying on prescribed exercises at each level, class content is dynamic and tailored to the needs of dancers; this allows teachers and students to approach and expand upon learning goals in multiple ways, to meet students’ diverse learning needs.

Dancers trained in the Vaganova method are distinguished by their technical strength, stylistic versatility, artistic authenticity, musicality, understanding of the body and emotionally expressive performance.

Ballet Technique Classes

Ballet technique classes form the foundation of ballet training, and introduce students to the movements that form the language and artistry of ballet. Steps and movement concepts build across the levels in a progressive manner to provide students continuous growth and challenge. Students learn the biomechanics and rationale behind ballet’s technical elements.

Please note: Age ranges are approximate; progressions will be base on merit for safety reasons. For reference and convenience purposes, corresponding RAD grades are noted next to each level for students transitioning from RAD syllabus classes.

Ballet I: Ages 7-8 (RAD Grades 1-2)

For students progressing from Pre-Primary and Primary preparatory levels or students with minimal ballet experience. Technique class for younger dancers to emphasize ballet foundational work.

Ballet 2: Ages 9-10 (RAD Grades 3-4)

Technique class for youth ballet dancers with 2 or more years continuous ballet training, or beginner class for older youth. Focus is on consolidating technical foundations to prepare for intermediate work.

Ballet 3: Ages 11-12 (RAD Grades 5-6)

Technical class for students with solid foundational technique, ready to move to an intermediate level of difficulty and pre-pointe training (based upon student interest and approval of the instructor).

Ballet 4: Ages 13-14+ (RAD Grades 7-8 or Intermediate Foundation)

Class for students with solid technique at the intermediate level of difficulty and beginning pointe experience (based upon student readiness and approval of the instructor).

Ballet 5: Ages 14+ (RAD Intermediate and Advanced Foundation)

Technique for students working at an intermediate-advanced level with intermediate-advanced pointe experience (if applicable).

Ballet 6: Ages 14+ (RAD Advanced I and II)

Technique for students working at an advanced level with advanced pointe experience (if applicable).

Ballet Company Technique Class:

Technique class open to members of Ballet Company Class, and ballet students enrolled in Ballet 4, 5, or 6. Technique at an intermediate-advanced level with pointe experience (if applicable). This class is strongly recommended for Ballet Company members to properly warm-up and prepare for choreography in Ballet Company Class, as well as to fulfill one of their required two weekly ballet technique classes. Pointe 2/3 students may take this class in pointe shoes.

Pre-Pointe and Pointe Classes

 

Pointe is a beautiful technical skill that gives classical ballet its unique, ethereal quality and is an exciting goal for many ballet students. However, dancing en pointe requires tremendous strength and muscular control through the core, feet, ankles, and legs to be executed safely. Poor training for pointe work can set students up for pain and injury, which is why we treat this stage in dance preparation very seriously.

Requirements for all Pre-Pointe and Pointe classes:

  • Students must be in Ballet 3 or higher, and have strong technique and clean alignment.
  • Students are required to take a minimum of 2 weekly ballet technique classes, to develop and maintain adequate strength. Ballet Coaching and Conditioning, Ballet Company and Repertoire are choreography and conditioning-oriented classes, and do not qualify as ballet technique classes.
  • For safety reasons related to musculoskeletal development, students will not be allowed to dance en pointe until they are at an absolute minimum age of 11 years old – even if they pass all Pre-Pointe assessments. The majority of ballet students will begin pointe work around the ages of 12-14.
  • Students joining the Kingston School of Dance who have begun pointe training elsewhere will be evaluated to determine their appropriate class placement.

Pre-Pointe:

Conditioning class to build the strength/mobility in the feet, ankles, legs and core necessary for safe pointe work. Students will train in class and be required to practice at home. Pre-pointe is excellent for all young dancers to enhance technique and prevent injury, even if the student does not pursue pointe.

Two weekly ballet technique classes required.

Pointe 1/2

Pointe class for students with a minimum of one year of formal pointe training.

Enrolment in Pointe 1/2 is by permission of the instructor; two weekly ballet technique classes required.

 

Pointe 2/3

Pointe class for students with a minimum of 2 or more years of formal pointe training.

Enrolment in Pointe 2/3 is by permission of the instructor; two weekly ballet technique classes required.

 

 

Ballet Coaching, Conditioning and Choreography-Based Classes

 

Ballet Coaching and Conditioning

Ballet Coaching and Conditioning offers intermediate and advanced students the latest knowledge in kinesiology, dance medicine and sports psychology to deepen their understanding of their bodies as physical instruments.  Students learn to apply basic principles of anatomy and physics to enhance their performance and prevent injury. Dance imagery, myofascial release and conditioning methods are taught to improve strength, alignment and flexibility.  Tools such as slow-motion video are utilized to allow students to dissect and optimize their technique. Concentrated time is spent mastering skills such as jumps, turns, and partnering. Students are encouraged to bring questions to class for focused study.

Enrolment in Ballet Coaching and Conditioning is open to students in Ballet 4, 5 and 6.

 

Repertoire and Pointe

Repertoire offers intermediate and advanced students the opportunity to learn iconic choreography from the ballet canon. Repertoire students will study corps de ballet formations, and soloist/principal variations from ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, The Four Temperaments, Serenade, La Esmeralda, La Bayadère, and many more. Where appropriate, students may take Repertoire en pointe. Repertoire students acquire excellent first-hand knowledge of the styles of ballet’s leading schools and choreographers, as well as a personal repertoire for performance, auditions and post-secondary study. Students are also introduced to concepts regarding professional production, including lighting, sounds, staging, labour issues and props.

Enrolment in Repertoire is limited to students taking two weekly ballet technique classes.

 

Ballet Company

Ballet Company offers intermediate and advanced students a performance-oriented class designed as a youth ballet company experience. As part of Étoiles Filantes Youth Ballet of the Kingston School of Dance, Ballet Company members will learn choreography for original ballets designed to be shared with our region’s community. Ballet Company is guided by the “all-star, no star” philosophy, so all students have the equal opportunity to learn corps de ballet, soloist and principal roles. Classes will focus solely on working as cohesive company members, developing individual artistry, rapidly mastering advanced choreography and preparing as professional, mature performers.

To ensure safety and dancer comfort with working at a rapid pace, Ballet Company members must be:

  • Enrolled in at least two ballet technique classes per week;
  • Studying Pre-pointe or Pointe (or be eligible to do so);
  • Working at a minimum of a Ballet 3 level with clean and consistent technique — students may need up to two consecutive years at this level before they are ready to be invited;
  • At least 11 years of age (or turning 11 during the year); and
  • Mature, prepared, focused and a responsible team player.

Enrolment in Ballet Company is by invitation of the instructor; two weekly ballet technique classes required.





For dancers 5 and under, please see Young Dancers Program.