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The Kingston School of Dance Ballet Program offers Open and RAD Syllabus ballet classes at every level of age and technical development. Our teaching approach reaches beyond steps and exercises to educate dancers about the rich history and artistic legacies of classical ballet. The complementary nature of Open and Syllabus classes fosters superior dancer development.
Dancers aged 7 years and above are encouraged to take both Open and Syllabus classes. This complementary approach ensures training that is:
- Universally technically sound;
- Challenging, yet developmentally sensitive, to the individual needs of each student;
- Well-rounded in its nurturing of the artistic education of emerging dance artists;
- Nurturing to the development of strong, expressive, versatile, and adaptive dancers.
The Kingston School of Dance follows the syllabus for the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). Graded RAD Syllabus classes follow a progressive training system designed to ensure the safe development of the dancer. In Syllabus classes, students learn a graded curriculum of ballet exercises and dances, working towards the goal of ballet exams, should they so desire. Music, steps, head, arms and timing are clearly defined according to the Royal Academy of Dance style and syllabus. Through careful instruction and practice, Syllabus classes provide an excellent foundation for technical strength, musical sensitivity and precise, beautiful execution.
To find out more about the Royal Academy of Dance, visit: https://www.radcanada.org.
Open ballet classes support the technical mastery of ballet, and complement the material covered in the RAD syllabus. In Open classes, the syllabus is created by the instructor, and is tailored to reflect unique student needs, technical and artistic material beyond the RAD syllabus and foundations for future work. Open classes are dynamic, and curriculum evolves throughout the term to reflect student progress: as exercises are mastered, students move on to new challenges. Open classes emphasize musicality and performance quality, and educate dancers in different ballet traditions that enhance artistic expression and interpretation (e.g., Vaganova, Cecchetti, Balanchine/Neoclassical). Open classes offer students the opportunity to learn extended exercises, variations and performance pieces, so that they are prepared to successfully meet the demands of workshops, master classes and auditions that require rapid mastery of choreography.
The following are corresponding levels of Open and Syllabus Ballet:
Open Ballet I: Ages 7-9, RAD Grades 1-3. For students progressing from Pre-Primary and Primary preparatory levels or students with minimal ballet experience. Technique class for youth dancers to emphasize ballet foundational work.
Open Ballet 2: Ages 9-11, 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.
Open Ballet 3: Ages 11+, 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).
Open Ballet 4: Ages 12+ 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).
Intermediate Ballet: Ages 13+, RAD Intermediate and Advanced Foundation. Technique for students working at an intermediate-advanced level with intermediate-advanced pointe experience (if applicable).
Advanced Ballet: Ages 14+, RAD Advanced I and II. Technique for students working at an advanced level with advanced pointe experience (if applicable).
Pre-Pointe and Pointe
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 work 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. Before beginning Pre-pointe, students must have studied ballet for several years, and have strong technique and clean alignment.
All Pre-pointe and Pointe classes require permission of the instructor to enroll.
Pre-pointe and Pointe students are required to take a minimum of 3 hours of ballet technique classes (Open or Syllabus) per week, to ensure that they develop and maintain adequate strength for their Pre-pointe and Pointe classes. Ballet Tech, Ballet Company and Repertoire are performance and conditioning-oriented classes, and do not qualify as ballet technique classes.
Pre-pointe training is excellent for young dancers. Please note, 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.
Ballet Tech 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. Dance imagery, myofascial release and conditioning methods are taught to improve strength, alignment and flexibility, and prevent injury. Tools such as slow-motion video are utilized to allow students to dissect and optimize their technique. Concentrated time is devoted to mastering skills such as jumps, turns, and partnering, and students are encouraged to bring questions to class for focused study. Enrolment is by permission of the instructor.
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 Bayadere, 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 3 or more ballet classes per week.
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; including 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 classes per week, studying Pre-pointe or Pointe (or be eligible to do so), be working at a minimum of an Open III or RAD Grade 4 level, be at least 11 years of age (or turning 11 during the year) and demonstrate a mature and dedicated attitude in class. Enrolment is by invitation of the instructor only.
For dancers 5 and under, please see Young Dancers Program.