(Ages 3 – 6 years old. Levels are based on maturity and ability to focus)
The Dance to Your Own Tune curriculum was developed to help young children become more aware of their body and an understanding of how it moves through space. It teaches increased self-control, coordination, and confidence while helping children to become more sensitive to music through movement and as a means of self-expression in response to music. Children who are toilet-trained and can be away from their parents for an hour class will enjoy exploring dance movement with music. Placement in class levels is based on maturity and ability to focus, not age. It is not uncommon for young children to repeat a class level for a second year.
Each lesson follows a theme that children can relate to and works to incorporate the learning components mentioned above by having children respond to teacher-prompted movements or by collaborating with the teacher to respond creatively to music.
EXAMPLES of Monthly Themes:
(Approximately 5 – 8 years old)
The Pre-Primary and Primary dance syllabus was developed to help children learn critical thinking, self-confidence, and social-emotional skills through a dance course that is artistically and developmentally appropriate for their age and appealing to young children.
The aims of the syllabus are to improve motor development by helping children to become more skillful in natural dance movements, improving their physical fitness, and promoting self-expression through movement. Cognitive development is fostered through learning movements, developing creative skills, and learning musicality and sensitivity in response to music. Self-esteem and self-confidence are also developed in an environment that enables children to become independent and co-operative learners. The program encourages creativity by engaging the students in planning exercises set to musical pieces and to express emotion through story telling. By making children feel good about what they are doing, we help to nurture a good self-esteem.
In Grades one and two, students will progress into a more formalized study of classical ballet. They will begin work at the barre, strengthen stance and age appropriate use of turnout, port de bras, articulated use of feet and classical line. Character work is added in these grades, as seen in all of the classic ballets. Creative imagery is used in classwork to help children learn control and also different dynamics of movement. Musicality and performance quality are layered in to encourage children to dance as a performing art. Older beginners are place in these levels to ensure they get the basics of classical technique.
In Grades three and four, students will now attend three classes per week, to keep up with demands of progressing in all foundational areas learned in Grades one and two, as well as an increasing vocabulary of ballet steps. In some cases, students may need to spend extra time in these levels, as the bodies and brains of children develop at individual rates. More focus is required to retain technical corrections and also more complicated choreography in both exam syllabus and free class work in these levels. Character work is continued in Grades three and four at a higher level.
Grade five is the culmination of the RAD Graded Syllabus. Increased strength, flexibility, proper use of turnout, correct line, rhythmical character work as well as a maturing sense of performance and musicality are all required for Grade five. The exam syllabus has intricate choreography to challenge the dancers, requiring a mature approach and focus. By the end of grade five, students should be ready to embark on the Vocational (pre-professional) syllabus of the RAD, or they may choose to follow a more recreational path and continue study of the Discovering Repertoire Syllabus. Which path they chose is dependent on their own innate physical ability, as well as the work ethic and application of correction in class.
(teacher recommendation only)
The Pre-pointe class is a year long program that incorporates The Perfect Pointe System created by internationally renowned Dance Physiotherapist Lisa Howell from Australia. Students will focus on strength, control and flexibility in the feet and all of the key areas of the body that are needed to safely proceed to pointe work. Attention will also be drawn to how they use their turnout, foot articulation and correct stance (core strength) in their technique classes- which relates directly to eligibility for pointe work. Work outside of class will be needed to gain the necessary strength and flexibility for pointe. A focused and mature approach is as essential as physical attributes.
Before and after the completion of the phases in Lisa Howell’s program, students will be individually assessed. Some may require more time than others, as bodies and minds develop at different rates. The students must be able to consistently use correct technique in their classwork before progressing to pointe. The minimum age for pointe work is eleven years old due to ossification in the bones of the feet, but there are many other factors that contribute. Instructors at Rachel’s Ballet take the safety of the students as the first consideration when assessing pointe readiness. Students use a companion book https://www.dancesupplies.com/The-Perfect-Pointe-Book.html with the program.