The School of Ballet des Amériques

Dance is a serious undertaking, an art form that involves a person's whole being. We may think of a classical violinist who is both a soloist and a member of an orchestra, able to excel on her own as well as in perfect harmony with others. Moreover, since a dancer's body is her instrument, as it were, the activity extends into everyday life in the dancer's comportment. In short, one isn't a dancer only in the studio or on a stage. Rather, to become a dancer, a student must develop an identity that is carried into all aspects of life. For this reason we have developed the structured program outlined below, including rules about attendance, dress and etiquette. Joining Ballet des Amériques means subscribing to its ethos of hard work, discipline, a love of the art and the appropriate conduct, as outlined in these rules.

In keeping with this holistic approach, Ballet des Amériques is not geared towards training for competitions. As a primary focus, training for competitions would be as problematic a notion as "teaching for the test" is in general education: Perhaps a specific objective will be achieved or a certain criterion met for a limited time, but the student will not acquire the general skill and competence for succeeding in life. Competitions indeed have a legitimate purpose, but the requisite training will require special arrangements at the discretion of the Director.

Proper dance training requires a long-term teacher-student relationship concerned with developing the whole person based on constant engagement, observation and correction. Ballet technique in the French tradition is ideally suited for this approach with its emphasis on repetition – required for building muscle memory – and its insistence on addressing specific problems on the spot and correcting them before moving on. At Ballet des Amériques, we impart a passion for the art and teach non-affected movements with an emphasis on the purity of lines.

The school is made up of three divisions: the Pre-Ballet Division, the Junior Division and the Senior Division. These divisions in turn are divided into levels as described below.

Pre-Ballet Division

The Pre-Ballet Division for children aged 4 - 8 introduces its students to the love, beauty and passion of dance. Its primary purpose is to prepare and condition children for learning the foundations of ballet upon entering the Junior Division.

The Pre-Ballet curriculum was created and developed by our Director, Carole Alexis, and is taught by professional faculty members. As part of the auditioning process, all prospective students are evaluated by the Director and faculty and assigned to the appropriate level. The age of a student may thus differ from that of other students in the same class. Although the school makes a concerted effort to keep the age ranges as narrow as possible, it is important that students be placed into the class that is most suitable to their level of ability and development so as to foster the greatest progress, artistic and technical achievement. 

The curriculum of the Pre-Ballet Division instills in its students a love for the art of dance by developing motor skills and dexterity, flexibility, muscles strength, musicality, concentration, discipline, emotional confidence and creativity. It introduces postures, ballet positions, and prepares the children for classical training through a structured progression of exercises.

Once students have mastered the skills required in their class, they will be moved to the next level. It is not unusual for this advancement to take more than one year. In exceptional circumstances, the Director may determine that a particular student should advance to the next level before the completion of the year.

Pre-ballet students will participate in the annual Spring Performance.

The classes of the Pre-Ballet Division divide into the following levels:

  • Pre-Ballet Level 1
  • Pre-Ballet Level 2
  • Pre-Ballet Level 3

Attendance, Punctuality, Policy on Lateness and Absence

Attendance is mandatory and is recorded, and classes begin promptly at their designated times. Please note that the attendance record plays a role in deciding whether a student is ready to move on to the next level.

Students must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to class to fix their hair and warm up for 10 minutes to prepare for class and prevent injury. Parents must pick up students promptly after class at the door of the respective studio.

If a student is bound to be absent, the Director must be notified by e-mail - if possible 24 hours - ahead of time, and a reason for the absence must be given. The absence will require attendance of a make-up class. Lateness must likewise be accompanied by a valid reason and - depending on the severity of the lateness - the teacher may ask the student simply to observe the class.

Dress Code

For pedagogical reasons, it is essential that dress be strictly uniform. For girls, dress varies in color according to level.

Pre-Ballet Level 1: Black Sansha leotards, black Sansha skirts, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha, pink leg warmers, BdA tracksuit.

Pre-Ballet Level 2: Pink Sansha leotards, pink Sansha skirts, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Pre-Ballet Level 3: Seafoam green Sansha leotards, light green Sansha skirts, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Boys wear white leotards, grey shorts, thin white socks, grey split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha, BdA tracksuit.

Hair

Girls must have their hair secured in a neat ballet bun at all times. Please bring the following items to class: hair brush, bobby pins (bunheads recommended), hair net, hair spray.

Boys with long hair must have it secured in a pony tail by an elastic band.

In your bags:

Document binder, small towel, water bottle, Thera-Band®, tennis ball, golf ball, yoga belt, tiger balm, arnica gel from Boiron, your music player and music for rehearsing your dance part.

Junior Division

Upon entering the Junior Division (ages 9 - 13 approximately), students begin formal training in classical ballet in the European tradition with a French emphasis on repetition. The curriculum of this division is designed to lay the foundations of classical dance, and repetition is required to develop “muscle memory”. Proper technique and posture as well as an understanding of rotation and alignment must be acquired during the 4 years of training in the Junior Division. The curriculum includes barre au sol, barre and center work.

Over the course of the program, students consolidate the basic elements of classical ballet, learning the 5 positions of the legs, carriage and position of the arms (port de bras), the coordination of the movements of the limbs and variations. This is accompanied by balance work and weight shifting, demi-pointe work, centering on demi-pointe, an introduction to turning with exercises en tournant, jumping, and the development of the awareness of the aesthetics of the flow and expressiveness of movement.

Repetition and carefully paced, methodical work are essential for learning the exercises correctly and forming the proper habits in terms of technique. Students will develop their physical and artistic potential with an emphasis on strength and flexibility, bodily control, discipline, and musicality. In their Junior years, students will also receive instruction in dance history, music and anatomy.

Once students have mastered the skills required in their class, they will be moved to the next level. It is not unusual for this advancement to take more than one year. In exceptional circumstances, the Director may determine that particular student should advance to the next level before the completion of the year.

Students of the Junior Division are eligible to participate in the annual Nutcracker Ball and the Spring Performance.

The classes of the Junior Division divide into the following levels:

  • Ballet Level 1A
  • Ballet Level 1B
  • Ballet Level 2A
  • Ballet Level 2B
  • Ballet Level 3A
  • Ballet Level 3B

Highly motivated students will benefit from additional class time and are therefore encouraged to take extra classes at a lower level free of charge. Students receive written evaluation and report cards twice a year. The level recommended for the fall will be communicated in the registration packet sent out in June.

Attendance, Punctuality, Policy on Lateness and Absence

Attendance is mandatory and is recorded, and classes begin promptly at their designated times. Please note that the attendance record plays a role in deciding whether a student is ready to move on to the next level.

Students must arrive at least 20 minutes prior to class to fix their hair and spend 15 minutes on warm-up and cross-training exercises. Parents must pick up students promptly after class at the door of the respective studio.

If a student is bound to be absent, the Director must be notified by e-mail - if possible 24 hours - ahead of time, and a reason for the absence must be given. The absence will require attendance of a make-up class. Lateness must likewise be accompanied by a valid reason and - depending on the severity of the lateness - the teacher may ask the student simply to observe the class.

Dress Code

For pedagogical reasons, it is essential that dress be strictly uniform. For girls, dress varies in color according to level.

Ballet Level 1A: White Sansha leotards with school logo, white Sansha ballet skirt, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha with satin ribbons, light blue alignment belt, black character skirt and shoes, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Ballet Level 1B: Royal blue Sansha leotards with logo, royal blue Sansha ballet skirt, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha with satin ribbons, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, black character skirt and shoes, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Ballet Level 2A: Light Blue Sansha leotards with logo, light blue Sansha ballet skirt, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha with satin ribbons, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, black character skirt and shoes, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Ballet Level 2B: Light Blue Sansha leotards with logo, light blue Sansha ballet skirt, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha with satin ribbons, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, black character skirt and shoes, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Ballet Level 3A: Lavender Sansha leotards with logo, Lavender Sansha ballet skirt, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha with satin ribbons, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, Flamenco skirt and character shoes, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Ballet Level 3B: Lavender Sansha leotards with logo, Lavender Sansha ballet skirt, pink tights with back seam, pink split-sole canvas ballet shoes from Sansha with satin ribbons, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, Flamenco skirt and character shoes, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Boys wear white leotards, grey shorts, thin white socks and grey split-sole canvas Sansha ballet shoes, BdA tracksuit.

Hair

Girls must have their hair secured in a neat ballet bun at all times. Please bring the following items to class: hair brush, bobby pins (bunheads recommended), hair net, hair spray.

Boys with long hair must have it secured in a pony tail by an elastic band.

In your bags:

Document binder, small towel, water bottle, Thera-Band®, tennis ball, golf ball, yoga belt, tiger balm, arnica gel from Boiron, your music player and music for rehearsing your dance part.

Senior Division

Students accepted to the Senior Division have acquired the foundations of classical dance and have demonstrated the commitment and discipline required for serious ballet training. Specifically, they will have mastered the vocabulary and curriculum of the Junior Division.

Students in the Senior Division are required to train between 4 and 6 days a week. Pointe work begins in the Senior Division, and students will also begin taking classes in Modern Dance. Other subjects include improvisation, solos, contemporary dance, repertoire and body conditioning.

In their Senior years, students will also receive instruction in classical dance history, modern dance history, music and anatomy.

The curriculum of the Senior Division is designed to take students from intermediate foundations to advanced foundations. By Level 5, students must possess advanced foundations in port de bras, center practice, pirouettes, adage, allegro and enchaînement,

Once students have mastered the skills required in their class, they will be moved to the next level. It is not unusual for this advancement to take more than one year. In exceptional circumstances, the Director may determine that particular student should advance to the next level before the completion of the year.

Students of the Senior Division participate in all School productions as well as in all master classes and workshops offered at Ballet des Amériques. Students of the highest level may be invited to audition to enter the Company of Ballet des Amériques.

During the final year there will be individual orientation sessions for students and parents regarding the future of the student in the dance world. Will the student aim for a career as a dancer and, if so, will it be classical dance or modern dance or both? Other career paths in the field of dance or in the performing arts in general may also be considered. Finally, arrangement need to be made with the student and parents to prepare for gaining entrance to dance colleges and/or dance companies.

Ballet des Amériques will provide physical and mental preparation (mentoring) for auditions and will provide guidance in the preparation of dance résumés, head shots and dance photos (portfolio).

The classes of the Senior Division divide into the following levels:

  • Ballet Level 4
  • Ballet Level 5
  • Ballet Level 6

Highly motivated students will benefit from additional class time and are therefore encouraged to take extra classes at a lower level free of charge. Students receive written evaluation and report cards twice a year. The level recommended for the fall will be communicated in the registration packet sent out in June.

Attendance, Punctuality, Policy on Lateness and Absence

Attendance is mandatory and is recorded, and classes begin promptly at their designated times. Please note that the attendance record plays a role in deciding whether a student is ready to move on to the next level.

Students must arrive at least 20 minutes prior to class to fix their hair and spend 15 minutes on warm-up and cross-training exercises. Parents must pick up students promptly after class at the door of the respective studio.

If a student is bound to be absent, the Director must be notified by e-mail - if possible 24 hours - ahead of time, and a reason for the absence must be given. The absence will require attendance of a make-up class. Lateness must likewise be accompanied by a valid reason and - depending on the severity of the lateness - the teacher may ask the student simply to observe the class.

Dress Code

For pedagogical reasons, it is essential that dress be strictly uniform. For girls, dress varies in color according to level.

Ballet Level 4: White leotards with attached skirt, pink tights with back seam, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, Flamenco skirt and character shoes, burgundy Sansha leotards with logo, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Ballet Level 5: White leotards with attached skirt, pink tights with back seam, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, Flamenco skirt and character shoes, burgundy Sansha leotards with logo, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Ballet Level 6: White leotards with attached skirt, pink tights with back seam, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, Flamenco skirt and character shoes, burgundy Sansha leotards with logo, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Graduate Level: White leotards with attached skirt, pink tights with back seam, ¼ pointe shoes with satin ribbons, pointe shoes with satin ribbons, white alignment belt, Flamenco skirt and character shoes, burgundy Sansha leotards with logo, pink legwarmers, BdA tracksuit.

Boys wear white leotards, grey footless tights or shorts, thin white socks and grey split-sole canvas Sansha ballet shoes, BdA tracksuit.

Hair

Girls must have their hair secured in a neat ballet bun at all times. Please bring the following items to class: hair brush, bobby pins (bunheads recommended), hair net, hair spray.

Boys with long hair must have it secured in a pony tail by an elastic band.

In your bags:

Document binder, small towel, water bottle, Thera-Band®, tennis ball, golf ball, yoga belt, tiger balm, arnica gel from Boiron, your music player and music for rehearsing your dance part.

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