Ballet Class Policies - Balance Dance Studios | Dance Classes | Adults | Kids

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Ballet at Balance teaches ballet in a safe and artistic manner to students of all ages and levels.  We pride ourselves on being progressive and inclusive while honoring the roots of ballet.

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Ballet Faculty 2020-2021

Hannah Woolridge

Taylor Harbin

Emily Lofton

Kirsten Kemp

Alex Wood

AnnaMarie Li

Kelsy Leyendecker

Ballet Class Etiquette
  • Proper class attire (see Dress Code below)
  • Respect for the teacher and fellow students
  • Dancers should enter the studio quietly before class begins in order to prepare their minds and bodies for class.
  • If a dancer arrives late, he/she will need to check into the office.
  • No dancer can join class after the 15 minute (late) mark. If they arrive 15 minutes after class has started, they will have to sit out, take notes, and make up the class at a later date.
  • No food, drinks (other than water in a self-sealing water bottle), or gum is allowed in the studio.
  • No hanging, climbing, sitting or leaning on the barre(s).
  • Do not use the barre as a hanging rack for clothes/bags.
  • If you must leave early from class, please inform your instructor before class begins and politely dismiss yourself when needed.
  • No talking during class, unless asking the instructor a question or responding to a question the instructor asked.
  • Respect your classmates. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  • If you are injured, inform your instructor before class begins. If you must sit out, bring a notebook and pen to take notes throughout the class. If a dancer chooses to sit due to injury, he/she will not be allowed to return to dancing in class until the doctor clears the dancer to rejoin the class (this is to prevent any further injuries).
  • No combinations are “optional”
  • Raise your hand to ask questions, and wait to be called on.
  • Belongings will be stored off the floor during class, preferably in cubbies.
  • All ballet classes will end with a reverence to show appreciation for the instructor and the knowledge that has been shared. Dancers will clap before exiting the studio to thank their instructor.
  • Discipline will be demonstrated in both the application of technique and display of respectful behavior.
  • Dancers will understand the importance of corrections and apply them. 
  • Dancers will keep a positive attitude toward their work and instructor.
Dress Code

Girls will wear color-coded leotards (dependent on ballet level), pink footed tights (worn underneath the leotard), and pink ballet shoes. Sports bras may be worn under the leotard as long as they are not distracting (ie, no decorative straps across the back, bright colors/designs) and either the leotard color and shade, or a tan sports bra with clear straps, to maintain the lines of the leotard. Boys will wear a white, black, or level colored fitted t-shirt with black leggings, joggers, or shorts. They will need white socks, and black ballet shoes.  

 

Level 1 Grape  –  Level 2 Royal Blue  –  Level 3 Black Cherry  –  Level 4 Navy  –  Level 5 Black

Dancers are to wear their level ballet color to all ballet classes, even if they are stepping into a mixed level class or a lower level class (as makeup/extra class). This helps the instructors to be aware of the level of each individual dancer in the class, enabling them to give each dancer the best class possible. 

Balance leotards are available for purchase through the front desk. Youth sized leotards are $25 each and adult sized leotards are $30 each. If the leotard size is unavailable at the front desk , dancers will be asked to wear a solid color leotard to class until our stock is replenished. 

Hair: Should be worn in a clean and neat bun, taking care to ensure that dancer’s hair is out of the face/eyes, is secure and will not come undone in the middle of class. If hair is too short for a bun, please secure hair out of the face with headbands and bobby pins.

Jewelry: Only stud earrings will be allowed; no other jewelry should be worn. Watches, including smart watches, are not permitted. 

 

DRESS CODE VIOLATIONS (including incorrect leotard color) 

1st offense – Dancer will be allowed to take class but will be sent home with a note 

2nd offense –  Dancer will be allowed to take class but will be sent home with a note, informing the parent(s) that the next violation will be marked as an absence. 

3rd offense– Dancer will not be allowed to take class, and will be marked absent, but will still be asked to stay and observe class and take notes. 

All violations will be tracked through their Studio Director account, and will reset at the beginning of the fall semester each year. 

Levels

Our ballet syllabus is designed to have clarity and distinction in regard to dancers’ training and progress through our ballet levels. The structure provided by the syllabus allows for a safe progression through ballet technique, ensuring that a student has the technical strength and clarity to conquer the movements of the next level. Each level listed in the syllabus will be building upon the criteria learned in all previous levels.

Due to the differing rate of maturity, talent, development, and strength, dancers will typically stay at each level for multiple years. A full copy of our ballet syllabus is available at the front desk for your viewing. 

 

LEVEL SUMMARIES 

Level 1 

Focuses on the basic steps and ballet terminology. Dancers gain structure and learn combinations to improve memory. They should master the 5 positions of the feet and arms

Level 2 

Focuses on alignment and foot strength. Dancers will start to use their technique to coordinate simple movements and produce combinations of steps and quality of movement. Expressing precision and control within their range of physical capabilities. Master the positions of the body as well as the placement of the head. 

Level 3

Focusing on proper body alignment, Dancers will learn that their strength comes from the core to facilitate the movement of the legs and arms.  They will learn to interpret the music and display this interpretation through their own dancing style. Dancers should also show a developing spatial awareness in groups as well as within themselves. They should master all 5 arabesque positions as well as the fixed points on a stage.

Level 4

Dancers will be working toward furthering their technique and performance quality by demonstrating an increased range of movements with increasing length and complexity while maintaining a sense of style throughout.

Level 5

Dancers will work through a wide range of movements striving for technical clarity as well as incorporating artistry and performance qualities to their dancing.

Full Level breakdowns will be handed out at the beginning of the year (fall), and available through your ballet instructor, upon request.

 

LEVEL REQUIREMENTS

The required classes for each level vary and are intended to maintain the current level of the dancer. If the dancer wishes to progress further in ballet (move up in the levels), dancers should consider taking additional ballet classes or private lessons with one of the ballet instructors.

  • Level 1: Minimum of 1 hour of Ballet per week
  • Level 2: Minimum of 1.5 hours of Ballet per week 
  • Level 3: Minimum of 3 hours of Ballet per week, 2 – 1.5-hour classes
  • Level 4 & Level 5: Minimum of 4-4.5 hours of Ballet per week: 2-3 (1.5 hours) Ballet classes, 3rd class (ONLY) can be substituted with Body Conditioning/Skill Building, Strong Body, or Pilates class

 

Absences in excess of 3 per class without make-up, per semester (Aug-Dec & Jan-May), can/will result in a dancer being moved to a lower level. 

Pointe / Pre-Pointe

Students will be advised of their pointe/pre-pointe levels with the placement results in May. Pre-pointe is a select class for dancers who show great potential in gaining their pointe shoes. The goal of the class is to work closely with these dancers on skills listed in the syllabus to attain pointe shoes mid-way through the year. Consistent attendance and focus in class are essential in attaining this goal; excessive absences could result in the dancer being asked to leave the class. Once dancers receive their pointe shoes and complete half a year working at the barre, they will be invited to join pointe class. No student will be allowed to take a pointe/pre-pointe class without taking the (directly) preceding ballet class THAT DAY. 

Evaluations / Placements

EVALUATIONS

Students will be evaluated once a year to assess their progress in class. This evaluation will be done in December,  in class, by their instructor to ensure each individual knows his/her strengths and weaknesses. They will receive feedback on their progress of select skills listed in the syllabus according to their level. This will allow dancers to focus on the skills that need improvement to achieve their goal by the end of the year in May. Dancers are eligible for level placement with this evaluation, but it is not guaranteed. 

 

PLACEMENTS

Students will be placed once a year to determine their level for the following year. Placements will occur in May, and will not be accompanied by specific feedback. Students will be assessed in class by their instructors, with the option to attend additional classes the week of placements to allow a panel of instructors to assess the dancer, and place them in the most appropriate level. If a dancer does not fulfill the requirements of the Ballet Program they will be placed in a lower level, despite skill level. Dancers are not able to nominate themselves for level placement at any point during the year, but if a dancer shows exceptional progress in his/her training Instructors have the opportunity to nominate dancers for level placement at any point throughout the year. At this time a select group of dancers will be invited to join the pre-pointe class for the following year (See Levels). 

Nutcracker Winter Show

Ballet at Balance is excited to announce that we will be putting on a production of the Holiday classic, The Nutcracker!

The Nutcracker will showcase on Friday, December 11th, at 7pm, at the Life Austin Outdoor Amphitheater. 

The Nutcracker will be done in place of the spring recital, allowing dancers to focus solely on technique in the spring, before placements in May.  Ballet classes that are recital-based will be labeled with “Nutcracker”, indicating the class will be performing in our Nutcracker performance in December. 

 

YAGP Resources

Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) is the world’s largest network of dance. Their mission is to support and develop world-class dancers, ages 9-19, from around the world, by providing scholarship auditions, master classes, performance & educational opportunities, as well as connecting students and teachers from the globe. 

Due to  COVID-19, YAGP has not released information on what the 2021 season will look like. They are offering some online content, like master classes, with some fantastic instructors, if you are interested: check out this link for all of their Zoom Classes , and use this link to check out their FREE classes. 

We will continue to monitor the status of the YAGP 2021 season and update you all as we are able.

Enroll in Ballet Classes

Ballet Newsletter Archive

7/16/19

We are excited to inform you that we would like to take a group of students who are interested in competing in the Ballet genre to YAGP in 2020! Students will have the option to complete classical/contemporary solos, as well as Pas de Deux and more! If your dancer loves ballet and would enjoy a weekend full of master classes and performing, this is for them!

What is YAGP?

Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) is the world’s largest network of dance. Their mission is to support and develop world-class dancers ages 9-19 from around the world by providing scholarship auditions, master classes, performance & education opportunities, as well as connecting students and teachers from the globe.

Who can participate?

All dancers ages 9-19 are invited to perform a classical/contemporary solo, a Pas de Deux, Duet/trio, or an ensemble number at the YAGP Regional Semi-Finals. Since the competition focuses on Ballet, at least 2 years of consistent Ballet training is required. Dancers are divided into 3 age groups:Senior age division: 15 -19 years old , Junior age division: 12 – 14 years old, Pre-Competitive age division: 9 -11 years old (age as of Jan 1, 2020).

What does it cost?

All dancers must pay the $95 registration fee (which includes complimentary Master Classes and the $50 NON-REFUNDABLE processing fee).

• Classical or Contemporary Solo – $105 for each solo entry

• Pas de Deux – $105 per dancer, per entry

• Contemporary Pas de Deux – $60 per dancer, per entry

• Duet/Trio – $60 per dancer, per entry

• Large Ensembles (4+ members) – $45 per dancer, per entry

The cost of instructor hotel and travel will be split among all in attendance.

When is it?

We will go to one of the following Regional Semi-Finals: January 30- February 2 in Dallas or February 13-16 in Houston.

Still interested??

Please Fill out this form to receive additional information regarding YAGP 2020!

Thanks,

Hannah Woolridge

Ballet Director

1/16/19
Hello Ballet Families!

Attention L4 Dancers! We will no longer accept the Hunter Green ballet leotards that were previously L4 beginning in August 2019. Please keep this in mind when purchasing new leotards.

Below is information that we think is essential for all dancers, please take a moment to read through!

Why taking lower level ballet classes is essential to progressing in ballet

It is natural for driven dancers and their parents to wish to move up levels quickly.  There is a positive and natural urge to dance in higher levels and participate in classes that are challenging.  It is important to tread this line carefully, however, when it comes to ballet training. Without the correct base technique and strength, taking classes that are too challenging can become a detriment to a dancer’s progress.  That is not to say that taking appropriate and higher level classes isn’t advantageous, just that it is important to continuously be honing in on base technique and strength.

Leveling in a ballet environment is extremely different from progressing from one grade to another in school.  There are implications in that scenario that are not true in ballet. While it can be frustrating as a dancer or parent to hear that it’s not time to move up yet, it is always in the student’s best interest to remain at the appropriate level, as decided by their teachers and program, before jumping into more advanced classes.

For students limited on time and taking many genres of dance- perhaps without the goal of pursuing ballet professionally- it is easy to let ballet classes fall by the wayside.  It is helpful to remember that progress in ballet is progress in many forms of dance, as ballet is the foundation for all types of movement.

Ballet training is a process…it is slow and requires years of repetition.  It requires consistent attendance in class and being present while in class. It is not a “step” or “trick” that can be mastered over a semester or year.  Yes, steps are learned and progress can be made quickly, but the end goal is different. There is no final moment of achievement in ballet technique; it is a constant work in progress, and that is what makes it so special.

Professional ballet dancers take classes regularly for their entire careers.  For students and professionals alike, slower paced classes provide the opportunity to engage the correct muscles and use proper alignment.  Correct muscle engagement in slower-paced classes can help ensure that the same muscles are triggered when more complicated or faster steps and choreography are introduced.  Engaging the proper muscles also helps with injury prevention and sustainability.

The last thing to keep in mind is that there is always something to learn in ballet classes, even at the lowest level.  Always be open to hearing corrections and improving, even if you are not in the level you might wish to be in. If you have concerns or questions, reach out to your teacher and he/she can help guide you in the right direction.

Thank you,

Hannah

10/19/18
Hello, Ballet Families!

Just a few reminders about the requirements for the Ballet program:

Based on your placed ballet level, all dancers are required to be enrolled and attend a certain number of classes per week. Failure to meet these requirements puts the dancer in jeopardy of being moved down a level. Below are the requirements for the levels:

Level 1 dancers: enrolled in (1) 1 hour class per week

Level 2 dancers: enrolled in (1) 1/1.5 hour class per week

Level 3 dancers: enrolled in (2) 1.5 hour classes per week

Level 4 & 5 dancers: enrolled in (3) 1.5 hour classes per week. 1 hour of ballet (only the third class) can be substituted with a Body Conditioning & Skill Building class.

If a dancer wishes to progress further in ballet (move up in the levels), he/she should consider taking additional ballet classes or privates with one of the ballet instructors.

Attendance:

Consistent attendance in ballet class is essential for maintaining technique and skills, as well as endurance. Classes are structured to grow on a weekly basis, building upon the previous week to progress dancers through their technique at a steady pace. Dancers are not allowed to miss more than 3 of the same class per semester (Aug-Dec & Jan-May) without running the risk of being moved down a level. They can make-up missed classes within the same week to avoid the missed class being counted against your dancer.

Dress Code

GIRLS 6+

Color-coded leotards (dependent on ballet level), pink footed tights (worn underneath the leotard), and pink ballet shoes. Sports bras may be worn under the leotard as long as they are not distracting (ie, no decorative straps across the back, bright colors/designs).  A tan sports bra with clear straps is suggested to maintain the lines of the leotard. Alternately, a bra the same color and shade as the leo color may be worn.

Level 1 grape

Level 2 royal blue

Level 3 black cherry

Level 4 navy

Level 5 black

Dancers are to wear their level ballet color to all ballet classes, even if they are stepping into a mixed level class or a lower level class (as makeup/extra class). This helps the instructors to be aware of the level of each individual dancer in the class, enabling them to give each dancer the best class possible.

Hair: Should be worn in a clean and neat bun, taking care to ensure that dancer’s hair is out of the face/eyes, is secure and will not come undone in the middle of class.

Jewelry: Only stud earrings will be allowed; no other jewelry should be worn.

BOYS

White, fitted t-shirt with black leggings/joggers, white socks and black ballet shoes. Hair should be worn out of the face and eyes.

Dress Code Violations (including incorrect leotard color)

1st offense – Dancer will be allowed to take class but will be sent home with a note

2nd offense –  Dancer will be allowed to take class but will be sent home with a note, informing the parent(s) that the next violation will be marked as an absence.

3rd offense- Dancer will not be allowed to take class, and will be marked absent, but will still be asked to stay and observe class and take notes.

All violations will be tracked through their Studio Director account, and will reset at the beginning of each semester.

Pointe Work

We love that so many dancers are eager to advance to getting pointe shoes, but this can be a long process. The question we often get is, “what age do you get your pointe shoes?” Unfortunately, there is no magical age that all dancers are ready for pointe shoes. A much better question would be, “when will my dancer be ready for pointe shoes?”

Pointe work requires a dancer to be strong in their ballet technique, as well as mature enough to tackle the responsibility of pointe work. A dancer must be able to maintain their turnout consistently throughout ballet class and have proper alignment from head to toe. If a dancer does not have the strength to support their body en pointe, it can result in damage to the bones of the feet and legs. These bones do not finish developing until approximately 13-15 years old, while most dancers are ready for pointe work between the ages of 11-13. These ages are approximations and are not guaranteed for each dancer. The most essential part of beginning pointe work is making sure that the dancer has the strength and technique to support the dancer en pointe.

Once a dancer earns their pointe shoes, it is essential he/she works slowly and consistently in his/her pointe shoes. Pointe work is much more difficult than working in flat shoes, and dancers should not jump into full class with their pointe shoes; they need to learn how to articulate and work through their shoes first and foremost. Consistency is key; a dancer cannot gain strength and stamina en pointe without actively working in their shoes. There are exercises that can help with strengthening, but nothing compares to standing on your toes, like pointe work.

We ask that you all are patient with us as we prepare the younger dancers for pointe work with a strong technical foundation, and we encourage you to talk with your eager young dancers about this topic.

This is a slightly controversial topic, as there are differing views about what age a dancer is ready for pointe, but the consistent answer is there is no magic age, but that it has more to do with technique, body development and strength than age. We have attached a few articles that expand on this topic, that we think you all might enjoy.

https://dancer.com/ballet-info/in-the-studio/when-to-start-pointe/

https://www.dancespirit.com/am-i-ready-for-pointe-2326191492.html

https://www.childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/sports-articles/sports-safety/when-should-my-child-start-pointe-ballet/

http://www.rmaeug.com/whentogoenpointe.pdf

CONTACT INFORMATION 

Please send any questions to ballet@balancedancestudios.com, and you should get a response within 24 hours, Monday through Friday.