Our children's curriculum begins with our Pre-Ballet class, which introduces very young dancers (beginning at age 4) to the creativity and expressiveness of dance. Our Pre-Ballet class encourages imagination, musicality, improvisation, and graceful movement. Children practice basic ballet stretches while learning class etiquette and how to follow instructions.
Our Level 1 class is the beginning of structured training in the fundamentals of classical ballet. Children begin to expand their awareness of their own bodies, learning proper posture and alignment. They learn small to medium jumps, and work with both hands on the barre. Students begin to develop “turnout” positions, and gain strength, flexibility, rhythym, and focus.
In level 2, children add new dance skills, working with just one hand on the bar and adding in arms. They begin work on refining their form and simple technique towards the achievement of precision. Students begin more advanced technique work in their barre exercises and combinations. Emphasis is placed on consistency and precision. Students also begin to work on strengthening feet and ankles and accompanying skills to prepare them for future pointe work.
Level 3 is an extremely important time in a young dancer's training, when they begin to learn more advanced steps, begin to work on pirouettes, and begin to work en pointe. DTC/SF Faculty assess each individual dancer for pointe readiness, which requires both an advanced physicality and understanding of technique, but also a dedication to training. Along with technique classes, Level 3 students have 1 class per week, dedicated specifically to working en pointe.
In Level 4, students are further challenged with putting steps together in more complicated combinations, with different musical rhythms and meter. In addition to having one pointe class per week, students begin to wear pointe shoes in some of their technique classes to master the use of their feet in the shoes. Students continue to build physical strength en pointe and confidence in their technical ability. Level 4 also joins Variations class with Levels 5-6, to practice the skills required to learn choreography and quickly "perform" that choreography at a high level in class and at auditions.
Advanced students practice advanced technique and pointe work in a vigorous environment. They begin to explore choreography, learn repertory from famous ballets and learn to condition their bodies for optimal success in whatever they wish their dance future to be. Classes are offered 6 days per week, including Saturday Variations class.
Level 6 is for the elite dancer, who is interested in taking their training to a higher level, as a professional, choreographer, or a teacher. Students are expected to work en pointe in daily classes and have their own class once a week to work on very advanced technique and artistry. Classes are offered 6 days per week, including Variations.
At DTC/SF, we are happy to accept beginning students of nearly any age! Hence, the Catch-Up Class was born. Designed for beginning ballet students, ages 11-17, Catch-Up Class provides an accelerated course of basic ballet technique. Students learn the concepts, vocabulary and skills of classical ballet that will allow them to "catch-up" to students who began training at an earlier age. Each class begins with the Berg Method floor barre to train appropriate muscles for ballet and then progresses through ballet class. Students also have the possibility of supplementing their regular DTC/SF classes with Catch-Up Class during the school year. Catch-Up Class is taught on the basis of student need and is not a part of the regular DTC/SF schedule.