For children under the age of 4 we recommend Monkey Moves which uses the RAD's Pre-School Dance Curriculum, leading up to Ballet. Alternatively there is Princess Pre-Ballet which little girls (and boys) love to do!
We recommend that all ballet students take Modern Jazz and ideally Body Conditioning classes to help with flexibility and strengthening.
Using the RAD's brand new, exciting syllabus the children are challenged and inspired at the same time.
We theme most of these classes using both stories children recognise (such as 'Jack and the Beanstalk' and 'Little Red Riding Hood') as well as introducing them to famous ballets (such as 'Coppelia' and 'Nutcracker'). The music used in class includes traditional piano music as well as orchestrated pieces, including music from the famous ballets. There are props such as feathers, wings, pom poms and ribbons to help develop co-ordination, natural movement and creativity.
The children learn how to point their toes and jump correctly whilst also dancing lyrically, energetically and rhythmically. These classes provide an excellent basis for the more technical graded ballet classes.
Classical ballet technique really begins to develop from Grade 1. Children will be introduced to and develop the following:
- Correct ballet posture
- Transfer of weight
- Port de bras
- Barre technique
- Demi-pointe work
The RAD's new Grade 1-3 syllabus is a delight, helping children to achieve a real dance quality and allowing them to inject their own personal style into movements as well as learn the correct technique and poise and building up strength and flexibility. The use of props (e.g. ribbons, flags) is continued to help encourage free flowing movement.
For Grades 4-5 (which is also in the process of being updated by the RAD) students also explore the free movement section which is based on Greek dance and focusses on gravity, relaxation, natural movement, dynamics and poise.
Character steps are also practiced incorporating national dances from various countries including Hungary, Poland and Russia which can be seen in most of the classical ballets such as Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet. Props are often used for character dances such as watering cans in Grade 1, drums in Grade 2 and beautiful flowered garlands in Grade 3.
Throughout the ballet grades, strength, turnout and correct posture develop which enables many children to begin pointework at about Grade 5 level. We currently offer RAD Grades 1-7.
These ballet classes are non-syllabus based and the exercises covered change every few weeks. They are highly suitable for children who already attend other graded classes as they are expanding their knowledge and learning to pick up new steps and combinations. They can also be suitable for new starters as the exercises are run through during each class (which can’t always be done during graded classes due to forthcoming exams).
Vocational Age 10+
Once a student reaches vocational ballet levels complete commitment is required.Students should be attending at least 3 or 4 ballet classes per week.Beating steps begin and there is much more pointe work and emphasis on strength and high extensions.It is at this stage a student must decide whether he or she wishes to dance professionally.Many wish to continue just for enjoyment but for those who wish to take dancing seriously, Prima can help in preparing for professional exams, auditions and teaching exams. Ballet is considered to be the most important of the three core dance techniques.
Whilst we don't offer all levels at all times (as there are usually only a few vocational students at any one time) classes are available in RAD Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2.
Students work towards graded and vocational exams with the RAD, the higher levels of which are accredited and on the National Qualifications Framework alongside GCSEs, NVQs etc. Dance exam results can therefore be used on University applications (UCAS forms) and count as 'points' towards entry.
Ballet is considered to be one of the three core dance techniques, along with Tap and Modern Jazz and therefore assists in vocational college entry for those who wish to pursue dance or Musical Theatre as a career.