New Student Placement
New students ages 10 and up are required to attend an Audition Class for placement into the appropriate Class Level. Students are placed based on age, technique, physique, personal strength and intangibles such as talent, grace and maturity.
Lower School Programs: Creative Movement 3, 4, and 5; Levels 1 and 2
Children are introduced to movement through music and a creative approach to learning the fundamentals of dance. These classes meet once or twice a week and are designed to build interest in dancing, strengthen muscles, introduce a basic vocabulary, and develop a sensibility of the artistic and performance qualities that make up dance. Creative Movement and Level 1A classes do not focus strictly on classical ballet movements due to the ongoing muscular and bone development in this age group. Levels 1B, 2A and 2B begin a more formal approach to classical ballet steps. Teachers and assistants use a “hands on” approach that is vital to teaching young dancers as they develop their skills at their own pace within the group.
Classes for Young Men
The Fort Worth School also offers classes for beginning and intermediate young men, ages 5 and up. Going beyond traditional ballet, this class introduces students to the athletic side of dance in preparation for the intensely physical training required of male dancers in later years. Although we recommend this class be taken in conjunction with our regular school program, it can be taken separately. It is a great way to introduce the art of dance to young men.
Middle School Programs: Levels 3 and 4
Students are introduced to a more demanding level of study as classes meet three or four times a week and incorporate elements from major training styles including Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Cecchetti and Vaganova methods. We also introduce training in modern and jazz to offer intermediate students a well-rounded dance education. Pointe work begins at Level 4, usually after one semester and at the recommendation of the teachers and final approval of the Principal. Regardless of level or age, students will only be able to go on pointe if they are able to do so safely without risking injury.
Upper School Programs: Level 5, Advanced 1, 2, 3 and Trainees
Study is more intense at this level with classes meeting five or six days per week. The school is a training ground for talented dancers to potentially join the Company of Texas Ballet Theater as a trainee or apprentice, or to join another company. We offer a complete and comprehensive training program for the pre-professional dancer with an emphasis on posture, placement, style, quality, artistic expression and musicality.
Level Advancement and Promotion
Advancement through Texas Ballet Theater School is based on many factors including a student’s strength, commitment, attendance, maturity, mastery of material and artistic development as assessed by the teacher and Principal. A student’s ability to execute the required material is considered above all else, including age. Advancement to the next level may occur at anytime during the year, but is generally determined at the end of each school year.
Repeating Levels of Study
Parents and students should not anticipate annual level advancements. Ballet classes do not progress at the same pace as traditional academic grades. It is common for students to repeat levels of study. Because the range of the criteria for promotion is so diverse, it may be two or more years before a student is ready for advancement to the next level of study.
Criteria for advancement:
- Technical Ability: defined as sufficient mastery of ballet technique and mastery at every level.
- Physique: defined as strength, turnout, flexibility and bone structure which allow a student to safely perform the course requirements. Physical characteristics become increasingly important as a student progresses through the levels.
- Interest: defined as demonstrating a willingness and desire to pursue this course of study, whether in ballet, modern or jazz.
- Attendance: defined as attending all classes and rehearsals required of the student’s level. Consistent attendance allows the student to keep up with the material presented, to practice and develop the muscles and to prepare for performances.