Classes in our Childhood Program are grouped into age specific levels for 3 - 6 year old. Beginning with our pre-ballet level thru level IB. These classes meet once a week and last 60 minutes. At South Florida Ballet age is not only a guideline, it is also the ability of the child that predicts what level they will be placed in.
Class structure for all levels is essentially the same, with the content based on appropriate development skills for their level. Each class begins with a center warm-up that includes all of the major muscle groups and is the basis for the barre work taught in ballet class at a later date. The level IA will be introduced to the barre for a few minutes during their class. This is when they will begin to learn more French terminology and how to perform a few basic steps standing at the barre.
From this, students learn correct posture and the placement of the body over the legs (This is very important for both dancers and non-dancers!). The exercises in this section also teach balance, port de bras (arm movements), and include various types of jumps that are building blocks for the allegro (jumping) steps of classical ballet.
The level IB class is essentially the same, the students have been dancing longer and began their training in the pre-ballet level and IA level. In level IB the execution of the step is more strongly emphasized than the previous levels.
Following the center warm-up comes stretching. These gentle exercises progress in difficulty as students gain flexibility over the years. The next section of class is based on different monthly objectives geared to the age of the students. Concepts such as classroom etiquette, musical awareness, dance relationships to others, relationships to the working space and the stage, expressing emotions through movement, and pantomime are explored during the year. The fourth section of class 'develops the loco motor skills that form the basis for all ballet steps that travel.
The final portion of class is devoted to developing creative expression. Students participate in a variety of Bee movement exercises that teach listening skills (responding to the tempo and mood of the music), levels (high, medium, low), and directions (forward, backward, sideways). Young dancers who are consistently exposed to this type of activity in class are generally more creative in their choreographic efforts in late years, and are consistently freer in their movement styles as they develop. Besides, it’s just plain FUN!