Technique: Vaganova Method
The Classical Ballet Academy curriculum emphasizes the classical ballet technique based upon the Russian tradition of training called the Vaganova Method; this method has produced many of the world’s finest dancers.
Agrippina Vaganova has become one of the most important ballet teachers in history. Vaganova married the romantic style of the French ballet and dramatic soulfulness of the Russian character with the athletic virtuosity that characterizes the Italian school to reform the old imperial style of ballet teaching. Vaganova’s system of teaching became and remains the foundation of ballet technique not only in the former Soviet choreographic school, but also throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. This scientifically proven method involves the systematic and progressive study of all ballet movements by breaking them down into their separate elements. The aim of the method is the complete coordination of the entire body in order to achieve artistic dancing.
Vaganova’s system strives to promote dancing with the whole body in order to acquire a harmony of movement and widen the expressive range of the dancer. In order to form a solid foundation of support for dancing, special attention is given to forming an “iron” aplomb, or steadiness, in the trunk of the body—a prerequisite to free bodily control in dance. Students of the Vaganova method develop this by practicing plies with the feet in first position. Although difficult for beginners, forcing the body to keep control and posture while the legs are turned out to their greatest extent build a rigid system of support in the torso and abdominals which easily lend itself to use in Vaganova’s energetic and expressive style. With an iron aplomb and special attention to epaulement (the turning of the shoulders and the body), a foundation is developed for all tours and complicated jumps.
Please Note ages are approximate. Placement is based on students mental and physical maturity.
Pre Ballet (ages 4-5)
Classes serve as an introduction to ballet and to CBA’s training program. Since this is usually the child’s first experience in a ballet class, we work first in the center warming up our bodies with ballet walks, marches and jumps, simple stretches and strengthening exercises. Also the development of elementary skills and the coordination of movements, while building memory and listening skills as well as and understanding of the protocol and etiquette of the ballet studio.
Beginning Ballet I (ages 5-8): There is a repetition and development of the skills learned in Pre Ballet and the fundamentals of classical ballet training emphasizing posture, flexibility, foot exercises, basic anatomy, alignment and stage direction. Students will begin simple conditioning exercises that have been carefully designed to facilitate muscle strength, correct posture, and proper alignment in a safe, effective manner.There is additional focus on placement of the arms, body and legs. Attention is placed on the development of musical and rhythmic awareness, memory and focus for the training process.
Beginning Ballet 2 (ages 6-9): This is a crucial level to build strength in the turned out position. For the easiest and most correct fulfillment of exercises, one begins studying while facing the barre, then moves to one hand. In order to fully understand the role of turnout, one begins studying exercises to the side and then forward and backward. Refinement of conditioning and Centre Floor work continues.
Beginning Ballet 3 (ages 7-11) Students continue to build strength and alignment at the barre. An array of jumps are introduced. Focus is placed on the mastering of these jumps along with introduction to Pre-Pointe exercises in order to build appropriate foot, ankle, and body strength for future pointe work. In order to strengthen the legs, there is an increasing amount of repeated similar movements in a more advanced musical tempo. In order to strengthen the feet, a sequence of movements is done at the barre on demi-pointe. Large poses at 90 degrees are introduced and practiced in exercises and in adagio.
Advanced Beginning-Intermediate 1 Ballet:
The Advanced Beginning-Intermediate 1 level is where the bulk of work for all of the higher levels is first broken down and understood.
There is a further development of natural talents, strength of the legs, stability, and introduction of demi-pointe in exercises in the center of the studio. The exercises are now done in an accelerated tempo.
There is the introduction of movements en tournant, pirouettes, and grand or “big” poses as well as the technique of tours en l’air for men. The continuing development of coordination of movements are emphasized in all parts of the class, as well as the development of expressiveness in each exercise.
Zena Rommett Floor Barre Technique is added and remains a part of the curriculum throughout the rest of their training at CBA.
Students usually begin their study of Pointe in the Intermediate Levels. This is determined by age, number of years trained and if the student posesses sufficient strength in their foundation, legs, ankles and feet.
Promotion to Pointe is not automatic. It is added to the student's schedule after the instructors careful consideration of the determining factors.
Students continue to develop balance and stability with a focus on building strength in the dancers foundation. In center combinations, there is the introduction of movements en tournant on demi-pointe, the basics of battu jumps landing on one leg, and grand allegro. Tours in big poses with double pirouettes, and with different preparations, are studied. There is a focus on learning the technique of different turns on pointe, and developing flexibility and cohesiveness in transitions from one pose to another. More difficult forms of grand adagio with different tempos are introduced, and stress is also placed on developing elevation in grand allegro. Men stress the polishing of tours. In all divisions of the class, attention is devoted to the continued development of coordination in the movement of the legs, arms, and head.
There is a focus on combinations and technique of different turns on demi-pointe and pointe (stationary and traveling), as well as developing the technique of multiple pirouettes.
Adagio is expanded into a larger form, much like a small variation. The most difficult forms of adagio are introduced, including adagio with big jumps, and a continuation of polishing the technique of turns and more advanced sections of allegro (such as sissonne with battus and en tournant).
Allegro is further developed and stress is placed on dancing each combination as if one were dancing a variation. There is also a focus on allegro combinations with traveling (on a straight line and on a diagonal) as well as en tournant, and an even larger focus on the development of exceptional technique and specialties, artistry, and individualism.
With the benefits of the instructor’s experience, students are presented with the keys for transforming technique into art. Students are taught variations and excerpts from classical ballets where they learn not only the choreography, but the overall essence of each variation along with the musical nuances and stylistic approach.
There will be opportunities to perform learned variations either in an informal setting for faculty, fellow students, parents and friends of the School, or as a part of our Lecture Demonstrations or School Performances. Selected dancers will be able to go to the Youth American Grand Prix.
Variations may be taught in separate classes, workshops or on an individual basis for competition.
Exercises have been carefully designed by CBA Artistic Faculty to facilitate muscle strength, correct posture, and proper alignment in a safe, effective manner.
Implemented in the Primary Levels, Ballet Conditioning is crucial in developing the muscular strength and alignment needed for formal ballet training. The beginning level Ballet Conditioning targets the fundamentals of standard ballet movements executed on a mat and at the barre.
As students advance, Ballet Conditioning provides the additional strengthening and building of a dancer’s physique, a necessity for classical training. Classes are instructed in a simplistic format, using general ballet terminology. Ballet Conditioning is a prerequisite for the Zena Rommett Floor Barre Technique which is added to their training as students advance.
Historical Court Dance:
This is a specialty class usually taught in the summer for the lower levels. Focus is on epaulement, or the stylized turning of the shoulders and body. Attention is given to the correctly placed body and proper use of the hands. Harmonious coordination of the body and continuity of movement aids in the development of strength in the back.
The origins of ballet can be traced back to the Renaissance period and the early court dances in France and Italy. Any celebratory occasion, such as the birth of an heir or an influential marriage would call for social court dancing. All ladies and gentlemen of the court learned these rather intricate dances as part of their grooming for society.
Zena Rommett Floor Barre Technique (R)
LEARN THE KEY ASPECTS THAT PROFESSIONAL DANCERS USE TO SCULPT, REFINE AND ALIGN
Excellent for beginner-advanced (ages 10+) no experience necessary
Children and Adults of CBA are provided a superior advantage with Floor-Barre Technique. Floor-Barre becomes a required class for students in the Advanced Beginning-Intermediate 1 Levels.
This Technique is the key to an in-depth understanding of classic alignment, internal development and injury prevention.
Without the pull of gravity, correct placement and movement can be established. Without the use of music, the instructor guides students through gradual developing sequences that constantly centers, lengthens and strengthens the physical structure.
Crystal Peterson after receiving intensive training with Zena Rommett, taught Floor-Barre and Ballet at Joffrey and Steps in NYC before moving to California. Crystal has been teaching since the late 1980's.
Zena Rommett the originator of the world renowned Floor-Barre TM Technique, and master ballet teacher, has revolutionized dance training for over 45 years. As a pioneer in injury prevention and rehabilitation, Zena Rommett is recommended regularly by doctors, specializing in the needs of dancers and other athletes. Rather than regressing during injury recuperation, with Floor-Barre one actually strengthens and improves beyond prior capabilities.