Our ballet program is a carefully designed curriculum that takes the student from Introductory (Ballet Standards A & B) through Intermediate and Advanced levels of instruction. Ballet I and II are enhanced by the delineation of Beginning and Continuing levels. Our school also offers the Graded Cecchetti Ballet Method Class as well as Contemporary Ballet classes. All ballet classes are designed to endow the human body with all of the qualities essential to the dancer…balance, poise, strength and flexibility. Training in ballet is necessary to improve development in all dance forms. French terminology, alignment, control and coordination are stressed throughout every level offered.
Cecchetti classes give the student a firm foundation in classical ballet technique, language and theory as well as offer the opportunity for certification by the Cecchetti Council of America. The Cecchetti Method of Ballet is endorsed by Lake Forest Dance Academy because of its careful regard for the laws of anatomy, its teaching of movement theory and the foundation it can provide for all styles of dance. Cecchetti training is for dancers who have completed Ballet II or higher. Classes follow a set barre and center work; this helps the student organize knowledge, work on specific skills and gain confidence. Once the Graded syllabus has been accomplished, those students wishing to be certified (with the instructor’s approval) may take the examination. Chicago area exams are held in early winter and spring.
Ballet Standards A is an introductory ballet class for 6 & 7 year old boys and girls. Students learn ballet terminology and placement as they develop poise and musicality. Classical ballet is introduced in a fun and creative environment.
Ballet Standards B is a continuing classical ballet class for 7 & 8 year old boys and girls. Students learn proper placement and French terminology at the barre and in the center. Good posture, poise and musicality are emphasized within a fun and creative environment.
Ballet I covers the fundamentals of classical ballet and is a good beginning level for the 8 year old and up. Balanced exercises at the barre and center are introduced to gain strength, good posture, placement and discipline. French terminology (ballet steps and their meanings), correct body alignment and proper technique are emphasized as well as introduction to turns (spotting exercises) and free movements (leaps, skips and jumps across the floor).
Ballet II includes all barre and center work from Ballet I & Ballet I-Continuing (I-C) with increased speed and execution of proper technique of steps and combinations of movements. Coordination of arms with legs and feet, as well as greater emphasis on turns and combinations of movements across the floor are introduced at this advanced beginner level.
Ballet III/ Pre Pointe is an intermediate class with longer combinations, greater variances of tempo and an introduction to beats and multiple turns. Placement, alignment and previous technique needs to be established in order to accomplish work at this level. Most students spend approximately 2-3 years at this level which may or may not include pre pointe. For our serious dancers wishing to pursue pointe work, twice weekly classes (3 hours) are required. Pre pointe exercises include barre, center, pilates (for core strengthening) and theraband exercises. If a student is not prepared to commit the time required for pre pointe, they may attend this class as a weekly Ballet III without the pointe options.
Contemporary Ballet III & Contemporary Ballet IV/ V with Pointe are ballet classes infused with greater ranges of movement borrowed from modern, lyrical and jazz. Emphasis is still on technique, alignment and coordination, but diverse rhythms and music is used along with contemporary classical compositions. The traditional, classical ballet class teaches good posture and turned out placement (outward rotation from the hip) while utilizing the ‘square’ uprightness, symmetrical movement of the dancer. Contemporary ballet utilizes asymmetrical lines with more freedom in the upper body along with parallel and turned out use of the feet and legs. A good foundation in classical ballet is strongly suggested as a prerequisite.
Ballet IV/ Pointe pursues the study of classical ballet with pointe work added at the barre and in the center. Serious ballet students studying pointe must commit to a minimum of two ballet classes weekly. Progression of strengthening, as well as grace and fluidity are increased with a supplemental Cecchetti class; this is highly recommended for pointe dancers wanting to improve technique.
Ballet V/ Pointe is an advanced ballet class with pointe work included at the barre and center. Completion of Ballet IV/Pointe and teacher recommendation is needed for participation. This class includes the study of choreography from classical ballets.
Teen Ballet I covers the same basic fundamentals of classical ballet as Ballet I, but is geared towards the older dancer who may progress a bit faster and may include the continued syllabus Ballet I-C. The teachers of this level are careful to teach the basics and keep the students interest by varying steps and music.
Teen Ballet II covers the same barre and center work from Ballet II and II-C , but is geared for the older dancer who may be able to progress a bit faster. Turns and combinations are explored with a concentration on transitional steps and reinforcement of poise, grace and proper placement.