Students follow a structured sequence of training stages designed to increase their technical skills, stamina, and discipline in accordance with their age and physical development. The program includes classes in technique, pointe work, pas de deux, men’s technique, contemporary, character dance, and music.
Seminars on nutrition and related wellness issues may also be offered throughout the school year. All ballet classes in the School Division include live piano accompaniment — a crucial element in developing the student’s understanding of the relationship between music and movement. Unique opportunities like Madison's only Boys/Mens Class and our Educational Track allow flexibility for dancers with varying schedules and levels of interest.
Placement is determined by audition and is based on technical ability, strength, and physical development.
Levels 1 - 5
Ages 7 & above by audition and placement.
Level 1 begins formal ballet training with an emphasis on barre work. The subsequent levels progressively build on the study of technique, with specific areas of concentration at each step. In Level 3, focus on center floor work is increased, and girls begin pre-pointe exercises. Level 4 introduces girls to pointe, and boys begin basic weight training. In Level 5 dancers begin the study of classical variations and adagio, while girls continue to develop their pointe work and boys continue with weight training. Students in these divisions attend between one and seven classes per week, depending on the level.
Level 3A and higher
This intermediate to advanced level class is based on the exploration of technique, style and presentation. Students will work through the musicality of gesture-infused movement and perfect intermediate/advanced level jazz technique. Dancers will be encouraged to push the envelope while working on strength training, active stretching, and choreography. This class is meant to be fun, exciting and held in a healthy, non-competitive atmosphere.
Boys/Mens Class 1
Ages 9 & Up
The only class of its kind in Madison. This ballet class specifically for young men is offered to develop male dance skills and help build self-esteem. Young male dancers are introduced to the basic skills required to execute male-based ballet movements. Classes meet once per week and many are taught by Artistic Director, W. Earle Smith. Boys class is offered on a quarter basis (approximately 9 weeks).
The School Division offers five levels of well-coordinated, progressive curriculum emphasizing a strong classical technique and a flow of movement that expresses a sense of energy, freedom, and joy.
Ages 7 & Up
Placement is determined by audition
Includes Levels 1-5, Boys/Mens Class, and Jazz/Contemporary classes
Well-coordinated, progressive curriculum focusing on formal ballet instruction
Students progress through the levels at their own pace
All classes feature live piano accompaniment
Classes run for four full quarters
The Pre-Professional Division offers a rigorous training program for students who aspire to be professional dancers. Participation in the Pre-Professional Division is by invitation only through an audition process for students who are ready to move beyond Level 5.
Placement in this division is based on technical and physical aptitude for classical ballet and the dancer’s commitment to added hours of training.
Students in this division train daily to master advanced technical skills, consistency, musicality, articulation and natural expression within the strict parameters of the art form. Through this commitment, a foundation is laid on which to build a professional career. Pre-Professional Division students attend a minimum of nine classes per week and are required to attend all scheduled classes for their level.
Dancers are encouraged to take additional Open Division classes beyond the weekly requirement, for no additional cost (subject to availability). Each week, Level 6 students will attend four 90 minute technique classes, two 90 minute pointe classes, and one Variations/Adagio class. Besides the classes listed, other classes in this division may include Jazz and Master Classes throughout the year. A customized schedule of additional classes will be arranged that may incorporate early dismissal from academic studies. All ballet classes include accompaniment by a professional pianist.