Our curriculum is a constantly evolving entity. We do have curriculum that we want to cover in each level but understand that every group is different. Some classes work at the pace of the set curriculum, other classes either accelerate past the pace of the curriculum or need a little more time. Each class is assessed and works at the pace best for the class.
ULDA Children’s Conservatory
Creative Movement – one class per week, 45 minutes
Pre-Ballet – one class per week, 45 minutes
Beginners – one class per week, 1hr 15min
Level I – one class per week, 1hr 30min
Level II - two classes per week, 1hr 30min each
The ULDA Children’s Conservatory is designed to serve the needs of our youngest students. During the first years of training in Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet our young dancers learn the basic dance elements as they explore movement by means of dance play and creativity. Through the basic dance elements our young dancers are given a foundation on which to build their ballet training as they work on motor development, coordination, balance, rhythm, flexibility, core strength, critical thinking and concentration (As a point of interest, it has been established through research that dance training helps to develop critical thinking.). After a background in the basic dance elements has been set we begin our first forays into the exploration of formal ballet training. This is done while keeping in mind what is age and developmentally appropriate for our students.
The Beginners continue to learn their ballet A, B, C’s: demi plié, tendu and eleve. They also continue to develop the basic dance elements, stretch, work on core strength and participate in free movement. Free movement is employed in all levels of the Children’s Conservatory. Children babble before they talk and they scribble before they color, draw or print. We believe that developmentally free movement is the equivalent in a dance setting.
As the Beginner year progresses we continue to explore appropriate ballet vocabulary. We are continuing to build the classical ballet foundation. The Level I year progresses in a similar manner. We continue to explore new curriculum and set background as the process of training becomes more established. As we do so we continue to develop those aspects of ballet that aren’t always considered such as; critical thinking, discipline and the development of a work ethic.
When our dancers become Level II’s they begin to take two classes a week. Although still age and developmentally appropriate class is becoming more physically and mentally demanding. We begin to cover curriculum at a more accelerated rate and begin to build more strength. The strength issue is becoming more important because our dancers are a little older, they have been training consistently for several years and we are building toward pointe work. This is all a process that builds over the years and eventually produces trained ballet dancers. The process is of great value and should be embraced and respected.
Level III – two classes per week, 1hr 30min each
Level IV – three classes per week, 1hr 30min each
Level V – three classes per week, 1hr 30min each, adding modern recommended
During Level III our dancers continue to take two classes a week. We continue to cover curriculum at a more accelerated pace and build toward pointe shoes.
Level IV sees an increase to three classes a week. There is a significant increase in the amount of curriculum being covered as more time is made available by the third class a week.
At the beginning of the year the third class is a pre-pointe class. Usually during the spring semester the dancers get their pointe shoes.
Level V continues at three classes a week, two ballet technique and one pointe class. During this level we continue to build on the repertoire of vocabulary for which the dancers are responsible as our young dancers proceed through their training process.
Dancers choosing to pursue the collegiate/professional track are advised at Level V to add the modern class to the three classes weekly that they are already taking.
Level VI/Apprentice I – Recreational Track - 4 classes per week, 1hr 30min each
Level VI/ Apprentice I – Collegiate/Professional Track – 4 classes per week, 1hr 30min each, adding modern and additional ballet technique classes recommended
Level VII/Apprentice II – Recreational Track - 4 classes per week, 1hr 30min each
Level VII/Apprentice II – Collegiate/Professional Track - 4 classes per week, 1hr 30min each, adding modern and additional ballet technique classes recommended
Level VIII/Dance Theatre – Recreational Track – 4 classes per week, 1hr 30min each
Level VIII/ Dance Theatre – Collegiate/Professional Track – 4 classes per week, 1hr 30min each, adding modern and additional ballet technique classes recommended
Level VI/Apprentice I sees another increase in the weekly number of classes. These dancers take four classes a week but are welcome to take more.
With every level attained there is an increase not only in the difficulty of the curriculum being covered but in the strength and stamina required to do that vocabulary.
Level VII/Apprentice II continue to add vocabulary and work on strength and stamina in their ballet technique and pointe work.
Level VIII/Dance Theatre continues to build on their prior training and work toward completing their transition from an intermediate level dancer to an advanced level dancer.
In the higher division of the school it is recommended that dancers pursuing the collegiate /professional track take the modern class and additional ballet technique and pointe classes. Our schedule is built so that our higher level dancers can take more than one class a day if they so choose.
Artistry is addressed in every level of the school. This training takes many different shapes and forms. Here are a few examples of the learning process. In the pre-school classes it is reflected in the dancers learning the difference between smooth and jerky movements and light and heavy movements. In the Beginner class it is reflected in port de bras combinations that combine the movement of the head with the arms. The Level IIs, IIIs and IVs are mastering the nine different body directions with their accompanying upper body positions. At Level V the dancers are becoming more aware of the necessity of creating a line through their whole body and being musical. In Level VIII/Dance Theatre the dancers’ artistry is continuing to evolve and become more mature as they learn to move at accelerated speeds.
Always the emphasis is on the development of a movement vocabulary which seeks to communicate humanity’s deepest hopes and dreams incorporating both fine technique and the ability to move hearts.