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Classes meeting as usual

Acton School of Ballet
Chip Morris, Director
Lindsay Moncrieff, Assistant Director
Melissa Morris, Administrator
3 Spruce Street
P.O. Box 796
Acton, MA 01720
Acton School of Ballet (978) 263-6572

Syllabus Program Classes 2017–2018

ASB’s syllabus is cumulative and taught across two schools. The Lower School begins with Fairy Tale Dance (three-year olds), First Steps (four-year olds), and continues with Pre Ballet ( a two-year program for Kindergarten and 1st grade), Level 1 (2nd grade) and Level 2 (3rd grade). Lower School classes meet once per week and are taught by a head teacher and an assistant teacher. Multiple sections of each level are offered during the week.

The Upper School ballet syllabus covers Levels 3 through 10, as well as Beginning, Advanced, and Contemporary Ballet. Levels 3-5 meet twice per week, Levels 6 and 7 require three classes per week, Level 8 meets four times per week, and Levels 9 and 10 meet five times per week.

Many Upper School students take additional supplementary classes to support their technique training. To this end, the Upper School course offerings also include two levels of Modern Dance, Choreography, several Variations classes, Ballet Conditioning, Junior Repertory, Ballet History and Supplementary Pointe. For descriptions of supplementary classes, click HERE.

We continually monitor the progress of our student body and look for ways to enhance the syllabus to both support and challenge each student. All faculty collaborate in syllabus meetings to share their wisdom and build the shared teaching model.

Syllabus Tracks

Option 1 — Classical Ballet Syllabus Track: Students in the Lower School proceed through the ballet syllabus via yearly level classes, with the exception of Pre Ballet, which is a two-year program. Each level is designed to reinforce prior work and introduce and refine new technique so that the students’ ballet education is cumulative, naturally evolving as they mature. Students may continue on this formal path to Level 10, if promoted yearly by the faculty.

Option 2 — Contemporary Ballet Track: Once students have completed Level 5 or higher, they may move out of the formal track and into the Contemporary Ballet track (two classes per week). Some students elect to do this if they do not want to continue ballet training on pointe but still want rigorous technique training. Students can also continue on their formal track and add Contemporary to supplement their training.

Option 3 — Advanced Ballet Track: If students finish Level 6, another option becomes available. They may continue into Level 7, which is the first year when students perform on pointe in the year end ballet production. This commitment requires attending classes three times per week. If a student can not commit to that schedule, she or he may transfer to the Advanced Ballet track, which requires only two days of classes and continued pointe training.

Option 4 — Modern Dance Track: Students in 4th grade and up may elect to take only Modern Dance classes and not participate in the ballet syllabus. Modern classes perform in the year-end performance. Many students take Modern as a supplementary class to their syllabus classes.

Option 5 – Beginning Ballet for Teens and Adults: Students ages 12 and up and adults who are interested in starting ballet may do so in this popular class. After a year, students are often able to advance into the syllabus track and adults enter the drop-in adult classes.

Lower School Classes

Fairy Tale Dance age 3

Fairy Tale Dance focuses on connecting story-based themes with early ballet movement and music. We use our treasure chests filled with exciting props to engage the imagination of our young dancers in this class. The syllabus is celebratory in its sharing of early ballet movement, story telling and appreciation of music. We now offer three sections of this class, each limited to eight students.

First Steps age 4

Students begin to learn the concepts of dance through the simple class structure, stretching, and expression through music in movement – all while having lots of fun. First Steps follows in the creative footsteps of Fairy Tale Dance but starts to encourage a cumulative knowledge of early technique and group work. First Steps students participate in an open house demonstration at the end of each term. Students must be at least 4 years old as of the first day of the fall term. We offer four sections of this 45-minute class, each limited to ten students.

Pre-Ballet kindergarten and 1st grade (two year program)

This 45 minute class meets once a week. Students learn many of the basic ballet positions, including some stretching, barre work, and centre. They begin to learn the French terms for ballet movements and positions. Pre-Ballet is a fun and imaginative way to begin a child’s ballet training. We offer six sections of Pre-Ballet including a slightly later afternoon Pre-Ballet on Mondays. Classes are limited to 14 students.

Level 1 2nd grade
Level 2 3rd grade
Level 1 students at the barre

Meeting once a week, these classes build on age-appropriate but focused technique training with emphasis on proper use of the feet and legs, acquiring turnout, and developing the ability to “spot” turns. We offer four sections of Level 1 and three sections of Level 2. Classes are limited to 14 students.

Upper School Classes

Level 3 4th Grade

This class meets twice a week. Students begin learning more advanced steps. Barre work is more concentrated, emphasizing position and body placement. We offer three sections of Level 3. Students interested in performing are encouraged to take the new Junior Repertory supplementary class.

Level 4 5th grade

This class meets twice a week. This level emphasizes the strengthening and preparatory exercises necessary for pointe for girls and jumping for boys. We offer two sections of Level 4. Students interested in performing are encouraged to take the new Junior Repertory supplementary class.

Level 5 beginner pointe level

These classes meet twice a week; for girls, they consist of two 90-minute ballet technique pointe classes and an extra half-hour devoted to pointe. Barre and centre pointe work are introduced as students become physically and technically ready. Additional classes are recommended for strengthening and advancement. Boys learn more advanced steps and specifically male technique. We offer two sections of Level 5.

Level 6 intermediate pointe levels

Level 6 classes meet three times a week. One class is (non-pointe) technique, and the remaining two are divided between technique and pointe at the instructor’s discretion. Students choose their “home class” from Level 6a or 6b, and then add a third class that meets either Wednesday or Thursday. Boys continue with more advanced steps and specifically male technique.

Level 7 upper intermediate

This is an upper intermediate level class that meets 3 times a week, stressing refinement of technique and placement as well as strengthing pointe work and jumping. Modern dance class is also recommended at this level. Level 7 dancers perform on pointe in the spring performance. Students in Level 7 choose at least three classes from the five offered during the week.

Level 8 advanced

Students complete their learning of the canon of classical ballet steps in this level. The classes emphasize performance quality, musicality, and integration of technique into advance combinations. One of the four required technique classes focuses on contemporary ballet, a fusion of modern dance and classical ballet. Modern dance class is also recommended at this level. Ballet History, a half-hour lecture course, is also required at this level.

Level 9 advanced

This is considered an advanced level class, not only by the complexity of material that is given, but also by the commitment and dedication expected from each student. Each week students in this level are required to take a minimum of five classes, chosen among Level 9, Level 9/10 or Level 8/9/10 ballet technique, the Variations 9/10 class, and Modern 3 or Contemporary Ballet.

Level 10 pre-professional

This pre-professional class concentrates on refinement of technique and performance of the classical repertory. Guest teachers bring new perspective throughout the year. Level 10 students take four ballet technique/pointe classes each week and an additonal class chosen from Variations 9/10, Modern 3 or Contemporary Ballet.

Contemporary Ballet Levels 6+

Students who have completed Level 5 may also opt to to enter Contemporary Ballet, which is an advanced syllabus program focusing on the eloquent fusion of classical ballet and modern dance. Contemporary Ballet meets twice a week and both classes are required. The program involves no pointe work and also performs in the year-end ballet production.

Single classes in Advanced Ballet and Contemporary Ballet may only be taken if they are supplementing a student’s training in a syllabus program.

Advanced Ballet Levels 7+

Students who want to continue pointe work but cannot make the time commitment of Levels 7, 8, 9 or 10 may enter Advanced Ballet, which meets twice per week (both classes are required). Advanced Ballet performs in the year- end ballet production. One or both Advanced Ballet classes may also be used by students in Level 7 and above as a supplementary class.

Beginning Ballet teens & adults

This class is for teens and adults new to ballet or dancers who wish to prepare for entry into the syllabus program. Meeting once a week, the class concentrates on fundamentals of placement, foot and leg development, and carriage of the upper body and arms.

Modern Dance 1/2 Levels 3+
Modern Dance 3 by placement

These classes introduce and refine the grounded technique of modern dance. Accompanied with live music, classes begin with a thorough warm-up and proceed with combinations in center and across the floor. Modern dance is an excellent way to bring depth to a ballet dancer’s technique and performing. Modern 1/2 is open to students in Levels 3 and up; Modern 3 is by invitation or audition.

Students in 4th grade and up may elect to take only modern dance classes and not participate in the ballet syllabus. Modern classes perform in the year-end performance.

Supplementary Classes

Acton School of Ballet offers a rich menu of supplementary classes to enhance the education of our students. To learn more about these classes click here.