1. What are the benefits of ballet training?
Ballet training develops the mind, the body, and the spirit, in a unique and harmonious way. It is wholesome and traditional, using classical music as the accompaniment for physical effort, and develops a child’s sense of self-awareness, self-confidence, discipline, and mental agility.
The curriculum of our regular classes is structured to take a student successfully from their first ballet lesson to the maximization of their potential, without the need for private classes. This having been said, occasionally a student might benefit from some additional individual attention to address a particular technical issue. Also, individual coaching in preparation for a solo performance or ballet competition is very valuable (see YAGP category below).
Each class level at Long Beach Ballet roughly corresponds to a year of training for an average student. Our first four levels are for students aged three to six. Beginning at age seven, however, this progression can vary, as physical and mental development varies not only from child to child but also from year to year for each individual child. Every level at Long Beach Ballet has a syllabus that corresponds to an increase in a student’s level of technical and mental agility regardless of chronological age. Sometimes a student will take more than one year to reach the next level. Occasionally a student will be deemed ready to “jump” levels mid-year. Students at Long Beach Ballet are carefully evaluated as individuals, enhancing their prospects for maximizing their potential.
Long Beach Ballet’s curriculum is meticulously designed to accommodate beginning students of any age – as young as three. Our fifteen levels of training include four levels wherein a beginning child can join in at any time of year and feel welcome and nurtured. Teenagers and adults who are trying ballet for the first time will feel comfortable in the Adult Elementary classes.
It’s never too late. We offer an Adult Elementary class two evenings every week. Many adults who have begun with Adult Elementary have eventually moved up to the morning Open Intermediate class for those with more experience.
It is every little girl’s dream of wearing pointe shoes, but it is a serious matter and depends on many factors. Dancing on the tips of the toes is not something the human body was designed for, and to do so without harm requires certain abilities and strengths that take years of careful training. It is the policy at Long Beach Ballet to, once per year, introduce a new group of students to “pointe work” all at the same time. This advancement usually happens during the Academy Level 4 year. Students are introduced to pointe work when their understanding of ballet technique and their ability to execute it consistently is sufficient to protect their young bodies from the potential harm of doing something so unnatural.
Ballet originated in Italy but was developed into a concert dance form in France by King Louis XIV. It was in France that the early forms of training were developed.
Youth America Grand Prix is a pre-professional annual ballet competition. It was founded by Larissa and Gennady Saveliev, former dancers with the Bolshoi Ballet who danced one season with the Long Beach Ballet in 1997. Competitors range in age from nine to 18. It comprises several regional competitions –one of them in Huntington Beach– during which five percent are selected by a panel of prestigious judges to compete at the finals in New York. Many competitors in New York receive scholarships to major ballet academies around the world.
Yes. Several dancers from Long Beach Ballet have received Gold and Silver medals at the regional competitions and have gone on to compete in New York.
For serious ballet students wishing to pursue a career in dance, participation in a competition such as YAGP is a valuable tool to help them “rise to the top.” Providing them with a short-term goal to struggle toward, it also allows them opportunities to perform solo in front of an audience and to train with and meet dancers and teachers from around the world.
Some ballet educators believe that competitions are counter-productive or just plain wrong, insisting that ballet is an art form and therefore should stay clear of the competition circuit. I disagree and have found over 32 years of teaching that friendly competition is one the most valuable tools we have as educators.
Students in Levels 6, 7 and 8 are invited to compete by filling out a request form and submitting it to the office. Each student will be assigned a coach. Students are responsible for the competition fee as well as private coaching fees. Students in lower levels may be invited to perform at the discretion of the faculty.
Originally, female ballet dancers wore long dresses. As training methods for ballet advanced, and the beauty of the “line” created by long legs and arms became more an important part of the visual attraction of ballet, dresses became shorter and shorter until they became “flat,” thus giving the abstract appearance of wearing a dress, but revealing the entire leg.