Close up of an adult ballet student.

Levels

The Adult Ballet Program offers nine progressive levels designed to appropriately accommodate students while allowing for individual advancement at their own pace. This is carefully constructed through a program of increasingly complex exercises. Each class builds on the previous one; therefore, it is important that students attend class regularly in order to progress naturally.

Note: Levels I, I / II and II are foundation-building levels which enable students to learn the basics of ballet through consistent training in a thoughtful and professional manner.

Find Your Level

Find Your Level classes are offered to prospective students as an opportunity to assess their level. A Find Your Level class must be reserved by calling Reception at 416-964-3780 and can only be taken once.

Introduction to Ballet

The ballet journey begins! This class is for the absolute beginner – no previous training is required. In this level the dancer will learn the strong fundamentals of ballet technique. Exercises for good posture, turnout, and supple use of feet and arms will be taught; students are introduced to basic barre and centre work. Dancers are also instructed in proper stretching technique to lengthen muscles, prevent injury, and increase flexibility. Students have commented that this class is beneficial beyond the studio and enhanced their everyday life. Based on a 15-week term.

Level I (Foundation)

Building upon “Intro to Ballet”, the student starts learning the language of ballet through exercises to develop the legs in a variety of ways: through the use of the leg in rotation, learning the five basic positions and movement of the leg through front, side and back positions. Dancers are introduced to a complete barre from grande pliés to grande battements. Centre work begins with port de bras combinations, training students in the proper use of the arms. Slow lifts of the legs in adage will strengthen the standing leg for more advanced levels and increase flexibility. Turning is a fun aspect of a ballet: students will be prepared for success by learning the proper use of the head (known as spotting). Waltzing combinations and basic balletic jumps are also introduced. An additional benefit to this level, students are taught conditioning exercises focusing on core strength and stability; these exercises will improve studio work and also help in daily activities. Completion of this level is a prerequisite to enter Level I/II.

Level I/II (Foundation)

Building upon Level I, Level I/II goes deeper into the work and aesthetics of ballet. Barre exercises are longer in length and build a more refined and sustained muscularity that can be used throughout the class. Varied arm positions are encouraged in all exercises. One of the most beautiful lines in dance, the arabesque, is emphasized at the barre and in the centre. One of the exciting accomplishments achieved in Level I/II is the pirouette and new jumps include the smooth glissade and the assemblé. Waltz turning is introduced into flowing combinations done on the diagonal in the studio.

Level II (Foundation)

The journey continues with new turns, jumps, and diagonal combinations with more challenging tempos to further explore musicality and memorization. At the barre, exercises include more use of rises and relevés and balances on one standing leg. In centre work, the developé, a lovely unfolding of one leg in the air, is executed in the basic ballet positions of front, side and back. Students will continue to refine their turns and their spotting skills; they will be challenged through the introduction of new types of turns. New jumps include the jeté, the sissone and the pas de chat. Diagonal combinations vary from waltzing to jumps across the studio as the dancer explores their use of space.

Level II/III

Level II/III continues to develop the dancer’s stamina, strength, memorization skills, and musicality. Barre work wakes up the brain, with longer combinations incorporating more varied dynamics (slow/fast or smooth/sharp) within the sequence as well as changes in weight placement. In centrework, chaînés are introduced; this turn is a true test of the dancer’s spotting skills. Allegro (Jumps) at this level begins to combine a variety of jumps and changes of direction in a single combination; this challenges the brain while improving the dancer’s endurance levels.

Level III

Level III takes the student further into the study of ballet with more complex combinations, incorporating full use of the arms throughout the class and swifter changes of plié to rise at barre and in the centre. The piqué turn is introduced at this level and is usually done on the diagonal and repeated several times in succession. New jumps include an introduction to beats and sissone de coté (scissor-like jumps to the side). Three to four different jumps may be included in a single combination. Grande allegro (big travelling jumps) across the floor encourages further development of strength and stamina.

Level III/IV

Level III/IV moves the dancer to the next level of accomplishment with more intricate and detailed combinations. For instance, waltz combinations may have three different turns within and allegro may incorporate four to five different jumps in a single combination. At the barre, the arabesque penché, a show-stopping movement which often appears in staged ballets, is further explored to its full potential. In grande allegro dancers fly across the studio on the diagonal and the grande-jeté is introduced.

Level IV

In Level IV, the dancer explores the technique and artistry of ballet at an advanced level throughout the barre and centre. Exercises are longer and more challenging and allow the dancer to achieve a new level of professionalism. Turns at this level will include piqué en dehors as well as turns in arabesque and attitude positions. Multiple allegro combinations with beats will develop stamina and further challenge the dancer. Grande jeté en tournant is introduced in grande allegro. A mastery of Level III or the elementary levels of RAD or Cecchetti is a prerequisite for this course.

Level IV/V

Level IV/V is the culmination of the Adult Ballet program at NBS. Complex and varied in dynamic range, the combinations performed at the barre and in the centre will push the dancer to expand and challenge their movement potential. More turns, more batterie and more complex and expressive adages are given. Variation steps from the classical repertoire are also incorporated in this level, encouraging the dancer to further explore the artistry of ballet.

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