See below for class descriptions in each of Charlottesville Ballet Academy’s divisions.
FIRST STEPS | Ages 2-6
First Steps is an open-enrollment program that offers dance instruction for students ages 2 through 6. Classes in the First Steps Division are divided into levels by age, which encourages each child to reach his or her highest potential. The Academy’s unique curriculum promotes creativity and imagination while ensuring a solid foundation of dance technique. First Steps classes are designed to progress toward the discipline and structure of a ballet class, but children may enroll in any classes that are appropriate for their age and dance experience.
First Steps Division Classes: Mom & Me (1.5-4 yrs), Ballet/Tap (4-6 yrs), Creative Dance (4-6 yrs), Princess Ballet (3-4 yrs, 3-5 yrs, 4-6 yrs)
Parent & Me is an exploration of dance through simple music and movement that allows the child to understand the structure of a dance class while still having the comfort of a parent in the room. Students will learn basic rhythmic and dance skills. The class is open to any child/guardian relationship (No dress code required). No dance experience necessary for parent or child.
Ballet/Tap (ages 4-6) is a combination class that teaches the basics of both ballet and tap to the young child, emphasizing body placement and basic rhythmic awareness. The students will begin with tap shoes and then transition to the ballet portion of class.
Creative Dance offers an introduction to tap, jazz, and modern dance for the young child, while focusing on basic movement and body placement skills.
Princess Ballet offers each child a chance to discover the world of ballet while gaining awareness of music, rhythm, and movement. Through basic ballet skills, children will enhance their balance, poise, coordination, and kinesthetic awareness. Princess Ballet classes emphasize creative expression through movement in a structured, yet fun and imaginative environment—a perfect introduction to the magic of dance!
CHILDREN’S DIVISION (Unit 1) | Ages 6-8
The Children’s Division offers dance classes for ages 6 through 10, forming the backbone of dance education at CBA. The Academy’s curriculum is based on the National Training Curriculum of the American Ballet Theatre and all classes are guided by CBA Principal Sara Jansen Clayborne. Students will explore a large variety of classical ballet terminology, enabling them to adapt to all styles and techniques of dance. Ballet classes also teach students discipline and classroom etiquette while increasing their ability to work on their own and in groups. All dancers will work towards building flexibility, strength, musicality, coordination, concentration, and communication of expression through movement. Additional classes in Hip Hop, Jazz, Modern, Tap, and Musical Theatre round out the curriculum, providing creative outlet to students interested in multiple styles of dance.
Children’s Division Classes (Unit 1): Storybook Ballet (6-7 yrs, 7-8 yrs), Hip Hop Dance Mix (6-8 yrs), Ballet/Tap (6-8)
Storybook Ballet is for children ages six to eight provides the next progression from the Princess Ballet curriculum. Focusing on both the mind and the body, innovative classroom activities help children refine their motor skills and develop their creative process through the use of props and imagery. Storybook Ballet students also explore literature, theater, and storytelling and learn about the music, costumes, and scenery from the famous classical ballets including Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Coppélia, Carnival of the Animals, The Firebird, and The Nutcracker.
Hip Hop Dance Mix classes allow children to explore multiple dance genres in a combination class that’s perfect for boys and girls. Combining percussion with movement, tap dance helps children establish rhythm skills and musicality while isolating the movement of their feet and ankles. In addition to tap and jazz, students learn basic hip hop technique and combinations with special attention to strength, musicality, and coordination.
CHILDREN’S DIVISION (Unit 2) | Ages 7-10
Children’s Division Classes (Unit 2): Musical Theatre, Pre-Ballet, Tap/Jazz
Musical Theatre provides an accessible introduction to American Broadway dance. The class covers basic jazz dance skills with a focus on presentational quality and the use of appropriate breath support. Students will learn age-appropriate repertory from musicals that span the eras from the 1930’s to today.
Pre-Ballet is for children ages seven to nine and provides a bridge to the Academy’s ballet classes in the Student Division. In Pre-Ballet, children are introduced to the structure and discipline of a ballet class as well as music awareness and ballet terminology. Focusing on both the mind and the body, our innovative classroom activities help children refine their motor skills and develop their creative process through the use of props and imagery.
Tap/Jazz is a combination class that teaches students the fundamentals of tap and jazz. The class focuses on rhythm, patterns, and musical coordination. This class is an excellent introduction for students interested in exploring different genres in a fun and supportive environment.
The Student Division offers classes for ages 9 to 18 in all dance genres. Enrollment in these classes is by placement only in order to ensure the proper level for each individual dancer. The Academy’s curriculum is based on the National Training Curriculum of the American Ballet Theatre and all classes are guided by CBA Principal Sara Jansen Clayborne. Dancers will continue to progress through ABT’s curricular levels that combine the classical French, Russian, and Italian schools. Students will explore a large variety of classical ballet terminology, enabling them to adapt to all styles and techniques of dance. All dancers will work towards building flexibility, strength, musicality, coordination, concentration and communication of expression through movement. Additional classes in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Modern, Tap, and Musical Theatre round out the curriculum, providing creative outlet to students interested in multiple styles of dance.
Ballet for Boys classes allow young males to explore their creative and physical dimensions in an all-boys environment. Leaving out the tutus and tiaras, participants will gain knowledge of music, rhythm, and kinesthetic awareness. Ballet for Boys is designed to develop creative thinking, expression, strength, agility, and coordination.
Improvisational skills are challenged as students learn how to design movement phrases and develop these phrases to create their own choreography.
Contemporary dance combines elements of several dance genres including modern, jazz, lyrical and classical ballet. Students learn floorwork, traditional modern core contractions, and center exercises that find their root in classical ballet and modern. The curriculum emphasizes core strength, flexibility, and fluidity of movement.
Hip Hop is a high-energy genre that infuses the latest styles of street dancing, breaking, popping, and locking. Class warm-up concentrates on increasing stamina, improving flexibility, and building core strength. The curriculum emphasizes a foundation of basic hiphop movements, across the floor exercises, and longer center combinations. DRESS CODE: Moveable clothing, no buttons/zippers on pants. Any indoor sneaker that will not be used outside (not necessarily a jazz sneaker). Hair should be pulled back and secured above the neck.
Jazz emphasizes Broadway and contemporary styles in a fun, energetic atmosphere. Classes begin with a cardio warm-up and conditioning exercises to improve flexibility, core stability, and strength. Across-the-floor combinations focus on jumps and turns, and emphasize coordination and musical dynamics. Improvisational movement is incorporated into combinations to challenge the dancer’s kinesthetic awareness and increase creativity.
Leaps, Jumps & Turns uses jazz technique to focus on leaps, jumps, and turns in a variety of more advanced combinations across-the-floor and in center work. This class is designed to break down the technique for turning and will focus on more precision and various leaps to refine the student’s technique that can be utilized in all dance genres.
Musical Theatre is rooted in jazz and ballet technique with an emphasis on exploring the various dance styles used in Broadway shows. Class includes a warm-up, stretches to increase overall flexibility, across-the-floor progressions, and set theatrical combinations. The curriculum emphasizes dance as a performing art, and students work on telling stories and expressing different emotions through set dances, facial expressions, and exploring their own creative improvisations.
Open Teen Ballet & Open Pre-Teen Ballet classes are designed for teens and pre-teens who want to learn how to dance but with a more recreational focus. The Teen Division is perfect for individuals who are just beginning their dance training at a later stage, revisiting dance after a long absence, or for students in sports or theatre looking to supplement their training. Students are able to revisit ballet’s core basics before moving on to more challenging concepts.
Stretch class is perfect for the dancer looking to increase overall flexibility with an emphasis on the hamstrings, gluteal muscles, neck, and spine, while simultaneously building strength. Instructors use the active-static technique to increase flexibility and strength in order to help students find their most anatomically useable classical lines.
Pointe technique is the part of classical ballet that concerns pointe work, wherein a ballet dancer supports all body weight on the tips of fully extended feet in pointe shoes. Pointe Class is by recommendation only, usually once a student has progressed through Ballet 3 in the ABT National Training Curriculum and has successfully completed the pointe exam. Students begin by building strength at the barre and successively progress to center work and longer enchainements.
Partnering class is for the advanced dancer in Ballet 3 or higher. Partnering is the study of pas de deux (“step of two”), in which two dancers (typically one male and one female) dance together. Students begin by learning the basic foundations of partnering: lifts, pirouettes, and supported positions, and then progress to learning full portions of classical pas de deuxs.
Variations class is for the advanced dancer in Ballet 3 or higher. Students learn the female solos from the classical repertoire of traditional full-length ballets. The class focuses on building students’ theatrical skills and stage presence in addition to working on the refinement of the technique required for dramatic roles in classical full-length ballets.
Tap classes develop rhythm, musicality, and coordination. Exercises focus on building flexibility of the knee and ankles, and the dancer’s speed of movement. The curriculum emphasizes clean technique, producing clear tap sounds, and the joy of movement. Footwork and set combinations become increasingly complex and intricate with increased level.
The Pre-Professional Program is a rigorous training program designed to prepare students for a professional career within the ballet industry. CBA students are accepted by invitation and audition only. In addition to classes in ballet technique, students are required to train in other genres such as contemporary, hip hop, jazz, and tap in order to enrich and diversify their dance experience. In addition to the CBA faculty, guest teachers and choreographers will be brought in throughout the year. Although the primary focus is on classical ballet repertoire, new works will also be created for Pre-Professional students each year. The process of working with a choreographer and the opportunity to experience different styles of movement are integral to training today’s students to become tomorrow’s professional dancers. In addition to their rigorous schedule of dance instruction, these students will act as ambassadors for CBA, traveling to local schools and community centers to perform and demonstrate as part of Charlottesville Ballet’s outreach programs. These talented students will have opportunities to perform on stage alongside the professional dancers of Charlottesville Ballet with several added performance opportunities.
Students are evaluated for placement at the start of every academic year and placed in a level according to technical advancement and skill. CBA Principal Sara Clayborne designs each student’s class schedule tailored to his or her strengths and needs. Please note that invitations to join the Pre-Professional program will be included with selected students’ end of year evaluation & placement letter. An invitation is solely at the discretion of CBA Principal Sara Clayborne. Financial assistance is also available through an application process for all families that qualify for assistance.
Charlottesville Ballet’s adult classes are for adults of any age. We offer classes for all experience levels and physical abilities. Our adult classes are perfect for adults who danced in their youth and want to enjoy movement again, college students wishing to continue their training, or even adults that have never danced before.
Adult Classes: Adult Ballet Basics, Adult Beg. Ballet, Adult Beg./Int. Ballet, Adult Int. Ballet, Adult 40+ Ballet, Adult Tap, Adult Hip Hop, Adult Contemporary, Adult Zena Rommett Floor-Barre ®
Adult Ballet Basics is designed for adults with little to no previous ballet experience. This class will focus on learning or refreshing the basics of ballet with a focus on terminology and technique to prepare you to take any of our Adult Ballet classes.
Adult Ballet classes are designed for adults of all levels and abilities. Ballet is a great way of improving posture, grace, flexibility, and strength through barre exercises, allegro, adagio, and progressions. Students are able to learn ballet’s core basics before moving on to more challenging concepts. (Adult 40+ Ballet is open to any adults age 40 and up. This is the perfect class for those adults that feel more comfortable learning with others of a similar age).
Adult Tap develops rhythm, musicality, and coordination. Exercises focus on building flexibility of the knee and ankles, and the dancer’s speed of movement. Instructors provide exercises with different options to accommodate all tap levels.
Adult Hip Hop
Get your heart rate up with this aerobic class set to the upbeat rhythms. Move and groove with the latest hip hop steps in this exciting class.
Adult Contemporary is for adults who are interested in modern dance style that works to increase versatility and movement awareness. This class emphasizes the importance of floorwork and allows adults to experience improvisational movement.
Adult Zena Rommett Floor-Barre ® is a technique created by Zena Rommett that uses the floor to correct and refine body alignment. This technique includes gentle exercises to strengthen joints, increase vitality, and help rehabilitate injuries without the pressure of gravity. To learn more, visit: https://www.floor-barre.org
ADULT BALLET BUMP SERIES:
Adult Prenatal Ballet:
Dedicate time for yourself and your baby and bring awareness to your changing body in ballet classes for expecting moms 12-40+ weeks. Ballet exercises will help you improve posture and strengthen the spine to adapt to the increasing weight being carried, while your baby receives all your ‘feel-good hormones’. A stronger, more flexible and balanced body can help you ease the labor, recover quicker and prepare for the upcoming changes. Each class will begin with meditation and warm-up exercises, followed by strengthening exercises at the barre or centre, before finishing with stretching and relaxation. No previous ballet training required.
Adult Postnatal Baby Wearing Ballet:
Experience precious bonding time with your baby and bring your postpartum body back into alignment in ballet classes for moms with babies from 6 weeks old to any baby wearing age. Assisted by beautiful classical music, classes will begin by warming up at the barre followed by exercises at the center which will systematically improve your posture, strengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, all while wearing your baby in a sling or carrier. No previous ballet training required.
The Academy’s Trainee Program offers advanced instruction for students planning a professional dance career. Building on their training in the Student Division, dancers in the Trainee Program will continue to develop technical and artistic skills with unique performance opportunities alongside the professional company dancers of Charlottesville Ballet. At this advanced level, the healthy, holistic environment of the Academy is paramount; dancers need the highest level of training to prepare them for a career in the competitive dance world. Charlottesville Ballet’s focus on dancer health and well-being nurtures talented young artists, arming them with the tools to have long, healthy careers in any dance field.
For more information about the Trainee Program, please click here: www.CharlottesvilleBallet.org/academy/trainee