The Academy directors believe that placement at the most beneficial level of training is key to a dancer's development. Though the comfort of a peer group is an important factor, placement at the Academy is not dependent solely on age or school grade, but also on ability, strength, and the developmental and physical issues of the individual dancer.
The Academy notifies its students in January of their placement for the next year, and when warranted, will reevaluate a student's placement level in the spring, or following completion of summer study. Students are assessed continually in class, and where appropriate, adjustments in placement level are sometimes made during the regular term.
7 Years or Younger
If your child is a second grader with at least one year of ballet training, you should enroll at the Ballet II level. First graders, with or without previous training, and second graders with no prior training, should enroll at the Ballet I level. Kinder-gartners are placed at the Elementary II level, and pre-kindergarten students enroll in Elementary I. For students 3 and 4 years old, two years from beginning kindergarten, we offer Pre-Ballet – a shorter, semi-structured class designed to introduce barre and center floor work as well as improvisation and creative movement.
8 Years or Older
If your child is 8 or older, and/or in the third grade or higher, we will be happy to offer a brief personal evaluation at our studio to ensure proper class placement. Evaluation is desirable for all new students 8 and older, whether or not they have previous training. (Please note that private instruction is sometimes available – instructor's schedule permitting – for a brief course of training at Levels I, II or III, designed to bring new students up to the level of their age group in any discipline.)
Placement evaluations are approximately 15 minutes in duration, and are usually scheduled Monday through Friday between 3:00 and 3:30 P.M., though other times are possible if your availability is limited. You and your child should arrive at least 5 minutes before the scheduled time, dressed in dancewear or clothes that permit freedom of movement, hair secured away from the face, and wearing ballet slippers or socks. (Dressing rooms are available if needed.) We recommend purchasing dance gear after an evaluation, not before, since our class levels wear specific colors and the evaluating instructor may wish to make suggestions regarding shoes.
A one-month trial registration in Ballet or Jazz (four consecutive class meetings) is available to new students ages 3 to 10 and to current students who wish to try a new discipline. The nonrefundable trial fee is applied to tuition if the child enrolls for the term. See Tuition and Fees for further information.
Private instruction is sometimes available – instructor's schedule permitting – for a brief course of training at Levels I, II or III, designed to bring new students up to the level of their age group in any discipline.
Private instruction is available on a very limited basis for those advanced pointe students with professional aspirations.
One-time private assessment classes are made available to intermediate and advanced pointe students on a limited basis for personalized evaluation of their placement and technique. (Check with studio personnel regarding the fees and availability for these assessment sessions.)
Private instruction can sometimes be arranged for Tap, Jazz, Modern or Hip-Hop and the desire for such instruction should be discussed with the instructor.