The Ballet Program (BT II)

Dancers endlessly progress and learn. As a training ritual, each day of a professional dancer begins with a ballet class. This is a continuous process that enables dancers to improve their artistry, technique, and to refine the intricate details that make a great artist and athlete. The Ballet Taos Academy provides quality dance training, that implements the most current methods and standards, to dancers ages 4 through adult, novice through professional, in several forms of movement. The primary focus of the ballet program at the Ballet Taos Academy, nicknamed (BT II), is to train young talented dancers for a professional or college career in dance. The curriculum is designed to develop strength and flexibility through pure classical technique. BT II offers an eight-year syllabus derived from the Vaganova system of training, which provides a complete movement vocabulary directed in a balanced manner. The academy’s Russian based syllabus is taught in a nurturing environment with an emphasis on injury prevention, overall health, and self-esteem, which instills a life-long love of dance. At age six, dancers begin the ballet program at Level I and advance according to their age, ability, desire, and physical development. The dancers at the highest levels attend class and rehearsals six days a week. In addition to daily classical ballet technique, advanced dancers study character dance, pointe technique and variations, partnering, contemporary dance, modern dance, pilates, aerial dance and authentic movement, preparing their bodies and minds for the diverse and demanding art-form that is dance today. Our training program is the first of its kind to be offered in Northern New Mexico. The faculty of BT II provide many hours of private coaching to ready these young professionals for auditions, elite ballet competitions like Youth America Grand Prix, and to create challenging work to be performed alongside side the professional dancers of Ballet Taos. Our training method has proven to create dancers that are technically precise, rhythmically sound, and artistic and spirited in movement.

Elementary Ballet (Ages 4-5 years)

At this introductory level, dancers explore basic movement vocabulary and expression through stories, music and rhythmical patterns. Dancers develop spatial awareness, coordination, flexibility, musicality and learn how to dance with others through fun games that teach proper class etiquette. This class introduces basic ballet concepts, like the positions of the feet and arms. This level is the foundation for future study of classical ballet technique. This class is offered once a week for 45 minutes.

Ballet I (Ages 6-7 years)

This level focuses on the fundamentals of classical ballet technique. Proper body alignment, total body coordination, strength and flexibility, ballet terminology and musicality are introduced in a structured basic ballet barre and centre. This class is offered once a week for one hour.

Ballet II (Ages 8-9 years)

Once a dancer has fully mastered the elements of Ballet I, they will be invited to advance to the next level. At this level, dancers continue to study the fundamentals of ballet such as placement and alignment. We introduce the positions and directions of the body, more complex patterns and terminology. This level meets twice a week for ballet and once a week for beginning level modern dance.

Ballet III (Ages 10-11 years)

In Ballet Level III, the focus moves toward strengthening the legs and feet, proper placement in extensions and preparation for beginning pointe work. Port de bras, balance, and more complex movement combinations are emphasized. Pirouettes and grande allegro are introduced. This level meets three times a week to study classical ballet technique, pre-pointe and beginning pointe technique along with intermediate modern dance. Rehearsal for upcoming performances and additional supplemental classes are offered to strengthen and ready their bodies for daily practice.

Ballet IV (Ages 12-13 years)

Level IV dancers continue to refine, develop, and strengthen extension in the legs and feet. More advanced barre and centre work are studied to increase movement vocabulary and total body coordination. Pointe technique is required a minimum of three times a week. Conditioning classes are offered to strengthen the dancers core muscles and enhance flexibility. This level is required to meet four days a week but may dance five days a week in addition to rehearsal.

Ballet V (Ages 14-19 years)

Level V is for the advanced level ballet dancer. Dancers will focus on multiple pirouettes, petite and grande allegro, complex movement sequences, classical and contemporary variations/repertoire and partnering. There is an emphasis on the use of head and upper body, refined port de bras and artistry. This class meets five days a week in addition to rehearsal and preparation for performance, competition, such as YAGP, and auditions.