The Intermediate and Advanced levels are for a serious student who wishes to make ballet a vocation or to pursue a more serious training schedule. Here the focus is on a more advanced rigorous training, where the student is expected to excel in all aspect. These levels include center work barre with pointe, variations, Flamenco, Modern, and cross training classes with Stretch and Strengthening. Boys in the Intermediate and Advanced levels will begin concentrating on male technique, variations and partnering skills.
Pointe and Variations
Once a student, usually ages 10-12, has acquired the muscular strength and control of the ankles, feet and toes, classical ballet needs students to go on toe, or “sur pointe” in the French language. This gives the appearance of lightness and airiness to the movement of ballet. Female dancers will be required to turn, balance and even to jump on pointe. Normally introduced in the Level 3 classes, provided the class is ready, a student can only go on pointe only with proper body strength and alignment and this is always after approval of the teacher is given. As most ballet variations in Classical Ballet are on pointe, with pointe-work comes learning the many variations of classical ballet repertory. Usually every ballet in Classical and Contemporary choreography contains solos and many of the variations are open to modification to highlight the technique of the individual dancer. Men are also required to learn these variations to demonstrate the many leaping and turning combinations in the classical Repertory.
Flamenco is a dance form that has it’s roots in music and dance from Andalucia, in southern Spain. It has it’s base in the Gypsy dances that were brought to Spain from Moorish countries from far-away lands. It is typified by singing, percussive and sometimes speedy footwork, rhythmic hand-clapping and most of all what the Spanish call duende – “emotion”. Many of the traditional songs are used as a basis for the dances and are named for the city in which they originated such as sevillianas, rodenas, granadinas, and malaguenas.
Contemporary dance is a style of expressive dance that combines elements of several dance genres including modern, jazz, lyrical and classical ballet. Contemporary dancers strive to connect the mind and the body through fluid dance movements. Contemporary dance stresses versatility and improvisation, unlike the strict, structured nature of ballet. Contemporary dancers focus on more floorwork, using gravity to pull them down to the floor. This dance genre is often done in bare feet or sometimes in modified footwear. Contemporary dance can be performed to many different styles of music. Pioneers of contemporary dance include Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. These contemporary dancers all believed that dancers should have freedom of movement, allowing their bodies to freely express their innermost feelings.