Ketchikan Theatre Ballet offers instruction in creative movement, ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, and modern, in five age divisions from basic introductory to advanced levels: Pre-Primary, Primary, Youth, Preteen and Teen. Students are placed into a level based on experience; however, age is a contributing factor due to what movement is age-appropriate for developing young bodies. Parents and students should recognize that a student’s progression and advancement into the next level does not coincide with school grade level advancement. As students progress into more advanced levels, one could expect to attend weekly classes more frequently and remain in a level for 2 or more years. This is especially true for our upper age division students taking more than one dance discipline.
Early Childhood Dance
Our Early Childhood Curriculum will incorporate Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) Method of Dance’s First Steps for basic ballet and creative movement with Brain-Compatible’s eight fundamental movement patterns, based on the teachings of Anne Green Gilbert, though not exclusively. Our youngest dance students begin in Pre- Primary and Primary level classes that have been created to develop coordination and kinetic awareness, as well as musicality and a love of the arts in our youngest dancers. These classes are separated according to age, not just ability. This is because students at this early age need to first develop social skills and class etiquette… according to what is appropriate for them developmentally. Basic Ballet, Jazz and Tap Curricula will be introduced during our primary level classes. Classes are designed to stimulate the body and mind of the student as they explore movement and develop their motor skills. It is the perfect place for our littles to begin. Studies have shown that early dance education has been proven to enhance academic learning skills and strengthen the physical body as well as promote both mental and emotional health.
Ballet and Pointe
Our Ballet and Pointe Curriculum will incorporate Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) Method of Dance, though not exclusively. By teaching a syllabus-based method of dance, students will not only learn technique on an incremental basis, but also theory as they progress from one level to the next. Placement, flexibility, strength, coordination, and stamina all must combine to advance technique. Students will be provided a level-appropriate glossary of terminology and will be required to memorize and understand vocabulary, both physically and verbally (i.e. demonstrating a verbal command of a step). Ballet terminology is French, making this ballet education a dual education in language. Pronunciation keys will be provided, and students will practice verbalizing all terms.
Students begin dancing Beginning-Pointe, wearing a full pointe shoe in Level VII and Pre-Pointe, wearing a demi or half-toe shoe in Level VI. The student needs to be eleven, or ideally twelve, years of age to begin pointe. It is around this age that their growth-plates have developed and they have enough strength, alignment, and general knowledge of technique to allow them to move forward with less possibility of injury. Beginning-Pointe and Pre-Pointe students will begin with barre work and over time move to center-floor pointe work. As the student advances into Intermediate and Advance Pointe classes, they will eventually be given the opportunity to learn classical variations in class and performance choreography.
Deeply rooted in ballet technique, this contemporary style of dance is ever-changing along with popular culture. A jazz class will include a warm-up with isolations, pliés, tendus, stretching, strengthening, and more. Class will then progress to a series of jazz pirouettes, battements, jumps, tricks, and more. Students will study a variety of styles within the genre of jazz - one week students may be learning contemporary/lyrical styles and the next they may be more focused on the influences of Bob Fosse, as well as jazz dance's African roots. There is a rich and extensive history of jazz dance, but one factor has always remained - it is meant to be FUN!
Tap students are musicians as well as dancers because they are creating rhythm and musical sounds with their feet. Class will typically begin with basic steps (shuffles, flaps, triples, etc.) to warm and loosen the ankles. Exercises across the floor will challenge the student’s ability to combine learned steps as well as their ability to execute complex rhythms. The rich history of tap brings choreographic styles varying from the classic Broadway show tappers to the pounding styles of the hoofers.
The term “modern dance” can be a little misleading, as it received that name in the early 20th Century. So, according to modern standards, it is really quite old-fashioned. However, it remains one of the most expressive and beautiful forms of dance to this day. Body mechanics and basic fundamental movement will be explored in a creative way in modern class. Modern will be taught to Ballet V-IX in the preteen and teen divisions as a supplement to the ballet program. It is a wonderful contrast and enriches one’s ballet training a great deal; core breath, core to distal, upper/lower and body half isolations with cross lateral connections will be developed through fun, creative dance games. Students will gain body awareness through basic movements that will help them to understand the way in which the body is designed to move efficiently and injury free. The many contributing artists of modern dance have all added a little bit of their own style to the genre. That being said, modern classes can vary greatly in style and structure from one instructor to the next, offering students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and technique. Like all dance styles, technique is the foundations of a dancer. Students can expect to spend time building their core strength, learning to work “into” and “on the floor”, and exploring the idea of “contract and release.”