Our classes follow a natural progression from Toddler to Senior dancer, with classes increasing in length and difficulty level as a student moves through the Grades, following the Syllabii of the British Ballet Organization (which have been assessed according to the National Framework structure of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA)).
3 - 6 YEARS, BEGINNERS Dance
Tiny Stars Combined classes -aimed at 3-4 year olds, these classes are half an hour in length with 2/3 ballet and 1/3 tap. These
pre-ballet/tap classes give young boys and girls a first introduction to dance with some basic moves, a
chance to be expressive and fun song and dance to nursery rhymes.
Mini Stars Combined classes - for Foundation aged children, just starting 'big' school. A 45 minute class, 2/3 ballet and 1/3
tap. Increased difficulty of work, with basic ballet and tap moves, beginning musicality, characterisation
and mime. After approx 2 terms, these children can take their first 'Nursery Rhyme' Medal Test.
Pre- Syllabus Combined class - still just 45 minutes, but now following a first technical syllabus in both ballet and tap. Continuing
technical skills, along with a recognition of 3/4 and 4/4 music, and expressive characterisation. Usually
taken whilst in school Year 1, this class leads to the first technical ballet and tap (optional) exams.
Pre-Syllabus is a great introduction for children to the exam situation - with all the scary parts
left out - no fail grade, their teacher accompanies them to help them along, and they bounce out of
the exam clutching a badge, they also get a first report and certificate
Graded Ballet, Tap & Modern - 6 YEARS PLUS
Entry Level - Pre-Primary and Primary classes - 45 minutes combined classes for Tap and Ballet. Modern can now be
taken as a separate or additional class. These 2 grades lead on from each other and are aimed at 6-8
year olds, they are the first 'proper' dance grades with more disciplined work now beginning.
Foundation Level 1 - Grades 1, 2, and 3. These classes are a minimum of half an hour per style. By Grade 3 children will usually
need an hour of ballet a week if they wish to take examinations. I do not state a recommended age
for these grades - late starters will usually come along and try a grade 1 or 2 class depending on other
dance experience. Each grade takes approx a year to gain proficiency.
Teen Beginner Ballet class is specifically aimed at GCSE/A'level dance students who have not yet acquired strong ballet technique and assumes no prior experience. It is an excellent stepping stone into ballet for older students.
Intermediate Level 2 - Grades 4, 5. These are fairly advanced classes, with at least 3/4 hour of ballet taken, once/twice a week. It is rare for a child to be taking these classes before Senior school age. Grade 5 ballet students will start Pre-Pointe preparation and strengthening exercises to get them ready for future Pointe work
Advanced Level 3 - Grades 6, 7 & 8/Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced 1 & 2. Grade 6, at long last we
start Pointe Work - every ballerina's dream. I do not allow Junior School children to dance on pointe
and usually no child below 12 years (each child will be assessed individually to assure they are strong
enough for this disciplined and strenuous work). Pointe work is introduced gradually and increases in
difficulty through these grades. To take any Advanced level exam, entrants need to become a Student
Member of the BBO. Success at Grade 8 can lead to extra university entrance points.
Our school is a local examination centre for the BBO, and we regularly have external examiners attend our studio. We do not have internal 'medal tests' - all our exams are regulated to a standardized national level, both technical graded exams and freestyle medal awards may be taken at all levels. However exams are optional and students may still progress without taking exams.