Descriptions and Ages in Levels of Ballet

    Each level of ballet is based upon taking the appropriate amount of lessons per week on a regular, uninterrupted basis. The minimum amount of lessons per week are not mandatory, but taking less than the recommended curriculum will slow mastery of each level, and in turn slow progression to the more advanced levels.
    Each level has it’s own standardized curriculum syllabus and will take anywhere from 8 to 26 months for completion. This depends on a variety of reasons; age, maturity, inherent ability, adherence and aptitude.
    Students are moved up when they are ready, and have shown that they have mastered the curriculum within the level. In the beginning levels, growth and learning of new technique and steps is higher. As the student progresses, more time must be spend on maintenance of strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. 

Preparatory level “DANCE-PREP” (4 & 5 year olds) This also the "ABC" Dance program. Emphasis is placed on: Eye-hand/eye-foot exercises for basic coordination. Locomotor and non-locomotor exercises. Lengthening attention span. Timing, rhythm and musicality. Basic lesson etiquette. Developing the teacher/student relationship. Working with pier groups & partners in a learning atmosphere. Preparation of basic movement functions for beginning levels of dance, to prepare the student for the beginning levels and showing how much fun dancing is. Students may take one or two lessons per week.

Ballet levels One & Two: Ballet basics (6 to 9 years old) introduces elementary exercises for mastering the placement of the body, legs, arms & head, and developing elementary skills in the coordination of the steps. Basic musicality & rhythm, “safe & healthy” rotation mechanisms and the proper serious attitude toward the art are introduced. Minimum attendance of 2 lessons per week, 3 is recommended.

Ballet level Three: (9 to 12 years old) In this period the study of center exercises on demi pointe begins. Exercises on turns are begun, and foundation work for “en pointe” is also started. Minimum 4 lessons per week.

Ballet level Four: (10 to 14 years old) involves strengthening the ability in various turns and developing smooth connection of arms and body. This is also the level when basic pointe work is begun. Minimum 4 ballet lessons per week, including one pointe preparatory lesson per week, plus one jazz, lyrical or modern lesson. Note: Pointe prep can be simply taken to strengthen the feet & legs. The pointe shoes are not mandatory in this particular class.

Ballet level Five: (12+ years old) stresses technical mastery of beating steps, more complex turns, developing smoothness of graceful movements & suppleness, harmonious movement transitions, more complex adagio and allegro, and developing elevation in the big jumps. Minimum 5 lessons per week, 1 or 2 more would be highly suggested and beneficial.

Ballet level six: In this level, the study of jumps in the various ways and the development of the “balon” quality (bounce, springiness & elasticity) is stressed. The artistry of dance is highlighted. Complex combinations with beating steps performed in a quick tempo are also given. The execution of all fundamental movements in adagio and petit & grand allegro are carried through with finishing touches. Minimum attendance is 5 lessons per week, 1 or 2 more would be highly suggested.

POINTE WORK: Many factors are taken into consideration for this step. Technical ability, age, maturity, dedication to the art, strength & anatomical features are some of the relevant factors. As a rule, for reasons of physical safety, 11 years old is the youngest a student should ever go “en pointe”, no matter how good are. An Information brochure & free analysis is available to the public with no obligation. Click here to read more about details about dancing en pointe at the Hirschl School.