There’s more to Ballet Virginia than ballet

Experience and exposure in a variety of dance styles is important for creating versatile dancers and has become a necessity for aspiring professionals. In professional ballet companies today, new choreography often incorporates many styles of dance. Even for our younger dancers, experience in dance forms beside ballet will enhance their training and positively impact their dance experience.

The most important way to develop versatile dancers is to have teachers who are amazing at whatever genre they teach—and who also have a great respect for all dance forms and encourage their students to do the same. At Ballet Virginia, we are fortunate to have a faculty with years of professional experience and education in the genres that they teach.

We encourage all our students to explore other genres of dance. Signing up for an elective to enhance your dance training could be just the thing you need. New students are welcome and registration is ongoing. Many of our electives are open to students who are not enrolled in our ballet classes.

 

TAP

 

Ballet Virginia currently offers three levels of tap starting at age five. It is the first elective offered to augment our ballet-based training because tap is a very effective way to teach musicality in a fun and movement-based environment.

We also find that young children, especially boys, enjoy tap class. You get to move and make music with your feet. That’s a lot of action for a seven-year old! Besides the fun of tap, some students find they have a talent for tap dancing and it becomes a source of confidence-building.

Becoming proficient in tap demands minute precision and complex musicality. Justin Peck, a NYCB member and award-winning choreographer, has come to realize, that the musical exactitude of his ballet choreography is rooted in his early tap training. So, continuing on with tap classes will make you a better ballet dancer as well as a strong tapper.

This elective is open to students who are not enrolled in ballet classes at Ballet Virginia.

 

MODERN

Ballet Virginia adds Modern classes starting in Level 2 to all training programs through BVII with five levels of study. Our Modern program is Horton-based and is headed by Lydia Roberts Coco, a former Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre member.

By Level 2, dancers have developed enough technical proficiency in ballet to begin to deeply explore ways of moving that differ from the classical ballet genre. Modern, in particular, puts emphasis on complicated and intricate movement patterns which helps to develop coordination and agility. Taking modern class is critical to being a professional ballet dancer.

 

MUSICAL THEATER

Acting is an important artistic component of dance performance. This class focuses on the fundamentals of acting through learning light-

hearted scripts and songs. Ballet Virginia currently has two levels of Musical Theater classes, both at our Beach location.

This elective is open to students who are not enrolled in ballet classes at Ballet Virginia.

 

CHARACTER

 

In iconic classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Coppelia, Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, there is always a wedding scene, party scene or village scene. These scenes feature highly stylized folk dancing from the times in which these ballets are set.

Character class explores this type of dancing and prepares the students for roles in these ballets. This type of dancing involves rhythmic steps and strong port de bra and epaulement which directly enhances a dancer’s ballet proficiency.

 

PILATES MAT

 

Pilates is a renowned and highly detailed exercise system. It is beneficial to dancers ages 10 and up or anyone who wants to be well-aligned and strong. Adding cross training in Pilates to your dance training can prevent injuries, build strength and increase body awareness.

Adults as well as Levels 4 and up in our academy are welcome to take this class. This elective is open to students who are not enrolled in ballet classes at Ballet Virginia.

 

CONTEMPORARY

 

This class gives students an outlet to be expressive in their movements while dancing to contemporary music, usually with lyrics. Having the opportunity to “let loose” and allow the music to inspire movement is encouraged.

In classical ballet, it is also important to let movement be inspired by the music. But, it is more difficult within the confines of ballet technique and classical music for dancers to find this artistry. Contemporary class gives them the freedom to discover it and take it back with them into ballet class.

This elective is open to students who are not enrolled in ballet classes at Ballet Virginia.

 

HIP HOP/TUMBLING

 

It’s good to just let loose and have some fun. The combination of Hip Hop and Tumbling are just what our Lower School students need sometimes. And, while they are having fun, they’re also gaining coordination, musicality and upper body strength.

As Hip Hop becomes even more mainstream, it is finding its way into all corners of dance world – even ballet companies! Plus, all dancers should be able to do basic tumbling moves like cartwheels, tuck rolls and backbends.

This elective is open to students who are not enrolled in ballet classes at Ballet Virginia.

 

BODY CONDITIONING

Starting in Level 3, all Ballet Virginia students take conditioning classes. Depending on the level, this includes Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), Pilates and pointe conditioning. These half-hour classes help students to gain strength, muscle awareness, enhanced body mechanics and flexibility. Conditioning classes also help to reduce injuries and give the students specific exercises that they can work on outside of class.

 

 

SIGN UP FOR AN ELECTIVE TODAY

 

Call us at 446-1401 or visit our Elective page.

 

-written by Lisa McCarty with photos by Hayley-Ann Vasco

 

 

 

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lmccarty

Marketing director and Children's Program Director at Ballet Virginia International. Danced professionally in the U.S, Italy and Asia. Graduated magna cum laude from University of Nevada, Las Vegas B.S in Business Administration/Marketing.